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08-14-2013, 08:29 AM   #1
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I'm not gettting good exposures

I bought a K30 about a month ago, and I'm really struggling with getting a decent exposures. Even on the auto setting, the exposures are dark. I'm a first time DSLR owner, and find the number a features a bit overwhelming, so I'm assuming there's more on here than I'll need. But I need to have a setting that gets proper exposures, and the "auto" setting isn't it, or at least something needs to be adjusted for the "auto" setting to work properly. Multiple times I've gone to a public pool to photo my sons swim lessons, set it on "auto", and the images are 2 or 3 stops too dark. I'm forced to go to a manual setting, then I struggle with getting those settings to adjust to where I need them to get a good exposure. It would be really helpful if there were an online movie that demonstrated the features, but I haven't found one. I fully realize I'm lacking details on this post, but I'll follow the responses and hopefully get this resolved.

Thanks

08-14-2013, 08:39 AM   #2
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Have you accidentally enabled exposure compensation? Please post a sample photo straight out of your camera (using the "manage attachments" button) and we'll take a look at the exif to see what's wrong.

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08-14-2013, 08:44 AM   #3
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I haven't checked exposure compensation, that could be the problem. I've attached a sample photo take on the auto setting.

Thanks
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08-14-2013, 09:09 AM   #4
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There doesn't appear to be any exposure compensation, but I see that you had your camera set to spot metering, which means that only center of the frame is considered for the exposure calculation. Change it to matrix metering (via the info screen) and you should be good to go


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08-14-2013, 09:24 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
There doesn't appear to be any exposure compensation, but I see that you had your camera set to spot metering, which means that only center of the frame is considered for the exposure calculation. Change it to matrix metering (via the info screen) and you should be good to go
Geez.... I knew it would be an easy fix. We noobs appreciate your patience.

Thanks!
08-14-2013, 10:49 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sactodaddyo Quote
I haven't checked exposure compensation, that could be the problem. I've attached a sample photo take on the auto setting.

Thanks
easy to fix if it's underexposed - this took 10 seconds...

K30 files are very forgiving for underexposed images - sometimes I purposely underexpose a photo so that I can retain detail in the bright areas which once they are blown out you can never get that detail back. And I think Pentax DSLR's will err on the side of underexposure knowing that overexposure is more detrimental. So I will use Lightroom to lift exposure, shadows, add some vibrance and a touch of saturation with a dash of sharpness thrown in. I'd probably crop it like the second picture too, but that's just what I would do....
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08-14-2013, 12:54 PM   #7
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I agree with Vagrant, Lightroom is my most valuable photographic tool.
08-14-2013, 04:06 PM   #8
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F13 1/1000 and spot metering - this is why it's under exposed.
Yes it can be fixed in post, but it's good to learn how to expose well first.

Try using a semi-auto mode like Av and think about the metering before you shoot.
Spot when you want to meter off the subject.
Centre weighted when you want to meter off a group of subjects.
Matrix when you want the entire frame metered and averaged.

Av (Aperture Value) allows you to think about the Depth Of Field you want.
EG: A low F number will give you a shallow DoF and let your focus be sharp on the subject and keep the background blurry. A higher number will mean more background/foreground will be in focus (like a Point'n'shoot does).

Force yourself to never use Auto mode. Buying a dSLR means you want better pictures and more control right?
You might just as well use a smartphone if you use Auto

08-14-2013, 05:42 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by sledger Quote
Force yourself to never use Auto mode.
"Never" is such a long time. Learn what each of the modes do (and don't do). I use Auto, but only when it is appropriate for the scene and what I intend to do with the photos.

Hey, driving cars with manual transmissions, manual chokes and manual spark advance is a lot of fun. On the other hand, jumping into a car with an automatic transmission, power windows, and air conditioning is rather nice for the daily commute.
08-14-2013, 06:17 PM   #10
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spot metering can be good and gets creative only if you are aware of it and know what the outcome should be; not specific to the k-30. In general, the majority of people use either Center-weigh or matrix metering to get a more accurate read on exposure.
08-16-2013, 07:35 AM   #11
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The original picture appears to be taken under a blazing hot sun with reflections off a swimming pool. To the camera, the lighting condition appeared brighter than it actually is. Most cameras will underexpose in that kind of situation. Anyway, in a high contrast situation, underexposure is always better than overexposure.
08-17-2013, 12:16 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by weijen Quote
The original picture appears to be taken under a blazing hot sun with reflections off a swimming pool. To the camera, the lighting condition appeared brighter than it actually is. Most cameras will underexpose in that kind of situation. Anyway, in a high contrast situation, underexposure is always better than overexposure.
That was my first thought as well. I've had a rule of thumb for outdoor EV compensation using matrix metering used with several cameras and it works for me:- Judge the fraction of sky in the frame (including reflected sky from water!) and add +ve EC according to that fraction. If it's all sky more or less, like shooting a BIF then add +1EV. If the sky takes up 1/3 of the frame, add +0.3EV. 2/3=0.7EV. If the sun is actually in the shot then this won't come close, but out of shot it gives decent results.
08-17-2013, 01:06 AM   #13
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Another way, which I use, is spot metering onto the closest object to 18% grey. I then lock and recompose. Simple and fast.
08-17-2013, 05:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by SteveB Quote
That was my first thought as well. I've had a rule of thumb for outdoor EV compensation using matrix metering used with several cameras and it works for me:- Judge the fraction of sky in the frame (including reflected sky from water!) and add +ve EC according to that fraction. If it's all sky more or less, like shooting a BIF then add +1EV. If the sky takes up 1/3 of the frame, add +0.3EV. 2/3=0.7EV. If the sun is actually in the shot then this won't come close, but out of shot it gives decent results.
Good rule of thumb, Steve. After a few decades, this type of metering override becomes almost second nature. You aren't even thinking about the math. Being able to chimp the result on the LCD and reshoot makes it even easier. For those who aren't interested in doing any math, switch to an appropriate scene mode. Pentax programmers have already done the math for a number of typical lighting scenarios, beach & snow scenes being one of them.

One other tip for no-brainer shooting with water scenes is to leave your flash on in mandatory mode. These scenes are almost always high contrast. The flash will help soften the lighting on typical medium distance subjects, and other than wasting some of your battery, have no effect on more distant subjects.
08-17-2013, 06:10 AM   #15
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Your camera's meter is a reflective meter--it measures light reflecting off your subjects. It expects the scenes it meters to average out to middle grey. As a result, your camera's meter can be easily fooled by scenes that don't average out to middle grey.

So, here are a couple of tips to get you started on the road to understanding exposure:

1. On a nice sunny day as in your example photo, set your camera to Aperture Priority mode, your aperture to f8, your ISO to 100, and your metering mode to matrix. Half press the shutter button to get a meter reading. You should get a shutter speed in the neighborhood of 1/250. If you get a different shutter speed, dial in exposure compensation to get 1/250, and take a shot. You should get a nice exposure.

2. Google "sunny f16 rule".

3. Visit this website and read every word: Ultimate Exposure Computer

4. Buy (or borrow from the library) Bryan Peterson's book Understanding Exposure.
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