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08-07-2012, 03:24 PM   #1
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Manual lenses on DSLR -- how do you gauge proper exposure?

I have a couple old Pentax M primes for my K-x (dSLR). I wonder what is (or are) the technique(s) for achieving proper exposure when using these lenses?

Usually I snap a photo and look in the viewfinder so see if it is under or overexposed (usually well under exposes).. adjust.. then examine again.. wash, rinse, repeat.

It is a bit tedious and am hoping there is an easier process. On situations where lighting is changing quickly, this makes proper exposure nearly impossible. Thank goodness for RAW edits

08-07-2012, 03:28 PM   #2
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Set the histogram to show on rear lcd each shot - makes the first check a little more objective and lowers the number of repeats.
08-07-2012, 03:38 PM   #3
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You need to use the green button to get the light meter to make a reading and set the shutter speed. See this thread: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/110657-how-use-meter...k-x-k-7-a.html

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08-07-2012, 03:56 PM   #4
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Green button
Then adjust based on histogram

08-07-2012, 04:25 PM   #5
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Use optical preview. Configure the green button to activate optical preview, choose the aperture you want to shoot at and then hold the green button. A meter will appear in the viewfinder and you can adjust teh shutter speed with the rear dial or the aperture with the aperture ring. Not as fast as just green button metering, but it does let you see how the camera is choosing the exposure when you move the frame around.
08-07-2012, 04:43 PM   #6
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Go manual like I did last year on my first outing...to Jamaica. I'm surprised at photogs here that rely on automation(not talking about you of course).
08-07-2012, 05:34 PM   #7
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Green button, baby.
08-07-2012, 05:38 PM   #8
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With the K-x you don't need to use the Geen button. You can use the AV+- button instead.

08-07-2012, 05:43 PM   #9
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you can also hit the AE-L button after the green button and then any changes to aperture(or shutter or ISO) will adjust the others accordingly to maintain that same exposure.
08-07-2012, 05:43 PM   #10
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I have used the display often but this is very hit and miss - how exposure looks on the LCD depends very much on ambient light and LCD settings.

I think expose with green button (usually gets it close but with some lenses not spot on) then look at histogram.
08-07-2012, 05:47 PM   #11
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I use a light meter, but that's mainly because I have one. In a pinch I'll use the green button, and some grass, but I prefer to have a gray card.
08-07-2012, 06:59 PM   #12
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In changing light, I pick an aperture and stay there, since changing apertures is another variable/distraction. The same for ISO. That leaves shutter speed, which is just one dial. I can guess, or do some manual bracketing (shoot, adjust speed, shoot again) without looking at the histogram. It helps to look at the histogram occasionally to see if you're really off-track.

Automatic bracketing functions can help too. It might vary on the K-x but I've used this on my *ist DS sometimes. Set some compromise exposure as the base, then set the bracketing steps to include the minimum and maximum light you might encounter. The K-7/K-5 have great bracketing options.

Some advance test shots can help, if the lighting varies between a few known conditions. I'm thinking of a kid running around a backyard, between sun and shade. Sun might be four clicks of the e-dial away from shade.

If you're already using the M-type lens wide open, you can switch to Av mode for the same type of live metering you'd get from a more modern lens.
08-08-2012, 07:49 AM   #13
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I recommend using optical preview to check the exposure, but if there's enough time, there's nothing wrong with doing a test shot and using histogram for fine exposure corrections.
08-08-2012, 08:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
In changing light, I pick an aperture and stay there, since changing apertures is another variable/distraction. The same for ISO. That leaves shutter speed, which is just one dial. I can guess, or do some manual bracketing (shoot, adjust speed, shoot again) without looking at the histogram. It helps to look at the histogram occasionally to see if you're really off-track.

Automatic bracketing functions can help too. It might vary on the K-x but I've used this on my *ist DS sometimes. Set some compromise exposure as the base, then set the bracketing steps to include the minimum and maximum light you might encounter. The K-7/K-5 have great bracketing options.

Some advance test shots can help, if the lighting varies between a few known conditions. I'm thinking of a kid running around a backyard, between sun and shade. Sun might be four clicks of the e-dial away from shade.

If you're already using the M-type lens wide open, you can switch to Av mode for the same type of live metering you'd get from a more modern lens.
Q

I'm the opposite as I set the shutter and adjust aperture and use exposure compensation to tweak if needed.
08-08-2012, 10:07 AM   #15
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Thanks, guys. Very informative you lot. I will practice with the techniques provided.. mebbe this isn't a shot in the dark (literally) after all. woohoo!
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