Where to find manuals and firmware updates for cameras and flashes
By PF Staff in Articles and Tips on Mar 20, 2017
For reference, the operating manuals for Pentax cameras and select accessories are available for download on Ricoh Imaging Japan's site:
Pentax User Manual Downloads (PDF)
The page referenced above has camera manuals for all Pentax DSLR models, plus mirrorless, action and compact cameras, as well as select medium format film cameras.
The page also includes user manuals for all recent Pentax flashes, the O-FC1 Flucard, and Image Transmitter software.
The latest firmware for Pentax cameras and lenses as well as for Ricoh GR and GR II is found on this page which also includes updates to various Pentax software such as Image Transmitter and the Digital Camera Utility. PEF format RAW codecs are also available for select operating systems:
What exactly is Star Stream and how does it work?
By PF Staff in Articles and Tips on Mar 15, 2017
Regular star trail photo
Recent Pentax models, including the K-S2, K-1, K-70, and KP, have a new drive mode called Star Stream. It is located on the drive mode page together with interval shooting, but what does it do that regular interval shooting doesn't? We set out to find out.
Before delving into how to set it up let's show the end result of our little test:
This video was automatically generated from 30 individual exposures shot at 30 seconds each, using F4 and ISO 100. Star Stream mode simply makes a movie out of the stills by overlaying them one by one over time. Our example is marred by an airplane that got recorded on two images. As a bonus, though, the airplane track has a gap which illustrates the gap between the two exposures caused by the processing of the image just captured.
Being unsure if we would capture anything at all we just set the camera to record a brief sequence of 30 exposures so that we didn't have to wait too long for the result. The 30 exposures took about 15 minutes. The resulting movie clip thus shows 15 minutes of star movement compressed to about three seconds.
By studying the resulting .avi file we noticed that each captured still image is inserted into three consecutive frames in the movie. The calculated length would be 30 frames times 3 divided by 24 frames per second which gives a length of the movie clip of 3.75 seconds. The actual length is a little bit shorter; it appears that some frames are dropped at the beginning and end.
The exposure time of the stills impacts the speed with which the trails progress over the sky in the movie since each still becomes three frames in a 24 fps movie: The shorter the exposure time the more still images you will get over a given time period. This means that there will be more movie frames to show and therefore the star stream will progress at a slower pace in the movie. For a shorter exposure time you may need to either bump the ISO or use a larger aperture on your lens compared to what we did in our example.
An easy way to enhanced color and contrast
By PF Staff in Articles and Tips on Dec 18, 2016
On a recent trip to Sedona, Arizona, we stopped by a gallery displaying paintings of scenery from the so-called Red Rock area, as the area around Sedona is known as. It was striking how most of the artists exaggerate the colors of the sky and the rock for effect. We thought that perhaps we should try the same with the photos from that day, in particular since the lighting during the shoot was somewhat flat.
After some false starts with Photoshop the Topaz Clarity plug-in came to mind and we thought we'd give it a spin. Here is the end result using one of the Landscape presets in Topaz Clarity:
The photo as we would usually develop it with no use of the plug-in:
The Time-consuming Part
By K David in Articles and Tips on Nov 2, 2016
This article looks at some basic software and editing approaches related to astrophotography, including discussions about and samples of specific photos I've shared over the course of this series. Toward the end you will also find resource links for a number of excellent sources on capture and processing techniques. Note that this article is not an in-depth exploration of niche astrophotography editing techniques. Many other resources, both here on Pentax Forums and elsewhere, cover that well. Also, the niche editing techniques are not generally intended for DSLR users.
K-30 and K-50: does the camera's age play a role?
By PF Staff in Articles and Tips on Oct 9, 2016
A recent increase in forum posts in which Pentax K-30 and K-50 owners reported failure of the aperture control mechanism in their camera prompted us to conduct a survey to gauge the prevalence of this issue.
We e-mailed a survey link to approximately 5000 forum members who reported owning a Pentax K-30, K-50, K-500, K-S1, K-S2, or K-70. The survey was also made available on the forum itself as well as through social media.
Responses were accepted between July and September of 2016; we are now ready to present a summary of our findings.
Cameras affected by the aperture control mechanism failure (a.k.a aperture block failure) are unable to operate the lens aperture stop-down lever and thus unable to adjust the aperture of any K-mount lens, making proper exposure extremely difficult to obtain. Only lenses with a manual aperture diaphragm, such as old M42 lenses, remain usable. The long-term solution to the problem is replacement of the faulty apeture mechanism with a new part, though some users have found clever short-term fixes such as shooting long bursts or changing AA battery types to cycle and reset the mechanism.
See our guide to the evolution of the Pentax K-mount to learn about the aperture control mechanism found on Pentax lenses. Up until the KAF4 mount launched earlier this year, all aperture adjustments were carried out mechanically via the camera body.
We hypothesized that the likelihood of aperture block failure would increase with age rather and shutter count. We also figured that the same issue would apply to the Pentax K-S2, K-S1, and K-500, which share their shutter hardware with the K-50 and K-30. All of these camera models were launched between 2012 and 2015.
For each response, we collected the following data:
- Date of response
- Forum username
- Camera model
- Shutter count
- Purchase date
- Did the aperture mechanism fail?
- Date of failure
- Was it repaired?
- Repair cost
- Additional comments
As users from many different countries responded, we converted all foreign currencies to their current US Dollar equivalents for the purpose of determining average repair cost.