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12-17-2010, 03:35 PM   #1
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Tutorials?

I just upgraded from a K100 to a K7. Are there any on line tutorials that can help me get started? I have been reading the manual but am a little overwhelmed.. Think I'll be using Auto for a while.
Thanks!
scott

12-17-2010, 03:42 PM   #2
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Read the K-5 review, it'll give you an overview of most of the buttons and shared features with the K-7.

Pentax K-5 Review | PentaxForums.com

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12-17-2010, 04:25 PM   #3
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Starting Out with the K-7

When I Googled "Pentax K-7 Tutorial", one of the links was to some apparently pirate-ware site offering the Magic Lantern DVD Guide to the camera. I'll leave the malware-avoidance and ethical decisions to you!

When I first handed my K-7 to my wife, I told her "Just put all the controls to the green settings and push the button". I actually find that advice works pretty well for me too, except for:

  • Instead of "green" on the mode dial, I use "P", which is pretty much the same thing but allows me to change things if I want to.
  • That also lets me shoot in RAW (DNG) to have more room to salvage my mistakes
I noticed early on that a ton of the menu options were for jiggering your JPEGs, whether during capture or post-processing in the camera. I figure I'm going to be mucking about on the computer with the pix anyway, so I just bypass (or more precisely, delay) all that complexity by shooting RAW.

I found that the direct-set params available via the INFO button really are all I need most of the time (e.g. switching to JPG to enable HDR shooting).

I've had the thing for just over a year now and I still take the manual out to study things -- and learn something new every time!

Have fun with it. What a great camera, eh?
12-17-2010, 06:01 PM   #4
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Thanks to you both. Good stuff. I will play this weekend and report back. I got the camera on Wednesday and with the short days, have not yet had a chance to shoot in the daylight!

12-17-2010, 10:54 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by fewayne Quote
When I first handed my K-7 to my wife, I told her "Just put all the controls to the green settings and push the button". I actually find that advice works pretty well for me too, except for:
  • Instead of "green" on the mode dial, I use "P", which is pretty much the same thing but allows me to change things if I want to.
  • That also lets me shoot in RAW (DNG) to have more room to salvage my mistakes
I noticed early on that a ton of the menu options were for jiggering your JPEGs, whether during capture or post-processing in the camera. I figure I'm going to be mucking about on the computer with the pix anyway, so I just bypass (or more precisely, delay) all that complexity by shooting RAW.

I found that the direct-set params available via the INFO button really are all I need most of the time (e.g. switching to JPG to enable HDR shooting).
I agree with all that. I find Green mode is only useful for handing off the camera to someone who only knows "push this button". It is a super-quick shortcut to settings that will work. But it's annoying to use because it takes over. Program mode is necessary if you want to use the camera yourself.

Coming from another DSLR, I'd try to get them set up the same way if you can, especially if you still have the old camera. BTW, reserve a smaller old SD card for the old camera and don't swap cards between cameras, or your file numbers will jump on the new camera.

What you need depends a lot on how you used the K100D. The exposure parameters are still pretty much the same. Aperture has the same effect. Shutter speed will only differ in holding the camera still (different weight, different SR). ISO has a different effect on noise, but that's quickly tested with a few shots at higher ISOs to see what they look like. If you don't have a firm grasp on these settings already, learning them will have a much larger impact on your images than the digital filter in-camera processing.

The extra control wheel is a big difference. I spent some time customizing it in each mode, so it would work the way I wanted. The green button is also different, and there's already a sticky on the use of that. As mentioned above, the INFO interface is a different way to alter common settings, such as turning SR on and off.

The matrix metering is different with the K-7. I think it's best to take a lot of shots and draw your own conclusions here.

The extra AF controls and metering switch make it easier to change settings that required menus in the older cameras. They are not a priority because by default, they'll work like the K100D did by default. If you changed them on the K100D, using these is way easier and logical, just a matter of finding the buttons. They aren't things I use, but I occasionally revisit these controls to see if I am overlooking something important.

If you shoot JPEG, I would spend a lot of time on the settings, since they will be applied to each photo. If you still have the old camera and set it up to make good JPEGs, you could take the same photos with each camera and try to get similar outputs.
12-18-2010, 01:18 PM   #6
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I honestly have not touched the manual that came with my K-7 since I aquired the Magic Lantern guide for it. It is the same as the manual, only written from an actual users experience. Invaluable for me.
12-18-2010, 02:45 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by K(s)evin Quote
I honestly have not touched the manual that came with my K-7 since I aquired the Magic Lantern guide for it. It is the same as the manual, only written from an actual users experience. Invaluable for me.
Good move.

BTW K(s)evin, I dig the quote on your signature and Havelock Ellis is an amazing thinker, but I thought that's a quote by Thomas Paine, not by Ellis? Anyway, I didn't check it out but it wouldn't cause you much trouble if you do so. Just in case.
12-18-2010, 03:17 PM   #8
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I used my K100 almost always an Aperture Priority, playing with the Focus areas and Meter area settings. I didn't clue in until recently that anything above ISO 400 was way too noisy. I should shoot in Raw, but my Photoshop Elements 6 does not support Raw. Don't RAW photos fill up hard drives pretty quickly? I'll try the software that came with the K7 and am thinking about Lightroom. I'll also have to figure out how to set up folders and how to store the JPEGS that I end up with after tweaking in a fashion that I can find them again. So much play with, so little time. I think I'll pick up a copy of the Magic Lantern book at Chapters. Great advice guys! Thanks again.

12-18-2010, 03:55 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by fewayne Quote
When I Googled "Pentax K-7 Tutorial", one of the links was to some apparently pirate-ware site offering the Magic Lantern DVD Guide to the camera. I'll leave the malware-avoidance and ethical decisions to you!

When I first handed my K-7 to my wife, I told her "Just put all the controls to the green settings and push the button". I actually find that advice works pretty well for me too, except for:

  • Instead of "green" on the mode dial, I use "P", which is pretty much the same thing but allows me to change things if I want to.
  • That also lets me shoot in RAW (DNG) to have more room to salvage my mistakes
I noticed early on that a ton of the menu options were for jiggering your JPEGs, whether during capture or post-processing in the camera. I figure I'm going to be mucking about on the computer with the pix anyway, so I just bypass (or more precisely, delay) all that complexity by shooting RAW.

I found that the direct-set params available via the INFO button really are all I need most of the time (e.g. switching to JPG to enable HDR shooting).

I've had the thing for just over a year now and I still take the manual out to study things -- and learn something new every time!

Have fun with it. What a great camera, eh?
So far, so good. Just used the Green button today. First time having it out in the day light. Now to figure out how to capture mt Christmas lights outside...
12-18-2010, 06:40 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoldenRGuy Quote
I used my K100 almost always an Aperture Priority, playing with the Focus areas and Meter area settings. I didn't clue in until recently that anything above ISO 400 was way too noisy. I should shoot in Raw, but my Photoshop Elements 6 does not support Raw. Don't RAW photos fill up hard drives pretty quickly?
I use PE6 and RAW so I know it works. I don't think I did anything special to get them to work together. The only thing that doesn't work are some editing functions. I start with a RAW image, do basic processing, then convert to 8 bit when I need to fix a lot. RAW files are at least twice as big as the K100D ones. Hard drives are pretty cheap. It can be annoying to move large numbers of RAW images from one place to the other. Adobe Camera RAW for the K-7 does a lot of sharpening by default - I just turned that off.
12-18-2010, 07:47 PM   #11
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I'll look into my settings. When I shoot RAW PE6 says it can't see them. If yours works, mine has to..
Thanks!
12-19-2010, 12:16 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by fewayne Quote



Instead of "green" on the mode dial, I use "P", which is pretty much the same thing but allows me to change things if I want to.
Interesting - I thought that the "P" mode was for the shooter to quickly access custom modes?
Maybe I will go back through the manual again, I might have read it wrong.

So "P" mode is a configurable auto mode? It will choose the best shutter/apperture/ISO/WB automatically, but let the user change things should they want? If that is true, then goodbye auto and Av modes..
12-19-2010, 01:18 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoldenRGuy Quote
I'll look into my settings. When I shoot RAW PE6 says it can't see them. If yours works, mine has to..
Thanks!
Elements uses the CameraRaw plugin to process RAW files and you need the latest version for E6, which I think is v5.6.

This contains the instructions and the link to download it from.

Install Adobe Camera Raw 5.6 update

Supported Pentax cameras are:
*ist D
*ist DL
*ist DL2
*ist DS
*ist DS2
K10D
K100D
K100D Super
K110D
K20D
K200D
K2000 (K-m)
K-7
K-x
12-19-2010, 04:57 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
<snip>I start with a RAW image, do basic processing, then convert to 8 bit when I need to fix a lot.
<snip>
Best to do as much as you can in CameraRaw, especially all the stuff to do with lightening and darkening as once you switch to 8-bit the potential for pulling detail out is greatly reduced, and being able to do everything on 16-bit PSDs (JPGs by definition are 8-bit) is one of the big pluses of Photoshop - CS4, CS5. I brought mine as a student licence for about 1/3 the price of a retail copy.

I can't remember if the version of CameraRaw for E6 includes curves or not, 5.7 which I use with CS4 does and the better I get with it the less I do in CS4. With a lot of images now all I do with what comes out of ACR is a touch of sharpening.

If you keep finding you need to fix a lot, it might be a clue to consider your basic technique.
12-19-2010, 05:12 AM   #15
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To the OP: the best thing you can do is get critical about your images, and when you find flaws then you have something to look up how to fix. A lot of flaws are composition e.g. think more about where you point the camera, most of rest of pre-shutter-release ones are usually depth of field issues - either not enough of it or too much. I would start with the camera on auto, take pictures, look at them, try to work out how they could be better and then the Internet and the camera's manual should provide the clues. When I started taking photos, my first SLR was a Pentax ME Super which does Av or manual, so I use the K7 (and the E510) in Av mode as I'm comfortable with it.

However it can be very difficult to be objective about one's own photos. I'd suggest the following Flickr group which is about the only one I've found with genuine critiques, rather than 'Nice capture' or something similarly vacuous:

Flickr: Photography Critique

I'd suggest you do some lurking to start with, to get the feel of the group, before posting. Even just reading the critiques will give you lots to think about.

The other avenue that might be open to you is joining a camera club. There is one where you live (or where your profile says you live!)

Kingston Photographic Club, Ontario - Home and Programme

It looks to provide the same sorts of activites as the ones in the UK do, and I found joining one gave my photography a real life - especially when to my amazement my first couple of entries did really well!
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