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05-27-2011, 06:24 AM   #1
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Couple of K-x Questions?

Usually I'm more of a manual settings kind of person but I've been playing around with the K-x and it's various auto modes the past couple of days and I have a couple of quick questions.

I've noticed that when I let the camera take full control that unless I specifically set the K-x at a certain iso it automatically seems to default to the highest iso setting listed under auto mode even in very bright light. If the auto is set from say 100-800? The camera will automatically set itself at 800 no matter what the light is or what aperture etc. If it's 3200 then it defaults to 3200. The only way I can get it any lower is to set the iso at a lower high point or to set it manually for the exact iso I want.

That's not supposed to work like that, is it? I'm not too sure. Like I said I hardly ever use auto modes so I really didn't notice it doing that on my *ist. This just seems off to me that the camera wouldn't choose a lower iso even outside? I'm just wondering if this is a K-x quirk or if it's programmed to do that, take the highest iso, unless you tell it to do otherwise.

FYI, this camera has been factory serviced recently. The person I got it from sent it in and got it tuned up before I got it, and it seems to be running perfectly otherwise. For a second hand camera this K-x is pretty darned immaculate actually.

Also, I'm looking at the various focus modes and wondering which mode is best for what situation. I never can quite figure that one out and I'd appreciate it if someone would explain to me why the K-x even needs multiple focusing modes? Right now I've got it set on the 11 point mode, but I'm wondering if say that's better than say center focusing and if so why? Ditto the other modes. I'm used to mostly manual focusing and while I do get that there are different modes I am not always sure of how to pick the best one for what I am shooting. Is it better to pick one mode and stick to it all the time? Better to change modes for certain situations?

Since I only have one AF lens, most of my kit is old manual lenses, I end up focusing manually anyway 75% of the time, but I do have the one AF Tamron super zoom (75-200MM) and I would like to be able to just leave it on the camera sometimes and be able to run to catch a bird shot real quick if necessary without having to set everything up all the time. I just don't really know if I have chosen the best AF focusing setting generally speaking or not. This is the first time I've had a camera with this many focus points. Is it the more points the better the focus? Seems to me they tend to go up with the megapixels?

Thanks!

05-27-2011, 06:29 AM   #2
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question 1: that behavior doesn't sound normal, my k-x didn't do that... Maybe dig through the manual and the custom settings.
question 2: especially because you're used to MF, I would leave the camera on center point focus and recompose. That way you don't get home and find out that the camera was using a different focus point than you thought it was... best of luck!
05-27-2011, 06:41 AM   #3
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When you say "auto mode", do you mean green mode or P mode?
If you're in P mode and auto iso, the K-x should not increase the iso until it reaches maximum aperture and 1/(2*focallength) shutterspeed.
If you're in green mode, the camera might pick the sport scene mode, which might do something like what you describe. I'm only speculating here.

Try resetting the camera to factory defaults. There's a menu item for that. If that doesn't help, send it in.

Sincerely,
--Anders.
05-27-2011, 07:25 AM   #4
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I mean full auto program mode.

It's okay. I can live with it if need be, just limit the upper iso to whatever I really want, or just set it myself all the time. Sending the camera back in just isn't really an option. First I really don't want to be without it and it's a gray market camera thing besides. It's a long story, but I don't have the original receipt et all.

The camera would have to go back to Europe and to it's original owner and it could take months the sending it back there and getting it back here. I just got it and I am enjoying it way too much to want to give it up for something so insignificant and easily worked around. It's not like I am going to be using the auto program thing much anyway. I didn't get a DSLR to end up just using it like a point and shoot 100% of the time, smile. The small amount of time I actually use it on auto mode, this wouldn't really bug me enough to worry all that much. Short of a major malfunction (goodness forbid, knock on wood) I just wouldn't send it back. Most of the time I'd be setting the iso anyhow. I just thought it was rather odd the way it was setting itself, that's all.

Why center point vs say 11 point?

05-27-2011, 07:58 AM   #5
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As you do not have focus point indicators in the k-x viewfinder, you never know on which of the 11 (or 5) points the camera will focus, making it a bit of a gamble I think, and seeing that you are using manual lenses most of the time it would be easier to use center point, as you already know what results you get, and don't have to worry about that.
My situation is almost the same as yours. Coming from SLR with a lot of manual lenses, I am shooting in M or AV most of the time with my m lenses, and when I do use my kit lens, I shoot mostly in AV and once in a while in TV. I've never tried P or Auto picture, maybe because I rather keep with what I am used to and know well, rather than giving the whole prosess of deciding what the best is for me, over to a computer
05-27-2011, 08:57 AM   #6
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With my *ist I think I probably used the auto settings maybe a handful of times. I never really got into it because with my Tamron the AF was pretty darned slow to begin with and because I'm not completely hopeless at manual focusing and I like full control. The AF on the K-x however is a whole other ballgame. Put the Tamron on the K-x and set it on AF and all of a sudden it's working like a charm and it's pretty fast besides. Handy thing that, when some fast moving creature comes along. Actually I think this is the first time I've ever gotten something really nice out of my Tamron. It just seems to work far better on the K-x for some reason.
05-27-2011, 11:00 AM   #7
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With your AF lens, if you are taking photos of birds in flight, center focus and recompose is not best. In those circumstances, switch to 11 or 5 point focus and continuous focus mode and most of your shots should be sharp.
05-27-2011, 11:29 AM   #8
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as mentioned earlier in this thread, my K-x does not increase ISO until it reaches max aperture in P mode.

and +1 on the center focus then recompose. as I just picked up a K-r, while 11 point AF is "intelligent" it does not always "guess" what you want to focus, so rather than trying to tell the k-r to guess where you want to focus, you focus with center focus and recompose is a lot faster.

05-27-2011, 11:44 AM   #9
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Posting a picture with Exif intact would help a lot. The camera wouldn't normally choose the highest possible ISO unless you are shooting in very low light or with a very small aperture and that was the only way to get a decent shutter speed. A picture would help ascertain how much light there really was, and if anything else might explain what was happening.

BTW, you mention "full auto" and "program" in the same sense, but these are two different modes. The most fully automatic mode is labelled "Auto"; program mode (which is indeed largely automatic) is "P".

QuoteQuote:
Is it better to pick one mode and stick to it all the time? Better to change modes for certain situations?
Is Coke better than Pepsi?

I like sticking to one mode all the time, personally. I'm not smart enough to change my thinking from one shot to the next. I use one exposure mode (M), one metering mode (center-weighted), one focus point selection mode (center only), one focus mode (AF-S), etc. I know how these work so well I don't have to stop and think.
05-27-2011, 12:50 PM   #10
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I was taking many pics outside in bright sunlight and inside in dim light. Basically just trying out the camera at most apertures and in most lighting conditions. It wasn't for one type of shot or for one set of conditions. It was doing that in every shot I took. Didn't matter what F-stop etc. The camera would switch aperture et all just fine, but the iso would automatically be at the highest allowable setting I had set up in the menu regardless of aperture or shutter speed.

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I'm a bit tired today. Not much sleep last night. What I meant was the capture mode dial is set on Auto Pic. Or on one of the other capture modes. I think I was mainly using Auto Pic, though I did try out Portrait and I did use Scene a few times.

I had originally left the auto iso range set from 100-3200 and every time it set itself on the 3200 setting whether it was bright light outside or very dim light inside didn't seem to matter at all. Same deal if I put it at say 100-800. It would default to 800 and not go any lower at all.

I thought that was really odd as I would have expected the camera to change iso according to the light available, but it just didn't. If the light got bright still 3200. If I walked into a dim room, still 3200, even though the rest of it would change. The only way I could get a lesser iso was to set one manually.

Like I said it's really no big deal because I am a mostly manual person anyhow, but I didn't think that was what the camera was supposed to do. Isn't it supposed to calculate what iso you need according to the info from the light meter and the sensor and set the iso accordingly when it's in Auto Pic mode as though it were a point and shoot basically? I know it's probably not perfect the camera always doing that but the camera just defaulting to the highest iso I've set as allowable regardless of conditions that can't be right.
05-27-2011, 06:38 PM   #11
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Indeed, which is why I suggest posting a picture to see if there is a clue in the Exif as to what might be going on.
05-27-2011, 07:57 PM   #12
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Okay, here's the pic data for 3 pics from yesterday's folder. Don't see the necessity of posting the actual pics. They're pretty boring stuff, lizards and plants mostly. I wasn't aiming for anything too creative. I was just taking random junk pics trying out the various auto modes.

A couple were taken in portrait mode, one in auto pic mode I believe. The internal flash didn't go off outside in these two shots, but I did have it on flash with no red eye when I was inside shooting the one which was me just taking pics of one of the cats sitting in a chair in a pretty dim room. Now on that one I would have expected the camera to default to 3200 maybe. It was pretty dark in there and I didn't turn on a light at all, but in every case, until I told it to do otherwise, outside or inside the camera, bright or dim, the camera chose 3200.

Currently I have the auto iso range set at 100-400 which is my preferred range most of the time just in case I forget to set the iso manually. That way if I have to grab the camera and shoot in auto pic or one of the other modes like that and it defaults to 400 I'm still going to get an auto iso in a range I like. But from what I can tell I can't just leave the thing on say 100-3200 without it automatically taking 3200 no matter what the scene or how much light there is. The aperture will change, if I set it on full auto flash the pop up flash will go on or off as necessary, the shutter speed will adjust itself, but the top iso figure is the one the camera will default too even if I am telling it in the iso settings menu that it can go as low as 100 if it needs to.

Shouldn't it be choosing the best figure in the range not just taking the top figure there?
05-27-2011, 11:40 PM   #13
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Actually, seeing the pictures could help, because then we could see what the light looked like and what kind of exposure resulted. But in the first picture, I think you're drastically overestimating how much light there actually was. Look at the data for the first picture. The camera cranked ISO up to 3200 but was *still* only able to get a 1/100" shutter speed at f/5.6. At 200mm, it had to settle for that, but I'm sure it would much rather have turned up the ISO even further, as 1/100" isn't really fast enough for 200mm, even with SR.

It's tougher to say with the other pictures, but it would be interesting to see what would happen if you went to Av mode and elected a wide open aperture. The second shot seems borderline, but understandable. It should have aimed for at least 1/300" for a shutter speed, and had the camera chosen ISO 1600, it wouldn't have been able to get quite to 1/300" without sacrificing DOF by opening up the aperture, which the camera reports it was specifically trying *not* to do. Again, though, if the camera was only getting 1/500" at f/8 and ISO 3200, that isn't anything *close* to bright daylight. The Sunny 16 rules suggests you'd get a shutter speed of 1/3200 at ISO 3200 and f/16, which would be I/12800 at f/8. This is often a stop or so optimistic, but you're nowhere *near* that, so this can't be full daylight.

Only the last shot seems at all suspicious. The camera could have chosen ISO 1600 and still managed a barely-sufficient 1/320" shutter speed, and it also could have opened up the aperture half a stop. Again, though, clearly, you're nowhere near the sort of light levels where you shouldn't be expecting to be needing fairly high ISO when shooting long lenses. Certainly, there was no where the camera was going to give you an ISO less than 1100.
05-28-2011, 12:09 AM   #14
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Actually but for about 2/3 of these shots I was out in 90 ish weather in some pretty strong tropical level daylight. FYI, I live closer to the equator than not. Summer's already well on here date notwithstanding. Usually the sun is too harsh for most of the day to do much outdoors because there is so much of it.

Shooting from 10-4 you're risking sun stroke, no kidding, but there's plenty of daylight up till late most days. My best "afternoon" shooting hours actually start at 4 and go till about 7:30-8 whenever sunset finally starts. You have to start way early here too to get a morning shoot in. I'm up and out by 7 if I am going to do a morning shoot. By 10 AM it's just steaming hot outside.

There is just no way I needed 3200 iso to take pics of a lizard basking on a brick outside under those circumstances. Maybe under the carport, though I doubt it, plenty of sun there even in semi shade usually, but definitely not out in the open. Yet the iso setting still never got below 3200 even when I was standing there in full sunlight sweating and wiping steam off my eye glasses?

That just doesn't make much sense to me. I wasn't shooting in anything like a dark setting except for inside that one room which had the curtains drawn and no lights on. That's normal for that room. It's a tiny room we seldom use. The cats actually like to hang out there and nap sometimes because it's quite, semi-cool and semi-dark. I went in there because I wanted a major lighting contrast because that room does tend to be dark and I wanted to go to the other extreme and see what happened. I expected 3200 in there. I just didn't expect it out in a fry your skin lobster red in 10-15 minutes sans sunblock kind of situation.

When I say I had sun, I mean I had SUN.

I am going to repeat this little experiment tomorrow. I'm going to go outside, put the camera on full auto and take pics only in strong sunlight at 4-5 in the afternoon, which is the start of prime time sun here. I was switching back and forth in the various modes. This time I want to set it back to factory specs, pick the auto pic mode, and see what happens. I'm just curious because I can hardly believe that I can even take pics outside here and ever need 3200 iso.

Maybe standing in full shade of a tree, on a really rainy day, or at near dark, but otherwise? I really have my doubts on that score. If you don't wear polarized sunglasses regularly here you can actually risk real damage to your eyes if you do it for too long. That's how strong the Summer sun can be. That kind of sun ever needs 3200 iso?

Last edited by magkelly; 05-28-2011 at 12:23 AM.
05-28-2011, 12:25 AM   #15
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These settings do not match shooting outside on a sunny day. Sunny 16 rule says if you are at ISO3200 and f16, you should be getting 1/3200 shutter speed. You are at f/8 and a much slower shutter speed.

Have you got filters on the front of your lens?
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