Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
07-28-2013, 11:37 PM - 11 Likes   #1
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 8,934
Cool Features You May Not Have Used -- Tips and Tricks for Using Pentax Cameras

This thread is about useful features that may only be found through reading the manual very carefully, stumbling upon them while using the camera, or finding them randomly on the internet.

I started with a few "Tips and Tricks" and then other posters contributed further ones. The below is a reorganisation of all the contributions.

These tips work on a K-5 II but I'm pretty sure most of them translate to other models as well.

Has anyone else got any tips that maybe be subtle but really useful?
If I find others myself, I'll extend my post here.

Focusing

Focus Priority on Demand
For both AF-S and AF-C one can choose between either "focus priority" or "release priority". I found out that by using the AF button, I can set the parameter to "focus priority" and thus get the behaviour I want by the press of a button. If I press the AF button and keep it pressed, I get the "focus priority" behaviour as configured. If I don't press the AF button, I get release priority. I had "enable AF" set to the AF button anyhow, but I think the above is one more reason to using the AF button instead of the shutter release half-press.

"AF-S" On Demand
Leaving the camera in "AF-C" means you can achieve "AF-C" behaviour by keeping the focus active and you can achieve "AF-S" behaviour by only briefly activating focus. According to Uluru, you can use this technique to even improve the accuracy of your results.

Focus Assist Light
Ever wondered why the AF assist light is not coming on? It could be too bright, but another potential reason is that the AF assist light won't come on in "AF-C" or "MF" mode. That may be the only disadvantage of the prior tip.

Poor Man's Quickshift
For lenses without a full-time manual override (aka "quickshift"), you may either flip the AF switch to "MF" or temporarily press the lens release button as long as you are manipulating the focus ring. I personally am neither encouraging or discouraging the use of the latter technique. It shouldn't cause harm. In any event, make sure the lens does not wiggle itself out of the mount while you are pressing the lens release button.

Exposure

Exposure Lock in Manual Mode
If you lock the exposure in manual mode and change one parameter, the camera will adjust the other one to maintain the same exposure.
This is great for flash photography with manual flashes where the exposure contributed by the flash only depends on the aperture but not on the shutter speed. It allows you to expose for the ambient light once, then lock the exposure, and subsequently dial in the right amount of flash exposure by changing the aperture, without constantly having to update the shutter speed as well, to maintain your ambient exposure. That's a really nice touch.


Camera Operation
Fast Menu Skipping
The back wheel steps you through the menu items one by one, but if you know that what you are looking for is in a different menu category then you can use the front wheel to skip to the next category. This speeds up navigation quite a bit.

Quick Mode Changes
When changing any function of the four-way controller (drive mode, white balance, JPG settings, flash settings), you can keep pressing the respective button to cycle through the options. Thanks to Adam and asp1880 for this tip.

Quick Access to Common Controls
If you switch off the "Status Screen" then pressing the Info button takes you directly to the screen where you can access common controls. This, for example, provides a quick way to switch SR on and off. With the "Status Screen" display turned on, one always has to cycle through three states and I much prefer the Info button to just enable/display the controls screen.

Image Review
You can select a quick zoom setting so that you can immediately zoom into a preview without going through the prior magnification steps and you can compare different shots at the selected zoom level by using the front wheel to navigate between them

You can use the OK button to temporarily enable/disable the histogram in playback mode, if the histogram is set to show up.

Partial Reset
By choosing your "memory settings" wisely, you can turn some parameter values into temporary ones so that they are reset when you power the camera off and then on again. This can help to avoid to shoot with "left over" settings unintentionally.


Last edited by Class A; 08-04-2013 at 03:44 PM.
07-29-2013, 12:10 AM - 1 Like   #2
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 40,957
QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Reading through the manual can unearth some interesting and very useful features:

Exposure Lock in Manual Mode
If you lock the exposure in manual mode and change one parameter, the camera will adjust the other one to maintain the same exposure.
This is great for flash photography with manual flashes where the exposure contributed by the flash only depends on the aperture but not on the shutter speed. It allows you to expose for the ambient light once, then lock the exposure, and subsequently dial in the right amount of flash exposure by changing the aperture, without constantly having to update the shutter speed as well, to maintain your ambient exposure. That's a really nice touch.

Focus Priority on Demand
For both AF-S and AF-C one can choose between either "focus priority" or "release priority". I found out that by using the AF button, I can set the parameter to "focus priority" and thus get the behaviour I want by the press of a button. If I press the AF button, I get the "focus priority" behaviour as configured. If I don't press the AF button, I get release priority. I had "enable AF" set to the AF button anyhow, but I think the above is one more reason to using the AF button instead of the shutter release half-press.

Fast Menu Skipping
The back wheel steps you through the menu items one by one, but if you know that what you are looking for is in a different menu category then you can use the front wheel to skip to the next category. This speeds up navigation quite a bit.

Quick Access to Common Controls
If you switch off the "Status Screen" then pressing the Info button takes you directly to the screen where you can access common controls. This, for example, provides a quick way to switch SR on and off. With the "Status Screen" display turned on, one always has to cycle through three states and I much prefer the Info button to just enable/display the controls screen.

These tips work on a K-5 II but I'm pretty sure they translate to other models as well.

Has anyone else got any tips that maybe be subtle but really useful?
If I find others myself, I'll extend my post here.
When changing drive modes, you don't need to press the drive mode button and then use the left/right buttons to navigate to the mode you want. Instead, if you just continuously press the drove mode button, the camera will cycle through the options. This can speed things up at times

Adam
PentaxForums.com Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)



PentaxForums.com's high server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover those costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

07-29-2013, 12:37 AM   #3
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 8,934
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
When changing drive modes, you don't need to press the drive mode button and then use the left/right buttons to navigate to the mode you want. Instead, if you just continuously press the drove mode button, the camera will cycle through the options. This can speed things up at times


That's the stuff I'm looking for!

Thanks!
07-29-2013, 12:45 AM - 3 Likes   #4
Site Supporter
kiwi_jono's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,034
Great Idea!

I love the feature (which may not be obvious) of being able to compare zoomed in images in play back. Zoom in to an image with back wheel and use the front wheel to flip to another image - camera stays zoomed in.

07-29-2013, 01:07 AM - 1 Like   #5
Pentaxian
Fogel70's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,737
A feature I really like is the "memory setting" where you can select what setting the camera should remember when turned off.
Before discovering this function it sometimes happened that I FI had the camera set up with completely wrong white balance, and it could take a while before I realized it.
But now I have turned off memory for ISO, WB and EC, so every time I turn on camera the ISO and WB will be on auto and EC will be reset to zero.

Another favorite feature is the green button in manual mode, where you can select to use it as semi-automatic P, Tv or Av mode. And this combined with EC and spot metering make it very easy to set exposure in difficult lighting situations. I often use it when I FI need to set exposure for the highlights.
I just set the green button for Av, set the camera for spot metering, dial in EC for highlight. Then I just need to select the aperture I want to use, point the spot meter to the brightest highlight I want to capture and press green button for the camera to set correct exposure. Very useful FI when out a whole day shooting snowy landscapes.
07-29-2013, 03:29 AM - 1 Like   #6
Pentaxian
Uluru's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Back to my Walkabout Creek
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,400
This is probably well known, but I have discovered it by testing myself. And it works well on K-7.
By keeping the focus in AF-C constantly, two quick AF checks in a row — made by slightly moving the focus point targeted at the same distance but on slightly different vertical or horizontal position — improve the AF accuracy to that distance substantially, at all apertures and using all my lenses (DA zooms and DA Ltd primes). It's almost like simulating an another array of AF points which aren't there.
It takes a fraction of a second to do it routinely, but the results are great. No more misses or miscalculated distances which cause OoF pictures and is especially good for static subjects — something that usually asks for AF-S, but actually AF-C works better.

Again, if you know this already, just ignore it.

Last edited by Uluru; 07-29-2013 at 03:59 AM.
07-29-2013, 05:02 AM - 1 Like   #7
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Lyngby, Copenhagen
Photos: Albums
Posts: 742
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
When changing drive modes, you don't need to press the drive mode button and then use the left/right buttons to navigate to the mode you want. Instead, if you just continuously press the drove mode button, the camera will cycle through the options. This can speed things up at times
This actually works for all four functions (drive, wb, colour, flash) on the four-way pad. Push a 4-way pad button once to get to the screen in question, keep pushing that same button to cycle through the options on that screen.

Regards,
--Anders.
07-29-2013, 05:10 AM   #8
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 8,934
Original Poster
Thanks everyone for the tips!

Keep 'em coming!

QuoteOriginally posted by Uluru Quote
By keeping the focus in AF-C constantly, two quick AF checks in a row made by slightly moving the focus point targeted at the same distance but on slightly different vertical or horizontal position improve the AF accuracy to that distance substantially,...
I had my K100D in AF-C mode as well and simulated AF-S by just tapping the AF button once (one can configure the K100D's OK button to become an AF button).

I was always wondering whether I'm giving up any accuracy by doing so.
Is it safe to just be on AF-C all the time and just do a quick tap of the AF button for effectively achieving AF-S behaviour?

07-29-2013, 05:48 AM   #9
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 2,141
Thanks Uluru, that is really useful
07-29-2013, 07:20 AM   #10
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: GMT +10
Photos: Albums
Posts: 10,576
QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Is it safe to just be on AF-C all the time
No doubt the camera will explode and catch on fire if you do that. Only trained professionals should perform such risky operations. Stop before you hurt yourself.
07-29-2013, 07:32 AM   #11
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 8,934
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
No doubt the camera will explode and catch on fire if you do that.
For sure the AF system is on fire with this trick.

Thanks a lot Uluru, for making me a constant AF-C shooter again.

I just gave this a try and every single time the AF-C shot was sharper than the AF-S shot.
07-29-2013, 08:06 AM   #12
Loyal Site Supporter
paulh's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: DFW Texas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,431
Great thread! I'm picking up a lot of useful info here - thanks to all
07-29-2013, 08:44 AM   #13
Moderator
Site Supporter
photolady95's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Cruising PentaxForums and watching your back.
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 8,889
Thanks Class A for starting this thread. I will be reviewing it more often when I get my K-30 in two weeks time. Since I also have the K-x, I'm going to start using the K-x as most do, AF all the way, with RAW+. I want to see what kinds of photos I get this way. I want to play iwith all the gadgets and different settings I can't use with manual focus settings. The K30 will remain my main camera on manual focus all the way.
07-29-2013, 08:44 AM   #14
Lens Buying Addict
monochrome's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kirkwood (St. Louis) MO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 19,449
Ahhhh - this takes me back to those "undocumented features" lists from the old software hacks BBS days.
07-29-2013, 02:23 PM - 2 Likes   #15
Pentaxian
Fogel70's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,737
Another unique feature on Pentax (K5 level) cameras and I think is often overlooked is the dual P-mode, both with some unique features.
Most users are probably familiar with Hyper-Program and the flexibility of that, but not as many might have used the second P-mode - P-mode with P-shift.

The unique feature of P-mode with P-shift is that it will take full advantage of using different program lines. Different program lines will change the way the camera set exposure. Program line is not as useful in Hyper-P as once you override the default exposure, program line function will be disables, as the camera exit P-mode and enter Tv- or Av-mode..

And the most interesting program line to be used with P-shift might be the "sports" program. With this program line the camera will try to keep shutter speed between 1/500s - 1/1000s independent of focal length, and program shift will vary aperture.. It gets even more interesting on K7 and later cameras where you can vary auto ISO parameters between slow, normal and fast.

With auto ISO set to "normal" the camera will try to select shutter speed of 1/500s - 1/1000s, but might select faster or slower shutter speed if ISO or aperture has bottomed out.
With auto ISO set to "slow" the camera will try to select shutter speed of 1/250s - 1/500s, but might select faster or slower shutter speed if ISO or aperture has bottomed out.
With auto ISO set to "fast" the camera will try to select shutter speed of 1/1000s - or faster, but might select slower shutter speed if ISO or aperture has bottomed out.

This might be an alternative to TAv mode, and as shutter speed can vary a bit and as the camera will always try to make correct exposed images, it might sometimes be easier to use.

Last edited by Fogel70; 07-31-2013 at 11:28 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
af, behaviour, button, camera, dslr, exposure, focus, light, mode, photography, press, release
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Have you used the HDR in your K-r? Racerdew Pentax K-r 23 09-29-2012 07:27 PM
Romney idea of rich (not what you may thinK) jeffkrol General Talk 15 09-05-2012 02:55 PM
Not one to gripe but you may relate.. X90 ejbpesca Pentax Compact Cameras 3 03-24-2012 12:04 AM
DSLR Features you'd like your Pentax to Have drogomoss Pentax DSLR Discussion 60 04-19-2010 01:04 PM
Features you may not know about in the K20D imadethis Pentax DSLR Discussion 0 04-04-2008 02:52 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:51 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top