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06-23-2014, 03:49 PM   #1
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Blinking Shutter/Aperture/ISO

Hi, so I just got a Pentax K-50 and I was playing around with it, when I ran into something strange.

Sometimes the Shutter, Aperture, and ISO settings start blinking (Both in the main LCD screen and the viewfinder); however, this goes away sometimes when I change the settings.

I'm thinking that this "blinking" is saying that my settings don't match well or something, but sometimes even if I change my settings it doesn't go away.

Can someone clarify exactly what this blinking means and how to deal with it?

06-23-2014, 03:54 PM   #2
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The blinking happens when the settings will result in over/under exposure. Typically it only happens when it's very bright or very dark outside, or when you've dialed in a restrictive shutter speed/aperture setting.

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06-23-2014, 03:57 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The blinking happens when the settings will result in over/under exposure. Typically it only happens when it's very bright or very dark outside, or when you've dialed in a restrictive shutter speed/aperture setting.
That's what I thought, but then when the blinking happens, I change the settings so that the exposure meter is balanced, and they still blink.
06-23-2014, 04:31 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Short Circuit Quote
I change the settings so that the exposure meter is balanced, and they still blink.
I'm a bit puzzled by this, on all my K's the "exposure meter" only function as a meter in X and M mode, in all other mode it is for exposure compensation. But in X or M mode, the camera will not blink if not properly exposed... I am curious of what mode you are using?

In every mode (but M, B and X) the camera will always try to give you a balanced exposure automatically. The blinking only means that it cannot achieve it with the current settings. Your exposure will be OK only when the blinking stops. So for example in Av mode, let's say your shutter is at 1/6000 and it blinks, you need to dial a smaller aperture (larger f number)*(or decrease ISO) until the blinking stop.

06-23-2014, 04:49 PM   #5
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unless you have reassigned the "Green button" to something else, it should drop your exposure settings back to what the camera sees as acceptable.
Of course, if there's too much (too little) light for the camera to obtain correct exposure at all, one of the "variables" will blink.
06-23-2014, 07:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by fgaudet Quote
I'm a bit puzzled by this, on all my K's the "exposure meter" only function as a meter in X and M mode, in all other mode it is for exposure compensation. But in X or M mode, the camera will not blink if not properly exposed... I am curious of what mode you are using?

In every mode (but M, B and X) the camera will always try to give you a balanced exposure automatically. The blinking only means that it cannot achieve it with the current settings. Your exposure will be OK only when the blinking stops. So for example in Av mode, let's say your shutter is at 1/6000 and it blinks, you need to dial a smaller aperture (larger f number)*(or decrease ISO) until the blinking stop.
Wait, what's the difference between an EV compensation scale and an exposure meter?
06-23-2014, 08:11 PM   #7
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IF (and that is a big if) I understood your Q right, here's some info.

Exposure meter.. well, it meters exposure .
It sees the light coming in through the lens and calculates the aperture and shutter speed to get a properly exposed picture.

The problem is, while it's smart, it's not an artist, it assumes that most likely you're shooting some standard scene, and it should be exposed accordingly (google "18% grey" for more info).

While it works for majority of photos, there are situations when you know it's going to be fooled, examples being: there's omething bright in the scene, so the meter will try to "dial it down", as a result you'll get underexposured photo, or the majority of the scene is dark, in this case the meter will try to let more light in and it will result in overexposured picture. Technically, it's neither, the meter just tries to get the overall light to the point, where it's all 18% grey.

Obviously, this is not always the desired "course of action"; this is where the exposure compensation comes in.

Exposure compensation allows you "shift" the meter's "middle point". It is like saying: ok, meter, I know you'll do your best, but I know that dark scene will confuse you, so let me dial it down for you, and you do the rest.
Or, if you know that a bright subject will fool the meter into letting less light in (still - technically it will be properly exposed photo, just not the way you'd like), you will adjust the compensation, so the meter will now operate as you desire.

General rule of thumb: add light to light and dark to dark, i.e., if the subject is very bright, adjust the exposure compensation to + side - so it will allow to properly expose the picture.
An example: a snowy field in a sunny day. if you leave the camera to its own devices, it will carefully dial the exposure down, and you'll get nice, grayish snow. To get proper, bright snow, you'd need to adjust the compensation to +1.5, maybe +2 stops. In essence, you'll be telling your exposure meter: "I know, what you're thinking, but I know what I want to get, so act accordingly".

Opposite is also true: if you want to take a photo of a blackboard, the camera will try its best to get as much light as possible, to be as close to 18% grey as possible. Result: washed out photo of a blackboard. In this situation, you'd need to adjust the compensation to -1 -2 stops.

This is mostly true for center weighted metering, and for earlier cameras - for matrix metering as well. Modern cameras are "smarter", but still, it's better to know your gear, it can only do so much. the rest is your artistic vision. Spot metering will take only the very middle (or, in a more sophisticated case - the area around your focus point) of the picture into account, but the general principle still stands.

Last edited by karro; 06-23-2014 at 08:17 PM.
06-24-2014, 07:26 AM   #8
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Okay thanks for all the help guys!

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