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09-02-2010, 05:35 AM   #16
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Digital cameras try to preserve highlights. This is as it should be. It is relatively easy to bring up the shadows, but to bring back blow highlights is virtually impossible. The camera here did expose correctly. The problem that I have with older Pentax cameras (K7 excluded) is that they tend to be fooled by small, bright objects, that I would rather have them ignore.

Truthfully, the issue is not the overall exposure, it is the exposure in the shadows, which it is fairly easy to fix in post processing (as Jeff did above). What I think you are really looking for is an HDR-like image that has detail in both the sky and the mountains.

09-02-2010, 06:35 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Digital cameras try to preserve highlights. This is as it should be. It is relatively easy to bring up the shadows, but to bring back blow highlights is virtually impossible. The camera here did expose correctly. The problem that I have with older Pentax cameras (K7 excluded) is that they tend to be fooled by small, bright objects, that I would rather have them ignore.

Truthfully, the issue is not the overall exposure, it is the exposure in the shadows, which it is fairly easy to fix in post processing (as Jeff did above). What I think you are really looking for is an HDR-like image that has detail in both the sky and the mountains.
Interesting thoughts in this thread. I wonder if Pentax's metering is just a little more agressive in terms of preserving mid-tone uniformity than Canon/Nikon.

I have to say I've noticed that some of the shots I've taken have been . . . aggressively metered.

I need to start shooting raw with this camera (but need bigger HDs for my computer and backup server first!), because I think I'm losing too much detail in the shadows by using JPG.

One of the things that bothered me with a high-contrast shot that I took last week was how little detail remained in the "shadows" of the image.

Shot 1: This one was correctly metered. I'm fairly happy with how this shot came out; This is just to show you what a the lighting conditions were and how it more correctly metered. Even here it tended toward the dark side. That plastic tank is bright white and it actually looks brighter than the PVC nozzle in reality. After reading this thread, I know I should've AE-Locked after metering on the bushes or something, and then focused on the spreader and shot it. Or I could've used fill flash. But this shot is still usable, I'm happy with this shot. In fact, I guess it's better that I have the detail in the tank, and if I'd wanted the tank white I could've PP'd it.

Shot 2: Closeup of the handle of the spreader. Granted, this is a milled stainless steel piece reflecting the bright florida sunshine. So I get that it metered way down. However, for two reasons I think it took it too far. Nubmer one, that piece of metal is, in reality, very bright. The K-X underexposed even the piece of metal to the point that it looks dark. Now, granted, it preserved every detail of the piece so well that the tiny bevels and milling almost make the image look like it's a ghosted multi-exposure. Secondly, look at the black areas in the grass. When I tried to bring up the shadows in the grass to make the shot look less foreboding, the shadows were blown out to black and I couldn't touch the shadows control, because it was causing black banding in the grass. This shot was done with the Shadow Compensation in-camera set on low.

And here's the kicker. That shot looked FINE on the LCD for review.

It's not a big issue, Pentax just makes you use your brain a bit to get the best pictures.

By comparison, here's a high-contrast pic I took in December with my Rebel XS. It's a good example of no-brainer metering. It's also an example of a very uninteresting shot.

This was a bright clear day in DC and the face of the building was very bright. It was shot in JPG, but you can still see plenty of detail in the shaded face of the building. 50mm, F25, 1/120, ISO800.

Here's another Canon shot:

On this one, the sun was behind the building (I was standing 90 degrees clockwise from the previous shot I posted), and the face of the building was in shadow. The only way to take this shot was to either bracket it (and it was FA-REEZING. At 25 degrees and 20mph wind, I was not busting out the tripod), or blow the highlights. But without having to meter a frame that was entirely shadow, then shoot, the camera chose to preserve detail in the shadows and blow the highlights.

I think it's about the camera's brain, and what it's priority is . . . shadows or highlights.

Last edited by Ryan Trevisol; 09-02-2010 at 06:42 AM.
09-02-2010, 07:04 AM   #18
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DXOMark rates the K-x at 12.5 EV vs the XS at 10.9, so if you couldn't find the shadow detail in the K-x photo, it certainly would be long gone with the XS. The K-x has about the widest exposure limits of any APS-C camera.

What I want from my DSLR is consistent metering, so I can look at a scene and make a good call about how much Ev, or whether I need another metering mode. I find the K-x a bit inconsistent in Matrix Metering mode, CW is more reliable. I find my K20D meters more accurately in Matrix, and it's much quicker to change to spot or CW because it's on a dial instead of in a menu.
09-02-2010, 07:41 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
DXOMark rates the K-x at 12.5 EV vs the XS at 10.9, so if you couldn't find the shadow detail in the K-x photo, it certainly would be long gone with the XS. The K-x has about the widest exposure limits of any APS-C camera.

What I want from my DSLR is consistent metering, so I can look at a scene and make a good call about how much Ev, or whether I need another metering mode. I find the K-x a bit inconsistent in Matrix Metering mode, CW is more reliable. I find my K20D meters more accurately in Matrix, and it's much quicker to change to spot or CW because it's on a dial instead of in a menu.
I'm not saying the camera's not capable of preserving shadow detail, I'm saying the camera chooses to meter differently.

If the Canon had chosen to meter the way the Pentax had, and had compressed to JPEG, I'm sure it would've lost the same amount of detail in the shadow, if not more.

Now, granted, in that first Canon shot, I probably forced its hand a bit. In that shot, I had the camera on Auto 800, and probably had it on Shutter priority. So by picking 1/120, it couldn't meter any darker than it did.

09-02-2010, 11:01 AM   #20
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@Ryan

Shot #2 is reminiscent of many shots I've taken with the k-x. I wonder why it chooses to meter like this. I bet the histogram for that shot is almost entirely in the left side, whereas in reality you'd want the shiny metal on the right side. I see that a lot.
09-02-2010, 11:04 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ryan Trevisol Quote
I need to start shooting raw with this camera (but need bigger HDs for my computer and backup server first!), because I think I'm losing too much detail in the shadows by using JPG.
This thread might be of interest to you:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/113062-jpeg-settin...ml#post1164755
09-02-2010, 11:15 AM   #22
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I take pix of vintage cars with my 12-24 wide angle...or wild birds with my 55-300mm.

Therefore my needs dictate that I expose the subject correctly...everything else in the pix isn't as important as the subject to me. If everything else comes out OK...well I consider that a bonus. BTW, usually it does.

I set my camera's (K10D and KM) at spot meter usually.
09-02-2010, 11:25 AM   #23
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Have'nt we beaten the exposure issue to death in the past between canon and pentax.

When I look at the histogram of both of the OP's shots, the first has a little space to the left and right on the histogram, therefore preserving at least some detail in both the highlights and shadows.

the second shot, has both the absolute maximum and minimums of the histogram lost, resulting in blown highlights and pure black shadow detail in some areas, but a brighter mid range (green area) .

I think to achieve what the OP really wants to achieve, he should use curves to adjust,. and raise the level of the mid range of the shots without clipping the top or bottom.

But the point is here, that the "correct" exposure is subjective for each photographer. if you like blown highlights., brighter than actual mid range and shadow detail, by all means play with the exposure compensation. the adjustments are there for you to use as you wish.

09-02-2010, 11:27 AM   #24
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I usually take the shot in manual at +0.7 or +1 for just that reason. depends on what I am taking a shot of though.


In my case I am sure it is my poor metering.. which I am trying to work on

If I need someone else to use the camera (like my husband. he has yet to get a point and shoot or something simple) I put it on "P" and set the custom settings to compensate. he shoots in Jpeg, I believe brightness +1, contrast +1, and saturation +1... its been a while and I usually play around with it, decide what i like for him to use in that situation and then make sure I lecture him on focusing before he takes the pic.


are you shooting in manual?
09-02-2010, 11:52 AM   #25
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I'm getting the same results from my K-x. During post-process, I have to push up almost everything from 1/3 to 2/3 stop or more. I think in 2800 photos, I've had to pull the exposure down maybe 10 times and push it up every other time. I might get 5-10 correctly exposed shots per outing if I'm lucky.

My $120 CoolPix gave more reliable results as long as the light was good. I decided to start shooting +1/3 stop EV comp from now on. We'll see what kind of results I get after this weekend.
09-02-2010, 12:22 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Billium28 Quote
I have always had an issue with under exposed pictures taken on normal settings on the k-x. I have read people just bump up the dial 1/3-2/3 stops to compensate. But I do that sometimes and there still is very little difference. I also think the pictures are very under exposed to the point where I need to bump them up a good deal in photoshop. I am just going to attach a couple of pics to show. The second one is me ROUGHLY editing the pic in photoshop to what I think is a better exposure.
That's a good file actually.

Your camera did just what it's suppose to in protecting highlights in the scene.
However... in the event that you didn't care about the sky and highlights then you could simply change your exposure to center weighted or spot and expos for a specific area of the scene(the trees for example). Having said that... I don't think you'd be doing yourself any favors with such an approach since you could potentially loose much of your scene to unrecoverable blowouts.

PS. Have you considered that perhaps you would benefit from shooting raw rather than JPG?
09-02-2010, 01:01 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
Thanks, I'll give those a try, though I really much prefer to just have it all in Raw. I have 83 out of 320GB free on my iMac so I need to either install a new hard drive or buy a redundant external drive, or get a new iMac.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Have'nt we beaten the exposure issue to death in the past between canon and pentax.
Sorry if it's a sore or often discussed topic around here, but for me it's a fresh issue.

I had a K100D and loved it except I didn't have very good glass to go with it (we're talking sub-kit-lens stuff). I chalked up underexposed shots to the glass not letting enough light through.

Then I got my Canon with the kit lens and things were instantly better.

Then I got my new K-X with the kit lens and it's better than the K100D but now I realize the true reason.

In any case, I'll just shoot raw and learn to meter better.

Last edited by Ryan Trevisol; 09-02-2010 at 01:21 PM.
09-02-2010, 01:53 PM   #28
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I always find these "K-x underexposes" threads funny, because I get ticked at the K-x for blowing highlights at times; so AFAIC it has a tendency to overexpose in Matrix mode. My K20D and K100DS do NOT blow the highlights.

Last edited by audiobomber; 09-02-2010 at 02:07 PM.
09-02-2010, 02:02 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ryan Trevisol Quote
Sorry if it's a sore or often discussed topic around here, but for me it's a fresh issue.
No appologies needed
QuoteQuote:

I had a K100D and loved it except I didn't have very good glass to go with it (we're talking sub-kit-lens stuff). I chalked up underexposed shots to the glass not letting enough light through.

Then I got my Canon with the kit lens and things were instantly better.
this is why canon rank so highly in polls with magazines, they turn up exposure contrast and saturation and people believe the camera is "better" because the jpegs they produce are pushed to one side very far, to the poin tI think they look more plastic and unnatural, but any way........... Magazines also report on this, but then some have the decency to say the same images can be produced by modifying the JPEG settings, and with RAW both canon and pentax are equivelent in perfromance, but the ratings in tests are always based upon default camera settings, it is just canon is playing a game with them
QuoteQuote:
Then I got my new K-X with the kit lens and it's better than the K100D but now I realize the true reason.
good, it is all about learning
QuoteQuote:

In any case, I'll just shoot raw and learn to meter better.
no need to shoot raw, you can get there with learning JPEG settings and in the end when you look at maximum resolution JPEGs the only loss is the change from 12 bit color to 8 bit.
09-02-2010, 04:34 PM   #30
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With internal camera controls and software, is there really such a thing as over and underexposure? A camera is an adjustable tool that you decide what to do with. Software can correct virtually, blown out aside, any mistakes by the operator. By the way, for my taste the Kx overexposes and I leave it permanently at -0.3 ev.
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