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05-03-2020, 12:42 AM   #76
Des
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
I signed up to Flickr, will post images down below!
Good move. I see you worked out how to post from Flickr too - it took me a while to work it out at first, so you are doing well!
QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
I'll leave NR on for now. I'm not sure that I'll start post-processing any time soon.
I'd still suggest that you shoot in RAW + jpg. Save the RAW files for later (preferably both on a hard drive and in the cloud), for when you decide to take up post-processing. The scope for processing a jpg image is limited, but it's amazing what you can do with a RAW file with a little practice. Even some quick and basic processing can take your images to another level. Your future self will thank you for keeping the RAW images.
QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
When I override one of these choices in P mode, will then the other two be automatically adjusted? For example, if I change aperture, will shutter speed and ISO automatically change?
Yes.
QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
Also, when people mention Pentax’s hyper mode, is it the P mode that is referred to?
Yes
QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
What is the difference between the manual and this ebook?
The manual just describes the basics - e.g. this button does this. The ebook has a lot more information - e.g. when you should use this function, how it works and other ways to do it.
QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
Can anyone see if the camera and lens do not seem to be working as they should?
Looks fine to me. The detail in the central part of the images is excellent - typical of the 18-135. The exception is the one of the rock - f3.5 at 18mm is the one setting (apart from very narrow apertures where diffraction severely affects sharpness) where this lens is not sharp anywhere. (That may be a limitation for astro, but not really a problem otherwise.) Notice how much better it is at 18mm f8.

It is always prudent to do a quick test of a newly-acquired lens for decentering: How to Check Your Lens for Decentering - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com

I hesitate to mention this, but with the baby coming, you should think about getting a flash as well. The popup flash on the camera is just OK in a pinch, and OK for fill, but if you are shooting indoors you really want one that can tilt and swivel so that you can bounce the beam off walls and the ceiling. That will produce much much better, more even, light. If you are on a tight budget, you can get a very cheap manual exposure flash, but I'd suggest that one with Pentax through-the-lens (PTTL) metering would be a lot more convenient. You need one with tilt and swivel. Here are some options: B&H Photo - PTTL flash tilt and swivel

I have the Godox TT350P. It's small and lightweight (runs on 2 AA batteries), very well featured, can be used wirelessly off-camera with another Godox flash or a Godox X-Pro-P ($US69 at B&H). Slow recycle time and not so good if you live in a palace with 10m ceilings, but power is adequate for most situations. If you want more power (and bulk and weight), the YN585EX would be another option, but if you ever want to use it off-camera you would need to get some kind of trigger - the good ones are expensive.

If you could pick up a second-hand Pentax AF360FGZ II for a good price that would also be an excellent option. (Make sure it is version II, not version I, because the original model does not swivel.) It has lots of features, is powerful enough for most uses, is WR and can be triggered off-camera by the popup flash of the K-5ii (with or without the popup contributing to the lighting of the scene).


Last edited by Des; 05-05-2020 at 12:01 AM.
05-03-2020, 09:48 AM - 1 Like   #77
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
Noise reduction, is this something I want turned on?
Menu Camerasymbol 3:
Noice Reduction at high ISO:
ISO NR: Custom instead of auto

ISO 80/100/200/400: OFF
ISO 800/1600: 1
ISO 3200/6400: 2
ISO 12800 higher: 3

thats how I set it and found it gave the best results

AUTO is too strong noice-reduction for my liking
05-03-2020, 04:40 PM   #78
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Your test photos look fine, overall. Focus is right where it should be. In the cloudy-day landscape shot, there was not really anything of substance enough to focus on. But with landscapes of this sort, as a general rule you will need more depth-of-field (DOF) so both the foreground and the distant objects will be sharp- that is, seem in focus.

Also in a scene like this with dimmer lighting, some hike in ISO sensitivity will be needed, which will also provide more latitude for achieving more DOF by closing down your aperture some. That was true to some extent with your shots of the automobile. You can see that one small part of the vehicle is sharp, while other parts not so. You CANNOT do these things when shooting in the green mode. You can do them when shooting in the P mode, while still getting fully automatic exposure, but then you can also instantly select a different aperture just by doing so with your thumb dial. (this is using the exclusive Pentax Hyper System for taking instant control, overriding the fully automatic exposure system) You will then still have automatic exposure, since the camera will compensate for your aperture selection by changing the shutter speed accordingly. You can do likewise when needing to change the shutter speed, then the camera will respond by changing the aperture to keep your exposure on target. The above will not be available in the green mode.

You likewise change your shutter speed using the FRONT finger dial. (just added)

Closing down your lens's aperture means you select a larger number value. When it comes to the aperture value, a larger number means a smaller, narrower aperture, while a SMALLER number (just corrected) means a larger, more open aperture. A larger aperture (smaller number) will let in more light, so your shutter speed will be faster to compensate, but though that is fine when you need a higher shutter speed, it also means less DOF. But for some photographic needs, you will actually want to reduce DOF.

So, next thing to do is get out of the green mode, and put your mode dial on P. We will get to the other mode options later. Once you've done that, take notice of the ok button on the back, which is surrounded by 4 other buttons. The button to the right of the ok button is to access the Custom Image menus. This will not be available in the green mode. So first be sure your mode dial is on P (fully automatic Program operation). The Custom Image choice screen should come up. Now the 4 surrounding buttons will serve to navigate. When the screen comes up, you will probably find the "Bright" category is already selected. If not, navigate across to find that category. Once on it, look down the listings, and unless someone has already made an alteration, the last two departments have their adjustment up by one notch, but are still shown in green (normal) as these 2 departments (contrast and sharpening) being up by a factor of one is default in the "Bright" category. Now use the down button to tab down to the bottom department (sharpening), then by using the right-side button, increase the sharpening level yet one more notch, which will then be one notch above default. (I've found this can be done without negative consequences with this 16 mp camera, but I would not try it nor need it on my 24mp KP). Now, by using your thumb dial, also add "Fine Sharpening" by putting an "F" by the "S". I have implemented "Fine Sharpening" on all my Pentax camera models. Now hit the ok button and this is done. Later, you might adjust sharpening in the "Natural" category to be the same as the "Bright" category, and perhaps the "Landscape" category as well. Do not do this on the "Portrait" category. Each category has its particular profile of color pallet, saturation, contrast, sharpness etc. etc. I doubt that other camera makes have this kind of adjustable feature, though probably the ability to alter sharpening, etc via the camera's menu system, but not being differentiated by category of usage.

Going into the general menu system, have your Program line set to 'Normal". The other settings are for specific situations that will be ongoing for a period of time.

Last edited by mikesbike; 05-04-2020 at 12:16 PM.
05-04-2020, 10:14 PM   #79
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Another important note I absent-mindedly omitted: If you have changed aperture or shutter speed by using thumb or finger dials while in P mode (which puts the camera into Pentax Hyper Program), you can instantly restore full P mode simply by a touch of the green button. On a K-5 body, the green button is located on the back just above the AF button. Sorry if my omission caused you any confusion!

05-05-2020, 06:06 AM   #80
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Good move. I see you worked out how to post from Flickr too - it took me a while to work it out at first, so you are doing well!
...
Thanks, it did take me a few tries as well before getting it right.
That does sound best to do, save both raw and jpeg.
I see, so do most people prefer not to use this lens at 18mm wide open because it results in a not so sharp photo?
I’ll look into flash later on then, thanks for the tip!
Thanks for all the help!

QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
Menu Camerasymbol 3:
Noice Reduction at high ISO:
ISO NR: Custom instead of auto

ISO 80/100/200/400: OFF
ISO 800/1600: 1
ISO 3200/6400: 2
ISO 12800 higher: 3

thats how I set it and found it gave the best results

AUTO is too strong noice-reduction for my liking
Thanks, I’ll experiment with those values.

Thanks mikesbike, I really appreciate the time and energy you put into helping out. I took my camera out yesterday and practiced with focusing, p mode etc.
QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
Another important note I absent-mindedly omitted: If you have changed aperture or shutter speed by using thumb or finger dials while in P mode (which puts the camera into Pentax Hyper Program), you can instantly restore full P mode simply by a touch of the green button. On a K-5 body, the green button is located on the back just above the AF button. Sorry if my omission caused you any confusion!
Don’t worry about it! I was already aware of the green button, I had been reading a bit about pentax before buying and have read a good amount in the manual and ebook so I had already picked up that bit of info somewhere.

I was out practicing yesterday and it was fun but I’ll be honest with you all, I did not know what I was doing. I do understand the camera relatively well, I understand most of the basic functions, buttons and terminology but when to use/change things is a mystery. I will continue practicing and tweaking aperture, shutter, iso etc and try to see how it affects the photo.
05-05-2020, 02:29 PM - 2 Likes   #81
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
I was out practicing yesterday and it was fun but I’ll be honest with you all, I did not know what I was doing. I do understand the camera relatively well, I understand most of the basic functions, buttons and terminology but when to use/change things is a mystery. I will continue practicing and tweaking aperture, shutter, iso etc and try to see how it affects the photo.
It's the same for everyone starting out with a camera which allows for control of everything. I'd suggest beginning by trying to understand the effect of using different apertures and different shutter speeds.

Maybe start with aperture. The simplest way to practise different aperture settings is to turn the mode dial to Av (Aperture Value), which means that you set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed and ISO (unless the ISO is fixed). Turn the rear dial to adjust the aperture.

A smaller number like f4 means a wider aperture, which means it lets in more light during the exposure (and therefore allows for a shorter exposure time and/or lower ISO setting). It also gives a shorter DOF. This is good for subject isolation. A larger number, like f11, means a narrower aperture, which means it lets in less light during the exposure. It gives a greater DOF, which is good when you want a bigger area in focus. There are apps and online tools that will calculate for you the DOF when you input the sensor size (APS-C in the K-5ii), focal length, aperture and distance to subject.

For conventional landscapes, photographers typically want greater DOF, so use a narrow aperture. The trick then is to select a focus point in the scene which maximises the area in acceptable focus. There are various rules of thumb for achieving this (e.g. focus one-third of the way into the scene, or focus double the distance from the nearest object you want in focus) but the classic way to do it is to use the hyperfocal distance. Read about that. Some apps and online DOF calculators will also calculate the hyperfocal distance for you.

So why not just use the narrowest possible aperture for the greatest DOF in shooting landscapes? The main reason is that when you narrow the aperture beyond a certain point, resolution declines because of diffraction. With the 18-135 the best resolution across the frame is generally at f8, although f11 is pretty good too. It falls away after that. So stick to f8 or f11 for landscapes when you can. (The only reason to go narrower - f16, f22 etc - is when you want a long exposure and the image would otherwise be overexposed.)

If want subject isolation (e.g. commonly for portraits, pets or flowers), use a wider aperture. The widest aperture might not give you enough DOF to get the whole area you want in focus - use the DOF calculator to work it out (with practice you will be able to do it from sight). The other thing to remember is that with the 18-135, the corners and edges are soft until the lens is stopped down (ie aperture is narrowed) to f8 or f11, so if using a wider aperture, ensure that the subject is roughly in the middle portion of the frame. The soft corners and edges aren't a bad thing in this situation - they can accentuate the sharpness of the subject in the central area of the image.

Once you have got the hang of adjusting the aperture, then move to varying shutter speed. The simplest way to do that is to set the mode dial to Tv (Time Value), which means you set the shutter speed (ie exposure time) and the camera sets the aperture and ISO (unless the ISO is fixed). Set the shutter speed with the front dial.

If you can use a tripod or other solid base, so much the better. That is always the best thing for landscapes and the only way to reliably get long exposure images. If you are using a tripod, the best way to go is generally to use Live View for focusing and shoot with a remote shutter release or use the self-timer (this turns off Shake Reduction too, which is recommended for tripod-mounted shots). When used properly a tripod allows for much slower shutter speeds without camera shake.

But much of the time you may need to shoot handheld, so the first thing to do with shutter speed is to determine what minimum speed you need to reliably avoid camera shake at various focal lengths, when used handheld. The camera's shake reduction helps here, but the old film camera rule of thumb of 1 divided by focal length (e.g. 1/30th second for 30mm focal length) is a good starting point. As this formula indicates, the longer the focal length (that is, the greater the magnification of the scene), the faster that minimum acceptable shutter speed will be. You can often get away with slower shutter speeds at wide angles than at telephoto focal lengths.

I'd strongly suggest that you practise your handheld shooting technique so that you have better control and less risk of camera shake with slower shutter speeds. Technique really matters. Read this excellent article: https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/long-exposure-handhelds/introduction.html I find it worthwhile revisiting this article from time to time to continuously work on improving technique.

You then need to work out what effect various shutter speeds have on subject motion - the speed to freeze motion and the speed to get a blurry effect, according to the speed of each type of subject (from a toddler to a jet aircraft). You might get a non-blurry photo of a crawling toddler at 1/125th second, but for a F1 race car or a swift in flight 1/1250th second might not be enough. If you want blur (e.g. a panning shot tracking a cyclist in which the cyclist is sharp enough but the wheels and background show motion blur), you will need to experiment with different shutter speeds to see how slow you need to go to get the effect you want.

As an example, to get the effect of movement of the train and the people on the platform, I had to shoot this at 0.8 seconds:


To get the effect of the moving water in the waterfall, 1/8th second (often you need to go slower that that, up to 0.5 secs or 1 sec):


At the other end of the spectrum, to freeze the motion of a bird in flight at 420mm, 1/2000th second:


Most of the time it will be somewhere between these extremes. For example, to convey a sense of the motion of the incoming wave, without making it too blurry, here I used 1/50th second (this was with the 18-135 at 31mm):

You just have to try different settings and see the results.

If you are ready to try setting both the aperture and shutter speed, try TAv mode. In this mode, you set the aperture and shutter speed and the camera sets the ISO. (This only works if the ISO is floating, not fixed.) This is a kind of semi-manual mode and it's a Pentax special. (It's the mode I use the most.)

I'd suggest you check out some online tutorials about these things.

QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
so do most people prefer not to use this lens at 18mm wide open because it results in a not so sharp photo?
I only know about my own practice. But don't worry too much, because when shooting at 18mm you tend to want greater DOF anyway. I rarely use any wide angle lens at its widest aperture. If you get into wide-angle astro-photography this can really matter, but if you do that you would probably want to get a more suitable specialist lens.

Last edited by Des; 05-06-2020 at 03:16 PM.
05-05-2020, 07:25 PM - 1 Like   #82
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
I was out practicing yesterday and it was fun but I’ll be honest with you all, I did not know what I was doing. I do understand the camera relatively well, I understand most of the basic functions, buttons and terminology but when to use/change things is a mystery. I will continue practicing and tweaking aperture, shutter, iso etc and try to see how it affects the photo.
This is understandable. When I started out I didn't know anything either. It was so long ago, there only film cameras, and none had any automatic features whatsoever. My first project was shooting a stage event with stage lighting. My experienced friend who showed me how to work the camera's controls also told me what aperture and shutter speed to use, as well as film type. He also instructed me on how too properly hold the camera when shooting. He told me to use the settings he advised and to ignore the camera's meter-reading. Without his advice, I could not have yet known that just using the camera's meter indications for setting exposure at that stage event, the meter would have included the dark background of the stage in the reading, so going by that, the subjects who were in the bright lighting would have turned out badly overexposed. All other tricky lighting situations I had to learn by trial and error, spending money for film and development in the process.

You will not master all of this overnight. Doing is indeed the best way of learning! The great thing now is that you don't have to pay for film and development, on top of not knowing how your efforts have turned out until picking up your slides or prints. Modern DSLR cameras are costly, but in the long run are cheaper than shooting film, and now are more capable! Just do the camera's setup as I described. Practice using the spot AF and recomposing for your shot.

Once you learn some things and gain some experience, you'll find you can do things not possible with the usual phones, etc. that are commonly used (though they have become more quality-oriented and sophisticated). With those devices, control of factors like aperture for DOF or shutter speed by the user is simply beyond their capacity, while their main attraction is convenience, and also practical instant-availability.

The instructive advice by Des above is a good reference. Keep in mind what he is saying regarding the focal length you are using balanced against shutter speed. The more telephoto is your focal length for hand-held shooting, the higher your shutter speed will have to be for best clarity. If you think about it, this makes sense. Just zoom all the way to 135mm, look through the VF as you train on a subject that will fill the center area, and notice how difficult it is to steady the image as you hold the camera, compared to zooming back to a shorter FL. Practice holding properly, as I described in post # 74, 2nd paragraph. The camera's in-body SR was a welcome advancement when it arrived. Before, much high shutter speeds were needed for good results. In most other brands, this feature is only available in the lens, not the camera body. With Pentax, even much older lenses benefit from having SR. While you are at it, and you are operating in an auto mode such a "P", as you zoom in and out while pointing the camera into an evenly lit area (like evenly-lit grass) and no other subject, (you can even temporarily turn off the AF by switching to MF so the AF does not hunt) you will notice as you activate the system with the half-press, that the camera's built-in system will automatically set a higher shutter speed as you zoom to the longer focal length, then a lower shutter speed as you return to a shorter FL. Of course, the lighting has to be exactly the same in the frame. (then be sure to restore AF)

By means of exercising your own control, you will be able to do things like increase DOF so in those car shots you took, the entire car is sharply in focus, or decrease DOF to emphasize a particular part of the car, while the rest is somewhat blurred out of focus. You can likewise include several subjects in good focus, while somewhat blurring the background so what you want emphasized stands out from the background, or you can increase DOF more if the background is very scenic, in order to include that in your composition. Then you can decrease DOF much more to greatly blur the background so a subject will stand out in bold relief from it. All this is a balancing act between aperture setting and also the FL, because the more telephoto, the less DOF you will have in the frame at the same aperture setting.

You will also be able to either freeze action completely, even fast-moving action, or you can slow it down and instead of freezing, a sense of motion to one degree or another will be the result- through control of shutter speed balanced against the activity involved. You can gain expertise enough so a subject's arms or legs will show movement, while the rest of the body and face may not. Just to give you an idea some of what the tool you have acquired is capable of.

Your lens is a very good one, even at 18mm- just stop down the aperture, even a click or two will provide improvement, especially at edges. It will do justice to landscapes , etc. as Des has said- with this kind of thing you need more DOF anyway, so you'll be using around f/11 if lighting permits. As lighting diminishes, you will need to increase ISO sensitivity to allow more aperture adjustment and more shutter speed for hand held shots. The K-5 series is very good at preserving quality with good noise control and preservation of detail. Of course the lower you can keep it the better, but don't be afraid to increase when needed.

Last edited by mikesbike; 05-18-2020 at 07:17 PM.
05-06-2020, 01:07 AM - 1 Like   #83
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I suggest to learn about the 2 basic modes first and maybe start just with


1.
Av = Aperture Priority.
You can google Av mode Pentax and you'll find a lot, for example:


and continue with:


2.
Tv = Shutter Priority.

(oh... it's Canon...)


Understand DOF = Depth of Field:

In German its called Schärfentiefe or Tiefenschärfe and thus has already the technical aspect in the word, i.e.
- Tiefe = Depth
and
- Schärfe = Sharpness

Your 18-135 lens starts with f3,5 at 18mm which is "wide open" for this lens (and any other lens with starts with f3,5)
If you would have the DA50/1,8, then this prime-lens starts with f1.8

The difference in f-stops between a prime and a zoom lens is that a prime has just one focal length, i.e. 50mm with the DA50
but a zoom like yours has 18/21/24/35/50/55/70/85/105/135mm: All those are particular length which replace those many primes but at a price (quality or more size/weight)
And... the f-stops climp a bit up, i.e. your 18-135 has f 5.6 at 135mm, meaning wide open as 135mm is f5.6

So the next word you need to know is "stopping down".

With AV-Mode you stop down at 18mm from 3,5 = wide open all the steps which you read on both displays with your K5II when you turn the back dial situated left of the AF/AE-L button:
You stop down to lets say 4,0/4,5/5,6/6,3 etc. way up to f22 or f32 depending on the lens

And thus you allow more back-and front-sharpness (the depth of the field/image = DOF)


So with f3.5 you focus on a person but the back and front are not sharp and here we come to another important aspect and the next important word to understand: Bokeh!

Bokeh is very imporant to some, to others less. It is very important with flowers, portrait, single objects and less important wide angle landscape or architecture (but this is just a guideline, it can be different).

Modern Pentaxlenses have rounded aperture blades. They allow a very mellow soft bokeh, but it also depends on quantity of blades
(the f = aperture)

There are vintage primes which have many blades and allow a socalled squirly bokeh... which some love and play with.
It is a kind of art because bokeh with DSLR cameras is very different to analog SLR cameras! DSLR cameras allow to compose with bokeh.


I hope this is not already too much but I find it worth to know in relation with aperture priority Av.


Tv (shutter-priority) can also be translated as "time value" i.e. the exposure time is what you dial with the front wheel!


And then you have the 'Pentax only' mode called Tav which is a combination of both:_
You select aperture with the back dial and exposure time with the front dial.
(But... this is how the dials are chosen by Pentax, you can alter all this in the menu and many do so)

So my suggestion is to understand what aperture and f-stops are for and thus Av mode and DOF!
The minimum basics of photography.


You see, all those of us which learned with analog cameras have this huge advantage, we had to learn it!
(well, of course there were automatic point and shoot cameras but we are talking about the real thing)
My first camera was a Zeiss Ikon bellars Stuttgart... I had to guess distance, measure with an external light meter etc.

The first SLR Pentax with AV and TV.... what a revolution! And my first f1.4 lens, a Canon FD1.4/50 with the Canon A1.


So you need to learn it new but it is worth it.

When you master Av, you have gone a great deal.


And then to learn intentional over- + underexposure, i.e. exposurecorrection in different light situations.
For example you want to take photos when its already dark but you have wonderful moonlight.
Or sunset / sunrise.


Last edited by photogem; 05-07-2020 at 01:33 AM.
05-06-2020, 01:31 PM - 1 Like   #84
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More helpful information! Good explanations. After many years of photography, and still with film, I got my first "modern" camera- the Pentax PZ-1p, which was designed vey like our Pentax flagship DSLR models are now. When I saw "Av" and "Tv" I said, "what the hell is that?" I soon figured "Av" means "Aperture value". But "Time value" took a little longer for me to translate into "shutter speed" but that is what it means. The two modes are traditionally called aperture priority (or aperture preferred) and shutter priority (or shutter preferred). They essentially mean still an automatic exposure operation by the camera where the camera sets exposure according to its light meter reading, but you control aperture value (Av) while it sets the shutter speed accordingly to balance the exposure, or you control the shutter speed (Tv) while then the camera sets the aperture accordingly. Aperture priority was the first-ever development of an automatic exposure system in a camera. When I got my first such in the Pentax ME Super, I was delighted.

When shooting in P mode, then making use of the exclusive Pentax Hyper System, this system allows you to override the fully automatic mode to select your preference of either shutter speed or aperture- on the fly without having to first change the mode dial setting. The Pentax PZ-1 and 1p being the first to come up with this brilliant design, way back in the mid-1990's. It does not actually replace the Av and Tv mode options. Upon turning off the camera, and you have the mode dial on P, the Hyper system operation, if it has been activated is cancelled, as it is when hitting the green button. So if you want to shoot continuously in Av or in Tv over an extended period, including turning the camera off and on, and also situations like extensive work with flash, then use the mode dial. It is a wonderful system, having these options, and the fastest, most efficient operating design around.

QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
You see, all those of us which learned with analog cameras have this huge advantage, we had to learn it.
Ah, yes! A kindred spirit here. It was a slow process, but it was fun.

---------- Post added 05-06-20 at 01:34 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
The first SLR Pentax with AV and TV.... what a revolution
I know the feeling- it was exhilarating!

Very good videos, photogem!

And thanks for the German term. I am always interested in learning some German. My grandfather (b. 1875) came from Dresden. He was a mechanical engineer. He spoke 7 languages, including Latin and ancient Greek. But he also loved photography as well as music. He played violin. His older sister became the star soprano of the Dresden Opera. He was also an athlete, becoming singles champion of Germany in sculling. We still have many of the photos he took back in Germany, and also those taken aboard ship on his way to the US, and street scenes in NYC upon his arrival in 1905. Amazingly good quality for the era. He had a job offer overseeing mining machinery in North Carolina, where he met my grandmother. Later they moved to Akron Ohio, as he accepted an offer from Harvey Firestone to be his chief engineer for his tire production, and there he raised his family. In 1936, his children already grown, leaving his wife to attend the household, he came up to Detroit with one daughter to accept a very attractive position as chief engineer at US Rubber Uniroyal Tires. A year later, my parents, back in Akron, wanted to get married, but my father had no job, so my grandfather managed to get him into the factory in Detroit, which is where I came into the world!

My grandfather was fluent in English well before coming to the US, so English was always spoken at home, thus my father never learned any German. I remember my grandfather, as we were together very often. Sunday dinner was a regular thing, and we belonged to the canoe club on Belle Isle, the city's great island park, the bridge being only a few blocks away. During the Summer, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra played there on weekends at the band shell. We always went together. Detroit was wonderful back then. He died suddenly when I was still a small child.

I have always wanted to take a trip over, and have been thinking about when I might be ready, but now look at the situation! My interest in the German language was further stimulated due to my taking an interest in music-listening, and after we finally got a record player at home. I was then 20 years old. I could not follow what was being expressed in Beethoven's 9th symphony as I listened, and knowing I was missing the impact as it was intended, I was determined to learn this text and its meaning. Not being able to afford college, I did the same as always- I got books, studied, and taught myself. Now, many record-players later, I am still an avid listener, and contribute to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. They have a special feature- it is called "Instant Replay". For as little as $50 per year contribution, you can have access to their library of videos taken during live performances over the past several years, all in high-definition picture and sound. A concert in your own home! The camera work is excellent- giving you the best seat in the house! But now, due to this situation, it is currently being offered free! Just go to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra website.

Last edited by mikesbike; 05-06-2020 at 02:56 PM.
05-15-2020, 10:50 PM   #85
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Hi!

I am not a professional photographer.

I have one daughter born in 1995. My Pentax ME Super born in 1983 was starting to wear down by the late 1990s and early to mid-2000s. Then I obtained a few digital point and shoot cameras, and early on the sensors were poor. I regret I didn't document my daughter's childhood the way it should have been documented.

Circa 2011 I obtained a nice Kodak point-and-shoot, but it had poor performance indoors.

Circa 2014 I obtained a Pentax K200D, and it was not bad, but not great in low light, and my vintage flash sometimes but rarely helped.

I bought a gently used K5 in 2015. It was pretty much state-of-the-art compared to its Nikon and Canon peers when introduced, and a bit less expensive. It still performs well for me. It has < 14,000 shutter clicks. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, dslr cameras and lenses are a balancing act. My friends who are more avid photographers than me advised me to just work on accumulating good glass after I acquired this K5, so over the past 5-years that was my focus. But, I buy used glass on a budget.

I bought the K5 gently used. Most days I see no reason to move up. I would like to interest my 24-year old daughter in photography. I would like her to be able to document her children's lives if she has any. I did not document her childhood as well as I would have liked. She was growing up between the era when my Pentax ME Super started to fail and expensive but lousy point-and-shoot digital cameras were marketed.

If you are like me, and careful with money, when you overspend for the body, you underspend for lenses. So, you want to start out with a decent but not overly expensive body, a 50mm or less prime lens, a decent telephoto lens capable of zooming in and out. And, if you were to get a 3rd lens, buy a vintage lens.

I recommend you buy a vintage manual focus lens because there is a lot of good glass from that era. Some of that glass may not be quite as good as comparable models today, but they force you to learn more about photography than you could ever learn from fully automatic equipment.

Two key lenses I have: SMC Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8. It is a really great economical prime lens which produces a near professional image. Pentax has better prime lenses for a lot more money, but your eyesight has to be very sharp to catch any issues with this lens.

The Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5 gives a lot of bang for the buck in a zoom lens.

A few weeks ago I picked up a used Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC for a good price. The reviews on here are a bit skewed in both directions, this lens in limited use by me has made outstanding images. It is difficult to focus in the wider apertures, but focusing at wide apertures is challenging. It is fun to try wide apertures, but not necessary with most photography. There are 3 automatic lenses, and if you want a very good manual lens the SMC Pentax-M f/1.7 50mm from the early 1980s is highly rated, and inexpensive.
05-17-2020, 06:22 PM - 2 Likes   #86
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
...
QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
...
QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
...
Thanks, I've been using your information, watched videos and read more, and it has helped a great deal.
It really is fun learning to use a camera. However, I sometimes am so focused on getting the settings right that the composition instead turns out terrible.
I have uploaded a few more of my practice shots to flickr that turned out good (or better, than earlier attempts), will be posted at the end of this post if anyone wants to see.

My partner and I even got around to using the camera on a little outing last week, would really like some feedback on those photos but will post them later. She loves the camera by the way, no complaints or anything, she might be even more excited than I am to learn and start taking photos.. I've already started teaching her what I've learned so far, will probably continue that way where I'll pass along knowledge to her.

What is the next thing you would recommend me thinking about when it comes to using the camera? I will be practicing Av, Tv, thinking about DoF etc and all the other things you've all written, but I'm curious as to what the next for example setting is that can be useful thinking about. I have been frequently playing with exposure compensation lately.

Also, do your professions have anything to do with photography? Or is it just a passion?

QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
...
And thanks for the German term. I am always interested in learning some German. My grandfather (b. 1875) came from Dresden. He was a mechanical engineer. He spoke 7 languages, including Latin and ancient Greek. But he also loved photography as well as music. He played violin.
...
As too am I, but I have the problem where I think all languages sound interesting but I haven't actually tried learning a new language (besides all those Spanish classes in school). Right now I am trying to decide between Russian, French or German. However, I am busy teaching my partner Persian at the moment. I surprise myself by how much I know since I have never been schooled in the language, it has just been spoken at home growing up. I can surprisingly explain grammatical rules, different verb tenses etc. I think a lot of grammar and language structure learned in school for Swedish and English set a pattern that made it possible for me to now apply it to Persian as I teach her.
And I am also thinking about finding a used viola to learn to play as well.. I am not a mechanical engineer though so I guess you wouldn't accidentaly mistake me for your grandfather, besides the difference in time.

QuoteOriginally posted by mroeder75 Quote
Hi!

I am not a professional photographer.

I have one daughter born in 1995. My Pentax ME Super born in 1983 was starting to wear down by the late 1990s and early to mid-2000s. Then I obtained a few digital point and shoot cameras, and early on the sensors were poor. I regret I didn't document my daughter's childhood the way it should have been documented.
....
Hi mroeder! Thanks for the advice, also great to hear that you are happy with your K5, we really like our camera, also bought used.
I'm sorry to hear about your regret but hopefully you can capture nice moments now. And don't be too sad, I personally for example hated being in photos as a kid so there aren't too many photos of me after a certain age. Things really changed as I got older! Anyways, life can be filled with many joys, you shouldn't let regret bring you down too much.


Do you use autofocus in low/poor light with your K5?
I'm actually thinking about getting us a SMC Pentax F or FA 28mm as a prime. I think I would like that focal lenght, looked up photos online at different focal lengths to compare.


My practice shots:


Parking lot meet..




Caught a guy running up the stairs, shot this just as he slowed down to check his phone


Blackbird singing in the dead of [day]




Hotel which shifts color depending on weather/temperature/light?



Last edited by Fiaskemist; 05-17-2020 at 06:32 PM.
05-17-2020, 07:40 PM - 1 Like   #87
Des
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
It really is fun learning to use a camera. However, I sometimes am so focused on getting the settings right that the composition instead turns out terrible.
It's great that you and your partner are enjoying this. Like any skill, once you get the basics the scope for creativity increases. After a while, the basics like setting the aperture and shutter speed, focusing and adjusting exposure don't require so much conscious thought - you can then devote your concentration to composition. You mentioned earlier that you and your partner both do sketching and painting, so you are probably ahead of most beginners when it comes to composition. I can see a good eye in the sample shots.
QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
What is the next thing you would recommend me thinking about when it comes to using the camera? I will be practicing Av, Tv, thinking about DoF etc and all the other things you've all written, but I'm curious as to what the next for example setting is that can be useful thinking about. I have been frequently playing with exposure compensation lately.
Here are some to go on with:
1. Technique in stance and shooting. On this, make a careful study of this excellent article: Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds - Introduction - In-Depth Articles I mentioned it earlier, but I mention it again because it is really invaluable.
2. Focusing. Read about the camera's different focusing modes and when to use one or another. (I used to use centre point focus and recompose, but at the suggestion of a member here I have switched to selectable single point. It takes some getting used to but have come to prefer it.) Read about the sensitivity of various focus points. Try practising in challenging situations like low light and when the subject is obscured. Try manual focusing and manual override of the AF. For tracking moving subjects, read up the various threads here which suggest suitable settings. Try back button AF and see whether it works for you.
3. Exposure metering and adjustments. Read about the camera's metering options. Read about whether to link AE point to AF point. Look up stuff on "exposing to the right" and avoiding blown highlights. Read about exposure bracketing. Exposure choices are greatly affected by whether you are shooting RAW - if you are, it often pays to underexpose, because you it helps to avoid blown highlights and the shadows can be brought up easily in PP.
4. Using flash effectively. This is a big topic but here's a good start: Strobist: Lighting 101: Introduction

Some people might add setting white balance (WB), but I'd put that down the list; most of the time Auto WB is OK, and if you shoot in RAW you can adjust it afterwards. It's always helpful to take a shot early in the session that provides something to meter from - there are gizmos for this but a grey card (Gray card - Wikipedia) is generally enough. Even something that is 18% grey will do fine! There are situations where manually setting the WB helps though - where you can confidently predict that the camera will get it wrong. Indoor lighting is often like that.

QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
Also, do your professions have anything to do with photography? Or is it just a passion?
It's just a hobby for me, so take what I say with a grain of salt. ;-) There are many here who are current or former pro or semi-pro photographers or photography teachers. Their advice is always to be respected.
QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote
My practice shots:
Lots of good stuff here. You should be very pleased.

I'll just comment on the bird ones.

The parking lot shot shows the limits of the 18-135 for birding. The subject is too small in the frame (especially with a 16mp sensor, which doesn't offer the same scope for cropping as a 24mp sensor) to produce a useful image. If you want to photograph birds at this sort of distance, you really need at least 300mm. (That's a subject for another discussion, but note that the DA 55-300 f4.5-6.3 PLM which is a darling of forumites won't work with the K-5, so you need to look elsewhere.)

For all that, you got the bird in the air in focus and at a suitable shutter speed, so well done. You probably had scope for a narrower aperture - f8 would have got the other bird in focus as well. The extra stop of aperture (f5.6 to f8) would have meant pushing the ISO from 320 to 640, but the difference would have been scarcely noticeable.

As for the blackbird, you picked one of the hardest subjects - a dark bird, in shade, with branches in the way, against a bright background. That's tough for focus and tough for exposure. The focus isn't perfect but it's close. Again, a narrower aperture would have reduced the degree of difficulty. You would probably need to use manual focus (or manual override of AF) to get the focus exactly right. The bird is a bit underexposed even though you used +1 exposure adjustment. Spot metering often helps in this situation but can still underexpose. You could adjust exposure in post-processing - ideally increasing the exposure on the bird and decreasing the exposure of the background - but the result can look rather artificial.

This is why, personally, I often use fill flash in this situation, so that the subject is better exposed and there isn't the same disparity between the subject and the bright background. Like this:


The results are hit and miss though. And unless the flash is HSS the shutter speed is limited to the sync speed (1/180th second for Pentax APS-C cameras).

Last edited by Des; 05-17-2020 at 10:54 PM.
05-17-2020, 10:02 PM - 1 Like   #88
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fiaskemist Quote

1. Do you use autofocus in low/poor light with your K5?

2. I'm actually thinking about getting us a SMC Pentax F or FA 28mm as a prime. I think I would like that focal lenght, looked up photos online at different focal lengths to compare.
1. I try to use autofocus as my first choice in all lighting conditions with an autofocus lens. The Pentax K5 oftentimes will "hunt" in low light, and it is difficult to manually focus in low light. I am finding myself manually focusing autofocus lenses more frequently.

2. I do not have an SMC Pentax F or FA 28mm. I think it would be a good choice -- but I would want a prime with a wider aperture to take indoor photos. I get good results indoors with my Pentax 50mm F/1.8 SMC DA, an autofocus lens. It is inexpensive. It is not quite as wide angle lens as I would like, and so I acquired the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC lens recently. So far I love it. You want to be able to take indoor photos without a flash, early on. I suggest a lens with an f/1.8 or wider aperture. If I had purchased the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC lens, first I would not have purchased the Pentax f/2.4 28mm lens and may have deferred buying the Pentax 50mm f/1.8 SMC DA for a while. My opinion is that the Sigma lens is better than its reviews on the lens forum.

Here is a photo I took today with the aforementioned Sigma lens in cloudy conditions of a flowering crab apple in our yard.
05-18-2020, 03:02 PM - 1 Like   #89
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Lots of good stuff here. You should be very pleased.
I agree!! And lots of good advice from Des. I even find the small figure shot of interest- small figure and lots of stairs. The design of the railings also adds to the sense of ongoing upward motion. Just a wee might over-exposed, however. Very good that you are learning the use of your exposure-comp button! I think you are doing terrifically well for just starting out!

The 28mm FL you are contemplating on an APS-C body will provide a semi-wide "normal" field of view (FOV), AKA angle of view. This means neither wide-angle nor telephoto to any extent, but in this case just a bit wider than the typical "normal" 35mm FOV, thus letting more into the frame for better versatility. This also means such a lens would be an exceptionally good walk-around prime lens because of this versatility- applicable to various scenes. Either the Pentax "F" or "FA" f/2.8 would be a good choice. I have long had the "FA" version, which got excellent lab test reviews, and have found it to be exceptionally good, even quite good when shooting with wide open aperture (F/2.8). It would provide you with good experience in having a useful prime lens with fine image quality. It does not come with a lens hood, however, though you could obtain a screw-on rubber type for this focal length- and for the correct filter thread size, at low cost. A lens hood is important to get the best results from your lens. Just remember to be very careful- that only screw it on ever so gently! it can even be slightly loose and still do its job. Those screw-on devices, even filters, will quickly grab on very tightly and will thus be very difficult to remove! The rubber type can be rolled back for storage.

Note that along with FOV comes differences in the perspective achieved in a photo, how elongated or compressed the front-to-back aspect will appear, which also entails the shape of people and objects, and the sense of depth or lack thereof. That is getting a bit deep (pardon the pun) at this point, just putting it out there to make you aware.

Another useful prime at low cost is a 50mm f/1.7 or 1.8 lens. A used "F" or "FA" f/1.7 would do very well. I have long had the "F" version. Or you could get the plastic-fantastic current DA 50mm f/1.8, not built as well as those old ones, but still a very fine performer. Again, no lens hood, but there are the rubber ones made for 50mm FL and to fit the correct filter thread size. You notice, these lenses have a significantly wider aperture capability- f/1.7 or f/1.8 being much wider than the maximum of f/3.5 your zoom lens can deliver, or even the f/2.8 of the 28mm lens. This will be useful when facing lower lighting situations, or when otherwise needing higher shutter speeds, or to reduce DOF. The moderate telephoto FOV effect of 50mm on an APS-C body is also very good for framing a portrait, as well as being able to reduce DOF to make your subject stand out better from the background.

Last edited by mikesbike; 05-18-2020 at 07:20 PM.
06-08-2020, 03:45 PM - 1 Like   #90
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
It's great that you and your partner are enjoying this. Like any skill, once you get the basics the scope for creativity increases. After a while, the basics like setting the aperture and shutter speed, focusing and adjusting exposure don't require so much conscious thought - ...
Thanks! You are right, it is requiring much less conscious thought for me already.
I will look into these, especially metering since I don’t really know anything about it. I have been taking the camera out with me a a couple of times each week so I can practice, will try to learn something new one concept at a time.

Ps. I think a hobbiest can easily turn into an expert hobbiest, so I don’t think that something being a hobby necessarily means someone has less knowledge about it

QuoteOriginally posted by mroeder75 Quote
....
I will remember the sigma, it looks good. In your opinion, how big a difference is there between f/3.5 and f/2.8? Is this something very noticeable?
Nice shot!

QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
I agree!! And lots of good advice from Des. I even find the small figure shot of interest- small figure and lots of stairs. The design of the railings also adds to the sense of ongoing upward motion. Just a wee might over-exposed, however. ...
Thanks! I like that shot myself, not because it looks good but the potential. You are right with the exposure. What has usually happened is that I set exposure-comp for one shot and forget to change it on the next shot and get over/under exposed shots. That happens much less now!

Yes thats what I was thinking, a walk-around prime. I’ve had the zoom set to 28 often now just to get a feel and it is just that, normal.
QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
I Note that along with FOV comes differences in the perspective achieved in a photo, how elongated or compressed the front-to-back aspect will appear, which also entails the shape of people and objects, and the sense of depth or lack thereof. That is getting a bit deep (pardon the pun) at this point, just putting it out there to make you aware.
Now that you mention it, I did notice this a couple of times while using the zoom. Interesting! I will have to read up more on the why.



Sorry for getting back to you all so late, have been very busy and then also some sad news, we had a miscarriage, but we know that it is something common so we are trying not be too sad about it.
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