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by Uwe Heimburger

Combining multiple captures and get one image - this is Multi-Exposure!

The fist time I did it must have been in 1983. I had newly aquired a Pentax ME Super SLR and was experimenting with it using slide film.

Moving Metronome 

K3iiiMono Shooting Mode "Multi-Exposure", 3 shots, triggered with external timer.

Now, a lot of years later I check what I can do with my Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome (K3iiiMono) DSLR.

New Options

Most older Pentax DSLRs had this option too, but in a more basic way. The blending options were already there. Now we can save every capture that's used to create the final composite image. And we get more options for flexibility.

This enables us to capture our creative composite idea as a draft, and we are able to work out our final artwork using sophisticated computer software like Photoshop and Affinity!

Core Functionality

The core functionality of creating one image from a batch of images are blending modes. The camera supports the blending modes "Average", "Additive" and "Bright".

It is used and can be configured in two different shooting modes: Intervall Composite and Multi-Exposure.

In addition both shooting modes support saving every capture on the way to the final composite image. We can even do this using the raw file format!

Shooting Mode: Interval Composite

Interval Composite simply blends the captures of an interval session where the interval time usually is fixed. Shortest interval time is 1 second. There are options to handle autofocus and triggering if triggering isn't possible.

Use Cases

  • Capture movement in one image with equidistant steps of time. Example: sports tracking.
  • Simulate long exposures, when you don't have an ND filter availlable. Example: flowing water.
  • Reduce noise using a sequence of shots with constant ISO, aperture, exposure time and blend mode "Average", i.e. oversampling.

Shooting Mode: Multi-Exposure

Multi-Exposure does mean Composite but "no interval shooting". It's much more flexible than this.

On every shot we can decide if we want to used it for the final composite or not. A small menu with items "Next shot", "Retake shot" and "Complete" is offered.

Or we can use Continous Shooting, i.e. firing a fast sequence without fixed interval time. We have to define a number of shots from 2 - 20 and we can trigger this sequence using the self-timer with its count-down. The cameras standard Continous velocities can be chosen: H(igh), M(iddle), L(ow). High stands for up to 12 shots per second, 7 or 2.5.

Use cases

  • Combine images of different scenaries to tell a special story.
  • Focus Stacking using the lenses focus ring manually with and without Focus Peaking (not tested yet). Save each image so that in post a professional focus stacking software can be used to get perfect focus stacked images.


We also can trigger these modes using an external timer. The one I use is the professional LRTimelapse 3 Timer - the most flexible I know.


  • Single shot / Bulb
  • Timelapse Astro, Manual, Timed, Periodic, Custom combination
  • Two trigger ports!
  • Integrated battery, while shooting chargeable using a powerbank

The image shown above is shot using Multi-Exposure, three shots, continious Low, Average blending, using self-timer plus external triggering. Triggering is possible even if the menu is shown, selected default menu item is "Next shot".

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