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05-13-2008, 04:05 PM   #1
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Pentax Hacks?

Just because I am a geek by nature, I have looked at a few Canon hack sites for user modded firmware for their cameras. I am sure these exist because of the larger user base for their models, but does anyone know of any things being done for our Pentax bodies?

Camera Hacker

canondigicamhacking : canondigicamhacking

CHDK - CHDK Wiki

Plus many others. Just google canon camera hack for a sample. I haven't programmed much in over 15 years, so I am not the one to dig into these, however it is interesting to see and I have played with hacks on my desktop a bit to do things like overclock and change video modes and enable processors I wasn't supposed to use.

Just wondering...

Scott

05-13-2008, 04:13 PM   #2
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Why not just ask Pentax if they would be willing to offer documented firmware source code (plus development station or software compiler) for use as an aftermarket support service?

I ahve already posted a thread as to how much people woould pay for an upgrade to add their wish list

I believe leica did something like this for their users, buyt then again, I would not have bought a leica at the price they ask, so I guess they can afford to give this stuff away.
05-13-2008, 06:42 PM   #3
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It would be great to be able to do this but how many cameras would have to be sent back to pentax after the firmware was stuffed???
05-13-2008, 06:59 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emmanuel Quote
It would be great to be able to do this but how many cameras would have to be sent back to pentax after the firmware was stuffed???
If I were pentax, I would let it happen, as long as everyone accepted that this was their fault.

However, on a practical note, there are two levels of what we call firmware, and some data

One level is what is burned into Proms or memory on board and is really "firmware" in the true sense of the word, it is the low level operating system like BIOS on old computers that controlled how the fundamental machine worked. Input outputs control of memory and a small boot up routine, including how to read the memory card.

What we all talk about is really application software, what makes the camera meter like it does, focusing prgrams etc.

there is or should be a thrid part, I will call a calibration table, that has perhaps detailed focusing information, possibly exposure data etc, that is used and maintained regardless of software update because it is how your specific hardware, that might need final adjustments works.

If they only aloow access to application software, we could program new functions without screwing up calibration or the abiolity to reload standard software.

Service menues give you access to calibration data, that is what you can really mess up, if you don't record origonal settings.

05-14-2008, 12:38 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emmanuel Quote
It would be great to be able to do this but how many cameras would have to be sent back to pentax after the firmware was stuffed???
Have you seen the CHDK site, for example? It is firmware add-on, not replacement. You just put a memory card with it into the camera and it is active and runs from the card. When you remove it from the card, you have your old clean firmware untouched, all additional functions removed. Not that I suggest this should be possible with Pentax, it depends on the firmware architecture, but you can see that tweaking does not necessarily have to be that dangerous.The CHDK add-on does really wonderful things especially with cheap digital compact cameras, like adding support for RAW, extending available range of shutter speeds down to 1/20000 s (yes, the number of zero's is correct!) and many other additional features.

And in case Pentax would agree not just to reveal an API but to cooperate somehow with a group of independent developers (like it is in the world of computer software with Netscape/Mozilla, Sun/OpenOffice) it would have benefits for them. But it seems there is not such group of developers so far and we live in real world. Many limitations of firmware are intentional, for example, especially in lower models of cameras - just to make room in the market for the higher model.

Last edited by Tomas_IV; 05-14-2008 at 12:42 AM. Reason: Added sentence
05-14-2008, 05:37 AM   #6
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I like the idea of an open source camera. Pentax should release one with no firmware. Sort of open architecture for programmers to play with. You load your own firmware and operating system, tweak the settings, program buttons, etc.
09-08-2008, 06:36 PM   #7
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Just my 2-cents worth here - If you have ever had a computer software issue and called the publisher, you will find out why this open-source or publiched hacks, while a fun idea, wouldn't work.

You have an issue with some software you have purchased. So, you call and explain your problem to the publisher. They most often say "You have the latest version and we don't have any other issues like yours - it is a Windows problem". You call MS and they say "It is a problem with the software, not Windows". So, getting people to admit something they have worked on may be the issue, is pretty difficult. So, we'd have a lot of people saying "I followed the instructions perfectly and now the camera doesn't work anymore" and people blaming one group or another.
09-08-2008, 08:56 PM   #8
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My day job is as a software developer, and I have worked on embedded firmware in the past (not for cameras though), and I have to say I don't really see this working at all.

QuoteOriginally posted by drabina Quote
I like the idea of an open source camera. Pentax should release one with no firmware. Sort of open architecture for programmers to play with. You load your own firmware and operating system, tweak the settings, program buttons, etc.
You mean release a camera which is totally worthless? Without the software it's a nice paperweight. As such, it probably appeals to much less than 5% of the already small number of Pentax users. Many embedded devices do not have an operating system as you imagine it, and either do not have a protected mode, or do not use it - this means you can't have "applications" as most people think of them - instead you have one giant clump of code which all have to play nicely or your camera crashes.

They could, presumably offer a camera which allowed a lot of reconfiguration, but I'd expect this would probably be via a desktop application running on a computer you plug your camera into. Now that probably would appeal to a larger proportion of the user base, but large enough to be worth it? They're probably better off improving liveview.

QuoteOriginally posted by Tomas_IV Quote
Many limitations of firmware are intentional, for example, especially in lower models of cameras - just to make room in the market for the higher model.
Not just that, but with many embedded devices, the low end and high end models are actually comprised of the exact same [electrical] hardware - it reduces manufacturing costs. Mechanical parts may, however be different - sometimes the lower end model has a feature disabled in software because it the mechanical parts may not be capable of supporting it properly - in many cases this is by design.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Why not just ask Pentax if they would be willing to offer documented firmware source code (plus development station or software compiler) for use as an aftermarket support service?
This assumes a lot of things:
1) The source code is actually documented. This costs more money than you might think.
2) That the firmware source does not contain third party code or other technology which Pentax has licensed but does not have the right to distribute.
3) That the firmware won't change significantly in the future - it probably will, and I doubt Pentax wants to be constrained by their previous code. If they change it, and suddenly all the third party work is no longer compatible, then there will now be a group of angry users.

The underlying problem is this - open sourcing something (as opposed to dumping it) is a lot of work, both now, and in the future. Will the extra returns ever pay for this cost? I highly doubt it.


Last edited by cpopham; 09-08-2008 at 09:04 PM.
09-08-2008, 10:07 PM   #9
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someone hacked k10d firmware so as to add their own language etc (about a year ago?). they mentioned it on dpreview (and got heavily criticised by some people) from memory they had a web page with info on it. if you were search dpreview pentax forum for k10d hack or similar it should come up
09-08-2008, 11:47 PM   #10
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I have the CHDK hack on the SD card I use for my Canon SD800IS and it works like a charm! The great thing about it (besides what I get from the camera now) is the hack stays ONLY on the SD card and does not affect the camera's firmware whatsoever. Instead, it acts as a parallel firmware which can be toggled on or off at start up.

With this hack, I can now shoot RAW, shoot video using my camera's lens zoom , instead of merely the digital zoom, shoot at incredibly high shutter speeds, an indefinite intervolometer, adjustable motion detection sensitivity, and other things. This out of a pocket P&S!

Safe to say, I use my K10D fpr the serious stuff, but as I carry my ultra compact P&S with me just abouyt everywhere, it's a lot fun to play around with it now and the RAW shots are pretty darn impressive.

Jason
09-09-2008, 02:13 AM   #11
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Canon cameras use DOS for their operating system, according to the blurb on the Yahoo group. That makes it easy to hack and release programmming APIs for third-party software developers. I seem to recall that Pentax uses a proprietary Fujitsu OS to develop their firmware, which would be an obstacle for Pentax(Hoya) to release any similar information.
09-09-2008, 05:30 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Maybe some motivated software developer could backwards engineer the firmware and map it?

Ooooo....sounds like work! ....and might not be very ethical!
09-09-2008, 06:45 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by philmorley Quote
someone hacked k10d firmware so as to add their own language etc
There was the add your name hack as well.

Thank you
Russell
09-11-2008, 11:09 PM   #14
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What I'd Like To Have in Firmware

Through a hack or through an official release I'd like at least more "Users" and each of them have customizable settings too! The ability to edit and set the paramiters through a computer based program and down load it either to the camera itself or to a file on each SD used.

I have a Canon S5IS and had been wondering if there was a hack to get RAW. Thanks for the tip.
09-11-2008, 11:22 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by metroeloise Quote
The ability to edit and set the paramiters through a computer based program and down load it either to the camera itself
Pentax Remote Assistant does this.
QuoteQuote:
PENTAX is pleased to announce the release of PENTAX Remote Assistant 3, available free of charge to owners of compatible cameras. Remote Assistant allows you to use your computer to control a tethered camera, making it ideal in various studio and special application photographic situations. In addition to standard remote camera operation, Remote Assistant offers functions such as:

* Operational control of 2 or more cameras
* Interval, Timer, and Bulb Timer modes
* Remote User Mode and Custom Functions control
* And more

COMPATIBLE CAMERAS

* K10D (with firmware version 1.20 or later)
* K20D
Thank you
Russell
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