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07-03-2010, 10:15 PM   #1
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Kx metering 101 for a newbie

Hi guys,

Just purchased a Kx as my first entry into the world of dSLR. I've got the two kit lens' 18-55 and 55-300 and have a Takumar 50mm F1.4 prime on it's way off of ebay. I have been doing a fair bit of reading on this forum (which has been a big help) and the highly recommended book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I have also been going through the Kx manual and learning each of the functions.

I understand the principles of exposure and the photography triangle 3 key variables of aperture, shutter speed and ISO.
I understand the 3 metering options in the Kx, namely multi segment, center weighted and spot metering.

My questions are (base on the Kx):
(1) do I need to press any buttons to make the Kx take a meter reading?
(2) is there a meter readout that I should be looking at?
(3) I've been reading about meter lock. ie take a meter reading, lock the exposure and then recompose. Is there a meter lock button?
(4) The meter operating time (eg 10 sec default or 3sec or 30sec) - does this mean that the camera takes 10 seconds to take a meter reading and determine the correct exposure??

My take on the above questions is that I can put the Kx in spot meter mode, put it on Av (aperture priority), leave it on auto ISO and point the camera at the subject that I want to meter off of. correct?? ie the Kx will automatically set the correct ISO and shutter speed based on the metering result in the center of the viewfinder.

What confuses me are the 4 questions above such as meter lock and meter operating time.

Any responses to clear up this metering in my head would be appreciated. thanks.

07-03-2010, 11:01 PM   #2
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I recommend never using spot-meter, which takes a reading of a very small area. If the area is very bright or very dark, you will get the wrong exposure. It has a specialize use in very rare instances.

Best to use one of the other general metering methods. You will still need to make EV compensations if the general scene is bright or dark, but it is much more forgiving.

In general operation you do not have to worry about the metering time or metering lock.
07-03-2010, 11:18 PM   #3
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Original Poster
thanks for the reply SpecialK. Point taken about the spot metering method.
07-03-2010, 11:45 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by WA-surfer Quote
Hi guys,

Just purchased a Kx as my first entry into the world of dSLR. I've got the two kit lens' 18-55 and 55-300 and have a Takumar 50mm F1.4 prime on it's way off of ebay. I have been doing a fair bit of reading on this forum (which has been a big help) and the highly recommended book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I have also been going through the Kx manual and learning each of the functions.

I understand the principles of exposure and the photography triangle 3 key variables of aperture, shutter speed and ISO.
I understand the 3 metering options in the Kx, namely multi segment, center weighted and spot metering.

My questions are (base on the Kx):
(1) do I need to press any buttons to make the Kx take a meter reading?
(2) is there a meter readout that I should be looking at?
(3) I've been reading about meter lock. ie take a meter reading, lock the exposure and then recompose. Is there a meter lock button?
(4) The meter operating time (eg 10 sec default or 3sec or 30sec) - does this mean that the camera takes 10 seconds to take a meter reading and determine the correct exposure??

My take on the above questions is that I can put the Kx in spot meter mode, put it on Av (aperture priority), leave it on auto ISO and point the camera at the subject that I want to meter off of. correct?? ie the Kx will automatically set the correct ISO and shutter speed based on the metering result in the center of the viewfinder.

What confuses me are the 4 questions above such as meter lock and meter operating time.

Any responses to clear up this metering in my head would be appreciated. thanks.

Welcome,
K-x and the twin kit is excellent both in terms of value and versatility and quality when starting DSLR

The 3 metering modes on the K-x are common to, well most DSLRs these days.
Spot (meters the centre only and forgets about the rest of the frame)
Evaluative (meter the whole frame and sets a suitable value)
Centre-weighted (in-between the above 2 but proirity at the centre portion)

With your 2 kits lenses and the camera set to AF
1) A half-press of the shutter will take a meter reading and focus
2) When composing & shooting , the meter readout on the k-x is in the viewfinder, shutter speed on the left, apeture in the middle, ISO setting on the right. (its also on the back LCD)
3) There is a meter lock button but on the K-x it is AF/AE-L so operates AF and or AE-L depending on how you set in the function menu. (You can set it to do AE-L only and it will beep and have little "*" in the viewfinder to indcate the metering exposure is locked to when you pressed the button.
4) The meter operating time should be called "meter-locked operating time".
The metering itself takes a tiny fraction of a second but you set the AE-Lock to hold that meter setting for 3, 10 or 30seconds while you re-compose the shot.

When you get your Tak 50 1.4 lens this is of course a manual lens, with manual focus and manual apeture setting. In this forum there is a sticky on metering with manual lenses if you havent read it already. It's very helpful.

07-04-2010, 12:36 PM   #5
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The other purpose of the "meter operating time" is to tell you how long the viewfinder display stays active after half-pressing the shutter or otherwise wakng up the meter. It continually updates the dislay for that long, then the meter shuts off - and with it, the display of metering info in the viewfinder. You can then half-press again to wake it up. Not that you normally need to go around cintually waking up you meter - only an issue if you ordinary waiting more than that long to take your shot after half-pressing.

As for the what buttons to press and where to find the meter reading, I'm guesisng you didn't get a manul, btu see if you can find one online. Actually, pretty much any manual for any Pentax DSLR would do. Or even just a generic book on photography - the basic concepts are the same on all cameras. You say you know the basic triad of exposure - great start. next, you need to learn the different exposure modes (again, common to virtually all modern cameras): P, Av, Tv, and M. These are basically different ways of allowing you to control the three exposure parameters.
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