Wednesday, June 18, 2008

K20D Firmware 1.01 Incompatibility

As we all know, Pentax has released the firmware version 1.01 for the K20D in order to "minimize the noise when taking picture with 2 seconds self-timer mode", which actually has been well known as the hot pixels issue of the K20D recently.

Whilst the effectiveness of this firmware update is still needed to be verified by most end-users, it has already been reported by various different K20D users at different Pentax forums that the 1.01 PEF file is not compatible with various RAW convertors, namely, Aperture, iPhoto, Phase One, Bible and etc. Here is an example thread for those reports:-

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/30136-k20d-1-01-firmware-update-broke-iphoto-08-pef-support.html

There has been a totally speculated (but not convincing) explanation for the incompatibility by some people that the incompatibility is simply caused by the different firmware version as stamped in the RAW files. But I think it should not be the case, as most RAW convertors used to identify camera *models*, but NOT also the firmware version. Isn't it just too silly for the RAW convertor to fail to work just because of the camera user has upgraded to a newer version of the firmware, if just in case these software are written to work like this? (but there has no report of similar case ever heard before actually.)

So, the better and more logical explanation is that something have been changed in the PEF content and file format/structure in the firmware 1.01.

Last but not least, it should be noted that it is not told that if the hot pixels issue has been addressed for the 3 second timer mode when using a remote controller nor there is any new re-setting function to initialise the hot pixels table back to the factory setting, in which hot pixels are accumulated more and more by the camera automatically and also by the user manually in a custom function, as found out and reported by a professional reviewer previously (so that the whole frame could be finally ruled out if all the pixels are becoming "hot" enough eventually).

Well, if this incompatibility issue has yet verified further and found out to be true, I am afraid that a firmware version 1.02 has to be coming out soon (but of course it should come out as soon as possible, hopefully).

Update (June 28):

PentaxForums new member Sondek found out and has reported that all the incompatibilities is just caused by a string changed in the Make of the PEF RAW file, see his post below:-

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/30926-downgrading-firmware-k20d.html#post279015

And, I am totally agreed with his comment that it looks somehow rather stupid to cause those troubles to the end-users with the reason of just want to be politically correct and removing the name of "Pentax Corporation" (by taking this chance of firmware update) which looks really utter silly to me as in this case a serious bug was created. What bug else is worse than incompatibility with existing various different commercial software programs?

3 Comments:

What caused the problem said...

apparently SOME software uses make and model to identify a file. Pentax changed "Pentax Corporation" to just "Pentax" in the EXIF 'make" string.
Causes a few problems w/ SOME software. C1 and Bibble are aware of the issue and will fix it. Timeframe unknown.
Anyone needing these programs to work "right now" are encouraged to just use an EXIF editor to change the appropriate field to Pentax corporation.
BTW: The legal entity known as Pentax Corp ceased to exist since March 08 I believe.
Serious bug it is not and I suppose legally it was required or, at least, requested Hoya.
No need for a sensation "bash".
HAS happened before w other cameras.....
quote from Bibble tech support:
it doesn't make sense to do a complete release to fix one problem if you've got others you're working on finishing up. We've had problems with Canons coming back from being repaired with variations in the model names that caused trouble and we're weren't able to immediately release an update. We are working on an update to resolve some open issues that will include a fix for the firmware. I don't have an estimate on the date yet, but I assure you it's as fast as we can do it.
-Colleen
Bibble Labs..............

Anonymous said...

This is more of a problem with the software than it is with the camera. If the software is so poorly written that it requires an exact match of a string of characters, then the developer did not foresee the possibility of it being slightly different. A better approach, especially for 'Brand', but maybe not 'Model' is looking for a substring of characters such as 'pentax' instead of the exact string of 'pentax corporation'. I doubt that you will find any camera *other* than a Pentax that would have that string of characters in its brand name and it would have avoided this and other problems such as this.

RiceHigh said...

Lucky that Hoya have not changed the Make string from "Pentax Corporation" to "Hoya Corporation" then! (but just to "Pentax" by chopping off the word "Corporation" at the end only..)

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