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11-03-2009, 04:05 AM   #1
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Where to Begin?

Hi,

I am new to this forum. I have had a Pentax camera (K1000) since around 1979, have used it for general "snap shots", nothing serious. Two years ago I purchased a K100D Super, have used it on only about a dozen times since I bought it. Now I would like to learn how to really use this camera. I have now formal background in photography, but I am willing to learn!

I am mainly interested in landscapes and nature photography. One problem that I have noticed with some of my outside shots is that the colors never seem as vivid as they look through my own eye. I have been using my camera on automatic mode. Are there any good books that will start me on my journey?

Thank you,

Tom

11-03-2009, 05:12 AM   #2
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I think that you need to remember that often the lack of dynamic range of a digital sensor gets in the way of photos looking like you actually see them. When we look at a scene, our pupils are constantly dilating and contracting so that we can see every part of the scene in focus and "properly exposed." You can always bump up saturation in photoshop, but my feeling is that you are just not having good exposure on your whole scene.

I would look at Brian Peterson, understand exposure. I guess I would also switch to Av mode. In Av mode, you control your aperture (lens opening) and the camera controls the rest. It is an easy way to jump out of the auto mode and start experimenting more.
11-03-2009, 06:43 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum, Tom!

The K100D was my first DSLR as well. Now I've given that one over to my mother and I use the K200D. The menus for the two cameras are a bit different, so I apologize for not being able to give more detailed advice.

I'm curious: what are you looking at where the colors don't seem as vivid? Are you judging by the LCD screen on the back of your camera or your computer monitor? Also related, are you shooting in JPG or RAW?

I ask because the settings on the K100D seemed to make a pretty big difference in the JPG output (not so much RAW). For instance, in the menu, if you set it to "Bright," then the camera will boost the saturation when you take the photo. Alternatively, you could fine-tune each setting yourself - saturation, contrast, etc.

What a lot of people do (including myself) do is adjust these values with post-processing software after we take the photo. If you shoot in RAW, this allows more latitude with the adjustments, but there are plenty of edits you can make to JPGs as well.

Finally, you might want to consider that the viewing medium can affect how you perceive the photo. It might be that your monitor itself lacks punch (a common occurrence on bright laptop screens). The only surefire way to make sure is to calibrate your monitor so that you know it's accurately portraying the image.

I hope this helps!
11-03-2009, 06:48 AM   #4
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Hey Rondec,
Be VEry CAREFUL! You are delving into a pastime that can swallow you whole. It only begins with the camera. It will extend to your computer and software and begin to slowly encroach upon everything you used to think important!! But seriously, there is a desire among most photographers to "get it right in the camera" but there is rarely a shot taken on digital media that could not use a bit of enhancement with a good post-processing software. Many start out with the software that came with the camera, then they experiment a bit with some of the other free offerings, more often than not they then purchase a program that does a bit more and eventually they might even move up to Photoshop CS#. If your shot doesn't seem to be quite as vibrant, bump it up a bit in post. If it looks not quite sharp enough, bump it up in post. If the exposure is not quite bright enough (or a bit too bright) these things can be changed in post-processing. But as I said before, be Very Careful. Minutes can turn into Hours and even DAYS. Soon your loved ones will send out search parties.....

11-03-2009, 08:38 AM   #5
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I second the suggestion of getting Bryan Peterson's books. "Understanding exposure" is a great primer on the basics of getting "proper" exposure. He also has several other books. I've read his "Understanding Shutter Speed", which is a little more advanced discussion of exposure, concentrating on the uses of various shutter speeds, and "Learning to See Creatively", which, as its name implies, tries to give some tips for making more interesting photos, and techniques for teaching yourself how to do this.

He also has one called "Understanding Digital Photography". I've not read it, but if it is anything like his others, it should be very good.

I find his writing to be very easy to read, understand and put into practice.
11-03-2009, 10:07 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your advise and suggestions! I will take your advice in regards to the books that you suggest and start experimenting with this camera. I guess this is just another way of getting started, seeing what works and what doesn't! At least it is not like a film camera, no cost to toss out the not-so-good shots! Thanks again for ALL your help!
11-03-2009, 01:41 PM   #7
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BTW, see the thread in this forum on using manual lenses if you haven't already done so, to learn how to use all your old K1000 lenses on your K100D.
11-03-2009, 01:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mi77915 Quote
Thanks everyone for your advise and suggestions! I will take your advice in regards to the books that you suggest and start experimenting with this camera. I guess this is just another way of getting started, seeing what works and what doesn't! At least it is not like a film camera, no cost to toss out the not-so-good shots! Thanks again for ALL your help!
That is the biggest advantage a DSLR has when it comes to learnig. I wasted a lot of film early on with my K1000 and ZX 60 to learn about exposure.

11-03-2009, 01:58 PM   #9
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The good news is...exposure has not changed much since the days of a Spotmatic!!!
11-04-2009, 03:33 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
BTW, see the thread in this forum on using manual lenses if you haven't already done so, to learn how to use all your old K1000 lenses on your K100D.
Thanks Marc,

That was one of the reasons I decided to continue with the Pentax brand. I was almost certain that I would be able to use my older lenses, but now I know for sure that I can!! Thanks again.

noblepa,

I have done some research in regards to the book that you recommended "Understanding Exposure" - by Bryan Peterson, It was one of the most recommended books that I could find. I ordered one and hope to receive it later this week. Thanks for the recommendation!
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