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01-23-2013, 10:27 AM   #1
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K-r problem with flash

Can someone tell me why my K-r chooses ISO 3200 most of the time with the built-in flash in range indoors? That is what it chooses without flash. Makes no sense to me and negates the value of the flash. None of my other cameras do this. Is it in the choice of metering? In general, I have trouble with the K-r and the x-5 choosing a higher ISO outdoors in good light than my other camera brands with comparable light and comparable settings. I feel it is difficult to get the right exposure for the x-5 and am sorry I bought it. The K-r does give consistently good high ISO photos indoors without flash. I saw a post several months ago where someone mentioned their K-r also chose a high ISO with flash. It is not that I don't get good photos with these cameras, but they are less predictable than my other cameras and in general I have more photos I have to delete. Thanks for any help.


01-23-2013, 10:38 AM   #2
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I'm not sure what exactly you are doing, so I can't comment. It might also be a Pentax quirk, I guess. Did you try using Sv mode?
01-23-2013, 10:46 AM   #3
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No, I haven't tried that. Will do so. As far as metering, I have come to the conclusion that spot is the most reliable. Thanks.

Thank you. That was it. I put it in Sv and rotated the dial and it made a world of difference.

Last edited by Darlene; 01-23-2013 at 11:11 AM.
01-24-2013, 11:36 AM   #4
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Pentax is never thinking the same as I am when I use flash. I avoid flash until I need extra light. Then, what I want is to pop up the flash or turn on my shoe-mounted flash, continue using my preferred Av mode, and have the expensive electronics figure out how to tell the flash to provide the extra light. The camera doesn't work that way. You can check out its logic yourself by setting Av, Tv or Sv modes, popping up the flash and seeing what settings you get. The actual numbers may depend on your camera's customization.

With the 18-55 kit lens, it will prefer to set a shutter speed apparently based on the 1/(1.5*focal length) rule. In other words, 1/45 at 18mm, 1/60 from 24mm to 37mm, 1/90 from 37mm to 55mm.
It wants the aperture wide open.
ISO will go high, often higher than you want. It will drive the other numbers up too: shutter speed goes up a stop or more, and the aperture closes a stop unless you bring ISO way down.

I disagree with the shutter speed logic. I prefer at least a stop less, often 1.5 stops. That means about 1/30 for the 18-55.
I like the aperture one stop down from wide open.
I like to fix the ISO to 800 on my K-7, 400 in better light and 1600 in worse.

For a few years, I read advice about using M mode. I thought those people were making flash too complicated, but then I tried it and it works. I can set all my preferred numbers as above. The flash makes up the difference. My suggestions are geared towards the kit lens or something in about the same range. My settings allow more ambient light in, which I like. But strong ambient light with a different color temperature can cause problems. You can get people with one side normally lit and one side bright yellow. Processing can get a compromise white balance in between, but if you see it happening when shooting, you can also change settings to allow less ambient light.

01-25-2013, 06:02 AM   #5
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Thank you for your help, Dave. I'm starting to realize that the K-r is not the camera I reach for as much except in very specific occasions, i.e. indoor light without flash or occasional jaunts here and there. I don't want to be a Nikon troll. I came from Nikon in good faith to Pentax 16 months ago. I purchased, in addition to the kit lenses, over the months, a 15mm Ltd, a 16-45, an 18-135, a 35mm f2.4, and a 50mm f1.8. I obviously intended to invest in Pentax. I probably made light of any complaints. I have an older D70 and D50 and I have older lenses for them. But there are times when, regarding Pentax, even if I want to continue learning the technical side of photography, I need to be able to pop a flash at a family get-together or a neighborhood party and know it will recognize and calculate for the flash. If its going to consistently automatically choose ISO3200, I will just use one of my lesser cameras that knows how to do this better. Like the P5000. Or in fact any P&S or other DSLR camera I own. I just bought the Nikon 1 V1 system. It meters much better and gives me consistently sharp, well exposed photos, much better at times than my K-r, yet with a smaller sensor. It can almost match the Pentax at ISO 3200, but not quite. Last October I bought the Pentax x-5 and that also gives me less consistent photos. Sometimes OK, sometimes not keepers for unknown reasons compared to my other cameras. I have taken some good photos with the K-r, but I have many more discards than with any other camera I own. I have taken my older D50 with the 35mm f-2, not even stabilized, to two weddings, just for candids that came out surprisingly good, I took it and the D70 with the inexpensive and older 28-200 downtown and got some really nice photos and my older 8800 takes awesome landscape and sunset photos. My Panasonic, my G12, and my P7100 all get used a great deal in the spring for closeups of flowers and such. The P5000 is my take along camera for family photos. I still use my K-r for indoors without flash and I still now and then take it around the neighborhood. But I'm starting to wonder if I made an expensive mistake buying all those lenses. I can see the value of the Limited I have and the 16-45 is above average The 18-135 is a good range and I got a good copy. I am not as impressed with the 50mm f1.8 as I thought I would be, but the 35mm f2.4 is surprisingly good. Actually it's the camera itself that lets me down. I thinking metering is inferior to most cameras I own. Again not a Nikon troll because I own Canon and an older Sony P&S as well. Just disappointed and not likely to buy another Pentax and not likely to add any more lenses. And, sadly, not the first camera I reach for anymore.
01-25-2013, 08:25 AM   #6
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Well keep in mind that the K-r is old technology and was at the time the low end Pentax DSLR. But generally speaking, yes, Pentax is lacking in the flash department, though they have announced some new units
which may indicate that they are working on it.
But with a DSLR you really need to know what you are doing and use it to the max. Look at the K-r sample photos gallery, some are absolutely stunning. A DSLR doesn't guarantee better photos, it merely gives you the potential.
01-25-2013, 09:09 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Na, I might not be the most technical person in the world, but I do have some skills I came to the Pentax having already owned two DSLRs, the D50 and the D70. The latter is a complex camera, the former a more simpler one, and I still own them and have taken a lot of photos with them, including helping the bride by taking the candid wedding reception shots which came out pretty amazing with the D50 and a prime. My thought was they were getting older and I liked that Pentax had the stabilization in the body. At the time, Pentax only had the K-r and the $1500 K-5. If I could have afforded the K-5, I could have bought the D7000 which all my Nikon lenses would use.Unfortunately the 3100 and the 5100 do not have full function with these older lenses. I can deal with everything really with the K-r except the flash and ISO issue. While many occasions I can make the changes, that is not always possible at a party or family get-together when I just want to put the camera in P and change a few settings before I get there and expect the camera to set a lower ISO when I have the camera set to shoot automatically in flash or when I pop up the flash. But I am invested in it and I have taken some good photos with it, and I will continue to use it. I now have the Nikon 1 system V1 and am just using the kit lens for now which to me is sharp enough and good. The x-5 is OK, I guess, for what I paid and I will continue to learn it better.
01-25-2013, 10:32 AM   #8
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I have been in the same situation with flash. I just want P mode, popup flash and candid shots to work better. When not using flash, I am not reliant on any camera automation, I just adapt. But the camera mostly controls the popup flash power, and doesn't tell me anything about it. The only input I have is flash exposure compensation, which sounds OK but still doesn't achieve the effect I want.

The method I suggested above looks more complicated than just choosing P mode and popping up the flash. In practice, I go to M mode, set shutter speed to 1/30, aperture to f5.6, ISO to 800 and see what the first shots look like. If you know something about natural light shooting, you know what adjusting those settings will do. And in this mode, flash exposure compensation even makes sense, adjusting the amount the flash tries to add, in understandable units (stops).

The only input I have about other cameras is that the 77 segment metering seems smarter than the 16 segment on the K-r. I haven't used a point and shoot, but if you have one, they certainly are more portable in a party situation.

01-25-2013, 07:35 PM   #9
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Thanks for the suggestions, Dave. My problem was fixed with the latest firmware upgrade!

Last edited by Darlene; 01-31-2013 at 10:52 AM.
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