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Old Jul 19, 2017, 2:42 PM   #1
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Default Camera Problem

A new trip for me - I'm going to the Jackson Hole area for the total solar eclipse next month. I bought a couple of filters but have no idea how to use them. Is there something with some simple directions?

One of them is a 16 stop ND filter, and I decided to play with that one first. I was concerned about messing up the K1 so I started off putting it on a lens mounted on the KS1.

That brought up the camera problem. I haven't used the KS1 in a year or more, but have been carrying it around. When I tried the ND filter, it appeared the light meter was way, way off - I was using a DA lens so no aperture ring and the only way I could get anything in the picture was to set the camera to overexpose the scene significantly. Took off the filter and had the same problem - so the filter wasn't the culprit.

I thought about it for a couple of days and then tried the camera without in M mode, chose a fully closed aperture and took a picture when the camera's meter said it was properly exposed. No problem, picture as appropriate. Used the camera's controls to set a larger aperture and left the rest of the settings alone, so the photo should be over-exposed. No, it was the same as before - conclusion is that there's something wrong with the camera operating the aperture coupler of the lens, it was leaving the lens completely stopped down, the way a DA lens's aperture blades are when the lens isn't mounted.

But it gets more complicated. To verify, I put the FA43 on the camera and got the same results when the lens was set to "A" - with the camera set for f2.8 and 1/80 sec shutter speed and ISO800 (what the camera said was the proper exposure), I got a black frame. Then I changed the lens to f2.8 instead of the A setting, left the shutter speed at 1/80 and the ISO at 800, and got a properly exposed photo.

So now I'm wondering if there's a software issue with whatever version of the operating system I have on the camera - from a purely mechanical point of view, the camera appears to be working correctly. Other functions appear to work correctly, as far as reviewing photos and being able to make changes in the menus. I'm going to look to see if I have the current version of the firmware, maybe re-install it if it's current.

Does anyone else have any other ideas? I don't want to send the camera in for repairs, as much fun as it is to have such a small camera to use, it isn't worth the repair cost.
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Old Jul 19, 2017, 4:08 PM   #2
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Have you reset to factory settings? (I would guess so, but have to ask)
You might also try leaving the battery out for 24 hours, and charge it while it's out, then restart the camera. Electronics can do weird things, sometimes. Check for any residue around the camera contacts and rub a clean cloth over them. Further than that, I can't really guess.
As to the eclipse: I strongly recommend not pointing the camera at the sun -ever-. Besides possible damage to the sensor, your eyes are prone to damage from UV, even during totality, from the corona. The way I shot the 1984 annular eclipse in SC was to use a telescope to project the sun's image onto a white paper, and take photos of that. This was prior to digital cameras, so sensor damage wasn't an issue.
It got a little busy, as I had made my setup on the spur of the moment, and the 'scope, camera, and projector screen were all separate. A better way would have been to make a bracket to hold the camera and screen to the scope, so I would only have had to move one thing instead of three, every few seconds. (when you get that much magnification, the motion is also magnified)
One reason for doing this is that you wouldn't need a filter on your camera lens, and have to remove it during totality, which could cause missed shots.
I had hoped to be able to travel to get pictures of this eclipse, but it is looking less and less likely, so I will have to settle for whatever partial is visible here.
Good luck.
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Old Jul 19, 2017, 6:54 PM   #3
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I did some research on pentax forums and found there's a huge thread about other modern cameras that have the same symptoms. Apparently it can be repaired and there's someone in NorCal who fixes cameras with this problem (aperture block failure) as a side-business, it has to do with a solenoid. Not many K-S1 cameras reported with the problem, but then how many people who bought them are going to try to figure it out? I was more or less planning on junking the camera because I thought it had a bigger problem initially. But now? I think I'll send it to the guy in NorCal, his price is better than the $300+ I would be charged to send it in to the official Pentax repair facility.

Since I already bought a solar filter, I figure I'll try it out. And while looking around for some manual lenses to use to try out the solar filter on the K-S1, I ran across my old K100, which I haven't used in several years and had forgotten about. But that led me on a search for my rechargeable batteries and is getting me to organize my stuff. I finally bought a cabinet for at least some of my stuff, and it would be nice to get it better organized. Right now things are wherever they happened to have landed last time I either used and now I wonder what do I really have (anything lost or forgotten about?), since I had forgotten all about the K100!

As far as practice with the solar filter, I'm now a bit torn about which camera to use - the K100 doesn't have live view, so lining it up with the sun is hit-or-miss (use a wider lens?) but I suspect that even using live view things could be hit-or-miss when it comes to guessing where to point the camera.

I bought the filter from B&H and they threw in some solar glasses. I'm not entirely sure I want to spend the short time available figuring out photo gear, I think I just want to experience it without stress. Of course, then I'll be envious of anyone who posts any awesome photos they take, if I didn't try at all.

Any more suggestions/experience with solar photography?
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Old Jul 28, 2017, 8:02 PM   #4
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Hi again

Suggestions - aligning the camera / lens package without looking thru the lens at the sun

presumptions - camera is on sturdy tripod with pan & tilt / ball swivel head attached

You can stand on the lens side of the assembly and via shadows point the whole lot towards the sun. When it is on target, the camera will project a tiny image of the sun from the viewfinder onto a piece of paper your assistant is holding an inch or so away from the viewfinder. Then attach the solar ND filter and take a shot

Hope this helps
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Spends 8-9 months each year travelling Australia
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Old Jul 30, 2017, 9:43 AM   #5
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The aperture problem is widely reported and I am hoping my K30 doesn't get it, I hear good things about the guy in NorCal, good luck, at his price I would send mine also

...It is better to burn a roll of film than curse the darkness. Equip. K30, Q7, DA PLM 55-300, DA 18-135, DA 35 f2.4, DA 50 f1.8, SMC-M 28 f3.5, SMC M 50 f1.4, Canon P&S S100 w/CHDK Beta, Panasonic DMC-GM5, Flickr:
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Old Jul 31, 2017, 7:58 AM   #6
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google using filters youtube videos
Nikon D5, D4s, 810, Nikkor lenses 14-24, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400 "Nano version", 24-120 f4, SB910s Lee filter system, Siggy 15mm, Siggy 150-600 Sport, Gitzo Tripods, many GoPros

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Old Aug 13, 2017, 8:10 PM   #7
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I contacted the guy in NorCal and will probably send the camera there when I get back. I'm not sure just how excited I am about photographing the eclipse, I may just enjoy it without worrying about photo things. I brought both the K100 and the K1, just in case though.

I did play around with the solar filters a bit with the K100. Using a fairly wide angle lens it wasn't that hard to line up. I just wasn't all that excited with the results though. We'll see, I still have some time before the big event and will have a chance to talk to some folks who might know some tips and tricks.
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