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04-21-2007, 10:05 AM   #1
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More Questions Than Answers

Took a studio lighting course and used the *ist-D.
Shooting with Canon and Nikon users, lens used was a Tamron XR DI 28-75.
Setting of the camera was manual and light (strobe) reading were taken with a meter and corrected for the ISO rating selected (lowest @ 200...know the Nikonians were at 100). Shutter speed @ 1/125, manual focus
Recommended WB setting was "flash" ...instructor stated "anything but AWB!"
Strobes triggered with a "Pocket Wizard" on the hot-shoe.

The proble -- test shots, histogram was totally to the left. Adjustments to the aperature setting (adjusted with dial, lense left on "A" setting) didn't change histogram but did result in "hot", very undesireable image segments.
Have an Expo disc and suggested trying a manual WB setting but instructor suggested it wouldn't make a drastic difference and "presented a whole lot of other ~issues".

Overall results, compared to the others, disappointing, leading to the assumption there is a problem with the camera. Some of the images could be "saveable" but not without a lot of work in PhotoShop. Interestingly, looked at the settings in Photoshop Raw and a light temperature of 5050K was recorded...not sure what that means but believe it confirms some of the problem.

Earlier, the same day, used the camera outdoors and histogram was centred and images acceptable when using either the "green dot", "P" or "M" settings.

Assumption would lead to an issue with the flash/strobe or metering aspect of the camera. Subsequently a few test shots with the FTZ360 flash...no issue with the histogram when used on the automatic or program settings.

Pursuing this as a learning/improvement project and so far, suggestions received locally (no particular order)
-the original *ist-D wasn't a great camera and I would get better results if upgraded to one of the newest models -- (a blatant sell job...possibly, but not until I can get this one to work right).
-This model of Pentax produces results that won't compare to those of a Canon based on the CCD-CMOS thing. (but the Nikons shot well and, I understand use the same electronics as this Pentax)
-The camera electronics are not designed to work with other than Pentax lenses (possibly, but the camera was set on manual...??)
-Further to the Tamron aspect, shouldn't have used the dial to select aperature, should have manually switched the aperture setting at the lense (have to try this).
-The camera needs to be repaired or reset (had it into Pentax for the dark image concerns from new and was told the camera was normal and within specifications).

I think, there is an issue with the camera flash WB setting which may work with smaller camera flash units but not designed for studio strobes. If doing the course again, I would be a little more inclined to go against the instructors recommendations and see what the Expo Disc on a manually set WB would give for results.

Am I missing something...as a long term Pentax user, my pride says this thing has got to work equally beside my Nikon and Canon shooting buddies.

Any ideas and other suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks

Al

04-21-2007, 01:35 PM   #2
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Al,
What exposure mode was the camera in? As far as I know, anything but full manual will give erroneous results due to the fact that studio flashes are not TTL compatable. Any auto modes (P,AV, TV) would require a TTL or P-TTL compatible flash.

If you were in manual, and the lens is stopping to the correct aperture (as you have indicated) I might recheck how I am using the flash meter, and are in fact getting a correct reading. Also check exposure comp and flash comp are not inadvertantly set to the negative.

That's about all I can think of at the moment. Hope it helps.
04-21-2007, 01:56 PM   #3
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AlwaysAl,

Sorted through your post, was going to do a line- by line replay/reply but that is just so boring.

The *ist-D is a great camera.

It works in manual with studio strobes just fine. Studio strobes have WB about 5000K, but range across 4800-6200 frequently. You pay for power and repeatability regardless. You would need a well calibrated and maintained color light temperature meter to make an actual determination--on the other hand the *ist-D was/is remarkably accurate with its WB determinations.

It works with other brands of lenses. Either the e-dial or the aperture ring would suffice for setting the aperture if the custom setting pertaining to aperture is set correctly.

It works as well as other CCD and CMOS offerings of similar time frame.

There are no issues other than proper exposure when using the Expodisk.

When using an external meter, either the meter or the camera will need to be adjusted/calibrated wrt some standard lighting and each other.


From the rest of your message I would suggest a more mature and knowledgeable instructor and some general review of basic exposure concepts should be sought and undertaken. As with anything new, such as a new class, it's advisable that one reset the camera to factory defaults before beginning the course.
04-21-2007, 01:58 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by AlwaysAl Quote
Took a studio lighting course and used the *ist-D.
Shooting with Canon and Nikon users, lens used was a Tamron XR DI 28-75.
Setting of the camera was manual and light (strobe) reading were taken with a meter and corrected for the ISO rating selected (lowest @ 200...know the Nikonians were at 100). Shutter speed @ 1/125, manual focus
Recommended WB setting was "flash" ...instructor stated "anything but AWB!"
Strobes triggered with a "Pocket Wizard" on the hot-shoe.

The proble -- test shots, histogram was totally to the left. Adjustments to the aperature setting (adjusted with dial, lense left on "A" setting) didn't change histogram but did result in "hot", very undesireable image segments.
Have an Expo disc and suggested trying a manual WB setting but instructor suggested it wouldn't make a drastic difference and "presented a whole lot of other ~issues".

Overall results, compared to the others, disappointing, leading to the assumption there is a problem with the camera. Some of the images could be "saveable" but not without a lot of work in PhotoShop. Interestingly, looked at the settings in Photoshop Raw and a light temperature of 5050K was recorded...not sure what that means but believe it confirms some of the problem.

Earlier, the same day, used the camera outdoors and histogram was centred and images acceptable when using either the "green dot", "P" or "M" settings.

Assumption would lead to an issue with the flash/strobe or metering aspect of the camera. Subsequently a few test shots with the FTZ360 flash...no issue with the histogram when used on the automatic or program settings.

Pursuing this as a learning/improvement project and so far, suggestions received locally (no particular order)
-the original *ist-D wasn't a great camera and I would get better results if upgraded to one of the newest models -- (a blatant sell job...possibly, but not until I can get this one to work right).
-This model of Pentax produces results that won't compare to those of a Canon based on the CCD-CMOS thing. (but the Nikons shot well and, I understand use the same electronics as this Pentax)
-The camera electronics are not designed to work with other than Pentax lenses (possibly, but the camera was set on manual...??)
-Further to the Tamron aspect, shouldn't have used the dial to select aperature, should have manually switched the aperture setting at the lense (have to try this).
-The camera needs to be repaired or reset (had it into Pentax for the dark image concerns from new and was told the camera was normal and within specifications).

I think, there is an issue with the camera flash WB setting which may work with smaller camera flash units but not designed for studio strobes. If doing the course again, I would be a little more inclined to go against the instructors recommendations and see what the Expo Disc on a manually set WB would give for results.

Am I missing something...as a long term Pentax user, my pride says this thing has got to work equally beside my Nikon and Canon shooting buddies.

Any ideas and other suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks

Al
This doesn't help but:
Re: how to use pentax 1stdl whit studio lights: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
My *istD First Impressions: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
Exposure to the left wouln't have much to do w/ WB directly. D can do TTL and p-TTL which I assume your studio flashes are neither. D has built in wireless transmitter as well. Could it just be a timing issue? Set the camera at 1/60 w/ appropriate meter reading and f stop.. D also has a pc sync socket that you could use in place of the wizard (if you have a cable). Sorry not a studio flash guy so just throwing "stuff" out there.
Your not really using the "Lighmeter" per se.. Try straight M mode (taking lens off "a" (and the recommendations at 1/60) of the flashmeter your using and flash WB. Nobody's ever reported a problem with it.

04-21-2007, 02:23 PM   #5
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Every bit of the advice given you "locally" as mentioned in your post is erroneous.

This is the *istD with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8

04-21-2007, 02:30 PM   #6
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That's a very pretty 'reality' there Dave!
04-22-2007, 12:22 PM   #7
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Thanks, Alan John, Jeff and Dave, your comments and support is really appreciated. It is great to have people, like yourselves, that have real-time experience with the equipment and can offer realistic suggestions.

Dave, your image is beautiful and, as I have great affection for the Tamron product, confirms that it is indeed a quality lens comparable on every front.

Based on the suggestions, I re-reviewed my camera settings and will try a few things differently next time particularly going to the slower shutter speed. Interestingly, for the light readings, the studio used a Sekonic L358 and when I checked my own (same make and model), the readings were exact leading me to discount any issue with the lighting setup.

I would attend courses with this instructor again. The general concepts and setups were sound just I need to become more diverse in my knowledge of this machine and continue to practice.

Thanks again for your support, I'm rejuvenated and ready to try it again!

A quick question; how come good outdoor shooting days are also good days to do Spring yard work and things around the house? Unfortuntely, it would seem my wife's priorities won out.

Al
04-22-2007, 04:22 PM   #8
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Thanks, John.

I should have mentioned the set up for that shot a little more. I don't have the actual camera settings in front of me, but they really don't matter anyway because the light output of different lights would change them. I lit Dawn with a Vivitar 283 bounced into a white umbrella from about 4 feet away from her to camera left. I believe I also had a reflector on her other side.

I am not sure why the settings from your Sekonic don't show up right in your images. However, I always find that the image is more important than the settings used to make it. I say this because if you check the image on the back of the camera and find that it is a bit dark I would simply open the aperture until it looks right. If you find that your handheld meter and your image disagree, you can always compensate for the difference. I don't see a valid reason why your instructor would have an issue with this.

04-22-2007, 06:45 PM   #9
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Forget the histogram

It is not a lot of use in a studio especially if you are using a dark backdrop which is not illuminated. The background will show the largest peak on the histogram and since there is no flash on it, changing aperture will not help (will just blow the highlights).

I generally set the strobes to give F8 - F11 and 1/125 and leave the camera alone most of the time. On the *istD I also found that Pentax Photolab was quite accurate on the colour and exposure side (reproduced exact camera settings) but ACR needed calibrating A LOT for Pentax RAW files to get anywhere close to the exposure or colour for studio. By default it tries to create a slightly hot exposure. This generally looks OK outdoors where the camera tends to underexpose, but looks lousy in a studio. Once calibrated ACR was spot on though.

Bowens studio strobes seem to be set around 5,500. I created a WB profile specially on my K10D and it worked like a charm.
04-22-2007, 08:51 PM   #10
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The best thing to do is place a grey card in the scene, and meter off that with the reflective setting on the meter, then do an incident reading, and then maybe shoot of a shot of the grey card, at both settings, if the camera is functioning correctly both these readings should be the same and yield a peak in the middle of the histogram.
04-26-2007, 05:48 AM   #11
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Not familiar with the Sekonic you used to meter with. Is it possible you had it set to the wrong metering mode? On a lot of flash meters it is possible to have incident metering set but to use it as reflected meter. This could throw you off a lot. I have one of those Minolta meters that has a built in memory. Have shot wrong because of this. Usually use the much simpler Sekonic. Less to go "wrong".
Know many Pentax users that shoot studio shots with lights. One uses the D with beautiful results. Our university just bought a K10D to shoot in the commercial studio class. It has to compete with the Canon ff 17mp body, Nikon D200, and the Fuji 5. It does so very well. Don't give up.
thanks
barondla
04-26-2007, 06:46 AM   #12
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I like your university!

QuoteOriginally posted by barondla Quote
Our university just bought a K10D to shoot in the commercial studio class. It has to compete with the Canon ff 17mp body, Nikon D200, and the Fuji 5. It does so very well. Don't give up.
thanks
barondla
What a thought - being able to test all those cameras for free
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