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04-19-2017, 03:47 PM - 7 Likes   #1
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K-50 now has basic tethering ability in Gphoto2

After working with Libgphoto2 developer Marcus Meissner, I am happy to announce some small developments for the Pentax K-50. It will now capture and download in Raw+, Raw and JPG formats. Bulb mode and a few other details are still not functioning properly due to a change in the firmware for models after the k-30 but remote trigger and download are working well in command line tests as well as Indilib/ekos in tests with my K-50.

It all started when I found out the hard way that while the K-50 is a great low light camera, it lacks tether support which makes using it for astronomy/AP an exercise in advanced yoga techniques. I went looking for alternative solutions, tinkered with IR remotes and a flashair card and tons of web searching and forum threads before finding that one program (pktriggercord) would do at least basic shuttering, but would not connect to my astronomy software (indi/ekos), while another similar app (gphoto) would do the latter but didn't support my camera.

Both are opensource development, hosted at Github, and GNU licensed, which in my opinion is the last great hope for the world and society as a whole. When I read through source code from both programs I realized that both the Libgphoto/pentax and Pktriggercord libraries were based on the older Pkremote(which also seems to be related somehow to pktether). LibGphoto2, having had fewer testers available for the later Pentax models, as well as being a broad spectrum app, covering many camera brands and models, did not support the later models like Pktriggercord did. ...So I contacted the developers of both programs to see if they would consider getting together and offered myself as a tester for the K-50, and this was the result!

If you have a later model K series you might give Gphoto2 a try, and please drop a line to the guys over at gPhoto - News and give them some feedback on the results, or just drop comments on this thread and i'll try to forward them. What they really need most is testers. The early attempts that resulted in reported instability and scary lockups were due to the "GUI" in pktriggercord, weren't really that bad as long as you had a way to pull power quickly... and while I was able to reproduce the fluttering error using the PKtriggercord GUI app, I haven't seen any problems like that at all in testing either program when using command line(cli) versions and never had anything even remotely scary happen while working with Gphoto2.

You can find more info and download the software here:
gPhoto - Browse Files at SourceForge.net

You can follow the development of the K-50(and my occasional antics) here:
Support for Pentax K-50 Issue #31 gphoto/libgphoto2 GitHub

If anyone has information to share about later model protocols or the firmware resource tree it would be very helpful in getting better functionality for the later models.

04-19-2017, 04:12 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I wish i could tether my K-3.
04-19-2017, 06:12 PM - 3 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by G.E.Zekai Quote
I wish i could tether my K-3.
It looks like it does
Pentax K3
Image Capture, Trigger Capture, Configuration Testing (Beta)
gPhoto - Projects :: libgphoto2 :: supported cameras

don't know if it supports the K1
04-20-2017, 03:42 AM - 1 Like   #4
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This is great news... I think... because I've been looking for tethering for my K-5II that runs on a mac. I'll check it out. Thanks!

04-20-2017, 03:59 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by gbeaton Quote
This is great news... I think... because I've been looking for tethering for my K-5II that runs on a mac. I'll check it out. Thanks!
PK-Tether works with K5ii. Nothing worked on K-3 so far, will try this tonight.
04-20-2017, 04:21 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sas8888 Quote
It looks like it does
Pentax K3
Image Capture, Trigger Capture, Configuration Testing (Beta)
gPhoto - Projects :: libgphoto2 :: supported cameras

don't know if it supports the K1
I saw K1 in the code so it's very likely got some commands working. Some of the documentation is out of date, especially the cameras list.
The camera should be found with 'gphoto2 --auto-detect' and will show what usb channel it is on and the camera name. If it doesn't find it you can start an issue and offer to test and they'll see about getting it recognized.

Also, unlike many usb controlled cameras, the K-series uses MSC mode rather than PTP so be sure to set it before you plug in. In systems that auto mount, you may have to unmount it for everything to work properly.
04-20-2017, 05:12 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I hope K-3II behaves the same as K-3, which is listed.
04-20-2017, 06:26 AM   #8
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pk tether was so great! someone find that person so we can shovel money at them for an update.

04-20-2017, 05:16 PM   #9
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Installed gPhoto2 but unfortunately it did not recognize the K-5II :-( - on a mac.
04-20-2017, 07:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by gbeaton Quote
Installed gPhoto2 but unfortunately it did not recognize the K-5II :-( - on a mac.
The new wrapper added quite a few cameras but they may not be enabled yet. I only had the k-50 to use for testing, and he tested with a k10D.
If you go to github and start an issue to the effect of "enable k5ii?" and include the file output from

$ env LANG=C gphoto2 --debug --debug-logfile=my-logfile.txt --trigger-capture

Or you can use the email list setup that displays when you try the command to do the same. I like the git approach myself.
The debug has the model and usb info they need to get it recognized. When you get a response(patience is needed) report straight back what happens at the command line and include another debug, With any luck and some Marcus greatness you could be off and running.

And If it works you get to be the first guy or gal to ever use the new toy!

---------- Post added 04-20-17 at 07:35 PM ----------

I pulled this list of cameras from pslr_model.c. These cameras should get some support with the new changes, though they may need to be enabled in the camera model parsing routines. The usual "no guarantees" applies of course.
[the bit bucket ate my first edit so if you see it..well, send it home.]
K20D
K10D
K-x
K200D
K-7
K-r
K-5
K-200
K-m
K-30
K-01
K-5II
K-5II
K-50
K-3
K-3II
K-500
// only limited support from here [per comments in code snippet]
K110D
K100D
K-S1
K-S2
K-70

Last edited by blues_hawk; 04-21-2017 at 09:00 PM. Reason: added information
04-21-2017, 05:16 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Thanks @blues_hawk for the help! I'll give it a try - cheers!
10-26-2017, 04:23 AM   #12
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K-500 is still not enabled and not listed as supported, but should be as its K-50 with ripped off some hardware bits.
10-26-2017, 06:34 PM - 1 Like   #13
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forgot about this thread but just to update you all. The K-5II is also supported by GPhoto2 !

@blues_hawk, maybe you could work with them to get things working on the Mac! Thats still a nogo and I don't have the skills I'm afraid.
10-28-2017, 10:04 PM   #14
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Good to see you got your K5ii working with it! I don't have any mac stuff so i'm afraid I won't be any help there. Keep putting the word out and maybe somebody will pick it up. I know there is a port but it's probably behind current Git. but opening an issue pointing directly to the need for an update at gphoto's github page might eventually bare fruit on Mac port update I suspect it's "just" a case of cloning the master onto a Mac and getting it to compile. This stuff would be so much easier if we got a bit of help from corporate.

@Amikol I see it listed, but there might be some other issues. The later models have been tricky. be sure the camera isn't mounted as a drive and is in MSC mode. Those seem to be the biggest barriers to getting connected.
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