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03-02-2024, 08:12 AM   #1
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Finding the right settings for wildlife

I have a K-70 but I'm still struggling to find the right settings. Even the Automatic mode has no default settings. I constantly need to juggle between the white balance, the ISO, the aperture mode etc...

Here are a few pictures of some moose I took, I had to adjust the brightness and the contrast since it was the evening with a poor light (cloudy, no sunshine )

IMGP4739.jpg (192.7 KB)
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IMGP4734.jpg (218.9 KB)

How can I sharpen the final result? Is it better to put the camera in automatic or manual mode?

and here is a shot of a running mountain hare. I know it requires some skills, but what settings would be perfect for catching the movement?

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IMGP4737.jpg (111.1 KB)


The ideal solution for me would be to preselect my settings in U1, U2 and U3 mode (one for static wildlife or landscapes, the second for running animals or flying birds, the last one for polar lights for example). How do I do this?

I also use a 1.7x teleconverter/AF, but I find it useless. In which context do I have to use it?

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Last edited by Aeglil; 03-02-2024 at 08:48 AM.
03-02-2024, 09:23 AM - 1 Like   #2
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What you need to adjust is the white balance. Use the snow itself as your reference point when setting it in camera. Most processing software has a white balance correction option. Click on the little eye dropper, then click on the part of the picture that should be white.

You can also warm the tone of the picture with colour temperature correction - was the light this blue when you shot this?

Edit: Congratulations on seeing this many moose together and getting pictures at all.
03-02-2024, 10:24 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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I shoot a lot of wildlife, mostly birds but whatever I can find, and I have set up user modes in both my K-3iii and KP. I have one mode I named birds, it is set in Tv (shutter priority), at 1/640 shutter speed, variable ISO up to 6400, spot metering, AF-C with center spot focus point. Of course depending on conditions you can change these as you shoot, more often I'll change the shutter speed due to light conditions, sometime change the metering. I have another user mode I've named flight for moving subjects, it is also TV, 1/800 shutter speed, ISO variable to 6400, center weighted metering, AF-C with a 16 point AF. These of course are baseline settings so I can quickly change to them using the mode dial, and I have changed them when I've thought they could be improved. These are my setting for using primarily in open settings, beach marsh, longleaf pine savannah, etc. I would definitely have to lower the shutter speeds in deep deciduous forests, as I do on the fly in early morning or late evening. I do have my white balance always set to multi auto. I more often shoot in early morning or late evening when the light changes continuously, and setting the WB won't last too long, so if needed I can fix it in LR. Where I live now snow is not a problem, but I know it can be difficult with white balance from previous experience.

An example of a running coyote, this was shot with the K-3iii at those base settings on my "flight" user mode. Obviously there are no trees to confuse the autofocus here, and the K-3iii tracks well. You do have to get the animal in focus first, whether you did or not on the hare, they are fast and unpredictable, but AF-C really needs to be used there, or course dim lighting may have prevented locking focus on something moving so fast, that may have been nearly impossible anyway. The only rabbit I've shot on the move was swimming, much slower, I was unable to catch his leap into the water due to sheer surprise.
03-02-2024, 10:43 AM   #4
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Juggling shouldn't be necessary.
Set the White Balance to Auto, the Mode Dial to TAv, the aperture to f/8 and the shutter speed to 1/1500.
Autofocus to centre-spot, continuous or single as suited by the subject.
That'll cover about 90% of day-to-day wildlife shooting, assuming reasonable light.
I've no experience of shooting the northern lights, unfortunately ... too far south ... but I'd start at 30sec at f/5.6, ISO 400 (on a tripod, obviously) and take it from there.
Once you've got the camera set up, save a User Mode from the choice on the 'camera' 5 menu, p28 in the Operating Manual.
My K-70 was my wild-life camera for a couple of years ('till I got lucky and was able to get a KP).
I made very many thousand successful images using just these settings ... indeed, I continue to use these settings as my "default" both on my KP and my K-3iii
For me, my 1.5x teleconverter is definitely an "if all else fails" option ... the lens really needs to be f/4 or faster for autofocus to be reliable.
I see no mention of which lens was in use and unfortunately the EXIF of the uploaded images has been mangled so there are few clues there.

03-02-2024, 11:06 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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I shoot in TAv mode for wildlife and sports - not sure if you have that on your K-70, but "manual" with Auto Iso might get you to the same place.
While you might be inclined to shoot wide open to enable lower ISO, the weakness of most entry level kit is in fact softness wide open. You're better to shoot 1-2 stops from Max Aperture.
If you are K-70 + 1.7x + DA 55-300, your max aperture is f9.5. In low light at ISO 800, I suspect your shooting at ~ 1/60th? (not included in EXIF)

Slow shutter, missed focus, and if your hand holding, motion blur will no doubt cause deterioration of image quality.

My typical setting
Shutter 1/1600 or faster - In low light I might knock this back to 1/400.
Aperture f8
Auto ISO
AF-C with expanded focus enabled
Auto Multi W/B
Continuous High shooting
I always shoot Raw + and in many cases have my jpg setting to 3 star or medium quality so I can shuttle the files to my mobile faster.

I say manage expectations. Low light action/wildlife shooting is torture test for photography equipment. You cant expect a consumer 300mm ƒ5.8 zoom + rear TC to perform at the same capability as a pro quality 500mm ƒ5.6.

A little sample
K3 iii + 70-210 ƒ4 @ 1/400 ISO 5000
K3 iii 70-210 @5.6 1/800 ISO12800
K3 iii + DA 55-300 @ 1/1250 ƒ8 ISO 5000 - Dont be scared to run your ISO up. These new cameras are capable.
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Last edited by mattt; 03-02-2024 at 11:29 AM. Reason: adding pics
03-02-2024, 11:39 AM   #6
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The colors are out there. Your settings in hardware, firmware, or developing software are off. Likely WB, but possible some other setting.

Here's a quick GIMP edit using "Color Balance" on each specific channel. Could be better with more time and care. Plus with the RAW file it would be much easier.
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03-02-2024, 01:38 PM - 1 Like   #7
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After reading Matt's post I have to add a disclaimer about my settings, I'm using a DA*300 or DA55-300PLM (with good lighting) with the DA 1.4 TC. Both of those lenses are fine to use wide open which is why I use Tv mode. I used to have an older DA55-300 (not PLM) which was unusable wide open, you would definitely need to use Tav on many lenses if they are not good wide open.

03-02-2024, 01:42 PM   #8
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White balance is one of the things I rarely change, and it doesn’t improve low light or tele shooting...., it is just a color correction. You setting seems to favour blue... I would try auto WB.

To avoid motion blur of fast moving subjects or to avoid any impact of gentle shutter shake/handhold shake on a long 300+ mm tele ( tele magnifies impact of slightest movement of camera due to long range), a fast shutter like 1/500 or 1/1000 is beneficial to freeze movement. but with a lens like f4..f6.3 and teleconvetor the real aperture is around f7..f11, in low light this means not enough light unless you raise the ISO to 3200 or 6400 or more (but low light noise kicks in at high iso values).

My recipe:
P MODE = auto with some extra possibilities.
ISO set to auto range 100...3200 or 6400 = on my camera the max with low noise (K70 is newer , you might try bit higher ISO)
Program line set to sports (favors fast shutter speeds in P mode)
SR on (shake resistance)
WB auto.

In low light the settings will be like max iso 3200/6400, widest aperture like f8 (depends on lens and convertor) and a resulting shutter like 1/250 which is prone to motion blur.

With the old 1,7x TC, the camera receives no correction for TC aperture (only lens info) and this might confuse camera, if all images are dark, use +1 or +1,5 EV setting ....( the tc looses 1,5 stop light, so you tell camera to compensate by increase light exposure).
This TC 1,7x can only focus to some limited range and doen’t use lens focus system, hence you need to manually ”roughly” prefocus lens in correct range first , then TC will do fine focus. On some lenses I found the prefocus more critical than others for sharpness. But especially if lens is at closr focus e distance, far objects will not focus well with TC.

I use Topaz sharpen AI for these long tele pic, it recognises both motion blur and focus unsharpness. No miracles but definitely improving.
03-02-2024, 04:58 PM   #9
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The 1.7 AF was designed for use with the A series prime lenses in mind. The manual says to set the lense at infinity. The minimum focus will be larger. This can be compensated by adjusting the lense focus ring.

Last edited by Joetitch; 03-02-2024 at 05:39 PM.
03-03-2024, 01:47 AM   #10
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I really start to deeply hate this camera. At least with my old ist DL I had no problem.

Now the pictures are too bright!!!

Can you explain me, with simple words and shortly please, how to set up the brightness 🔆?

Thanks in advance

Last edited by Aeglil; 03-03-2024 at 01:53 AM.
03-03-2024, 02:59 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aeglil Quote
I really start to deeply hate this camera. At least with my old ist DL I had no problem.

Now the pictures are too bright!!!

Can you explain me, with simple words and shortly please, how to set up the brightness ��?

Thanks in advance
Go into the first Menu option - Custom Image - and change it from Bright to Natural

The K-70 is a very comprehensive camera with far more options and capabilities than the *ist DL ... you really will benefit from spending a couple of hours reading the Operating Manual

If you don't have a printed copy, a pdf version is available here https://www.ricoh-imaging.co.jp/english/support/download_manual.html

Last edited by kypfer; 03-03-2024 at 03:02 AM. Reason: added link
03-03-2024, 04:07 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aeglil Quote
Now the pictures are too bright!!!

Can you explain me, with simple words and shortly please, how to set up the brightness 🔆?
This can have many causes. One I could think of right away is if the settings you are at don't allow the camera to regulate the exposure, because the "correct" exposure is outside of the range you are operating in. For example, if you are in TAv mode and have set the aperture to wide open and the exposure time too long, in bright enough conditions the camera can only adjust the ISO down to the base ISO of 100, but for a correct exposure it would have to be able to set it to 10 or so. Then you'll have two options (which you can combine): stop down the lens and shorten the exposure time, enough so that the "correct" ISO lands in the range that is set.

One other reason could be that you have accidentally dialed in some exposure compensation.
03-03-2024, 04:57 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aeglil Quote
I really start to deeply hate this camera. At least with my old ist DL I had no problem.

Now the pictures are too bright!!!

Can you explain me, with simple words and shortly please, how to set up the brightness 🔆?
Start using automatic exposure, automatic white balance and correct autofocus point(s), so your results willl become better than your skills.
03-03-2024, 10:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by angerdan Quote
Start using automatic exposure, automatic white balance and correct autofocus point(s), so your results willl become better than your skills.
This is a good idea.

Years ago, when I first had the K50, I practiced just taking a few random pictures typical of the sort of thing I want to shoot using auto everything. I reviewed the results and the exif (of what the camera "thought" I wanted) and proceeded to learn how to tell it what my subject was, how I wanted the light metered, the iso top out etc using the more advanced settings, aperture, iso, shutter speed trade-offs or even a tripod to get the results I was going for.

Free immediate feedback, and exif to tell you what you might have messed up are powerful gifts of digital photography and you can learn a lot quickly with just a little time and effort.
03-03-2024, 11:57 AM   #15
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My recommendation for anyone trying to learn new gear is to play the forum “Single In” challenge for a couple months. Friendly experienced folks.

Find it in the games and challenges sub forum.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/26-mini-challenges-games-photo-stories/465880-photo-game-single-march-2024-a.html
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