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07-17-2012, 10:57 AM   #1
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K7 Pictures always too dark

Hello All,

Last year, I bought a second hand K7 that was barely used. I also bought a Tamron 18-250 and a Tamron 10-24 lens. I mainly used the camera for a trip to France. Before I used an Old Pentax Program Plus film camera and various point and shoot digitals without any problems. What I have found is with the K7, is that most if not all of my pictures are too dark. I have tried just about every mode with the same results. Fully Auto or Manual. I am curious if the meter is reading incorectly. The pictures come out dark in all lighting situations. I find myself using fill in flash to help quite a bit or use bracketing where at least one pic will have correct exposure. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to fix this? Maybe I have a setting incorrect in the Menu. Anyone have a recomendation of a place I can take it to be looked at in the Los Angeles area? I live in Burbank CA.

I have taken pics with the K7 then immediately take the same pic with a freinds Cannon Rebel DSLR and recieved better results with the Cannon. This leads me to believe something is not set up correctly in the K7.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I am going on vacation in 2 weeks and would like to sort this out before if possible.

Best regards,

Marc Webster

07-17-2012, 11:03 AM   #2
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Are you using center spot metering by any chance? That might explain things. Please attach a sample photo (so that the EXIF is displayed) and we'll take a look at what the problem could be.

Adam
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07-17-2012, 11:32 AM   #3
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Helo Adam,

Thanks for the reply. I will see what I can find this evening. How do I post a photo with the EXIF data? Will the Pentax Software export a photo with the Data?

Marc
07-17-2012, 12:07 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by addicted2climbing Quote
I have tried just about every mode with the same results. Fully Auto or Manual. I am curious if the meter is reading incorectly. The pictures come out dark in all lighting situations.
Hello Marc,

While reading the quoted sentence the first thing that came to mind, the EV value may have been adjusted.
Open your manual to page 115 “Adjusting the Exposure”. Follow the instructions and reset your EV compensation value to 0.0
You can download a manual at Pentax Imaging

Hope that helps

07-17-2012, 01:05 PM   #5
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Something that kaufeeting said before me could do the trick. Just push +\- button on top of cam. And see if there is exposure biass on -5.0 or so...this happens quite easilly if you are not aware of it. This goes if you have all images even at cameras display dark. If only at computer, then some adjustmebts are wrong with display. Hope this helps
07-17-2012, 03:07 PM   #6
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I find with my K7 have to set comp exposure to +.5 a lot.
07-17-2012, 04:02 PM   #7
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Me too. When I had a K-7, I normally kept the Exposure Compensation at +1/2. In difficult lighting, I'd always bracket.
07-20-2012, 04:26 PM   #8
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Hello All,

SO I went through my functions and see that I did not have any exposure comps. Also in Auto mode I dont think that is possible either. I have set the cop higher about +1/2 to +1 and manage to fix most of my issues. I recently looked over my photos and most if not all the ones that were too dark I deleted. Also by shooting bracketed photos I tend to get at least one of the three being good. However I do notice I struggle in bright light as well as dificult lighting such as on overcast days. I hav enot been using it in a while but will do so this week to get the swing of things again. One question I do have is in regards to the 3 settings for metering and focus... I dont hav emy manual with me so I will try and explain by visal since the camera is here. I am curious when I should switch based on conditions and why? I will read up on these tonight, but figured I would get others imput as well.

Rear of camera near AF button.. Center, SEL and AUTO Current selection: Auto

Top of camera: Center, Unsure?, Unsure Green.. Current Selection: Auto

Around Lens Mount left side: Green AF.S, C, MF Current Selection: C

Best regards,

Marc

07-20-2012, 04:32 PM   #9
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I think that the best thing you could do would be to find a copy of the K7 manual or buy a copy of the Magic Lantern Guide for the K7. Either of these would help you a lot. I know it did for me when I transitioned from film to digital.
07-21-2012, 01:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by addicted2climbing Quote
...

Around Lens Mount left side: Green AF.S, C, MF Current Selection: C
Unless you are shooting action, like sports or moving wildlife, I'd suggest leaving this at AF.S for single focus.
09-04-2012, 11:06 AM   #11
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I am going on the assumption that your camera is not broken, if it is then that's a different matter.

On any used camera purchase the first thing you want to do is use the built in option to reset everything on the camera to factory defaults (its somewhere in the manual). There are just too many hidden options that the previous owner may have changed.

Then if everything still is too dark set the EV compensation as was suggested above.

Try panning the camera around in the multi segmented metering mode and watching the exposure meter to get an idea of how your camera decides to meter. If you set the camera to center weighted metering it will operate more like an old film camera since that is what almost all of those (including the Program Plus) used to use.

Something to remember is with a film camera you expose based more on the shadows since with film highlights compress better without blowing out and so long as you got the image detail for the shadows you could mostly recover images even with huge dynamic ranges (the range from brightest to darkest).

DSLR's have a much narrower dynamic range than film does. They also can't handle the bright high points very well. However they are very good at recovering detail from shadows. You can almost magically pull an image out of blackness if you are an expert with photoshop.
Because of that the cameras are programmed (especially in multi segmented metering) to try and save all the highlights without blowing them out, even when they really shouldn't, because its easier to get a useable image after the fact with a digital image that is too dark. Even a tiny bright area of sky in an image seems to make them completely overcompensate.
Setting the EV compensation will partially correct for that by always making it adjust the image a little brighter than it wants to, though in some situations it may result in it being too bright. If you want JPEGs out of your camera that look good and don't need any further brightness editing, that's your best bet.

A good activity is to set the camera to M (so you can read the meter without the camera adjusting things) and adjust the dials so the exposure is perfect, then pan around on each of the 3 exposure modes (multi, center weight and spot) and get a feel for how far the exposure meter moves when you point it at different things or objects enter or leave the frame.

I use multi when I want a good image I can fix later at home that doesn't blow the sky out, I use center weight when the area I am pointed at has the exposure I want, and I want the camera to ignore drastically different areas on the top or bottom like a strip of sky. Spot metering would be for picking out a person against a bright sky or something where there's a small object of one brightness that you want exposed correctly surrounded by different exposures.

In general I think full automatic mode is far less useful on DSLR's than it was with film simply because the smaller dynamic range makes it basically impossible for it to cram everything into one exposure, and the results of it trying to do so can make a mess. You should look up free photoshop alternatives and get something you can use to easily rotate, crop, resize and adjust the brightness on your pictures, those are pretty basic critical functions. I use paint.net at the moment.

Sorry I get rather rambly and often repeat myself when I start off on a topic.

Last edited by PPPPPP42; 09-04-2012 at 11:11 AM.
09-06-2012, 03:56 PM   #12
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You can do a basic meter check by shooting a grey card or equivalent. Bare concrete in shade works ok in my experience. Set the exposure compensation to 0, use aperture priority, fill the frame with your choice of uniform grey and take a picture. If darkness persists there might be something wrong with your camera.
09-07-2012, 04:44 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
I am going on the assumption that your camera is not broken, if it is then that's a different matter.

On any used camera purchase the first thing you want to do is use the built in option to reset everything on the camera to factory defaults (its somewhere in the manual). There are just too many hidden options that the previous owner may have changed.

Then if everything still is too dark set the EV compensation as was suggested above.

Try panning the camera around in the multi segmented metering mode and watching the exposure meter to get an idea of how your camera decides to meter. If you set the camera to center weighted metering it will operate more like an old film camera since that is what almost all of those (including the Program Plus) used to use.

Something to remember is with a film camera you expose based more on the shadows since with film highlights compress better without blowing out and so long as you got the image detail for the shadows you could mostly recover images even with huge dynamic ranges (the range from brightest to darkest).

DSLR's have a much narrower dynamic range than film does. They also can't handle the bright high points very well. However they are very good at recovering detail from shadows. You can almost magically pull an image out of blackness if you are an expert with photoshop.
Because of that the cameras are programmed (especially in multi segmented metering) to try and save all the highlights without blowing them out, even when they really shouldn't, because its easier to get a useable image after the fact with a digital image that is too dark. Even a tiny bright area of sky in an image seems to make them completely overcompensate.
Setting the EV compensation will partially correct for that by always making it adjust the image a little brighter than it wants to, though in some situations it may result in it being too bright. If you want JPEGs out of your camera that look good and don't need any further brightness editing, that's your best bet.

A good activity is to set the camera to M (so you can read the meter without the camera adjusting things) and adjust the dials so the exposure is perfect, then pan around on each of the 3 exposure modes (multi, center weight and spot) and get a feel for how far the exposure meter moves when you point it at different things or objects enter or leave the frame.

I use multi when I want a good image I can fix later at home that doesn't blow the sky out, I use center weight when the area I am pointed at has the exposure I want, and I want the camera to ignore drastically different areas on the top or bottom like a strip of sky. Spot metering would be for picking out a person against a bright sky or something where there's a small object of one brightness that you want exposed correctly surrounded by different exposures.

In general I think full automatic mode is far less useful on DSLR's than it was with film simply because the smaller dynamic range makes it basically impossible for it to cram everything into one exposure, and the results of it trying to do so can make a mess. You should look up free photoshop alternatives and get something you can use to easily rotate, crop, resize and adjust the brightness on your pictures, those are pretty basic critical functions. I use paint.net at the moment.

Sorry I get rather rambly and often repeat myself when I start off on a topic.
Very well said and good advice.
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