New to DSLRs


Link Posted 28/06/2017 - 20:47
After a somewhat circuitous journey, I ended up getting a used (to try to keep within my budget) K5. As this is my first DSLR, I am a bit overwhelmed by it all (although I have figured out the basics of taking a photograph with the camera). My previous camera was (and still is) a ten-year Canon point and shoot, which I will still probably take with me when I go hiking (no one said DSLRs were light, and they were right). Want to thank all of you on this forum who (unbeknownst to you) helped with my decision. Now I just have to justify that decision by figuring out more of what this camera has to offer.



Link Posted 28/06/2017 - 20:52
Welcome to the Pentax family Dale, feel fee to ask whatever questions you like and we will do our best to help you get to grips with it.
Small steps. We were all there at one point.
I know what i like, If not always why.


Link Posted 28/06/2017 - 22:11
The K-5 is from the top level camera family, so it has a lot of manual buttons and switches. This can be a bit overwhelming to start with, and doesn't have the easy auto scene modes from memory.

So, it's a bit like jumping in the deep end, but you're surrounded by people who love to help, so just ask if you have any questions.

Welcome to the forum


Link Posted 28/06/2017 - 23:08

The K5 was the last camera to have a really helpful guide in its comprehensive instruction book. Downloadable if you don't have one

Rich is right though it can seem overwhelming to start. Such cameras can seem to give poorer results until you figure them out. be patient and have fun. As you'll see on here we do.


Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 01:42
Great camera keep with it...The rewards will come...
K-1Gripped K-1 ungripped K-5ii K7 Various lenses



Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 02:16
Learn it one button at a time and keep the manual in the loo for those quiet moments - it worked for me.
And welcome to a very helpful place!
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link


Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 08:18
Hi from the UK, Dale, welcome. Yes, take your time and concentrate on the basics while the muscle memory kicks in for what the buttons do and where they are. The K-5 is a marvellous machine; I can't bear to sell mine even though I rarely use it now.
K-3II - HD DA20-40 Limited, HD DA55-300PLM, SMC DA10-17 Fishy, AF201FG Flashy


Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 09:46
Hi Dale welcome to the forum and the Pentax family!

I'm also new to the DSLR group also and all I can suggest is to get out and use it. Put it on Auto mode to start and the camera will teach you the rest. For the first 3 months I kept mine on auto and have gradually learned what some of the buttons are for. I can't wait to see some of your images!!
My Instagram


Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 15:40
My thoughts on this...

1. Stick it on AV mode
2. Always use spot focus
3. Set the camera to always overexpose by 0.3 of a stop
4. Always stop the lens down a bit for better sharpness
5. Shoot RAW and use DNG not PEF
6. Have the display show the blown highlights area, and aim to expose so that you just start to blow the highlights, which you then can recover in post processing.

And enjoy the K5.
K3ii, K-5, K-x, DA150-450mm, DA16-85WR, DA16-45, DA18-55WR, DA18-135WR, DA35 F2.4, M100mm F4 Macro, DA55-300mm, FA50mm 1.4, AF360 Flash, AF540 Flash


Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 16:03
tigershoot wrote:
...3. Set the camera to always overexpose by 0.3 of a stop..

Just curious, why would you do that by default? Is it perhaps your camera underexposes a little?
It's normally easier to recover underexposure as opposed to over exposure, so deliberately overexposing would surely make the issue worse?

Hi Dale (by the way!)
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 29/06/2017 - 16:07


Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 16:15
Rather than take a fixed approach to exposure, I'd suggest reading up on how a reflected light metre in a camera ' reads' light in a scene, and learning how to interpret the results using both the histogram and 'blinkies' indications.

This awareness will allow the photographer to make the necessary adjustments, both up or down, as each image requires. Optimal digital image exposure is something that needs consideration for each situation and changing light conditions.

Of course, the default camera meter exposure level will often get things into the right ball park, and processing adjustments can be easy later .... But I do think that the best IQ can be extracted when the camera exposure was the best it could have been.

The technique described earlier, of pushing up the brightness until the highlights hit the top, is related to the ETTR (expose to the right) approach, which should ensure that the bulk of image data captured falls into the top half of the sensors range (represented by the right hand half of the histogram). Unfortunately the dynamic range of so many scenes is too high to make this really practical, as even with clipped highlights a great deal of the image data still falls within the lower half .... This then leads to the inevitable 'shadow raising' in processing, if we keep the highlights within the upper limit.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 29/06/2017 - 16:23


Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 17:32
I agree with most of them but in my opinion and this worked with her indoors is to go to some where nice and quiet with the camera and play with it take a note pad with you if you fancy taking notes of settings and the like as the beauty of digital means that all the cocktail ups you make dose not cost you anything but time

As long as you have sorting good to photograph people can tell you what to do but it's not the same


Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 17:46
I would suggest an even more radical approach. The camera has a Manual exposure setting. The built in light meter will tell you what the camera thinks is correct or under/over exposure (which wont be correct in all circumstances but for 80% of pictures will probably be spot on).

Get used to manual exposure and you will understand how a change in shutter speed and aperture affect the exposure and how although one "stop" up and down of each will give you the same exposure, your picture will be different (depth of field versus movement blur).

I recently spoke to someone who had only ever used an auto exposure mode and said they were confused over how many stops of exposure compensation to use if the camera produced too dark/light images. They had no idea that the entire range of light between dawn and dusk can often be only seven stops.

Get to know details like this using manual control, and then you can use the auto modes like Av and Tv knowing exactly what you are getting.

We would not learn to drive using cruise control or learn to fly an aeroplane using Autopilot only would we ?

My Flickr page
Last Edited by pschlute on 29/06/2017 - 17:47


Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 19:12
Thanks for all the comments. I have printed the manual (at least the first half) and have been perusing it in my spare time (I'm not from the UK, but it does make for good "loo" reading). So far, mostly just on auto mode. My attempts at manual mode have not turned out well, but I'll keep trying. Lots of pictures of my apartment and the neighborhood. Nothing really worth publishing yet, plus, the one disadvantage of buying used is no cable to hook up to my computer (my Canon cable did not work as I had hoped), so I just ordered that (well, a card reader, actually) so I can do some file transfers. It's been fun so far and I hope to continue with it for many years.

I have plenty of questions, but for now I'll see if they've been answered elsewhere so as not to repeat some of the same issues. OK, reading through the comments, I do have one question: what does it mean to "stop down the lens a bit" (for better sharpness)?


Link Posted 29/06/2017 - 19:33
DaleT wrote:
OK, reading through the comments, I do have one question: what does it mean to "stop down the lens a bit" (for better sharpness)?

It means using a smaller aperture such as using f/8 instead of f/5.6. The optimum aperture for a lens depends on its design. Usually it's two or three down from its maximum, so for a f/2.8 lens, the optimum would usually be around f/5.6 or f/8. However if you need f/2.8 use it!
Rather than fully auto try using P (for Program) mode which allows basic modifications to the setting the camera has chosen, so if you alter the shutter speed, the camera will set the corresponding aperture, and if you set a shutter speed because you want it faster/slower, the camera will adjust the aperture accordingly. Then if neither seem right you can alter the ISO (at the expense of diminishing quality the higher you set it.)
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 29/06/2017 - 19:34
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