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01-31-2012, 09:55 AM   #1
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Faulty AE-L Function

According to the User Manual, the AE-L button should lock the exposure for twice the time set for the exposure metering even when the exposure is set be locked when focus is locked. There appears to be an intermittent problem with the use of the feature; sometimes it works, other times, it does not. If I press the AE-L button, the '*' light comes up in the viewfinder to indicate that exposure has been locked, BUT if I move the camera position, I can see the exposure changing which is apparent in shots taken in a panoramic sequence.

I've used this feature with my previous *istDS & K10 to create panoramic shots by stitching several consecutive shots together without any problems; however, the K5 does not always lock the exposure when AE-L is set.

Additionally, the WB on the K5 changes from shot to shot when using AWB - this does not happen on the *istDS or K10.

I have updated the firmware to v1.12 and reset back to the default parameters. Initial checks indoors at appeared OK but there was one instance where the ISO value changed whilst the AE-L button was pressed to lock the exposure.

I tried the camera out on two different days with differing light conditions taking in excess of 30 panoramic shots using sequences of images locked with AE-L with complete success.

I then changed the AE-L to lock the exposure while the focus is locked (page 121 of the User Manual - 'exposure can also be locked when focus is locked') and immediately experienced problems with AE-L not locking.

It appears that the only way that AE-L will lock the exposure is when AE-L is set NOT to be locked to Focus & NOT locked to focus point which is contrary to the information on page 121 of the User Manual.

Has any one else experienced this problem.

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Last edited by WightWalker; 01-31-2012 at 12:12 PM. Reason: Addition of images to illustrate problem
01-31-2012, 05:57 PM   #2
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I shoot my panoramas in manual mode with manual focus and often the lens locked at infinity with a rubber band, No way would I leave a chance for automatic exposure adjustment after I have determined the proper exposure.
02-01-2012, 02:02 AM   #3
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It seems then that "AE locked with focus" overrules "AE-L".
Not sure if this is intended.
Will test this in the evening.
02-01-2012, 05:02 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
I shoot my panoramas in manual mode with manual focus and often the lens locked at infinity with a rubber band, No way would I leave a chance for automatic exposure adjustment after I have determined the proper exposure.
I know that I can do this and have used this mode successfully which I'm sure is the more 'professional' approach to creating panoramas.

But, what I'm highlighting is the failure of the AE-L function to lock the exposure on my camera and am seeking assistance in understanding whether this an isolated failure or does it occurr on ALL K5s - I don't want to accept my K5 if it's got a fault on it as I've just recently purchased it.


Last edited by WightWalker; 02-01-2012 at 07:53 AM.
02-02-2012, 11:10 AM   #5
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I just tested this and cannot replicate it.
When I set AE-L with AF = ON, I can see the * in the viewfinder when the AF hit. When I move the camera then, the exposure stays the same, regardless the light. When I press the AE-L button then, the * in the viewfinder disappears.
02-02-2012, 12:01 PM   #6
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Cannot replicate it either. I was more suspicious about the "auto EV compensation", but no.
When I press the AE-L, it's fixed.

BTW, you can set "meter operating time", that affects how long the AE-L is active. How long is yours set?
02-03-2012, 01:15 AM   #7
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My k5 with the newest firmware has strange behaviour.
I had problem with selective AF focus point. LV and AF point selection is ok, but also 'unlock' AF selection in optical VF.
Still it does not prompt for focal length when I use manual lenses with SR on.

I will test this case later, also try to reproduce the AF selection fault.
I am expecting to use the camera as before, not testing and debugging for pentax crews - What annoying.
02-08-2012, 10:29 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoanpham Quote
My k5 with the newest firmware has strange behaviour.
I am expecting to use the camera as before, not testing and debugging for pentax crews - What annoying.
I know what you mean, in the few weeks that I've had my K5, I seem to have spent more time trying to resolve these issues rather than enjoying what should have been a joyous experience.

It's been back to Pentax twice: firstly to remove dust from the sensor that couldn't be removed either by the internal process, using a rocket blower or by the dealer and secondly to resolve the AE-L problem.

It's been with Pentax now for nearly 2 weeks & the only response back from them is that they can't find a fault & it behaves the same as another that tested mine against. I reminded them that my problem is intermittent & it is extremely likely that during the time that they tested it, it was probably doing what it should do.

What should have been a pleasurable experience for a 'top end' camera is now turning out to be not so!

02-21-2012, 07:35 AM   #9
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AE-L still faulty with replacement K5

I eventually got Pentax to agree to replace my K5 with a new one which I checked to make sure that the shutter count was at zero & that on 1st switch on, the location, date & time needed to be set - hopefully, this would indicate that I had received a new, not refurbished replacement.

I left the settings at default i.e. Firmware v1.11, AE-L not locked to Focus' AE-L not locked to focus point, Auto EV comp off & set exposure metering to be locked for 30 secs. AE-L was unstable with several instances where the exposure changed over 175 exposures.

I updated the firmware to v1.12 & left the settings at default & found AE-L to stable over 140 exposures.

I set AE-L to be locked to focus point (which according to the User Manual & a Pentax Technician) should still lock the exposure. However, there were several instances over 59 exposures where AE-L failed to work which proved to me that this is an inherent problem with the K5.

I know that many will still say, that this is not the best way to set up locked exposure for composing panoramic shots & I'd be better using Manual Mode where I'd have more control.

I initially thought that this would only be a problem during panoramic sequential shooting BUT it will also happen when used normally. i.e. if a subject is offset in the frame, moving the camera to focus/AE-L on the subject, then re-frame the shot with the subject offset can still cause the AE-L to falter with a corresponding change in exposure - maybe a change of 1 stop isn't that drastic & can be easily compensated for during post processing BUT it shouldn't happen & it didn't on either of my previous Pentax *istDS & K10 cameras.

It's a shame that my enjoyment from using the K5 has been marred by this problem & I would like to think that Pentax will resolve this in a subsequent firmware update, but I'm not that confident!
02-21-2012, 08:07 AM   #10
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What shooting mode you're using? Is AUTO-ISO on or off? And could you please provide all the setting values from the C1 menu.
02-21-2012, 08:44 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by WightWalker Quote
I eventually got Pentax to agree to replace my K5 with a new one which I checked to make sure that the shutter count was at zero & that on 1st switch on, the location, date & time needed to be set - hopefully, this would indicate that I had received a new, not refurbished replacement.

I left the settings at default i.e. Firmware v1.11, AE-L not locked to Focus' AE-L not locked to focus point, Auto EV comp off & set exposure metering to be locked for 30 secs. AE-L was unstable with several instances where the exposure changed over 175 exposures.

I updated the firmware to v1.12 & left the settings at default & found AE-L to stable over 140 exposures.

I set AE-L to be locked to focus point (which according to the User Manual & a Pentax Technician) should still lock the exposure. However, there were several instances over 59 exposures where AE-L failed to work which proved to me that this is an inherent problem with the K5.

I know that many will still say, that this is not the best way to set up locked exposure for composing panoramic shots & I'd be better using Manual Mode where I'd have more control.

I initially thought that this would only be a problem during panoramic sequential shooting BUT it will also happen when used normally. i.e. if a subject is offset in the frame, moving the camera to focus/AE-L on the subject, then re-frame the shot with the subject offset can still cause the AE-L to falter with a corresponding change in exposure - maybe a change of 1 stop isn't that drastic & can be easily compensated for during post processing BUT it shouldn't happen & it didn't on either of my previous Pentax *istDS & K10 cameras.

It's a shame that my enjoyment from using the K5 has been marred by this problem & I would like to think that Pentax will resolve this in a subsequent firmware update, but I'm not that confident!
Now that you have seen the same behaviour from two cameras, you can consider this to be more or less normal behaviour, you should probably move on and either work around the issue by changing your way of operating the camera in the instance where it appears to not do what you want, or move on to a brand that definitely has the feature that you want implemented the way you want it implemented.
02-21-2012, 09:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Now that you have seen the same behaviour from two cameras, you can consider this to be more or less normal behaviour, you should probably move on and either work around the issue by changing your way of operating the camera in the instance where it appears to not do what you want, or move on to a brand that definitely has the feature that you want implemented the way you want it implemented.
I hear what you say, but is it too much to expect the K5 to do what it's supposed to do, then I wouldn't have to consider a different option at substantial cost to myself as I doubt whether the dealer will now take it back!
02-21-2012, 09:55 AM   #13
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It looks like you got your answer over at DPReview. I'd be willing to bet that this is an operational thing, where you are keeping your finger on the trigger sometimes, and other times are releasing the shutter button entirely, thereby letting the AE lock function drop.
02-21-2012, 10:17 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by alexeyga Quote
What shooting mode you're using? Is AUTO-ISO on or off? And could you please provide all the setting values from the C1 menu.
Shooting mode is Av with front wheel set to adjust the ISO within the range 80 - 51200.

C1 EV Steps - Default i.e 1/3 EV steps
C2 Sensitivity Steps - as EV Steps i.e 1/3 EV steps
C3 Expanded Sensitivity - ON i.e 80 - 51200
C4 Meter Operating Time - 30 Secs
C5 AE-L with AF Locked - ON i.e AE is locked when the focus is locked
C6 Link Ae to AF point - OFF
C7 Auto EV Compensation - OFF
02-21-2012, 11:17 AM   #15
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I'd have to agree with Wheatfield - an operational thing that cancels the AE-L. Something you do while manipulating the camera perhaps?

That being said, the biggest problem i see - is the way how you use AE-L. It's one these life-proven-truths like "one doesn't take a piss while facing the rain". If you want to take an X amount of frames all with the same exposure - SWITCH TO MANUAL, which also includes either pre-setting the WB manually if you shoot JPG or applying the same WB setting in PP to the whole series of shots if you shoot RAW. Simple really. On the other hand if you want the camera to do the whole work for you, then perhaps K5 is too advanced for your needs. In photographic equipment, the amount of bells&whistles that you get isn't proportional to the amount of $$ that you've paid - actually it's the other way around, the more you pay - the less you get. Take any higher-end camera body, D3, D700, 7D, D300s, K5 and it won't be able to stitch a pano out of JPGs like my 200$ waterproof Panasonic P&S does!!! )))
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