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09-21-2009, 04:11 PM   #1
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K7 questions

I just got my K7 two days ago. I went out and took about 150 photos with it yesterday.
Anyway I just have a question about shooting in Jpeg with the K7. When you put the camera on Jpeg mode.

What level of JPEG Quality do you guys use? You have one star up to four stars to choose from. I have an 8GB SD card I'm using and I've been shooting in the best quality 4 stars. But I noticed the Green auto mode shoots JPEG with 3 stars ( I don't use the full auto modes I was just testing it out and noticed it uses 3 star JPEG quality.) From what I can tell shooting with 3 or 4 stars I don't seem to see any difference other than the size of the JPEG file. Am I really getting the best quality using 4 stars? It don't really matter to me as I'm really starting to like shooting in RAW. But when I do use JPEG mode should I just set it to 4 stars quility?

Also I have tried taking 3 or 4 HDR photos but they come out real bad. I don't really know much about HDR. I'm gussing it would work better if I did HDR shooting when mounted on my tripod?

some other questions I have.
When would I use the eletronic leveling via the menu?
What does the Horizon Correction do?
I understand how the Digital Preview works and I have that set up. But what is Optical preview?
When do I use the Lens Correction settings? Are these settings something I want to have on all the time if I can turn them on?

I am pretty new to DSLRs and I'm learing. These menu functions are covered in the K7 booklet. But in my case with some of these functions the book does not tell me when to use it or what the function really does. It just tells you how to turn the function on or off. But I will give the K7 operating manual credit in some other areas. It is easy to undersand and most of the functions have a little explanation of what it does. Then others dont have any explanation at all and I've left scratching my hard thinking hmmm what does this do?

I'm am really enjoying the K7 and very happy with it. Its the best camera I've ever owned. Now I'm thinking about buying the battery grip for it.

09-21-2009, 05:50 PM   #2
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I wouldn't shoot in JPEG at all - RAW or nothing. A 8GB card will hold plenty of RAWs (200+) and it REALLY opens doors later. Not to mention every time you resize, export, etc etc you lose quality with JPEG, but working with the original RAW is always lossless.

The in-camera HDR leaves a lot to be desired. In any case, HDR *needs* to be anchored, otherwise your results will be junk. Put your camera on a bench, on a table, or on a tripod. If you want to try some cool HDR, set the camera to take 5 bracketed exposures at -2, -1, 0, +1, and +2. The K7 is awesome - it's a two-button setting to enable this, and your camera will take 5 exposures in a row that you can later HDR-ize in Photoshop.

As for questions:

- If you're trying to get a perfect perspective - e.g. a nice flat landscape shot, where tilt will ruin the picture, use the level. I keep it on in my viewfinder at all times (replacing the lightmeter), it's VERY useful.

- Horizon correction will keep your pictures level up to +-1 degrees. So if you're within 1 degree of being perfectly level, it will automatically correct your image to be level.

- Not sure what you mean about optical preview. Are you talking about the little toggle switch with the on/off switch? That's DOF preview and will set your aperture to your current setting. By default your viewfinder is always showing your lens at its widest aperture, which may not sure the correct depth of field you will get in your final picture. DOF preview will show this (at a loss of brightness in your viewfinder).

- I would personally leave lens correction off - this is something you can fix after the fact, and with good lenses you will rarely ever want to anyway. I treat my camera like a sensor - I collect good, raw data with it that can be massaged later with better tools than what's on the camera.
09-21-2009, 06:04 PM   #3
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^ What he said.

c[_]
09-21-2009, 06:05 PM   #4
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I agree with the previous poster. I just wanted to add, that IF you shoot JPG, use ***, that is way good enough. You can even go ** in a crunch if you have to "stretch" your card capacity.

09-21-2009, 07:28 PM   #5
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Bless your heart Ron720!

You have just purchased a camera that is way over your head, and will no doubt give you much frustration as you attempt to master it in the coming days....or months. I am not being critical of you at all, I was once in your shoes, not all that long ago, and still find new and exciting things my K20D can accomplish.... quite often. I think it is better to start with the best and learn it, than to start with the easy and outgrow it. So instead of answering your question, which others with the K7 are best equipped to do, I will give you some advice that has been most helpful to me....and still is. Read your manual until the sight of it makes you nauseous, then get a barf bag and read it some more. Lurk around here and learn all you can, there is a wealth of knowledge from some skilled shooters and it is free...just costs you a little (or a lot) of your time. Ask questions when needed, as you have done, and never be afraid to ask at any point in your advancement....anyone here too smart for a "dumb" question is also too dumb to give you a smart answer. You won't have that problem here much, most of these guys are dedicated and helpful Pentaxians that want you to find success and joy in your new camera.
Regards & Good Luck!
Rupert
09-21-2009, 08:30 PM   #6
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For someone at his apparent skill level I have only one thing to say: buy, beg, steal an old film SLR. No autofocus allowed. Taking away the crutches (some might call 'em conveniences) of modern day DSLRs is one of the best ways to really learn photography and how to control your camera.

The lack of retries and the inability to preview (along with a nice physical paper pad logging all of your exposures) forces you to really learn your machine (as opposed to get lucky with a bunch of rapid-fire exposures). I've only been taking pictures seriously with a SLR for 2 months. I started with an old Canon AE-1 dug out of the back of the closet, and the K7 is my first DSLR period. You learn *fast* on old gear.

Failing that, turn it on M-mode and don't leave it till you know what each and every setting does.
09-21-2009, 08:51 PM   #7
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Digital is good for learning too...

Today's DSLRs do have a lot of features that can prevent new users from learning proper techniques and take attention away from the fundamentals. However, if a user recognizes that and ignores the bells and whistles until they have mastered the basics there are many advantages to digital. As someone who briefly dabbled in film 15 years ago and then rediscovered photography in the past few years, I know digitial has helped me a lot. Couple of benefits IMO:
The immediate feedback of viewing the shot on the LCD helps get a novice on the right track if they are doing something wrong. It is pretty frustrating getting prints back a few days after shooting and have them all suck without being able to figure out why.

If you are studying your shots on the pc after the shoot the exif data is extremely helpful in determing what worked and what didn't.

There is also the cost factor- once you have your kit, shooting digital is free so your learning isn't limited by your film and developing budget
.
09-21-2009, 11:23 PM   #8
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QuoteQuote:
It is pretty frustrating getting prints back a few days after shooting and have them all suck without being able to figure out why.
That's why you log them Maybe it's not for everyone, but I found the methodical "log, take, review in a few days" method to be overwhelmingly helpful in the learning stages.

I agree digital is convenient - and cheap - but there's a certain reward when it comes to delayed gratification that just can't be filled by digital. I still shoot film on the AE-1 for this reason - not out of any practical reason, but for the sheer joy of it.

09-23-2009, 08:18 AM   #9
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To answer your first question the difference that you will see in 4 star vs 3 star JPEG will come when you try to edit them. the 4 star will have less artifacts and more detail for tight crops and more than average changes in brightness, contrast, etc. If you aren't using anything like Lightroom or Photoshop, 3 stars should be fine.

Other than that I'd say pick up a good book or video about basic camera techniques and start practicing in Manual mode. Once you understand have Aperture, ISO and shutter speed work together; then move on to other modes.
09-23-2009, 12:28 PM   #10
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Hi Ron,

I'm a jpeg shooter, and I choose to shoot *** quality as I don't see any difference in IQ with the increased compression. There is a theoretical difference, of course, and if you perceive that you lose something with a higher level of compression, then you'll probably not be satisfied with ***, so use **** -- perception is reality. I think that it's important to note that Pentax has chosen *** as the default setting.

The same advice is pertinent to shooting RAW. In my experience, there is too little difference between a properly exposed jpeg with the camera set up correctly to justify the extra post processing time and effort and the much larger file sizes, not to mention the hit in camera performance, but I shoot birds primarily, and the speed is sometimes a priority for me where it isn't for others. I take a lot more shots than most (30-40,000/season), so the PP time and storage issues are more significant for me. I also shoot with the usual end product of a print in mind. The miniscule differences revealed at 100-300% on a computer screen are largely irrelevant in even largish prints.

I'm sure many will disagree, but the point is to make these decisions for yourself, with your shooting preferences and style in mind, not necessarily what the "prevailing wisdom" dictates. Whatever you choose, for whatever reason, will be best for you, and is what you should use. Use your eyes, trust what they tell you, and you'll rarely be disappointed.

If your shooting requires level horizons (mine usually doesn't), then the electronic spirit level is a nice feature, as is auto horizon compensation, but realize that all auto functions put more demands on the internal processor in the camera, so will slow down performance to some extent. This is apparently especially so with auto lens correction. Use these features if you want, they can be handy. . . but realize that they will cost you speed -- there always is a trade off.

Optical preview is usually used to see DOF differences, Digital preview is usually used to check camera settings (exposure, WB/color cast. ect). DOF preview used to be more effective with the larger, brighter viewfinders of 35mm SLRs, but IMO, It's not of much use with APS C DSLRs, since it's so hard to see (maybe my older eyes just can't take advantage of this anymore). Digital preview is a nice tool if you have the time and inclination to tweek color settings and such since you can see the effects of the adjustments you make, but you can do the same with an actual exposure that's saved, so with memory storage so cheap and abundant, a few extra exposures on the card mean very little so I see little advantage to its use.

just my 2

Scott
09-23-2009, 01:52 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for all the advice.
09-24-2009, 04:42 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote

The same advice is pertinent to shooting RAW. In my experience, there is too little difference between a properly exposed jpeg with the camera set up correctly to justify the extra post processing time and effort and the much larger file sizes, not to mention the hit in camera performance, but I shoot birds primarily, and the speed is sometimes a priority for me where it isn't for others. I take a lot more shots than most (30-40,000/season), so the PP time and storage issues are more significant for me. I also shoot with the usual end product of a print in mind. The miniscule differences revealed at 100-300% on a computer screen are largely irrelevant in even largish prints.

I'm sure many will disagree, but the point is to make these decisions for yourself,

Scott
I disagree (except for the last remark), there is too much that can go wrong and cannot be corrected with JPEG. If you can afford a $ 1300 camera, you sure can afford a 16Gb memory card.
There is little performance difference between RAW and JPG, the postprocessing can be little or no time consuming. Try Picasa from Google, it handles PEF files as easily as jpg's.

RAW will enable you to apply a different white balance (see my post on the AWB problem), gives you more dynamic range etc.

- Bert
09-24-2009, 06:15 AM   #13
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When I decided to add the K20 to my Arsenal of Camera's, the first thing I did even before ordering the camera, was go to my local camera store and purchase the K20 Magic Lantern Book. Makes the Manusl much more understandable. Well worth the $20.. The one for K7 should be of great value also. jim
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