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10-08-2008, 03:00 PM   #1
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highlight trouble with k200d

I took the picture below on a rainy day. As you can see, I blew the highlights on this and a few other pictures. The rain glossy streets were very reflective, but at the same time, it was a bit dark out because of the clouds. To play it safe (I just got my k200d and had not shot with it much before this), I switched to Landscape scene, which selected: 1. multi segment metering 2. iso 200. My lens is the Tamron 18-250 (no filters).

Any advice on how to better deal with such dynamic lighting? Should I be toying with the dynamic range option? Thanks all...

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10-08-2008, 03:20 PM   #2
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I've tried the Dynamic range option a couple of time and it does seem to improve things.

However it might be better to switch to spot metering and meter on what you want out of the image rather than rely on the default scene modes.

From my playing with the Program and Sensitivity modes they seem pretty good. In Program mode you can override the default aperture with the e-dial as well. In addition to that ,don't forget you've got the bracket function if the image is particularly tricky.

I'm sure the more experienced forum members will have something to add.
10-08-2008, 03:22 PM   #3
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Your sample doesn't look blown to me. It looks like the camera handled the circumstances pretty well.
If you had been out of scene mode and used spot metering, then those highlights would have been blown I suspect.
Welcome to the forum by the way.

Last edited by Damn Brit; 10-08-2008 at 03:27 PM.
10-08-2008, 08:32 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by DougRight Quote
I took the picture below on a rainy day. As you can see, I blew the highlights on this and a few other pictures. The rain glossy streets were very reflective, but at the same time, it was a bit dark out because of the clouds. To play it safe (I just got my k200d and had not shot with it much before this), I switched to Landscape scene, which selected: 1. multi segment metering 2. iso 200. My lens is the Tamron 18-250 (no filters).

Any advice on how to better deal with such dynamic lighting? Should I be toying with the dynamic range option? Thanks all...

Compressed version:
The highlights look natural in the scene to me. However, whenever you think the scene might perhaps maybe be beyond the range of the meter, do the two following steps:
  1. Take a RAW image - there is more recovery room on both ends of the spectrum
  2. Use the built in bracketing function. I have been known with my k10d and in doubt to set 5 exposures at 2 stop intervals on the grounds that I might use HDR software to assemble the image.


10-09-2008, 05:30 AM   #5
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Given the angle of the shadow under the bicycle, I would say the reflected light from the rain sheen is aimed straight at the camera due to the corresponding angle of the source. That will always show up as a strong highlight regardless of metering mode. A polarizer filter would have done a job on it. So would changing the angle of the shot.

Last edited by Aristophanes; 10-09-2008 at 07:24 PM. Reason: typo
10-09-2008, 05:34 AM   #6
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I second the polarizer to cut down the reflection.
10-09-2008, 09:31 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the good feedback.

Great to hear from everyone. Ah - it wasn't poor metering, but light reflecting off the wet stones into my lens -- makes sense. I normally do not use a filter, but it makes sense that on a day like that, a polarized filter would have been a sensible precaution (I purchased a decent one a month ago and never took it out of the package).

I will try the autobracket shot out too - I think it would be a good learning tool.
10-09-2008, 11:23 AM   #8
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I agree the polarizer would probably have helped in this particular situation. But i'
I'd like to provide more general answer as well.

Really, this scene - like any other scene - can be exposed in any way you like, using any metering mode you like. It's just a question of getting good enough at anticipating how the camera will react to be able to use the appropriate amount of compensation. Also, I don't mess with auto-bracketing - I take the shot, take a quick look at it on the LCD (with histogram if I'm really concerned), and adjust if necessary. As often as not, it is *not* necessary, because even if highlights are blown a little bit, it's possible to recover them to some extent when shooting RAW (as I always do).

So, with a goal of learning to anticipate how the camera will react, I've found it most useful to essentially *never* changes modes. I'm virtually *always* using center-weighted metering, and virtually *always* "M" mode. I chose center-weighted rather than multi-segment primarily because multi-segment does not work with manual exposure lenses, and I use those a lot. Similarly, that's why I use M mode. So I basically have just one way of working no matter what lens I have mounted, and I know the camera will work in the same way.

It took a couple of weeks to learn to anticipate how the camera would react, but I feel I know it pretty well now. I select an aperture, hit the green button while pointed directly at my subject to get the camera's recommendation for shutter speed, then I scan about the scene, pointing directly at the highlights and also directly into the shadows, as well as at middle values, to see if the meter reads about what I want (somewhat positive but not off the scale for the highlights, somewhat negative but not off the scale for shadows, around 0 for a typical middle value subject). If the meter is off what I want, I adjust shutter speed to get the meter where I want it. Often, I don't need to bother scanning around to know I'll need to adjust - if my scene is basically lighter than normal on average, I *know* I'll want to slow the shutter down a notch or two, and conversely if the scene is darker than normal on average (eg, a black cat).

Sounds like a lot of work, I suppose, but relly, it takes only a couple of seconds, and once I've set the exposure for a given scene, I can take as many pictures as I want knowing they'll all be exposed similarly, rather than having some come out darker and others lighter simply because I changed cmera angles slightly, thus throwing off the highlight-shadow ration and thereby changing what the meter recommends.

Anyhow, that particular method works well for me. The point, though, isn't to recommend that specific method, but rather, the general idea of learning to anticipate how the camera is going to respond, and accounting for it before even taking the picture, using the exposure mode and metering method you are comfortable using, rather than switching to different modes and methods for different scenes in hopes of finding one that will happen to get the exposure you want right off the bat.

10-09-2008, 04:22 PM   #9
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Marc, you're right, of course. I was hoping I could take this new camera on vacation and get at least my usual level of photos, but really, I'm just learning how the camera behaves picture after picture. Even with all the automatic modes, this camera has a rather steep learning curve. Part of this is also the new lens that requires a bit of finese to avoid chromatic abberation city.

Prior to this, I shot with the Sony F707 for 7 years - I knew exactly how that camera would react -- allowing me to take some pretty rewarding shots. I have my work cut out for me on the Pentax.

I would do better to start using the histogram. I don't find the k200d lcd good enough to judge much beyond framing of a picture, so the histogram would be useful.

Thanks,
DR
10-09-2008, 04:37 PM   #10
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I'd probably skip the scene modes... you'll probably have a hard time figuring out exactly what they are doing so it will be hard to have consistent results. Use P mode for when you want to just "point and shoot."
10-09-2008, 07:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by sewebster Quote
I'd probably skip the scene modes... you'll probably have a hard time figuring out exactly what they are doing so it will be hard to have consistent results. Use P mode for when you want to just "point and shoot."
I sort of disagree. When I am using the K200D the sports kids + pets scene mode is invaluable for switching to AF-C and getting a higher shutter speed, quickly. On a K200D you'd have more external controls to do the same thing, but I have found some of the scene modes to work very well in a quick start, quick shot situation (mostly with kids).
10-09-2008, 07:54 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I sort of disagree. When I am using the K200D the sports kids + pets scene mode is invaluable for switching to AF-C and getting a higher shutter speed, quickly. On a K200D you'd have more external controls to do the same thing, but I have found some of the scene modes to work very well in a quick start, quick shot situation (mostly with kids).
I sort of disagree with your sort of disagreement. The scene modes may work well, but nobody is going to learn much about there camera by using them. At least the green button is consistent, only the conditions are variable, one can monitor what the camera is doing from shot to shot and there is the possibility of learning something along the way. And........... it's quicker to use the green button than to change scene modes.
10-09-2008, 08:48 PM   #13
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First of all, welcome to the forum! I'm sure you'll get more comfortable with your K200D soon. It's a nice camera.

Second, the shot looks fine to me. It's a very dynamic scene at the angle you're shooting. If you composed it differently, then perhaps you wouldn't have had such a wide dynamic range (as others have already pointed out).

Finally, I also recommend steering clear of the scene modes while you're learning your camera. Program mode is similar, but more consistent (kind of like the green mode) and allows you to quickly adjust aperture or shutter speed if you'd like. (Disclosure - I'm basing this on the P mode of the K20D. I think the K200D is the same, but I may be mistaken. I'm pretty sure it has HyperProgram mode, though.)

If you want to use the scene modes, then pay attention to the settings that camera is choosing, then when you have a chance, switch over to another mode where you can vary those settings some and see how it affects the shot. The scene modes can be used to learn about your camera, but it's awfully tempting to just blast away and not pay any attention to the decisions your camera is making.
10-10-2008, 03:51 PM   #14
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I usually shoot in program mode and nudge the camera towards the aperature range I want -- I was hoping the scene mode would save some shots on a new camera, but I think I only confused myself...

I should have started with a big hello to everyone -- nice forum and good threads from what I've seen.
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