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09-30-2016, 04:15 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Help- K3 exposure questions

Hi, I recently acquired a K3, and I really like it. As a tool, it is wonderfully designed. My question here is about exposure. I get what I would call dingy images in both RAW and JPG. Histograms are often pushed to the left, with no information at all on 25% of the high end. Sometimes I get a big mound right in the middle of the histogram. I have read in other threads that the K3 will sacrifice everything to avoid a blown highlight, and I know that I can adjust white balance and exposure in RAW to get really nice images in the end.

My question: can get better overall exposure out of the camera, especially for JPGs? I would like JPGs that I don't have to play around with--shoot on Eye Fi card, and send them off. I may be doing something wrong. Here are a couple examples. I have taken similar shots with a Nikon 7000 and the K3. I made comparison images of the JPGs, unadjusted, K3 on top, Nikon 7000 on bottom. In each case I would say the Nikon image more accurately represents the scene. I can't remember if I used Bright or Neutral for the JPG setting on the K3, but I have found they give similar results. For the bookcase image, the K3 was shot at F4.5 1/60 at ISO 400, the Nikon at F5.6 1/25 at ISO 400. For the cat image, the K3 is at F4.5 1/60 400 ISO, and the Nikon is at F5.6 1/25 400 ISO. The Nikon had a 28-135 zoom on it, and the K3 a 50/1.8.

I appreciate any help or comments.

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09-30-2016, 04:55 PM   #2
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If you want your images consistently brighter, set your exposure compensation to give you a brighter exposure.
09-30-2016, 05:47 PM   #3
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Try centre weighted metering - if EV comp isn't your thing.
09-30-2016, 05:50 PM   #4
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It could have more to do with which metering mode you are using and less to do with which jpg preset you are using. But, like enoeske said, if your photos are coming out too dark, adjust exposure compensation.
The Nikon jpg engine does make some very pretty looking pictures straight out of the camera, but in the end, I sold my D7000 and kept the K-3.

09-30-2016, 05:55 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lightbender Quote
Histograms are often pushed to the left, with no information at all on 25% of the high end. Sometimes I get a big mound right in the middle of the histogram.
Hi lightbender. Histograms can be tricky to get ones head around. Apologies if you already know what is in the link I am giving you. Good luck.


09-30-2016, 08:23 PM   #6
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I appreciate the responses about what metering mode to use, and about histograms. Maybe I didn't exactly phrase my question correctly. I'm wondering if there's anyone who has tips about the K3, specifically, like "it consistently underexposes." Or "I like to set my white balance at 5000 Kelvin indoors." Or information about how people use the wide variety of JPG settings. Also I am not trying to choose between Pentax and Nikon. The Nikon's not mine. I bought the K3. I've used about six digital cameras among micro 4/3 and APS-C recently. However, the K3 exposure is markedly different. It doesn't seem to capture all the information in a scene with a pretty full gradation of light, which is unusual. It also tends toward a certain direction in white balance and color cast, but I haven't quite had time to dial that in. Just coming to the K3 forum to ask about the K3. Glad to know it has an exposure comp button, though.
09-30-2016, 10:20 PM   #7
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I actually use -1 to -3 on my k-3 a lot since I like darker results than the jpg default. I also shoot raw mostly because I'm able to recover from bad decisions easier.
10-01-2016, 02:23 AM   #8
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On my K-3 I use the bright setting for jpg and +0.5 exposure compensation in all modes except green of course, because green controls all exposure.

...From my phone

10-01-2016, 06:13 AM   #9
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Another hint if you have Lightroom... set your exposure compensation to 0.0 in your K-3, bring in a RAW shot that includes a neutral gray. First use the white balance tool in Lightroom against the gray, and then hit the Auto button in the basic corrections panel. Note the value for exposure assigned by Lightroom. With a K-3, odds are the exposure will increase from the As Shot version. You are almost done. Do you agree with Lightroom? Personally, I usually dial back the exposure a bit. Note the value you choose.

Repeat this with several different scenes and you will end up with a feel for the generic starting exposure adjustment you prefer to use with your K-3. Naturally, you will still want to periodically adjust this for the scene you are shooting. (the old black cat in a snow field or white cat on a coal pile situations)

I too feel the zero setting on my past three Pentax digital bodies underexposes by roughly a half-stop. That said, it is also true for those who do post processing, that you can pull more detail out of shadows in digital photography than you can pull detail out of highlights.
10-01-2016, 10:27 AM   #10
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I use -0.3 exposure compensation on the K-3 II because it generally seems to expose too bright! But I don't feel it doesn't capture "a full gradation of light".
10-02-2016, 12:38 PM   #11
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Thanks guys, sorry I kind of expressed my frustrations. I'm just going to keep working with it. I love the photos I can get from the RAW files. I still may have settings wrong, or who knows what else--I bought this used.
10-02-2016, 02:06 PM   #12
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Tried different highlight compensation settings? (Affects both RAW and jpg)
Tried different shadow correction settings? (Affects jpg only)
Tried different metering modes? (I use spot and centre-weighted myself)
I'd say my K-3 tends to under-expose compared to K-30.

See these discussions:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/282312-contrast-highlight-...djustment.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/279515-dynamic-range-settings.html
10-02-2016, 04:50 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by lightbender Quote
Thanks guys, sorry I kind of expressed my frustrations. I'm just going to keep working with it. I love the photos I can get from the RAW files. I still may have settings wrong, or who knows what else--I bought this used.
Did you try the settings for the K-3 recommended in the Pentax Forums? If not, look here:
Pentax K-3 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

You'll see the recommended settings section, but I suggest reading the entire review.
10-03-2016, 08:38 PM   #14
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Great, Jim, thanks for the link to the review--I don't remember seeing that. It will be very helpful!

---------- Post added 10-03-16 at 09:40 PM ----------

Great advice--I'm still working through this. I do have Lightroom, so I can follow your suggestions.

thanks,
Scott

---------- Post added 10-03-16 at 09:45 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Tried different highlight compensation settings? (Affects both RAW and jpg)
Tried different shadow correction settings? (Affects jpg only)
Tried different metering modes? (I use spot and centre-weighted myself)
I'd say my K-3 tends to under-expose compared to K-30.

See these discussions:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/282312-contrast-highlight-...djustment.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/279515-dynamic-range-settings.html
Thank you Des. Very intersting about the highlight and shadow settings. I think bumping up the shadow correction may give my jpegs that I like better. I have been using center-weighted metering based on another suggestion, and I think that helps out. Almost like metering in my ME Super!
10-04-2016, 04:50 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by lightbender Quote
I think bumping up the shadow correction may give my jpegs that I like better.
I've never used it myself, but as you bump up shadows you will need to watch out for extra noise. You might want to try different jpg noise reduction settings at the same time to get the result you want. Good luck Scott.
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