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06-27-2010, 01:46 PM   #1
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Why does Pentax consistently UNDER-EXPOSE and usually under-saturate images?

Why does Pentax consistently UNDER-EXPOSE and usually under-saturate images?

I've used nothing but PENTAX DSLRs. I love Pentax and have most the BEST LENSES for it, but am seriously considering getting a Canon Rebel as a second camera. My friends use Canon and Nikon. I find Nikon's colors greyish, and Canon bright and saturated. I hate to say it, I like Canon's colors... I know some don't. It seems the new Rebel is maybe even better than the K-7?

Don't kill me! I own/owned the K-7, K20d, and K10d and invested all I have int Pentax for all the same reasons you love Pentax. But the Pentax sensor and autofocus is killing me! I invested mainly because I know one day Pentax will A) make a full-frame and b) correct these issues with better AF and better sensor.

But until then....

I'm sure this has been asked/mentioned before...

I find despite having a K-7, the best FA* and Limited lenses, my Pentaxes always under-expose and under-saturate/under-contrast (or worse OVER-contrast if I compensate in-camera) the images.

Are there any solutions in-camera so I don't have to fiddle so much post? It takes half a day to post-process every shoot I do (100-300 images).

They never come out of the camera looking great. I always have to spend hours balancing them - mostly brightening and adding contrast to bring out the light and colors.

I usually have to boost the EV or lower the shutter speed from green mode - fine for consistent light, bad if the light changes every few minutes, cuz then even with my adjustments, I still over or under-expose the moment the light changes.

Why is this? Why can't Pentax make a camera that at least exposes correctly?

Maybe make an in-camera option that processes the JPGs with more color, light, and contrast.

I find only with the newest of the new WR and DFA lenses is this getting better... but why am I paying so much money for FA* and Limited lenses if the camera won't at least expose them properly? Because even my modern DA lenses under-expose.

06-27-2010, 02:05 PM   #2
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The underexposure has been one of the achilles' heel points of the K system IMO.
I couldn't care less about the AF. My 10-20 is MFed @1m and delivers all I need, Ks and M are joy to MF, and FA ltds... well good enough to MF and after debuging my K10D the AF is reliable enough....

But the underexposure... well, I know what you mean.. I had K100 2x, K10 2x, GX20 (now I own K-x too but haven't used it enough to comment) and all of these would underxpose and quite badly. On my current K10, shooting fast (faster than f2) lenses needs +1EV. Sigma 10-20 needs +1EV.... and no it's not the focusing screen, as I'm used K3 splitscreen.
Up to K20 (and K-x) people were blaming the old fashioned, slightly retarded 16 segment metering sensor, which tries to render anything white-ish as grey to preserve highlights. I believed that K-7 with 77 segment is improved though.
As for undersaturating, this is true only for the 14mpx CMOS and it looks that K-x is no better here, IMO. One reason why I'm sticking with K10 and considering buying one as lightly used as possible, is that it's colours are just superb IMHO!
06-27-2010, 02:07 PM   #3
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Maybe you're just under-exposing your photos through poor metering or EV compensation. You can indeed tweak sharpness, contrast, and saturation in-camera, so that when shooting JPEG, you'll have good out-of-camera shots. In RAW, obviously all this is up to you when processing the photos.

I've enjoyed using FA* lenses on all three of the bodies you're mentioning, and nothing seemed to be wrong with the photos. You should make an album here (go to photos > my albums in the navbat and click on add album)and post some examples of underexposed shots- that way, we can have a look at the exif and see if something might have gone wrong.

Isn't the rebel Canon's lowest-level SLR? That would be a step down if anything.
06-27-2010, 02:09 PM   #4
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Hmm....only my K10 does it a little,my K-7 is perfect.


06-27-2010, 02:11 PM   #5
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As a photographer, I use my camera to get the exposure I want and don't rely my camera to try and tell what the scene should look like. You should try it sometime.
06-27-2010, 02:18 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
As a photographer, I use my camera to get the exposure I want and don't rely my camera to try and tell what the scene should look like. You should try it sometime.
Enoeske, If you READ my original post, I said I do manual shooting all the time and "I usually have to boost the EV or lower the shutter speed from green mode - fine for consistent light, bad if the light changes every few minutes, cuz then even with my adjustments, I still over or under-expose the moment the light changes."

Read before you post or try to add a snide comment, Enoeske. Oh yeah... how 'bout posting something useful, Enoeske, instead of useless criticism?
06-27-2010, 02:22 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by zackspeed Quote
Hmm....only my K10 does it a little,my K-7 is perfect.
Maybe my K-7 is not so perfect? It is better, but still has issues. Lots to love about it, but not perfect. Also my video mode cuts off after 45 seconds! I use a 16GB Class 6 card... and can't get video to work past 45 seconds. Oh well... the video issue is a whole 'nother thread.
06-27-2010, 02:22 PM   #8
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I've found that all the digitals I have used tend to underexpose to a certain degree so I rarely bother with AE of any sort nowdays using the histogram and bright area warning instead. It also means I tend to think about the light in the scene a lot more.

p.s. I'm one of those that hate Canon Colours! Well not really hate, I just find Pentax more to my liking.

06-27-2010, 02:30 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxForums-User Quote
Enoeske, If you READ my original post, I said I do manual shooting all the time and "I usually have to boost the EV or lower the shutter speed from green mode - fine for consistent light, bad if the light changes every few minutes, cuz then even with my adjustments, I still over or under-expose the moment the light changes."?
I don't think Enoeske was being overly critical, in fact I think he hit the nail on the head. As a photographer you make those choices (boosting EV, dragging the shutter) to get the exposure you want, regardless of what the camera thinks is right or wrong.

FWIW my K-7's metering is eerily accurate.

(Anyone else getting tired of all these grass-is-greener posts?)
06-27-2010, 02:31 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Maybe you're just under-exposing your photos through poor metering or EV compensation. You can indeed tweak sharpness, contrast, and saturation in-camera, so that when shooting JPEG, you'll have good out-of-camera shots. In RAW, obviously all this is up to you when processing the photos.

Isn't the rebel Canon's lowest-level SLR? That would be a step down if anything.
I am - if I do it manually - all depends if the light changes or not every few minutes - like outdoors when you're constantly on the the run and clouds/shade changes.

But I thought the point of digital was that it would be pretty decent for auto metering... I mean - if most of us generally agree Pentax UNDER-exposes - then why can't they just design the camera to boost the EV automatically,... instead of making us do it manually every time. I mean, if most of us already boost the EV +.3 to +1.0... why doesn't Pentax just auto-boost it in-camera a little more as part of the design and we wouldn't even know it's under-exposing.

On the contrast/saturation - yes I boost them too in-camera, but I find the images come out artificial looking or too harsh - the in-camera manual adjustments just don't tend to work so well no matter how subtle or how much I do it.

On the Rebel - the stats seem pretty good.... HD video, 18MP, etc. That's my point - the Rebel as a starter camera seems to have the K-7 beat or come close... which is a shame if that is true. I know the K-7 has a better build... but the Rebel stats do seem impressive.
06-27-2010, 02:34 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by noahpurdy Quote
FWIW my K-7's metering is eerily accurate.

(Anyone else getting tired of all these grass-is-greener posts?)
Trust me... I love so many things about Pentax... and for $800... K-7 isn't bad for all it packs - and Pentax lenses are AMAZING!

I guess I'm waiting for Pentax to make a full-frame that lives up to the lenses... even for 2x the $$.

Maybe my K-7 is a bad copy? It's better than my K20d... but I still am not seeing the IQ and accuracy in metering or colors I want. Oh well.

I wouldn't invest this much in Pentax if I didn't love them for so many other reasons.
06-27-2010, 02:43 PM   #12
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My K-7 meters dead-on or slightly on the + side, lens dependent. Videos are solid with Sandisk 16 Gb class 10 card.
06-27-2010, 02:48 PM   #13
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Interesting... a long while ago, perhaps 16 months ago .... I posted a thread that asked if someone had "found" appropriate Silky-Pics/in-camera settings that would mimic the bright, saturated look of Canon jpgs. I had been shooting Canon forever when I jumped to Pentax for my first DSLR, and those Canon images always looked "right" while the Pentax always looked dark, and low contrast/saturation.

The thread yielded no response, just crickets ... and I learned through trial and error what I had to do get the kind of color and contrast I wanted. In time I learned more of what I liked in an image and found that MY adjustments were somewhere between Pentax and Canon. I now find the Canon images to be "over-amped" and unnatural. I guess it was a matter of finding my own tastes.

I've owned a K100, K20 and now a K-7. The K-7 gives me the best looking exposures of the three cameras. It looks "right" to me, where my original PEFs from the other two cameras look about a half-stop dark. I still find myself messing with the saturation and vibrancy of anything I'm really post processing as a keeper.

So yes, I find that the Pentax factory settings often hand me back images that I don't find as pleasing as the other manufacturer's. I love Pentax for landscapes.... they really know how to do greens and earth tones. But I always start with darkish and flat and I have to go from there.

Also, I too had heard that Pentax deliberately underexposes to preserve the highlights from being blown. You can pull something out of the mud with SilkyPics, but you can't do anything with blown highlights.

regards,

germar
06-27-2010, 02:51 PM   #14
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But I thought the point of digital was that it would be pretty decent for auto metering...


It's worse if anything because sensors are so much more sensitive to changes in light levels than film is. This is why such sophisticated metering systems are added, they are making a virtue out of digital's shortcomings, selling on the weakest point.
06-27-2010, 03:00 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by germar Quote
Interesting... a long while ago, perhaps 16 months ago .... I posted a thread that asked if someone had "found" appropriate Silky-Pics/in-camera settings that would mimic the bright, saturated look of Canon jpgs. I had been shooting Canon forever when I jumped to Pentax for my first DSLR, and those Canon images always looked "right" while the Pentax always looked dark, and low contrast/saturation.

The thread yielded no response, just crickets ... and I learned through trial and error what I had to do get the kind of color and contrast I wanted. In time I learned more of what I liked in an image and found that MY adjustments were somewhere between Pentax and Canon. I now find the Canon images to be "over-amped" and unnatural. I guess it was a matter of finding my own tastes.

regards,

germar
I know.... most Pentaxians seem to hate the word Canon and saturated Canon colors.

Anyway, I was thinking of getting a Rebel as a second camera just for those colors! But keep my Pentax as well.

I have a K-7... what in-camera settings do you use/adjust to get more saturation/brightness? I find when I make an adjustment, it makes the image too harsh... so I was wondering what you adjust to your liking? Might help me adjust mine better in-camera.
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