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02-06-2014, 08:19 AM   #1
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K3 Locking Up (while shooting time-lapse) -- Crazy Mirror Flapping

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...



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.




Last edited by DRabbit; 03-11-2014 at 09:35 AM.
02-06-2014, 09:28 AM   #2
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Disregarding the problem with the camera, that's a pretty cool video!
02-06-2014, 09:45 AM   #3
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I have had it happen with off brand batteries or, just when battery juice gets a little too low. Hopefully there is a firmware update to fix it.
02-06-2014, 10:48 AM   #4
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you're not alone..check out this
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/242257-odd-shutter-issue-f...0-problem.html

02-06-2014, 11:04 AM   #5
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Do you use battery grip?
02-06-2014, 04:51 PM   #6
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I've had one lockup where the camera just froze. It was on the first charge of the battery so it probably wasn't fully conditioned. It hasn't happened since, touch wood.
02-06-2014, 05:00 PM   #7
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I believe that the symptoms you are describing are the "runaway mirror" syndrome which has been reported here in a couple of threads. The fact that there are no pictures taken rules out the shutter operating when this strikes. The shutter and mirror have their own separate motors in the K-3. I had this happen once when the voltage went below nominal due to an external power cable break.
02-06-2014, 06:21 PM   #8
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New firmware installed today and a few bigs shoots over the next week, so I should know fairly soon if it helps or solves the problem.

Like I said, it's happened with fully-charged batteries and also batteries partially spent. Pentax even sent me a new battery to try and the problem happened with that one too. Don't use battery grip... actually that's one of the things I love about Pentax is that the batteries last A LONG TIME, so I haven't found a need for the grip.

No third-party batteries either... all Pentax. Two of them are older (from my original K-5). One from K-01. One from K3 and one that Pentax sent me to try.

Thanks for the link Pear... gonna check it out now.

Happy, but not happy, that I'm not alone...

02-07-2014, 02:59 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DRabbit Quote
New firmware installed today and a few bigs shoots over the next week, so I should know fairly soon if it helps or solves the problem.

Like I said, it's happened with fully-charged batteries and also batteries partially spent. Pentax even sent me a new battery to try and the problem happened with that one too. Don't use battery grip... actually that's one of the things I love about Pentax is that the batteries last A LONG TIME, so I haven't found a need for the grip.

No third-party batteries either... all Pentax. Two of them are older (from my original K-5). One from K-01. One from K3 and one that Pentax sent me to try.

Thanks for the link Pear... gonna check it out now.

Happy, but not happy, that I'm not alone...
Have had the machine gun mirror once so far and after notifying the local distributor they suggested a hardware problem and to return it. It would seem that this is an intermittent fault that quite a few of us have experienced and not necessarily hardware related. What do you think? Return it or not? It is a silver.
02-07-2014, 09:09 PM   #10
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UPDATE: Firmware 1.02 did NOT fix it.

So I went out on a big shoot today, after doing the firmware update yesterday, and two critical things happened...

1. Still had two camera lockups. First time the camera just stopped. Wouldn't do anything (was "dead") until I popped the battery out and then back in. Second time was runaway-mirror syndrome until I popped out the battery.

2. At the very end of my shoot, before I took the camera off the tripod, I switched the camera to single shot, JPEG "Large" (L) to take one final shot. When I pressed the shutter I got an error "Card is Not Formatted". From that point on I could not take any more photos, nor review what I had taken (all-freakin'-day).

You can imagine... I almost threw the camera in the frozen swimming pool I was standing next to.

I have now spend the last 5 hours trying to recover the files off the SD card, which was also unreadable by my computer when I got home. This is a relatively new, brand-name card I previously had no issues with.

Call it a coincidence, or bad timing, or attribute it to the firmware update... your choice. But this is a disaster. It looks like I'll have at least some success with the recovery effort, but the filenames are all screwed up and who knows if I'll be able to reorder them properly. It may end up a lost cause.

FYI: based on the dealings I've been having with Pentax over this issue and another, they are really TRYING to be helpful and I'm trying to give them lots of feedback. As of this afternoon, they have agreed to exchange the camera for a new K3 for me. If I keep having these dramatic issues with the new body, we'll know it's the model and not just my camera. I will keep you posted. Expect to have new camera in my hands tomorrow, and two big shoots next week.
02-11-2014, 07:07 AM   #11
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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.
02-11-2014, 07:59 AM   #12
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It may not help you much, but I've done time lapses via the K3's intervalometer, and had zero problems.

I also use an external intervalometer as part of my Kessler/slider setup, and that too, works flawlessly.

ORACLE Control System - Controller ONLY

and

Kessler Camera Control Module v2.0

I know it should not be the case, but the K3 intervalometer is part of the camera's active software that is running, and if there is any glitch in the camera, then the intervalometer will fail as that too is software that is running.

By "offloading" the intervalometer to another device, you get assured redundancy as there are many options when using an "external" intervalometer.

I'd say if you are doing professional timelapses, to go and get yourself a cheap intervalometer or the Kessler solution so that you don't come up empty handed on a shoot.

Yes, this should NOT be happening, but your client doesn't care about you NOT getting the shot.
It's better to cover your bases.
02-11-2014, 08:11 AM   #13
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May I ask how you set up the camera for the shoot. I guess you use the intervallometer or do you use the timelaps function in the movie mode? JPEG, LArge Small, RAW, time between shots, amount of shots, starting time, etc. How many shots/ time before hang up? What brand/size of memory card? I would like to try to mimic the conditions to see if there is a repetable bug.
02-11-2014, 08:48 AM   #14
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With regard to batteries, are you only using the battery that came with the K3, or other batteries as well? I have had some trouble with ones that I have used with m y K5/K01, but none with the one that came with the K3.
02-11-2014, 10:15 AM   #15
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I bought a "Pirate battery" but have never had any problems with that one and not with my Pentax batteries either. K-5 to K-3. Strange phenomenon indeed.
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