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06-22-2011, 12:54 PM   #1
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K-r uses too slow shutter times with external flash

I'm having yet another problem with K-r. I just bought Metz Megablitz 44 AF-1 external flash which is great by the way. For some reason camera always seems to select pretty slow shutter speeds. That causes problems when taking pictures from anything that isn't static and not moving. Normal shutter speed that camera uses is 1/60, 1/30 or even longer. If I select Tv mode and select shutter speed manually, I get great pictures. Same problem occurs, for instance, in P and Av modes.

Am I doing something wrong? Why K-r selects too slow exposure times when it could easily use much quicker exposure time without any problems? K-r has lots of problems in its automatics. Is this again one issue?

Do I really have to use Tv mode or fully manual mode to get reasonable shutter speeds?

06-22-2011, 01:38 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by robroy Quote
Am I doing something wrong?
You're letting the camera think for you and its not able to read your mind as to what you want the shot to look like. If you want the shot to look like something, tell the camera what to do.
06-22-2011, 01:52 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by robroy Quote
I'm having yet another problem with K-r. I just bought Metz Megablitz 44 AF-1 external flash which is great by the way. For some reason camera always seems to select pretty slow shutter speeds. That causes problems when taking pictures from anything that isn't static and not moving. Normal shutter speed that camera uses is 1/60, 1/30 or even longer. If I select Tv mode and select shutter speed manually, I get great pictures. Same problem occurs, for instance, in P and Av modes.

Am I doing something wrong? Why K-r selects too slow exposure times when it could easily use much quicker exposure time without any problems? K-r has lots of problems in its automatics. Is this again one issue?

Do I really have to use Tv mode or fully manual mode to get reasonable shutter speeds?
Another thing you can do is tell the camera to stay at ISO 200. In my experience with my K-x 90% of the time its not solely the flash, its the flash firing off with my ISO set too high since it assumes (correctly) that I'm shooting in low light and cranks the ISO up to the highest setting I have then winds up blowing the photo out.
06-22-2011, 02:56 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by robroy Quote
I'm having yet another problem with K-r. I just bought Metz Megablitz 44 AF-1 external flash which is great by the way. For some reason camera always seems to select pretty slow shutter speeds. .......

........

K-r has lots of problems in its automatics. Is this again one issue?

Do I really have to use Tv mode or fully manual mode to get reasonable shutter speeds?
It is not the K-r (neither the model nor your specific camera). I also have the Metz 44 AF-1 but "only" the K200D and it behaves the same way in P and Av mode as you describe (that is, with modern autofocus lenses - I'll come back to that).

But, there is nothing "wrong" in this as far as I am concerned. Both our cameras allow for "Trailing curtain sync" and "slow-speed sync" which is a desirable feature (see your manual on the use of exsternal flashes and the Metz manual on these features) and so does the Metz 44 AF-1. So yes, if you are shooting moving objects you should use Tv and set the standard syncronization speed (1/180 s on the K200D) for "normal" flash photography and lower for the TC-sync and S-s sync).

For me (who learned to photograph in 1960) there is nothing unusual in having to set the sync. speed manually. In these days we had the fantastic sync speeds of 1/30 s for bulbs and 1/60 s for electronic flashes !!! And, of course, we had to set these speeds manually.

But now comes the curious part: If I use one of my old 1980'ies Tamron Adaptall KA-lenses rather than a modern autofucus lens THEN the camera automatically chooses 1/180 s as sync speed in P and Av mode. And no matter what aperure I set in Av, the camera chooses the same speed and regulates the power accordingly. (We are talking TTL-operation of the flash, obviously). Don't ask me why and how this difference comes about. It just does.........


Last edited by Stone G.; 06-22-2011 at 02:59 PM. Reason: spelling errors
06-23-2011, 08:18 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by robroy Quote
Am I doing something wrong? Why K-r selects too slow exposure times when it could easily use much quicker exposure time without any problems? K-r has lots of problems in its automatics. Is this again one issue?
There is a definite issue or bug with this camera model. It is not a good design goal for a camera to default to pretending it doesn't have a flash when one is attached and ready to be used. This problem is not quite that bad, but it is close. Others have mentioned in similar threads that most models in the Pentax line don't have this problem. Someone even compared his other Pentax camera to the K-R in the same light situations and discovered that the K-R often choose a shutter speed 1 or 2 stops slower than the other camera. (Confirming this problem.)

Years ago with film DSLR if you put on a "dedicated" flash the shutter would normally auto-set itself to 1/60 of a second and you would use a certain f-stop with the flash. They didn't drop down to 1/4 of a second because the camera was being used in low light. (You know... the very reason you attached a flash in the first place.) After more automatic cameras came out the camera would use 1/60 and also set the aperture. Now apparently we seem to have gone backwards in time and functionality. Even worse is when a cheap camera will give someone better pictures without needing to manually set everything when they use a flash. (I have a hard time explaining to my wife why she gets crappy pictures with an expensive camera when her cheap 5 year old camera will give her better pictures when using a flash with both.)

I've noticed that on this forum a lot of people will jump in and defend Pentax when anyone mentions this issue. They tell you that you should always manually pick your settings. But there are probably just as many people that agree that this is a bug. There is nothing wrong with expecting a camera to work properly in low light with a flash attached while setting the camera on the full auto setting. (And I will define "properly" as meaning that it will give you an acceptable picture a majority of the time instead of only sometimes by accident.) While I do happen to agree that if you want a certain type of result you need to set the camera manually, I don't agree that you should always need to set anything.

Personally it isn't a big deal with me since I've been using SLR cameras for almost 40 years. But my wife hates the need to put the camera on anything other than fully auto. I agree with her opinion; she should be able to leave it on fully auto when she attaches the flash and still get good pictures of children playing at school. (She is a teacher.) I've had to explain to her that there is a bug with this camera and she can either adjust it manually or we can buy her another Pentax model such as the K-X. (Which would be fine with me... getting another body is never bad.)

Last edited by keithlm; 06-23-2011 at 08:51 AM.
06-23-2011, 09:00 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by keithlm Quote
There is a definite issue or bug with this camera model. It is not a good design goal for a camera to default to pretending it doesn't have a flash when one is attached and ready to be used. This problem is not quite that bad, but it is close. Others have mentioned in similar threads that most models in the Pentax line don't have this problem. Someone even compared his other Pentax camera to the K-R in the same light situations and discovered that the K-R often choose a shutter speed 1 or 2 stops slower than the other camera. (Confirming this problem.)

Years ago with film DSLR if you put on a "dedicated" flash the shutter would normally auto-set itself to 1/60 of a second and you would use a certain f-stop with the flash. They didn't drop down to 1/4 of a second because the camera was being used in low light. (You know... the very reason you attached a flash in the first place.) After more automatic cameras came out the camera would use 1/60 and also set the aperture. Now apparently we seem to have gone backwards in time and functionality. Even worse is when a cheap camera will give someone better pictures without needing to manually set everything when they use a flash. (I have a hard time explaining to my wife why she gets crappy pictures with an expensive camera when her cheap 5 year old camera will give her better pictures when using a flash with both.)

I've noticed that on this forum a lot of people will jump in and defend Pentax when anyone mentions this issue. They tell you that you should always manually pick your settings. But there are probably just as many people that agree that this is a bug. There is nothing wrong with expecting a camera to work properly in low light with a flash attached while setting the camera on the full auto setting. (And I will define "properly" as meaning that it will give you an acceptable picture a majority of the time instead of only sometimes by accident.) While I do happen to agree that if you want a certain type of result you need to set the camera manually, I don't agree that you should always need to set everything.

Personally it isn't a big deal with me since I've been using SLR cameras for almost 40 years. But my wife hates the need to put the camera on anything other than fully auto. I agree with her opinion; she should be able to leave it on fully auto when she attaches the flash and still get good pictures of children playing at school. (She is a teacher.) I've had to explain to her that there is a bug with this camera and she can either adjust it manually or we can buy her another Pentax model such as the K-X. (Which would be fine with me... getting another body is never bad.)
Some of us will defend Pentax when issues like this are brought up because it isn't a Pentax issue: its the DSLR noob behind the camera that is the problem.

There is no issue with the K-x or K-r and using a flash. When you used the film camera and it auto set to 1/60, that what because that was the sync speed of the camera and you would get banding with any faster shutter speed.

When in auto mode with a flash on the camera, it tries to intellegently get you a well balanced exposure between ambient and flash. Too much flash results in overexposed people in front of a black background, but too little results in silhouettes. The camera adjusts the exposure so that the ambient is about 1 stop underexposed, and the p-ttl flash gets the subjects to be at 18% grey.


Tip #4: Balancing Camera Flash with the Ambient Light | syracuse.com

If you don't like that, then its not an issue with the camera. You can easily tell it to do something else. Want the background black? Then set the shutter to the sync speed. Want Silhouettes? Then turn the flash off. Its a camera, not a mind reader.
06-23-2011, 11:54 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Some of us will defend Pentax when issues like this are brought up because it isn't a Pentax issue: its the DSLR noob behind the camera that is the problem.

There is no issue with the K-x or K-r and using a flash. When you used the film camera and it auto set to 1/60, that what because that was the sync speed of the camera and you would get banding with any faster shutter speed.
I respect that you have stated your opinion and you have the right to have that opinion. However, just because it is your opinion does not make it automatically correct. (Regardless of how many times it is repeated in every thread about the subject.)

The fact remains that a DSLR that sets too low of a shutter speed on a regular basis with a flash has a bug or was poorly designed. That is my opinion and I have a right to that opinion. If you want to call me a names then be my guest. It won't remove the fact that the K-R often selects too slow of a shutter speed.

Here is an easier concept: if multiple people perceive something as a problem then regardless of the opinion of other people the fact remains that there is a problem. Calling them noobs and repeatedly telling them they are using their camera wrong is not an intelligent argument.

You'll also notice that the old SLR used 1/60 (and even later automatic SLR) didn't "intelligently" decide to lower the speed down to a slower shutter like 1/8 or 1/4 because that would not be very intelligent. Just like it isn't a good idea on a DSLR when a flash is used.

Hopefully they will fix this bug with a firmware update.
06-23-2011, 12:28 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Some of us will defend Pentax when issues like this are brought up because it isn't a Pentax issue: its the DSLR noob behind the camera that is the problem.

There is no issue with the K-x or K-r and using a flash. When you used the film camera and it auto set to 1/60, that what because that was the sync speed of the camera and you would get banding with any faster shutter speed.

When in auto mode with a flash on the camera, it tries to intellegently get you a well balanced exposure between ambient and flash. Too much flash results in overexposed people in front of a black background, but too little results in silhouettes. The camera adjusts the exposure so that the ambient is about 1 stop underexposed, and the p-ttl flash gets the subjects to be at 18% grey.


Tip #4: Balancing Camera Flash with the Ambient Light | syracuse.com

If you don't like that, then its not an issue with the camera. You can easily tell it to do something else. Want the background black? Then set the shutter to the sync speed. Want Silhouettes? Then turn the flash off. Its a camera, not a mind reader.
Do you have a K-R? I started years ago with a DL and then got a K100DS, then a K200D and now a K-R. None of the previous cameras showed this 'problem'! It is NOT the user, it is the instructions that have been programmed into the camera by Pentax 'engineers'. The flash does not work properly in P mode or auto mode. It ALWAYS exposes for the background. You can say there is no issue, then I will say Pentax changed the way the flash exposure works from their older cameras, and the K-R exposes flash shots differently from all other automatic cameras that I have used before.

06-23-2011, 12:37 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by keithlm Quote
I've had to explain to her that there is a bug with this camera and she can either adjust it manually or we can buy her another Pentax model such as the K-X. (Which would be fine with me... getting another body is never bad.)
Careful here. I've read similar complaints about the K-X. I don't own one, so I can't say for sure. Check into it before you buy one.
06-23-2011, 01:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by keithlm Quote
There is a definite issue or bug with this camera model. It is not a good design goal for a camera to default to pretending it doesn't have a flash when one is attached and ready to be used. This problem is not quite that bad, but it is close. Others have mentioned in similar threads that most models in the Pentax line don't have this problem. Someone even compared his other Pentax camera to the K-R in the same light situations and discovered that the K-R often choose a shutter speed 1 or 2 stops slower than the other camera. (Confirming this problem.)

Years ago with film DSLR if you put on a "dedicated" flash the shutter would normally auto-set itself to 1/60 of a second and you would use a certain f-stop with the flash. They didn't drop down to 1/4 of a second because the camera was being used in low light. (You know... the very reason you attached a flash in the first place.) After more automatic cameras came out the camera would use 1/60 and also set the aperture. Now apparently we seem to have gone backwards in time and functionality. Even worse is when a cheap camera will give someone better pictures without needing to manually set everything when they use a flash. (I have a hard time explaining to my wife why she gets crappy pictures with an expensive camera when her cheap 5 year old camera will give her better pictures when using a flash with both.)

I've noticed that on this forum a lot of people will jump in and defend Pentax when anyone mentions this issue. They tell you that you should always manually pick your settings. But there are probably just as many people that agree that this is a bug. There is nothing wrong with expecting a camera to work properly in low light with a flash attached while setting the camera on the full auto setting. (And I will define "properly" as meaning that it will give you an acceptable picture a majority of the time instead of only sometimes by accident.) While I do happen to agree that if you want a certain type of result you need to set the camera manually, I don't agree that you should always need to set anything.
I agree. This seems to be quite clear bug in the camera. It's like the camera wouldn't want to use the fact that external flash is attached although it is. Camera uses almost the same shutter speed with or without a flash. It's not rational. One major reason for using flash, is to be able to use faster shutter speeds. I tested my friend's Canon DSLR and it seems to work much better (with Canon's external flash). I will also test my other friend's much older Pentax DSLR.

This K-r is a strange camera. Like I have stated earlier, it's automatic functions suck. Auto white balance is too often wrong, auto focus has big issues, and now also auto modes with a flash seems to have issues. Old Canon point and shooter really does better in terms of automatics. I have made comparisons to prove it to myself. Of course K-r is superior when you manually set everything right.

My wife neither wants to use K-r, because auto modes don't work very well. Canon has pretty realiable automatics. I would expect Pentax to work at least nearly as good. With Pentax it always seems to be a user fault, if something doesn't work as it should.
06-23-2011, 01:44 PM   #11
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I think it's been said in many more words, but basically with default settings your camera is using the flash as a fill flash. So, except when in Tv mode, it sets a normal exposure and tries to use the flash to fill. Problem is, it's dark so the shutter speed is slow.

If I were you, I would dial in negative exposure compensation and positive flash compensation. Something like -2 EV for exposure, +1 EV for flash. Give it a try.
08-20-2011, 10:57 AM   #12
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It's a bug

For those who say this issue is user incompetence, I assure you it is a bug or design flaw of some sort. I have owned the istDS, K10D, K20D, K-7 in the past and currently own the K-5 and K2000. Yesterday I purchased a brand-new K-r.

The K-r is behaving completely different from any other Pentax DSLR I have ever owned or currently have. When in P mode and using external flash, the K-r routinely chooses 1/15 sec or slower. That is way too slow a shutter speed. The slowest shutter speed my other Pentax cameras ever choose is 1/30th.

I know how to use a DSLR and external flash. I immediately figured out that I can compensate for this flaw by setting the shutter priority to 1/30th or faster however I don't like being locked into that shutter speed. I want the camera to have the ability to choose a faster speed if it is technically possible. Adjusting the ISO setting or Auto ISO setting makes no difference. The shutter speed is always about 1/15th or slower.
08-20-2011, 03:12 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stone G. Quote
But now comes the curious part: If I use one of my old 1980'ies Tamron Adaptall KA-lenses rather than a modern autofucus lens THEN the camera automatically chooses 1/180 s as sync speed in P and Av mode. And no matter what aperure I set in Av, the camera chooses the same speed and regulates the power accordingly. (We are talking TTL-operation of the flash, obviously). Don't ask me why and how this difference comes about. It just does.........
This is why.
From user manual:
The shutter speed is locked at 1/180 sec. when a lens other than a DA,
DA L, D FA, FA J, FA, F or A lens is used.


Is nobody refering to manuals these days anymore?
08-20-2011, 03:13 PM   #14
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No need to read the manual. Lets just assume the camera can read your mind and make pictures how you think they should look using its electronic magic.
08-20-2011, 08:43 PM   #15
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I found that setting a fixed ISO as opposed to auto ISO produced better exposure with my K-r.
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