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06-07-2010, 08:40 PM   #1
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New K-x, couple of questions.

I haven't done extensive searching, but nothing has turned up yet after poking around a bit, so I'd like to drop a couple of quick questions in here.

Got a new K-x today and it came with a LCD protector. Are these worth fooling with? Or just a false sense of security?

ISO - From years of 35mm shooting with various Pentax rigs and a Minolta, I know the lower ISO film gets a nice smooth shot, above 400 and it gets grainy, especially in low light. Now I'm seeing comments about using digital cameras at ISO levels I would never dream of, like 2000 and over. HUH??? This really won't get grainy? I've been shooting with a Samsung S730 for over a year, nice for a P&S, especially on macro shots, except that it has a bad habit of trying to focus on the background instead of the subject, but I always kept the ISO at 100 or 200 if at all possible, to avoid grainy shots. (It has ISO settings 100-1000)

This is really blowing my mind, are ISO levels that high really usable with DSLR cameras? I always stuck to 100 film when possible, I could get a nice, clear 8x10 of a good shot, while 400 film was dicey.

I've already gotten some good info here, a couple of things I wasn't sure about have been mostly cleared up, but haven't seen much about the difference in ISO with film versus digital.

06-07-2010, 09:31 PM   #2
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Welcome the pentax dSLR.

Yes the LCD screen protector is worth it. If you carry often your camera with the neckstrap around your neck, the camera LCD will rub your shirt and scratches might develop. Some pentaxians always hold their camera and do not need such protector, but others think that it is a necessity. I made myself a simple, cheap LCD protector out of a plastic protection sheet that came with a LCD screen and that I cut to the right size.

See also the recent thread: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/103880-lcd-screen-...rs-yes-no.html.

For the ISO, I cannot comment on digital versus film. let just say that I am glad to boost the ISO under low light conditions, and the result may also be post-processed (PP) with some Noiseware like software.

Hope that the info will assist...
06-07-2010, 10:05 PM   #3
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I found the thread in your link after posting this, somehow missed it last night. Maybe because it was 2AM and I was practically cross-eyed???

Thanks, I'm hoping to get some input concerning the ISO thing, I was amazed to see people talking about using 2000 or higher. Until I get more info I'll be sticking to 100-400 if possible. Gotta do some reading in the manual too, so far it only goes as low as 200, I must be missing something. I'll have to do some serious reading anyway, I have several K mount manual lenses I plan to use, need to know how to make them work so I'll be knee deep in reading material for a while...
06-07-2010, 10:59 PM   #4
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For ISO 100 (and ISO 12800) you need to turn on "Expanded Sensitivity" in Menu C-1.

With the K-x, sometimes useable shots can be had at ISO 3200 but as usual its definitely better to use the lower ISO settings when ever you can. I find the quality is very good for ISO 100 - 400.
So I think from what I have seen that sensitivity wise DSLRs have generally surpassed film but I may be shot down for saying that!

06-08-2010, 12:24 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
So I think from what I have seen that sensitivity wise DSLRs have generally surpassed film but I may be shot down for saying that!
They have. On resolution, and DR, not quite, but getting there.

What's ironic is that we now use software on high-ISO images to make them look more "old school" analog 800 ISO backstage film shots. I actually caught myself adding more grain to an ISO 800 shot to make it less digitally smeared and more analog. It's like my aesthetic eye has settled in and the tech has surpassed it, nut not necessarily in a god way.
06-08-2010, 04:27 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input, after some of the comments I've seen, I was really curious. I noticed a thread oriented around high ISO shots somewhere (big place) but haven't checked it out yet. Will later.

QuoteQuote:
For ISO 100 (and ISO 12800) you need to turn on "Expanded Sensitivity" in Menu C-1.
Thanks for the info, I'm barely started in the manual, but probably would run across it sooner or later. Having been moderator of a computer tech support forum for 8 years, I'm a staunch supporter of RTFM...and I spend a lot of time with my nose in a book anyway, so it's more reading material to me...I plan to stay in the low range, probably the preferred 100-400 range. Once I find that setting...

Last edited by Paleo Pete; 06-08-2010 at 04:28 AM. Reason: to do battle with the typo monster
06-08-2010, 04:42 AM   #7
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I think high iso is one of those things that has changed a lot from film to digital. I get cleaner photos at iso 1600 than I got at iso 400 when shooting film. The biggest thing when you go up in iso is that you start to lose dynamic range. Currently the kx is one of the best cropped sensor high iso cameras out there and I think as you shoot more with it, you will feel more comfortable pushing the envelope. At the same time, of course you will get your best results the lower you can keep the iso.

I personally don't worry about screen protectors and have never really had any issues. I guess it probably depends on how compulsive you are about protecting your gear.

Have fun shooting!
06-08-2010, 08:25 AM   #8
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Pete--yeah. The ISOs have made huge leaps since we oogled Popular Photography.

Film's old 25 is today Kx's 100, and film's 100 is the Kx's 400. And you can really, really go to high numbers with great results. (In outdoor shade, I've been known to go to 800--something unheard of in film for me back in the day. But keep in mind how much today's films have improved as well.)

More important is what the Kx gives you indoor without the need for a flash. Fantastic photos at 1600 and 3200, and since no harsh flash, even better.

In daylight, I'm always at 100. I got a bug up my ass or something, but I can't shake that old belief and practice to use the lowest ISO possible, although higher will give me perfectly acceptable results. I also never use auto ISO, basically because I shoot manual 99% of the time anyway.

Here's a shot I did at 100, using an old M42 screw mount Super Tak 50 1.4. It's one of my favorites--just took it 2 weeks ago--and I can't help showing it off:



06-08-2010, 09:20 AM   #9
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That a 63 plymouth? Looks like my old Sport Fury
06-08-2010, 09:26 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paleo Pete Quote
Thanks, I'm hoping to get some input concerning the ISO thing, I was amazed to see people talking about using 2000 or higher. Until I get more info I'll be sticking to 100-400 if possible.
Go the DSLR forum on this site and check out the thread called "Post your high ISO shots" or something like that. Tons and tons of high ISO shots from a variety of Pentax cameras. As you'll see for yourself by looking at those images, ISO 1600 from *any* DSLR will meet or beat anything ISO 400 film could ever do.

QuoteQuote:
so far it only goes as low as 200, I must be missing something.
That's the lowest normal ISO on the K-x, although you can get it to emulate ISO 100 by turning on some custom option or other ("expanded sensitivity" I think it's called). There's no real advantage in doing so, though. Also be sure not to use any of the fancy features that artificially expanded dynamic range (highlight correct, d-range, shadow compensation, I forget what they are called on the different models), as they also disable lower ISO settings.

QuoteQuote:
I have several K mount manual lenses I plan to use, need to know how to make them work so I'll be knee deep in reading material for a while...
See the sticky thread on manual lenses at the top of this beginner's forum for all the info you need on that topic.
06-08-2010, 09:45 AM   #11
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Ira - nice shot. I hope I can get something close to that good with my older lenses. I don't have any M42's, all mine are K mounts, but I can't wait to snap on the 135mm and see how it does. Not sure how the 2x converter will do but I plan to try it as well, most likely will have to set up a tripod.

I'm the same, I always try to keep the ISO low as possible, I guess it's too ingrained after 20 years of 35mm...I'm also pretty hard headed...

marc - Thanks for the info, I'm finding out more all the time from the various posts here. I saw the High ISO thread, intend to check it out but haven't yet. I will though, I'm curious to see how some of those shots came out.

I'm basically a purist, so I avoid most changes in camera settings, and until I study th manual quite a bit more and find out what they are and what they do, I won't be experimenting. Mostly I want specific ISO, and occasionally specific aperture or shutter speed either to stop motion or get more or less depth of field. Other than that, the occasional B&W shot will creep in but that's about it.

I keep my editing to a minimum for the same reason, I want it to be a good shot because I took a good shot, not because I spent 20 minutes tinkering with software to turn a mediocre shot into something usable. Usually it's crop and resize, that's it. I have a couple now that would only take a little tweaking in the contrast and saturation, might do that, but I don't go much further than that with editing, because I'm pretty much a purist. If you've looked through the Flickr shots I posted before the K-x, nothing more was done to any of those. Crop, resize, push the contrast and saturation to offset the washout of the P&S Samsung, that's it. Most were taken at ISO 100 or 200, most of the waterbird shots were done with digiscoping. Quite tedious, but I got some nice shots I think. The gator is one of my best with that camera, and it was digiscoped.
06-08-2010, 10:20 AM   #12
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You have to have Highlight Correction turned off in order to use Expanded ISO Range. However, it's okay to have Shadow Correction turned on.

A lot of the things you DON'T want are already the defaults, so you have to change them. At first, the Kx's menu interface was a little funky getting used to, trying to find what I wanted to find.

But after awhile, you learn. In addition, the Info button is a shortcut to many of the options, and you wind up going to that instead of the plethora of Menu windows.

Last edited by Ira; 06-09-2010 at 03:20 AM.
06-08-2010, 10:24 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fl_Gulfer Quote
That a 63 plymouth? Looks like my old Sport Fury
No idea. And I trashed the full shots.
06-08-2010, 04:06 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paleo Pete Quote
I saw the High ISO thread, intend to check it out but haven't yet. I will though, I'm curious to see how some of those shots came out.

I keep my editing to a minimum for the same reason, I want it to be a good shot because I took a good shot, not because I spent 20 minutes tinkering with software to turn a mediocre shot into something usable. Usually it's crop and resize, that's it.
This was taken at ISO3200

Zenfolio | Alfisti | Pentax DA 12-24mm f/4

I won't begin to tell you what is wrong with your statement on post processing, it's esentially just a dark rooma nd if you can find a camera setting that can replicate the dynamic range the human eye can handle ... well pass it on because no one else can.

Something as simple as a quick fiddle with the luminance levels of different colours will make all the difference to an image.
06-09-2010, 11:15 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paleo Pete Quote
I don't have any M42's, all mine are K mounts, but I can't wait to snap on the 135mm and see how it does.
While you wait, check out the various "club" threads in the Lens forum for sample images taken with various different lenses. There's a 135mm club, an "M" club for the M-series lenses, a K-club for the pre-"M" "Pentax SMC" lenses, an "A" club for the "A" series, etc.

QuoteQuote:
Not sure how the 2x converter will do
In general, probably not as well as simply cropping in PP. This may have been enough of a pain with film to make the TC seem like a more viable solution, but with digital, it's usually the other way around. Some specific lens / TC combos will indeed perform better than simply cropping (assuming the loss of a stop or two of light isn't a deal-breaker right there), but don't count on it.

QuoteQuote:
I'm the same, I always try to keep the ISO low as possible, I guess it's too ingrained after 20 years of 35mm...
It's still very good advice. it's just that the specific numbers may have changed. You *can* safely use ISO 1600 and expect results as good as ISO 400. that's mostly a great thing, as it potentially allows you to shoot two stops faster shutter speed for a given aperture, or two stops smaller aperture for a given shutter speed. Meaning you can get better shots in lower light than you would have with film on the same lens - assuming, of course, you're OK with the change in field of view due to so-called "crop factor".

Actually, though, in many cases (eg, telephoto) it's even cooler than that, because if you want to get a similar FOV, you would use a shorter lens, and chances are that shorter lens is maybe half a stop faster if it comes from the same basic lens line. Like the M135/3.5 versus M200/4, M100/2.8 versus M135/3.5, or M85/2 versus M100/2.8, or M50/1.7 versus M85/2. Of course that breaks down as you get to the wider angles. But it does mean that whatever shutter speed you might have managed with an M135/3.5 at f/3.5 and ISO 400 with film, you'll get an incredible *six times faster* shutter speed by instead shooting a M100/2.8 at ISO 1600 with digital, and the image will be essentially the same in FOV, DOF, and overall IQ (eg, grain/noise). Those of us who do a lot of short-medium telephoto shooting just love this sort of effect. But if you're more of a wide angle person, the "crop factor" will of course be a big downer, but you'll still benefit from the fact that ISO 1600 is as usable as ISO 400 was with film, which at least *partially* makes up for it.

QuoteQuote:
I'm basically a purist, so I avoid most changes in camera settings, and until I study th manual quite a bit more and find out what they are and what they do, I won't be experimenting.
Just as well, IMHO. Whether shooting digital or film, the only things that really matter are ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. I basically never mess with anything else. Well, WB (which is like changing from daylight to tungsten film), but I prefer to shoot RAW and adjust WB if necessary in PP. AWB does a decent enough job in all settings except tungsten lighting.
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