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05-12-2007, 08:18 AM   #1
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Pentax Exposure mode proposal

Pentax Exposure mode proposal

(I posted this on DPreview once, was interested in what you all would think over here)

In a certain DPreview thread we were discussing adding the K10D new exposure modes to a possible K100D successor. Someone rightfully pointed out that since it's a lower level camera it still needs the scene modes on the exposure mode dial and there very well might not be enough room to add these new modes on the dial. So I have been thinking a bit and might've come up with a possible way of addressing this such that it cleans up the exposure mode dial and at the same time even expands on the exposure possibilities the K10D has.

Tv, Sv, M and B (perhaps even program mode) of the K100D exposure mode dial get replaced by a single Menu position. If the dial is in Menu position the following exposure menu is displayed on the LCD:



Front dial let's you scroll horizontally through the columns, the back dial (which perhaps should then be oriented vertically) lets you select a value by scrolling vertically (you don't have to confirm this so it works like an electronic version of the normal dials). At the left you start in program which is the same as program mode on the K100D, the values in red are set and the red cell is the current cursor position.

As you can see you can combine shutter, aperture and ISO with any plausible combination. Shutter priority (Tv) is setting shutter and leaving the other two at AUTO, same goes for aperture (Av) and ISO priority (Sv). You can set priority more quickly by clicking the green button next to the shutter release (currently used for hyper program on K10D) when being in the column of either shutter, aperture or ISO, the other two values are then automatically set to AUTO.

Shutter and aperture priority (Tav) can be done by setting both and leaving ISO at AUTO, but in addition you can also combine shutter and ISO (TSv) as well as aperture and ISO (ASv) directly in the same menu. Full manual simply requires you to select a value for shutter, aperture and ISO simple as that.

Additionally you can directly select your min. and max. ISO, shutter bulb mode and perhaps even min and maximum for shutter and aperture all in the same menu. To do is hoover the cursor over for instance max. ISO, click ok, scroll vertically to the desired value, press ok again. To the right are also USER1 and 2 custom modes automatically selected by scrolling horizontally to those columns or saving by scrolling vertically to the save option and pressing the OK button, which saves the current set values for all three variables.

When scrolling horizontally the selected variable will be highlighted on the top-LCD and viewfinder and change when scrolling vertically so you don't have to look at the menu on the back LCD to select the variable and value you want (see figures with aperture highlighted below).





For a more intuitive handling shutter, aperture and ISO should be displayed and in the same order from left to right on the LCD, top-LCD and viewfinder.

I can imagine this all may sound rather complicated and perhaps even silly. However I think that, although it might not be as fast as the exposure handling on the K10D, it wouldn't be complicated at all after some getting used to. It would give you a whole lot of exposure options all in one easily and quickly accessible menu.

So advantages:

- The exposure mode dial is cleaned up immensely replacing previous 5 positions with only one (and thus allows scenes modes and advanced exposure modes on a single exposure mode dial)
- Even more exposure flexibility than on the K10D
- All exposure variables combined into one easy navigable menu
- No need to take your view of the viewfinder, because of variable highlighting

So any thoughts on this, would this be a viable and ergonomically sound approach?


Last edited by CSpronken; 05-12-2007 at 08:26 AM.
05-12-2007, 02:58 PM   #2
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Bad idea, too long read?
05-12-2007, 04:53 PM   #3
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Sorry, but to me it sounds like an ergonomical disaster.

If it becomes necessary to clean up the mode dial, I would rather replace all the scene modes with a "green" field, which can bring up a similar menu where one can choose a fitting scene mode, or "auto".

The last thing I would want is to have to fiddle with a menu to change between Av, Tv and M.
05-12-2007, 09:27 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSpronken Quote
would this be a viable and ergonomically sound approach?
Sorry, I don't think it is viable or ergonomically sound.
First, Menu system would always be slower than direct access. You need to think where you are, and there are too many wheel turns and button presses.

QuoteQuote:
So advantages:
- The exposure mode dial is cleaned up immensely replacing previous 5 positions with only one
On the contrary, I see this as the major or even fatal disadvantage. I simply don't see the need to reduce the mode dial position; OTOH I much prefer to keep it.

Just imagine you are shooting in Manual mode, and you want to switch to Program mode. In K10D, just a simple twist of mode dial. In your menu system, can you count how many wheel turns or OK clicks you need to achieve that? How much time do you need for that?

05-13-2007, 06:07 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kskjon Quote
Sorry, but to me it sounds like an ergonomical disaster.

If it becomes necessary to clean up the mode dial, I would rather replace all the scene modes with a "green" field, which can bring up a similar menu where one can choose a fitting scene mode, or "auto".

The last thing I would want is to have to fiddle with a menu to change between Av, Tv and M.
You don't have to fiddle with the menu, you can do it all through the viewfinder. To switch to aperture priority, turn the horz. dial 1 or 2 clicks so aperture is highlighted in the viewfinder, click the green button to prioritize the highlighted position (in this case aperture priority) and dial in the value you want. So yes, you need one more button press, but you don't even have to look at the exposure mode dial.

Keep in mind that you don't have to open or close this menu and you don't have to confirm a set value. If you scroll vertically to a value it is already set, just like a physical dial.


QuoteOriginally posted by nosnoop Quote
Sorry, I don't think it is viable or ergonomically sound.
First, Menu system would always be slower than direct access. You need to think where you are, and there are too many wheel turns and button presses.
You don't really have to think where you are, the current variable (shutter, aperture, ISO) is highlighted in the viewfinder. To go to the next variable on the right in the viewfinder just turn the horizontal dial right. It does require one more button press (green button to set priority) at times (sometimes it's faster) but wheel turns is the same as it is now. Advantage is everything relevant to exposure is in one place including, setting min. and max. ISO selecting and saving USER presets, this makes it easier for new DSLR users at whom this system is targeted.


QuoteOriginally posted by nosnoop Quote
On the contrary, I see this as the major or even fatal disadvantage. I simply don't see the need to reduce the mode dial position; OTOH I much prefer to keep it.

Just imagine you are shooting in Manual mode, and you want to switch to Program mode. In K10D, just a simple twist of mode dial. In your menu system, can you count how many wheel turns or OK clicks you need to achieve that? How much time do you need for that?
To go from manual to program, a simple twist from the horz. dial to the program position (mostly 0-3 turns) and then click the green button and you're in program mode.

To go from program to manual is just as simple, just set a value for each variable (shutter, aperture and ISO). You don't even have to select a manual mode and you can do it all through the viewfinder.

Or if you wanna go from aperture to aperture and sensitivity mode. You just dial in a value for ISO and you're done.


Keep in mind though that this is not necessarily intended for professional and high-amateur users, more for entry level DSLR's. Anyways thanks for the feedback, it's appreciated.

Last edited by CSpronken; 05-13-2007 at 06:15 AM.
05-13-2007, 06:38 AM   #6
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If it is for entry level DSLR's, it is self-defeating overkill. Too overwhelming. People will take one look at the information overload in the display and put it back on the store counter.
05-13-2007, 07:59 AM   #7
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My Suggestions (In-depth and very practical, I think)

I don't know if I got your idea completely. But what you suggest is just a MZ camera concept but to replace the physical Av ring and Tv dial by menus.

The MZ camera user chooses Av at auto or manual value and the Tv at auto or manual value which will make all the combinations of P, Tv, Av and M.

But frankly speaking, your idea to set value via menu is really bad IMHO as nothing is worse than go thro the menu for even basic setting like the Av and Tv!

My opinions for how the K10D mode dial could be improved? Simple, it can be as follows:-

1. Keep the Av, Tv and M;

2. TAv is a redundant mode when Auto ISO is applicable to M mode! So, it can be deleted from the mode dial and what needed is to make Auto ISO works in M mode!

3. The three P mode program line options should be brought back to the mode dial, namely P-Action, P-Depth, P-MTF, like those SLRs in the 80s. Well, 3 more P modes is nothing more than those numerous Picture modes, isn't it?

4. X and B modes on mode dial are not crucial as these can be included in the M mode for the X and B Tv to be selectable, as Pentax used to design their modern SLRs.

5. Sv mode is somehow redundant again as manual ISO with P mode is virtually doing the same thing. What Pentax need to provide is a custom function for if when the exposure is out of range, will the user wish to shift the ISO higher or lower from the selected ISO.

6. Also, actually, as few people will notice, Pentax has dropped one good and unique simple feature in the K10D which can be found in the *ist D. That is, when the green button is pressed for any ISO, WB etc. settings, it should reset/return to the "green" option. The K10D does not do this, unfortunately, which is a waste of the green button under the Fn sub-menus.


QuoteOriginally posted by CSpronken Quote
Pentax Exposure mode proposal

(I posted this on DPreview once, was interested in what you all would think over here)

In a certain DPreview thread we were discussing adding the K10D new exposure modes to a possible K100D successor. Someone rightfully pointed out that since it's a lower level camera it still needs the scene modes on the exposure mode dial and there very well might not be enough room to add these new modes on the dial. So I have been thinking a bit and might've come up with a possible way of addressing this such that it cleans up the exposure mode dial and at the same time even expands on the exposure possibilities the K10D has.

Tv, Sv, M and B (perhaps even program mode) of the K100D exposure mode dial get replaced by a single Menu position. If the dial is in Menu position the following exposure menu is displayed on the LCD:



Front dial let's you scroll horizontally through the columns, the back dial (which perhaps should then be oriented vertically) lets you select a value by scrolling vertically (you don't have to confirm this so it works like an electronic version of the normal dials). At the left you start in program which is the same as program mode on the K100D, the values in red are set and the red cell is the current cursor position.

As you can see you can combine shutter, aperture and ISO with any plausible combination. Shutter priority (Tv) is setting shutter and leaving the other two at AUTO, same goes for aperture (Av) and ISO priority (Sv). You can set priority more quickly by clicking the green button next to the shutter release (currently used for hyper program on K10D) when being in the column of either shutter, aperture or ISO, the other two values are then automatically set to AUTO.

Shutter and aperture priority (Tav) can be done by setting both and leaving ISO at AUTO, but in addition you can also combine shutter and ISO (TSv) as well as aperture and ISO (ASv) directly in the same menu. Full manual simply requires you to select a value for shutter, aperture and ISO simple as that.

Additionally you can directly select your min. and max. ISO, shutter bulb mode and perhaps even min and maximum for shutter and aperture all in the same menu. To do is hoover the cursor over for instance max. ISO, click ok, scroll vertically to the desired value, press ok again. To the right are also USER1 and 2 custom modes automatically selected by scrolling horizontally to those columns or saving by scrolling vertically to the save option and pressing the OK button, which saves the current set values for all three variables.

When scrolling horizontally the selected variable will be highlighted on the top-LCD and viewfinder and change when scrolling vertically so you don't have to look at the menu on the back LCD to select the variable and value you want (see figures with aperture highlighted below).





For a more intuitive handling shutter, aperture and ISO should be displayed and in the same order from left to right on the LCD, top-LCD and viewfinder.

I can imagine this all may sound rather complicated and perhaps even silly. However I think that, although it might not be as fast as the exposure handling on the K10D, it wouldn't be complicated at all after some getting used to. It would give you a whole lot of exposure options all in one easily and quickly accessible menu.

So advantages:

- The exposure mode dial is cleaned up immensely replacing previous 5 positions with only one (and thus allows scenes modes and advanced exposure modes on a single exposure mode dial)
- Even more exposure flexibility than on the K10D
- All exposure variables combined into one easy navigable menu
- No need to take your view of the viewfinder, because of variable highlighting

So any thoughts on this, would this be a viable and ergonomically sound approach?
05-13-2007, 08:40 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RiceHigh Quote
I don't know if I got your idea completely. But what you suggest is just a MZ camera concept but to replace the physical Av ring and Tv dial by menus.
Well the core of the idea is not the menu, you don't even need it. The core of the idea is that you switch between the exposure variables (shutter, aperture and ISO) with the horz. dial and set the value with the vert. one.

QuoteOriginally posted by RiceHigh Quote
The MZ camera user chooses Av at auto or manual value and the Tv at auto or manual value which will make all the combinations of P, Tv, Av and M.
Yes, with the addition of a auto and manual setting for ISO.

QuoteOriginally posted by RiceHigh Quote
But frankly speaking, your idea to set value via menu is really bad IMHO as nothing is worse than go thro the menu for even basic setting like the Av and Tv!
It's probably much easier than you imagine. You just turn the horz. dial 1 or clicks so aperture is highlighted in the viewfinder and then scroll the vert. dial to set the value, if you want aperture priority just hit the green button and the other two will jump to AUTO.

You don't need the menu, it's just there for new users to more easily understand what's going on. You can even set min. and max. ISO or save or select a USER presetting without taking your eyes of the viewfinder.

But anyways I think one would need to test it to see if it works well in practise.

05-13-2007, 05:33 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSpronken Quote
It's probably much easier than you imagine. You just turn the horz. dial 1 or clicks so aperture is highlighted in the viewfinder and then scroll the vert. dial to set the value, if you want aperture priority just hit the green button and the other two will jump to AUTO.

You don't need the menu, it's just there for new users to more easily understand what's going on. You can even set min. and max. ISO or save or select a USER presetting without taking your eyes of the viewfinder.

But anyways I think one would need to test it to see if it works well in practise.
Yes, two e-dials plus a Blackberry alike design which the dial can be clicked will just do the job fine as you propose.

Anyway, the closet thing you suggest for the operation I think is the MZ-S and other MZ cameras (which lack a green button which the MZ-S). But then the MZ cameras use the aperture ring to control the aperture setting, Auto or not.
05-14-2007, 12:05 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RiceHigh Quote
Yes, two e-dials plus a Blackberry alike design which the dial can be clicked will just do the job fine as you propose.

Anyway, the closet thing you suggest for the operation I think is the MZ-S and other MZ cameras (which lack a green button which the MZ-S). But then the MZ cameras use the aperture ring to control the aperture setting, Auto or not.
Indeed, someone on DPreview proposed clickable dials as well, but I forgot about it. So yes, click the horizontal dial to set a variable to priority would speed things up a bit. Additionally one could make it such that clicking the vertical dial makes that variable jump to auto, perhaps that would speed it up even more. On the other hand, having two clickable dials might be more confusing, not sure.
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