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06-30-2016, 02:53 AM   #1
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Q10 live view issues

Hello, dear Pentax Community!

I've been using Canon cameras for a long time, but I wanted to get a really small system camera, preferably one with a very small sensor (and small pixel pitch) too. So the Pentax Q10 seemed to be the obvious choice. I didn't hesitate long and went for it.

Unfortunately it seems that the live view of the Q10 doesn't allow me to work the same way I'm used from my Canon DSLR. There are some major issues for me. I really hope these are only due to my inexperience with the Q10.

1.) I can't get sufficient live view magnification. At 4x (which seems to be the maximum) I'm still far from being able to inspect the image at pixel level. I'm absolutely used to a high live view magnification on my Canon DSLR. With the Q10 I can't get close to the ease of manual focusing I'm used to. I'm really scratching my head why magnification is limited to only 4x (and why the magnified section can't be moved!).

2.) It looks like live view is disabled für HDMI usage?!! errr... isn't that the most interesting point about HDMI, to be able to use an external HDMI monitor for live view? Could tethering (with a small portable computer) resolve this issue a bit for me? Is there a good software solution for this available and will it provide a good, high-resolution live view image on the tethered computer?

3.) In manual mode, metering is no fun. I'm used from Canon that the live view directly represents the photo which is about to be taken. That means: Whenever I change the exposure settings, this is directly reflected by the live view image. When stopping down the image gets darker, and vice versa, same for shutter speeds and so on. This doesn't work with the Q10. The Q10 live view always represents an automatic exposure, and doesn't reflect the manual exposure settings at all. Ok, you could argue that it's better to use the histogram for setting the exposure anyway. However, the live histogram of the Q10 seems to represent only the live view, but not my manual exposure settings! Now this behaviour is seriously broken IMHO. I'm used from Canon to have an accurate live histogram for all 3 colors which really helps to get exposure perfect in manual mode. But with the Q10, I have to guess how much the manual exposure has to deviate from the automatic exposure. Not very helpful! Btw: The "bright/dark area" warning also just represents the live view... so it will show areas blinking even if I set the exposure correctly for them. All in all, this makes me really wonder how the manual mode of the Q10 is meant to be used. Being used to manual mode with Canon DSLRs, this is a big downer for me.

Maybe my expectations were too high for a tiny camera? Maybe the excellent build quality of the Q10 and excellent image quality (for such a small sensor) fooled me into expecting a fully professionally useable camera? Or is it just me who didn't understand its usage concepts?

Best,
Microfriend

06-30-2016, 03:57 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by microfriend Quote
Maybe my expectations were too high for a tiny camera? Maybe the excellent build quality of the Q10 and excellent image quality (for such a small sensor) fooled me into expecting a fully professionally useable camera? Or is it just me who didn't understand its usage concepts?
Probably a bit- the Q10 is old (the internals date back to the original model) and I don't think the line was ever intended for use by professionals in the classic sense of the term.

QuoteOriginally posted by microfriend Quote
2.) It looks like live view is disabled für HDMI usage?!! errr... isn't that the most interesting point about HDMI, to be able to use an external HDMI monitor for live view? Could tethering (with a small portable computer) resolve this issue a bit for me? Is there a good software solution for this available and will it provide a good, high-resolution live view image on the tethered computer?
The Q cameras don't support any sort of tethered live view as far as I'm aware.

QuoteOriginally posted by microfriend Quote
1.) I can't get sufficient live view magnification. At 4x (which seems to be the maximum) I'm still far from being able to inspect the image at pixel level. I'm absolutely used to a high live view magnification on my Canon DSLR. With the Q10 I can't get close to the ease of manual focusing I'm used to. I'm really scratching my head why magnification is limited to only 4x (and why the magnified section can't be moved!).
This is one of the camera's weaknesses, unfortunately. For best clarity I recommend that you disable focus peaking when using the magnification feature.

The Q7/Q-S1 go up to 6x as they have better (larger) sensors.

QuoteOriginally posted by microfriend Quote
3.) In manual mode, metering is no fun. I'm used from Canon that the live view directly represents the photo which is about to be taken. That means: Whenever I change the exposure settings, this is directly reflected by the live view image. When stopping down the image gets darker, and vice versa, same for shutter speeds and so on. This doesn't work with the Q10. The Q10 live view always represents an automatic exposure, and doesn't reflect the manual exposure settings at all. Ok, you could argue that it's better to use the histogram for setting the exposure anyway. However, the live histogram of the Q10 seems to represent only the live view, but not my manual exposure settings! Now this behaviour is seriously broken IMHO. I'm used from Canon to have an accurate live histogram for all 3 colors which really helps to get exposure perfect in manual mode. But with the Q10, I have to guess how much the manual exposure has to deviate from the automatic exposure. Not very helpful! Btw: The "bright/dark area" warning also just represents the live view... so it will show areas blinking even if I set the exposure correctly for them. All in all, this makes me really wonder how the manual mode of the Q10 is meant to be used. Being used to manual mode with Canon DSLRs, this is a big downer for me.
This was "fixed" on recent Pentax DSLR models, so it's possible that whatever replaces the Q-S1 will also offer it.

That said, M mode does give you an EV scale. Use it like you would in the good old days

What's more broken about the Q cameras, in my opinion, is the low monitor resolution. Without an EVF, half-VGA just doesn't cut it for live view. I'm surprised the Q7 didn't debut a 921k dot VGA screen.

Adam
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06-30-2016, 04:30 AM   #3
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Hi Adam,

thanks a lot for your quick and competent answer.

So I understand there's no real solution for these issues, and I expected too much.

I choose the Q10 because it's the most recent of the Q cameras with the smaller sensor size. The newer models have a larger sensor, which I didn't want.

Unfortunately, I doubt 6x live view magnification of the Q7/Q-S1 is enough, considering how much is missing at 4x. I guess, 16x would be more adequate. Interestingly, when displaying images which I've already taken, I can zoom up to 16x. Strange decision to limit it to 4x for live view.

Ok, so since neither tethering nor HDMI are supported with live view, only the tiny camera monitor can be used for live view. Having a big external display is incredibly helpful for about anything, and I surely don't want to miss this, so this is again a big downer for me. Having such a small screen, combined with only 4x live view magnification, makes manual focusing ridiculously more difficult compared to my old Canon DSLR using a big external monitor.

Unfortunately this looks like the Q10 is the wrong camera for me, since its firmware doesn't allow me to use its potential.

Thanks again,
Microfriend
06-30-2016, 08:12 AM   #4
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I own both a Q and Q7 and although their great camera, they're certainly not a replacement for a DSLR, nor as versatile. They're at their best when you want or need a small, lightweight and unobtrusive system...

Now trying to aswer your question:

1) For manual focus, the best is to use focus peaking and magnification, and 4x is more than enough to see if the focus peaking lines are sharp or not. There's not need to pixel peep on this. Just check the white lines and set the focus at the position they're sharpest... It's fast and easy and you should get focus right on in a few seconds once you get accustomed to it.

2) Mostly because there's no point in supporting tethering with the Q. As said above, the Q is made to be a small, lightweight, almost pocketable system. If you're willing to carry a large monitor and cable, you probably also willing to carry something larger than a Q... It's just defeated why you would use a Q in the first place. Same thing if you're in a studio setting. There's no need to use a small camera like the Q... So, although it will be fun to have tehering on the Q (as on any camera), it's probably one of the last thing you would want to do with a Q even if it had the feature...

3)
QuoteQuote:
All in all, this makes me really wonder how the manual mode of the Q10 is meant to be used. Being used to manual mode with Canon DSLRs, this is a big downer for me.
Well, manual mode on the Q just works like any DSLR from the last 50 years or so, no matter the model or maker. When the meter is centered on the EV sacle, the exposure is spot on for the selected exposure mode (multizone, centerweighted, spot). If it's on the left (negative value) or the right (positive values), it's underexposed or overexposed respectively. You can adjust it by changing aperture or shutter speed by turning the back wheel, using the +/- button to switch between both. All the Canon DSLR have seen in the last 20 years work the same, so I don't see what's so different from what your used to....

That said, no matter the brand or model of camera, adjusting exposure from you what see on the LCD is the worst way to adjust exposure and get bad results. You should learn to use and trust the meter. It's the way adjusting exposure should be done... The LCD is only good for framing...

QuoteOriginally posted by microfriend Quote
However, the live histogram of the Q10 seems to represent only the live view, but not my manual exposure settings!
Because, as said above, the LCD should be used for framing and the meter for exposure...

QuoteQuote:
I have to guess how much the manual exposure has to deviate from the automatic exposure.
Again, just use the EV scale and approriate exposure. No need to guess anything... And exactly the same way you should set the exposure with your Canon or any other camera. There's nothing special or fundamentally different with the Q here and all cameras from the last 50yrs or so work the same.

QuoteQuote:
Btw: The "bright/dark area" warning also just represents the live view... so it will show areas blinking even if I set the exposure correctly for them.
Because it shows you what you will get with the selected picture settings. Which is perfectly fine since most people using the Q will also want to use OOC jpeg as often as possible (although, sure, you will find people only shooting raw). This is the way camera was designed to be used. Again it's the meter that will tell you if the raw is correctly exposed. If you want to expose for a specific area, just use spot metering and exposure lock, as you would do with your, or any, DSLR... Much easier, faster and accurate than adjusting exposure by looking on the LCD screen...

QuoteQuote:
Unfortunately this looks like the Q10 is the wrong camera for me, since its firmware doesn't allow me to use its potential
Honestly, I think you just try to overwork the Q and make things more complicated than they should be. The point of the Q, and why people like it, is that it keeps things simple. You grab the camera, frame, press the trigger and take it back, all in an unobtrusive way. If you want to fine tune everything and pixel peep every small details, the Q will not cut it relative to your DSLR. The Q is more about spontaneity and grabing the moment than going for technical perfection and IQ...


Last edited by CarlJF; 06-30-2016 at 08:17 AM.
06-30-2016, 10:08 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
it's possible that whatever replaces the Q-S1 will also offer it.
I'm hoping that the Pentax Q-team indeed has a new body on the drawing board . . .
06-30-2016, 04:17 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marktax Quote
I'm hoping that the Pentax Q-team indeed has a new body on the drawing board . . .
I hope so. Maybe they're just waiting for the right hardware to hit the market so they can release a compelling successor. Shouldn't be too hard to come up with something that will appeal to the masses, given the success of the Theta.

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07-01-2016, 01:09 AM   #7
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Hello CarlJF,

QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
Well, manual mode on the Q just works like any DSLR from the last 50 years or so, no matter the model or maker. When the meter is centered on the EV sacle, the exposure is spot on for the selected exposure mode (multizone, centerweighted, spot). If it's on the left (negative value) or the right (positive values), it's underexposed or overexposed respectively. You can adjust it by changing aperture or shutter speed by turning the back wheel, using the +/- button to switch between both. All the Canon DSLR have seen in the last 20 years work the same, so I don't see what's so different from what your used to.... That said, no matter the brand or model of camera, adjusting exposure from you what see on the LCD is the worst way to adjust exposure and get bad results. You should learn to use and trust the meter. It's the way adjusting exposure should be done... The LCD is only good for framing...
Please excuse me, but I don't think so. This is the way how OLD SLRs worked... However old SLRs didn't have live view. Since quite a while, Canon DSLRs offer a 3 color live histogram on the live view in manual mode which precisely represents the manual exposure settings. This is an immensely helpful tool for precise exposure. Besides the live view always represents the manual exposure settings. Yes, you don't want to use this for "metering", but it is surely helpful that the live view shows a high-key image when I want a high key image... or that it shows a low-key image when I want a low-key image.

The Q10 fails to do so in manual mode, and the live histogram fails to represent the manual exposure settings. Moreover, as I explained before, the over/underexposure warning (blinking areas) doesn't work correctly too in manual mode. So this is clearly an issue.

Best,
Microfriend

---------- Post added 07-01-16 at 01:19 AM ----------

Another point:

QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
Honestly, I think you just try to overwork the Q and make things more complicated than they should be. The point of the Q, and why people like it, is that it keeps things simple. You grab the camera, frame, press the trigger and take it back, all in an unobtrusive way. If you want to fine tune everything and pixel peep every small details, the Q will not cut it relative to your DSLR. The Q is more about spontaneity and grabing the moment than going for technical perfection and IQ...
That's exactly what I don't want. So, if the Q cameras are just for spontaneously grabbing a moment without caring much for detail, they're not for me. A Canon DSLR (even the cheap entry level models) offers precise control, and that's what I am looking for.

I wanted a camera with a small sensor for different reasons, but if it lacks in control I have no use for it. I hoped the firmware of the Q series to be on par with the Canon entry level DSLRs regarding control, but it obviously isn't.

Best,
Microfriend
07-01-2016, 01:11 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by microfriend Quote
Hello CarlJF,

Please excuse me, but I don't think so. This is the way how OLD SLRs worked... However old SLRs didn't have live view. Since quite a while, Canon DSLRs offer a 3 color live histogram on the live view in manual mode which precisely represents the manual exposure settings. This is an immensely helpful tool for precise exposure. Besides the live view always represents the manual exposure settings. Yes, you don't want to use this for "metering", but it is surely helpful that the live view shows a high-key image when I want a high key image... or that it shows a low-key image when I want a low-key image.
Have you ever used the VF in your Canon ? Because it is exactly how it works... Even the newest 1Dx ii works like this.
If you want a better idea of exposure in LV, a turnaround is to set the picture mode to "neutral" and, instead of using M mode, use Av or Tv mode and adjust the other parameter with exposure compensation. You should see something very close to the actual result.

QuoteOriginally posted by microfriend Quote
That's exactly what I don't want. So, if the Q cameras are just for spontaneously grabbing a moment without caring much for detail, they're not for me. A Canon DSLR (even the cheap entry level models) offers precise control, and that's what I am looking for.

I wanted a camera with a small sensor for different reasons, but if it lacks in control I have no use for it. I hoped the firmware of the Q series to be on par with the Canon entry level DSLRs regarding control, but it obviously isn't.

Best,
Microfriend
I'm don't know exactly what you want to do with the Q or under what conditions. Before giving up, you should start a thread in the Q subsection on the forum detailing what you're trying to achieve, what lens you use, etc. Many people there used the Q for much more than spontaneous shot and have used it from extreme shot and extreme telephoto of bird shot. But they have used specific setting and accessories for these... Once they know what you try to achive, they will have a better chance to help you...


Last edited by CarlJF; 07-01-2016 at 02:20 PM.
07-01-2016, 04:48 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
Have you ever used the VF in your Canon ? Because it is exactly how it works... Even the newest 1Dx ii works like this.
If you want a better idea of exposure in LV, a turnaround is to set the picture mode to "neutral" and, instead of using M mode, use Av or Tv mode and adjust the other parameter with exposure compensation. You should see something very close to the actual result.



I'm don't know exactly what you want to do with the Q or under what conditions. Before giving up, you should start a thread in the Q subsection on the forum detailing what you're trying to achieve, what lens you use, etc. Many people there used the Q for much more than spontaneous shot and have used it from extreme shot and extreme telephoto of bird shot. But they have used specific setting and accessories for these... Once they know what you try to achive, they will have a better chance to help you...
Hi CarlJF,

I know how metering with a VF works, this is what I'm doing with analog 35mm film. With negative film this works really well since it's amost immune to overexposure. With digital cameras it works as well, however I have to be more careful to avoid overexposure. It's easier to get perfect exposure digitally with a histogram, especially for "slow photography" I prefer exposing by histogram in manual mode with live view. Of course this doesn't work so well with the Q10 since its live histogram is not very helpful in manual mode.

Sure, I noticed that I can use Av or Tv, these modes seem to be more usable than the manual mode on the Q10. However that's just a workaround, not a fully satisfying solution. I'd prefer to have the same kind of luxury like on my Canon DSLR.

I want to use the Q10 mostly for experimental purposes. It's amazing to have a system camera with such a small sensor. Maybe I'll keep it despite of its shortcomings, since the sensor is really, really good IMHO. For example, it allows to do very cool things with macro photography, but also for extremly narrow ("long") viewing angles. It's also quite nice for astrophotography on amateur level. There are many other interesting things which can be done. The usefulness is limited a bit mostly by the too low live view magnification, however it still can be useful.

I heared that there is a plugin from DNA software which supports tethering with the Pentax Q. I sent them a mail and asked if the Q10 is supported too, however no answer so far. Anyway, live view tethering might be the solution to resolve my main issue with the Q10. However, I don't know how well that works. Maybe there are other Q users who already did this, so this would be really interesting to find out.

Best,
Microfriend
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