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06-05-2010, 07:29 PM   #1
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questions about the abbreviations

I tried to find the answer to my super-noob questions without success, so please forgive me if these questions have already been asked to death...

I got my new K-x yesterday and I'm working my way through the manual to figure out what all these nifty buttons and dials do. I am long-time back pocket p&s user, so I am starting from dead zero on the dslr knowledge curve. I'm sure I'll have lots of better questions later as I learn more, but my first exceedingly elementary questions are:

1. Why is the shutter setting labeled "Tv"? Is it just because "sensitivity" already used the Sv, or does the T relate to shutter somehow that I don't catch yet?

2. Why is the e-dial called an e-dial? I was trying to make it something about exposure, but it does so many things. Instead of giving it another random letter, I wish they would have called it the thumb wheel or something so I didn't have to remember so many letters... AE, AF, AV, EV, TV.... ugh! It will be easier for me to learn what the dials do when I know what the abbreviations mean, rather than just trying to memorize random letters, which is kind of what I'm doing now. ... I'm sure you long time dslr users are laughing at me by now, but, truly, I had to start taking notes as I read the manual to keep track of all these new abbreviations!

I have a few other silly simpleton questions, but I haven't finished reading the manual yet, so I may be able to find those answers without completely embarrassing myself! I hope I look back on this thread in 6 months when these things are second nature to me so I can have a good chuckle at myself.

06-05-2010, 08:32 PM   #2
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I don't have a K-X, so I'm not 100% sure which modes it has, but:

V just stands for values, therefore

Tv equals Time Values - ie shutter speed. Makes sense to call it time and not shutter because it is exposure time that you are interested in (ie do you want to stop movement or blur it).

Av is Aperture values (how big the hole is that lets in the light)
Sv is Sensitivity Values - ie film speed or ISO or ASA speed
TAv is control over both aperture and time values at the same time (useful for macro shooting or with a flash - come back to this in 6 months...)
M is manual
B is bulb mode which allows long exposures (mostly only useful at night)
X sets shutter speed to match a non automatic external flash (probably don't need to worry about that one)

With Pentax, you can forget the above and just use P (Program) mode - that allows you to easily just twiddle exposure time or aperture, depending on the situation.

The only other mystery may be AE-L, which just locks your automatic exposure setting so that it doesn't change - this lets you select the subject of your exposure. Useful, for example, if you want to take a backlight portrait of someone in front of a window - you just meter directly off their face, press AE-L and then recompose the shot with the window backlight. Or you could just use the flash...

Hope that's as clear as mud!
06-05-2010, 08:33 PM   #3
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I'll make some guesses:

* We're looking at artifacts of translated-from-Japanese-to-Western-Languages standards
* T stands for Time, because S for Shutter was taken, instead of I for ISO (formerly ASA, DIN, etc)
* e-anything was popular before i-anything; if Apple made cameras, those would be i-Dials
* parts and functions are designed by engineers but are named by stoned marketing dweebs
* you are not authorized to question the docs -- read, accept, memorize, submit to the Pentax masters

I hope that clears things up.
06-05-2010, 09:06 PM   #4
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Thanks, calsan and riorico! Both your answers were much clearer than mud. Calsan, my K-x doesn't have a B or X setting, but I think I have read how to achieve those settings in the other modes on my camera. I'll definitely leave those for later exploration after I've mastered the simpler stuff. And I think I've read quite a few times here on the forum that many people like the P setting the best for average use, so I'll work on that one first. And thank you for giving me a concrete example of a good time to use the AE-L. I read about it in the manual, but I still wasn't sure how to put it into practical use. Thanks!

And thank you, RioRico, for confirming my hunch that I should just call the buttons whatever I want to call them since it seems that they have been given slightly random titles to begin with! How much more space on the dial could it take to write ISO instead of TV? I would have gotten it then! And henceforth, to me the e-dial shall be the thumb wheel. Now I have concrete pictures in my head of what the buttons are for! But perhaps this free-thinking puts me at odds with the Pentax masters... I should read, accept, memorize and submit.

Thanks for helping me move up the learning curve!! Much appreciated!

06-06-2010, 11:35 AM   #5
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On other observation: Tv mode is very old - predates digital cameras by many years. Sv mode would have been impossible on a film camera. So no way was Tv chosen because Sv mode was already taken. It's just what some engineer thought made sense.
06-06-2010, 06:50 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
On other observation: Tv mode is very old - predates digital cameras by many years. Sv mode would have been impossible on a film camera. So no way was Tv chosen because Sv mode was already taken. It's just what some engineer thought made sense.
SlrPhotographyGuide.com says that Tv stands for Time Value. Aha! But in how many western languages does a local word for Time start with T?
06-06-2010, 08:41 PM   #7
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regading Tv mode.... my recollection (i.e. I'm probably wrong!) everyone used to call it Shutter Priority and it was usually a S on the dial. This is back in the days when 'automatic cameras' only had either shutter OR aperture priority modes. Then Canon came along and called it Tv, maybe picking up on the 'time' aspect. I still have to think what Tv means... (I had a Nikon FE with Aperture priority). Lucky for me I generally use my cameras on P mode with appropiate e-dial & ev comp adjustments.
06-06-2010, 10:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
SlrPhotographyGuide.com says that Tv stands for Time Value. Aha! But in how many western languages does a local word for Time start with T?
In dutch The word is tijd. Unfortunately the A in Av makes less sense as that is called diafragma (diaphragm)

06-07-2010, 06:34 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the good responses! I realize that some things just have to be assigned a name so we have a common reference point, but if the assigned name actually means something, makes it so much easier to remember. As I was grousing to myself about why they couldn't have just written ISO on the dial, it hit me that many of the younger dslr users may never have actually loaded film in a camera and so buying a certain ISO speed film would have no meaning to them like it does to me! Therefore, if I was a much younger new dslr user, I'd just have to be learning that the random ISO letters meant sensitivity. So I guess the dial doesn't have to be all about me. And I'll definitely quit whining about TV meaning shutter speed/time since sterretje reminds me that at least the abbreviations are for words in my native language!

Thanks for the great info and for putting things in perspective!
06-07-2010, 04:31 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by shellie Quote
As I was grousing to myself about why they couldn't have just written ISO on the dial, it hit me that many of the younger dslr users may never have actually loaded film in a camera and so buying a certain ISO speed film would have no meaning to them like it does to me!
Film. How quaint. (Remember ASA and DIN and BS and GOST / ГОСТ)? I still use cameras whose only controls are an aperture slider, a focus knob, and a shutter assembly with settings for times and B. (Some have even less.) The revolution: the addition of A. Modes? What's a mode? (Don't get me started on 'scene' selections.)

I blame software designers. Rather than integrate functions, many codemonkeys found it easier to build programs with multiple modes, each with its own command structure. Am I in INSERT or OVERTYPE or FORMAT or OUTLINE mode? In SEND or RECEIVE or OFFLINE mode? What will CTRL-X do in this mode? Oops...

Every mode is a package, wrapped to partially conceal its contents. Ideally, every setting on any device should have its own physical control, but most everything since the rotary-dial phone has outgrown that ideal. So we select certain modes, then must remember just which controls do what in any mode. Or we set everything to AUTO and try to ignore the hidden complexity. Let the camera's tiny brain figure things out, I'm too busy.
06-08-2010, 03:01 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
SlrPhotographyGuide.com says that Tv stands for Time Value. Aha! But in how many western languages does a local word for Time start with T?
Tiempo (Spanish), Temp (French), Tempo (Portuguese, I think, and maybe also Italian), blah blah.
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