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01-08-2011, 12:39 PM   #1
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K-7 Manual Mode... What the hell just happened?

Okay, I chose ISO 100, adjusted focus but did not touch anything else at that point, I wanted to take a test shot. I was in a room with all lamps turned on and snaped a picture. The picture looked like all the lights were off! It was so damn dark! What happened to my picture? I still need to get used to digital...

01-08-2011, 12:44 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Student Quote
Okay, I chose ISO 100, adjusted focus but did not touch anything else at that point, I wanted to take a test shot. I was in a room with all lamps turned on and snaped a picture. The picture looked like all the lights were off! It was so damn dark! What happened to my picture? I still need to get used to digital...
If you're in manual mode, you have to CHECK your exposure. YOU have to decide your F stop and shutter speed. The camera will do NOTHING for you.

Also, 100 ISO is way too slow for indoor work.

Read your manual for M mode, and for indoors, start at least 800 ISO as your slowest ISO without flash.
01-08-2011, 12:55 PM   #3
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+1 with Ira.

I may suggest you a simple test:

- take a ahot in P mode (mode dial) fully automatic

- then switch to M

- take a picture in M mode after setting the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Compare your two shots. Check the EXIF data.


I mention above the Hyper P mode because you can switch to P to M simply by using the front and rear dials. In other words, you could very well shoot in manual from the P mode.

Food for thoughts....
01-08-2011, 01:08 PM   #4
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It would be easier to help you if you posted the picture with the exif intact.

For instance, if I knew that your aperture was set at f22 and your shutter speed was set at 1/8000 I could quickly diagnose the problem and suggest a solution, but for all I know your aperture was set at 1.4, your shutter speed was set at 1/30 and you took the shot with the lens cap on.

01-08-2011, 01:10 PM   #5
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The magic green button will help you out too.
01-08-2011, 02:06 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MPrince Quote
It would be easier to help you if you posted the picture with the exif intact.

For instance, if I knew that your aperture was set at f22 and your shutter speed was set at 1/8000 I could quickly diagnose the problem and suggest a solution, but for all I know your aperture was set at 1.4, your shutter speed was set at 1/30 and you took the shot with the lens cap on.
f22 indoors + iso100 is likely to be dark at most usable shutterspeeds
01-08-2011, 02:34 PM   #7
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I have been using a K7 for the past year ..... it's a great camera but isn't really suitable for indoor shots in low light. You could try ISO 800 and if desperate 1,600 (if you are prepared in both cases to put some effort into your PP) but you are MUCH better off bouncing a flash or diffusing your on-board flash.

If you don't want to take your flash with you then try what I do - I have a little white cloth 'pouch' that slips over the on-board pop-up flash and gives good results within 3 - 6 feet.
01-08-2011, 02:47 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
If you don't want to take your flash with you then try what I do - I have a little white cloth 'pouch' that slips over the on-board pop-up flash and gives good results within 3 - 6 feet.
+1 on this...

Diffusing your onboard flash is pretty much a 'must' if you're going to use it...

I use a film-canister... The back of the can is 'blacked off' with some gaffa and a sharp knife cut a hole so it 'slots' over the onboard flash of the K-x...

Someone else here uses a thin 'frosted perspex' peice secured with velcro and has gels that fit over it...

01-08-2011, 03:33 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Student Quote
Okay, I chose ISO 100, adjusted focus but did not touch anything else at that point, I wanted to take a test shot. I was in a room with all lamps turned on and snaped a picture. The picture looked like all the lights were off! It was so damn dark! What happened to my picture? I still need to get used to digital...
Digital has nothing to do with it. What you need to get use to is Exposure. That hasn't changed since the first capture of light on a sensitized medium. Manual mode is Meant to be Touched.

01-08-2011, 03:54 PM   #10
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Get the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson .
01-08-2011, 04:16 PM   #11
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But the room was so bright I could have worn sunglasses, yet the picture was dark like a cave, you couldn't distinguish anything!
01-08-2011, 04:21 PM   #12
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It isn't about what you can see, it's about what the camera sees.

ISO 2500, f2.0, 1/13 seconds

[IMGtall]https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/jeffjs-albums-single-january-picture16325-k5js2796-mk28f20-sij-jan8-2011small-i-think-one-blew-dogs-mind-i-never-get-down-his-level-he-just-didnt-know-what-think-there-isnt-much-else-say-about-youve-all-met-hound-past-now-i-can-take-photo-him-without-flash-no-more-doggie-demon-eye-youre-likely-see-him-again.jpg[/IMGtall]

What were your other settings?

01-08-2011, 04:51 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
It isn't about what you can see, it's about what the camera sees.

ISO 2500, f2.0, 1/13 seconds

[IMGtall]https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/jeffjs-albums-single-january-picture16325-k5js2796-mk28f20-sij-jan8-2011small-i-think-one-blew-dogs-mind-i-never-get-down-his-level-he-just-didnt-know-what-think-there-isnt-much-else-say-about-youve-all-met-hound-past-now-i-can-take-photo-him-without-flash-no-more-doggie-demon-eye-youre-likely-see-him-again.jpg[/IMGtall]

What were your other settings?


Ohhhh. I like that avatar. What is it?
01-08-2011, 05:17 PM   #14
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Gretsch 6120DSW.. From my 1
01-08-2011, 05:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Student Quote
But the room was so bright I could have worn sunglasses, yet the picture was dark like a cave, you couldn't distinguish anything!
You have learned a very valuable lesson that all of us learn at some point along the way.....our eyes are lousy judges of how much light there is, especially indoors.

Be glad you learned it just farting around in your living room. Most of the people we encounter learn it after coming away from an important event with useless photos.

Also.....you still haven't mentioned what the aperture and shutter speed were. It is entirely possible that you could have taken a photo at ISO100 in that room but it all depends on what the other two exposure factors were.

I'm not saying that this bit applies specifically to you, but too often people seem to think that putting the camera in Manual mode will result in better pictures and are shocked when they get something totally white or totally black. "Manual" means "Manual"....."done by hand".....your hand. You have to set the aperture yourself. You have to set the shutter speed yourself. And in Manual mode a bad exposure is never the camera's fault.

Don't blame this on digital. If you had been using a film camera with 100 speed film and used the same shutter speed and aperture you would have gotten the same black photo. Saying you need to get used to digital makes it sound like you have experience shooting Manual on film cameras and never had this problem....which would mean that you know about metering and setting the aperture/shutter yourself....which is manifestly not the case here. If you knew enough on manual film cameras to be able to pull off what you were trying to do, then you knew enough to do it on digital. There's no shame in not knowing something and asking about it; that's what we're here for. But it sort of insults our intelligence a little bit when you try to play it off like that.

Last edited by Mike Cash; 01-08-2011 at 05:34 PM.
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