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06-14-2009, 12:05 PM   #1
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K10D and KM best setting for detail in black ?

I have a Pentax K10D and KM. Great camera bodies both of them.

I do have trouble getting detail shots, particularly of black birds, such as Ravens, Crows, Red Winged Blackbirds, etc.

The colour of these birds is certainly 'black- black' overall and I have trouble showing details such as feathers, etc. in my pictures of these flying friends.

Any suggestions ?

Thank you.

06-14-2009, 12:09 PM   #2
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Use spot meter (and AE-L) or fill-in flash (preferably external) to get proper exposure of the birds. Also lowest iso possible (ISO 400 is still ok if you need it). Use tripod and MLU if possible.

But proper exposure is the key.

edit: What lens are you using?
06-14-2009, 12:48 PM   #3
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Correct exposure obviously - spot meter on the bird.

Lower ISOs for less sensor noise.

If possible try to have the rest of the background dark (foliage etc) rather than bright (sky) to avoid blowing out the rest of the picture to get the bird details i.e. use the limited dynamic range to its best.

Use RAW to increase available dynamic range and allow more PP latitude.

It is easier in diffused light than bright sun, but if in bright sun and the option is there, use the angle of the light to increase feather shadows and highlight feathers.

Fill-in (real or PP) helps a lot sometimes. Flash will help if close enough. I'm rarely if ever that close unless trying to catch hummingbirds
06-14-2009, 01:44 PM   #4
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by jerrymouse Quote
Use spot meter (and AE-L) or fill-in flash (preferably external) to get proper exposure of the birds. Also lowest iso possible (ISO 400 is still ok if you need it). Use tripod and MLU if possible.

But proper exposure is the key.

edit: What lens are you using?
Pentax 55-300 and 16-45 lenses. Thanks for the info so far.

06-14-2009, 01:45 PM   #5
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by kevindt Quote
Correct exposure obviously - spot meter on the bird.

Lower ISOs for less sensor noise.

If possible try to have the rest of the background dark (foliage etc) rather than bright (sky) to avoid blowing out the rest of the picture to get the bird details i.e. use the limited dynamic range to its best.

Use RAW to increase available dynamic range and allow more PP latitude.

It is easier in diffused light than bright sun, but if in bright sun and the option is there, use the angle of the light to increase feather shadows and highlight feathers.

Fill-in (real or PP) helps a lot sometimes. Flash will help if close enough. I'm rarely if ever that close unless trying to catch hummingbirds
hanks for the advice..Les
06-14-2009, 03:29 PM   #6
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In addition to spot metering, also you can dial in some negative EV. Otherwise, a black bird's color will drift toward gray, and a lighter background is more likely to get blown out.
06-15-2009, 03:06 AM   #7
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Lowering the contrast of the photo (if you're used to shooting or processing for high contrast) should bring more detail out of the shadows (with probably a bit more noise as well).
06-15-2009, 05:28 AM   #8
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i think you want the "black" to be about 1.5 stops below the nominal exposure setting.

This gives you a lot of detail, without making your redwinged black bird a white winged grey bird due to blown highlights.

Here is the best I have so far.



06-16-2009, 08:59 PM   #9
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Agreed with Lowell -especially if picturing against bright background. Lateral sunlight - about 30 degrees back over left shoulder here.

Male and female RWBB

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