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07-30-2010, 05:10 PM   #1
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Newbie trying to set up K7

Hi I got my K7 last week and I am trying to set it up in a way that makes sense to me, but there are so many combinations its a bit bewlidering. I would appreciate soem advice. I intend to use it for documentary style shooting - street phtography, photojournalist kind of stuff. I wont be doing studio work or formal portaiture. At the moment I have it set up as follows.

Manual Mode

I use the AF button to give me my focus, and I turned off the autofocus on the shutter release so that I can tweak the focus manually.

Green button gives me automatic exposure and because I am in manual mode I can tweak the settings.

I decided to shoot RAWdng.

Colour space is sRGB - I use photoshop so should this be set to Adobe RGB?

I havent tweaked any of the hue, saturation or sharpness controls other than to set the custom image to Bright, (not sure why)

White balance I left on AWB

I set the Program line to MTF - why would I not if this is the best setting for the two DA kit lens - 18-55mm and 50-200mm?

I used it at a music festival over the weekend - WOMAD, and struggled to get sharp focus, and exposure was trail and error, but I was still trying to get mey head aroudn the various combinations. I started off using green mode, then played around with manual and user modes.

Finding the focus was particularly hit and miss, especially at night with stage lights creating deep pools of light and dark. Manually focussing under these conditions was nearly impossible and the autofocus was equally challenged. I probably had the AF point switching dial on multisegment. I think I shoudl have ti set to centre, this would seem to make more sense to me, rather than alllowing the camera to decide what it wants to focus on. Ihavent been brave enought to tweak the autofocus using the fine adjustment 'cos I dont qutie understnad what I am doing.


Thats probably enough for now - my head is swimming again.

Thanks for any advice
Graham

07-30-2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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Also - can I update the firmware from version 1.00 to the latest - ver1.10 I think - without installing the intermediate updates?
07-30-2010, 05:48 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by grayboy Quote
Colour space is sRGB - I use photoshop so should this be set to Adobe RGB?

I havent tweaked any of the hue, saturation or sharpness controls other than to set the custom image to Bright, (not sure why)

White balance I left on AWB

I set the Program line to MTF - why would I not if this is the best setting for the two DA kit lens - 18-55mm and 50-200mm?
I believe the color space is determined by the final use: monitor = sRGB, commercial printing = aRGB.

You are shooting RAW so AWB or other in-camera WB is essentially meaningless.

You may not always want to shoot at MTF aperture which is probably around f5.6-f8. Just change it when desired.
07-30-2010, 05:51 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Hi Graham, congrats on your purchase. Its a great camera, I'm sure you will love it as much as I do.

As to settings, I guess these are all down to personal preference. All I can do is tell you what settings I use and why.

I'm not sure why you would want to disable the AF with half press, the 18-55 has quick shift manual focus (I think the 50-200 does too?) so you can over ride the AF at any time. My old eyes aren't as sharp as they once were and I tend to trust the AF more than my vision for sharp focus.

I shoot mainly in raw, so the Jpeg exposure mode only affects the image I see on the rear screen.

I use Adobe RGB as a colour space, for the reason you mentioned, it makes more sense as I'm using adobe software (Photo-shot and Lightroom) as my main post processing tools.

I use the DNG raw format, as it purports to be a universal standard, and I think things like this should be encouraged, besides that fact that it works natively with the aforesaid Adobe products.

I shoot almost permanently in centre spot focus, focus, and recompose. I generally do the same with metering, either centre spot, or centre weighted. (depending on the scene, I may use full Multi segment metering) I have the Custom menu item 6 'Link AE to AF point set to ON. So that the metering is always set for what I'm focusing on. I would definitely not have shot a nighttime concert in Multi segment.

I rarely use program or green modes. Relying on full manual and the fabulous famous Green button to get the exposure close and allow me to tweak it. MTF seems to be a good choice to optimise the lens capabilities, but be aware that it will automatically move the aperture to something like the mid range of those kit lenses (with appropriate shutter speed) which may not be the setting you are after, for example, you may want a shallower depth of field for isolating a portraiture subject against a busy background, the mid range setting would not then be appropriate, a larger aperture would allow shallower DOF.

A little tip is to set the USER mode for, say, a sports setup (fast shutter speed, auto ISO, etc) and use this as your 'alternate' setting. If you are shooting street and PJ style stuff, you can have your camera appropriately set for this style, and then, if you come across a situation that needs fast shutter speed... just flick the dial to USER. It may be useful, it may not.

Personally for sports shooting, which I do a fair bit of, I use TAv. Getting fast action shots on a long lens (sigma 150-500) often sees a rapidly changing amount of light-fall on the lens and in the background. The auto ISO function is a great tool for getting the exposure right quickly.

I know this is a little off topic, but having fairly large hands, I find the battery grip to be invaluable in balancing the body and giving me something to grip. The ergonomics of the whole setup are outstanding.

There are thousands of other possible permutations within the menu. It's all about what works for you.

No doubt some others will want to offer advise and probably even take issue with what I've said. That's cool, Its all about what works.

Wayne


Last edited by wizofoz; 07-31-2010 at 07:35 AM.
07-30-2010, 06:40 PM   #5
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Wayne pretty much covered everything. Lots of choices.

The answer to your second question about upgrading the firm ware is yes. You do not need to put in the intermediate versions. When you upgrade the older upgrades are included. Full instructions are on the Pentax site with the software downloads. You will come to love that camera. Good shooting.
07-30-2010, 06:44 PM   #6
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Welcome to the club.

RE your focus problem, if you are having trouble with Manual focusing (that's what I get from your post), adjust the diopter on your viewfinder. If you are in AF, you shouldn't have to 'tweak' it though. If the AF sensor doesn't See focus (no AF confirmation), it wouldn't allow the shutter to fire when the camera is in AF-S.

I have my camera set permanently to Center Spot AF, they could do away with the other options as far as I'm concerned. Everything is set to manual (basically) and natural. The Natural, bright, etc settings mean nothing if you are using RAW files. They only affect the JPG files.

For M mode, I have Digital Preview turned off (to use Optical DOF type preview). With a pull of the lever (power switch all the way to the right), I can see what my exposure is going to look like and adjust accordingly. The green button and green mode are two more features that I could personally live without. BTW, If you are in Green Mode, you are not shooting RAW.

My camera metering mode is stuck on center spot, for the reasons noted above. It takes some getting use to if you aren't familiar but I think it gives the greatest control (and no, I'm not going to argue the point). The camera is also typically stuck at ISO 100 unless I simply cannot get a steady shot with it. Auto ISO is turned off.

I adjust WB according to the scene and I have the camera set to use Flash WB when using the flash. I guess AWB on the K7 is ok but on my past cameras, it has been mediocre at best. I just tend not to trust it. RAW+ is the record mode so I have the JPG to look at. If I'm happy with it, I use it. If not, I have the RAW file to adjust and manipulate things.

I think you need to get two things nailed down. First make sure you understand exposure and the factors that affect it. Second, determine why your shots are less than sharp. From there, you will fall into your own tricks on how to use the camera.

Firmware. You want to go to 1.10. It corrects a Lot of things. Be certain however to follow the instructions To The Letter.

Latest K-7 Firmware Update : Software Downloads : PENTAX

And yes, it will include all previous versions.

07-31-2010, 03:29 AM   #7
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Thansk for the replies all - I'll make a few changes and see how I get on.

wizofoz -
QuoteQuote:
I'm not sure why you would want to disable the AF with half press, the 18-55 has quick shift manual focus (I think the 50-200 does too?) so you can over ride the AF at any time.
. Do you mean there is a switch on the lens itself? Doesnt appear to be so on either of my lens. I disabled the half press AF so that I can tweak it if i want to without the camera re-tweaking it when I take the photo. Maybe this wont work though cos the camera wont release the shutter unless it confirms for itself the focus with the red light? No worries I can test this out myself. But I what I seem to be getting is that you guys all trust the AF to get your focus spot on, as long as it is on centre spot.
07-31-2010, 03:49 AM   #8
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I recommend changing the custom image setting to Natural and setting White Balance to whichever preset matches the lighting conditions you are shooting in.

Regarding "quick shift manual focus" there is no switch on the lens. Many DA lenses have a feature that allow you to manually tweak focus by turning the focus ring without first changing the switch on the camera from af to mf.

07-31-2010, 06:57 AM   #9
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Don't use Adobe RGB.

I forget the reasons, but it's well documented that standard is a LOT better.
07-31-2010, 06:58 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by grayboy Quote
Thansk for the replies all - I'll make a few changes and see how I get on.

wizofoz - . Do you mean there is a switch on the lens itself? Doesnt appear to be so on either of my lens. I disabled the half press AF so that I can tweak it if i want to without the camera re-tweaking it when I take the photo. Maybe this wont work though cos the camera wont release the shutter unless it confirms for itself the focus with the red light? No worries I can test this out myself. But I what I seem to be getting is that you guys all trust the AF to get your focus spot on, as long as it is on centre spot.
The switch should be on the body. (Not familiar with the K7.)
07-31-2010, 07:50 AM   #11
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Graham, as Matt said, there is a clutch arrangement with the focus ring of many of the DA lenses that allow manual focus even when the camera is in AF mode. Just turn the focus ring, no switches involved.

Ira, thanks for the heads up about colour space. I've done a little more research and it seems it depends on the intended outcome. From what I now understand, Adobe RGB records more colour's that SRGB, (Has a wider colour gamut) but does not display as well on monitors, the web, etc. I read that most pro developing labs use ARGB, and ARGB is better for home printing using an inkjet printer, but most of the kiosk type printing facilities use SRGB as it is (funnily enough), Standard..

I read a recommendation to capture in Adobe RGB and then convert to standard if required, as ARGB captures more colour info to begin with. Converting the other way offers little value, as the colour information is not contained in the file to begin with.

I'm certainly no expert on colour space, I barely understand the difference. I'm sure someone out there with more to share will take this topic for a spin.

It seems the answer to "Which colour space to use?" is "It depends..."

As far as White balance is concerned, the auto setting of the K-7 is very good and you can also use custom option 10 to change to flash WB whenever you attach or pop up a flash. Shooting in Raw gives the ultimate flexibility of being able to correct it later in PP, but in the spirit of 'getting it right in camera' and to save myself from having to do that PP step, I use an 'expodisc' to make and use a custom white balance whenever the light changes (and I remember!)

Last edited by wizofoz; 07-31-2010 at 08:19 AM.
07-31-2010, 07:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by grayboy Quote
Thansk for the replies all - I'll make a few changes and see how I get on.

wizofoz - . Do you mean there is a switch on the lens itself? Doesnt appear to be so on either of my lens. I disabled the half press AF so that I can tweak it if i want to without the camera re-tweaking it when I take the photo. Maybe this wont work though cos the camera wont release the shutter unless it confirms for itself the focus with the red light? No worries I can test this out myself. But I what I seem to be getting is that you guys all trust the AF to get your focus spot on, as long as it is on centre spot.

To use quick shift with AF tied to the shutter button you first half press the button to let the camera focus, after focus is confirmed you can then manually re-focus while still half pressing the shutter. Focus will remain "confirmed" and the shutter will fire. If you release the shutter button, you'll have to start over again. Be careful when using quick shift, if you hold the focus ring while the camera is trying to focus you can strip the AF drive.
07-31-2010, 08:05 AM   #13
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Suggest you go here:

PENTAX DSLRs

They have a book devoted to the K7.
07-31-2010, 08:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ahab Quote
Suggest you go here:

PENTAX DSLRs

They have a book devoted to the K7.
Or try the magic lantern guide. I found it invaluable.
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