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12-15-2013, 06:29 AM   #1
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THE question-

I love my new K-5II, but it is mysterious and I know that it bristles with many technological secrets! What is the best way to learn all about my new camera without plowing through the manual? I know how to use it basically and I'm very comfortable with technology, having had a very technically challenging job for 43 years. (and I adored it!) I am hoping there are grizzled veterans (and not so grizzled ones) who have been down this road.

12-15-2013, 06:34 AM   #2
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If you don`t wanna read the entire manual, get out, shoot and expiriment. Only visit the manual when you bump into an issue you don`t like or features that makes you wonder what it will do
The K5 series have a high level of customisation, most things have multiple settings.
12-15-2013, 06:56 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by TenZ.NL Quote
If you don`t wanna read the entire manual, get out, shoot and expiriment. Only visit the manual when you bump into an issue you don`t like or features that makes you wonder what it will do

This is what I do with my DSLRs. I get the basic controls down, then pack my manual in my camera bag and take it along with me when I shoot. I wrap it in a zip-lock baggie and stash it in a side pocket. That way, I have it handy for those times when I know it can probably do something...but I'm not sure how to make it do it.
12-15-2013, 07:35 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
This is what I do with my DSLRs. I get the basic controls down, then pack my manual in my camera bag and take it along with me when I shoot. I wrap it in a zip-lock baggie and stash it in a side pocket. That way, I have it handy for those times when I know it can probably do something...but I'm not sure how to make it do it.
Me too, I allways start reading but get bored very quickly

12-15-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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I have to admit that I have not "read" the manual. Actually, I don't think think that I have even opened the physical manual. What I have done is to download the digital manual on to my desktop and when I have had a question I have searched it for the term, then read the page or two that addressed it.There is also another approach. In my view the Pentax manuals are very good for what they are. However, there is a drawback (with all the manufacturers) in that they expect you to know the terms. What I mean is that the manuals address how to do a specific thing - turn it on/off, etc. The manuals do not address why you would want to use such a function/capability/option.

There are a couple of other books that address this aspect and they are pretty inexpensive. I think that these might be a bit more appropriate in starting out.From what I gather there is not really a large difference between the controls of the K5 and the K5II/IIs.

12-15-2013, 08:52 AM   #6
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Best time to learn anything is when the situation demands it. No, it isn't a good idea to take out the manual when shooting a wedding but as amateurs we try everything before we can employ a technique with skill. There are features in my K5 that I will probably never use so why read on that? Time, patience and have fun. The camera will grow on you!
12-15-2013, 11:49 AM   #7
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I am a manual carrier, also. The desktop version works fine when I'm at my desktop, but when I am on the Bertha Lake hiking trail in Waterton Lakes National Park, two and a half hours by road and whatever time on foot from home base, it doesn't help much. It helps even less when I am in Prince Albert National Park a two day drive from home. Most of the manual use combines the AF 540 FGZ manual and the camera manual to figure out how to configure the flash to do what I want.
12-15-2013, 12:11 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Novak Quote
What is the best way to learn all about my new camera without plowing through the manual?
Shot now ask questions later - from a very "grizzled" vet.

Your best questions will come from actual practical use anyway - don't try to be perfect right out of the box.

12-15-2013, 01:58 PM   #9
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The best approach depends on how you learn stuff; you'll know that better than me. I tried to understand one new thing at a time, then stick it all together. Coming from a film camera, I started by working with the camera set up like my old camera: Av mode and fixed ISO. Then once that was working, add new stuff.
12-15-2013, 08:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Novak Quote
I love my new K-5II, but it is mysterious and I know that it bristles with many technological secrets! What is the best way to learn all about my new camera without plowing through the manual? I know how to use it basically and I'm very comfortable with technology, having had a very technically challenging job for 43 years. (and I adored it!) I am hoping there are grizzled veterans (and not so grizzled ones) who have been down this road.
Start with results and work backwards.
12-16-2013, 06:38 AM   #11
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The most important things about the manual are control locations and functions available.

Unless you go through this, you will be forever asking how to do the most simple tasks.


If you have done a lot of photography, the rest is pbvious. If you have not, then get a book on basic photography, the manual does to teach you this
12-16-2013, 07:03 AM   #12
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Thanks to everybody for the thoughtful and personal replies. I'm going to take a little bit from everybody and I'll know what to do when I'm stuck or want to know more.

Invaluable my friends!
12-16-2013, 07:35 AM   #13
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I also downloaded pdf copies of the K5 and Q manuals on my smartphone just in case. It's just memory...

Though written for the K7 the Magic Lantern guide applies to most of the K5 series functions. It may be a bit more of a basic level than you shoot, depending on how much you've done already. Still, it helped me a bit when I started.
12-16-2013, 09:24 AM   #14
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One note. When you read a manual from pre-digital days, when it says do this with slide film and that with negative film, digital works more closely to slide film than negative. Particularly when it comes to blowing out the bright areas. Negative film could take three or four stops of overexposure and still be salvageable, but slide film couldn't take any overexposure at all. A bright sky would be a transparent area on the slide.
12-16-2013, 05:58 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Many different ways to use the manual. I prefer to do a quick browse so I quickly learn the basic functions. Then I practice with the camera a few days and go back over the manual. It's also a good idea to occasionally review the manual in case you forgot something that may have been unimportant when you read the manual, but is more important now because your shooting style evolved.

For example, when I got my current camera a year ago I rarely used flash so I just skimmed that part of the manual. This weekend I was in a situation where LED spotlights encouraged me to use fill flash, so I stumbled through the camera menu and got usable photos, but now I know to go back and reread the flash chapter.
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