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11-12-2010, 08:31 PM   #1
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K20 Warranty Repair - 2nd time in the shop and DFS still very noisy

Evening everyone,

I just picked up my K20 from CRIS this afternoon, came home and shot the evening sunset and "golden hour". The K20 (which I really like), was in the shop for the second time for warranty repair (in the shop for about 5 of the last 9 weeks). The problem is that when DFS kicks in it results in a lot of noise in RAW.

The first time it was in the shop (about 2 weeks), they
  • Replaced Main PCB/FPC
  • Replaced Imaging Sensor
  • Updated Firmware
  • Adjusted to Manufacturers Specifications
  • General check and clean

The second time it was in the shop (about 3 weeks) they
  • Reinitialized main PCB
  • Rolled Back firmware to 1.00
  • Performed Complete Adjustment / Calibration
  • Updated Firmware to Current Version 1.04

I just shot 70 frames this evening and the problem is still there. Configuration / Setup
  • ISO 100
  • Any Lens
  • Manual Focus
  • 5 Frame Bracketing +/- 2EV
  • RAW

The second time, I supplied 7 full 5 frame sets that illustrated the problem on all the frames with either a 0 or negative EV - with full EXIF meta data. So, I am going to go back out and shoot several additional sets, just to make sure. It does look like the DFS problem has moved as before it was primarily in the 3rd and 5th frames and now it looks like its in the 2nd and 4th frames.

So the reason for the post and the question is - Other than call Pentax Monday morning, I have a couple ideas that I am thinking about requesting to rectify this warranty issue. What might you folks suggest that may be a fair and reasonable remedy at this point.

Essentially, I have had 2 complete cameras (the original one, and then a complete replacement of the camera body guts) and both have and are exhibit the same results.

Attached Images
11-12-2010, 09:37 PM   #2
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Are you massively boosting the exposure in post to get that result? Or are you using a program that automatically changes image properties like exposure? (picasa, camera raw, ... all have auto settings) Could the program be pushing and giving you these results. Have you tried a controlled test to see if this is just an exposure problem? ISO 100 at night requires very long exposures.
11-12-2010, 11:13 PM   #3
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Have you tried just shooting long exposures, without bracketing, but which trigger the DFS?

btw, that shot is stripped of EXIF, so I do not know the ISO, but surely noise is not the main problem--there is serious banding here. Can you supply the exif for this shot?
11-13-2010, 09:24 AM   #4
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Original Poster
After posting last evening, I had intended to shoot some additional individual images, but I was tired and just went to bed. Waking up early, while it was still dark out, I though I would shoot some additional non bracketed images. Those images along with reading the responses - and thank you very much for your insightful comments - I decided to go back to ground truth (so to speak).

The image posted last night, was indeed initially out of Picassa. I just uploaded and clicked on the image and Picassa brought it up - as an initial quick look, and my heart sank from there - as in not again. Taking the least path of resistance, I saved off a JPG to resize in Elements. Normally, I use Bibble Pro, but I was lazy, and the EXIF was stripped.

So this morning, going back to something akin to ground truth, I spun up the Pentax Photo Browser (Silkypix) - taking a look at both this morning's take along with last night's. If I was going to complain again, I figured I need to use what they were going to use - i.e., what came with the camera. Clean! Then, I took a look at a whole series of images that lead to the first warranty repair - there was a lot of noise. After receiving the camera back - the first time, I did do a controlled shoot in the house across the entire aperture range (~60 frames), in reduced light and they looked great - problem solved. However, my images from Sedona, as I processed them, the images where it was getting to be dusk, the problem started creeping in with everything as I stitched the panoramas together (Autopano). I was using Autopano because it both stitched and stacked the bracketed images together (a quick stitch - just with the default parameters). Just clicking on the individual images (which brought up Picassa) just pushed the noise as was done in in the stitched panos. I did not go back to any of the other tools.

So yes indeed, as enoeske and Jewelltrail both graciously pointed out - Autopano and Picassa both pushed the exposures way too much.

Again, going back before the initial repair, both the RAW and JPG were both noisy. Now, where Picassa and Autopano finds noise with the RAW, the out of the camera JPGs are clean.

It appears that this episode has ended - happily. For a number of reasons, I have not been too terribly pleased with my software tools. I have been thinking of going to Lightroom 3 with a couple of their plug-ins. I think that this just will hasten my move.

I do have to say - Thanks!! I have my K20 back! - the out of the camera un-touch version of the initial image up above - too dark to post.


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