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04-06-2013, 05:22 AM   #1
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K-5 - Every other image is blank

Hi,

I'm having a problem with my trusted K-5 (bought in Jan 2011, 60,000 actuations) and cannot find the cause - has anyone experienced the following or any ideas on this?

Since last week-end my camera behaves strangely: every other picture taken by the camera is blank (100% white).
I take a picture, it's fine and looks normal. I take another picture, but this time the LCD only shows a white picture, and it's not recorded on the SD card. The next picture is fine again, the next one blank again.. etc.
I thought at first it could have been an issue with the curtains or with the SD card, but I think I've now ruled out these.
Other symptoms:
  • The first picture after switching the camera on is always fine.
  • The camera makes the same noises whether it's normal or a blank picture. The shutter speed also seems to be normal - i.e., the blank pictures are not overexposed pictures.
  • The problem happens with any of the 3 batteries and 4 SD cards I have.
  • I have formatted the SD Cards, reset the camera to factory settings, upgraded the firmware to v1.14 and the problem still exists
  • Turning on or off the sensor stabilization makes no difference
  • Now the weird part: shooting in burst mode. If I take a series of pictures in burst mode, a pattern emerges but it's not 1 normal/1 blank/1 normal/1 blank... it's xx normal/xx blanks/xx normals/xx blanks (xx depending on how long I press the shutter...). So it's not "every other picture" but "every other series of picture"
  • Pictures also turn white with the digital preview.
  • Liveview... the liveview mode behaves inconsistently. When I switch it on it may take some time for the mode to "activate" on the screen... perhaps 2 or 3 seconds, as if the camera emerges from sleep. That's not always the case, it varies, but it feels like the liveview mode needs a slap to start.
  • I've tried to change most settings (shooting mode, multiple exposure, mirror lock-up, bulb, manual) but the problem persisted. However, two settings which have an impact are the cross processing and digital filters (when shooting jpeg).. when I activate/deactivate a filter the camera will takes a few pictures normally, and then the 1/1 pattern reappears some time later.

Other than that, the camera was working fine the last time I used it (3 weeks ago).
I had quite a few freezes 6 months ago but I found they were caused by the off brand batteries I was using - the Pentax battery gives good results (I will not buy cheap batteries anymore..).

Any ideas? Any setting I might have missed? I hope my sensor/software/motherboard is not dying out....

Thanks.

04-06-2013, 05:32 AM   #2
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My first suggestion was to use LiveView. You seems to see some issues with that.

Take off the lens, set to use M.UP (mirror lock up) and watch what happens when you take a photo. (press release once to lock up mirror, press again to take the photo). See if the curtains are properly opening and closing.

It certainly sounds like a camera problem, but this might help see what is going on.
04-06-2013, 05:36 AM   #3
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Firmware ... is it up to date ? Maybe that would help ...

I have no idea at the moment and have not seen anyone else experiencing this kind of problem ... J

Last edited by Jean Poitiers; 04-06-2013 at 05:47 AM.
04-06-2013, 05:45 AM   #4
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This is not something I've heard or read about before, sounds like to maybe time to visit the happy Pentax repair person.

04-06-2013, 06:15 AM   #5
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Thanks to everyone trying to help.
The firmware was updated to 1.14, to no avail. Curtains work fine with mirror lock up, however the mirror lock up mode has just revealed new patterns... either a succession of normal pictures or of blank pictures... (which stays until I restart the camera). I had to use the malfunctioning K5 for 3 days last week-end, and this behaviour is definitely new. I'm very confused!
It seems that I I will indeed need to service it, but in the meantime I'm happy to hear any other suggestions
04-06-2013, 09:29 AM   #6
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Write down the menu settings and perform a reset (restore the factory defaults). It's acting like it's in one of the multi-shot modes with some unusual settings.
04-06-2013, 04:17 PM   #7
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In your original post you listed all the things you did to trouble shoot ie. reset, FW, memory cards, sure sounds like a camera problem. You did try a different lens... just in case?
04-06-2013, 05:06 PM   #8
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Does the mirror flip up when you get white pictures or does it just stay in the down position thus blocking for the light to hit the sensor?

04-06-2013, 08:10 PM   #9
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I tried other lenses and it makes no difference. The problem happens even without a lens. I've also reset the menu settings and custom menus a few times (no impact), and as far as I can tell the mirror and the curtains operate the same way when I get a normal picture or a white one.

I've had more luck with the liveview today (no blank pictures with it) but the camera behavior is even stranger, the 'every other picture' pattern is not stable.
I think I'll have no choice but to visit the service center. I will update this thread if anything happens.
04-07-2013, 07:32 AM   #10
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Sorry about your troubles here ... good luck withe service and keep us posted ... J
04-22-2013, 10:14 PM   #11
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I've picked up the camera back from the service centre today. I haven't had the chance to use it yet (I assume it works!), and I couldn't talk directly to a technician, but the service report states that they repaired the main printed circuit board (PCB).

C.R. Kennedy in Melbourne did the repair - great service, they didn't charge me a fee although the warranty had expired
04-23-2013, 12:03 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kokol Quote
... C.R. Kennedy in Melbourne did the repair - great service, they didn't charge me a fee although the warranty had expired
That was a very nice gesture ... no charge and out of warranty ! J
04-23-2013, 12:45 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kokol Quote
I assume it works!
Good to hear you were treated well, concerning the "out" of warranty repair.

All being well, that's you back in the picture taking business again.
02-02-2014, 01:05 PM   #14
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I have just encountered the same problem - although it isn't every alternate exposure, it happens at random intervals. My camera too is out of warranty
02-03-2014, 12:28 AM   #15
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To give you an update, my camera ended up dying quickly showing the same symptoms (during a vacation, which was annoying). At first it was 20% of the shots, then every other, then 80%, then 99%. I didn't send it to the service centre again as I didn't want it to fail again unexpectedly when I need it, and bought a K-5IIs. Good luck with your camera.
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