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03-18-2010, 07:47 PM   #1
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Overexposed Nighshots! HELP!

Lol, I was outside trying to get some pics of my son on his new skateboard, the only available light sources were a streetlight and I turned on the headlights so he could see better.

Pentax kx
Pentax 50mm f2 opened all the way

Everytime he was close and I took a pic it would be washed out. I lowered the ISO to 400 and they were not so bad from a distance (40 feet)

No Flash and the they seemed ok but still dark

Oh and the Shutter speed would not change from 180, (AV mode)

I'm sure its something simple like I messed up one of the settings but I am still at the cameras mercy...

03-18-2010, 08:01 PM   #2
Damn Brit
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A lot would depend on what metering you are using.
It's always helpful to include a sample picture with EXIF date intact, or, if you can't produce the EXIF, just give us all the settings, shutter speed, ISO, aperture and metering mode.
BTW 180 shutter speed is specific to Flash, are you sure the flash didn't fire?
03-18-2010, 08:38 PM   #3
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ss 180, f2.0, ISO 3200, exp comp -1.0, flash on



ss 180, f2.0, ISO 800, exp comp 0, Flash on

03-18-2010, 08:48 PM   #4
Damn Brit
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Use ISO 100 with flash.

03-19-2010, 10:49 AM   #5
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I'm assuming your 50/2 is not an "A" version, meaning you set the aperture using the aperture ring. Because the camera cannot read the aperture ring, it can't figure out how much flash is needed, so it fires full power. In order to use flash with a manul lens, you need to use the guide number formula (google that term for a full explanation) to figure out how to set aperture and ISO to get a correct exposure. Most people find it not worth the trouble, and reserve the flash for lenses that support automatic exposure (ones that have an "A" position on the aperture ring, or no aperture ring at all).

As for shutter speed, you can control that in M mode. In other modes, the camera just picks a shutter speed for you when using flash. And the shutter speed has very little effect on the photo, since the flash duration is much shorter than the shutter anyhow. 1/180" iis the fastest shutter speed that works with flash.
03-19-2010, 11:34 AM   #6
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yes Marc you are correct, is a 50mm "A". Thank you for your help on this as well.
03-19-2010, 12:07 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Kurly One Quote
I'm sure its something simple like I messed up one of the settings but I am still at the cameras mercy...
don't mean to piss anyone off but you shouldn't blame the camera when in fact you are the one that overexposed.
I see you used matrix metering which doesn't seem right if the background was much darker than the subject who also had headlights on him (did he?) and apparently too much flash. you can try center weighted metering or spot metering from your son's skin. also you don't have to use iso 3200 just because it's late in the evening, obviously you didn't need to.
there's also the flash syncing that was mentioned already.
let me know if I slipped out anything stupid..

how about posting some of the better photos?
03-19-2010, 12:30 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pablom Quote
don't mean to piss anyone off but you shouldn't blame the camera when in fact you are the one that overexposed.
I see you used matrix metering which doesn't seem right if the background was much darker than the subject who also had headlights on him (did he?) and apparently too much flash. you can try center weighted metering or spot metering from your son's skin. also you don't have to use iso 3200 just because it's late in the evening, obviously you didn't need to.
there's also the flash syncing that was mentioned already.
let me know if I slipped out anything stupid..

how about posting some of the better photos?
Reread my post. I said an I quote, "I'm sure its something simple like I messed up one of the settings but I am still at the cameras mercy..."

Mainly because I am at the cameras mercy until I learn how to use it.
Where did I blame the camera?
Thanks for your input, on the metering.

I'm doing my best to learn how to use the camera in all situations to the best of my ability. When I can't figure something out, I do what I was taught. Ask someone who knows.

03-19-2010, 10:30 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Kurly One Quote
Reread my post. I said an I quote, "I'm sure its something simple like I messed up one of the settings but I am still at the cameras mercy..."

Mainly because I am at the cameras mercy until I learn how to use it.
Where did I blame the camera?
Thanks for your input, on the metering.

I'm doing my best to learn how to use the camera in all situations to the best of my ability. When I can't figure something out, I do what I was taught. Ask someone who knows.
gee, everyone's touchy these days
don't get upset my friend, it's just the internet
03-19-2010, 10:53 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pablom Quote
gee, everyone's touchy these days
don't get upset my friend, it's just the internet

We have the Beginners Q&A forum so that beginners can post and not fear comments like this
QuoteOriginally posted by Pablom:
...but you shouldn't blame the camera when in fact you are the one that overexposed
, we were all beginners once.

As for offering advice about metering and not needing ISO 3200 because it's late in the evening, that means very little in a situation like this. Flash was used and ISO 100 is what should be recommended.
03-20-2010, 08:30 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Kurly One Quote
yes Marc you are correct, is a 50mm "A". Thank you for your help on this as well.
Hmm, if it's an "A" version, you shouldn't be seeing this problem unless perhaps you aren't actually *using* the "A" position but are instead trying to set aperture using the ring. Don't do that. If your lens has an "A" position, use it - that will allow flash automation to work, as well as enable all other autoexposure modes to work.
03-20-2010, 09:41 AM   #12
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It's simplest to just experiment. Start at something reasonable like ISO100, f/8 1/500s and see what the exposure looks like. Though you wouldn't likely change the ISO, you can dial down the strength of the flash if need be.

A few test shots and you'll have something usable, though no way as good as a dedicated flash unit.
03-20-2010, 10:12 AM   #13
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As Marc says, using the aperture ring will cause the flash to fire at full power. Because the aperture is set, the only variables are shutter speed and ISO. Of course being flash, the shutter speed is also set. So ISO is all you have to play with.

You can not win in this situation. Your only option is to set ISO100 and a (much) higher F-Stop, and live with the fact that the background will be black. It won't be a great photo but at least your subject will be properly exposed.

The 'proper' way to address this situation with a better flash, would be to pre-set your ISO, F-Stop and shutter speed to underexpose by a stop without a flash. You would then switch to flash and dial back the output until the subject was properly exposed. Don't worry too much about camera shake as only the backgroud will be affected.

Of course, if you had that nice flash, you could set it up to fire through a soft box at a pleasing angle.... but this is how photography turns into an obsession
03-20-2010, 03:06 PM   #14
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I'm going to try some more tomorrow night with the same set up, and I will try all the advise given so far!

I really do appreciate everyones help with this situation!
03-20-2010, 04:27 PM   #15
Damn Brit
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You might also have been going about it a little bass ackwards, try just the flash and add the car headlights if necessary.
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