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08-08-2011, 05:40 AM   #1
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Pentax X90

Hi

I took a photo of our family sitting in a bay window.

The light coming in the window caused the resulting photo to overexpose.

Using manual mode I tried to use the flash to compensate for the light coming in the window but the results were poor.

I also experimented with different aperture and speed combinations the results I got were varied between overexposed underexposed and silhouetted images.

Question
Can anyone give me some suggestions where I might be going wrong and how I might have better success?

Thanks In Advance.

08-08-2011, 06:16 AM   #2
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It would be great to see a posted example some of the pictures in question. Please post some for others to look at. There should be a point where the outdoor exposure and fill-flash should be giving a balanced result. It just depends on the brightness of the outside light.
08-08-2011, 06:18 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxExpression Quote
Hi

I took a photo of our family sitting in a bay window.

The light coming in the window caused the resulting photo to overexpose.

Using manual mode I tried to use the flash to compensate for the light coming in the window but the results were poor.

I also experimented with different aperture and speed combinations the results I got were varied between overexposed underexposed and silhouetted images.

Question
Can anyone give me some suggestions where I might be going wrong and how I might have better success?

Thanks In Advance.
If you post a couple of examples it may be easier to provide the answers. in general this is a difficult lighting scenario as your subject was likely backlit, if there were any lights on indoors they would be a different white balance. In general if they were backlit the best results would come using an external flash with hss capacity (ie AF360) which would allow a higher shutter speed combining the fill flash. The On board flash is not really good at this being limited in nature and output
08-08-2011, 06:49 PM   #4
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I am going to try a test of using a slaved flash unit (a old Vivitar 2500) on a slave unit to see if when your camera is set on manual mode, it can act as a more powerful flash help provide effect fill-in lighting. I will be using my Fuji S1500 or S1000fd as a base camera. The camera is a smaller bridge camera but is a lot like you X90 model. I did some studio work using this set-up a few years ago. I basicly covered up the pop-up flash on the camera while setting the camera itself on to manual mode. The pop-up flash only is used to trigger off the more powerful slaved flash unit. A slave is a light sensitive sensor that sees the flashes light and will fire off when a on-camera flash is fired off. If it works, it will give you the ability to get into more powerful flash work without getting into a D-slr. I will post some results to show how it works out.

08-09-2011, 07:03 AM   #5
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Here is a picture showing both the camera set-up and sample pictures resulting from the camera set-up. The add-on parts include a old flash bracket, a flash (in my case a Vivitar 283), a photo slave unit that sticks to side of the flash, and a piece of cardboard from business card taped to cover the pop-up flash. The resulting images look more D-slr like then a bridge camera. You will have to play around a bit to get correct looking exporures but the efford is well worth the time. One note is that the slave can be triggered by any flash within range, not just your camera flash. I hope this type of set-up can help you out. You can also mount the flash on a tripod with a hotshoe tripod adaptor.

08-09-2011, 10:15 AM   #6
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Hi Everyone

Yes, there is a lot of light comes in that bay window.
I have heard of the flash being used into sunlight but don't really understand the
flash technology and how to use it correctly, other than if it's dark, flash!

Thanks for your interest in my questions.
I am sorry to say but I deleted the photos as they were dissapointing and got everyone to move to the other side of the room!
It wasn't until after the delete event I thought of posting a question!


The reason I asked was to find out if there was something I could have done economically to avoid the issue as I am only using the X90

I like the X90, I have taken some nice pictures with it but wonder if it's more a general snapshot camera than a photographers camera, but...
where do you start!

Maybe I need something a little more professional which would give me more variables to experiment with.

I have only had the X90 a short while it's likely I don't know how to get the best from it.

Thanks Steve for posting the cat images

Here's a photo I took of a thistle with the X90 macro feature.

Thanks Again
Attached Images
 
08-09-2011, 10:46 AM   #7
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I took a look at the manual and the X90 has a back lit mode that should have helped a lot combined with the built in Flash. Sometimes the auto modes on the compact cameras work better than an attempt to override them
page 86 on your manual BTW

the Macro is quite nice BTW
08-09-2011, 02:50 PM   #8
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I just wanted to show how the simple X90 design (or any compact bridge camera as well) could be used just by adding a simple trick like the slaved flash. Adding these parts can be done on the cheap if you look around on places like e-bay for used items. It expands the camera you use already saving the expense of looking into a D-slr camera. One note on those cat pictures, I used a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second. My Pentax K-m has a top flash sync speed of 1/180th of a second. The X90 has a leaf shutter as well so the use of shutter speed/ fill flash is far greater on you simple camera. I think I could use the shutter speed up to either 1/500th or 1/750th of a second without any problems. Your Pentax X90 should be using the same speeds as well. I really like the smaller lighter bridge cameras over the heavyer D-slr's at times. They are much more user friendly due to there all in one design along with the compact size.


Last edited by stevbike; 08-09-2011 at 07:26 PM.
08-10-2011, 11:18 AM   #9
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stevbike Wrote
I
QuoteQuote:
t expands the camera you use already saving the expense of looking into a D-slr camera.

I really like the smaller lighter bridge cameras over the heavyer D-slr's at times. They are much more user friendly due to there all in one design along with the compact size.
I am pleased with the results I am getting from the X90 Bridge Camera.
It is so much better than the Fine Pix 1600 I had previously.
Do you know of any others that may improve from the X90?

The movie feature is fine but limited when indoors.
I find it can record be grainy images.
But then, most would argue purchase a camcorder for movies!
It's convenient for the sort of thing I like to do.
The closeup stills are taken with the macro again.
You'll see what I mean about the movie quality at the beginning.
From what I've read in the manual the movie options are limited.
Here's a link:


eddie1960 Wrote
QuoteQuote:
I took a look at the manual and the X90 has a back lit mode that should have helped a lot combined with the built in Flash. Sometimes the auto modes on the compact cameras work better than an attempt to override them
page 86 on your manual BTW
Thanks Eddie for the reference, I'll check it out.

With respect to photography, cameras and getting good results, I have a a lot to learn. I have a good idea about seeing what I want to capture, but lack the knowledge of how to work out how to get the best results from all the camera features available.

Thanks again for your help

08-10-2011, 07:22 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxExpression Quote
stevbike Wrote
II am pleased with the results I am getting from the X90 Bridge Camera.
It is so much better than the Fine Pix 1600 I had previously.
Do you know of any others that may improve from the X90?

The movie feature is fine but limited when indoors.
I find it can record be grainy images.
But then, most would argue purchase a camcorder for movies!
It's convenient for the sort of thing I like to do.
The closeup stills are taken with the macro again.
You'll see what I mean about the movie quality at the beginning.
eddie1960 Wrote
Thanks Eddie for the reference, I'll check it out.

With respect to photography, cameras and getting good results, I have a a lot to learn. I have a good idea about seeing what I want to capture, but lack the knowledge of how to work out how to get the best results from all the camera features available.

Thanks again for your help

Try looking at joining a camera club in your area. You can pick up a lot from other people. Also look into taking a nigt school class in photograghy. You can learn a lot there too.

Eds advice about reading the manual is good. You will get the most out of the camera you have now.

The X90 is great learning camera. Once you learn the basics of picture taking, feel free to try moving on something like a D-slr. I think that you will being using your X90 for a while though.
08-11-2011, 02:19 AM   #11
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I have an X90 too and get far better results from back-lit subjects just by changing the exposure setting to "center-spot". The other options of "center-weighted average" or "256 areas average" will definitely reduce the aperture and speed up the shutter to try and accommodate the bright background, leaving the faces horribly under-exposed.

It is fair to say though that back-lit subjects are always a problem and require special care or the background will simply "blow-out" to a white mess of highlights.

Just pop up the flash, with it set to auto will make an amazing difference as long as you are fairly close to the subject - say six to ten feet.

You can also experiment with the exposure compensation and push it up to around +2.

Try each of these suggestions individually and maybe in combinations until you get results you are happy with.

With some experiments I am sure you will get very good results from the X90. I know I am very pleased with it and its small enough for me to carry around. No matter what anyone tells you, there is no substitute for trying it out yourself. Experiment, experiment and then experiment.

Try shooting the same scene at different apertures in Av mode and look at the differences. You will find some settings just seem to give better images than others. Ultimately you will reach a point where you just know, or maybe get a feel, for the settings that work best in different circumstances.

Yes, the X90 has a small sensor and the images are noisy in poor light. Try to limit your ISO settings to a maximum of 400. Forget that you even can set it to 1600 (and higher). On the other hand you have a camera with a great zoom range that's pretty easy to carry around and will take some great images if you just remember the limits.

I hope you will soon be enjoying it as much as I do.
08-11-2011, 03:34 AM   #12
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Steve
Thanks for the comments.
Join a club, go to a class.... both great suggestions.
Yes, I do need to sit down with the instruction book again!

When I purchased the camera I read it cover to cover.... but really I need to absorb it!


Anton Magus Wrote:
QuoteQuote:
Yes, the X90 has a small sensor and the images are noisy in poor light. Try to limit your ISO settings to a maximum of 400. Forget that you even can set it to 1600 (and higher). On the other hand you have a camera with a great zoom range that's pretty easy to carry around and will take some great images if you just remember the limits.

Yes, ISO Setting.... I have never experimented with them....I am not even sure what changes when the ISO setting is changed.
On film it I think it was to do with the speed of film.....in a digital camera I would have thought it obsolete or contrived?

Thanks again for your comments guys.
I will stick with the X90 until I have a better understanding.
If I can figure it out, then I will know what I want when upgrading.
I think!




08-11-2011, 04:10 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxExpression Quote
I am not even sure what changes when the ISO setting is changed.
Increasing ISO in a digital camera will amplify the signal from the sensor, resulting in a brighter image but at the cost of more noise. You can reduce noise in post, using Adobe Camera Raw, or even better, one of the plugins for Photoshop/Lightroom like Topaz Denoise.

I think the rough formula for it is that increasing ISO by a stop will double the signal strength, much like increasing your aperture by a stop doubles the amount of light to the sensor. I could be mistaken on that ratio though. It doesn't matter, whenever you increase the ISO, the image will be brighter, and it should be used (sparingly imo) to balance out aperture and shutter speed when dealing with low light conditions.
08-12-2011, 11:11 AM   #14
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Philoslothical Wrote:
QuoteQuote:
It doesn't matter, whenever you increase the ISO, the image will be brighter, and it should be used (sparingly imo) to balance out aperture and shutter speed when dealing with low light conditions.
Thanks for your comments.
Since posting I did experiment with the ISO setting and as you explain found the results grainy if used to counter poor lighting.

Focusing With The X90
I saw a squirrel in the garden eating bread.
I thought I'd take a photograph of it through a bedroom window.
First on automatic but no matter how much I zoomed in and out the camera did not focus well.
I took a picture anyway, image was out of focus, no surprise
(The window might be the problem here but the focusing seem unreliable outside too)
I had an old 35mm SLR Practika with a 135mm zoom lens that could handle this type of photograph.

I then tried manual focus, but it was unsatisfactory too, seems very limited.

Movie Mode - Recording 8mm Cine Standard 8 Film

The first time I paid a company to convert a film.
The results were disappointing.

Although I mentioned above I was dissapointed with the FinePix 1700
I was actually happy with the movie feature when recording old family cine films.
Surprisingly the FinePix did a great job of it.
I edited, added captions, sound and personalised it.
Great results, when compared to the work done for me.
That aside!

The Pentax X90
The results I got were poor and again on automatic or manual the focusing on the cine screen was unsuccessful and the camera display image jittered which I did not get with the FinePix.

Now going back a step, I was not happy with the FinePix Macro.... hence I looked and spent more on the X90 having seen macro images taken by one.
What I overlooked was that the sacrifice seems to be the incorporated movie feature. (and the focus issue which I don't know what to make of)

X90 Summary
The display is grainy.... make it hard to determine what the picture will turn out like.
Works best in daylight
Not a great light sensor for automatic.... indoor
Limited manual focus.
Unreliable focusing..... can't pinpoint this issue as it should be fine in automatic.
Poor movie feature..... indoor.... manual white balance setting gets best overall .
Great Macro 1cm feature.

Another Camera
I think I am looking for another camera already but not sure I'll get all the features I seek. Something always gives when cramming two technologies together. Still Camera & Movie Camera....

If I could have the combined good features of the Pentax X90 and FinePixS1700....

Well I'd have my cake and eat it!

Thanks again


Last edited by PentaxExpression; 08-12-2011 at 11:22 AM.
08-12-2011, 12:56 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxExpression Quote
I think I am looking for another camera already but not sure I'll get all the features I seek.
Just a suggestion: if you're not ready to make the jump to a DSLR yet, check out the Panasonic Lumix line. You can get good deals on the DMC-FZ40 these days, and it's a fine little camera (even shoots raw). Any of the FZ series are pretty good, but the -40 and -100 seem to really shine (although the latter is a bit spendy, at that point seriously consider an entry level DSLR).
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