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05-09-2010, 05:08 PM   #1
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Red, yellow, and black blinking colors in review pics can't find anything about this.

This is my first post as a newbie I've been lerking for about two months trying learn about the pentax camers and it's helped me to decide on the K-x. I'm new to the DSLR experience and have a lot to learn so here's my question: some of my pics have blinking colors of either red, black or yellow and I can't find anything in the manual about what it is. I think it must have something to do exposures?? If it is an exposure problem please help. I'm still trying to understand f-stops, appertures, ISO to name a few, but if any one can get me a little it will sure help. Bobby

05-09-2010, 05:42 PM   #2
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The best book I have ever seen by far for beginners is the pocketable
"National Geographic Photographer's Field Guide" by Albert Moldvay.

I don't know if it is still published but it is a gem.

My copy is from 1961 but all the vital information for understanding the picture taking process is there in simple language even though that was well before digital cameras.

It may very well have been updated by now.

Try this:

05-09-2010, 06:13 PM   #3
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It's the camera's warning for bright and dark areas. Page 203 of the manual tells you how to turn it on and off for "playback", when you're looking at the photos you've already taken. Page 144 tells you how to turin it on and off in Live View. Page 249 tells you how to turn it on and off for "instant review", the image that shows on the display right after you've taken each photo.

Your actual photos aren't recorded with blinking areas. The camera is trying to warn you about possible exposure issues. So you probably don't want to turn all of the settings off. With digital images, overexposure means no detail is recorded for that part of the image. For that area, each color that the camera can see has the maximum value. The camera can highlight these areas for you to tell you those spots will have no detail. Let's say you're at a wedding and the display shows most of the bride's dress blinking. She will be very annoyed at you for not showing all that expensive detail.

The other colors mean something but I'm still trying to figure that part out. I just got a new K-7 and that was on my list of "what the hell is this thing doing now" items.
05-09-2010, 06:16 PM   #4
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I don't have a K-x, but I doubt that it differs from my K2000 in this respect. The blinking areas indicate shadow/highlight clipping (that is, areas of the picture that are overexposed or underexposed). You can turn this off--look for Playback Display Method in the menu or manuals. I think it's called bright/dark area warning or something along those lines. (I usually leave it on, but in certain situations it can be kind of annoying.)

Mickey's suggestion above is a good one; although I haven't read the particular book he mentions, any beginner's photography book worth its salt should have a section on exposure. Reading that should help immensely!

05-09-2010, 06:23 PM   #5
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The "blinkies" are over- and under-exposure indicators. Also called the zebra :-) You can turn it off somewhere in the display/review menu.

Highlights that are overexposed and shadows that are underexposed lose all detail that can not be "fixed" later, and get the blink.

If just the bright portions are blinking, you might reduce the exposure to make it a bit darker. If just the dark shadows are blinking, you might increase the exposure.

Note that the sensor can only record a certain range of light - the dynamic range - and if part is really bright and some really dark in the same scene, you can not do much with a single exposure. (There is a technique to take a second shot at a different exposure and "blend" them later, not too easy with moving subjects).

I'm assuming you have a histogram and are using it (right?) which will show a curved graph of your exposure. The peak should be somewhere near the middle for an average scene. If the left or right side of the curve is up on the side of the graph then the highlight is "blown" or "blown out". Not sure what you call the too-dark shadows :-).

By using the histogram and the blinkies, it will help you get the correct exposure.

The zebra is a bit distracting, so you might try just going by the histogram at first. After a while you will be able to better predict the results you will get.
05-09-2010, 07:27 PM   #6
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The histogram is discussed on p. 28 of the manual, and it's useful reading. I could not find any mention of what the colors indicate for the bright and dark warnings. Some testing with Live View shows that Red is too bright and Yellow is too dark. Black I don't see. Maybe the black is the Yellow/dark warning, which would blink yellow then black because the areas are black.

Sometimes it's OK to ignore these warnings. You might have perfect exposure in the part of the scene you care about, and something in the background that's not important is too bright. Don't ruin the perfect part to make the camera happy. Photos of Christmas lights are supposed to have small bright areas. If you adjust the camera to the point where the warnings go away, your photo will be extremely dark, and the dark area warning will be assaulting you.

I like to use the histogram in combination with the Instant Review to quickly check exposure in areas I'm concerned about for the first shot. Then I make adjustments and the next shots are better.
05-10-2010, 01:09 PM   #7
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Dave thanks for the info you were right on. I've read about the histogram again and now have a better idea on what I'm looking at. Most of my pics don't have many real dark or bright areas most of the peaks on the graph seem to be where they should be. If I'm reading the book correctly most of the pixels should be on the main subject of the picture.(the highest peaks on the graph)Please excuse me I don't the terminology of hobby yet it's going to take a while I think. Bobby

05-11-2010, 10:32 AM   #8
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Here is a site that someone on the forum suggested for information about histograms.

Mark David | Understanding the histogram

As another newbie, I found it very helpful. There are links on the bottom of the page for other helpful information.

I pay attention to blinkies, but learning about how to read histograms has been the most helpful for me.

Enjoy your new camera!

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