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09-07-2015, 08:36 AM   #1
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Which DSLR has most accurate exposure

I was wondering which Pentax DSLR do users feel gives the most accurate exposures?

09-07-2015, 09:15 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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The one that is best at reading your mind (tongue firmly in cheek).

This is a recurring topic of discussion on this site and predictably there will be a suggestion in the first 5 or so comments suggesting purchase of a book on exposure in photography. That being said, here is the short answer to your question:
All Pentax dSLRs when presented with a uniformly lit surface of uniform reflectance (e.g. blank white wall) will suggest exposure settings that will result in a centered histogram. All are equally accurate within their spec'ed meter range.
For other than a blank white wall, the camera is forced to guess the photographer's intent. Mind-reading technology at present is pretty primitive so the fail-over is to evaluate the range of light in the frame and suggest a exposure that will (hopefully) preserve shadow detail while avoiding highlight clipping. At least that is how multi-segment matrix metering is supposed to work. In theory, the K-3 and K-3II bodies with RGB meter sensors should provide the most complete and useful data. In practice, much depends on the dynamic range of the sensor and the photographer's intent. My K-3 does a decent job, though I can't say it is never fooled.

FWIW, Pentax cameras tend to err on the side of avoiding highlight clipping. This results in a common complaint of underexposed or dull images under bright cloudy conditions.


Steve

( http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-3rd-Edition-Photographs/dp/0817439390 )

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-07-2015 at 09:30 AM.
09-07-2015, 09:22 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
I was wondering which Pentax DSLR do users feel gives the most accurate exposures?
The one where the person behind it knows what they are doing.

If you are talking about some kind of 'shooting mode' other than manual, then I have no idea.
09-07-2015, 09:31 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I had istDL2, K7, K5II and now K3II. Out of those K3II needs little to none exposure adjustment in Lightroom. The other three pretty often +0.7. But I belive they tend to underexpose to avoid clipping highlights (like Steve said).

09-07-2015, 09:33 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
The one where the person behind it knows what they are doing.

If you are talking about some kind of 'shooting mode' other than manual, then I have no idea.
I'm talking about the meter in general, which is always on, regardless if you're in A/P mode, AV, TV, or manual. I never shoot in full auto. I guess I would be most concerned with matrix metering.
09-07-2015, 09:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
I'm talking about the meter in general, which is always on, regardless if you're in A/P mode, AV, TV, or manual. I never shoot in full auto. I guess I would be most concerned with matrix metering.
I guess at this point, you might want to define "accurate". Are you using the term to mean that camera that consistently gives pleasing results regardless of subject and lighting?

Meter accuracy is sort of a strange thing. There are accuracy standards for light measurements, but none that translate directly to appropriate exposure. The major concern is that the meter be linear throughout its specified range. How the camera is programmed to interpret highlights and shadows within the frame is analogous to how automakers tune their suspensions. Accuracy is not part of the equation.

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09-07-2015, 10:24 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
There are accuracy standards for light measurements, but none that translate directly to appropriate exposure.
Yeah, this is it. Imagine you have a frame that is all equally lit, except for one corner which is much brighter. Or a center that is much darker. Or maybe its a portrait of a woman in a big, white wedding dress. Or its a photo of a big black car. All of these things put the camera into a position where it will make a decision - but not necessarily the decision you want. As a photographer, you are supposed to learn you camera's behaviours (and settings) so that you can make it produce the image that you want. The main point is that there is no objectively correct exposure. People just think there is, because our brain generally adjusts this without our knowledge, except in extreme conditions. Cameras are still too stupid to mimic this perfectly, especially since they have completely different recording devices, lenses, and so on.

I shoot raw, so when I am out, I am often using EV+/- to get what I want. Sure, sometimes I fail. Sometimes I use ETTR technique. Sometimes I just get close enough and adjust in post.

Anyway, I think the K-3 and K-3II have the latest metering technology and the most zones for matrix metering, with the latest predicting algorithms. So its "the best." Even though many people were completely capable getting what they want with previous models, as far back as the first DSLRs (which seem technologically primitive, compared to some of the stuff we see today) and even older SLR cameras, some of which had no metering at all.
09-07-2015, 12:36 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
The one where the person behind it knows what they are doing.
This.

QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
I was wondering which Pentax DSLR do users feel gives the most accurate exposures?
But on a technical level, the K-3 / K-3 II have the most advanced metering sensor.


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09-07-2015, 12:50 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
I'm talking about the meter in general, which is always on, regardless if you're in A/P mode, AV, TV, or manual. I never shoot in full auto. I guess I would be most concerned with matrix metering.
The best bet as far as I would think isn't so much comparing one system to the other as it is learning how what you have acts. It takes some time and experimenting but it's a far better method than merely just trying to rely on whatever gear you have. This is true whether it's Nikon, Canon, Leica, Hasselblad, or Pentax.

All the cameras can be very accurate if the shooter takes the time to get it right.
09-07-2015, 02:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
The best bet as far as I would think isn't so much comparing one system to the other as it is learning how what you have acts. It takes some time and experimenting but it's a far better method than merely just trying to rely on whatever gear you have. This is true whether it's Nikon, Canon, Leica, Hasselblad, or Pentax.

All the cameras can be very accurate if the shooter takes the time to get it right.
Bam. Exactly.

"Accurate" shifts from one composition to the next and is ENTIRELY subjective. In terms of metering a scene and selecting a shutter/aperture for the composition that balances the tonality of that scene OBJECTIVELY, pretty much all modern and even not-so-modern camera meters do this well, each with their own idiosyncrasies. And every time, with all of them, that "Accurate" exposure could be ENTIRELY wrong for the composition.
09-07-2015, 04:38 PM   #11
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I'd add, if you really want truly "accurate" metering I'd suggest investing in one of the more reputable dedicated incident/spot combination meters and learning to use it. Once you do, you'll get faster and more consistent true accuracy than you'll ever find with a reflective in-camera meter, and you can use it for any camera you have or will ever have.
09-07-2015, 06:19 PM   #12
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Curious here, and it's kind of on topic.

Which DSLR would have the greatest metering range?

Do Pentax make any that can happily meter in as many lighting situations as say the LX (bearing in mind that the LX was only centre weighted from memory)
09-07-2015, 07:12 PM   #13
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I didn't realize it until today when I was conducting the dot microfocus test with a lens in Av mode that my camera (K-5 mkII) does in fact meter differently between LV and not as well as potentially on different apertures. Some images darker and some brighter (the LV ones were always a little brighter) all while my camera was sitting on a tripod aimed at a black and white focus target the whole time.

My only guess is the light in the room was subtly changing and that was throwing the camera... but that doesn't account for LV being brighter across the board. It is interesting to me yet doesn't matter much in my situation since I PP the DNGs exposure manually anyways.
09-07-2015, 08:17 PM   #14
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Interesting responses, but it sounds like the K3 bodies may have the best metering system thus far. I was kind of hoping the new KS-2 was up there, but I've read numerous reviews that it likes to overexpose. I like to do as little adjusting as possible in post processing, and ideally want a meter that is best at handling most scenes. I shoot Pentax, Samsung, and Nikon cameras and have found that the most inaccurate exposures have always come from Pentax, but I've only ever owned 3 different Pentax DSLRs. I've yet to own one that can be as reliable as my other two brands, so I was hoping to finally find the best. When I say inaccurate, I mean shots that HAVE to be corrected in post and not just tweaked to a preferred exposure.

While an accurate exposure is possible with any camera and meter combination, I've found that fast shooting in situations where you don't have time to keep switching to the best exposure, that you have a metering system that can keep up.
09-08-2015, 01:43 PM   #15
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In terms of EV ranges. most modern cameras meter within about a 20 EV range (ie 0 to 20 EV).

Notably, the cameras that meter across the widest EV range are usually Pentaxes.

Cameras with 23 EV metering range:

- Pentax K-3: -3 to 20
- Pentax K-3II: -3 to 20
- Sony A7r II: -3 to 20
- Sony A7s: -3 to 20

Cameras with a 22 EV metering range:

- Olympus EM-1: -2 to 20
- Pentax 645z: -1 to 21
- Pentax K-5II: 0 to 22
- Pentax K-5: 0 to 22
- Pentax K-S1: 0 to 22
- Pentax K-S2: 0 to 22

Cameras with a 21 EV metering range:

- Nikon D4s: -1 to 20
- Sony A5100: -1 to 20
- Sony A7II: -1 to 20

Then the rest only meter about 20 EV or less. Eg:

- Canon 1Dx: 0 to 20 EV
- Nikon D7200: 0 to 20 EV
- Nikon D810: 0 to 20 EV
- Samsung NX-1: 0 to 18 EV
- etc.
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