Saturday, June 30, 2007

K10D Dust Proof?

As we all know, the K10D is designed to be dust and weather proof, as the official information always shows us:- http://www.digital.pentax.co.jp/en/35mm/k10d/feature_04.html

Look at the sealing diagram and it is not difficult to discover that all critical but vulnerable parts and positions are sealed, this includes the colour LCD panel at the back.

However, there have been different reports of dust are getting into the inside of the LCD panel, here are two reports that I have seen recently:-

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/8746-k10d-problems.html

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=23819567

The latter has also clear photos of the affected LCD posted by the K10D user, which looks indeed rather terrible.

Whilst the sealing has actually imposed some kind of stiffness and "stickiness" to the knob, switches and buttons (particularly try the AF mode switch), which is in fact highly undesirable, the trade-off seems not to have been rewarded. The dust sealing capability of the K10D is now in question for the reported cases. Again, still just "bad copies from the factory" or "unlucky user" or alike to be argued (with)? :-)

Update (Sept 15):

Below is another recent user report on the same issue, with an even more clear image of a dusty-inside K10D LCD panel shown:-

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=24832941

The common thing as seen in both photos is that dust particles go inside the LCD from the right hand side, and more close to the top. So, where is the loophole and path? In the last DPR thread, someone suggested that the path might be through the SD card slot. Some others suspected that it might be certain place(s) at the LCD cover where the sealing had not been made well and might be even less tight than typical non-dust sealed Pentax DSLRs. However, no matter where the loophole actually is located, its existence is for sure for those affected K10D units and there is a path for letting the dust to go inside.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The "Update" is Useless and Helpless - K100D Super

As you may have known, the K100D Super is announced today.

Just looking at the specifications of the K100D "Super" and compare it against the K100D, there are only two changes for the new "super" model: 1. Dust Removal (DR) by shaking the sensor - no difference from the K10D, of which the "system" is useless; 2. Supersonic Driven Motor (SDM) AF support.

Okay, let's look at the first "new" feature. First of all, this can *actually* be implemented simply by a firmware update, very likely. It is because the Shake Reduction (SR) hardware is already there in the K100D, the firmware can always tell the moveable sensor to shake. So, a simple firmware update to include the new software sub-routine for the new (DR) function is just what is needed and is really quick and simple to make. Secondly, the Pentax DR system and design is indeed something that has never worked, which have already been widely reported by numerous different K10D users and again been verified by different reviewers, here and here (in German).

Next, as for the new SDM AF support, the K100D has a position for the power contacts (for supplying power to the SDM) reserved for that. However, it was just that when the K100D was launched suddenly last year (probably in a hurry), the fundamental development of the SDM infrastructure and its specifications had not yet been completed and thus the K100D had not been included for the additional power contacts in the mount/body. So, this support actually should be provided on the day one but it happened that it was not ready yet. However, even the K100D Super now has this, is it really meaningful even for *now* as there is no SDM lenses available so far. Even later on when the two Star DA zooms can really come, who will really buy a top-of-the-line luxury lens and use it on a cheap entry level body, with the price of the lens doubles the price of the body? Yes, one may argue that it is for the future lens lineup and it is planned for the future. But, the K100D Super by itself is of a very old design deep inside and do also think about for such electronics gadgets, shall we buy *for* the future or simply buy *in* the future? :-) Alternatively, we can always buy now, just for those products which have the desired features right now and those are usually products with mature technologies, too.

In fact, Pentax repeats again the same mistake as they did with the DL2 and DS2 models. These models have never really sold and was just a marketing disaster, undoubtedly. But I do feel for their faced difficulties and situation, that is, with their limited ability and resources, it is very difficult for them to build a brand new body from scratch, especially in short time frame and and in a fast pace of renewal and replacement, considering that huge money and investment are involved and required for those new developments of new DSLRs.

Nevertheless, I think they should at least make a 10MP entry level this time but not *still* a 6MP one, if they still really want to compete. Pentax should remember entry level DSLRs are targeted for novices and beginners. Just when they go into the shops and discover that a "new model" DSLR is just having less pixels than the current maintstream P&Ses, what will they think? What can the sale persons tell and talk about to persuade them to buy? And, finally, what will the novice customers choose? Anyway, how many K100D Super will hit the shelves of the shops is yet a big question..

Afterall, the update is (almost) useless to the customers or any potential buyers and it can neither help Pentax to succeed, market-wise, I bet.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Un-substantiated Rumours on Upmarket Pentax DSLR

Recently, there have been various rumours and speculations about a new upmarket Pentax DSLR that will come or at least be announced very soon. So, I have started to look at some of the sources to these rumours.

The sources are mainly coming from Chinese websites. Here is one of them:-

http://blog.pixnet.net/mydcmag/post/5422351

(Blog page in Traditional Chinese, Use BabelFish to translate if needed)

As we can see all the speculations are starting from a Pentax applied patent of a new LiveView device, which is, to put it simple, is just an overlaid LCD with an EL backlight on the focusing screen, so that the user can view the LiveView image through the optical viewfinder. This page of the patent document mentions this clearly (Component items numbered 25, 26 and 27 refer). Besides this concept, which is the only thing presented, I actually cannot see any of the new feature of the LiveView function of Pentax, of which it is only mentioned about it will use the imager (CCD or not) to pick up the LiveView image.

While people have been imagining more and more about a new higher class Pentax DSLR model above the K10D further and further by looking at this patent document and imagined about the "new powerful features", I can see nothing at all after reading through the whole document. Anyway, if you can *really* see something, please let us know! :-)

Besides those Chinese websites (mainly from the mainland China) talk about new model names of K20D, K150D and K200D etc. which IMHO are most probably pure un-substantiated speculations (which I think I shall not quote them anymore, as they are numerous and quite some people have already quoted these, e.g., at DPR Pentax forum and etc.), the most funny one must be this one, which actually just makes me LOL :-D !

http://article.pchome.net/content-384188-3.html

(Page in Simplified Chinese, again, use BabelFish if needed)

If you read on the article, could you know actually which "super model" of this "upcoming" Pentax DSLR is? . . Ummm, it's just an *ist D! Since I have owned and used the model so much and for so long, I know it for the first glance! If you still want to compare, download this.

The DSLR diagrams used in the new LiveView patent application are just all from the *ist D. So, now the case is very simple, there is no super model of any kind as imagined by quite some people.

Besides, for people who just see a new patent applied and then associate this to a new model, such kind of speculations is again something cannot be substantiated. In fact, I can't see there is any relation between the two. Just for example, Pentax had filed a patent for dust removal system by air-suction principle long ago, have we seen any Pentax product has this? (For more details, read my previous Blog entry: A Shootout between Dust Removal Systems)

To me, I don't need any new and further bells and whistles for the upcoming Pentax DSLR(s), what I truly want to see is that Pentax to catch up in the game with an acceptable and improved metering & exposure system (the one used in the K cameras is inaccurate, unreliable and outdated), an intelligent image processor (which should handle tone curve, brightness and contrast etc. better) and an accurate and responsive AF system (at least not to be affected by tungsten light and not to hunt so much in low light! And, continuous AF tracking ability of the K cameras is pathetic), which they are still far lagging behind and the K cameras are by no means anything good to acceptable comparatively, say, when compared to a true up-market DSLR body like the Canon EOS 5D which is undoubtedly far superior in every aspect I have mentioned. Since I have owned the 5D for more than two weeks now and have already shot hundreds of photos under various different conditions, including adverse ones, I can see the obvious *huge* differences in all these important true performance aspects of a DSLR, very clearly and without any doubt.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Two Official Sample Photos of the Two DA* Zooms Have Been Out

See below (warning: original jpeg photos, large in file size):-

http://www.digital.pentax.co.jp/ja/35mm/k10d/image/ex_07.jpg

http://www.digital.pentax.co.jp/ja/35mm/k10d/image/ex_08.jpg

My observation and opinion is simply that the taste and style of the image rendition of these two images is in-line with the previous published photos by Ned Bunnell and very similar to the Tokina's sister models. So, again, I am disappointed (but indeed it is not out of expected). Particularly, the cool and somehow "incorrect" colours and the non-smooth bokeh are the two utmost things which I don't like.

Previous Related Articles:-

Unfavourable Colour Response of Quite Some Recent Pentax Lenses

Scary Tokina 16-50/2.8 Official Sample Photos

Finally, It is Done.

Hoya and Pentax have just made an "official" "joint statement", finally, to announce and confirm the virtually immediate sold-out of Pentax to Hoya that will take place as soon as possible. In fact, this move has already been widely reported by financial medias and presses recently and is thus well expected by the public.

The somehow odd thing is that whilst the announced statement has been dispatched via 3rd party internet websites, it cannot be seen that any of the official Pentax websites has this "press release" published, including (the company news section of) the Pentax Japanese home site, neither.

Previous Report:- Pentax Re-Considers to Accept Takeover by Hoya

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