Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mysterious Firmware Revision Publication Changes for the K-r (and New K-5 Firmware Released)

Since the launch of K-r and K-5, it has been widely reported that this latest SAFOX IX/+ AF system of Pentax is really problematic in AF accuracy under indoor environments and particularly with tungsten lighting.

It is even found that the AF accuracy of the K-5 deteriorates sharply for a moderate lighting level at EV8 (which is not really quite dark actually) as measurbated by someone. As for the K-r, previously Pentax mysteriously withdrew the new 1.01 firmware from their Japanese global support page, which was not by accident, but intentionally.

Pentax Germany even admitted before that the K-r has the front focusing issue under lower/tungsten light and committed that a new K-r firmware would be released. However, a month has elapsed now and we only see today a new version of the K-5 firmware is released at the Pentax.jp English global support page:-

http://www.pentax.jp/english/support/digital/k-5_s.html

"Changes to V1.03

  • Improved the accuracy of auto focus in low-intensity light condition.
  • Improved stability for general performance."
I hope Pentax can really make it this time but not just made a wild claim but users still find that it doesn't work at all, e.g., their SAFOX + system *should* work under tungsten lighting. And, as a K-r user, I hope even more for them to update the K-r firmware soonest IF their new software algorithms could really cure the problem!

As for mysterious K-r disappearance case, after weeks, the K-r 1.01 firmware has been re-uploaded and re-published at the Pentax global support page again. I quickly downloaded it and re-installed the "latest" in my K-r to see if there is any hidden improvement. What I first did was to check about the actual and exact firmware version. Below is what I learnt with the PhotoME:-

Original shipped K-r firmware:

Last mysteriously withdrawn K-r firmware:

Latest re-uploaded K-r firmware:

So, Pentax guys at their HQs actually put a previous version of the firmware for the K-r but not a newer one, which is just very head scratching plus disappointing afterall! >:-( I have made a quick check about the indoor AF accuracy with the "latest" firmware 1.01.20.08, though. See the pair of test shots below:-


(AF Fine Adjustment Disabled)

Centre Crop:


(AF Fine Adjustment Enabled and at the Maximum Value of -10)

Centre Crop:

Lens used is a DA 16-45 at 45mm and f/4, focused at an object at about 1m away, the DoF is not that shallow actually. Central AF point was used, AF-Single mode; No re-composition of the frame.

Still, as you can see, the problem is the same and it is persistent. The camera Front Focused in indoor tungsten environment. An adjustment value of -10 will make it (as usually) and a sharp picture could be obtained.


Related:-

Two Yet Unresolved Major Issues of the K-5

Magnified AF Errors of the SAFOX IX than the SAFOX VIII !?

SAFOX IX Tungsten/Yellow Light Front Focus Issue Fully Investigated

Ten Reasons for Thinking Twice before Decided on a K-5..

K-r AF Point (Mode) Selection Firmware Bug

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