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02-13-2013, 09:40 PM   #1
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Dust Alert

Hello,

My Kx is currently having a very bad experience with ServiceNet and Precision Camera. If it doesn't return to me soon and fixed, I will be looking for a new camera partially on their dime.

I see that the K30 has dust removal but not dust alert. I know the WR would be helpful but I shoot in extreme conditions and check for dust often.

Is there a way, through settings, to recreate that sort of test? I don't want shoot all day and then find out there was something on my sensor that didn't shake off.

What were they thinking leaving this feature off of an upgrade to a model that did have it? A WR unit would seem to be built for people who use it in conditions likely to get dust and etc. in there.

I wish I could go for the K5II but that just isn't in the budget but this Alert thing might just be a deal breaker on moving up at all.

02-13-2013, 11:48 PM   #2
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Don't be too upset, the following works far better than dust alert anyway.

Point camera at a nice clear blue bit of sky.
Set aperture to f/22 and take a picture.

Chances are you will find a few dust bunnies this way.
Will look like transparent soft greyish circles or blobs on the otherwise blue photo.

I think they would have removed dust alert from lower model cameras because as far as I could tell, people weren't following the instructions and were getting 'false positives' for 'tonnes of dust'. There's a few posts here where that was the case.
02-13-2013, 11:51 PM   #3
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What normally comes next is:
"I tried to wet clean my sensor or poked it with a cotton bud or used isopropyl or meths and now it's ruined..."
So before you do that, check out the pentax gumby wand cleaner!

Pentax Image Sensor Cleaning Kit, O-ICK1 reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
02-14-2013, 12:16 AM   #4
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+1 on f22 and a uniform blue or grey sky. If there is any dust on the sensor, it will be obvious.

02-14-2013, 07:15 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
Don't be too upset, the following works far better than dust alert anyway.

Point camera at a nice clear blue bit of sky.
Set aperture to f/22 and take a picture.

Chances are you will find a few dust bunnies this way.
Will look like transparent soft greyish circles or blobs on the otherwise blue photo.

I think they would have removed dust alert from lower model cameras because as far as I could tell, people weren't following the instructions and were getting 'false positives' for 'tonnes of dust'. There's a few posts here where that was the case.
Thanks, but, like I said... I often shoot in extreme conditions, not blue or even under even colored skies and besides, how am I looking at that picture in the field? I'm not lugging a laptop around so I can download the picture and then look it over. Even if I did, I wouldn't have time. It certainly isn't going to show debris at the size of the LCD.

I sometimes have only two or three minutes to make a swap, check the alert to see if any of my surroundings ended up in the camera in spite of all caution (it happens out there) and try to shake it or Rocket Blow it.

I had hoped that there was some setting combination that I am not thinking of that recreates something similar. A dealer (who only repairs but not sells Pentax, of course) told me to bug Pentax about a firmware update to cover it but I doubt they'd do it even if enough others complained.

I actually was not going to go Pentax when I decided to move on from my old Fuji but the reviews and pricepoint leaned me to the Kx... the dust alert pushed me the rest of the way over.

I'm very disapointed that, even though the camera gave me great shots it went to heck mechanically after only 35,000 actuations. I doubt I'll ever buy a camera from NewEgg again as their extended warranty company and repair facility has been a nightmare. Maybe, if I can find another brand at a similar price point that has a similar Alert feature, I'll just unload my lenses and such and go another direction.

It is incredibly poor marketing and PR to offer something at a particular level and then take that away in successive models. One really has to wonder if they have a clear vision of their product path.

Ahhh, wellllll... I might actually see my camera again some day and when it gets here it will be as good as new, but the way NewEgg's partners are going at this point, I doubt it.
02-14-2013, 07:19 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
What normally comes next is:
"I tried to wet clean my sensor or poked it with a cotton bud or used isopropyl or meths and now it's ruined..."
So before you do that, check out the pentax gumby wand cleaner!

Pentax Image Sensor Cleaning Kit, O-ICK1 reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
Just because I read without posting doesn't mean I'm an idiot. I am aware of the Pentax kit. I like the Butterfly, Loupe and VDDust and VDSmear. You can check them out at visibledust.com
02-14-2013, 07:21 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
+1 on f22 and a uniform blue or grey sky. If there is any dust on the sensor, it will be obvious.
I'm not dismissing that approach... I fail to see how I would check that in an instant in the field. Maybe I'm missing the obvious solution to my original question.
02-14-2013, 07:47 AM   #8
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I do it in the field regularly, you take the shot and in review, enlarge the shot x4 and just scroll through the image from side to side and top to bottom, takes a few seconds at most once you've done it a few times

EDIT: Sorry, I haven't seen your reply to calsan. I'm not sure if the K5II has the feature, but if it has, and you see it as a dealbreaker, then you might go for it. I believe if you are not happy about it now, it won't change later. I personally tried the feature in my K-x, which I still have and use, but found it totally unreliable, and stopped using it not long after I got it. You should enjoy your photography, so get what you feel satisfied with, and keep shooting, that's what's important.


Last edited by altopiet; 02-14-2013 at 08:00 AM.
02-14-2013, 11:58 AM   #9
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I bought a K-5 in September and haven't had to clean the sensor yet--the dust removal feature is pretty darn good. If the sensor cleaning on the K 30 is the same I don't think you'll have a lot of problems. Previously I needed to clean the sensor on my K20D every few weeks.

And the f22 test doesn't need the sky to be blue - you just need a smooth target to shoot at. The dust will show best focussed at infinity.
02-14-2013, 01:05 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
+1 on f22 and a uniform blue or grey sky. If there is any dust on the sensor, it will be obvious.
Awesome tip. I did this before using a blank wall or piece of paper, but I kept the lens wide open so I never saw anything. Now at f22 it has been revealed that my sensor is dust city!

That cleaning kit looks useful too.

Learn everyday.
02-15-2013, 12:59 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
That cleaning kit looks useful too.
Learn everyday.
Thanks. We're here to share advice, so it's always nice that someone can keep their toys in the cot, eh?
02-15-2013, 05:08 AM   #12
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If the OP wants and uses a particular feature, it is really frustrating when a manufacturer removes it. You could get a new/old stock K5 to get the features you want, plus the piezo sensor cleaning feature. BTW, this was a reason Karen likes the Pentax over the Nikons we used to have: the Piezo sensor cleaning(the D3X had no sensor cleaning, but the D800 has one a lesser effective one IMO), plus the dust alert and pixel mapping(Nikon does not even have that feature). Given the dust fits the Nikon D600 is having, the Pentax is a godsend.

D&K
02-15-2013, 05:44 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by David&karen Quote
If the OP wants and uses a particular feature, it is really frustrating when a manufacturer removes it.
I'm sure they had a reason for removing it, most probably because it was not reliable... Perhaps they decided to put it in the k5II again because of dissatisfied users, not that it is more reliable now; or they ironed out the problems and reintroduced it in the K5II. However I would not let the lack of that particular feature stop me from enjoying a very good camera
02-15-2013, 06:00 AM   #14
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I understand your frustration about losing a feature you liked. I do agree the f/22 and blue sky shot is much more accurate. Yes, it's harder to check that "in the field" but it's also not likely you're going to be able to do anything about a dirty sensor in the field either.
02-15-2013, 06:17 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by David&karen Quote
If the OP wants and uses a particular feature, it is really frustrating when a manufacturer removes it. You could get a new/old stock K5 to get the features you want, plus the piezo sensor cleaning feature. BTW, this was a reason Karen likes the Pentax over the Nikons we used to have: the Piezo sensor cleaning(the D3X had no sensor cleaning, but the D800 has one a lesser effective one IMO), plus the dust alert and pixel mapping(Nikon does not even have that feature). Given the dust fits the Nikon D600 is having, the Pentax is a godsend.

D&K
Sorry if my replies seem strained... I didn't need the camera to break down right now and needed an imcompetant service company even less. When I started researching next-camera-possibilities and saw that one of my favorite features is deleted... it just seemed impossible.

I use the Dust Alert regularly and find it very dependable once I got used to it. I do railroad photography in very tough conditiions. I learned to keep the envelope that my rail-news magazine comes in every month under the armrest of my car. When I pop in to swap, I put the envelope under the window seal across the seat and very steady-handed do the check. DA has saved the bacon on a number of occassions. These shots happen in an instant as an object speeds toward me at speeds from 30mph to 80mph and then they're lost... no second chances. Often, I hear the scanner (radio) tell me there is another coming behind and I decide the next one would look good with more or less scenery or background activity and want to do a swap.

I also use an 18-250 (the 72mm ring non-macro version) Sigma zoom a lot and am very happy with it, but when I'm in an area that I am familiar with, I like to see how much better I can do than the last time and use lenses that match the day and circumstances. I submit some of these photos for contests and to a magazine (not for compensation, just for bragging).

Your comments suggest I not look at Nikon for the feature... does anyone know if any Canons have it? I really can't afford this problem right now but if I'm going to have it, I may as well shop around. Maybe I'll luck out and ServiceNet/Precision Camera and NewEgg will resolve the issue and it will all be moot. I sure wish I had googled their warranty issues prior to purchase.
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