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07-13-2012, 08:16 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
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.
Then I definitely "wasted" time yesterday cruising through the manual (didn't know I could set this thing up for time lapse) and again last night messing with white balance and some other things seeing how they impact the shot.

07-13-2012, 08:24 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
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.
I'm going to have to disagree with Marc a little on this advice. While understanding exposure is absolutely fundamental, reading your manual is no waste of time. I actually downloaded the PDF before I got my camera to got an early start. Then after I had the camera I spent several hours over many days sitting with the manual and the camera and going through everything there was to possibly know. The benefit is that I became intimately familiar with my camera. This is very important to me and can do no harm. I don't use a bunch of the features on my camera but if something is off with the settings I can quickly identify what it is and correct it. This makes a big difference when out shooting. Customizing your e-dials and green button is important for exposure. Deciding if you want to have focus or release priority on your shutter is important. There are so many little things to know about such a well rounded tool as the K-5 that I absolutely recommend reading the manual at least once if not twice. I gave a friend of mine who has a Nikon but doesn't know how to use anything on it outside of Auto the advice to go look at every button and menu setting in his camera and if he didn't know what it did he needed to look it up and find out what it was. This will advance not only your understanding of your individual camera but quite possibly your understanding of photography as well. This is especially true if you are a beginner.

Last edited by TomTextura; 07-13-2012 at 08:29 AM. Reason: typo
07-13-2012, 08:59 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomTextura Quote
I'm going to have to disagree with Marc a little on this advice. While understanding exposure is absolutely fundamental, reading your manual is no waste of time. I actually downloaded the PDF before I got my camera to got an early start. Then after I had the camera I spent several hours over many days sitting with the manual and the camera and going through everything there was to possibly know. The benefit is that I became intimately familiar with my camera. This is very important to me and can do no harm. I don't use a bunch of the features on my camera but if something is off with the settings I can quickly identify what it is and correct it. This makes a big difference when out shooting. Customizing your e-dials and green button is important for exposure. Deciding if you want to have focus or release priority on your shutter is important. There are so many little things to know about such a well rounded tool as the K-5 that I absolutely recommend reading the manual at least once if not twice. I gave a friend of mine who has a Nikon but doesn't know how to use anything on it outside of Auto the advice to go look at every button and menu setting in his camera and if he didn't know what it did he needed to look it up and find out what it was. This will advance not only your understanding of your individual camera but quite possibly your understanding of photography as well. This is especially true if you are a beginner.
I did the same with the PDF and put it on my phone in the event I need something and don't have the manual with me since it weighs nearly 8 lbs.

And being new to digital, seeing how the various WB presets work was a light bulb last night. I was shooting some pictures around my bedroom last night (wife is very a lot pregnant, so don't get any ideas) and seeing how some things were blown out strangely colored prompted me to mess with some settings, particularly the WB and

The lamp on the nightstand was definitely throwing off the white hair on one of the cats. Switching WB to tungsten made that cat's white hair look like snow. Messing with the custom image settings also was interesting.

A lot of these features may not be vital to the exposure/aperture/shutter speed/ISO settings, but the manual has shown me this camera is far more capable of things I didn't know it could do.
07-13-2012, 11:05 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
I did the same with the PDF and put it on my phone in the event I need something and don't have the manual with me since it weighs nearly 8 lbs.
Good thinking!

QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
And being new to digital, seeing how the various WB presets work was a light bulb last night.
I honestly never bother with anything other than auto WB since I shoot in RAW so the WB can always be changed later. The K-5 does a nice job with the auto WB anyway, from my experience.

I'm probably about 50/50 with the settings I've customized and the settings that I've left at their default.

What I really wish I had a manual for is Photoshop! I'm slowly making my way through tutorials but it's such a huge and capable program that it's super easy to get lost inside of it and end up getting nowhere near to what I want or to what I expect.

07-13-2012, 11:48 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomTextura Quote
Good thinking!


I honestly never bother with anything other than auto WB since I shoot in RAW so the WB can always be changed later. The K-5 does a nice job with the auto WB anyway, from my experience.

I'm probably about 50/50 with the settings I've customized and the settings that I've left at their default.

What I really wish I had a manual for is Photoshop! I'm slowly making my way through tutorials but it's such a huge and capable program that it's super easy to get lost inside of it and end up getting nowhere near to what I want or to what I expect.
Without a capable computer or the software at all, for now, I'm trying to make the camera do the best I can. Secondly, it's been so long since I did image editing/graphic design/etc, I have no idea what is even possible these days when it comes to the manipulation you can do with software. The last time I was messing with this stuff, DSLRs were maxed out around 6 megapixels.
07-13-2012, 12:11 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
Without a capable computer or the software at all, for now, I'm trying to make the camera do the best I can.
Not a bad approach at all. It'll could actually push you to be a better photographer. EDIT: Hold onto your RAW files though until you do get some software because you might be surprised as to what you can salvage from some seemingly ruined shots!

QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
Secondly, it's been so long since I did image editing/graphic design/etc, I have no idea what is even possible these days when it comes to the manipulation you can do with software.
I feel like I've only just stepped into the image editing realm and have barely scratched the surface. I can tell you that Lightroom is an excellent program, pretty easy to navigate and gives excellent results. LR is a very flexible and capable program and it's relatively affordable at $150 for the new LR4 version. I don't know if you can get LR3 for cheaper since it's older. LR4 is quite a bit more taxing in terms of computer processing power than LR3 is. For me, Photoshop is still a wild beast I have yet to tame.

Best of luck!
07-13-2012, 12:21 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomTextura Quote
Not a bad approach at all. It'll could actually push you to be a better photographer. EDIT: Hold onto your RAW files though until you do get some software because you might be surprised as to what you can salvage from some seemingly ruined shots!


I feel like I've only just stepped into the image editing realm and have barely scratched the surface. I can tell you that Lightroom is an excellent program, pretty easy to navigate and gives excellent results. LR is a very flexible and capable program and it's relatively affordable at $150 for the new LR4 version. I don't know if you can get LR3 for cheaper since it's older. LR4 is quite a bit more taxing in terms of computer processing power than LR3 is. For me, Photoshop is still a wild beast I have yet to tame.

Best of luck!
I just set up a 2 terabyte network drive to start storing a bunch of fat from my current machine to give me more space to work with stuff on the computer. I'll start saving everything that isn't absolute crap and see what happens.

Other than online tutorials, I wouldn't know where to begin with something like Lightroom. Hadn't heard of it before snooping around this forum.

Photoshop...it was extremely capable when I last used it in 2004. I can't imagine what it can do now.
07-13-2012, 12:40 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
I just set up a 2 terabyte network drive to start storing a bunch of fat from my current machine to give me more space to work with stuff on the computer. I'll start saving everything that isn't absolute crap and see what happens.
Back home I was using a 2TB drive but mirrored to give 1TB worth of storage space. Now I'm using a 1.5TB drive and backing up to Blu-ray. I'm behind on my backups though!

QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
Other than online tutorials, I wouldn't know where to begin with something like Lightroom. Hadn't heard of it before snooping around this forum.
The tutorials on Adobe TV are pretty good. Learn Lightoom 4: Getting Started and tutorials I highly recommend getting LR. The Pentax provided version of SilkyPix is sub par, if you ask me. It's great for converting your RAW files into jpegs if you want them to look like the jpegs would've coming out of the camera but other than that, it's a headache, at least for me it has been. SilkyPix crashed on me once and I lost a whole days worth of editing I'd done. LR4 is clunkier than LR3, my wife can't use it on her computer, so do take that into consideration. LR3 is fairly light. I'd say look around for a copy to try if you can.

QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
Photoshop...it was extremely capable when I last used it in 2004. I can't imagine what it can do now.
A new CS6 version came out recently that I have yet to use. It looks impressive. Like I've said, I am very clumsy working in Photoshop. When I see what my friend can do with it though I get so jealous and want to learn all his techniques! LR is more than enough for 90%+ of my editing. BTW, LR and PS work very well in tandem and are designed for it.

07-13-2012, 04:50 PM   #39
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LR4 looks pretty awesome. I can't believe how costly some of this software is. Any ways other than being a student to get a break on the retail price?
07-14-2012, 04:57 AM   #40
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QuoteQuote:
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.
For once, I'm going to have to disagree with Marc too, although in only a minor way. Basically, getting the exposure right is , as Marc said, the main thing to know. But a couple of settings do make a difference. Contrast, saturation and sharpness. Those may possibly need to be tweaked. There is also the timer, continuous /single shots, flash, metering...a few things are good to know, but Marc's main point is very valid. The most important thing of all is knowing how to manage your exposure.
07-14-2012, 05:10 AM   #41
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OP, you got the book resources down. Get em from the library. Read em, blast away and develop your skills.
07-16-2012, 11:17 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
LR4 looks pretty awesome. I can't believe how costly some of this software is. Any ways other than being a student to get a break on the retail price?
I recently got LR3 from Amazon for $99, which is quite a bargain for editing software. I had no choice but to get LR3 because I have Windows XP and LR4 won't run on XP. It completely stream-lined my workflow and I'm very pleased with the results I get from it. It's perfect for my kind of photo editing, which is almost exclusively color/exposure/cropping edits. If you foresee your editing being like that, it'd probably be cheaper for you to get LRx and maybe Photoshop Elements for heavy duty work. Or just go with GIMP for the heavy duty editing, since it's free.
07-21-2012, 10:00 PM   #43
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Been enjoying the new to me lenses, especially after the birth of my son, our second child yesterday morning. Focusing the SMC-A 50/1.4 can be challenging. I'd like to see how a focusing screen works and if I like it in another camera before putting $100+ into one.

This was a RAW converted to JPEG by the camera with no changes in the process. I'll mess with them at some point after getting software. I believe all were shot in Av mode as I was just trying to get some shots rather than control every aspect.






Last edited by jtkratzer; 07-21-2012 at 10:13 PM.
07-22-2012, 03:05 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomTextura Quote
I'm going to have to disagree with Marc a little on this advice. While understanding exposure is absolutely fundamental, reading your manual is no waste of time.
I was obviously (?) exaggerating a little. Yes, there is interesting stuff in there - but not the kind of stuff that helps solve the very basic photographic issues alluded to in the original post. Get a handle on the basics first, then you can worry about other stuff if you like. Subtleties like contrast etc can be fiddled with in PP just as easily (much *more* easily, and with much greater control, actually), but won't mean much if you don't have the basic shot captured well.

Note white balance *is* one of those fundamentals I mentioned right from the beginning. It is one of the parameters that - like IOS, aperture, and shutter speed - is a carryover from film and has been a fundamental part of photography for decades.
07-22-2012, 04:43 PM   #45
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Been reading Understanding Exposure and enjoying the concepts presented. Also enjoying the A50/1.4. It's definitely challenging to get the focus right wide open on an infant that wants to look around or squirm a bit, but I'm enjoying the lens and camera...and loving my son. Here are a couple more from the hospital. Obviously haven't had time to mess with stuff outside much as we've been at the hospital since Thursday. Again, all straight from the camera, JPEGs converted from RAWs in camera.







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