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07-25-2007, 08:42 PM   #1
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Pentax K10 - dark pictures

I just switched to digital Pentax K10, but I am having some difficulties with the output. It happens very often that my pictures are too dark even if I shoot with the flash. No matter if I use Tav, Tv, Av or Green mode. I assume that this kind of camera should handle it and set the right aperture/shutter speed at least in the Green mode which is full automatic. Of course I can eliminate it by checking with instant preview, but this can be a problem when taking the fast moving objects in changing situations. I changed the lenses, no help. Do you have the similar experience? Is it a problem with my camera or usual issue with digital SLR cameras? I have never had this problem with my conventional Pentax. Thank you for your feedback.

07-25-2007, 09:14 PM   #2
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Check that your EV compensation is not set to a low negative number.
07-25-2007, 09:25 PM   #3
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Post some samples

Don't you think posting some samples would be really helpful?
Without samples it's pretty much blind guessing game...
07-25-2007, 10:20 PM   #4
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Edvinas is right ! We need some samples .

On the other hand , do you use on-camera flash , external ? How far were you from the objects ? What kind of lens ?

Don't worry about " silly questions " . I do it in this forum all the time . There is always somebody in here who knows more than I ( or you ) do in some subject so just ask

07-25-2007, 10:49 PM   #5
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hi how r ya. its not technical but it mite help.Before u take your pics do u look in the LCD and make sure your apperature or shutter speed isnt blinking or the ISO.If any of them are blinking change setting untill it stops then try.I was taking pics in TAV and they were dark all it was is a matter of changing the settings.Im not into the technical side of things but i thought a basic bit of advice mite help. good luck
07-25-2007, 11:48 PM   #6
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Another possible contributing factor - check the firmware version. Some users reported a consistent tendency to underexpose when using the initial version 1.00. I had the same issue at first but no longer. To verify your version turn off the camera, then switch back on while pressing down the menu button. The firmware version will appear in the LCD. If still at v 1.00, go here:

Pentax Imaging - Software & Firmaware Updates

and download the latest version (1.30). A set of directions will explain in detail how how to it upload to the camera. Hope that helps.
07-26-2007, 08:02 AM   #7
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Try this

If you are getting consistent under-exposures with ALL lens try cleaning the lens contacts on the camera body.

I had a similar problem, but it was restricted to one lens luckily. Would shoot great then suddenly start under exposing badly.


07-26-2007, 08:25 PM   #8
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Pentax - dark pictures

I was getting underexposed pictures with or without built-in flash using mostly the Green mode. Exterior, interior, people, landscape - different subjects, same problem. See my attachments.

Thank you for all your suggestions. I installed the new firmware and checked all other settings as per your experience. I'll try to shoot under different conditions and let you know if this is the solution.

Attached Images

Last edited by Maros; 07-26-2007 at 08:37 PM.
07-26-2007, 08:56 PM   #9
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I noted lousy results w/green mode my 1st day of using my K10D. I gave up right away in favor of Av or TAv mode. As it seems you know cameras and exposure, I'd say give TAv a go.

Otherwise, if you shoot raw, you'll fid there's an enormous amount of info in those 'dark' shots that can easily be brought out by increasing the sensitivity in the provided RAW software; and/or stretching the Histogram slightly (w/o blowing out any highlights by having any values at the rightmost border).

I think I'll update my firmware based on what I read here.
07-26-2007, 09:59 PM   #10
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Agreed with what everyone said, though I've gotten good results with the Green mode.

Anyway, I'm no exposure expert, but images 1 and 3 look to be difficult conditions (contrast stuff) for most cameras, especially if you're using multi-segment metering. Lots of brighter skies in 1 compared to the darker bird, and all that white snow in 3 would be rendered grayish. I could be wrong. Feel free to correct me.
07-26-2007, 10:39 PM   #11
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With my K10D <i>and</i> my ist*D I feel that I almost always neet to ev+1/3 or+1/7
and I am ok with the results on that setting.

on M I just set the meter slightly over before shooting.

I feel that Pentax has a preference for not blowing the highlights and meters accordingly.
I also feel that it is ok to blow a tiny bit of i use the ev like i do.

again i think its just a pentax thing.
if people dissagree, then maybe i just have two copies of my cameras that enderexpose...
i just work with it

07-27-2007, 12:11 AM   #12
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Why did you remove EXIF info from photos you posted here?! Without knowing all camera settings it's really almost impossible to tell why your pictures are so underexposed.

Anyway, my guess is that you're using spot metering. In the first picture it have metered from the sky, in second from white table in the third -- from snow. So you've got severely underexposed pictures.

Try switching to Multi-segment metering (page 142 of English K10D manual).

And post pictures with full EXIF information!
07-27-2007, 04:22 AM   #13
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As someone also asked could you provide details on the lenses used and the EXIF data. Many users have reported similar issues with older MF, non "A" series lenses. If that is what you are using then what setting was the camera in? Older lenses have to be shot in "M" mode and some EV compensation is usually required.

Without more details, we're all guessing.
07-27-2007, 06:41 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Maros Quote
I was getting underexposed pictures with or without built-in flash using mostly the Green mode. Exterior, interior, people, landscape - different subjects, same problem. See my attachments.

Thank you for all your suggestions. I installed the new firmware and checked all other settings as per your experience. I'll try to shoot under different conditions and let you know if this is the solution.

If you are not using SPOT METERING or setting exposure compensation, then your meters off a bit. Spot metering always seemed to be about 1/2 under typical metering in the older bodies. Not sure of the newer response.

#1 is pretty typical and apparently "normal". You can see the histogram peak at about what it should be for this situation (at least for older bodies that haven't been Canonized (fudge iso values so exposure is "to the right" more)). DSLR metering is kind of dumb and old school. It doesn't "guess what it is" well and adjust accordingly. That's your job.

Your snow picture would look more like this w/ my "old school" D metering without user intervention.

so my amateur verdict. 1 is as it should be and you need to adjust to the situation accordingly (that's pretty much a white wall shot).
2) Go figure. If spot metered off the table it's understandable. If exp compensation is applied it's understandable. Other than that ????
Matrix metering should have rendered better, though nobody really knows what it'sthinking . Center weighted may have been thrown off by the blotch of white err in the center.
3)1/2 stop off normal but this is again a situation that needs user intervention. In snow the "rule of thumb" is to spot meter off the snow, increase exposure by 2 stops. Then white will be white (hopefully not REAL white ie blown).
Send it in........
This is what a snow scene without user intervention would produce with my D. Of couse this is only 1 sample camera and may not be typical of any others. (Actually, on further review, this was spot metered and no EV correction. What was I thinking )

Last edited by jeffkrol; 07-27-2007 at 07:01 AM.
07-27-2007, 03:38 PM   #15
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Perfect exposures

I don't see any problem here, they are all perfectly exposed -- average gray, exactly as it should be. But they just do not look right since camera has reduced the scene to average gray and that does not exactly match your experience. That's what exposure compensation is for.

To better understand what I mean try this: in P mode and any metering mode with AF off (since sharpness it is not important here) take two pictures from a close distance (to fill the frame with a single color) of one black and one white t-shirt, cloth, towel, or any other non-reflective surface. Do not compensate, allow camera to set aperture and shutter speed automatically.

I guarantee you'll be surprised by the result! (You may even think that your camera is broken or that you did something wrong.) Rest assured, everything works as designed. Try this with Canon and Nikon if you wish, or buy a $30,000 digital Hasselblad and you'll get the same result. This can help you understand what had happened with your shots and how to do it better next time.

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