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04-11-2011, 11:22 AM   #1
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Pentax Software Problems PDCU 4.

Hi

I just bought the K-x about two months and am having a lot of fun with it. However I can't say the same about the software that came with the camera (Pentax Digital Camera Utility 4).

I updated it from the Pentax site. Did not seem to help much. It crashed on one computer then another. You can not crop pictures from any available icon but have to go through a drop down window menu. Even when it does not crash it seems very bare bone.

My question to all the seasoned Pentaxians here.....do most of you use the provided software? Or something more expensive like photoshop? And should I do the same?

I would like to shoot in RAW. However the software makes this frustrating at best.

Any insight into this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

04-11-2011, 11:59 AM   #2
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Pentax software has always been "clunky", but I still use it for some functions (creating an exif database, renaming/deleting files, etc).

I used v3.51 for 18 months until finally deciding there had to be something more friendly with some extra functions.

Got Elements v6. The leveling tool is the most used (thanks to the Pentax tilting viewfinder), and the spot-healing/cloning brushes are handy. Not sure if PDCU has either of those.
04-11-2011, 12:35 PM   #3
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Actually sometimes it is quite useful - it now has many interesting and useful features such as Rotate/Shift. And it will support new Pentax models before the third party software does.

I use the 4.31 version and it's fairly stable. I had problems with another version or two crashing. Recently I've even had to revert back to a previous version. If I remember correctly this was the case with the current 4.32, which is why I went back to 4.31.
04-11-2011, 12:36 PM - 1 Like   #4
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If your computer is a PC not Mac version, I would suggest you try Faststone Image software. It's free and has many new features in the latest version, even clone and stamp options. I also have PSE ver. 6 but Vers 6 can only handle DNG not PEF.

04-11-2011, 01:10 PM - 1 Like   #5
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PDCU 4.32 is good for lens correction, because it now contains automatic distortion and aberration corrections, which work really well. I was always searching for a solution that could do that, but it either didn't have the lens database, it overall sucked or it was very expensive. All the other operations are better if you use Photoshop or Lightroom. Just download a trial version and see if it's worth buying for you.
04-11-2011, 01:11 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I do use the Pentax DCU - my version is 4.3.2 upgraded a few times from the original I got with the K-x back in Nov/2009.

Not had any problems crashing - initially it was a bit slow in browsing for photos - but once I got the hang of just going to the correct folder/directory - it did not seem any slower or worse than any other editor.

The main advantage of Pentax DCU (any version) is that it understands Pentax dSLRs so it can more or less replicate the camera controls - being able to to do this in post processing is useful where we are not under any pressure and one can experiment with any adjustments effects non-destructively.

It may surprise that I shoot almost exclusively JPGs - yet I use Pentax DCU -
that is because PDCU can open any Pentax dSLR JPG and is able to apply almost every adjustment available to the RAW image. This is a huge advantage and gives me a lot more flexibility for those occasional awkward shots.

Having said that ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) is also capable of opening JPGs and again can apply most of the RAW manipulations to the JPGs. ACR is supported (not surprisingly) by PhotoShop - but that is obviously very expensive - but lucky for us it is also supported by the much lower priced PS Elements.

If it is the K-x then one needs Elements 7 or later to have a version of ACR that supports the K-x (oldest ACR version that supports the K-x is ACR 5.6).

Hope that helps - although it is a mystery why PDCU causes crashes on your system. It has not done that on my lowly PC and I have used Pentax DCU all the way back when it was known as Pentax Photo Lab - in 2006 for my K100D.

Last edited by UnknownVT; 04-11-2011 at 01:24 PM.
04-11-2011, 02:57 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteQuote:
I I also have PSE ver. 6 but Vers 6 can only handle DNG not PEF.
Not true. Just get the latest ACR from Adobe and replace the one in the PlugIns directory.

Edit: I think I only had to do that to recognize the K20D. It worked fine as-is with the K100D.
04-11-2011, 05:09 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Not true. Just get the latest ACR from Adobe and replace the one in the PlugIns directory.

Edit: I think I only had to do that to recognize the K20D. It worked fine as-is with the K100D.

PS Elements 6 can only use ACR 5.5
(see ACR versions)
ACR 5.5 did not support the Pentax K-x PEF -

So photolady was correct that it will not handle the PEF and only the DNG -
even that may not be complete/certain - depending on whether ACR 5.5 already understood some of the more specialized features of the K-x such as Highlight, Shadow, Lens corrections etc.

The version of ACR that officially supported the K-x was ACR 5.6
that required PS Elements 7.

From: Adobe Camera Raw 5.7 update -

QuoteQuote:
The Camera Raw 5.7 plug-in is not compatible with versions of Photoshop earlier than Photoshop CS4, versions of Photoshop Elements earlier than Photoshop Elements 8.0, or versions of Premiere Elements earlier than 8.0.

  • The latest version of the Camera Raw plug-in available for Photoshop Elements 3.0 customers is Camera Raw 3.6.
  • The latest version of the Camera Raw plug-in available for Photoshop Elements 4.0 (Windows) is Camera Raw 3.7.
  • The latest version of the Camera Raw plug-in available for Photoshop Elements 5.0 (Windows) is Camera Raw 4.5.
  • The latest version of the Camera Raw plug-in available for Photoshop Elements 6.0 (Windows) is Camera Raw 5.5.
  • The latest version of the Camera Raw plug-in available for Photoshop Elements 7.0 (Windows) is Camera Raw 5.6.



Last edited by UnknownVT; 04-11-2011 at 05:19 PM.
04-11-2011, 06:23 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote

The version of ACR that officially supported the K-x was ACR 5.6
that required PS Elements 7.
Ah, missed the detail, sorry.
04-11-2011, 08:16 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone.

Very helpful.
04-12-2011, 12:17 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
It may surprise that I shoot almost exclusively JPGs - yet I use Pentax DCU -
that is because PDCU can open any Pentax dSLR JPG and is able to apply almost every adjustment available to the RAW image.
Good point - I also found the PDCU was my best tool for editing JPGs in a special situation (shooting a local holiday parade) where JPGs made more sense. It was a volunteer job and a relatively small audience would ever see these images on the parade's website, but about 10% of my keepers still needed work before I would post them. I found the PDCU did the best job of allowing me to quickly fix them without losing the (fairly good) appearance of the K-5's JPGs.
04-13-2011, 12:30 PM   #12
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I'm a new K-r owner and am thrilled with my camera purchase but am a bit frustrated with PDCU. I have played with it but I'm most inhibited - perhaps intimidated - by the lack of documentation to lead me to appreciate its capabilities.

I have tried trial versions of elements 9 (not really impressed; didn't much care for the interface there) and also Bibble 5 Pro - very nice and probably a good value for the money.

But I'd like to make PDCU my workhorse before I give up on it.

Any suggestions or hints out there?
04-13-2011, 01:22 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lex Madera Quote
am a bit frustrated with PDCU. I have played with it but I'm most inhibited - perhaps intimidated - by the lack of documentation to lead me to appreciate its capabilities.
I have tried trial versions of elements 9 (not really impressed; didn't much care for the interface there) and also Bibble 5 Pro - very nice and probably a good value for the money.

I have found the trouble/problem with a lot of the more modern editors/processors is that they all have their own browser, and some INSIST on scanning one's computer looking for image files - this is really frustrating and time consuming if one has anywhere near a large hard drive.

Why an editor can't just use the existing Windoz Explorer to open a file like almost any other program I do not understand.

Anyway long story short - either figure out a way to by-pass using the built-in browser altogether - or have to be patient and wait until the program finishes its pre-scanning - this is one of the major problems I had with LightRoom (any version) - that it insists on using its own browser.

When I did use (more than one) beta and trial versions of LightRoom -
I previewed my photos either with just explorer or FastStone viewer - noted the filename - then simply opened them in LightRoom - saved me a lot of time and headache.

With Pentax DCU my default opening tab is Laboratory (top left corner)
I studiously avoid the built-in Browser altogether.

Hope that helps?

Last edited by UnknownVT; 04-13-2011 at 01:45 PM.
04-13-2011, 11:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
I have found the trouble/problem with a lot of the more modern editors/processors is that they all have their own browser
Since Pentax haven't seen fit to release a Codec for PEFs that works with Windows 7 and Vista x64 it's just as well Photoshop comes with Bridge.

However, you can open any photo from Windows Explorer - either associate the file type with the program you want to use, or Right-click and 'Open with' will do the trick.
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