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05-21-2012, 06:41 AM   #1
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Pentax ist DS horrible over exposer (?) problem.

G'day,

Firstly, thank you for allowing me to join your forum and yep, I am one of those dudes who lurks around and then joins when I really need some help. None the less, I have had a look around and I cant seem to find where my camera (or should I say myself) is going wrong.

For some time my hand me down *ist DS has been playing up, firstly intermittently however now it is more often than not.

A picture is worth a thousand words and I have a tendency to waffle on so I will post up what my problem looks like. Before that though, the following are some fixes I have tried:

- Reset and Format
- Firmware upgrade to 2.02
- A bit of fiddling around with various settings like adjusting +/- Av but in reality, I dont have much idea what I am doing but Im keen to learn.
- Cleaned battery connections with a pencil eraser

Aside from the disaster below it is worth noting that some time ago a friend was showing off his wizz bang Canon flash which he connected to the hot shoe on my camera. Since then my flash hasnt worked. It will pop up if I apply a small amount of pressure to the right hand side but it wont charge up and discharge. I figure his flash has caused my camera to blow a head gasket or something. Whatever the case the flash is stuffed but the camera still worked fine after that.

Below are a couple of shots I took recently. I am no photographer, just a point and shoot hack but I do like the quality of the photos the Pentax takes and its enough to keep me happy. I have included 4 shots (2 x2 consecutive).

If anyone has any hints or tips of things I can try I am all ears and appreciation. I would rather fix my pentax than use it as an excuse to buy a new one as I do quite like it

Thanks for reading and hopefully this is something that is easy to fix however I am not holding my breath.

Cheers,

Tony

EDIT - I cant spal. The topic is supposed to say exposure but I guess you all know that hehehehe

* I have re-sized using a cheap and nasty method i.e. Outlook however the EXIF data of the original shots is in the attached .txt file.

First attachment - IMGP0475 - Although not perfect, probably the closest to being "normal"


Second attachment - IMGP0476 - Yuck (not the car, the photo). I turned 90 degrees anti clockwise from the previous shot.


The 3rd and 4th attachments (IMGP0582 and IMGP0583) are taken from the same position pretty much straight away.


The 5th attachment is the full (proper) EXIF data for all 4 shots.

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX *ist DS  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX *ist DS  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX *ist DS  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX *ist DS  Photo 
Attached Files
File Type: txt pentax exif data.txt (13.1 KB, 249 views)
05-21-2012, 07:27 AM   #2
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Car shows can always be tricky places to shoot, lots of light reflecting off every surface. Your #1 and #3 shots look like most of us would get shooting in an outside car show at mid day in bright sun. The cars look good but but the highlights are blown a little. That's exactly what most meters will do. Your data lists manual exposure mode. Was that a mistake? Comparing the data with the better shots to the over exposed shots, It's obvious to see the difference. I don't have an ist DS but I would assume it has the same exposure modes available to other Pentax bodies. Shoot in AV and pay attention to the exposure settings being displayed in your viewfinder. Any big differences will be big changes in your exposure. You camera did what it did because you set it that way. If you weren't shooting in M mose then something is wrong with your mode dial.
05-21-2012, 07:33 AM   #3
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Here's what I'd do:

1) Reset the exposure compensation to zero.
2) Set your metering to center-weighted. (assuming your subjects are in the center, this gives you a predictable metering pattern.)
3) Set your camera to program.
4) Go out on a sunny day with your camera set to ISO200 & fire off some test shots of normally lit subjects (no strong backlighting, etc.) without readjusting the exposure compensation. Cars are a poor test subject because of all the relections. Instead, use stuff like people, trees, buildings, etc.

See what happens.

I never use the Program mode or the special "picture" modes at all. I usually use Av, Tv, or manual. You could also try all the above with your aperture set to f11 in Av mode & see how you do. Keep in mind you might still get the occasional oddly exposed shot, but the majority of them should be ok. You can also shoot more than one frame of your subjects with the same framing to see if the meter is sporadic. If you take the exact same photo 3 or 4 times with the same settings, they should all be the same unless your meter's on the fritz.

Cheers & good luck.
Bobbo :-)
05-21-2012, 08:46 AM   #4
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Hey Torana,
I use an ist ds too but I never use the Auto Pict modes or multi seg metering
So I did today, roughly following the setting of your exifs.

Sure enough, it is overexposed too !
https://www.box.com/s/a629935846223b72839c

So I went back to spot metering and AE lock which I almost always use.
Meter on the darker windshield (sorry ..windscreen) not on the hood ( sorry ..bonnet)
https://www.box.com/s/d6f426ff3d2dce9585c0

Maybe the old ist ds will work better on the Toyotas rather than these shiny old GM (..Holdens) products.

05-21-2012, 08:48 AM   #5
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Something is definitely very wrong. The "good" shots - which are themselves somewhat overexposed too (blown out sky) - show -1.5 compensation, which should have resulted in quite dark pictures. Suggesting that perhaps the aperture blades are not closing properly. But the more overexposed shots show exposure data that is way off from the exposure of the other shots - they have wider apertures, slower shutters, higher ISO, or come combination of these. Suggesting a metering problem.

So yeah, the flash may have fried something. I'd certainly try the suggestions of resetting things, also removing batteries for a while. But if the problem doesn't go away, you may be looking at service, or a new camera.
05-22-2012, 03:16 AM   #6
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Wow !! Thanks for the quick replies fella's

I will take on board all that has been suggested and take my camera to work tomorrow and have a play around with it at lunch time. I work in the city so I wont find it hard to find some good test subjects, plus, the weather in Brisbane is gloriously sunny this time of year so that will suit perfectly as well.

I have a bit of reading and learning to do having never really ventured from Auto mode and when I do I have no idea what Im doing hehehehe. Like I said, Im a point and shoot hack which is really doing the camera an injustice.

Thanks for taking the time to test and replicate my settings, it is comforting to know that the same sort of problem occurs. At best it is user error and I will learn a great deal about "proper" photography in my quest to correct the problem. At worst the camera is buggered and I will still learn a great deal about proper photography. Win\Win for me

I will post up my results once I am confident I have followed the above advice accurately.

Thanks again !!

Cheers,

Tony
05-22-2012, 07:22 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
Hey Torana,
I use an ist ds too but I never use the Auto Pict modes or multi seg metering
So I did today, roughly following the setting of your exifs.

Sure enough, it is overexposed too !
https://www.box.com/s/a629935846223b72839c
I can't seem to get at the Exif settings of that shot, but it sure looks like it was taken with spot metering, metered off something dark. That would explain the overexposure perfectly. But that was not the case with the originally posted shots.
05-22-2012, 09:04 AM   #8
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Hi, Marc,
to clarify:
The first overexposed shot suffix ..9c was with the camera set to AutoPict mode, and metering set to multi segment, and the kit lens at 24mm.
I tried to replicate Torana's settings approximately, based in the exifs (zoom was at 24mm too)

The next shot suffixed ..c0 was in Av mode , spot metering, with me pressing the AE lock to lock the spot exposure on the windshield before composing.
That shot is better exposed. I almost always use the ist ds with spot metering, AE lock first, and manual lenses, so until Torana's thread here I did not realize there might be overexposure issue with the ist ds in the auto modes.

I have another ist ds here, I might repeat next week to see if overexposure in Autopict might be generic.

05-22-2012, 09:37 AM   #9
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most of the answers are here already, you mentioned wantiong to learn though so here is a very useful resource for a newbie to exposure

Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera: Amazon.ca: Bryan Peterson: Books

I would have used center weighted or spot metering at the car show (spot meter off a neutral you want to be mid grey, if you spot meter on a dark purple car you will over expose pretty dramatically BTW)

Use AV mode and set your aperture to f8-11

set iso to 200 (lowest iso on the ds)


want to keep it really simple from the looks of that day you could have shot at iso200 f8 1/500 second (old sunny 16 rule) and had more than acceptable results)
05-22-2012, 09:13 PM   #10
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Hi and welcome!

I shot with the ds and variants a TON, and my experience was that they almost always tended to under-expose.

It is certainly possible that the Canon flash fried more than your internal flash, but as has been suggested try re-setting all menu items and then I would suggest:

Multi-segment metering mode

Un-link AE-AF point

Set "Senstvty Corction" off (this is know as Penglish to us old time Pentax users and is how it will display on the menu!).

I would advise not using spot metering unless you know how spot metering works relative to what you are metering on.

Make sure that you do not have any +- ev compensation dialed in.

Shoot images in various modes and check the results. I prefer AV mode, but you should be ok with just about any mode on the ds.

if all of this does not work, make sure that your lens aperture is closing down consistently and not sticking and also that the body is closing the aperture down consistently. Remove the lens and carefully flip the little lever on the back and make sure the aperture blades in the lens snap open and closed without sticking (smartly?).

If they snap cleanly, put the lens back on and then shoot a shot or two while looking into the lens with an aperture of f8 or f11 set and make sure the blades move closed and then open again without sticking.

Hope this helps.

Ray
05-22-2012, 09:20 PM   #11
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Find out if the aperture is stopping down. Set it to aperture priority with a small aperture (large number) like f/22. Do in sunlight so that it will be able to pick a shutter speed that will correctly expose at this aperture. Set the shooting mode to continuous -- or shoot a bunch of consecutive shots anyway of the same thing. If they are all blown out, or just some of them, chances are the aperture is staying all the way open. This happened to my K10D and it needed repair -- new "aperture control block". It would stop down sometimes, but often not. If the camera is working correctly, your series of shots should all be correctly exposed with no big variations between them. I'm not sure the *ist has Av mode and continuous shooting, but you get the idea. Oh yeah, then if it does blow everything out, try a different lens to see if it is the lens or the body...
05-25-2012, 07:52 AM   #12
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Just thought I would report in and update.

Contrary to Queensland Tourisms claims of "Beautiful one day, perfect the next" the weather in our fine state has been overcast and generally crappy the past few days. None the less I did get out at lunchtime and wandered around town playing with Manual mode. I took photos of ducks, water fountains, buildings and a bee doing his thing among the Hibiscus in the local gardens and I must say I am quite happy with the results having NEVER shot in this mode before. So thank you for prompting me to take my photography beyond Auto Mode hahahahaha.

What I have found (and I havnt yet tried all suggestions above, especially the most recent ones), is that shooting any other mode aside from Manual is still producing massive blow out in exposure. Tv, Av and Auto are all up the creek even after a factory reset. It would seem (to this layman) that any setting that offers exposure compensation (I havnt tried Program mode I dont think) is causing issues no matter what settings I am dialing in. In Manual though, I can set my aperture and shutter speed (I have maintained ISO 200 or 400) and get a result that I am satisfied with. Much of this trial and error in that I take a shot, review it, work out if I need to adjust shutter, aperture or both and then take another shot and compare. Slowly I am beginning to understand what does what and I am working towards the point of being able to determine what settings my subject requires in given lighting conditions without having to shoot 3 shots before hand.

On top of simply finding the correct exposure I am also learning how to make my shots a bit more creative, the attached shot of the fountain being my case in point. Its no award winner but I got a great sense of satisfaction from being able to manipulate the flow of water from a static freeze frame of droplets to a more fluffy, gentle capture of the water (yes, the example in the manual was my inspiration hehehe). So, to this end, not only am I able to use my camera again, I am also enjoying taking photos and the more I learn, the more I can explore my own creativity.

So thank you And I will still try and fix my camera (afterall, the missus still wants to use it as a point and shoot) but as far as Im concerned, its fixed

Oh yeah, I grabbed the book as suggested and it is really helping. The author writes in a style that I "get". I am hanging to try out the suggestions and experiment a lot more.

Cheers guys and great forum. Im reckon I will be hanging around a bit

Tony
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05-25-2012, 10:15 AM   #13
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Keep in mind it can only get blown out by using a shutter or aperture or ISO that is too slow, too big, or too high. Aperture is the most likely of these, so if correct exposure is to be found with a wide open lens you're not going to blow stuff out even if you try. So you want to set ISO & shutter to force a "correct" aperture that is several stops down (more closed) -- if such pictures are then blown it is likely that your aperture is not working correctly.

But if you find it always works great in manual, but not in the other modes, make sure you are not accidentally cranking up the EV compensation a few stops. Does it blow out even in fully auto green mode? (Which is supposed to protect you from the most egregious errors.)

Last edited by vonBaloney; 05-27-2012 at 10:47 AM.
05-25-2012, 01:03 PM   #14
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well done on the manual shots, sounds like you are basically learning the sunny 16 rule by default, many of us who started back in the dark ages this was the way we shot (in the film box they included a sunny 16 chart lol)

if you really want to get a grasp on the rule and shooting without a meter check out Fred Parker's site - very detailed, i have a copy in the bag with my medium format in case i find my hand held meter has dead batteries, or i forgot to pack it


Ultimate Exposure Computer
05-27-2012, 10:05 AM   #15
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I shoot manual or Av all the time. Usually I will take a shot...chimp to see what's blown and adjust exposure/compensation there. Center weighted works well (in fact its usually all. I. Have), but you want to meter off somewhere that it a mix of sky and your subject sometimes, especially if your subject is in shadow. With some pratice you will learn roughly where your aperture and shutter speed should be at. In bright daylight I try to get the lens to its sweet spot, so its usually f8-f11 on old primes. Usually from there 1/250 or. So is good. Sorry for all the periods. Stupid phone.
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