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01-25-2009, 04:36 PM   #1
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best settings for K20D street photography?

Hello,
i'm new to the Pentax; after months of exhaustive research, I finally dove into the Pentax system by going all in with a K20D and set of DA Limiteds. my first DSLR.

i chose Pentax for the rugged compact bodies and their discrete little Limiteds - i live in NYC and have no desire to be seen as nor mistaken for the many photographers on every corner. Ultimately, I bought into Pentax for the resulting image quality of said combination.

my question is: what are the best settings for quick, on-demand street photography? i usually have time for a quick recomposition but not always, so i'd like settings/ techniques that could ably handle both situations without a lot of knob switching or finding the brightest spot in a scene for exposure etc.

so far, the evaluative metering has been far from telepathic. i understand that evaluative is center weighted, but most of the time, if i leave the center AF point (dont use AutoMultiAF, should i?) on something i consider mid-tone, the sky still almost always blows white. should i point the center point somewhere on the sky? if so, what shade of the sky gradient?

i'd love to hear all your individual set-ups and techniques for this kind of photography thats not quite action, not quite landscape, but shades of both. thank you kindly.

01-25-2009, 05:18 PM   #2
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I shoot P mode with averaged metering. If I get an exposure that I don't care for I try center weighted or spot depending on the light. Also different lenses have different behaviors. I have pretty good luck with just shooting, and often I don't even bring the camera up to frame.

I always use center AF - nothing else - and point at what I'm interested in. If you want to recompose I just hold the shutter down halfway and move the camera a bit.

The best thing is just to experiment a lot with the various lenses and get a feel for how they perform with the body. After awhile you get a sense of what will work and what won't. Also I find that underexposed isn't a bad thing as you can pull a fair amount of detail out of the shadows in post. It depends on the look you're going for though. I also like a bit of "grain" so I don't mind higher iso.
01-25-2009, 11:20 PM   #3
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These things are kind of personal - there are not "best" settings, or there wouldn't be options. But for me, I use "M" exposure mode; getting the exposure the way I want when I first take the camera out of the bag (point at a scene containing about equal parts light and shadow, hit green button), and basically leaving it there until the light changes. If I go back and forth between sun and shade I'll figure out the shutter speed I need for both, and just flip between them as necessary. Metering mode isn't that important since I'm not often depending on it on the fly, but I use center-weighted and have a pretty good idea based on the scene and my experience of how I might need to fine tune after hitting the green button. For foucs, I like center-point. Focus-recompose is faster than choosing a focus point myself, and more predictable than letting the camera decide.
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