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02-18-2014, 09:06 PM   #31

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I'll echo what others have said: Any DSLR (or advanced mirrorless) will have a similar learning curve, whether from Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus,etc. Your learning curve is more about photography than the specific camera. I always recommend this book to beginners LIFE Guide to Digital Photography: Everything You Need to Shoot Like the Pros: Joe McNally, Editors of Life: 9781603201278: Books but if you've already taken a course and read other books it's not mandatory reading.

Try shooting in Av mode where you control the aperture. Use the dial to test different apertures on the same subject matter and see how it affects your depth of field, shutter speed, and ISO. You'll be practicing composition at the same time.

Photography is a hobby, and like many other hobbies it takes practice. IMO it's more about the process than the photos that result. For me, photography gives me an excuse to go out searching and examining things. You're into portraits ... cool, although not my bag because that would force me to talk to people

02-18-2014, 09:10 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tanzer Quote
It looks like a lot of folks are overlooking that you have taken a photography class, and have read the Book. Just a suggestion - you might want to edit your original post with this information. With the attractive thread title "Bought a Pentax, got in WAY over my head" , everyone is just jumping out of the woodwork to give you suggestions in this area, without necessarily seeing your follow up post.
Agree the book suggestion can stop being offered. Understanding Exposure is a great book - but isn't an answer to every photography problem.
Rather than edit this post, I'd rather see the OP start a new thread with some examples of photos that didn't work out. Either that, or some specific questions. I agree - right now we are all guessing at the sort of answer to give but don't know if it is even the least bit helpful or not. I'd also like to see fewer answers that suggest buying this or that to make the situation better.
02-18-2014, 09:10 PM   #33
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...And whatever image you want to share with your loved ones, us or the rest of the world, just point and shoot, and shoot, and shoot. The advantage of digital cameras is that you can get the biggest memory chip (SD Memory) and shoot to your heart's satisfaction. For starters, with lens mounted, find how to set the camera to AF, Auto-Pict exposure mode and Auto - ISO (perhaps ISO 100 to 400) and click away. Later on start experimenting with either another picture mode or manual focusing. Happy photos!
02-18-2014, 09:13 PM - 1 Like   #34

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start simple and clean

QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
Actually if Na Horuks advice is the type that is desired, then its not a "What did I do wrong?" question, but rather a "Too much to learn, where do I start in learning to do what I want?" question.
I think we need to start by picking a specific sort of picture you want to take and just telling you how to do that, you will pick up technical stuff along the way.

I would set aside video until you have photography down, and also set aside portraits since with portraits you would have to learn the very complex topic of artificial lighting:
Strobist: Lighting 101
and just start with macro photography since you learn all the technical things with that, but its usually a slow or non moving target and much less technical overall. You could do macro photography using just Av mode to control your depth of field (with aperture).
I like this kind of advice for a beginner. Pick one thing you want to do, strap the camera to your hand for an afternoon, and do just that one kind of photo. Work a shot from all angles and exposures until you can intuitively feel what the right settings should be for that one thing. Like, as is suggested, put aside the video and look at portraits. But instead of artificial lighting, keep it simple and just use existing light. And you don't have to use people for subjects. You can use a statue in a park or a bowl of fruit on a table near a window with soft light. Simple but, as you hone that one thing, you will see more possibilities as you do it. You seem to be the type that learns by doing and experience incrementally. Stick to that. Then go back to one of the books and re-read the chapter on that topic and see what else you can try. Then add just one reflector (white). Take a zillion photos with that. Then try a different colored reflector, and so on. Or choose something else instead of portraits, whatever. But start somewhere and stick to it (its digital so we are not paying for film!). Eventually, you may start to see emotional connections to your output of photos. This is where I am struggling, since I tend to be more documentary and not artistic.

Just an idea. Have fun with it and don't be intimidated!! Own your own expression.

02-18-2014, 09:25 PM - 2 Likes   #35
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Dont give up.
02-18-2014, 09:56 PM - 3 Likes   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by angryannie Quote
@MSL, I have the 18-55 kit lens. I have no film experience whatsoever. I'm just kind of winging it. I've taken a few thousand pictures but I'm only happy with about 5 of them.
I have maybe 100,000 pictures, and I'm happy with about 10 of them.
02-18-2014, 10:38 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
I have maybe 100,000 pictures, and I'm happy with about 10 of them.
I hope they weren't the first 10
Does depend on your definition of happy - I have lots of photos I'll share on a casual basis, and I'm still struggling to find one that I like enough to justify the cost of printing it large or on special media, so I haven't reached that level of happy yet.
02-18-2014, 11:02 PM   #38
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It seems like you are expecting too much from the 18-55mm kit lens. Its a walk around lens with no smooth bokeh and no close focus. Kit lens can do great portraits if you shoot with a lityle distance from your subject along with a higher aperture and a nice view from the background. Macro shots will not be achieved with such low magnification and long focus distances.
My second lense that i got is the pentax 35mm f2.8 limited. It
Sure did change my way of composition. That said it is also a very versatile lens as it is a normal to true macro.

02-18-2014, 11:30 PM - 1 Like   #39
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The other thing if would do is check the social groups. You may have a social group that is active in your area where you could join a meetup and other pentaxians can help you in person.
02-19-2014, 01:32 AM   #40

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Hi there,

it seems that you have got a lot of good tips for shooting photos. I have been there where you are now. My first DSLR was *ist Ds. And I used mostly kit lens or cheap manual lenses with it. most of time I used it in green mode or AV mode. with manual lenses it was easy to use 'green' button, which was Av button at back. Just to try to get exposure right. I did not care too much of f stops, just enough to have some Dof or less.

When I did not get exposure right(like most of time), I learned how to make better exposure with +/- compensation and/or cameras spot metering instead of full metering. so I pointed camera at middle of brightest and darkest area and got metering from there. IF shutter time was tooslow I had to bump up ISO to make faster shutter time. Or just use tripod(which I have learned to carry along...after many attempts).

When I got better with this - after thousands and thousands pictures, yai digital camera, it costs noting to try..- I could concentrate more with framing the shot and looking what I wan't to shoot. Still I shoot many shots, just to make sure IF I got the shot.and to try different point of view(PoV) ect. that makes it fun for me. bad shots I erase at shooting place. Interesting ones I keep to look at home and see what I got.

then we enter in great world of post processing...not in the annoying world of pixel peeping, which can ruin your fun of experimenting.

So all in all, have fun, try to look for framing and try different f stops and shutter times on same interesting subject. Get tripod. and thing how the knowledge that you have on f-stops really affects on images. remember to look your subject from higher and lower point of view. first of all look before you shoot.
02-19-2014, 05:51 AM - 1 Like   #41
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It sounds like your primary concern right now ifs figuring out what all the buttons do? You may want to see if you have a local photography club. We have beginners come by sometimes and someone will always sit down and help someone figure out where everything is on their camera.
02-19-2014, 06:26 AM   #42
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I don't know if someone mentioned, but I think there is also an unofficial manual available online (maybe for a small fee?), which is written in a more.. user friendly manner. I think its available from this website. Specifically, over here: PENTAX DSLRs: The Pentax K-x e-book is actually completed and ready to download.
02-19-2014, 06:45 AM   #43
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It's like any other skill - you'll need to research, read, and practice. Don't expect to be brilliant right away, but never stop asking how you can do better. A big part of that is figuring out what the best settings and techniques are for the type of photos you're attempting to get. If you want to get better, you'll have to invest the time. The camera won't do the work for you. These DSLRs are tools which can grow with you, but the learning curve can be a little steep if you don't have much background. In this case, the KISS Rule is paramount. Start simple.

For lenses, you don't have to buy anything extremely expensive to get some quality glass. The DA50mm and DA35mm (plastic) are both pretty darn good, and will be suitable for some portrait work. Either find a willing subject to let you experiment or find something inanimate to experiment with. The Kx is a fine camera provided it gets enough light, and you use that light well.
02-19-2014, 07:13 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote

For lenses, you don't have to buy anything extremely expensive to get some quality glass. The DA50mm and DA35mm (plastic) are both pretty darn good, and will be suitable for some portrait work. Either find a willing subject to let you experiment or find something inanimate to experiment with. The Kx is a fine camera provided it gets enough light, and you use that light well.
I was able to snag both of these lenses for less than $125 each through different deals. And the dog makes a wonderful model when the kids get irritated! :-D
02-19-2014, 07:32 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by dansamy Quote
And the dog makes a wonderful model when the kids get irritated! :-D
Sometimes dogs can be better than kids.

But I bet you always come back to your babies.

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