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12-13-2013, 08:04 PM   #1
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K-5ii low light exposure meter accuracy?

I was putting up the christmas tree earlier with the kids and decided to take a few photos... The light was pretty low and the exposure meter was saying the exposure was correct, however every shot I took was way under exposed. I mean this was not like "oh it's close to being correct" like these shots are all quite terrible. I tried different modes, I started in P and it was giving me too slow of a shutter speed so I tried SV to get the right shutter speed but the shots were still way under exposed (exposure meter showing it was good).

My question is, is the exposure meter usually pretty accurate on this camera and in low light? I just got my K-5ii for black friday so I am really new with it. I had a K-30 for a few months I don't recall having this much trouble at all in low light.

I am just being a nub and not knowing how to use this camera? Any help is greatly appreciated.





12-13-2013, 08:09 PM   #2
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All those hot spots are probably fooling the light meter, but the shadows look like they could easily be recovered using the RAW file or even a jpeg.

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12-13-2013, 08:12 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
All those hot spots are probably fooling the light meter, but the shadows look like they could easily be recovered using the RAW file or even a jpeg.
I didn't even think of the christmas lights causing a problem..... I haven't even attempted to correct these at all yet, I still haven't gotten past the initial disappointment of not getting a decent shot that isn't going to require a bunch of editing. These were supposed to be simple snapshots to capture the moment, not all out highest quality photography
12-13-2013, 08:29 PM   #4
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I don't see anything wrong with them, the camera tried not to blow out the highlights. In a situation like this spot metering can help a lot, scan the scene and determine the different light levels involved and decide on an appropriate exposure. Your light source is in front of them, you're shooting from behind, without adding light you're not going to get both them and the tree properly exposed at the same time.

Also, I wouldn't consider tweaking a couple sliders for shadow and highlight correction to be a lot of editing.

12-13-2013, 08:50 PM   #5
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You can also try cranking up your exposure compensation by +1 or +2 and see if that helps. The lights will become blown-out highlights (they are VERY bright compared to everything else), but the rest of the scene will brighten by that exposure compensation value. Blown-out light bulbs will look remarkably like your current lights, just no detail inside them. This might be a good tradeoff for JPEGs. If you're shooting RAW, post processing will recover the dark areas easily.
12-13-2013, 08:57 PM   #6
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It is not so much is the exposure accurate but what is supposed to be the proper exposure. The camera either must guess (it does not know what areas are wall vs people, are they light or dark skin, etc.; or you tell it.

I. Either spot meter an important middle gray area, or spot meter and adjust for the fact that it isn't middle gray (+/- e.v.),

II. Or look at the first picture you took and provide a +/- e.v. adjustment. Too dark? Set it at +1 or +2 e.v. and take another shot, Etc. After a couple they should be fine. (But don't then switch the mode--stay with center weighted or multi-segment, and not spot.)
12-14-2013, 05:43 AM   #7
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Any camera will battle with these high contrast scenes.The tree with the lights as well as the wall is relative bright compared to the girl at the right (in the first photo). So no matter what you do, one will be correctly exposed and the other one not.

The only way to get this really right is with flash. The beautifull theory says that carefully choosing the amount of light that flash adds to the scene will brighten up the foreground without affecting the background too much. The practical side is a matter of experience (and for me of trial-and-error). My attempt on this would be M mode on the camera and set correct exposure for the background (from your exif, iso 800, f/4 and 1/50s would be my starting point) and -1eV flash compensation; depending on the result I will adjust the flash compensation.
12-14-2013, 05:49 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by shaX 07 Quote
I still haven't gotten past the initial disappointment of not getting a decent shot that isn't going to require a bunch of editing.
I see you've already had these in PS CS5, so pulling up the shadows could have been done in a second or three.
Editing is part of the photographers journey, isn't it?
QuoteQuote:
These were supposed to be simple snapshots to capture the moment
Did you really buy a high-end dSLR for snapshots?

12-19-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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Hi,

QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
Did you really buy a high-end dSLR for snapshots
You can't really be picking on him for that statement.

QuoteOriginally posted by shaX 07 Quote
exposure meter usually pretty accurate on this camera and in low light?
Yes it is pretty accurate, but you need significant amount of experience handling that system. For that kind of light I would not go lower than ISO1200 and depending on lens; which it looks to me a slow 18-55. Nothing faster than 1/60th (Handheld), shoot as wide as possible and then stop down till you get better results.

It has taken me some time to get used to this system.

Cheers!
12-19-2013, 11:23 AM   #10
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As a comment--the second picture Is very fine--and the low exposure/soft lighting has a very intimate feel. As Adam said It should come out fine with some shadow recovery. Just IMO don't make the recovery large (maybe 1 stop) and keep the contrast very low.
12-19-2013, 09:56 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
Did you really buy a high-end dSLR for snapshots?
I use my K5 for snapshots. It can do it quite well

Did I buy it for that? Maybe not quite although I knew in advance that a lot of my photos would be snaps.
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