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01-05-2016, 10:07 AM   #1
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K20 issues, flash help, post processing...

I have a couple questions. They range all over the place so I'm reluctant to post them in any particular subforum. Here goes:

I have some issues with my K20 which I think may actually be the camera itself, but could easily be me. Specifically, my pictures generally come out underexposed unless shooting outside in bright light (but even then sometimes). I've reset factory settings (all the ones I can find anyway). I believe I'm metering correctly, but I really need to overexpose a little bit to get a decent looking photo.

I've read some reviews on the K20 that express frustration at pictures being dark and having lots of noise at higher ISOs. Am I doing something wrong or is it time for a new camera?

I'm looking into getting an external flash. I rarely use the built in flash because I don't like the way it makes pictures look. I would like to get something to mount on the camera that I can bounce and use to fill in. What's a decent flash to start with that's fairly intuitive and that I can use for a while? (I don't want to have to upgrade immediately if I get into flash photography, but I also don't want to spend a fortune).

Finally, post processing. I've done none of this. Ever. I've always shot JPEG, but would like to start shooting in RAW and doing some editing. Should I be looking at Photoshop Elements or Lightroom?

Thanks!!!

01-05-2016, 10:50 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by doroth2 Quote
I have a couple questions. They range all over the place so I'm reluctant to post them in any particular subforum. Here goes:

I have some issues with my K20 which I think may actually be the camera itself, but could easily be me. Specifically, my pictures generally come out underexposed unless shooting outside in bright light (but even then sometimes). I've reset factory settings (all the ones I can find anyway). I believe I'm metering correctly, but I really need to overexpose a little bit to get a decent looking photo.

I've read some reviews on the K20 that express frustration at pictures being dark and having lots of noise at higher ISOs. Am I doing something wrong or is it time for a new camera?
Hard to say. You don't say what you are doing. Post an example with the exif data intact to give us a little help to help you.

QuoteOriginally posted by doroth2 Quote
I'm looking into getting an external flash. I rarely use the built in flash because I don't like the way it makes pictures look. I would like to get something to mount on the camera that I can bounce and use to fill in. What's a decent flash to start with that's fairly intuitive and that I can use for a while? (I don't want to have to upgrade immediately if I get into flash photography, but I also don't want to spend a fortune).
Check out the Metz 48 AF-1 or 52 AF-1.

QuoteOriginally posted by doroth2 Quote
Finally, post processing. I've done none of this. Ever. I've always shot JPEG, but would like to start shooting in RAW and doing some editing. Should I be looking at Photoshop Elements or Lightroom?

Thanks!!!
I'd go with Lightroom. Its an easy to use but professional program for organizing, developing, and editing raw images, whereas elements is a basic photo editing program that happens to be able to develop raw images (at least I think it does).
01-05-2016, 10:51 AM   #3
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Pentax cameras are, I believe, set up to underexpose as standard, simply because it's possible to recover lost shadow data from an underexposed shot, but not from overexposed highlights.

All you need to do is use exposure compensation. You'll find a lot of Pentax togs leave their cameras with +0.3 to +0.7 Ev comp as a starting point.

Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/58-troubleshooting-beginner-help/81942-k2...#ixzz3wOSNvJ00
01-05-2016, 11:22 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnX Quote
Pentax cameras are, I believe, set up to underexpose as standard, simply because it's possible to recover lost shadow data from an underexposed shot, but not from overexposed highlights.

All you need to do is use exposure compensation. You'll find a lot of Pentax togs leave their cameras with +0.3 to +0.7 Ev comp as a starting point.

Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/58-troubleshooting-beginner-help/81942-k2...#ixzz3wOSNvJ00

Thanks JohnX.

I followed your link and it takes me to a thread about flashes. Tried searching "k20d underexposing" and got zero results. I wonder if it's because I'm mobile...

01-05-2016, 11:44 AM   #5
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I was never a big fan of the 16-segment light meter in the K20D. Pentax went to a 77-segment meter in the next model, the K-7. So I don't think you can expect the light meter to be great. You can get better at predicting when it'll be wrong, by looking at a scene for elements that the meter will not read correctly. Read up on light meters and how they read a scene. A DSLR is great for taking shots just to see what the camera will do. Post some examples of shots here and people can advise you on what the camera saw and how to make it better.

At ISOs above 800, the K20D starts to lose dynamic range quickly. This makes your photos look like someone turned the contrast up to 11 - some parts are exposed OK, but darker areas might fall into oblivion. It's similar to the look of the direct on-camera flash at its worst. I think at its highest ISO, the dynamic range is about 4 stops. You want about 8 stops for a decent JPG. Try to avoid ISOs above 800. I have lots of photos from my K-7, but only 0.8% of them are at ISO3200 or higher.

Lightroom will give you a lot more control of noise reduction. The K20D sensor has a lot of color noise (random speckles of color) but not as much luminance noise. Lightroom 4.4 does a great job on K20D noise. I was just never happy with that odd low-dynamic-range look to the images even after noise reduction.
01-05-2016, 11:51 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by doroth2 Quote
Thanks JohnX.

I followed your link and it takes me to a thread about flashes. Tried searching "k20d underexposing" and got zero results. I wonder if it's because I'm mobile...
Odd. I clicked the link and it took me straight to the relevant page.

Here's the full URL for the link> https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/58-troubleshooting-beginner-help/81942-k2...#ixzz3wOSNvJ00

The thread is entitled "K20D Underexposing"
01-05-2016, 12:48 PM   #7
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If you are shooting the kit lens (18-55mm) I'm sure it will underexpose in darker situations. Mine does too. And my K-r also does the same thing (same metering as the K20D? I don't even know...)

So if I'm using that lens (which doesn't happen very often anymore...) I'll have EV Compensation of +0.7 or even +1 all the time as default.

I use my DA 35mm 2.4 prime on the K-r most of the time for family pictures so the camera is usually set to +0.3 when using that lens. But there's also been days when I've had to set it to +1.0. But funny enough, with the K20D I rarely if ever need to use exposure compensation when shooting with primes, just zooms.

So every camera is a bit different... be acquainted to the EV compensation button and enjoy The K20D has a ton of manual controls that make shooting a pleasure.
01-05-2016, 01:56 PM   #8
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ChristianRock, I've been experimenting with EV compensation, but wouldn't it make more sense to just have a camera that properly exposes a picture when metered correctly? I understand it being better to underexpose than to overexpose, but it's frustrating that the K20 doesn't do what I feel like it should do. I guess I can live with it for now. You're right about the manual controls though. I rarely shoot in anything but manual.

JohnX, for some strange reason the link doesn't work on Tapatalk, but does on safari. I'm off to read it now. Thanks!

01-05-2016, 02:35 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by doroth2 Quote
ChristianRock, I've been experimenting with EV compensation, but wouldn't it make more sense to just have a camera that properly exposes a picture when metered correctly? I understand it being better to underexpose than to overexpose, but it's frustrating that the K20 doesn't do what I feel like it should do. I guess I can live with it for now. You're right about the manual controls though. I rarely shoot in anything but manual.

JohnX, for some strange reason the link doesn't work on Tapatalk, but does on safari. I'm off to read it now. Thanks!
It took some googling, but I was able to find the ISO comparision chart

Nominal ISO Measured ISO
100 77,8
200 156,9
400 315,4
800 638,3
1600 1209
3200 2368
6400 4446

So, the K20d does indeed underexpose by about .5ev. I remember using +0.7 EC on my K20d and just leaving it there.

On the other hand, other cameras have their problems too. In the same thread, they compared the sony a700

Nominal ISO Measured ISO
100 120
200 229,4
400 466,7
800 927,3
1600 1870,6
3200 3611,1
6400 7361,8

Which shows consistent overexposure. With this one, you'd have to set some EC too, just the other way around.
01-06-2016, 12:10 PM   #10
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I use lightroom 6 and elements 13 and they work very well together. 90% of what needs to be done can be done in lightroom really easy and it's well worth it IMO. It is a seamless jump to elements 13 with the DNG if I need to do a big clone or brush away stray hairs. Yeah you can do that in LR too but I find it easier in elements.

For what it's worth I have a K-3 and have yet to see a shot come out of it that was not a tad to a mile under exposed.
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