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10-29-2009, 06:59 PM   #1
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Using a DSLR (more specifically K200D) HELP!?!

Hi guys, I'm new to the DSLR scene but after coming back from a trip overseas when realizing that everyone carries one with them, I decided to come back and purchase my own DSLR. I did some research and at the time found the K200D to be in my budget and for my needs.

So, after purchasing it I didn't know how to use it properly. Sure I can go to the preset settings and snap photos with it, but I could never take a good shot of something at night or of a moving object.

I was wondering if you could help me with some guides or instructions on helping me use the camera. The instruction manual that came with the camera was useless as it didn't tell me anything. I have downloaded an eBook; "Canon DSLR The Ultimate Photographer's Guide" only because there wasn't one for Pentax. In addition, I have found a video on how to use the K200D here: Pentax K200D Made Easy Training DVD but for $59.95US I believe its quite expensive and not worth it.

My current gear:
Pentax K200D
Pentax 18-55mm lens
and arriving is a Sigma 55-200mm lens.
...should I buy a mini extending tripod? 5-9"?

10-29-2009, 07:05 PM   #2
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I've never found DVDs to be much help. If you post some of your photos on this thread we can go through and give you advice on how to improve!
10-29-2009, 07:41 PM   #3
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Here we go...

Better photos: ImageShack -

Bad photos: ImageShack -

I don't save too many of the bad photos so yeah...

All those taken with Pentax 18-55mm lens.

Last edited by khaz0r; 10-29-2009 at 07:46 PM.
10-29-2009, 08:11 PM   #4
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at night or moving object or even hard moving object at night, you would need fast enough shutter speed(SS) as to prevent motion blur due to longer ss, open up your aperture and increase iso to get fast enought SS or use flash. Have fun shoots around sooner or later you'll get it.

10-29-2009, 08:20 PM   #5
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If I go to my Sv settings and change ISO to a larger value say... 800, then I go to my Av settings to open up my aperture say at 4.0. Under what setting would I use to take the photo at 800ISO and f4.0?
10-29-2009, 08:24 PM   #6
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Go to Av mode. Set f/4.0 (aperture value of 4.0) and go to the Fn menu to set ISO to 800 (taking it out of auto mode).
The camera will automatically calculate Tv according to the light conditions...
10-29-2009, 08:41 PM   #7
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You guys have been so helpful thanks!

Also, changing the ISO in function, I noticed that there is a D-Range. Once I activate it, it gets rid off ISO100. Is that all it does? Should I activate it?
10-29-2009, 09:40 PM   #8
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D-range is designed to allow you to have more detail in both highlights and shadows, as opposed to what sometimes happens where you get detail in shaodws but blow out the highlights, or detail in highlights but black shadows. It does this by shooting one ISO level lower (so setting ISO 200 really shoots 100 - that's why the option for ISO 100 goes away) and then fiddling with the results in the JPEG processing. It's nothing you can't do yourself in post processing if you like, and with the same penalty - higher noise levels from fiddling with things too much. I've never bothered using it, but it wouldn't apply to me anyhow since I shoot RAW.

10-30-2009, 02:43 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by khaz0r Quote
I did some research and at the time found the K200D to be in my budget and for my needs.
Congrats on your new camera and welcome to the forum.


QuoteQuote:
So, after purchasing it I didn't know how to use it properly. Sure I can go to the preset settings and snap photos with it, but I could never take a good shot of something at night or of a moving object.
Well, taking photos in the dark is tricky for the masters.

With moving objects, it's not SO hard. First question is, do you want to see evidence of the movement - you know, some blur as the cyclist races by you? Or do you want to freeze the movement? After that, it's just a question of setting the shutter speed properly, and then adjusting aperture and/or ISO to get a usable exposure. Basic rules:

- sports: shoot in Tv (shutter priority) mode
- everything else: shoot in Av (aperture priority) mode

A shutter speed of 1/250th sec or faster (1/400th sec, 1/500th sec etc) will freeze most human motion. A race car zooming past you might need a LOT faster shutter to be caught cold but if you're shooting kids playing soccer, you can think of 1/250th sec as a sort of starting point for the "fast zone."

Slower shutter speeds (1/125th sec, 1/60th sec) may reveal a little or a lot of motion. Just depends on the motion. Your camera has shake reduction. If you turn it on, you may be able to shoot as slow as 1/30th sec (if you have a steady hand) without using a tripod, and get a picture that isn't affected by camera shake.



QuoteQuote:
I was wondering if you could help me with some guides or instructions on helping me use the camera. The instruction manual that came with the camera was useless as it didn't tell me anything. ...
Right. The users manual is more useful AFTER you've figured out how to use the camera.

I don't like videos very much. There are two kinds of basic questions:

- How do I do X? (where X = take a portrait, photograph the sunset, etc)

- How do I do X on my particular camera?

For the latter question, this forum is your very best resource. Don't know what a button does, or any question of that sort, just come to the beginner's corner and ASK. I personally love easy questions. ;-)

But this forum is also great for the first kind of question. There are a zillion books about how to use your DSLR, about exposure, and other topics. But the theory is pretty simple.

Here's my advice. Remember that there are three camera settings that affect the exposure of a shot:
  1. aperture
  2. shutter speed
  3. ISO

I would suggest that you put the ISO at 200 and leave it alone. Then experiment either with full manual (your best choice) or at least Av and Tv modes. Use Tv for sports, Av for everything else.

Best probably to start with Av mode. Learn what the f-stop numbers mean. Take shots and then look at them on your review screen. Take lots of test shots. Practice! Put a wine bottle on your dining room table and figure out how to get very narrow depth of field, or how to get lots of depth of field.

Shoot, look, change settings, shoot, look again.


QuoteQuote:
My current gear:
Pentax K200D
Pentax 18-55mm lens
and arriving is a Sigma 55-200mm lens.
Fine.


QuoteQuote:
...should I buy a mini extending tripod? 5-9"?
No. Learn how to use the camera in a general way. Later, buy a tripod - but you're better off getting a decent one.

Anyway, ask a specific question. Lots of helpful people here!

Will

Last edited by WMBP; 10-31-2009 at 10:07 AM. Reason: My list of the "three" camera settings that affect exposure originally included four settings: ISO was listed twice. Fixed.
10-30-2009, 04:34 PM   #10
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Great post! thanks, that helped a great deal!

About the Tv mode, when I set it to 250 (I'm assuming that means it's at 1/250th sec) the picture is very dark. The higher the number, the darker the picture gets. Could you explain why this might be the cause?
10-30-2009, 04:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by khaz0r Quote
Great post! thanks, that helped a great deal!

About the Tv mode, when I set it to 250 (I'm assuming that means it's at 1/250th sec) the picture is very dark. The higher the number, the darker the picture gets. Could you explain why this might be the cause?
If you fix your ISO at, say, 800 - and your shutter speed at 1/250 then the only variable you have to work with is your apature. Simply put, your lens doesn't let enough light in for the picture to be properly exposed, even wide open.

Your options are:

- Use an (even higher) ISO - which will introduce noise
- Buy a 'faster' lens - which will allow more light in.
- reduce your shutter speed - which will indroduce blur.

You may need to accept that photography is a comprimise and sometimes there just isn't enough light to take a good picture with your equipment. If the subject is still then you could use a tripod and set a longer exposure time without introducing blur.
10-30-2009, 05:04 PM   #12
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Here's a link explaining a bit of the exposure triangle (Aperture, Shutterspeed, ISO).

Photography 101.4 – Exposure and Stops

It's a little hard to wrap you head around at first but once you do everything will make a lot more sense.
10-30-2009, 05:26 PM   #13
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It sounds like some really basic camera technique is in order. I would recommend starting on Av mode. Understand that in Av mode you choose the aperture. The smaller the number, the more light you let in. A large number (small aperture) will let in less light, but will give you a wider depth of field. In Av mode, your camera will choose your shutter speed and iso (assuming you have it on auto iso). Then, I would take lots and lots of photos. You will discover certain things, like what you mentioned above, that if your shutter is open less time, your photo (or exposure) will be darker.

You absolutely need to get some books about basic photography. Understanding Exposure by Brian Peterson is a common favorite. Scott Kelby's books are also pretty basic. A little knowledge and a lot of shooting will go a long way to getting you comfortable with your camera!
10-30-2009, 06:35 PM   #14
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I have the same camera. I'm just a beginner too, but I found most of my shots improved when I started using the lens hood, so i suggest if your lens came with a hood, use it all the time.
10-30-2009, 07:14 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by khaz0r Quote
About the Tv mode, when I set it to 250 (I'm assuming that means it's at 1/250th sec) the picture is very dark.
Don't think that way. There's absolutely no rule that says 1/250th sec = dark photos. If you're shooting in bright sunlight, you can easily overexpose a shot with a shutter speed of 1/250th sec.

The right settings are always relative to the amount of light. When I'm shooting inside a church, I seldom get to use anything faster than 1/125th sec - if that. But as I said, outside in really good sunlight, 1/500th sec might be too slow. Of course it also depends on your choice of aperture and ISO.


QuoteQuote:
The higher the number, the darker the picture gets. Could you explain why this might be the cause?
Well, think of it this way. There's a certain amount of light bouncing off the scene you are taking a photo of. That light is bouncing off the scene - off the faces of your subjects, off the flowers, trees, coming from the sky, etc. - and it's heading toward your camera. You want to take in just enough of that light so that you get a right exposure. You control the amount of light in three ways:
  1. by opening or closing the aperture, which is the size of the window or door through which the light enters
  2. by holding the aperture open for a longer or shorter time
  3. and by changing the sensitivity of the sensor, also known (not entirely correctly) as the ISO.

Now you can adjust all three of these things, which is what makes it complicated. You can use a faster shutter speed (moving one stop, for example, from 1/250th sec to 1/500th sec) but open the aperture up one stop (from f/5.6 to f/4, say) and it won't make any difference to the exposure, because the change in the aperture offsets the change in the shutter speed.

But if you keep the aperture and ISO constant, then increasing the shutter speed means less TIME for the light to stimulate the sensor, and thus you get a "darker" picture.

One last thing: You said "the larger the number, the darker the picture." That's NOT CORRECT. The numbers we're talking about here are fractions. This is true both of the shutter speed (most of the time) and the aperture settings. So for the shutter speed, 1/500th sec is a SMALLER number than 1/250th sec. And with the aperture settings, "f/5.6" means "focal length divided by 5.6". It's a fraction, too. So f/5.6 is a SMALLER aperture than f/4 or f/2.8. Smaller aperture, less light. Faster shutter, less light. And vice versa.

Will
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