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07-11-2012, 09:09 AM   #16
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some older, "film only" books maybe from library can also help a lot, and to myself, there was massive load of information I found here:
The very Basics
SLR vs Rangefinder
The Golden Mean

07-11-2012, 09:09 AM   #17
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I'd add that the most important thing is to go out and shoot. One of the greatest things about digital is the ability to see almost immediately how you've screwed up and w/o spending money on film and processing.
07-11-2012, 09:23 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
That's it as well, there are settings and things I can control with the camera I'm not familiar with. I need to read through more of my Bible sized manual.

It's not that I'm looking for approval or acceptance from others, it's that I'm not content with what I'm doing now and I don't know how to improve. I'm sure a lot of that is due to only having my camera in my possession for a week.

A basics book couldn't hurt or be a waste of time. I'm also looking for ways to improve my "employment" of the camera, lenses, an settings before trying to learn the computer side of things. Computers won't fix boring/bad pictures.
I guess the big frustration and perhaps why people go so quickly to RAW is that there is really no good documented explanation of exactly what all the adjustments do, and their range. Take sharpness. we have on the K5 three levels of sharpness, normal, fine and extra fine, but no where does it explain what these do, what radius of pixels they impact, and what the numbers or setting mean. I have been meening to look more closely at the pentax software, to see if the adjustment sliders for RAW adjustments mimic the camera, if so, then that would be the best way to understand the impact of all the settings.

One question I have is, what file format are you shooting presently, RAW or JPEG. I suspect from the questions, you are trying to shoot JPEG and get the image almost perfect right out of the camera, is that correct?
07-11-2012, 09:39 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I guess the big frustration and perhaps why people go so quickly to RAW is that there is really no good documented explanation of exactly what all the adjustments do, and their range. Take sharpness. we have on the K5 three levels of sharpness, normal, fine and extra fine, but no where does it explain what these do, what radius of pixels they impact, and what the numbers or setting mean. I have been meening to look more closely at the pentax software, to see if the adjustment sliders for RAW adjustments mimic the camera, if so, then that would be the best way to understand the impact of all the settings.

One question I have is, what file format are you shooting presently, RAW or JPEG. I suspect from the questions, you are trying to shoot JPEG and get the image almost perfect right out of the camera, is that correct?
I guess it depends...some modes/user settings are set up for JPEG and others are on RAW. I primarily am JPEG for now since I don't have image editing software and to allow for the most space on the card, I'm not worried about RAW at the moment. I just want to get comfortable with the camera. The menus are easy to navigate and I like the set up on the K-5 that most of your shooting adjustments are accessible with dedicated buttons on the camera, rather than scrolling through menus.

White balance is something I need to read about. I understand auto, daylight, etc, but there are a ridiculous amount of options there.

Like I said, I'm sure spending some time in the manual will help clear some things up as far as usability of the camer's capabilities. Learning from someone else, reading some books, etc should improve my composition and what I'm actually taking pictures of.

I see people talking regularly about how different lenses are better suited for different types of photography and that the kit lens can be somewhat limiting. I'm sure that's true to a degree, but I'm sure I can at least improve my skills with that before trying to decide what other lenses I want to invest in.

I'll make some time to post a few of the first images I took with the camera and you can see where I'm at.

07-11-2012, 10:13 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote

White balance is something I need to read about. I understand auto, daylight, etc, but there are a ridiculous amount of options there.
the options really come in relitive to the correct balance of white, due to distinct color casts by some forms of lighting. For example, tungston lighting is a red biased emission of light radiating from a dark body, but florescent lighting is no where near as simple, because the basic light source is a mercury arc, which has many blue and violet components, the tubes are phosphor coated, with special blends to try and emulate daylight, cool white (more blue casts) and warm white (more red casts). then there is shade, Assumed to be blueish green in cast due to the presence of blue sky, and or green foliage. In reality, shooting a little and looking at the rendering of whites can give you a good idea of whit balance. Most of the menu items on the K5 are for realistic conditions.
QuoteQuote:

Like I said, I'm sure spending some time in the manual will help clear some things up as far as usability of the camer's capabilities. Learning from someone else, reading some books, etc should improve my composition and what I'm actually taking pictures of.
true, and here, any book that discusses white balance in any detail should be good
QuoteQuote:

I see people talking regularly about how different lenses are better suited for different types of photography and that the kit lens can be somewhat limiting. I'm sure that's true to a degree, but I'm sure I can at least improve my skills with that before trying to decide what other lenses I want to invest in.
quite true. the kit lens (or lenses) are generally what are considered consumer grade lenses, they offer acceptable performance (sometimes excellent) but the "limitations" are principally in maximum aperture (not big enough for low light or depth of field control in portraits), off center sharpness, ultimate resolution, and sometimes slight vignetting (darkening towards the corners) and range of focal lengths. You can learn an awful lot about photography with a kit lens, and some people never move beyond the kit lens. they are satisfied.

the biggest reasons people go for other lenses is to either get faster lenses, or lenses outside the lit lens focal length range, and when they look at primes (fixed focal length lenses) it is for greatly improved optical quality at one specific focal length, and a reduction is size and weight.
07-11-2012, 10:15 AM   #21
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The book Understanding Exposures is a must
07-11-2012, 11:07 AM   #22
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I guess there are two things -- first of all is shooting and the second thing is post processing. If you get the first part right, it makes the second part easier, but you still have to do some things to your photos afterward -- sharpening, burning/dodging, etc.

I would echo the thoughts of those who say shoot a lot. Definitely. Use some type of software for post processing that allows you to see what settings you shot with and you will understand better what things work and what don't. I use Lightroom and it works well.

Try to emulate people whose photographs you admire and when those images don't quite measure up, try to figure out what went wrong. Over time you will start to have your own ideas and begin to experiment. The beautiful thing about digital photography is that once you have your camera (and computer), your actual cost of learning is minimal. Just shoot, shoot, shoot!
07-11-2012, 01:13 PM   #23
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Did some more digging and updated the first post with the links and suggestions you've given as well as what I've found. I'll start plowing through that and see where I get.

I always seem to pick these hobbies that can be expensive...I want more lenses, flash, computer and software to work with...

07-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I guess there are two things -- first of all is shooting and the second thing is post processing. If you get the first part right, it makes the second part easier, but you still have to do some things to your photos afterward -- sharpening, burning/dodging, etc.

I would echo the thoughts of those who say shoot a lot. Definitely. Use some type of software for post processing that allows you to see what settings you shot with and you will understand better what things work and what don't. I use Lightroom and it works well.

Try to emulate people whose photographs you admire and when those images don't quite measure up, try to figure out what went wrong. Over time you will start to have your own ideas and begin to experiment. The beautiful thing about digital photography is that once you have your camera (and computer), your actual cost of learning is minimal. Just shoot, shoot, shoot!
The pictures on your PPG are awesome. I have some great places very close to home to work this camera and I'm looking forward to making time to get out there.

My wife and I are expecting our second child (boy this time) any day and we're getting things done around the house prior to his arrival. Maybe I can upload a few of the pictures I've taken over the last week this evening.

I see most people are using flickr instead of photobucket. Any particular reason?
07-11-2012, 07:14 PM   #25
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Here are a few shots from the last week. Haven't had any time to get out beyond the yard/around the house and a my parents' place in their pool. Lenses are the kit 18-55 or a Quantaray 70-300 with macro (definitely nothing special on this lens, but it's something I can work with for now). The first two are cropped, the rest of these are straight from the camera in JPEG. I'm finding that the kit lens is slow for evening shots when the lighting is less harsh than midday. Exposure times with ISO below 800 were long enough to get camera shake/blur.















Just trying to catch a shot of this for identification purposes. Any ideas?
07-11-2012, 07:35 PM   #26
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jtkratzer

one additional point.

with the K5, and I will compare to film since you did shoot some a long time ago, the K5 at ISO3200 is about equivalent in noise / grain to ISO400 film from the 1970's and early 1980's.

I would suggest, perhaps putting the camera in Auto ISO mode, with the range set from the lowest setting to ISO 3200. I would also suggest putting highlight protect and shadow protect on, and perhaps using Tav mode with your shutter speed set to 1/(max focal length of the lens *1.5) and the aperture at F8 for well lit shots.

Unless you are always indoor, this will give you pretty good shots, the shutter speed, with your shorter lens will be about 1/125 and will be quick enough to freeze slow moving action, and the stopping down to F8 will give reasonable performance out of the lens.

try some higher ISO shots, the K5 is pretty good in that department
07-11-2012, 08:06 PM   #27
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I've found the Digital Photography One on One - YouTube channel from Adorama to be a decent resource. There are way more episodes than I could ever possibly watch.
07-11-2012, 08:34 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
jtkratzer

one additional point.

with the K5, and I will compare to film since you did shoot some a long time ago, the K5 at ISO3200 is about equivalent in noise / grain to ISO400 film from the 1970's and early 1980's.

I would suggest, perhaps putting the camera in Auto ISO mode, with the range set from the lowest setting to ISO 3200. I would also suggest putting highlight protect and shadow protect on, and perhaps using Tav mode with your shutter speed set to 1/(max focal length of the lens *1.5) and the aperture at F8 for well lit shots.

Unless you are always indoor, this will give you pretty good shots, the shutter speed, with your shorter lens will be about 1/125 and will be quick enough to freeze slow moving action, and the stopping down to F8 will give reasonable performance out of the lens.

try some higher ISO shots, the K5 is pretty good in that department
I'll give that a shot. I'd like to learn why/how/where those numbers come from. I was still shooting film on July 3rd.

QuoteOriginally posted by TomTextura Quote
I've found the Digital Photography One on One - YouTube channel from Adorama to be a decent resource. There are way more episodes than I could ever possibly watch.
Thanks. I'll look them up.
07-12-2012, 12:34 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I would suggest, perhaps putting the camera in Auto ISO mode, with the range set from the lowest setting to ISO 3200. I would also suggest putting highlight protect and shadow protect on, and perhaps using Tav mode with your shutter speed set to 1/(max focal length of the lens *1.5) and the aperture at F8 for well lit shots.

Unless you are always indoor, this will give you pretty good shots, the shutter speed, with your shorter lens will be about 1/125 and will be quick enough to freeze slow moving action, and the stopping down to F8 will give reasonable performance out of the lens.

try some higher ISO shots, the K5 is pretty good in that department
Ah, Page 70 of the K-5 manual and probably a generally known concept. Sorry for my ignorance.
07-12-2012, 10:50 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
That's it as well, there are settings and things I can control with the camera I'm not familiar with. I need to read through more of my Bible sized manual.
What I am saying is that no, you don't need to learn about those settings at all, ever. They aren't going to make a lick of difference really. Focus on the things that are actually important - truly understanding the basics of exposure. Every moment you waste learning about some fancy whiz-bang feature of your new camera tht isn't directly connected to how to control shutter speed speed, aperture, and ISO is a moment you cphave spent more productively just getting a more solid foundation in what actually matters. Once you truly understand exposure, you won't need to read but about 5 pages of your manual: the ones that explain the various ways of controlling those parameters.
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