Web Analytics RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: February 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Using "Servo" Mode of Metz Flashes on Pentax DSLRs - A Practical Guide

See this well-written and useful guide:-


P.S. 1: The offered features and operations are applicable to the latest Metz firmware update and versions for Metz Pentax flashes dated Feb. 16.

P.S. 2: "Servo" flash mode of the Metz is actually the Slave flash mode as it is normally called and referred to. This is just a Metz specific term, I think.

Faulty SR Module that Causes the Double-image Image Blur..

(Source: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=35006262; Picture taken at 32.5mm, 1/80th of a second, i.e., a speed well above the safe shutter value.)

See what the user writes about his recent experience and then the discussions followed:-



But do also note that the built-in speaker of his camera was broken (by Pentax) after the repair, anyway! :-o

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hardware Adjust a Pentax DSLR for the AF

(in Chinese, Google-translated English Page Here)

Two major steps to correct the AF errors caused by the mis-alignment of the AF module:

1. Dismantle the bottom cover of the body:-

2. Locate the screw "C" and do the adjust!

Turn anti-clockwise to correct front focusing and vice versa. The OP of the thread writes that he made a turn of about 60 degrees to correct the back focusing of his body. (Remarks: The "A" and "B" screws are for the levelling of the AF detection module, as told.)

Task Completed!

Its just so easy! Whilst the QC and alignments of the Pentax DSLRs could often suck (plus those so-so or even could be non-existent after-sales service and support), those Pentax DSLRs are so "user"-serviceable! Nice~! ;-D

To get the best out of your Pentax DSLRs (especially those old ones which have been out of the warranty for long), its time to self-serve yourself and start DIY! But do remember, do anything at your own risk! Please bear this in mind, folks! :-)

N.B. For formal servicing information, do download and read the full instructions and illustrations from some of those Pentax DSLR service manuals, here.

Update: A K10D user reports that he succeeded in focus adjusted his K10D with the above method.


Live View & AF Methods Fully Dissected

DIY Reminder: Pentax Service Manuals @ the Pentax-Hack(.Info)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Firmware Updates for Metz Pentax Flashes

48 AF-1 (Version 3.0; 16.2.2011): http://www.metz.de/en/photo-electronics/firmware-download-flash-units/mecablitz-48-af-1-digital/pentax.html

50 AF-1 (Version 2.0; 16.2.2011): http://www.metz.de/en/photo-electronics/firmware-download-flash-units/mecablitz-50-af-1-digital/pentax.html

58 AF-1 (Version 3.0; 16.2.2011): http://www.metz.de/en/photo-electronics/firmware-download-flash-units/mecablitz-58-af-1-digital/pentax.html

58 AF-2 (Version 2.0; 16.2.2011): http://www.metz.de/en/photo-electronics/firmware-download-flash-units/mecablitz-58-af-2-digital/pentax.html


1. Servo mode with preflash suppression possible.

2. EV correction remains after power off/on.

3. Rear function with Pentax K-r and K-5.

As I think now many DSLR Pentaxians are using the Metz (instead of the really dated Pentax 360 and 540), the Feb 16 firmware updates by Metz is really a good news! Well done, Metz!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

When the Electronic Level Meter is Not Accurate by Itself..


See what some K-5 and K-7 users found and then complain in the thread. When the electronic levels in their cameras are not accurate, what can they do? Like the following? (All quoted from the posts in the above thread..)

1. Rely solely on the viewfinder:

"We observe on the two K-5s that the viewfinder electronic level is not accurate. We both did a controlled test against a known level object with both cameras. They both yield somewhat crooked images when the level through the viewfinder indicates spot on level."

2. Human adapt to the ELM's error:

"When the level indication is ignored, a perfectly level image can be obtained. But the electronic levels on the two cameras show not level by one bar either side of center."

3. The sensor may be tilted, use software to adjust it..

"The confusing part is that either the viewfinder or the CMOS, or both can be tilted. If that's the case, the digital level may not be the source of problem. Software adjusting the digital level will be the fastest solution though."

Would the image quality suffers a bit for this originally unnecessary processing then? :-(

4. Use an external traditional hotshoe-type bubble level:

"Better double check with bubble level"!

Yet once again the Pentax "excellent" QC strikes! Damn it! >:-[

Well, what is the use of an electronic level meter if it is just not accurate enough and could not be relied on?! :-o

DIY Reminder: Pentax Service Manuals @ the Pentax-Hack(.Info)

For those who just wants to give it a try on your old cameras and models! :-)

(Click to Download)

K10D Full Service Manual:-
(Click to Download)

Service Manuals of *ist D, DS, DL, DL2, K100D and K100D Super (and a Brief Supplement for the K110D):-


Happy camera repairing/modding/hacking or whatsoever, no matter what! ;-D

Anyway, unfortunately, the Pentax-Hack does not update any new (hacking) information for newer Pentax DSLR models anymore, neither on the hardware disassembly/repair/adjustment/calibration nor about software/firmware hacks and tricks! Too bad.. :-( Maybe the source of theirs was fired already? :-o

Warning and Disclaimer: Do anything at your own risk and bear all the responsibilities and consequences by yourself!!

3rd Party Square: Tokina m43 New Lens with Full Pentax Design & Patent!



The Patent Post:
http://egami.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2010-06-18 (English Here (machine-translated))

Oh, well.. Pentax now becomes the ODM (not just OEM, or Tokina to be the OEM, anyway) for the 3rd party lens maker Tokina?! The square of 3 is 9? i.e., 3^2=9! Right? :-o ;-p

The good thing is that Hoya will earn more money with the sales of more Tokina m43 lenses (if it can). And now Pana and Oly m43 users can enjoy new lenses with Pentax design underneath actually. But when an once 1st line lens and camera maker now becomes the 3rd party behind a 3rd-place 3rd-party lens maker, this is really something that hurts much the sentiments of the long-time fans and supporters of the brand, which is really rather sad.. :-(

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Will Never Buy a New DSLR or Any Gear IF..

I see the following sayings at different forums everyday and everywhere on the Net and brand regardless, mostly related to the "purchase" of DSLR bodies but could also for lenses. The mentality and flow etc. are more or less like this:-

- The new model XX is now way too expensive and I shall wait for a (significant) price drop to at least $XXX before I would consider to buy;

- The new model XX is now too buggy and I shall wait for things to settle before I act;

- The model XX has now been marketed for a while now (but then the price has already come down somehow), it has the shortcomings of X, Y, Z and etc., so I would rather wait for the next upcoming model;

- The model XX is now too old (say, it has been there for a year now) and I would not consider to buy such an old model now!

- There have been rumours that the next new model is coming and I shall wait to see what it will be;

- The next model finally arrives but then people have started to complain it is "too expensive" and/or way too buggy and "featureless"! ;-D

- The loop continues and it will never end!! :-o

So, could those people, which are not less in number indeed, buy a new gear of theirs at the end of the days? (not the day!) WHEN Will they ACT?? >:-[ ;->

Read Also:-

Summary of Reactions to Popular Online DSLR Reviews

Design and Construction of the DA14/2.8 - Leitz Lens Patent, Schott Glass (Not Hoya's)..

Someone at the DCHome.net has discovered that the Pentax DA14/2.8 lens (designed by: Mr. Hirakawa, Jun / 平川 纯) is adopting a Leitz LAK9 lens (element) patent and actually using Schott glass material, but not Hoya's own:-

(Source: http://pentaxstudy.bufsiz.jp/Lensdesign/DA14/DA14_Design.htm)

Quite Interesting.. :-)

Further Technical References:-

Schott LAK9 General Technical Information

Schott LAK9 Refractive Indices and Spectra Response


The Very Different Fates of Two ex-AOC Top Optical Engineers

Article Update Notice: Compatibility of DA Lenses on Full Frame

Compatibility List of DA Lenses on Full Frame

Updated on February 16, 2011 - Sample shots added for the DA14, DA*16-50, DA*200 and DA*300.

Blog Trailer:
I've planned to do tests for the DAL 35/2.4 and the DA 70/2.4 on Full Frame and hopefully would post the results as soon as possible once the tests are done.

Monday, February 14, 2011

K-r Firmware 1.01 Mysteriously Pulled Away from Pentax' Official Support Page! :-o

It is not there anymore! The K-r firmware version 1.01 has been pull away secretly and silently by Pentax at their Japan support homepage for international users. But there is yet another new firmware update nor any kind of notice overthere! See the page screen capture below:-

So, what has happened? What's going on?? Did Pentax/Hoya actually read this Blog and suddenly discovered that something have gone very wrong with the latest firmware? ;->

Even if this is really the case, should they tell us?! (..at least something, I think, before they acted! >:-|)

Acknowledgement: My thanks to Blog reader "Lurker" for notifying me about this incident.

DCRP K-r Review (c/w ISO Measurbations and Full Samples)


Have a look! This review is good enough, I think.

But nevertheless, before you're (to be) decided, just beware of all those technical (design and quality) issues that K-r might have. To see some of those (widely) reported cases, my Blog is always a good place to search, I really want to say! ;-)


Updating to the Latest Pentax DSLR Firmware Messed Up the AF & Accuracy! :-o

See this post and the included illustrations:-


Every pair of the comparison shots are showing the same and the issue is verified, that is, the shots are all OOF with the new firmware (v1.02) AFTER the firmware update! How evil the new and latest firmware "update" from Pentax could be! >:-[

Lucky me that I haven't updated the firmware of my K-x, it is still of version 1.01! (One of the reasons is that the new version might lock the old access method to the Debug mode which I need.)

P.S. I've checked the detailed EXIF data of the posted pics, the poster made no error and the firmware versions are all correct! :-( (Otherwise, this is really hard to believe! :-o)


Firmware Updates for K-x and K-7

How to Get Back to an Older Version of the Firmware?

Nikon Filed a Movable Half-mirror SLR Patent, is there Any Point?



Canon made a half mirror called "pellicle". Sony made a half mirror and called it "translucent". Whilst both are fixed, Nikon have thought about to make it movable!

So, what is the point? I just wonder.. When the mirror can be moved, it does not need to be semi-transparent. When it is semi-transparent, it does not necessary to be moving. Why tries to make both at the same time? To get the best of both worlds or maybe actually, just to get the worse things of both?? (Just read the last comparison table in the above link to find out more..)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pentax Germany Admitted the SAFOX IX Front Focusing Problem


See the Google translation of the formal reply, as below:-

"Dear .....,

Thank you for your inquiry.

The focus problem you describe is well known. We are currently working flat out on a software-side solution to the problem. Once an update is available for this issue, we will publish it on our website. We ask you to be patient.

We hope to have been helpful with our response.

Please do not hesitate to contact us again with any questions.

M. ....

Pentax Camera Support Team

So, two weeks have passed and could Pentax HQs/Hoya really put out a *software* solution to a very possibly *hardware* issue that caused by a latent design defect (as a result of cutting corners too much!)? I really doubt much about it! >:-o


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

SAFOX IX Tungsten/Yellow Light Front Focus Issue Fully Investigated

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

Further to my last test to confirm the significant and consistent Front Focusing of the K-r/SAFOX IX under Yellow Light, I decided to check further about the focusing in/accuracy of the SAFOX IX when compared with the latest SAFOX VIII used in the K-x, side-by-side and head-to-head, at the same time, under identical testing conditions, with the same lens (at the same focal) and at the same aperture.

The test was carried out with PMAF (Phase-Matching AF) and CDAF (Contrast-Detection AF) under LiveView mode for both the K-r and the K-x and the amount of Back-Fronting or Front Focusing, if any, is observed. The same test methodology and a similar setup was used, which has been briefed here before. The following illustrations are included for the current test setup and camera settings etc:-

The lens used is a DA 16-45 fixed at 35mm and a f/4 aperture.

The results are tabulated results as follows:-

Camera / AF Method
(Click to Enlarge; EXIF preserved.)
Lens Distance Scale
K-r / PMAF

Obvious Back Focusing
K-r / CDAF (LiveView)

Accurate Focus
K-x / PMAFSlight Back Focusing
K-x / CDAF (LiveView)Accurate Focus

As it can be seen from the above, it is easy to note that back focusing is obvious when PMAF is used for the K-r but with CDAF in LV mode, the AF is dead accurate. The difference in the measured distances is quite significant, also. However, the most annoying thing is that whilst K-x do show similar back focusing tendency under the same testing conditions, the order of magnitude and the impact is comparatively less and the final result is considerably more acceptable, as the error is less.

Also, I recall last time when the 43 Limited was used, the K-r front focusing more than the K-x under "yellow" condition. Now the K-r just back focusing more than the K-x in this test with another lens. So?

The safe conclusion that can be drawn again is that the AF errors of the SAFOX IX system is clearly (far) larger than that of the SAFOX VIII, at least if it is to be compared to the one used in the K-x. It seems that any AF error, no matter what it is and what caused it, is magnified with the SAFOX IX! Damn! >:-[

Last Test:-

SAFOX IX Tungsten/Yellow Light Front Focus Issue Fully Investigated

Friday, February 11, 2011

(Useless) Pentax Interview at CP+

There has been not a single Pentax interview at the CP+ published so far. Today, I've seen one, finally:-

(in Spanish, Google translation in English here)

But what has that Hoya senior official told us after all? I'm afraid there is None! >:-( Do you think that we could get any new and meaning information from all those lengthy sentences presented than what the world can simply see at the Pentax CP+ booth?

Is that just a case of "no news is good news" at the end of the day? :-o Nope, unfortunately! :-(

All in all, what Pentax has given us for this CP+? An Optio W90 replacement, a messy re-painted K-r, a re-painted K-5 c/w 3 re-painted DA Limiteds plus a new (US)$4,999 wide angle lens for the 645D?? So What then!? What have we typical Pentax users gained and will enjoy?! >:-[

SDM is now Called "Saddam"! :-o

Pentax users at the Chinese Xitek forum often write that the SDM as something that is all evil (since it is so infamous for premature failure). See the heading of this recent thread, for example:-

(Google translated English Page Here)

The really interesting thing is that the first replier simply writes "Saddam" for the SDM! Wow, good imagination and creativity which is yet very exact, for both the representation and meaning, pronunciation and the spelling! :-o ;-D

Nice done, guy! :-)

Nevertheless, if you're new to Pentax and do not know much about how evil the Pentax SDM (and Pentax herself as well on this *real* issue) could be, just search yourself for something like this at my blog, for example.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Pentax @ CP+


Read also this:-


Gallery with large photos:-


K-5 Mirror Slap Blur Issue


Have a look at the above test. The test is clearly described and the results are self-explanatory. See:-

So, it can be quite safely concluded from the above that the mirror slap is an issue for the K-5 and it causes obvious blur in the final images, especially when a longer focal length is used. And, against what Pentax camera operation manuals always advise for turning off the SR when mounting the camera on a tripod, turning on the SR could reduce the effect somehow, but however the problem and the adverse effect is still not totally eliminated, unless the mirror is locked up.

Do note that it is the mirror slap that causes blur but not the shutter vibration, otherwise even locking up the mirror cannot help.

All in all, the K-5 has a higher pixel count for an APS-C DSLR, but without a more accurate focusing system and a more gentle mirror slap that cause less vibration, most of the effective resolution of the sensor is actually wasted and the image quality suffers. And, if the higher fps is the cause of all those mirror slap problems for the latest Pentax DSLRs (i.e., K-7, K-x, K-5 and K-r), I would rather have a 3 fps rate in the old days for all those Pentax digital bodies! >:-[

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Re-align the Metering Sensor/Cell of a Pentax DSLR! :-o

See what our old and knowledgeable (ex-?)Pentaxian Alan Chan did before to his Pentax DSLR body!

(A Quick Tutorial with Explanations)

Really Amazing! Excellent camera hacking and nicely done correction job!! Bravo, Alan!

Pentax Optio WG-1 / GPS

Full Announcement and Specs.:-

It is a shock proof and a dust proof camera. It seals dust from both outside and inside! ;-)

D-FA 645 25mm F4 AW (SDM) Lens Announced

The last reported PhotoRumors leak is true, the new 645D wide angle lens is announced:-


Main Specifications
マウント Mount ペンタックス645A F2マウント 645A F2 Pentax Mount
レンズ構成 Lens 8群12枚 8 groups, 12
画角 Angle of view 95°(645D装着時。中判フィルム一眼レフ装着時は109°) 95 ° (645D when seated. When installing medium-format SLR film is 109 °)
絞り羽根枚数 Number of diaphragm blades 9枚(開放~F8:円形絞り) 9 (Open ~ F8: circular aperture)
最小絞り Minimum aperture F32 F32
最短撮影距離 Minimum focusing distance 0.4m 0.4m
フィルター径 Filter size 40.5mm(レンズ前面には装着不可、同梱の専用フィルターのみ本体内蔵のフィルター取り付け枠に装着して使用可能) 40.5mm (in front of the lens is not attached, and available built-in filter attachment frame attached to the body only in special filter included)
フード Hood 組み込み Embedded
最大撮影倍率 Maximum magnification 0.11倍 0.11 times
大きさ、重さ The size, weight 90.0mm(最大径)×140.0mm(長さ)、約1070g(レンズ本体) 90.0mm (diameter) × 140.0mm (length) of about 1070g (lens)

Whilst it is stated in the above Japanese page that the price for this lens would be "opened", the AP(UK) has reported that it will be sold at £3799.99 and the on sales date will be April 21:-


What an expensive lens it really is! :-o

Silver K-5 and DA Limited Lenses Announced

The last reported Xitek rumour is true and my guess was right, the K-5 Silver is there, announced on 2-8 today:-

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/news/2011/201102.html (in Japanese)


Btw, I am not impressed with the colour printing and combination of the "new" lenses. They just like B&W photos with the orange colour extracted for the central line mark. Now even the "Limited" word becomes colourless. Too bad..

Update: You can now pre-order those Silver DA Limited lenses online at the PentaxWebstore of Pentax Imaging (USA):-


The listed prices of the DA 21, 40 and 70 Limited Silver are (US)$649.95, $499.95 and $699.95, respectively.

Update (2-9): The Limited Silver K-5 and DA Pancakes are now on display at the CP+:-

Source: http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/img/dcw/docs/425/820/html/012.jpg.html

Read Also:-

K-r Gold/Brown Limited Pentax Lens Matching

Monday, February 07, 2011

Canon Announced EOS 600D (Rebel T3i) and 1100D (Rebel T3)

The previous spread rumours on the net are true. The 600D (Rebel T3i) and 1100D (Rebel T3) are there!


(See the DPR hands-on preview here)


(See the DPR hands-on preview here)

So, Canon strikes back again. This DSLR market and competition is really fierce! :-|

In order to compete, I am sure that Pentax/Hoya needs to make more colourful DSLRs in order to survive, just like the following stuff that has just been announced (locally at Japan) or to be announced (very soon, worldwide):-

But then this time Canon is also playing with colours, so? :-o

Source: http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/review/pview/20110208_424678.html

Official: http://cweb.canon.jp/camera/eosd/kissx50/face-design.html

Last Related:-

CP+ is Coming, Any Predictions/Rumours?

Summary of Reactions to Popular Online DSLR Reviews


A quick roundup :
  • First there will be the thread, even before anyone has read through the review, that says nothing else than "Hey, the review is online" : if everyone that wants to say that, does it in one thread, we will save a rainforest of identical threads.

  • Then there is the thread for those that actually read through the review and want to indicate small factual errors to the reviewers.

  • Then there is the thread for those that want to applaud DPR for a fair review.

  • Then there is the thread for those that want tot accuse DPR of bias.

  • A subthread can be started for the conspiracy-theories.

  • Then there is the thread for those questioning DPR's methodology in testing (subthreads for focus speed, focus accuracy, ISO pixel peeping etc).

  • Then there is the thread for those who want to complain about which cameras should be included in or excluded from comparative tests.

  • Then there is the thread for those that want to go into detail about Awards being awarded or not awarded (just).

  • Then there is the thread for those who want to debate whether the Pros from the conclusion sheet are really Pros, or whether the Cons are really Cons (including comparisons with other reviews, where the same item was listed otherwise).

  • Then there is the thread for those who want to excerpt a small snippet of the review (either a positive or a negative remark) and pull it out of context.

  • Then there is the thread for those who feel reinforced in their decision to buy an E-5 (of for having already done so).

  • Then there is the thread for those who feel reinforced in their decision to wait for a price drop.

  • Then there is the thread for those who feel reinforced in their decision not to buy an E5.

  • Then there is the thread for those who state that one should never look at a camera on its own, but at the whole system it is part of.

  • Then there is the thread for those who say the review of the individual camera is pointless because the system as a whole is dying/dead.

  • Then there is the thread for those who want to say they don't care.

  • And finally a thread for those who say that a picture says more than a thousand words.

Really Very NICE!~ :-D

Bits and Pieces News/Rumours (Feb. 7th)

1. Yet another new 645D review with bunch of full samples:-


2. The new upcoming DFA 645 25 F4 lens:-


Btw, what are that knob and the dial used for? :-o

3. A K-5 mini-review with small samples:-


Do read the EXIF data that is preserved, you will be surprised! E.g., the low-light shot is at ISO 100 at 6s and stopped down to f/1o! :-o

4. A K-5 Vs D7000 high ISO quick shootout:-


5. Pentax has filed a patent for a "dividable" telephoto lens (into two pieces):-


6. Hollow rumours about a Pentax Full Frame this fall and a budget/cutdown version of the 645D (via 1001 Noisy Cameras).

7. The world's ugliest camera!:-


I have to agree, this is the ugliest camera we mankind have ever had! :-( It is just a hacked camera that is built up by different bits and pieces, of different random colours! >:-|

8. Nanoblock/Lego etc. is not the unique thing of Pentax. Now someone has made a Lego OVF for the NEX!:-


So, no need for the OEM made finder and accessory? ;-)