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K100D Tips & Tricks
Posted By: Class A, 09-23-2008, 12:44 AM

Here are some useful pieces of information regarding the K100D, which will probably apply to some extent to other models as well.

As you know the K100D offers two ways of releasing the shutter (wireless and cable switch (CS-205)) and both accessories are not exactly cheap, at least not here in New Zealand.

Regarding the wireless remote, note that Pentax uses the same infrared code as some SONY remote controls. I have successfully released the shutter on my K100D with my SONY remote control (the exact button will vary between different models of remote controls). It also works with a generic (universal) remote, if it is set to use the correct codes. I was surprised to see that using a remote control this way even supports arbitrarily long exposures in "bulb mode"; as long as you keep the button on the remote pressed, the shutter stays open.

Regarding the cable switch, note that the little plug is a standard 2.5mm one that is often found on mobile phone earphones. If you get such a cable, building the switch yourself is quite easy, see for instance "Build your self Pentax Cable Switch F".

The second option for the cable switch is to buy a cheaper replacement. I found the Yongnuo RS-C1 and it works nicely, but there are other replacement switches as well.

Yes, I would prefer to have "Pentax" written on my remote controls and also wouldn't mind to support Pentax by forking out some money for the original switch, but here in New Zealand the remote controls are prohibitively expensive.

Just a reminder, as you have probably know this at one stage: If you apply exposure correction (something I do quite often), the automatic ISO setting is disabled and ISO 200 is chosen. If that's not what you want, you need to set the ISO speed manually.

You may not be aware of the fact that ISO 400 has a bit more headroom in the highlights then ISO 200, so when choosing ISO 200 you are giving a away a bit of the potential dynamic range. Since the noise at ISO 400 is very well controlled, it appears to make sense to set the camera to this speed and avoid ISO 200 unless you are after minimal noise, but I hope someone else will shed more light on this matter.

Its in the manual, but here's another hint: When navigating in the menus, note that you can use the wheel to switch between the menus. That's a lot quicker than moving up and down to reach the menu switching position. I'm sure you are already saving clicks by moving up (when you are at the top position) to reach items far down in the menu. Getting to them from the bottom, instead of from the top, is often far quicker.

Although all the relevant information for using manual lenses is contained in the manual as well, some may find this tutorial (K100D (Super) Pictorial guide to using manual lenses [imgs]: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review) on how to use such lenses on the K100D useful.

Here's another piece of information that you may use at your own risk: Although the manual advices against it, you can actually use rechargeable CR-V3 accumulators in your K100D if they are voltage-regulated to 3V. Some claim these cells last longer, don't loose their charge as quickly when not used, better withstand cold temperature and even speed up autofocus performance. See e.g., https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-accessories/37963-report-k1...tery-life.html. My 2500mAh NiMH accumulators seem to last forever and I'm very happy with the AF performance. Forum member bjsmith makes a compelling argument against the use of rechargeable CR-V3.

Although PENTAX REMOTE Assistant Version 1.0 (Pentax Imaging - Software & Firmaware Updates) was not designed for the K100D, most of its functionality works fine (Version 3.0 doesn't work). In order to directly upload images to the computer, just make sure that you set the quality level to "RAW" with the camera menu. Otherwise, the transferred .PEF files have an intact preview but scrambled up contents. Using the "auto save mode" is very useful if you are shooting a series of test images, e.g., in order to calibrate the autofocus, because you can immediately analyse them on your computer without triggering the transfer manually or selecting a file name.

You can use an old flash on your K100D provided that it doesn't exceed the maximum voltage tolerated by the K100D. How high that maximum is, seems to be a bit of a mystery. Some claim it is 30V, according to an ISO standard, it should be 24V, some say you should be OK below 10V. Note that Canon EOS models should not be exposed to voltages higher than 6V. You can either find the voltage emitted by a flash in this list of strobe trigger voltages or measure it yourself. Make sure, though, to use a digital meter. Some cheap analog meters have too low internal impedance causing voltage drop and thus will report a number which might be grossly too low.

There is a way to use flashes with too high triggering voltages by either using a Wein Safe Sync Hot Shoe Adapter or some wireless slave trigger which is controlled but not physically connected to the camera, the latter having the advantage of allowing more useful lighting angles.

Did you know that you can find-adjust the AF system of your K100D?

Here's how you change the focusing screen on a K100D.

Last edited by Class A; 08-14-2009 at 06:28 AM. Reason: Added information about old flashes
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09-24-2008, 01:08 PM   #2
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the Canon RS-06 or something like that works too. i've got one of those, it's quite nice.
the ISO 200 > ISO 400 in DR, where did you get that? is it from the DPR test?
09-24-2008, 04:50 PM   #3
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Yes, from page 15 of the dpreview test. Do you question it?

I believe it is why the K100D hasn't got an ISO 100 mode. It would practically just be a less dynamic ISO 200 mode. ISO 200 is the native sensitivity of the 6MP Sony CCD chip.

I have read elsewhere that a number of camera's ISO 100 mode isn't very useful as it mainly cuts off the capacity of the photosites, thus reducing the dynamic range.

BTW, the remote switch you mentioned is the RS-60E3 and fits (perhaps among others) the Canon 300D, 350D, and 400D. The cable switch I got fits these cameras and the K100D.
09-24-2008, 05:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Yes, from page 15 of the dpreview test. Do you question it?

I believe it is why the K100D hasn't got an ISO 100 mode. It would practically just be a less dynamic ISO 200 mode. ISO 200 is the native sensitivity of the 6MP Sony CCD chip.

I have read elsewhere that a number of camera's ISO 100 mode isn't very useful as it mainly cuts off the capacity of the photosites, thus reducing the dynamic range.

BTW, the remote switch you mentioned is the RS-60E3 and fits (perhaps among others) the Canon 300D, 350D, and 400D. The cable switch I got fits these cameras and the K100D.
nope don't question it at all. just making seeing if you had another source
yeah i have the RS-60E3, but haven't used it much.

thanks for the tips tho, i really like my K100D. only thing really pisses me off is that setting exposure compensation cancels Auto ISO and sets ISO to 200

09-24-2008, 10:56 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
only thing really pisses me off is that setting exposure compensation cancels Auto ISO and sets ISO to 200
Yes, that's a bit of a bummer. Presumably there are borderline cases in which the camera would choose, say ISO 200, but based on your exposure correction, ISO 400 would be better. Should it stay with ISO 200, just because that would have been the ideal choice without correction (and get you into trouble with your shutter timing / aperture setting) or should it change the ISO setting (making you wonder and angry about shutter timing / aperture setting changing in an unexpected way)? Perhaps making this behaviour choice configurable would have been the best solution but that would have implied a way to constantly show the ISO setting. (I wish I could replace the "# shots left" with the current ISO setting. I need the OK button to reset the focus to the middle focus point and it would be nice to not have to press a button at all.)

In a way, the behaviour as it is, makes you more concious about what you are doing when shooting a picture. I only use the "P" mode when there is some action that can't wait. If I have time, I always choose Av or Tv, and the "broken" Auto ISO forces me to make a concious decision about the ISO setting as well. And that decision could well be ISO 200 with exposure correction in which case I don't need to do anything with the ISO setting.

Hence you are basically just loosing set up time in situations where some action can't wait and the light demands some setting more sensitive than ISO 200.

Anyway, I love this camera to bits. I'm so glad I discovered it before I bought into another brand. Accessing the USB connector with a solid spring-loaded door (instead of fumbling with a cheapo rubber thingy) makes me happy every time. Every single time. Thank you Pentax.
09-25-2008, 07:31 PM   #6
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You can get a great cable and remote package on eBay for like $15.

As for tips, my key tip is to dial in +0.7 Ev as a starter point for every shot.

Oh and the final tip. if you shoot three RAW images in a row you can put the camera down 'cos you won't be using it for the rest of the day.
09-25-2008, 07:57 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
my key tip is to dial in +0.7 Ev as a starter point for every shot.
I cannot confirm this. Are you judging this based on prints or are you using a monitor? Perhaps your monitor is set too dark? Or are you using "Link AF point and AE" which can give unexpected results? My K100D seems to expose for highlights and only sometimes blows a few. If I set exposure compensation to +0.7 EV per default, it'll blow them very frequently.

QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
if you shoot three RAW images in a row you can put the camera down 'cos you won't be using it for the rest of the day.
Cannot confirm this either. There will be a pause, yes. Speed is obviously not what the K100D excels in.

Last edited by Class A; 07-11-2011 at 04:36 AM.
09-25-2008, 11:57 PM   #8
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it depens

QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
...
As for tips, my key tip is to dial in +0.7 Ev as a starter point for every shot.
...
I would say it depens on which lens you are using. With DA18-55 it may be true that you'll have to dail in some positive EV.
But f.e. with DA40 it's maybe 1 in 100 that comes underxposed!
BR

09-26-2008, 03:08 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
But f.e. with DA40 it's maybe 1 in 100 that comes underxposed!
You probably have another valid point there, axl.

Just visited your gallery. It is choke-full of breathtaking shots. I had to stop browsing as I was getting depressed. Will never get to your level but there is certainly fun in trying to. I'd be interested in the lenses you are using. Have you discussed your collection somewhere already?

I have just posted a "what lens next" question at https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/37973-what-nex...tion-zoom.html
It would be great to see you there.

Last edited by Class A; 09-26-2008 at 04:39 AM.
09-26-2008, 05:26 AM   #10
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My screen is fine. It's just too conservative and preserves highlights at all costs where I am prepared to lose the specular ones.

Yes I link the metering with the AF point, it's important for portraits.
09-26-2008, 05:42 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
My screen is fine. It's just too conservative and preserves highlights at all costs where I am prepared to lose the specular ones.
i've tried 0.7 at times and i burnt some highlights. but in general, there is an underexposure issue. not a big deal if i work in RAW and bring back half a stop and put some NR back on
09-26-2008, 06:54 AM   #12
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TBH it's mor elike +0.3 than +0.7 unless I am using the Tammy 70-300 where it's +1.0
09-26-2008, 04:09 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
You probably have another valid point there, axl.

Just visited your gallery. It is choke-full of breathtaking shots. I had to stop browsing as I was getting depressed. Will never get to your level but there is certainly fun in trying to. I'd be interested in the lenses you are using. Have you discussed your collection somewhere already?

I have just posted a "what lens next" question at https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/37973-what-nex...tion-zoom.html
It would be great to see you there.
THANK YOU, Class A...
09-27-2008, 08:25 PM   #14
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Exposure ties also to the types of subjects. Trees and foliage tend to need -.3 and dark conifers -.7 both situations suck away light that would seem to be there. Reflective subjects tend to need + exposure. Mostly stone buildings or pavement (even blacktop) commonly needs + exposure. Likewise most water or wet subjects. Could the "need" for setting exposure comp. derive from the types of subjects you typically shoot? I tend towards needing -.3 most of the time, but I shoot "woodsy crap" most of the time.

Probably universal exposure stuff, but if it's Pentax specific, at least it's been consistent for 20 years worth of bodies--both film and digi. Dial it down in the woods...dial it up in cities or on the water.

By the way, great tips! Thanks much.
10-06-2008, 02:14 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Regarding the wireless remote, note that Pentax uses the same infrared code as some SONY remote controls. I have successfully released the shutter on my K100D with my SONY remote control (the exact button will vary between different models of remote controls). It also works with a generic (universal) remote, if it is set to use the correct codes. I was surprised to see that using a remote control this way even supports arbitrarily long exposures in "bulb mode"; as long as you keep the button on the remote pressed, the shutter stays open.
For what Sony device was the remote control for? I'm thinking of using my programmable Logitech Harmony 525 remote with my K100D but I need to know what remote and which buttons will work.
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