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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:-

(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:-

(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:-



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:-



  1. Care to actually be useful and give us a better translation than:
    Yesterday, the guest resulted in the company to play the family in view of the recent command to compare the attention the K10D list counter- picture to incline the question to send out the statement as follows, the full text:

    Has gone on the market since K10D widely receives the user the attention, discusses the trade in this guest (Shanghai) the limited company to all attention to care about the guest results in the product the user to express the heartfelt gratitude!

    The guest results in the company in line with take the user as this manner, photographs the portrait regarding user continuously nice use K10D to have the question which the level inclines, the guest discusses the trade (Shanghai) the limited company to pledge the user:

    If the user discovered purchases regular PENTAX the K10D camera has this problem, may deliver to the guest discusses the trade authorization post-sale service center, free synthesis test and adjustment.The portrait occurs which in view of the K10D camera inclines the question, may lengthen 1 year warranty period service.

    The guest discusses the trade (Shanghai) the limited company
    Address: The Shanghai Xuhui area initiates the fine creek road 789 precious international squares 23D
    BTW: It's all pretty meaningless. The errors could still be "within tolerance" but they decided to appease the squeaky wheels".
    Pentax is not the only camera company w/ tilted viewfinders...
    Rebel XT sensor off/tilted .5 degrees relative to viewfinder framing

    mark fieldsphoto.net patron, May 15, 2006; 12:47 p.m.

    I have done a carefull study with the viewfinder on my rebel XT. the sensor/viewfinder alignment ia off by .5 degrees. It is not a focus or distortion (barrell/pincushion) issue as I do understand what those are about. I did a carefull tripod test with the bottom of the frame exactly lined up with a sqaure frame and the left bottom is tilted up(the entire frame is roated .5 out of "square". I do understand that the viewfinder shows about 94-95 % of what is actually captured in the file- that is not the issue. Every one of my images- particulalry those that involve angles and straight lines with horizon lines/curbs/windows etc require that I rotate my images in photoshop .5 degrees. It is easily noticeable. has anyone else had this issue and can canon fix it. Could I demand replacement body? It happens that because 5 % of what is in the files was not actually seen in the viewfinder (becuase its not a 100% accurate viewfinder) after I rotate the files .5 (to the left) I do not loose any of what i thought i was getting anyway but its still a hassle.. I just crop off that bit that i loose. Any ideas? I think I'd prefer to have it fixed or get a replacement. Your thoughts/ experience with same? Many thanks.


    Andy Radin, May 15, 2006; 02:19 p.m.

    My Nikon N80 and D70 had the same problem. It's a problem in the viewfinder alignment, not the sensor (or film). Part of what makes a cheaper camera cheap is loose tolerance for things like this. However if you complain and send it back, it'll likely get fixed.

    M Barbuphoto.net patron, May 16, 2006; 12:43 p.m.

    I noticed this with my 20D, though I haven't measured the amount.
    ECT,,,,ECT for all brands....

  2. "It's all pretty meaningless. The errors could still be "within tolerance" but they decided to appease the squeaky wheels"."

    Yes, they could.

    "Pentax is not the only camera company w/ tilted viewfinders..."

    But it seems that there are numerous more reports about the tilted viewfinders of the Pentax K10D than other DSLR models, not even so for the K100D. In view of the relative (much) less number of units sold for the K10D than the Canons and Nikons, the problem would be really worrisome.

  3. RH quote:
    But it seems that there are numerous more reports about the tilted viewfinders of the Pentax K10D than other DSLR models, not even so for the K100D. In view of the relative (much) less number of units sold for the K10D than the Canons and Nikons, the problem would be really worrisome.

    November 27, 2007 11:15 AM..
    I'm sorry, you have NO numbers or facts to base any of that statement on, just your "belief".
    1) Yes Pentax sold far fewer than Nikon or Canon but you have ABSOLUTELY no way of quantifying the number of "tilted viewfinders"
    AND to put a bit more perspective on it
    Thom Hogan stated "> I've yet to see a Nikon viewfinder perfectly aligned (try it
    > without gridlines using the bottom edge of the viewable area as the
    > "guide"; same problem). On one of my cameras it was so frustrating
    > that I finally just created a Photoshop Action and lived with the
    > reduced image size ;~(. The thing that's curious to me is that
    > EVERY Nikon DSLR I've used has the problem in the same direction.
    > You'd think if it were really an alignment problem that some
    > viewfinders would slant left and some right. "
    So are ALL Nikon's mis-aligned?

  4. Ny K100D has the same problem... after rotating hundreds of my picture in Silkypix I found that my VF/CCD is off by 1.5 degree clockwise... however given thereputation of HK dealer I think I am not going to send it to fix until I got my 2nd DSLR... especially I have just pasted my 1 year period :(

  5. I just curious why HQ Pentax in Japan did not recall all K-series back to solved this problem, since there are a lot of K-series user out there including me lives with "Tilted Viewfinder".

    Mine, just sent back to Pentax, Japan to solved the problem. Do you think all K-series can be sent back to Japan only, and only in Japan can solved this?

  6. Anonymous28/5/08 10:43

    I have been completely foxed about this for a year and a half... have been rotating my pictures and going insane trying to figure out what it is.
    I bought my camera in the USA but am now in New Delhi, India. Its been a year and a half and my correspondence with Pentax so far, they have not admitted to the problem or offered free repair.
    Really don't know what to do!

  7. Gosh! How come I didn't find this info when I googled some years back? I thought it was a problem in my old eyes and not in my K10D! I almost gave up using my camera for over a year. And today I was again reminded why I stopped using it - all my images tilt...

    Is there any simple 'do-it-yourself' solution available now? I guess Pentax won't fix my old K10D for free any longer...

  8. I am afraid that you can't fix it yourself in all means. In fact, it was reported by many users years ago that even Pentax failed to fix this problem and eventually they got replacement units from Pentax. Search this Blog or Google it again may give you some of the relevant results.

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