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06-22-2009, 06:26 AM   #16
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Presumably, EMR, they've not been sitting still while the beta cameras were out for testing, there'll have been feedback being used all along.... possibly leading to a sensor improvement.

Anyway, it was the responsible thing of this magazine to do holding off on IQ-related tests till it's actually the release firmware connected to the sensor it's made for. You can see what the concept of the camera is, and the handling and all, but it's premature to start worrying about what the firmware touches.

06-22-2009, 06:57 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by RMabo Quote
Why don't you understand that the pre-production and beta units of the K-7 was just that - pre-production and beta units?!?!?! Why don't you understand that beta hardware also means beta version of the sensor, not production unit?

And why do you believe that the beta versions has just been released and that Pentax suddenly has made a "last minute change" to the sensor?

The beta units has been available for months of testing.
It is very expensive to build those beta units, since they are hand-built and not from a production run in the factory. So only a few beta units are available and those are handed out to beta testers and magazines for a pre-production review.

And Pentax has clearly stated that the image quality from the beta units is not representative about the image quality from the production units, and Pentax has stated that they allow only small size images to be posted and one shouldn't judge image quality from the beta units.

And we all can see that the forums are filled with in-depth analysis of photos from the beta units.

Actually, I find this rather funny. So much work done by the analysers and without any use. So much work for nothing. Because the final image quality, from the production units will be different. Because hardware was beta too, not just the firmware.

As I have written so many times, it is simply silly to judge image quality from beta versions. It is of no use and it says nothing about the image quality from the production version.

Beta is beta, and beta means a product under development. An unfinished product and it is not the same as the production units.

It simply amazes me that this is so completely impossible to understand.
Thanks Roland, finally some sense.

I used to work in PC component production and we beta tested non-final hardware all the time, frequently several versions at once, some of it hand-wired (we would manually fix main board track and solder errors with a scalpel and yellow wire rather than wait for the fixed version so we could carry on testing. However a yellow wire job would not be use for EMC or environmental testing).

Its relatively simple to make small adjustments to the design of the masks and main boards at any time up to the start of the initial production batch. You can go from CAD to finished article remarkably quickly. I would even expect each production batch to contain small updates. Of course you cant make large changes because you would have to redesign much of the supporting hardware and firmware if you did.

All samples so far should be taken with a pinch of salt as the sensors and main boards are probably all from slightly different small scale batches.
06-22-2009, 07:02 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by *isteve Quote

I used to work in PC component production and we beta tested non-final hardware all the time, frequently several versions at once, some of it hand-wired (we would manually fix main board track and solder errors with a scalpel and yellow wire rather than wait for the fixed version so we could carry on testing. However a yellow wire job would not be use for EMC or environmental testing).
Ah the memories...

Even better when you are taking your "working" unit to a trade show to show off your newest widget and you use nail polish that is the same hue as the PCB to hide some of your more creative wiring bypasses...
06-22-2009, 07:39 AM   #19
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Re: Last Mintue changes...

As others have said seemingly last minute changes happen all the time. Here is my guess of how the development cycle went:

1. Body/feature design

2. Component Mockup

3. Fabricate 1st run alpha units using K20D sensor/firmware

4. 1st engineering re-spin for blarringly obvious short comings

5. More engineering testing - Firmware tweaked to allow more complex features to be turned on

6. 2nd engineering re-spin both SW and HW to clean up the new can of worms the new features brought in

7. 1st stakeholder/Line-in-the-sand aka Beta-tester units. These units were as good as the current HW/SW would allow in terms of full functionality to release to testers outside of the engineering tracks. This will open up new avenues of testing in "real-world" applications.

8a. 3rd re-spin using information from DVT, Beta Users and R&D to tweak firmware
8b. Production hardware integrated internally at site

9a. Beta users from this point on will only recieve FW updates to address certain issues.
9b. Production HW and SW development continues

10a. 2nd stakeholder, Agressive marketing and begin negotiations for preview units
10b. R&D alpha units updated and tweaked to match Beta tester units. These units go out to various sites for previews
10c. Final HW/SW is given a line-in-the-sand release date. Features and capabilities that still need work past that line will be addressed in FW after release date, current projects continue at pace to meet/beat the release date (this probably happend a couple weeks ago btw)
10d. Manufacturing processes are put into place for final production hardware

11a. Embargo is lifted and all kinds of info floods into the world
11b. People get excited about product
11c. Chicken Littles cry that the sky is falling... look the K7 has no better IQ than the K20D?!?!?1
11d. Pentax tells everyone that the beta units do not have final production hardware
11e. OMG!?! The K7 must not be ready and will be horrible at release!?!?!?!

12. Manufacturing ramps up to meet release date pre-sale quotas

13. People get their official units and are happy about a really nice camera with a lot of features that had wanted that works with the lenses they have had for years <----- This one is pretty important IMHO.

I wouldn't be too surprised to see a FW update within the first few months of release either. Now you are looking at even more massed information that will undoubtedly uncover a bug or two.


Every design project I've been on has had very similar development paths. I'm sure many here will be able to attest to the same. Sometimes the path can take 6 months others it can take years depending on the complexity of the system and the component integration involved. So none of these changes are really "last minute" as development is an on-going process even after production manufacturing has started. At a certain point HW gets as good as it will get and FW will continue to evolve.

06-22-2009, 07:53 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by RMabo Quote
Why don't you understand that the pre-production and beta units of the K-7 was just that - pre-production and beta units?!?!?! Why don't you understand that beta hardware also means beta version of the sensor, not production unit?

And why do you believe that the beta versions has just been released and that Pentax suddenly has made a "last minute change" to the sensor?

The beta units has been available for months of testing.
It is very expensive to build those beta units, since they are hand-built and not from a production run in the factory. So only a few beta units are available and those are handed out to beta testers and magazines for a pre-production review.

And Pentax has clearly stated that the image quality from the beta units is not representative about the image quality from the production units, and Pentax has stated that they allow only small size images to be posted and one shouldn't judge image quality from the beta units.

And we all can see that the forums are filled with in-depth analysis of photos from the beta units.

Actually, I find this rather funny. So much work done by the analysers and without any use. So much work for nothing. Because the final image quality, from the production units will be different. Because hardware was beta too, not just the firmware.

As I have written so many times, it is simply silly to judge image quality from beta versions. It is of no use and it says nothing about the image quality from the production version.

Beta is beta, and beta means a product under development. An unfinished product and it is not the same as the production units.

It simply amazes me that this is so completely impossible to understand.

Well, Pentax Germany seems to be thinking that the pre-prod units given to some on-line testers are close enough to the final product that "There won't be a noticeable difference when just inspecting photographs." which is all those beta-testers have done so far.

See here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/63439-my-k-7-alpha...t-blog-10.html

Personnally, I don't really care of any differences I wouldn't be able to notice while inspecting photographs...
06-22-2009, 07:59 AM   #21
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AP could have done the testing as long as they qualified their article/results with the fact that it wasn't the final production model of the camera/sensor/etc.
06-22-2009, 08:29 AM   #22
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The possibility that the final sensor will be drastically different from the beta camera sensor is unlikely. Perhaps I'm just trying to be realistic, but I think the K-7 will have essentially the same image quality as the already very good K20D.

However, just like proofreading a story before sending it to print, the possibility is good that there will be minor tweaks between the beta camera and the final production version. A detailed review that notes minor flaws could be affected by these minor tweaks, and therefore it is only reasonable to wait until a final production version arrives before doing a review. You wouldn't want somebody to do a review of a book filled with typos, right?

The disclaimer is really just projection (Edit: I meant protection, but I think this sort of proves my point ) for AP to those who would complain about the wait.
06-22-2009, 08:38 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Leaf Fan Quote
AP could have done the testing as long as they qualified their article/results with the fact that it wasn't the final production model of the camera/sensor/etc.
But would people really hear that, anyway? Already people are being all gloom and doom about being unimpressed with the un-refinement of the beta stuff. It'd be silly if there was all that additional wait for *nothing,*

06-22-2009, 08:40 AM   #24
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Confused

In addition to the faulty logic of your original post (to which I replied) this follow up is a total non-sequitur.

QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Well, I'm sorry if my comment has upset your mental balance that bad.
06-22-2009, 09:02 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
But would people really hear that, anyway? Already people are being all gloom and doom about being unimpressed with the un-refinement of the beta stuff. It'd be silly if there was all that additional wait for *nothing,*
If people choose to pick only the info they "want" to hear from a review, then it's their problem when the final product doesn't perform as they thought it would. I thought the whole reason for a beta release was to hear what the "industry" has to say about a product, then they tweak it to respond to the industry???

Would the consumers of this product be happier if there were no reviews at all until the final production model was released?

Frankly, I don't care at this point, I'm not in a position to buy the K-7 anyway, but I don't mind reading first blush reviews even if they say that the final product may not be 100% identical to those reviewed. I'm sure that the deviation from the beta version to the production version will not be that significant.
06-22-2009, 09:52 AM   #26
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Beta units

Just a confirmation of what RMabo wrote.

Some days ago, I was given from the greek rep a K-7 ver. 0.20. The unit suffered from several malfunctions and of course no image quality could be estimated. All I get was an idea of the buttons, the balance and some menus.

On July 6th Pentax Greece and my company we will organize a presentation of the new body. Pentax Japan promised to deliver the very first 3 units on 1st. I hope they will have firmware 1.0, so Icould post some valid impressions.

To the first week of July!

Anavasi
06-22-2009, 10:06 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Leaf Fan Quote
If people choose to pick only the info they "want" to hear from a review, then it's their problem when the final product doesn't perform as they thought it would. I thought the whole reason for a beta release was to hear what the "industry" has to say about a product, then they tweak it to respond to the industry???

Would the consumers of this product be happier if there were no reviews at all until the final production model was released?
Probably, actually. Consumers shopping for a digital camera have it hard enough without poring through detailed IQ analysis and articles about subjective impressions of *what isn't even what they'd be buying.*

Having pre-production samples out there gives reviewers a chance to spend some time with the handling and functionality and shootability... there's no sense putting the things on the testing bench till they are the actual product you'd buy.
06-22-2009, 11:00 AM   #28
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A Short Sensor Run?

QuoteOriginally posted by Urkeldaedalus Quote
The possibility that the final sensor will be drastically different from the beta camera sensor is unlikely.
My guess is that it is unlikely they manufactured a few beta sensors and in all likelihood, the pre-production sensors are just modified K210D sensors.
I can see hand-wiring and modifying boards and firmware, but making a few sensors by hand? I'm no manufacturing engineer, but it seems highly unlikely. I expect totally different performance from a new sensor, with a firmware upgrade in weeks, if not even days.
06-22-2009, 03:00 PM   #29
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lemme just explain in layman's term what this alpha, beta, final production is all about.

usually when a gadget is built and designed, it goes thru certain stages of development (usually 3 stages). the initial stage, usually alpha testing is entirely done within the laboratory. usually this is where are the nasty and ugly stuff or problem about the camera occurs. this stage is mainly for trial and error or corrective stage of development.

beta-testing is the stage where all the major problems that the gadget have are mostly (if not all) resolved. the components used are about 80% of the final product. it is also the stage where the gadget is released in the wild for real world use or DEMO testing or marketing. this test is essential for meeting the demands of the users or simply saying marketing analysis if the product would succeed or doom to fail. I dunno but it has always been a practice that Beta version gadgets are handicapped (hardware and software) at a certain extent.
a beta version would work alright, but remember that it's only about 80-85%. however, this stage is also essential for future firmware upgrades.

the final version however, are already tested and all the components are complete. usually this happens within the laboratory again and ready for shipment. this is where we would see the difference between a pre-production camera to a production line. the company already knows that the missing 15-20% components would work on the final version.


now, one would ask what is the importance of this beta-testing if there is already a production line camera? the answer usually is to generate interest or marketing exposure (for teasing). secondly, would be to try to see how a product can still be improved by hardware or software and future reference for making the next line of cameras.
06-22-2009, 03:29 PM   #30
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I don't know elsewhere, but launch of K-7 in Singapore will be delayed by a week, until the 2nd week of July.

And I agree w/ Roland, we can't take them very seriously about those testing photos, including those I posted. But I'm already very impressed by what the K-7 beta can do, the final production can only be better don't you think?
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