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10-06-2010, 11:35 AM   #1
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Pentax Software Upgrade?

I began my love affair with Pentax while stationed in Germany from 1968 till 1972. During that time I acquired an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic (black body) and an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II (Chrome body) along with 7 Takumar prime lenses. After shooting over 200,000 frames without a single mechanical malfunction you may be sure I am a die hard Pentax fan for life.

I later acquired a Pentax K-1000, Pentax ME with motor drive and a Pentax ME Super w/ Motor drive as well as a long list of additional lenses and accessories including an Asahi Pentax Auto Bellows.

When I retired in 2008 I decided I wanted to step up to the world of DSLR's, but on a fixed income a new camera was out of the question. The solution was to acquire a used Pentax *ist-DL body, which was followed almost immediately with the acquisition of a used Pentax K10d body.

When I got the Pentax *ist body it came with the software CD for the Pentax Photo Browser 2.1 and the Pentax Photo Laboratory 2.1, but when I got the K10d it did not have the software CD.

About three months ago I had a hard drive meltdown on my desktop so I bought a new tower loaded with Windows 7. The problem is that the new computer runs in 64bit mode while the Pentax Software is a 32bit program. According to the sources I have checked Pentax does not have a 64bit upgrade for the Photo Laboratory so I am now not able to use that program. As a consequence I have been shooting in JPEG mode and I am certain that I am not getting the quality of results that these cameras are capable of.

My questions are as follows:
1. Is there a 64 bit upgrade to my software?
2. Can I get the correct software for my K10d?
3. Is there another software package that will allow me to shoot in RAW mode?

10-06-2010, 11:44 AM   #2
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Adobe Lightroom 3 - - Get the student version for 70 or 80 bucks on Amazon.com... well worth it!
10-06-2010, 04:47 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jessphill3 Quote
Adobe Lightroom 3 - - Get the student version for 70 or 80 bucks on Amazon.com... well worth it!
What are the differences between the student version and the regular version? Is it missing anything, or have anything extra?
10-06-2010, 05:00 PM   #4
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Student versions of software are no different in terms of functionality- just price. Of course, you're supposed to qualify in order to legally use those versions. Adobe's Photoshop Elements is also a viable option for you. It's not a feature filled as Lightroom or Photoshop CS5 but it will handle the majority of what you need to do. I used it for well over a year (while shooting RAW) before I spent the $$$$ for the full version of Photoshop.

Elements can be had for as little as $60-70 but usually retails for $99

10-06-2010, 10:51 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by LazyPup Quote
... software CD for the Pentax Photo Browser 2.1 and the Pentax Photo Laboratory 2.1, ...

The problem is that the new computer runs in 64bit mode while the Pentax Software is a 32bit program. According to the sources I have checked Pentax does not have a 64bit upgrade for the Photo Laboratory so I am now not able to use that program. As a consequence I have been shooting in JPEG mode and I am certain that I am not getting the quality of results that these cameras are capable of.

My questions are as follows:
1. Is there a 64 bit upgrade to my software?
2. Can I get the correct software for my K10d?
3. Is there another software package that will allow me to shoot in RAW mode?
OK. I'll try and address your questions:

* 1.
Nb. I know not of the s/w you mention, Pentax Photo Laboratory 2.1, but suspect it's of the generation of the camera models you speak of and likewise superseded by now.

The current bundled Pentax software that I got with a recent K-x DSLR purchase is titled "Pentax Digital Camera Utility 4" aka "SilkyPix".
And there's a v4.11 free update available for it at Pentax support website.

It's a native 32 bit application which also runs quite well on my 64 bit Windows 7 OS, except... it doesn't directly support RAW format image files. Pentax do make available a codec to render RAW images but only for 32 bit Windows - it simply cannot be installed in Win 64. And because SilkyPix doesn't have one built in, it requires a RAW codec to exist on the system for manipulating RAW images within the utility.

Note: a Codec (enCoder-DeCoder) is a low-level 'driver' which for stability reasons 64 bit Windows demands to be written in native 64 bit code.
Unlike software apps, which the OS will happily tolerate and run with full backward compatibility even if 32 bit.

Stymied? Maybe. However codecs are (fairly) universal and, if you have another software that supplies a 64 bit RAW codec to the Windows 64 subsystem, then the Pentax utility will use it, as it does here on my PC.

As well as P.Silkypix, I've got both Adobe Photoshop Express v8, and Corel Paintshop Photo Pro X3 installed, and all seamlessly manage any RAW images I throw at them.
But as the other two are somewhat superior in most capabilities, I only use the Pentax/Silkypix utility when needed for it's often better Noise reduction feature.

* Q2 & Q3 are probably covered above as best I can contribute.

Now it's probably obvious that you may need to bite the bullet and buy an adequate Photo/Graphics software app that includes 64 bit RAW handling, and all I can suggest is please take some time to trial a few different packages before you throw your money at one (or more).

Remember, It has to suit your personal overall needs, something you can live with and be user-friendly without requiring rocket-science learning curves to be practical.

That why I don't swallow the Lightroom/Photoshop pill, both are overkill and insanely expensive so I prefer to spend my scarce $$ on 2 smaller apps (plus some odd bits of good freeware), that together cover all general imaging needs from cataloging to well featured editing.
YMMV.

.R.

Last edited by Hypocorism; 10-07-2010 at 02:45 AM. Reason: Added NB note to clarify.
10-06-2010, 11:16 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by r0ckstarr Quote
What are the differences between the student version and the regular version? Is it missing anything, or have anything extra?
The software per se is essentially the same, except for it's different licensing.

IOW, sure anyone can go and buy the cheap[er] education version, but the critical point here is that you have to fulfill Adobe's stringent requirements before the software will ACTIVATE online.

And as the original poster clearly stated "When I retired in 2008 ...", it might be reasonable to conclude that they would unlikely be a qualifying contender for that avenue of discount for the software product and would be ill advised to buy a student version unless they do qualify to get it usable and Activated legally.

.R.
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