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03-16-2014, 06:35 PM - 1 Like   #106
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QuoteOriginally posted by DRabbit Quote
It's possible my two K3s came from the same batch, but since there was 3 months in between, it's also likely they weren't.
Too many instances of this to be a batch issue.
My gut (as an occasional firmware coder) is that it's a hardware issue related to voltage causing a pin or the CPU to oscillate. A firmware workaround might be to detect that and shut the system down cleanly instead...

03-16-2014, 08:57 PM   #107
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Shutting down is certainly better than mirror-flapping, but still wouldn't make for a reliable professional camera.

If it's voltage, it's not being reported in the EXIF. I saw nothing out of the ordinary in the shots leading up to a mirror-flap episode... no sudden spikes or drops. Not saying that isn't the case, but If it's there, it's not being reported in the EXIF in the last photo before mirror-flap craziness. It doesn't appear to be temperature either. I've shots in all kinds of temperatures and indoors and outdoors with this problem occurring, and even the internal temp of the camera is within normal limits inside the EXIF data.
03-17-2014, 05:06 AM   #108
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QuoteOriginally posted by DRabbit Quote
Anyone run into this issue?

It's been happening A LOT. Considering I'm doing time-lapse professionally now and the clients rely on me to get the footage, you can imagine it's quite frustrating. I'm already in touch with Pentax about it, but I was wondering if anyone else was having this problem.

Here's an example of time-lapse I shot recently...

10 Degrees and 10 Windows in 2 Minutes! Timelapse of Double Hung Windows from Renewal by Andersen - YouTube


The symptoms: Camera will lock up. Most common lockup is that it stops shooting and I hear the shutter firing very VERY rapidly (but it's not taking photos). The only way to get it to stop is to pull the battery. Sometimes it just stops shooting, but the time-lapse counter shows that it's actually still taking photos. And one time it just stopped and starting producing a very high-pitched, almost dog-whistle kind of sound. LOL

It has happened with newly charged batteries as well as batteries partially spent. It's happened in very cold (10 degrees) and more normal temps (55 degrees). It's happened both when I'm inside and when I'm outside. It's happened with different lenses and different SD cards. I can't seem to track it down to a particular cause.

Anyone have similar a problem?

Mind you, I'm often shooting it side-by-side with the K5-II which I never have an issue with...
(and yes, I'm going to download the latest firmware today!)


update 3/11/14

I'm editing this to include the video I posted in a reply much further down in the thread (on page 6). Latest is that firmware 1.03 does NOT solve the problem. Read the reply for more info.

YouTube
40 minutes! is that something like 20,000 actuations? I'm gobsmacked a machine without a cooling and lubrication system can do it tbh. I just wonder if the camera is worn out?
03-17-2014, 07:11 AM   #109
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QuoteOriginally posted by Waratah Quote
40 minutes! is that something like 20,000 actuations? I'm gobsmacked a machine without a cooling and lubrication system can do it tbh. I just wonder if the camera is worn out?
Math is your friend (though I hate it myself). 40 Minutes at 3 second intervals is only about 800 shots. LOL
However, when I'm out shooting time-lapse all day, yes, it can rack up anywhere from 5,000-8000 shots.

And it's not that it's worn out. It happened to both of my K3s right out of the box, nearly brand new. With the same kind of usage, the K5-II hasn't had one problem, so it isn't unheard of that a machine can do the job, and do it well. The K5-II that I have has over 100,000 shutter actuations on it now, and hasn't had any issues at all. Not one.

03-17-2014, 08:03 AM   #110
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What would be really bad is if you set up the camera to do a long session of interval shooting and went away to do something else...
Not sure, but I guess the mirror flop rate must be something like 20 per second.
That would be 72000 per hour!
Even worse if you used an AC adapter to power it.
03-17-2014, 08:08 AM   #111
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QuoteOriginally posted by jhmos Quote
What would be really bad is if you set up the camera to do a long session of interval shooting and went away to do something else...
Not sure, but I guess the mirror flop rate must be something like 20 per second.
That would be 72000 per hour!
Even worse if you used an AC adapter to power it.
That's part of why I can't rely on the K3. When I'm at my time-lapse shoots, I usually have two cameras going. One might be inside, the other outside, and they can be a good distance away from each other, especially at some of the bigger houses I've shot. The K3 requires constant "baby sitting" because of this issue. It's happened to me too often that I walk away to check the other camera (or just to go to the bathroom!) and come back to crazy mirror-flapping and lots of lost shots. Not good at all.


Last edited by DRabbit; 03-17-2014 at 08:43 AM.
03-17-2014, 03:42 PM   #112
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Great work in examining and reporting this issue DRabbit.

I know using an external intervalometer has been suggested before in this thread, but ... another external intervalometer I haven't seen mentioned is an external IR intervalometer. An IR remote controller may feed the firmware logic and camera circuit board differently compared to the internal intervalometer, or other corded external intervalometers, hence triggering a different response from the camera. Maybe.

I used this IR intervalometer on my K-x a few years ago and it worked a treat. It's also cheap and simple. Models are available that support all Pentaxes, Sony's etc:
Gentles Limited: gentLED-AUTO

Here's the user manual:
http://www.gentles.ltd.uk/gentled/Manual-auto.pdf

and a YouTube video on using it with a NEX-5:
03-18-2014, 04:54 AM   #113
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I have had the camera lock shooting multi-exposure HDR photographs. In this mode I use Live View and multi-exposure - usually 5 exposures. After the sequence the camera normally reverts back to Live View, which I need for mirror up operation plus multi-exposure.

There are times when the camera stops operating - the rear screen is blank - after shooting the sequence. I have to fiddle with the controls to bring back the camera to life. In some cases I gave up and shut the camera off and on.

I just loaded the new firmware and am scheduled for another HDR Pano shoot next week. My hope is the new firmware fixed this problem.

03-18-2014, 08:32 AM   #114
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I hope so too Bob... but 1.03 didn't fix it for me. I had a silent lockup within 5 minutes of loading the new firmware, and then the mirror-flapping lockup in my test afterwards. I've had several silent lockups along the way too... a few when the camera just becomes completely unresponsive, but shows settings on the back (they just aren't changeable and the camera won't function). I've also had lockups while shooting time-lapse when the camera still reports on the back that it's shooting -- shows the time-lapse status screen when you press any button -- but the camera isn't actually doing anything; It stops taking photos.

Rawr - In regards to external IR intervalometer - if someone has one and is willing to put the camera through it's paces and test it out, I say go for it, but I don't think it will solve the problem... reason being, we have lots of reports of the issue now when the camera isn't even shooting time-lapse, so I don't think it's inherently a time-lapse problem. I know we have at least one report of someone having the issue while using a external trigger, though I don't know what type.

I'm returning my K3 for good today.
03-18-2014, 03:46 PM - 2 Likes   #115
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Update 3/18/14 - K3 has now been returned

I returned it today. I had written to Pentax last week hoping they would let me keep it for a while (while still giving me a new K5-IIs) so I could keep testing, but I didn't hear back, so I just had to make the decision to be rid of the problems. If I wasn't worried about paying work, I would have held off a little longer, but for the sake of my clients, I can't keep having these instability issues.

Just because I don't have it anymore doesn't mean I will forget about all of you… I will keep tracking the problem in the other thread, and report the issues to the contacts I've had at Pentax. I'm also working on a write-up/article on the whole issue and experience, likely to be published on Steve Huff's website. I've held off a long time on it because I was hoping Pentax could get it fixed…


Hopefully, I'll have no issues with the two K5-IIs bodies I picked up today… regardless, I'm buying the extended warranty TODAY. LOL
03-28-2014, 03:53 PM   #116
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QuoteOriginally posted by brosen Quote
I did the suggested test 4 times, 25 min each time, following the exact same parameters described in this thread. I wasn't able to replicate the issue, the build date for my camera is September 19th, 2013, currently the shutter count is around 3,000.
Glad you didn't have the issue, but I sometimes had the issue in the first 2-3 sessions, sometimes not until after 6 hours. Not always, but most commonly, it would happen to me after a battery change.
03-30-2014, 09:57 PM   #117
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Just an update.... I have been keeping up with the "reporting" thread on this issue and keeping the list up to date as people report in. Thanks to everyone who has responded, it really is helpful.

In the last week, with the new K5-IIs camera bodies, I have gone through about 15,000 shutter actuations with one, and 5,000 with the other. I've cycled through many of my batteries (at least 4 out of the 6 I own). I haven't had any issues. I ran one of the bodies all day yesterday and today, shooting time-lapse of my family helping my mother move into a new apartment. Not a single issue.
04-29-2014, 09:03 AM   #118
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QuoteOriginally posted by DRabbit Quote
Update with new K3 Body ... NOT GOOD NEWS

I picked up the new K3 body on Saturday, and had my first time-lapse shoot with it yesterday.

I got through about half the day and was feeling slightly optimistic, but then after changing to a newly charged battery (about 5 minutes later), the problem of run-away mirror lockup happened. (As a reminder, with my first K3 the problem had happened with newly charged batteries and batteries much more spent).

This was with firmware 1.0 because I wanted to test that way first. I have another shoot tomorrow and have now updated to firmware 1.02, but I'm not hopeful about it... since 1.02 did not solve it with the first K3 body I exchanged... and 1.02 may have caused my SD card to become corrupt.

I took video of the problem occurring and sent it to Pentax last night. I'm not really sure there is going to be a solution other than to "downgrade" to the K5-II at this point. I need reliability on professional shoots. The 2nd body I have is a K5-II and has performed rock-solid, without a problem on all the same shoots at the K3.

Frustrated, since I really like the K3 in so many ways.


ps. After many hours of utilizing recovery software and then batch-renaming all the files based on creation date, I was able to recover, reorder and rename all the files from the corrupted SD card. It took a whole lot of time and was tedious, but at least I didn't lose all the day's shooting.
Thank you for keeping us posted on this issue. I've not tried time lapse yet but I have had my k-3 lock up on me a time or two. I'll be more mindful of when it occurs. Thanks to everyone who is taking the time to post on these issues.
03-25-2015, 06:18 AM   #119
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i had this problem when i first got my K-5 in 2011.i was so worried because it is an expensive camera and my first....what i did was , i took the battery out of the body while it was busy flip-flapping.swithced the on/off button ,reinserted the battery and luckily,it didnt happen anymore until today....scary expereince.
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