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11-26-2009, 04:53 AM   #1
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K20D - Metering in low light conditions

I have previously used a Nikon D60, and am used to being able to rely on the exposure metering in low light conditions, when you need a second or a few seconds to get an image. On the Nikon, the camera measured the light correctly through its whole exposure time range.

On my new Pentax K20D, I can not get a correct light metering in low light conditions. The problems start already under such presumably unproblematic conditions as when I'm using ISO 3200, 5.6 aperture and need 1/30 of a second or longer. The readings from the exposure are just not correct, and this is the case using all different modes - P, green, manual and all the rest. I have tried changing many of the settings (for instance the program line), but nothing affected the deviation in metering.

The difference between what the camera's built-in programming suggests, and what is actually correct settings is so great that I assume this must be a computer bug, or else that the Pentax people have just not considered that anyone would need to rely on metering to take pictures in this range of lighting conditions.

For instance, this morning I tried taking a photo in a dimly lit room. The K20D suggested 6.7 aperture and 1/15 at ISO 3200, but what I actually needed in order to see the motive was 8 seconds, with the same aperture and ISO.

Does anyone have any experience with what I describe or information as to whether this is a technical issue or just a weakness in the K20D's construction, compared to Nikon D60?

-rsk

11-26-2009, 05:48 AM   #2
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post examples of each. I honestly don't know what you are experiencing. I can take my K20D and ask it to meter a dark room and get a correct exposure. Normally I would shoot in spot metering mode for this but in a darker situation I'll use multi matrix to try and get a better balance. I just tested it and in a very dimmly lit room, the meter reading was ISO200, f5.6 4 seconds. In your example ISO 3200 at 8 seconds seems very long.
11-26-2009, 06:22 AM   #3
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This is common issue metering starts from 0EV to 19 or 18EV. Below is just blinking A and S reading... i'v notice it before... its pronounced especially with slow lenses, like f4... moste of canikons Exposure metering starts from -1EV...
11-26-2009, 07:16 AM   #4
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QuoteQuote:
rsk: On my new Pentax K20D, I can not get a correct light metering in low light conditions.
Which metering mode are you using? If you were using spot, and taking a meter reading of the brightest part of the dimly lit room, this would easily generate the problem you are experiencing.

11-26-2009, 01:56 PM   #5
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Picture examples would be great.
Metering is based on the mode as well as the scene.
How do you get a 'correct' meter of any scene at 8sec f/6.7 ISO 3200?
I'd like to see this scene on an image with these parameters you suggest as being correct...
11-27-2009, 01:24 AM   #6
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Thanks for your replies. I have uploaded two test photos as you asked for. I was using multi segment measuring, but the behaviour persists using spot and center weighted measuring, and as you can see in these test shots, there is no significantly brighter area to eschew the metering.

It was suggested that Pentax starts metering at 0 EV, and checking the operating manual I see that this is indeed the case. If Nikon D60 starts at -1 EV, this could explain why I get the feeling that I can't get the readings I was used to in dim light. I'm impressed by the K20D in many ways and expect to get a lot of pleasure out of it, but the lack of metering in semi-dark situations is going to feel like something lacking with my usage of the camera.
11-27-2009, 02:51 AM   #7
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Sorry, I can't seem to find your uploaded photos. Where did you put them?
11-27-2009, 03:02 AM   #8
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Click on "2" next to "Gallery Photos:" on the left of this message..

11-27-2009, 05:00 AM   #9
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Seems like you're pushing the limits of the auto modes.
I'm wondering whether the same thing is happening in Av mode.
Take everything out of 'green' modes, including auto ISO, and see how it fares then.
A very dark room is not the best place to test a camera meter - they do tend to underexpose even more obviously in extremely dark situations.
11-28-2009, 02:56 AM   #10
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It is the same in Av mode, and I also tried green mode with fixed 3200 ISO. I looked at dpreview and found that Nikon D60 starts metering at EV 0 too, just as the Pentax K20D, so what does this mean? D60 and K20D both starts metering at EV 0, but the D60 is capable of setting the correct parameters under low light conditions and the K20D is not. We don't have a good explanation for this, as far as I can see. So it should be an issue for Pentax to look at and address.
11-16-2010, 10:05 PM   #11
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Don't get me wrong I love my K20, but not the meter. I never thought it was very good. You should go out and buy a good hand held meter for low light. Put the camera on "M" and just set the camera by the hand held meter. The K20 isn't good in low light with flash, if bounced. I shot on "M" and the flash on "A" not PTTL or what ever.
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