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05-08-2010, 01:47 PM   #1
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Auto Pict and "P"

I'm very, very much a newbie here and just got my Pentax k-x a week or so ago. The first couple of days that I had the camera, I got a couple of very good, crisp shots, but a lot of my pictures seem very noisy. I have a third floor apt that is pretty dark (horrible lighting), but even today I took the camera out on a very bright, sunny day (although shady in spots) and the photos still tend to have a lot of noise when I view them "actual size" using Picasa. I'm shooting mostly on auto and P...which leads me to ask, what is the difference between the two? And my second question is when I see the photo in actual size using Picasa, should the photo have no noise if it's a picture taken on a bright sunny day outside using "P"?

05-08-2010, 02:38 PM   #2
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1. The main difference between Auto Pict and P is that Auto Pict doesn't allow you to override much at all - you are stuck with the setting the camera chooses - whereas P will choose settings but let you override them.

2. Noise has nothing to do with what mode you shot it; it has to do with what ISO you shot at. If you shot at a low ISO, there should be virtually no visible noise. Auto Pict should chooe a low ISO for you, but in P mode, it's possible you accidentally choose a higher ISO than was necessary.

It's impossible to say much more without seeing a sample image you are unhappy with - ideally, an unresized crop (aka "100% crop") of the area you think is too noisy, as well as a resized version of the whole picture so we can see where it is. And be sure not to lose the EXIF info along the way - or al least, be sure to say what ISO the picture was shot at.
05-08-2010, 04:06 PM   #3
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Thanks, Marc. I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but my ISO was at 6400. I set it there while I was experimenting, but thought if I went into auto pict mode that it would set it to what it should be... Regardless of what happened, I changed the ISO and my pictures are looking 100% better. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
05-08-2010, 04:13 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by SweetSherri Quote
I'm very, very much a newbie here and just got my Pentax k-x a week or so ago. The first couple of days that I had the camera, I got a couple of very good, crisp shots, but a lot of my pictures seem very noisy. I have a third floor apt that is pretty dark (horrible lighting), but even today I took the camera out on a very bright, sunny day (although shady in spots) and the photos still tend to have a lot of noise when I view them "actual size" using Picasa. I'm shooting mostly on auto and P...which leads me to ask, what is the difference between the two? And my second question is when I see the photo in actual size using Picasa, should the photo have no noise if it's a picture taken on a bright sunny day outside using "P"?
Hi Sherri,

The main difference between P and Autopict is that Autopict tries to determine the kind of shot being attempted, then uses what it thinks is the most appropriate of the "mode" setting combinations to take the shot. In other words, it chooses between "portrait", "landscape", "moving object", "night scene", etc with all the associated image parameters. You really have little choice in any of this, and while the camera might choose correctly a lot of the time, it really can't read your mind. . .

In P mode, all image parameters (sharpness, saturation, contrast, hue, etc) are fixed at what has been set (either preset at the factory, or changed to your preferences), and the camera has automatic control over the exposure parameters (aperture, and shutter speed) In addition to the image parameters, you also have to choose the ISO range (in auto ISO) or the specific ISO setting .

I would guess the noise is being caused by a high ISO setting. You might have either set a fixed ISO, or have set up the Auto ISO with too high a maximum limit. Outdoors, on a bright day, I'd either set a low fixed ISO (lowest gives the best IQ, but may result in slow shutter speeds) or set up Auto ISO to a relatively low range (200-800). I would first experiment with fixed ISO settings and find where your personal limits for noise are, then set the Auto ISO accordingly. You can always raise the ISO or ISO range for special circumstances.

As Marc suggested, some examples always helps.

Scott

05-08-2010, 04:25 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SweetSherri Quote
Thanks, Marc. I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but my ISO was at 6400. I set it there while I was experimenting, but thought if I went into auto pict mode that it would set it to what it should be... Regardless of what happened, I changed the ISO and my pictures are looking 100% better. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Hi Sherri,

I see you found the problem while I was typing.

A suggestion to prevent forgetting to reset after a change of settings for a special purpose, Go to your Rec menu and uncheck items like sensitivity in the "memory" section. This would automatically return you to "Auto ISO" when you turn the camera off. Then you only have to remember to turn the camera off when you put it down. I personally set it to forget ISO, exp comp, and WB for this reason.

Scott
05-08-2010, 04:27 PM   #6
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What a great help both Marc and Snostorm are! I think the high ISO is definitely the problem... can't wait to go out tomorrow and get some more shots with the ISO being in the normal range. I had tried to upload some pics earlier, but I think the image size was too large. I'll have to figure that out too. What a great forum this is, and thank you for answering my first post
05-08-2010, 05:14 PM   #7
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Sherri, as a great starting point, don't get into the habit of using automatic ISO. Set it for manual.

If you're outside in good sun, set it at 100 or 200. Shady, 400. In the apartment but still daylight coming through, 800 to 1600, and beyond.

The lowest ISO you can get away with is like using the best film available. Once you start upping the ISO, you're degrading the quality and getting more noise.

So always use the lowest ISO that can provide an acceptable aperture range and and an acceptable shutter speed for handheld.
05-08-2010, 05:27 PM   #8
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Hi Sherri,

When you begin getting a handle on the settings that give you good results, start taking charge of setting ISO and aperture for yourself. You then have total control of what results you get and enjoy the experience a whole lot more.

In case you want some extra reading check the sites linked to these articles:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photography-articles/23232-learning-basic...echniques.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photography-articles/62522-exposure-shutt...rture-iso.html

05-08-2010, 05:59 PM   #9
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Thanks all for the great advice. I'm going to force myself to learn how to manually set the camera. Can't wait to experiment and grow.
05-08-2010, 07:20 PM   #10
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On cameras with electronic flash release, Auto Pict can also pop up the flash automatically, whereas P cannot.

Adam
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05-08-2010, 08:03 PM   #11
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P mode and "Program Line"

QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote

In P mode, all image parameters (sharpness, saturation, contrast, hue, etc) are fixed at what has been set (either preset at the factory, or changed to your preferences)
Guys, thank you for your answers on this post .So, in regards to the note above about "P" mode, when the Pentax manual refers (as it often does) to "Program Line" - is this the fixed image parameters that you are referring to?

I.e., the manual basically says that in P mode the camera follows "Program Line" - which is rather unhelpful for a newbie. But now I'm assuming that the program line = these fixed parameters you are talking about. Which would make a lot of sense.
05-08-2010, 11:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by menifeeminister Quote
Guys, thank you for your answers on this post .So, in regards to the note above about "P" mode, when the Pentax manual refers (as it often does) to "Program Line" - is this the fixed image parameters that you are referring to?

I.e., the manual basically says that in P mode the camera follows "Program Line" - which is rather unhelpful for a newbie. But now I'm assuming that the program line = these fixed parameters you are talking about. Which would make a lot of sense.
Hi menifeeminister,

The Program Line consists of the range of shutter speed/aperture combinations that will give correct exposure for a given scene and a given ISO. Imagine a scene that will give you a correct exposure at f2.8 and 1/1000. You'd get the same exposure at f4 and 1/500, f5.6 and 1/250, and f8 at 1/125. On the K10.K20, and K-7 you can choose between "normal" "DOF", "Speed", and "MTF" program lines (I don't know about the lower level K-series models).

The normal PL would give average settings for each, the DOF PL would bias towards smaller apertures, the Speed PL would bias towards faster shutter speeds, and MTF would try to keep lenses that transmit MTF (Modular Transfer Function) at the best apertures for the sharpest images. Only FA and later lenses do this, IIRC, and for the rest, the camera tends to use the maximum aperture stopped down from 1-2 stops, I think.

If you now imagine a graph with amount of light vs shutter speed/aperture combos biased for the different criteria mentioned above, you get your different Program lines. If you use Auto ISO, then this would also be included in the mix. I probably made this more confusing than it really is.

Scott
05-09-2010, 06:33 AM   #13
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Scott, that does make sense. I'm using a K-x, though, and I don't have those normal/DOF/Speed/MTF options you're speaking of. That is somewhat similar to the K-x's scene modes - but I thought the camera auto-selected scene modes in "Auto," not "P"?

So I guess I'm still confused (not your fault at all - your explanation made sense) about exactly what the K-x manual means by "Program Line."
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