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08-28-2008, 05:13 PM   #31
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on the topic of spot metering

i keep posting this link whenever i get a chance because i think it really works and is really not so difficult to deal with.

here is a great explanation of one method for using your spot-meter to deal with high-contrast scenes: Quick, Accurate High Contrast Exposures for Digital Cameras

i do really recommend a look.

and, i agree with everybody's comments here.

08-28-2008, 06:39 PM   #32
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You should make the leap and shoot RAW only. You can convert them to JPG as a batch that only takes a few minutes in any of the Adobe photo software, and other software. It is really easy to recover dark images when shooting RAW. If you consistently get under-exposed pictures, adjust the K10D so that it will take all pictures 1 or 2 EV over.
08-28-2008, 07:25 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Pick up and read, then re-read, a recent copy of Brian Peterson's "Understanding Exposure".

Especially read the section about light metering. It's very well-explained.
I'll 2nd that. I knew most of what was presented, but it is presented in a great way that I still picked up many pointers on the finer points of the exposure triangle - shutter speed, aperture, sensitivity (not of the photographer). Great book and you may find it in your library.

In general, I shoot in AV if I am concerned with the creative aspects of the pictures and Tv if I am shooting moving subjects. Always I check the histogram as a reality check on making tweaks.
08-28-2008, 08:54 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote

Shot was taken in manual mode. I wanted a fast-ish shutter to freeze the motion of the people, the flags on the ship, etc. I settled on 1/250th - just a guess from experience. I could have gone a little slower but not much. I also wanted a lot of depth of field field so I stopped down to f/14. This was a mistake: f/11 would have been just about as good and f/9 probably would have been fine, too.
A little confused, you just pulled 1/250 & f/14 out of thin air, or you used the meter in some way?

QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote

Fortunately I was saving raw here, so I had more data to work with in post-processing than I would have with a jpeg.
Might have been interesting to see before & after PP.

08-28-2008, 09:13 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by explr1 Quote
The picture looks great now, what program did you use on it?
Adobe Lightroom is highly recommended, especially if you want to shoot RAW. Most programs can accomplish changes like this pretty easily though--as easy as dragging a couple of sliders.

QuoteOriginally posted by explr1 Quote
I thought by using spot metering I just needed to point it at the darkest part of the scene, lock exposure and the shot would be properly exposed. I guess thats not how it works. I thought about shooting everything in 400 ISO and using matrix metering but I didn't. I'm use to point, shoot and forget about it.
In your earlier shots it looked more like you pointed the spot at a bright area. Bear in mind that the spot area on the K10D is probably smaller than the spot on some other cameras, particularly point & shoot. The general concept is close though--but don't point at light or dark, point at something more neutral. Personally, I'm more likely to use spot in manual exposure mode, so I can see where various tones will appear on the meter. You want the brightest areas that will retain texture not to exceed about +2 1/3 stops. The darkest areas will be something like -2.7 EV. Caucasion skin is usually +1 stop above neutral. I usually don't use spot if I'm in a hurry, I'm not confident enough unless I take my time.

Somebody else here recommended Bryan Petersen's Understanding Exposure book. I second that recommendation.

Good luck. You've got a great camera, but it's you that will make it work with a little practice.
08-28-2008, 09:21 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by madmikess Quote
I actually have an *istDL. I don't have the front dial like the K10D but I do have a manual I can read to familiarize myself with the controls in P mode. I know I can figure it out.
The DL is considerably simpler than the K10D when it comes to P mode. Essentially, P on the DL sets both shutter and aperture in a generally useful way, but allows full access to the other settings on the camera. The auto & scene modes lock certain settings out. P is probably fine most of the time. Essentially you could use it just about all the time unless you want more direct control of the shutter speed to control the effect of motion (either freeze or deliberately blur) or the aperture to either limit or enhance depth-of-field.

There's no reason to be scared of P though. It's pretty much like the 'normal/smiley-face' scene mode except it unlocks some of the other camera settings.

Use P and apply exposure compensation according to scene, and you can get properly exposed images. You'll also want to choose ISO based on available light.
08-28-2008, 11:23 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by explr1 Quote
I thought by using spot metering I just needed to point it at the darkest part of the scene, lock exposure and the shot would be properly exposed.
No, that would generally produced an *overexposed* image. The meter will try to reproduce the spot you metered as if it were medium gray. If it is actually darker than that - and in most scenes, it is - the whole picture will be too light.

In the first picture posted on this thread - the one using spot metering - it sure looks like it was the *sail* that is dead center in the frame. Hardly the darkest part of the scene; quite the opposite. So the camera made *that* look like medium gray, and everything else darker accordingly.

I'm use to point, shoot and forget about it.
In my experience, center weighted metering comes closest to matching people's expectations when used in this manner. But scenes that are largely or mostly sky will still confuse matters. Realistically, that's true of most P&S cameras too.
08-29-2008, 05:27 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
YES YES YES. I don't know why the K10D has an Auto mode.
I use it when I hand over my camera to a novice for taking a few snapshots. It works great if the photog puts the subjects smack dab in the center of the frame.

08-29-2008, 05:37 AM   #39
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Metering is not locked with focus by default

Lots of good information in this thread, this is why I like this site so much !

Another very important thing to remember is that, by default, auto-exposure is not locked with focus on the K10D. That is contrary to how most (all?) point-and-shoot cameras operate.

This can have a big impact if you focus-recompose and expect the metering to be done where you focused.

There are two ways around this, if you want to lock exposure before recomposing:

1. Enable "AE-L with AF locked" in the camera's custom menu.

2. Use the AE-L button on the back of the camera to lock the exposure where you want. This is the most flexible option, and probably the best way to use spot-metering.

Finally, recall that the spot meter is always in the center of the frame, and does not follow the focus point (even if "Link AF point and AE" is enabled - the latter pertains only to multi-segment metering).
08-29-2008, 07:57 AM   #40
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A pretty reliable way is to turn your body so as to illuminate the palm of your hand with the same light source as the subject and meter off of that using either manual mode or AE Lock. Make sure that your palm is angled so it is illuminated but not reflecting glare into the lens.
08-29-2008, 09:39 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
A pretty reliable way is to turn your body so as to illuminate the palm of your hand with the same light source as the subject and meter off of that using either manual mode or AE Lock. Make sure that your palm is angled so it is illuminated but not reflecting glare into the lens.
That's a good method, but you should add about 1 stop since that's the general difference between your palm and N grey. Grass is pretty close to N grey. FWIW.
08-29-2008, 12:39 PM   #42
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Oops, I was stuck at the first page of posts and see now that about everything is explained already.

Anyway, some repetition might be useful ;-)

I understand that it is frustrating, but you must either learn how to use the metering modes (which I'll try to explain later in this post) or let the camera do the thinking.

To let the camera do the thinking, turn it to P mode and always use the matrix-metering setting (the switch under the left knob) and because you prefer bright images just turn the exposure compensation to +2/3 or +1.

And now why your pictures were too dark, you didn't use matrix metering mode, so you made yourself responsible for correct exposure.

Your first two pictures were with spot metering.

When you use spot metering you must point your camera at something with average brightness and lock the exposure. The best way to do this is in manual mode and with the green button.
In the first image you pointed the spot at the white sail, the camera thinks that it must expose so that it is gray and the result is exactly that.

The second image is similar, pointed at the white clouds. Would you have pointed lower and locked the exposure than the images would have been ok (perhaps even too bright because the ship is dark above the water and the camera will try to make it average grey)

The third image is in weighted center mode, in this mode the camera tries to make the center average gray and I think that it is almost exposed correctly.

The fourth image is in center weighted mode and heavy backlit, this results in dark shadows and too bright backgrounds, because the camere tries to average it.

The best thing you can do is to set your camera to matrix metering mode and P and set it to +2/3 or +1 exposure compensation which will give more or less the same results as your girlfriends P+S. I think you'll like those results the best.

Last edited by tomtor; 08-29-2008 at 12:52 PM.
08-29-2008, 01:26 PM   #43
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He gives good tips on how to meter scenes depending of the scenery.

I would use Av mode to control DOF, let the camera control the shutter speed, and meter the correct area.
08-29-2008, 01:36 PM   #44
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If you expect your camera to meter everything for you and give you the results you want each time, you'll be sadly disappointed, whatever camera you use.

A lot of creativity can be gained by understanding light and what to meter to give you the exposure you want. Back to basics is the way to go, and being late on the scene, it's already mentioned - get a good book like Bryan Peterson's one and learn the fundamentals on light and exposure. Absolutely vital.
08-29-2008, 02:55 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by augustmoon Quote
I went through the same type of experiences when I switched from Canon to Pentax. The Pentax metering is different and takes a while to get used to, especially if you recently switched from Canon. I would say, that Pentax metering is closer to how I used to meter for eons when I had older film bodies and medium and large format cameras.

I would also say that the Pentax metering is both more accurate and requires more input from the user. Canon built theirs, and from what I remember Nikon as well, to expose as a P&S. They would prevent underexposure at the expense of blown highlights. After I switched from Nikon to Canon, I still had some pro friends that still shot Nikon, but all and always in Manual mode.

Pentax metering is all working second nature to me again, just like the old days. The old days in 35mm film for me were with Pentax, and I remember that being a main reason why I liked Pentax so much was their metering.

Personally for my habits, I prefer using for the bulk of my shooting, the Center-Weighted Average.

It's the metering technologies from Canon and Nikon that are less "traditional" I realize that I had let Canon figure out and adjust for things that I should have been in control of and not the camera. I'm not saying that the Canon metering was superior, it was quicker to just point and get a keepable snap than with Pentax.

But my Pentax shots are actually more properly exposed and yield better images. In re-looking over my Canon image catalog out of Lightroom. I can see where a lot of these keepable snaps from my Canons have blown out highlights and highlight edge fringing and hot spots and all kinds of issues that I wasn't paying attention to. In tricky contrasty lighting, the Canon will over-expose to give a result, not unlike what people are used to with the P&S. The Pentax will expose for the brighter area, preserving it, at a cost of underexposure of the foreground or subject (and resulting noise when you take the levels up in PP)

My early "mistakes" from the Pentax K20D when I first got it, where underexposed shots like yours, where the meter was "wrong". The meter was wrong and the camera screwed up the exposure and the final image. I started reviewing each shot's histogram after taking some pics, then all my old training started to trickle back into my brain.

Also I have lenses for my Pentax that spread from 1980 to last week, and some of them meter a little different than each other, so I've gotten to know how each of these lenses react in low-light incandescent, outdoors, studio flash etc... So I keep the ±EV in general dialed in when I put each of my lenses on.

It's really up to me (not the camera) to select (in a tough shot where the range of the scene falls outside of the range of the film or digital sensor) what I want to be exposed and what I'm willing to let fall off into unrecoverable black, or clipped out to white. Or whether I'm wanting to try to go for the middle or take one of each for a future HDR attempt.

I know (like I learned 30 years ago) that when I am metering against a bright sky, I'm gonna need an extra stop or so above what the meter tells me, so I dial in some additional +EV Comp, or for really tricky lighting (and another reason I love these Pentax DSLRs) I'll switch to Manual mode, meter on what I want to be correctly exposed, then shoot the entire scene I want, then look at the histogram and see if I can get it better or not, or maybe say forget it and find a different angle or a different view or crop. When I'm shooting a skier against a snow slope, I know it's gonna be trash unless I switch to Manual and open up at least 2 stops or more. Same for surfers on the waves at sunset (Pacific coast)

I can see how I got lazy with my Canon 20 and 40D and was basically using it as an expensive interchangeable lens DSLR "point and shoot"

I think that you have a great camera with a great meter, and if you wanted to, you could go out and play and have fun and do some tests and get a feel for it. If all this sounds awful and unappealing to you, perhaps you'd have more enjoyment with a P&S and forget about the effort and just enjoy your trips without having to worry about anything.
You have beautifully summarized what so many of us making a switch from P&S struggle with. I also expect my K200D to give me results like P&S without being too concerned about any lighting. I am realizing more and more that I need to understand the lighting, ISO, Aperture etc before I take a picture.

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