Record Screens & Menus
When using the viewfinder to frame your shots, the LCD displays the most common shooting parameters. The icons along the top (left to right) indicate the shooting mode (Program), Custom Image setting, auto focus mode, metering mode, anti-shake status, and battery power.
The main part of the screen displays the most critical camera settings, including shutter speed (1/50), aperture (f/4.0), and ISO (Auto 3200). Below the ISO setting box is the exposure compensation indicator - you can adjust this +/- 5 EV steps in increments of 1/3 EV step. The four-way control icons indicate their function (clockwise from top): ISO, drive mode, white balance, and flash setting. The box in the middle of these button positions does not indicate that the middle button, labeled "OK," launches the AF area menu - it's simply giving you the information.
The burst mode, white balance, and flash setting icons change to reflect the current setting, while the ISO position (upward) does not (that info is already displayed in larger type to the left.
The bottom row lets you know the file type and size you're capturing, and how many shots you have left on the SD card at that resolution.
The LCD turns off when you press the shutter button halfway, if you're not using Live View.
The default view in Live View mode displays a variety of icons along the top and bottom of the screen. Icons at top left indicate the shooting mode (Auto), flash setting, drive mode, white balance and Custom Image setting. Top right icons indicate the metering mode, anti-shake status, and battery life.
Along the bottom, the screen displays the shutter speed, aperture, ISO and the number of still images left on the memory card at the current resolution settings
The AF box turns from white to green to indicate auto focus has locked onto your subject. In Live View mode, you can focus by pressing the shutter button halfway, or in the menus you can choose auto focus as the function for the AF/AE-L button.
When using the viewfinder, the camera uses TTL phase-matching auto focus. When shooting in single or continuous mode, you can select focus-priority (shutter won't release until subject is in focus) or release-priority (shutter releases even if subject is out of focus). Shooting with Live View, the camera uses contrast detection AF, which offers four modes, but no ability to select focus- or release-priority.
AF modes (using viewfinder):
- AF.S: Single mode (focus-priority or release-priority)
- AF.C: Continuous (focus-priority or release-priority)
- AF.A: Enables automatic switching between AF.S and AF.C
- Face detection (default): Detects and tracks faces, displaying main focus frame in yellow
- Tracking: Tracks the subject in focus when shutter button is pressed halfway
- Select: From 100 available areas, you select 4, 16, or 36 of them as the focus area
- Spot: A limited area at the center of the frame
To magnify the view on the LCD to help with focusing manually in Live View mode, you press the OK button at the middle of the four-way control. The image will jump to the magnification you select in the menus: 2X, 4X, or 6X.
Pressing the Info button launches a quick menu with 15 icons. Changing the settings of any selected parameter is as simple as turning the rear thumb dial - you don't have to press the OK button to enter a menu list. However, you do have to navigate to the intended setting using the four-way buttons. This would be even easier if you could turn the front dial to move through the icons.
Info button menu items:
- Custom Image
- Digital filter
- AF active area
- Auto focus mode
- Distortion correction
- Lateral chromatic aberration adjustment
- Highlight correction
- Shadow correction
- AE metering
- File format
- JPEG recorded pixels
- JPEG quality
- Shake reduction
- Contrast AF (for use with Live View)
The first item in the Info button menu is Custom Image. Like all other settings in the menu, you can also reach them via the standard shooting menu. The Custom Image modes offer a variety of color adjustments and digital approximations of film processes. They offer a quick way to give your shots a variety of subtle and artsy treatments without going off the deep end with overly dramatic effects.
Note at the bottom of the LCD that the Info button serves to pull up whatever adjustable parameters there are for the selected mode. In most modes, you get five adjustable parameters: saturation, hue, high/low key adjust, contrast, and sharpness. In some modes, such as bleach bypass, the hue adjustment is replaced with a toning adjustment. Reversal film, on the other hand, only has a sharpness adjustment. Cross processing mode offers three presets and three user-defined favorites.
Custom Image modes (and adjustable parameters):
- Bleach Bypass
- Reversal Film
- Cross Processing
Custom Image parameter adjustments (in most modes):
- High-low key adjustment
- Sharpness (regular and fine)
- Extract Color
- Toy Camera
- High Contrast
- Invert Color
- One push file format
- Exposure bracketing
- Optical preview
- Digital preview
- Composition adjustment
- AF active area
- Enable AF1: Auto focus is performed when button is pressed
- Enable AF2: AF/AE-L performs auto focus and AF with shutter release button is disabled
- Cancel AF: Auto focus with the shutter release button is disabled while the AF/AE-L button is pressed
- AE Lock: Exposure is locked when button is pressed
- Exposure setting: Program, aperture-priority, manual
- Movie capture settings: Recorded pixels (full HD, HD, VGA), frame rate (60fps, 50fps, 30fps, 25fps, 24fps), quality level (1 to 3 stars)
- Recording sound level: off, +1 to +5
- Movie shake reduction: On, off
- Interval movie: 3, 5, 10 or 30 seconds; 1, 5, 10 or 30 minutes; 1 hour; recording time (up to 99 hours; start interval (now, set time); start time
The second selection in the Info button menu is the set of seven digital filters. Unlike the Custom Image adjustments, these digital filters can only be applied when shooting JPEG files. If you choose to shoot in RAW, this and the HDR icon are grayed-out to indicate you can't use them.
Seven isn't a lot to choose from, but I think it's safe to say that if you're a serious photographer you likely won't want to commit to a digital filter effect while shooting (and making your choice based on what you can see on a 3-inch screen, even if it is high resolution) - much less have to shoot JPEGs in order to use it. You get an additional 12 digital filters to play with in playback mode, or 19 total, which you can play with later.
This is also where you turn high-ISO noise reduction, show shutter speed noise reduction, and the electronic display on or off.
Highlighted above is the auto exposure metering menu list.
AE metering menu:
On page 4 of the shooting menu, the Button Customization selection allows you to customize the function of the RAW/Fx and AF/AE-L buttons. Note that for the AF/AE-L button, you can assign different functions for still image shooting and movie mode.
RAW/Fx button options:
AF/AE-L button options (same for still image and movie mode):
The setup menu contains four pages of settings so you can customize how, say, folders are created on the SD Card, change the file name prefix, and embed a photographer's name (that would be you) and copyright information, if you're a pro.
This is also where you go to perform dust removal and sensor cleaning, to format your memory card, or reset all of the camera's settings.
Custom menu options let you really fine-tune this camera's features. Starting with the first seven of the 22 adjustable parameters gives you a good snapshot into the level of customization the K-50 offers. Here, you can fine-tune the exposure compensation increments (one-half or one-third step), and choose whether to lock the exposure when auto focus locks.
Page 2 of the Custom menu allows you to tweak seven additional settings. For example, in bulb mode you can choose to hold down the shutter button for the full length of the exposure or press once to begin and a second time to close the shutter (your best bet for nighttime star-gazing).
You also can choose what white balance to use when shooting with flash (auto, unchanged or flash).
This is also where you choose focus-priority or release-priority for single and continuous auto focus modes (#12 and #13).
Another seven options are offered in page three of the Custom menu. You can turn off the AF indicator in the viewfinder, disable shutter release while the flash is charging (#16), and fine-tune the auto focus of each of your lenses (#21).
You also can enable catch-in focus (#20), and the camera will automatically trip the shutter when your subject is in focus.
Page 4 of the Custom menu simply allows you to enable/disable the aperture ring, and to reset all custom functions.
If you go hand-held, you may find that the anti-shake is a little jerky. I found its corrections to my subtle hand movements to be less-than-optimally smooth, creating a jittery, swimming effect at times in parts of the image that could make the queasiest among us feel a little seasick.
Movie recording menu: