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02-16-2018, 04:14 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Optimal settings for K3 ii for image quality, performance and various conditions.

I would like this thread to be a place for users of k3 and k3ii to contribute valuable tips that new users and novices like my self and can find useful.

In the long run, it would help tremendously, as more users add specific tips that they figured out for a variety of situations to optimize image quality and general performance.

There is already some info found here.
Pentax K-3 Review - Recommended Settings | PentaxForums.com Reviews

But I feel that a lot of user specific input is missing from people who have owned and been using the k3/ii for a good while to get a really great hang of it.

What are people's thoughts on the settings stated in the link above?

What about this link: RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: My Best Optimal Custom Image (Colour) Setting Combination for the Later Pentax Digital Bodies

What settings should I be setting my camera for sunset city shootings if all I got is 35 prime f2.4, 50 f2, and 50-200 wr?


Thank you Pentax Forums I hope to get the most out my camera




02-16-2018, 04:26 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Infinite Ascension Quote
I would like this thread to be a place for users of k3 and k3ii to contribute valuable tips that new users and novices like my self and can find useful.

In the long run, it would help tremendously, as more users add specific tips that they figured out for a variety of situations to optimize image quality and general performance.

There is already some info found here.
Pentax K-3 Review - Recommended Settings | PentaxForums.com Reviews

But I feel that a lot of user specific input is missing from people who have owned and been using the k3/ii for a good while to get a really great hang of it.

What are people's thoughts on the settings stated in the link above?

What about this link: RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: My Best Optimal Custom Image (Colour) Setting Combination for the Later Pentax Digital Bodies

What settings should I be setting my camera for sunset city shootings if all I got is 35 prime f2.4, 50 f2, and 50-200 wr?


Thank you Pentax Forums I hope to get the most out my camera


Shooting in a Raw format such as DNG will give you the most information out of the camera sensor and thus (after editing) the best image quality. All those setting mentioned only effect JPEGs and have no impact on the raw data.
02-16-2018, 05:06 PM - 4 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Infinite Ascension Quote
There is already some info found here.
Pentax K-3 Review - Recommended Settings | PentaxForums.com Reviews

But I feel that a lot of user specific input is missing from people who have owned and been using the k3/ii for a good while to get a really great hang of it.

What are people's thoughts on the settings stated in the link above?
I use most of the recommendations except:
  • Both highlight and shadow correction OFF. The "magic" of these settings are a common source of user confusion.
  • Focus peaking OFF in live view. Depending on subject contrast, the "peaked" range may define a fairly broad range of distances resulting in poor focus precision. Edit: I am, however, a big fan of magnified live view (at full resolution, 1:1 pixel-to-pixel) for fine focus. This allows one to leverage the full resolution of the lens to place fine focus at the exact point desired with no ambiguity.
  • Center AF point for live view. I find it easier to focus and recompose rather than fiddle with shifting the AF point to be "just right".
  • Leave RAW/Fx at default setting (only because I don't have a strong need to have it otherwise)
  • Movie mode settings for full manual (again, this suits my needs, but may not work for others)
  • Dust remove on start-up/shutdown OFF. I do this to mostly save battery, though it may make sense to it ON in dusty regions.
  • Bulb mode option...varies according to the type of remote or external intervalometer I am using. For example, the IR remote app on my phone works best with option 2. My wired remote is more predictable with option 1.
  • I have NO custom image customizations and generally use the "Natural" option

QuoteOriginally posted by Infinite Ascension Quote
What about this link: RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: My Best Optimal Custom Image (Colour) Setting Combination for the Later Pentax Digital Bodies
Custom image settings are fine, but they are limited to JPEG only* and are biased by the characteristics of the camera's rear LCD (somewhat higher contrast/saturation than a properly calibrated computer monitor). As for RiceHigh's suggestions...If he likes them, that is fine. What works well for you might be something else. I don't use that feature.

QuoteOriginally posted by Infinite Ascension Quote
What settings should I be setting my camera for sunset city shootings if all I got is 35 prime f2.4, 50 f2, and 50-200 wr?
Hmmmm...that is a loaded question in that only you know what you are wanting to accomplish. The short answer drawn from my experience with the K-3 and K10D prior to that:
  • Shoot RAW
  • If one must create JPEGs for sharing straight out of camera, shoot RAW+JPEG or develop in-camera on a per image basis
  • Know and apply the principles of exposure
  • Tune your image to fit your vision using a computer in "Post Processing"
That last point is the most important. One's computer is the digital equivalent of a color darkroom and creation of an appropriate rendering for a print or on-screen viewing is helped immensely by doing the hard stuff out-of-camera. There are several high quality options for doing this "post processing" that vary in price from free to $$$. My preference is Adobe Lightroom 6 for RAW processing, cataloging, and print management and Affinity Photo for raster editing (Photoshop stuff).**

There you go! Have fun and enjoy getting to know your most excellent K-3II


Steve

* Custom image, lens correction, sharpening and most other in-camera process settings are generally limited to in-camera JPEG and TIFF images. With a single exception, the Pentax Digital Camera Utility (PDCU) that was bundled with your camera, RAW processors do not decode those settings while processing RAW data. The one setting that is generally honored is White Balance and even then, the value applied may not be exactly the same as set in the camera.

** I hesitant to recommend Lightroom due to Adobe's movement to a full subscription model. At present, one can still buy a standalone perpetual version of Lightroom 6 for $149 USD but with no updates beyond the v6.11 download. The current availability is a reprieve of sorts. The standalone was supposed to disappear completely 1/1/18.

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-17-2018 at 11:10 AM.
02-24-2018, 08:21 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Shooting in a Raw format such as DNG will give you the most information out of the camera sensor and thus (after editing) the best image quality. All those setting mentioned only effect JPEGs and have no impact on the raw data.
I see, thank you. So I just shoot raw dng and thats the only setting I need to concern my self with? other then things like aperture, shutter speed etc.

02-25-2018, 07:57 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Infinite Ascension Quote
I see, thank you. So I just shoot raw dng and thats the only setting I need to concern my self with? other then things like aperture, shutter speed etc.
Nooo! Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are the essential components of every photograph. You can avoid thinking about them by shooting in Auto (Green) or P mode but you then lose control of your picture. You really should find an introduction to photography book or video to help you. Most of the advice in this thread is very good but you need to have a basic understanding of how cameras work before you can really profit from that advice. This forum will be very helpful when you need it but it is not a substitute for learning the basics.
It is not that hard but it does require a bit of preparation. Good luck and I hope to see you regularly on the forum.
02-25-2018, 08:13 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Infinite Ascension Quote
What settings should I be setting my camera for sunset city shootings if all I got is 35 prime f2.4, 50 f2, and 50-200 wr?
For sunsets you want the lowest ISO possible, because the lower the ISO the more dynamic range, and Sunsets always tax the dynamic range.
There is no setting guaranteed to get it right. In my experience sunsets require viewing the histogram and blown highlight detection, to find a compromise. The scene's dynamic range will exceed the cameras ability to capture. So your goal is to et the EV bias to a setting that stops the sky for being blown out while maintaining some shadow detail on the bottom end. My test shot below, I ended up with -2.7 EV, based viewing the histogram and blown highlight warning. I typically use the K-1 for sunsets because of it's superior Dynamic Range but the same principle;as were used back when I shot with a K-3.



In the above image, I reduced the blown highlights to one very small hot spot, dodged the shadows, and filtered appropriately to maintain a realistic looking colour balance. But as pointed out above, this is way more than bunch of camera settings. It's a thorough understanding of what I'm trying to do and what I need to work with going into post processing. I'm making a set of compromises based on what experience has taught me is going to get me the best image. If I turn my camera 15 I'm going to start over again from scratch. There just isn't one setting that is going to work every time. But the constants will e 100 ISO and on a K-3 ƒ5.6. EV bias needs to be adjusted manually. or if you are in a hurry, bracket.
ON a given sunset my EV bias will be somewhere between +.3 EV to -4 EV depending on circumstances.

Last edited by normhead; 02-25-2018 at 08:23 AM.
03-12-2018, 05:41 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
For sunsets you want the lowest ISO possible, because the lower the ISO the more dynamic range, and Sunsets always tax the dynamic range.
There is no setting guaranteed to get it right. In my experience sunsets require viewing the histogram and blown highlight detection, to find a compromise. The scene's dynamic range will exceed the cameras ability to capture. So your goal is to et the EV bias to a setting that stops the sky for being blown out while maintaining some shadow detail on the bottom end. My test shot below, I ended up with -2.7 EV, based viewing the histogram and blown highlight warning. I typically use the K-1 for sunsets because of it's superior Dynamic Range but the same principle;as were used back when I shot with a K-3.



In the above image, I reduced the blown highlights to one very small hot spot, dodged the shadows, and filtered appropriately to maintain a realistic looking colour balance. But as pointed out above, this is way more than bunch of camera settings. It's a thorough understanding of what I'm trying to do and what I need to work with going into post processing. I'm making a set of compromises based on what experience has taught me is going to get me the best image. If I turn my camera 15 I'm going to start over again from scratch. There just isn't one setting that is going to work every time. But the constants will e 100 ISO and on a K-3 5.6. EV bias needs to be adjusted manually. or if you are in a hurry, bracket.
ON a given sunset my EV bias will be somewhere between +.3 EV to -4 EV depending on circumstances.
Thank you for this input. I am looking into getting an ND filter once I get my tripod. I think it would accomplish pretty much what you describe, especially with a 5, 10 sec exposure shots.
A lot of people use higher iso, may I ask why you stick to 100? especially with a FF.
03-12-2018, 06:16 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Infinite Ascension Quote
Thank you for this input. I am looking into getting an ND filter once I get my tripod. I think it would accomplish pretty much what you describe, especially with a 5, 10 sec exposure shots.
A lot of people use higher iso, may I ask why you stick to 100? especially with a FF.
Using 100 ISO gets you the rated dynamic range. As ISO increases, Dynamic Range decreases. For sunsets, I'm going to be exposing for the sky, so keeping shadow detail is difficult. I want every bit if dynamic range I can get. IN the image above the trees against the snow mid right were pretty much invisible. Only by using the full dynamic range of the camera was I able to keep it from being a black blob.

In my earlier years pictures like that taken with a K20D, those parts of the images are a black blob or look really odd. Also at higher ISOs you may get serious noise in those shadows.

What I've been told neutral density filters do not reduce the EV of the dynamic range. They slow your shutter speed for moving water photos etc where motion blur is part fo the composition, allowing you to use slow shutter speeds with bright light. There is no functional reason for using one on a sunset. Longer shutter speeds simply create an opportunity for reciprocity to rear it's ugly head.

Using a neutral density filter in dim light is counter productive.


Last edited by normhead; 03-12-2018 at 08:39 AM.
03-12-2018, 11:36 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I use most of the recommendations except:
  • Both highlight and shadow correction OFF. The "magic" of these settings are a common source of user confusion.
  • Focus peaking OFF in live view. Depending on subject contrast, the "peaked" range may define a fairly broad range of distances resulting in poor focus precision. Edit: I am, however, a big fan of magnified live view (at full resolution, 1:1 pixel-to-pixel) for fine focus. This allows one to leverage the full resolution of the lens to place fine focus at the exact point desired with no ambiguity.
  • Center AF point for live view. I find it easier to focus and recompose rather than fiddle with shifting the AF point to be "just right".
  • Leave RAW/Fx at default setting (only because I don't have a strong need to have it otherwise)
  • Movie mode settings for full manual (again, this suits my needs, but may not work for others)
  • Dust remove on start-up/shutdown OFF. I do this to mostly save battery, though it may make sense to it ON in dusty regions.
  • Bulb mode option...varies according to the type of remote or external intervalometer I am using. For example, the IR remote app on my phone works best with option 2. My wired remote is more predictable with option 1.
  • I have NO custom image customizations and generally use the "Natural" option



Custom image settings are fine, but they are limited to JPEG only* and are biased by the characteristics of the camera's rear LCD (somewhat higher contrast/saturation than a properly calibrated computer monitor). As for RiceHigh's suggestions...If he likes them, that is fine. What works well for you might be something else. I don't use that feature.



Hmmmm...that is a loaded question in that only you know what you are wanting to accomplish. The short answer drawn from my experience with the K-3 and K10D prior to that:
  • Shoot RAW
  • If one must create JPEGs for sharing straight out of camera, shoot RAW+JPEG or develop in-camera on a per image basis
  • Know and apply the principles of exposure
  • Tune your image to fit your vision using a computer in "Post Processing"
That last point is the most important. One's computer is the digital equivalent of a color darkroom and creation of an appropriate rendering for a print or on-screen viewing is helped immensely by doing the hard stuff out-of-camera. There are several high quality options for doing this "post processing" that vary in price from free to $$$. My preference is Adobe Lightroom 6 for RAW processing, cataloging, and print management and Affinity Photo for raster editing (Photoshop stuff).**

There you go! Have fun and enjoy getting to know your most excellent K-3II


Steve

* Custom image, lens correction, sharpening and most other in-camera process settings are generally limited to in-camera JPEG and TIFF images. With a single exception, the Pentax Digital Camera Utility (PDCU) that was bundled with your camera, RAW processors do not decode those settings while processing RAW data. The one setting that is generally honored is White Balance and even then, the value applied may not be exactly the same as set in the camera.

** I hesitant to recommend Lightroom due to Adobe's movement to a full subscription model. At present, one can still buy a standalone perpetual version of Lightroom 6 for $149 USD but with no updates beyond the v6.11 download. The current availability is a reprieve of sorts. The standalone was supposed to disappear completely 1/1/18.
Steve, some very useful suggestions there. Thank you!

Can you please elaborate a bit on what you mean by "Both highlight and shadow correction OFF. The "magic" of these settings are a common source of user confusion".

For a JPG shooter like myself, are you saying there is little to be gained by using these functions?

Theo
03-13-2018, 03:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Theov39 Quote
Can you please elaborate a bit on what you mean by "Both highlight and shadow correction OFF. The "magic" of these settings are a common source of user confusion".
A recurring help request question on this site goes something like this, "Why can't I set ISO to 100. I have tried everything and it will not go below 200. This used to work." The answer is that base ISO (100 for that camera) was being held in reserve by the body as part of the highlight correction feature. Highlight correction is simply the body metering for the set ISO, but exposing one stop lower. This applies to both RAW and JPEG captures and provides a one stop additional buffer against highlight clipping, though at the price of shadow exposure.* My experience been that the regular metering on the K-3 as well as the image processor behavior usually is pretty robust in regards to overexposure and that even "red zone" exposures on the right seldom result in blocked up highlights as long as attention is given to overall exposure. If a person has doubts, a 1-stop bracket in 1/2 stop increments might be in order.

Shadow correction works somewhat differently in that it is done as part of the processing of RAW data to JPEG and involves "pulling" values in the deep shadows that might normally be clipped as black into the realm of the near-black where they might contribute to subject detail. This is a common and quite valid task in post-processing from RAW, but when done by the camera sometimes results grayish shadows, tonal artifact, and exaggerated shadow noise. If used at all (say for JPEG-only shooters), I suggest the Auto or low settings. Note again that this setting only applies to in-camera JPEG and/or RAW processing using the PDCU software that came with your camera.

I hope this helps


Steve

* The full answer is more complicated, but it is easiest to simply visualize the histogram being shifted one stop to the left with an uncertain fate for low values

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-13-2018 at 03:14 PM.
03-13-2018, 07:18 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
A recurring help request question on this site goes something like this, "Why can't I set ISO to 100. I have tried everything and it will not go below 200. This used to work." The answer is that base ISO (100 for that camera) was being held in reserve by the body as part of the highlight correction feature. Highlight correction is simply the body metering for the set ISO, but exposing one stop lower. This applies to both RAW and JPEG captures and provides a one stop additional buffer against highlight clipping, though at the price of shadow exposure.* My experience been that the regular metering on the K-3 as well as the image processor behavior usually is pretty robust in regards to overexposure and that even "red zone" exposures on the right seldom result in blocked up highlights as long as attention is given to overall exposure. If a person has doubts, a 1-stop bracket in 1/2 stop increments might be in order.

Shadow correction works somewhat differently in that it is done as part of the processing of RAW data to JPEG and involves "pulling" values in the deep shadows that might normally be clipped as black into the realm of the near-black where they might contribute to subject detail. This is a common and quite valid task in post-processing from RAW, but when done by the camera sometimes results grayish shadows, tonal artifact, and exaggerated shadow noise. If used at all (say for JPEG-only shooters), I suggest the Auto or low settings. Note again that this setting only applies to in-camera JPEG and/or RAW processing using the PDCU software that came with your camera.

I hope this helps


Steve

* The full answer is more complicated, but it is easiest to simply visualize the histogram being shifted one stop to the left with an uncertain fate for low values
Thanks Steve. That makes sense and is very helpful. I've been reluctant to use those settings as every additional setting seems to slow down the camera but was wondering what I was missing out on by not using them. As you say, the K-3 seems to handle both highlights and shadows pretty well already.
06-28-2018, 09:03 PM   #12
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My settings for my K3II

- AF Assist Light - Off
- Digital Filter - Off
- HDR Capture - Off
- Pixel Shift - Off
- Lens Correction (all modes OFF)
- Dynamic Range Settings (all modes off)
- Focus Peaking - OFF
- ISO Auto Setting (I shoot Manual, so not really an issue)
- High ISO Noise Reduction: CUSTOM (100 to 800 OFF, 1600 to 6400 LOW, 12800 to 51200 MEDIUM)
- Slow Shutter Noise Reduction: Off

In Live View
- Contrast AF (Spot)
- Focus Peaking: Off
- Grid: On

- Electronic Level
- Viewfinder: Off
- Liveview: On
- Horizon Correction: Off
- AA Sim: Off
- Shake: On

Movie: Not Relevant for me

Everything else is default with the exception of Volume (Off) and Flicker Reduction (60hz)

Color: Natural
Spot Metering / Spot Focus
AFS
07-05-2018, 02:33 PM   #13
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Outdoor field macro shooting: K3II with Sunpak DX8R ring flash.
RAW with VR engaged.
FA100 f2.8 lens. Manual mode, AF-S, Center point focus, center weighted metering, Continuous shooting,
f.16, 1/400sec (limited 10 1/180 by flash), ISO200. Flash set to 1/4 power (1/2 if cloudy).
By choosing 1/400 I can turn the flash off to shoot a more distant subject and have a pretty good setting for a sunny day.
08-25-2018, 09:31 AM   #14
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I only set ISO to auto and shoot with RAW. I only create custom settings for U settings, but I found I didn't use it.

---------- Post added 08-25-18 at 09:40 AM ----------

I set only ISO to auto and filename to color range to check that is sRGB or Adobe RGB. Another is factory settings.
09-21-2019, 12:01 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
For sunsets you want the lowest ISO possible, because the lower the ISO the more dynamic range, and Sunsets always tax the dynamic range.
..
ON a given sunset my EV bias will be somewhere between +.3 EV to -4 EV depending on circumstances.
I didn't quote the whole post but this and Stevebrot posts just opened my eyes to something I should have known, namely dynamic range and iso. Thanks Norm I love this forum and the people on it
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