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09-14-2011, 08:01 AM   #1
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Thoughts on features & firmware

I got to thinking yesterday... Aren't there some features missing from cameras that could just easily be written into the firmware?

For instance, I think a couple of nice touches for the K-x would've been ISO speeds of 25, 64, & 100, and adjustable audio levels for video recording. Seems to me those could've just been written into the software, but I'm not a software engineer, so I might be totally wrong on this.

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)

09-14-2011, 08:37 AM   #2
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I'm no camera engineer (are there such people?) but I believe in the case of ISO, this is limited by the capabilities of the sensor, not the firmware. On modifications to firmware, sure there are lots of things that have been suggested on this very forum that we 'wish' were added.
09-14-2011, 08:58 AM   #3
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I think giving more manual control of video is the biggest one. Other thing is how long you have to hold th ok button to activate the auto focus select points option.
09-14-2011, 09:00 AM   #4
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If you mean ISO steps smaller than 100,200,400,800, then it's in the menu. If you mean ISO steps below 100ISO, then that's the sensor's restriction.

09-14-2011, 09:56 AM   #5
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A couple years ago was a thread about hi-res low-ISO possibilities, with reports of a firm using a sensor without a Bayer filter to generate B&W images at effectively ISO 25. Haven't heard of that lately so maybe it just didn't pan out. Too bad.

As for firmware: I've seen numerous wish-lists here of features that *could* be included with no bother; and calls for a Pentax SDK so independent developers could add features; and links to some hacks of K10D and possibly other warez.

But we're still where we are. So, welcome to the funny-farm. Let's keep on wishing.
09-14-2011, 05:06 PM   #6
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If you really want to go down the rocky road of wish lists, I'll start

How about the following

Open aperture metering for k mounts (in cripple the k mount)
at least 1 current body ( probably the flagship body) with TTL capable flash
Some form of P-TTL support for legacy lenses probably by combination of enter max aperture and green button
09-14-2011, 05:23 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Open aperture metering for k mounts (in cripple the k mount)
at least 1 current body ( probably the flagship body) with TTL capable flash
Some form of P-TTL support for legacy lenses probably by combination of enter max aperture and green button
I think these require more than firmware hacks.
09-15-2011, 01:21 AM   #8
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Regarding P-TTL support of legacy lenses, it's easily done by moving the pre-flash from "before aperture actuation" to "after aperture actuation" in the case of non-A lenses, considering then that flash metering is done at the same aperture than the actual photo... That must be maybe 2-3 lines of code to add...
We've already proved it's a fully viable method, as it already works with m42 lenses (using the aluminum foil trick), even for wireless.

Regarding support of legacy lenses, a better Av implementation could be made easily: on half-press, the camera could stop down the lens then meter (maybe after a small wait to ensure that aperture blades are fully in position). LCD display would remain "F--" for the aperture.
Thus, focusing wide open would not be impeded, and shooting in Av mode would remain natural, without any extra step or data entry.
Better still : on half-press, the camera could meter wide open, stop-down, meter again, compute the actual f-stop difference, then use this difference to allow wide-open metering for as long as you maintain half-press. this way, focusing and CIF would be easier.
Only drawback : you cannot change aperture while half-pressing (but that would be kind of difficult!).

Another possible implementation would be that the user sets the same aperture on both the lens and the camera, but this would imply that Pentax adds a "Maximum aperture" entry, like the focal length entry we have for SR. Too much to ask IMO...
Talking about focal length entry: for PK-A lens, fix the damn Auto-iso!!! It currently does not take the focal length into account, and you end up with a constant 1/60 speed floor, even with a 200mm lens.

Another easy firmware change concerns Catch-In-Focus (CIF) : in manual focus position, using the AF button should enable Catch-In-Focus. This way, any AF lens can be used with CIF.
You could even make it a latch through a custom function (for use with remotes): one push enables CIF, another disables it (effect seen in the viewfinder through the "MF" display).
Being in the code, they could also remove the dumb limitation asking for the mount contacts to be shortened.

And add the movie mode to the USER choices!!! Movie mode is utterly crippled by the simple fact that it has to share its picture mode with the PSAM modes...
Another easy change would be to allow immediate movie mode (from any still mode) by pressing LV for one second, and <Dream> keep the current mode controls </Dream>.

09-15-2011, 02:43 AM   #9
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A simple add-on to save and restore the actual configuration on the SD card.
09-15-2011, 06:09 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
If you really want to go down the rocky road of wish lists, I'll start

How about the following

Open aperture metering for k mounts (in cripple the k mount)
at least 1 current body ( probably the flagship body) with TTL capable flash
Some form of P-TTL support for legacy lenses probably by combination of enter max aperture and green button
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I think these require more than firmware hacks.
I don't disagree, except for the last one, because if we had for example, the ability to input the maximum aperture and then press the green button, the camera would know based upon difference in exposure, between open aperture and stopped down, the actual shooting aperture, it could use that to do the P-TTL calculation in place of the lens contact info and preset aperture.

Alternitively, if when doing preflash, the flash metering pulses took place while the aperture was stopped down, but mirror still in place (since this is necessary for using the cameras exposure sensors for flash) then it could work regardless of lens. BUT exposure lag for flash shots would increase significantly.
09-15-2011, 06:19 AM   #11
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OK since I have been beaten on my requested hardware fixes for legacy lenses, here are some pure software fixes.

Flash exposure with manual focus lenses
-(or all exposure control for that matter) with A setting. At present even with A lenses when we inout the focal length, this is only available for SR and is not considered in any exposure modes. If you look at flash exposure for example, the shutter speed is controlled by focal length, for blended flash using an AF lens, but for MF lenses shutter is always defaulted in any auto mode to 1/180. why can't it use the input focal length.

Teleconverter compensation.

-This has been a long debated point, but is a royal pain in the neck for all those who use flash for wild life shots, and who use a TC. Most TCs do not correct for aperture coding, and P-TTL flash needs exposure compensation to be correct when using a TC,
- lack of focal length compensation means SR is set for 50% (for 2x) of the correct focal length.
-metering in most modes, especially on K10 and K20 was off using a TC due to the non linearity of the metering system and the correction implemented in the camera using the known lens aperture.

In terms of pure software, how about support for adobe lens profiles in the pentax photo lab.

edit note

perhaps a simple thing, but why block DOF preview and stopped down metering when there is no short to lens mount on the K7 and K5. on older cameras insulated mouont extension tubes worked just fine, but on the K7 and K5 (not sure about K-x, K-r and K20) you need to scrape the paint / coating off the TC to short the AF data pin to the mount

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 09-15-2011 at 06:26 AM.
09-15-2011, 07:28 AM   #12
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I've not yet had any depresso (decaf espresso) this morning, so I can't remember all the firmware goodies I thought should be included. The short list that percolates to the top of my so-called consciousness includes:

* DOF bracketing (with AF lenses)
* TETHERING!! BRING IT BACK!!
* in-camera GIF animations, yeah
* TTL-flash support -- c'mon now!
* selectable Dark Frame Subtraction
* low-ISO (10-100) interpolation
* selectable burst speeds/frames
* more button reprogramability
(allowing a burst-control button)

Are these so much to ask for?

Last edited by RioRico; 09-15-2011 at 04:47 PM.
09-15-2011, 03:57 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Are these so much to ask for?
Throw enough money at it and anything is possible. Yes, tethering (without overheating sensor limitation) would be nice.
09-15-2011, 05:01 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
Throw enough money at it and anything is possible. Yes, tethering (without overheating sensor limitation) would be nice.
What is so hard fir tethering without sensor overhear

I see no difference between this and either live view or video
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