Sunday, November 25, 2007

RiceHigh's Pentax Blog - One Year

One year ago, I created my this blog. Over these 365 days, there are over 60,000 distinct visiting sessions to my blog site, which is somehow quite to my surprise, although it might be just a small or neglectible figure when compared to true large photo sites on the net.

Also to my own surprise, I have already written 75 articles so far, which have been read by many people over the world. In fact, I have spent quite some valuable time of my life in preparing and writing those articles of mine, and for responding to comments as posted in my blog as well as to the emails which I have received in asking my advice and seeking my opinions.

In fact, owing to the super busy nature of my life (my family, my works, my friends, my hobbies and so on - no difference from many others), I once have thought about to abort. However, for all the encouragements I have received during this year, including for those in the "comments" section and those via private emails, surprisingly more numerous in number, I think I shall continue my works whenever it is possible for me and I have the time. I think (although not dare to make a promise or commitment here) I shall continue to give advice and replies to those who send me emails and ask me their questions.

Nevertheless, there are some hostile responses from time to time at my blog with some people got it very personal as you can see from the posts, maybe by some particular persons more than different ones. Whilst I just opted to keep ignoring most of those but not deleting even one of them, I hope in the future those people can grow up and be more human in the future so that more sensible and peaceful discussions can be made.

There is a Chinese idiom saying that "The Truth can be found out through the course of Debating". I do firmly believe in this wisdom as it should always be true. Of course, I do also believe that my site is actually really useful and helpful not only to existing Pentax users and potential Pentax buyers, but also to Pentax, as the manufacturer themselves, as well, whom they should do similar tasks as I do, but in more systematic ways and should be more extensively.

Finally, now that it has been widely rumoured that the K10D and the K100D/Super will be replaced very soon as new replacement models will come / be announced in fall January 2008 next year. Let's wait and see what will happen and see if real improvements will come and how well Pentax/Hoya will do the job in getting rid of those various commonly reported problems and design weaknesses of their existing K cameras. So, my last words here are: Good Luck to Pentax and Good Luck to all of us, we Pentaxians!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pentax Admits The "Tilted Viewfinder" Problem, Finally.

Here is the latest announcement made by Pentax Trading (Shanghai) Ltd., at a large Chinese digital photography site as below:-

http://news.fengniao.com/71/715791.html
(The announcement is in Simplified Chinese, use Babelfish to translate if needed.)

The most important message contained in the announcement is that: "For those K10D users who have experienced the problem, Pentax will offer free checking and adjustment services, plus an extension of the warranty for another one year."

In fact, this offer has not come for no reason. It is actually the true value of the internet where the Chinese users have reported the same problem with various different real or test pictures posted and sharing of what Pentax at China has been responding for months, already, e.g., Pentax has been denying the problem and saying that the "errors are within tolerance" as usual and etc. Here is a recent example (with tilted pictures posted) and for the story the user experienced he shares:-

http://digi.tech.qq.com/a/20071101/000176.htm
(Again, the post is in Simplified Chinese, use Babelfish to translate if needed.)

Putting aside this problem which the users in the mainland China have been reporting, if one do a search at the DPR Pentax SLR forum, uncountable returns can be found, especially when the K10D was a new product. (By the way, I hope if you do the search, you are lucky enough for not getting the "Search is "temporarily" not available" error message again for what the search engine is often down! :-))

Nonetheless, below are just two more recent reports as posted by another two K10D users, at the PentaxForums.com:-

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/11857-leaning-viewfinder-k10d.html

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/4346-k10d-image-consistently-rotated.html

Well, my experiences and opinions on the case? What I found with my own *ist D, DS units and my K100D as well as the DL and the K10D which I have used is that penta-mirror Pentax DSLRs are more accurate in viewfinder's levelling alignment than those penta-prism Pentax DSLRs. Yet, it maybe a coincidence, but I did have owned and used at least 3 units of the *ist D and 3 units of the DS - no big difference actually and they all had some degrees of levelling errors than my current K100D does, which is perfect IMHO in that aspect. So, what are the possible technical reasons behind for the issue? There are at least three suspected ones below, which are quite possible:-

1. All penta-prism Pentax DSLRs, namely, the *ist D, DS and the K10D all have looser viewfinder framing which mean that the users can still move somehow for their eyesight within the black framing of the viewfinder image without cutting any part of the projected image significantly as seen. The penta-prism will cause more tilting in the projected images under such circumstance, for what I can see;

2. The second reason is quite related to the "loose viewfinder framing", which will again cause even more troubles where there is another culprit: It is the mis-alignment of the red focus indicator(s) which normally people tend to look in a way to see the red indicator as aligned symmetrically against the focusing bracket mark. But with the misalignment of the illuminated red indicator(s), as projected, *plus* a loose viewfinder framing, actually the user is NOT looking through the viewfinder correctly through the central optical axis of the viewfinder, optically, which will again cause a tilted image as recorded more easily, as a result.

3. The last reason is indeed trivial, and it should be the first one actually, if existent, that is, the viewfinder is simply misaligned, against the levelling position of the CCD or vice versa, i.e., the CCD has levelling problem, when it was installed!

Anyway, I yet again hope Pentax could improve their design, especially for their penta-prism DSLRs and I hope the next Pentax penta-prism DSLR should have a more tight framing border and Pentax should re-design a better way of the selected focus point indication, without shifting of the indication marks in different ways and patterns which can be quite different from body to body. Of course, it is always highly desirable for them to make better alignments and tighten the QC at their factory, too, as always I (and should be all Pentax customers) wish.

Update (Nov. 25): There is a very interesting quick but nice measurbation carried out by a K10D user who faced the tilted viewfinder problem and have got his unit adjusted by Pentax. His post is in fact self-explanatory and here it is:-

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/11857-leaning-viewfinder-k10d-6.html#post123499

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