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01-09-2013, 02:38 PM   #1
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K30 Sensor Malfunction

It was with a heavy heart that I had to send my K30 back to B&H today. It all started this morning, when I pulled out the K30 to see how ISO 12800 looked. The camera had last been used 2 days ago, when I had taken a video. I turned on the camera, changed the setting from movie to Av and set the ISO to 12800. I snapped a photo in my kitchen, a room where I've literally taken thousands of photos with my K200D.

The first photo I took had a dark shadow over the top quarter of the frame. I thought maybe my eyes were deceiving me, so I took a few more. The shadowed band changed positions but was still there. I dropped the ISO to 6400, then 1600. Still there. I forced myself not to panic and tried the card in my K200D. Those photos looked perfect - no banding, no shadows. I'd put off installing the new firmware for the K30, but I tried that next and snapped a few after it had updated. The shadows were still there - not in every shot, not in the same place, but ruining every shot they were in.

I would have loved to have tested it more to see what the issue was, but there was no way I was keeping that body. I'm moving in two weeks, so I'm cutting it close to get a new body from B&H by then. Rest assured that I'll be testing the next one thoroughly upon arrival. It was a shame, though, as it appears to be in every other way a stellar camera.

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01-09-2013, 02:42 PM - 1 Like   #2
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All of these are shot faster than 1/1000... I hope you don't have fluorescent lighting. If so, the cause may have been the lights.
01-09-2013, 02:47 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aegon Quote
All of these are shot faster than 1/1000... I hope you don't have fluorescent lighting. If so, the cause may have been the lights.
I assume this too since the shadows are not in the same place and cos I assume he used a lower iso on the k200d
01-09-2013, 02:55 PM   #4
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Actually I used the same ISO on the K200D with no shadows (ISO 1600, specifically). I have more shots that are under 1/1000th of a second that also have the shadows (featuring my daughter, which is why I didn't post them).

01-09-2013, 02:57 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by K McCall Quote
Actually I used the same ISO on the K200D with no shadows (ISO 1600, specifically). I have more shots that are under 1/1000th of a second that also have the shadows (featuring my daughter, which is why I didn't post them).
Try a shot outside

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01-09-2013, 03:04 PM   #6
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Trust me, if I'm an idiot for thinking it's a malfunction and it's not, I'll be the first to admit it and delete this post!

I already sent the camera back because I'm moving on January 25th. That is exactly 30 days from the day of my order, so I wanted to make sure I was within the return window and could get a new one before I moved. I did shoot out the window with the same settings and saw no shadows.

I just checked the K200D shot with the same lens/card/ISO and it chose 1/500th shutter for the same shot with no shadows. The K30 clearly showed shadows at 1/800th. I don't think I got a shot slower than that.
01-09-2013, 03:10 PM   #7
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Dude,it might be what the guys said. Well, nothing lost. The store will either find out its perfectly okay or find a fault and fix it or give you a new unit. It'll work out in the end, I guess
01-09-2013, 03:15 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Dude,it might be what the guys said. Well, nothing lost. The store will either find out its perfectly okay or find a fault and fix it or give you a new unit. It'll work out in the end, I guess
Thanks for the encouraging words! Had I not tried the same shots with the K200D and not had this move looming over me, I definitely would not have returned it as quickly as I did. As I said before, I LOVE this camera!

01-09-2013, 03:16 PM   #9
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Hope all goes well on your replacement copy. First time I've seen this happen to the K-30, or if not on any Pentax DSLR.
01-09-2013, 03:20 PM   #10
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Keitha, you wouldn't be the first to see this type of thing and think something was wrong. I don't think you should delete the post, it can be helpful to others with similar fears. In fact, the only reason I clicked this post is because I recognize your name from other threads where you've shown amazing photography skill and I wanted to see what you were up to, so having you show up in search results might draw attention to someone else seeing similar issues.

Are the lighting conditions where the K200D works exactly the same? That is, is the fluorescent light the only source of light, or has the ambient light picked up enough that the fluorescent component isn't the primary light for the exposure? I expect the K200D to do the same thing when the ambient light is down, or when the fluorescent light is the only source.

Here is a video showing that fluorescent light affects cameras:
The video isn't a perfect example, because in video mode the shutter curtains aren't moving to cause the exposure, but instead the camera electronics are performing readouts sequentially over the sensor. So the analogy is limited. But it is enough to show that black bars can be introduced at faster speeds.
01-09-2013, 04:18 PM   #11
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Might be a long shot, but the K200D sensor is a CCD chip, while K-30 is CMOS. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the CCD provides the whole image instantly, while the CMOS has to be progressively scanned, which is also why you can see the jello effect in video.
01-09-2013, 05:08 PM   #12
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There's another thread on fluorescent lighting here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/201038-help-50...ra-glitch.html

It can definitely produce some strange effects that can easily be mistaken for a bad camera or lens.

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02-04-2013, 08:38 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Dude,it might be what the guys said.
Heh, your post remainded me of an Aerosmith song. But in this case the dude not only looks like a lady but even is one.

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