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06-04-2016, 10:59 AM   #1
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Just got my K-S2 - amazing learning curve for a film troglodyte!

Awesome camera. First and foremost, I have to be thankful for the review/guide this website wrote for it, it's much nicer than the quickstart thing Pentax threw in the box. I got the kit 18-135 lens and the Sigma 10-20 F3.5.

I'm used to film picture taking being simple - I left the meter on spot, adjusted aperature/shutter speed till I liked where my reference point exposure was, which was usually part science and part voodoo, then framed the whole shot and went for it with those settings. I'm missing my ZX-5N's meter mode switch, and it's kind of crazy to see the ISO shift so much and try to get the camera not to go so auto on so many modes! I'm also surprised to see so many people (looking at Flickr EXIFs) shoot high ISO, long exposure shots at f8 and beyond.

That said, attached a shot f6.3 1/100 at ISO100 on the Sigma at 10mm. Not sure going out to shoot when the fog bank rolls in was the smartest thing, but I'm hoping it gets better than this soon

If there are any important settings or tricks specific to the K-S2 or lenses I should look out for, I'd love to know!

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06-04-2016, 12:40 PM   #2
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This is not specific to only the K-S2 but if you are new to digital, and have not already done so, find out about the histogram in your camera and how to use it. Here is an introduction:
Using the Histogram to Get Better Photos - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com

Cheers.
06-04-2016, 01:09 PM   #3
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Digital is a bit different than film (understatement) as you are finding out. In digital, most of your information is actually trapped in the highlights, whether we realize it or not. It is better to over expose a bit with digital than underexpose (which is what we used to like to do with film to saturate the colors more). In your imaging software find "white point recovery" and learn to use it. You will at first think the highlights are all blown out and then recover them to find how much detail was actually still there!

Have Fun!

BD
06-04-2016, 01:10 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by FoxbatK Quote
Awesome camera. First and foremost, I have to be thankful for the review/guide this website wrote for it, it's much nicer than the quickstart thing Pentax threw in the box.
Yes! The K-S2 is impressive and this site is an incredible resource.

QuoteOriginally posted by FoxbatK Quote
I'm used to film picture taking being simple - I left the meter on spot, adjusted aperature/shutter speed till I liked where my reference point exposure was, which was usually part science and part voodoo, then framed the whole shot and went for it
with those settings. I'm missing my ZX-5N's meter mode switch, and it's kind of crazy to see the ISO shift so much and try to get the camera not to go so auto on so many modes! I'm also surprised to see so many people (looking at Flickr EXIFs) shoot high ISO, long exposure shots at f8 and beyond.
Hmmmm...Your K-S2 should not be much different than your ZX-5. There is no dedicated meter mode switch, but you can quickly change using the control panel (press "info" button). As for the wildly shifting ISO, you can turn auto-ISO off by setting the ISO you prefer. Use the up arrow to access the ISO settings and use either front or rear e-dials to select the ISO you want. BTW...It is a quirk of the K-2S and several other models that a truly manual M mode is only available with auto-ISO turned off. If turned on and M mode is chosen, the camera defaults to TAv mode. I know...makes no sense.

QuoteOriginally posted by FoxbatK Quote
If there are any important settings or tricks specific to the K-S2 or lenses I should look out for, I'd love to know!
The in-depth review on this site contains a nice list of initial settings. I am not in full agreement on some points (electronic level display and leaving auto-ISO on), but it sure is nice to have an initial guide for points where other than default values are good options.


Steve

06-04-2016, 02:25 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigDave Quote
Digital is a bit different than film (understatement) as you are finding out. In digital, most of your information is actually trapped in the highlights, whether we realize it or not. It is better to over expose a bit with digital than underexpose (which is what we used to like to do with film to saturate the colors more). In your imaging software find "white point recovery" and learn to use it. You will at first think the highlights are all blown out and then recover them to find how much detail was actually still there!
This is true in many ways, but in some ways you opened a can of worms. The sensor in some ways reacts similar to B&W and color negative films (may require overexposure to optimize shadow detail), but is more similar overall to color reversal film in that highlights clipping is absolute with no mechanism for recovery with the same being true for low values. Truly blown highlights have no data from which to recover detail. The situation is not the same as with negative film where there is a surplus of data. 12 bits/channel from the sensor is all there is and if exposure pushes beyond...

That being said, in practice there is headroom. The camera's exposure system is biased to protect the highlights in all of the automated exposure modes. In addition both the on-camera histogram display as well as those in most processing software do not show the full extremes (dark and light) of what has actually been captured.

Apologies to the OP...from this point on it gets more technical...

Referencing back to film photography, the classic Ansel Adams zone system spans 11 zones (stops/EV) of dynamic range. Most negative films have retrievable detail EV 7 stops above zone V, allowing for 1-2 stops overexposure to insure shadow detail without totally blocked highlights. DxO Mark tests of the K-S1 (same sensor as the K-S2) indicate 13 stops/EV dynamic range which is nominally similar to negative film, though the behavior is different and more similar to slide film which in a best case scenario might deliver 8-10 stops. Translation? The potential for success using a strategy of overexposure is there, but should be approached with caution and appreciation of the risk.

My advice for folk wishing to maximize data for low values is to experiment with manual exposures on a test scene with the base exposure being of an 18% gray card. I use a test scene that includes an 11-stop exposure wedge, a white terry wash cloth, a swatch of black velvet, a swatch of black cordura, and a few items with various tones to aid in evaluating contrast and tonality. I would do a full +5 stops/EV over and a full -5 stops/EV under shooting RAW. Default import into Lightroom or similar tool should show the points at both extremes where detail is lost. Work the exposure slider to raise the lows and lower the highs.* Ignore the slider values and simply evaluate detail in the wash cloth and velvet. The EV where headroom is sacrificed should be obvious. Even better would be to generate a flat base curve TIFF using dcraw and evaluate that using Lightroom or similar. (I believe DxO does a pixel-by-pixel numeric analysis of such.)


Steve

* The intent is to overcome the limitations of the display, most of which have less dynamic range than the sensor actually captures.

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-04-2016 at 02:33 PM.
06-05-2016, 10:01 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The sensor in some ways reacts similar to B&W and color negative films (may require overexposure to optimize shadow detail), but is more similar overall to color reversal film in that highlights clipping is absolute with no mechanism for recovery
But unless the image is severely overexposed, you can get detail back out of the highlights with a White Point Recovery module that may be found in the software you use. For JPGs this may not work, I do not work with them. In RAW (DNG), this can be done quite effectively. And the key part of the statement is "over expose a bit". Too much and nothing will bring thenhighlights back!
06-05-2016, 10:31 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigDave Quote
And the key part of the statement is "over expose a bit". Too much and nothing will bring thenhighlights back!
The value of that last bit cannot be overstated!!!

My personal practice is to push the limits a little in high contrast situations with preference given to HDR if practical.
06-05-2016, 10:56 PM   #8
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No worries, I appreciate the pointers - I think I have already encountered that quirk you pointed out since the first thing I tried to start out on was full manual neglecting to shut off auto-ISO, drove me nuts!

My previous process would be to shoot on Velvia 50, then scan in at 5400dpi /16 bit and adjust things in Photoshop, so I rarely had to worry about 'losing' information while taking a picture, and my ISO was naturally fixed roll to roll It will take some getting used to, but I have a week before a trip so I'm trying to cram my way to competency in the next few days Slide film instilled a tendency to overexpose just a bit, but I'd never say I got as technically proficient as I'd like to.

For settings, I am leaving these default as follows:
-clarity enhancement off
-distortion correction off
-peripheral illum corr off
-chromatic ab adj on
-diffreaction correction on
-d-range settings (highlight/shadow correction) on?
-high ISO and slow shutter NR auto
-AA filter off
-shake reduction on

and changed:
-custom image to 'natural' from 'bright'

I will have to get better used to using the histogram on the fly as suggested but I'm feeling a little better about it after shooting the 10mm.

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06-06-2016, 06:56 AM   #9
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FoxBatK, where was this image captured? Is this Lake Michigan?

Regards,
BD
06-06-2016, 05:53 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigDave Quote
FoxBatK, where was this image captured? Is this Lake Michigan?

Regards,
BD
Whoops, so used to listing my old home - I just moved to Santa Cruz, CA and those are ocean cliffs by Davenport, CA. The Michigan shoreline is more sandy beach and tall dunes!
06-06-2016, 06:21 PM   #11
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Darn! I get to Grand Rapids occasionally for business and thought I might have a photo trip to add in! I thought the water looked a bit rough for Lake Michigan!

Last edited by BigDave; 06-07-2016 at 12:16 PM.
06-07-2016, 04:26 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigDave Quote
Darn! I get to Grand Rapids occasionally for business and thought I might have a photo trip to add in! I thought to water looked a bit rough for Lake Michigan!
Go anyway, BigDave. The shore of Lake Michigan is spectacular, with a lot of good photo opportunities.
06-07-2016, 07:33 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by FoxbatK Quote
Whoops, so used to listing my old home - I just moved to Santa Cruz, CA and those are ocean cliffs by Davenport, CA. The Michigan shoreline is more sandy beach and tall dunes!
The fog bank might have been a bit of a giveaway
06-07-2016, 08:37 AM   #14
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I guess you've never seen the storms that come across the Great Lakes! On a windy day you would swear you were at the ocean! And storm banks are not uncommon. I was hoping for the cliffs though.

QuoteOriginally posted by Clothears Quote
The fog bank might have been a bit of a giveaway
06-07-2016, 11:18 AM   #15
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The fog bank here in the summer has been very predictable and on time, I remember that advice when I visited San Francisco a few years ago I have a 6 hour window to practice between the morning fog and the new bank rolling in.

QuoteOriginally posted by silvershoes Quote
Go anyway, BigDave. The shore of Lake Michigan is spectacular, with a lot of good photo opportunities.
I agree If it is cliffs you want, go to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. More of a weekend trip than a day excursion from Grand Rapids but well worth it, and you'd see Whitefish Point and Taquamenon Falls along the way. In the daytrip range, South Haven and Saugatuck give idyllic Normal Rockwell beach/boating/marina town opportunities, and Traverse City/Empire give you ridiculous dune shots with classy wine country excursions. Leelenau is absolutely gorgeous for the next four months.

I have some amazing shots on Velvia 50 of the ice growing on the shore and vibrant leaves mixed with blue water, but I haven't developed/digitized it yet.... which is part of the reason I'm finally migrating to digital
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