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01-07-2013, 10:51 AM   #1
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Can I get onscreen exposure preview?

I'm new to Pentax and have a question I can't see an answer to in the manual.

On my last live-view camera (a Canon G1 X) I shot in Manual mode almost all the time. I was used to using the histogram and screen to provide an exposure preview. I.e. if I opened the lens in bright light the screen would blow and the histogram would shift. I would use histogram and blinkies (via a hack) to expose to the right as far as I could.

On my K-01 the histogram seems not to meter the exposure, but instead simply reflects the live-view. The Live view does not provide a preview of the exposure. I.e. if I change the aperture the screen brightness stays the same.

I want the screen to show me what I'm going to capture and I want the histogram to respond as I change settings.

I have RTFM'd. I shoot Nikon, Hassy, Canon, Leica so I'd like to think I'm not a complete idiot when it comes to cameras. Thanks in advance, I'm sure it's 'obvious' but I'm missing it.

01-07-2013, 11:03 AM   #2
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Pg 191 in the manual
Select Rec Mode 3 then choose Instant Review

That will turn on and off the blinkies. The K-01 Yellow Manual and Quick Guide are now available from the Pentax USA web site:

Downloads & Literature - PENTAX Imaging USA

Manual (PDF 6.2MB)

Quick Guide (PDF 2.5MB)
01-07-2013, 11:09 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Pg 191 in the manual
Select Rec Mode 3 then choose Instant Review

That will turn on and off the blinkies. The K-01 Yellow Manual and Quick Guide are now available from the Pentax USA web site:

Downloads & Literature - PENTAX Imaging USA

Manual (PDF 6.2MB)

Quick Guide (PDF 2.5MB)
Thanks but that's not what I mean. I want to see the exposure reflected accurately while shooting. I don't want to shoot, review, adjust and shoot again. I want the histogram to show me what the sensor will record given my current settings.
01-07-2013, 11:40 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrSkelter Quote
Thanks but that's not what I mean. I want to see the exposure reflected accurately while shooting. I don't want to shoot, review, adjust and shoot again. I want the histogram to show me what the sensor will record given my current settings.
The blinkies can appear on the LCD screen for over and under exposure, if they are turned on via the information I provided. I thought you were asking about obtaining proper exposure via Blinkies and/or Histogram. If its only the histogram you are interested in then others will have to step in to try to help you.

01-07-2013, 11:43 AM   #5
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Thanks again.

I may be missing something.

If I point at a bright source (a window for example) I see blinkies. If I then close the lens aperture the blinkies don't respond at all. I don't get it. It's as if the camera's metering it's own idea of a correct exposure not the exposure I'm trying to achieve.

FYI - I'm in 'M' with a fixed ISO.
01-07-2013, 12:01 PM   #6
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MrSkelter, I understand what you're after, and I'd love to have this functionality, as well. My old P&S used to do this, and it was quite handy.

Docrwm... He is trying to get the Live View (not the review) to reflect exposure. By default, the camera (at least my K-r) adjusts the picture on the live view screen to always be visible. This can be very handy in dark rooms, but it is not indicative of actual exposure. If anyone knows a means to toggle between these two approaches, please post!
01-07-2013, 12:01 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrSkelter Quote
FYI - I'm in 'M' with a fixed ISO.
In M mode you have to press green button to see any changes.
01-07-2013, 12:03 PM   #8
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I know what you mean and I think you can't do anything about it, sadly. For others: he wants to know if he can get a WYSIWYG LiveView, not just seeing what the camera autoexposes and the related "auto"histogram.

EDIT Posted too late.

01-07-2013, 12:26 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by arekc2000 Quote
In M mode you have to press green button to see any changes.
Can you expand on this? The green button doesn't do anything set to 'Green button' or 'preview' for me.

EDIT: It is working but that's not the effect I want.

It seems to be a missing feature which I'd love to see. Firmware would make it possible and exposure preview is, like focus peaking, hard to ignore once experienced. Live view should be WYSIWYG. It's crazy to have a histogram display and yet still be forced to rely on the little exposure compensation meter. Worse that's not even visible when setting apertures on the lens directly.

Pentax could build a lot of goodwill by producing another firmware update or two for the K-01. People like me who are new to the brand would feel happier about staying invested if we know we'll be looked after. Canon and Nikon aren't good at that kind of service at all and I doubt I'd have bought the K-01 had it not been for the AF update.

Last edited by MrSkelter; 01-07-2013 at 12:40 PM.
01-07-2013, 02:59 PM   #10
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The K-01 holds the lens wide open until firing the shutter to provide more light for focusing (this is a feature of all K-mount cameras, going all the way back to the 1970s). Because of this, unless you are shooting with the aperture wide open, what you see is NOT what you will get, exposure-wise. I understand what you are looking for, but it's the opposite of one of the fundamental features of a K-mount camera.

The one tweak that Pentax did add is that it will automatically stop down to protect the sensor if the light gets too bright (I call it 'squinting' - some people complain about hearing it while walking around). This is another case of what you see is not necessarily what you will get.

This is one of those "It's not a mirrorless camera with a K-mount - it's a K-mount camera without a mirror." things.
01-07-2013, 04:27 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
The K-01 holds the lens wide open until firing the shutter to provide more light for focusing (this is a feature of all K-mount cameras, going all the way back to the 1970s). Because of this, unless you are shooting with the aperture wide open, what you see is NOT what you will get, exposure-wise. I understand what you are looking for, but it's the opposite of one of the fundamental features of a K-mount camera.

The one tweak that Pentax did add is that it will automatically stop down to protect the sensor if the light gets too bright (I call it 'squinting' - some people complain about hearing it while walking around). This is another case of what you see is not necessarily what you will get.

This is one of those "It's not a mirrorless camera with a K-mount - it's a K-mount camera without a mirror." things.
Thanks for such an informative reply.

The problem is that it's not the 1970's. It made sense to operate as you described when a preview of the real captured exposure was impossible. On modern cameras though it forces us to pretend we are unable to see an exposure preview and it cripples the camera vs. the competition.

To clarify - the behavior of the camera can remain the same. The exposure is calculated for the screen, it doesn't have to be actual. The lens can remain open but when we set it to F22 the processor can calculate the loss of light and adjust the displays accordingly if desired. This has no effect of focusing and is how I believe the Canon's do it.

Pentax is not alone in this. We are still stuck in a film-based paradigm and manufacturers are being very slow to realize the old restrictions don't apply. Focus peaking is the easiest example. It makes using manual focus better than it ever was. It would be great to see Pentax embracing firmware updates as a way of adding value.

I also hope there's a K01 firmware project underway.
01-07-2013, 05:23 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrSkelter Quote
The problem is that it's not the 1970's. It made sense to operate as you described when a preview of the real captured exposure was impossible. On modern cameras though it forces us to pretend we are unable to see an exposure preview and it cripples the camera vs. the competition.
It's not a problem limited to the 1970s - the reason why it does this to keep the viewfinder bright enough to see to focus, which is still needed on dSLRs. Now, before anyone explains to me that the K-01 doesn't have a optical viewfinder, it matters because the K-01 is not a from-the-ground-up mirrorless design. It's pretty much a chopped-down K-30, reusing technology from dSLRs. For all I know, holding K/M/A/F/FA/DA lenses open might be something that is handled at a hardware level below the firmware, because it's just something the K-mount is expected to do. If the K-01 had been a success, then a later mirrorless K-mount camera might have better exploited the lack of an optical viewfinder, but I honestly think that ship has sailed.

QuoteOriginally posted by MrSkelter Quote
To clarify - the behavior of the camera can remain the same. The exposure is calculated for the screen, it doesn't have to be actual. The lens can remain open but when we set it to F22 the processor can calculate the loss of light and adjust the displays accordingly if desired. This has no effect of focusing and is how I believe the Canon's do it..
That's probably a lot more do-able with a fixed lens with a known set of properities, than with an interchangeable lens camera, especially if you have to support legacy lenses that don't report anything to the body other than "present" (and sometimes not that much).
01-07-2013, 05:30 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
It's not a problem limited to the 1970s - the reason why it does this to keep the viewfinder bright enough to see to focus, which is still needed on dSLRs. Now, before anyone explains to me that the K-01 doesn't have a optical viewfinder, it matters because the K-01 is not a from-the-ground-up mirrorless design. It's pretty much a chopped-down K-30, reusing technology from dSLRs. For all I know, holding K/M/A/F/FA/DA lenses open might be something that is handled at a hardware level below the firmware, because it's just something the K-mount is expected to do. If the K-01 had been a success, then a later mirrorless K-mount camera might have better exploited the lack of an optical viewfinder, but I honestly think that ship has sailed.

A good point but the engineering isn't complicated. GIven the sell-through of the K-01 now I hope it's not abandoned. Nikon is rumored to be on the edge of announcing an F-mount mirror-less. The K-01 may have been ahead of its time.

That's probably a lot more do-able with a fixed lens with a known set of properities, than with an interchangeable lens camera, especially if you have to support legacy lenses that don't report anything to the body other than "present" (and sometimes not that much).
You could be right but aperture and shutterspeed affect the image in very predictable ways. The screen doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to provide a visual indication of what's happening. I.e. double the shutter speed, halve the amount of light. Double the aperture, four times more light hits the sensor.

In fact this is already happening. When we set the camera to blow-out, or record a dark frame, the K-01 is calculating what a balanced exposure would look like and then showing us the screen and histogram which fit. I'm simply asking that they calculate what we've set, not what the camera thinks is ideal. As the K-01 does this with any lens fitted today, there's no reason I can see it wouldn't show a 'real' exposure for any lens present either.The math on the total amount of light is trivial.
01-07-2013, 05:40 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
The K-01 holds the lens wide open until firing the shutter to provide more light for focusing
The other day I discovered that it also does the reverse - stopping it down, if there is too much light. Check it out!
01-07-2013, 05:43 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrSkelter Quote
'm simply asking that they calculate what we've set, not what the camera thinks is ideal.
I'm with you on this. The histogram display in manual mode is useless at best. In fact, I'd say it is misleading.
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