Pentax-Specific Landscape Shooters Checklist


McGregNi

Link Posted 27/07/2013 - 14:31
Pentax-DSLR-Specific Landscapes Shooting Checklist

If you’re like me and mostly take the camera out with family, grabbing shots handheld where possible, then when the time comes for some more considered tripod mounted landscape work, you might find the lack of practice can make you all fingers and thumbs, fumbling around as the sun starts to leave for the day.

It does for me, so I set up at home to practice my techniques and refresh my knowledge of the camera settings, with the aim of making sure I was quicker and more precise with my camera techniques before heading off to the hills.

This helped a lot, and I realised it would be good to have a record, or checklist, of the setup steps and key camera controls I needed, and that also got me thinking more about the different options available. I want to share this one approach here, with the aim of encouraging others of all experience levels to also share their particular ideas about landscape shooting on the Pentax DSLRS, and what camera setups and shooting controls works best for differing situations.

Please note - my ’checklist’ here is deliberately prescriptive (do this, do that), and describes tripod mounted photography with remote control. This is so that it is laid down as definitive, and therefore can be used as the springboard for all the alternative methods and different situations that could be recommended. This is not a photography course either (!), so I do not give reasons for or the purposes of my specific choices - that would come through in later discussions when other ideas are raised or things questioned.

Menu descriptions should be accurate for the K7 and K5 ranges.


1) Pre-Shoot Setup & Preparation

I’m not covering the generic and obvious checks, like battery charging, lens & sensor cleaning, SD cards and backup etc - that’s all in the guidebooks. Just the Pentax specific items. If an item is not listed, it should not affect the actual photo taking. Custom settings are not covered. This is a checklist of essential camera picture taking options to act as a reminder and save time and extra work at location. The order of setup though will have some affect, so should be followed through as laid out.


a. LENSES -

Aperture rings to A (if fitted)
Camera Focus switch to M or AF.S (as required)


b. BATTERY GRIP -

Camera Li-lon battery in place then fit the Grip
Extra Li-lon battery or 6x AA in place inside Secure your tripod baseplate to the Grip

c. CAMERA MENU SETUP -

Choose your required File Format & JPEG Pixels / Quality
Live View - activate Histogram
Digital Preview - On plus Histogram
Instant Review - On plus Histogram
Electronic Level Display - On
Choose Color Space & RAW file format
Memory - activate the following items : Drive Mode, White
Balance, Sensitivity, Playback Display, File No. Deactivate EV Compensation
Shake Reduction - Off
Select Battery - set as needed by your charging options
Perform Dust Alert (if you have a DA lens) and / or Dust Removal


d . CUSTOM IMAGE MODES

Set these if needed for JPEG shooting. Set these up generally, you can fine tune in the field. For RAW capture these settings will only have an effect on how your shots will be displayed on the LCD during image reviewing. The settings metadata will be recorded in the RAW file, but different software will interpret it differently or not at all.

Only Pentax Digital Camera Utility will exactly match up and apply all the settings when opening the file, when any adjustments can be made non-destructively. These CIM settings will not affect the actual image data recorded by the sensor


e. WHITE BALANCE


If using a Preset then set it now - you can make additional fine tuning in the field. Likewise, if intending on making a Custom WB, set the nearest suitable preset now to avoid unintentionally jumping to tungsten or something in the field


f. USER MODE SET FOR EXPOSURE BRACKETING -


Mode Dial to Av - Set ISO 100 (or as needed) - Drive Mode set to Exposure Bracketing with Remote Control, set 5 images (front e-dial), set exposure spacing (rear e-dial), press OK
In the camera menu enter the USER item, choose ‘Check Saved USER Settings’ - check the settings are all OK - press OK then choose the item ‘Save’, and then ‘Save’ again


2) On Location Shooting Setup & Camera Control


Once you’re set up and the shot is framed :


Check Av mode set, ISO and White Balance preset already set
Drive Mode set to Mirror Up with Remote
Ev Compensation to 0(these items should be pre-set in the camera memory from your pre-shoot setup)

Set final White Balance from custom or manual, and fine tune if needed.

Manual Focussing - Press LV (Live View) and use the Info button to zoom view into the scene. Use the 4-way controls to centre on something at an approximate hyper-focal distance into the scene and then focus carefully on this. When done exit LV.

Set required aperture

Half Press Shutter Button to get metered shutter speed

Wait for the right moment (eg wind drop, people to pass etc)

Take shot with Remote Control

Review image on LCD - use histogram to confirm desired exposure range was captured.

If needed set appropriate exposure compensation value, and reshoot

Assess the contrast range you can capture in a single shot and decide on whether to shoot a further exposure for blending in software, or whether it is so great you need a bracketed range of shots for HDR work. If needed, switch to User mode, set appropriate ‘master exposure compensation’ for all the brackets, and shoot the brackets, using the focussing methods above first.

All feedback, alternatives and corrections gladly anticipated !
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

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 27/07/2013 - 23:44
You make this photography lark sound like some sort of massive chore, Nigel...
[link=https://500px.com/will_brealey/[/link]

puma

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 00:16
Jesus and there I was thinking it was fun
my web site http://www.swilsonphotography.foliopic.com/
PPG link

Smeggypants

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 01:04
I'm lost for words I think.




.
[i]Bodies: 1x K-5IIs, 2x K-5, Sony TX-5, Nokia 808
Lenses: Pentax DA 10-17mm ED(IF) Fish Eye, Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8, Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.2, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, Sigma 135-400mm APO DG, and more ..
Flash: AF-540FGZ, Vivitar 283

McGregNi

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 07:55
Come on, you can think of something ! Or would a 'Pentax-Specific Street Sharp Shooters Checklist' be more useful ?
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

jeffstclair

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 12:05
That's easy for you to say..jeff..

McGregNi

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 21:20
Pentaxophile wrote:
You make this photography lark sound like some sort of massive chore, Nigel...

puma wrote:
Jesus and there I was thinking it was fun

OK, sure, but a thorough & complete checklist covering what is actually a fairly complex piece of equipment and also a multi-step process (shooting landscapes) is always going to look like a chore. Although I can see some fun in it !

Look, some people can treat their photography and the practical details to achieve it in an instinctive manner, just caring about the inspiration and the moment, and the technical knowledge is just there, usually through great experience.

But others may find that technical aspects can impede the artistic, by causing frustration and wasting time. For me, yes, I understand all the features and options, but my camera is used for different types of shooting all the time. I found that I don't want to get to a location, be ready to shoot, but have to start setting things and re-shooting at the critical time.

For example - using remote control means setting that Drive Mode. But the Drive Mode for everyday shooting may be single shot or continuous say ... you might set Remote Control mode for the first part of your landscape session, then turn off the camera while you move somewhere else. When you turn it on again you find that you have to reset the Drive Mode. The solution is to have previously programmed the Memory item in the menu to retain the set Drive Mode. The checklist ensures you remember this before heading out and saving time on site.

Or maybe for some people they are not sure about the purpose or effect of certain setting options - or for what type of shot they may work best for. So by setting out this 'definitive' checklist for one particular type of working can be a springboard for thinking about the alternatives and learning more about our Pentax DSLRs amazing range and variety of control options
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

davidstorm

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 21:31


Regards
David
Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

puma

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 21:38
you can have all the technical knowledge and technical aspects know how in the world! BUT that's a big BUT if you don't see what in front of you?
your shots are not going to work in other words you do need the inspiration and the moment and the eye for it.
when I started photography it was my way of getting away from people and the fast life, its a bit like fishing for me, I don't fish by the way hate it! but it gives me that feeling of relaxing and clam, and I do have fun with it, and hopefully it shows in my photos.
what iam trying to say is yes you need to know how to use a camera but for god sake just have fun and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of this country, and the moment that we all try to get in our photography.

my web site http://www.swilsonphotography.foliopic.com/
PPG link

McGregNi

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 21:59
Hey, of course, we can all agree with that sentiment, and when it all 'comes together', that's the beauty of the whole experience.

This is not about setting the artistic apart from the technical ... I have not said that getting all these settings right beforehand will make you produce great photos! But, if you find that you are spending extra time when standing in front of all the beauty fiddling and re-adjusting things that could have been prepared before setting out, then a checklist approach might help.

The two aspects of knowledge and artistic insight need to co-exist. As I said, for me, running through a checklist on the camera before heading out on a specific type of shoot (say landscape, but you could make one for other shoots as well), is helpful, making sure I'm just spending time on the shots, not on correcting and resetting things that could have been set up at home.
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

davidstorm

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 22:09
I think we should all aspire to know and learn our cameras enough to make it automatic - unconscious consciousness!

If we all got in our cars and had to think about what gear to use, which buttons to press etc. I think we would all end up crashing the car!

Yes, there's a level of planning required, but this is surely about making sure you have the right things in your camera bag, ready to pick it up and go at the drop of a hat.

Spontaneity is a definite plus in photography.

Regards
David
Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

McGregNi

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 22:19
Well, this is aimed more at those who might be at the 'learning to drive' stage

Yes, I know a good amount about all the camera controls and options, (and lets remember these DSLRs are not exactly simple devices), but because I don't have the chance to go out shooting with a tripod much, I found it helpful to go through step by step all the optimal settings and list them. Then, rather than spend time in the field, I try and get the camera ready beforehand so that it will perform consistently and not jump out of my required settings during my session.

It seems to me also that it might be useful to some others to consider this specific list as it may raise questions and alternative ideas, and so spread knowledge about the enormous variety of technical control the Pentax DSLR system offers.
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

doingthebobs

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 22:56
When I started with the DSLR I found the green settings good. Just concentrate on the view and push the button! What could be easier.

Soon after I wanted to get more control and try different things out. If I wasn't sure how to get what I wanted I would, eventually, read the instruction book! This way I learned how to use the camera(still learning really).

Some people do like checklists but not for me. Too much like hard work.

The essence of adventure is the uncertainty of the outcome. I like an adventure!
Bob

major

Link Posted 28/07/2013 - 23:30
I welcome Nigel's initiative and goodwill for those (like me!) who are at the 'learning to drive stage'.

Thank you, Sir!

redbusa99

Link Posted 29/07/2013 - 01:21
Smeggypants wrote:
I'm lost for words I think.

Never, i don,t believe it but i understand it.
had a whole term on a part time course i did doing exactly this ,drawing up checklists for everything you could think of, to print and laminate to keep with us. there were more missed lessons by more people than at any other time in the 3 yrs i was there. it was boring. we wanted to learn how to use our cameras to take pictures and we felt that using them ,making mistakes,learning from them was the most use to us as well as the most fun.
K3 II and the odd lens or 2

Flickr
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