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12-12-2012, 04:31 PM   #16
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The KX is the one, not the lower spec K1000!

12-13-2012, 02:42 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by garythesnail Quote
I know it's subjective, but I quite like using the MX, ME Super, P30T, P3 and K1000. The metering system / display works a little differently on each - but every one is straightforward to understand and to use. While I'll never get the hang of decent composition, I can manage to manually expose reasonably well with each one - even auto-exposure on the MES and the P's is useful for learning as the shutterspeed indicated automatically changes as the aperture is changed.

On the other hand, I don't really like the P50, or either of the A's - too fussy for me.

What the K1000 allows me to do is accept that getting the match-needle there-or-thereabouts will do - it doesn't have to be spot on (or will I get criticised for suggesting that half or even a full stop either way doesn't really matter - just get the shot!). LED meters make you chase the lights to be spot on!
I certainly agree with you that there is something to be learned from each of the cameras mentioned. I also agree about the matchstick indicating that the exposure doesn't have to be "perfect"; The Matchstick also taught me how to under/overexpose in different lighting conditions (i.e. if my subject is backlit, the "right" exposure has The Matchstick on the high side). You make some good observations about "P" and "Av" mode cameras.

There are two main reasons that I recommend simple matchstick metered cameras to all beginners:

First, simple cameras force people to think about composition and lighting (both photos taken by beginners on their 2nd or 3rd rolls).

Second, simple manual cameras can form habits that can help beginners learn Light Values and Exposure Values. I think that setting aperture and shutter speed manually helps specific combinations become familiar. I may be the only guy who thinks this, but it's very important to learn light and exposure values and internalize settings. "Open shade (with 400 speed film) will be 1/1000 and f/4" and "if I am shooting indoors, the aperture should be set to 2, and shutter speed should be 1/60th if it's well lit, 1/30th if it's average lighting, and 1/15th if it's kinda dim". Using the same speed film (400) is something that I also recommend to all beginners. I know this is subjective, but I believe these are critical to mastering lighting.

Then again, who wants to master lighting?
12-16-2012, 02:11 AM   #18
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Though I can't recommend a good camera for a beginner as I have not used every Pentax under the sun... I do enjoy handing my ME Super over to beginners and they often have fun and get great results. Whenever I hand it over to my wife or someone else, I just switch it to "Auto" and tell them to just be sure to focus, and to turn "this ring"(the aperture, of course) until a green light appears in the viewfinder (since depth of field rarely matters in the early learning stages of photography). And typically it all turns out fine. I have even handed a 4 year old my ME Super on Auto and I stopped it down quite a bit so he didn't have to focus. He shot an entire roll that was in focus and exposed very well. And his compositions were quite refreshing, coming from a 4 year old (there was one out of focus "close up" of a strangers behind, though...) Though I love the K1000, and it's highly regarded as a great beginners camera, I think it's important to have that aperture priority to help ease in beginners before they need to start reading light meters and needing to figure shutter speed and aperture relations to get a good exposure.

Having worked in a photo lab, I had many college kids come in after experimenting with their first few rolls of film. It was very common for them to be blurred by long shutter speeds or greatly underexposed and they were frustrated at their results. They were playing with fully manual cameras with no education on how they work. I feel it's helpful to some to take it all step by step, as there are lots of variables in photography. Why not take it easy by eliminating one until you're confident to incorporate the next step?
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