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10-08-2016, 09:48 AM   #1
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Why would Pentax drop certain technologies with their newest bodies?

I was going through some of the specs of the K-1 and the K70.
Both do not have USB 3. My K-3 II does.
Neither have NFC either. My wife's K-S2 has it.
Why in the world would Pentax do this?


Last edited by sarge; 10-08-2016 at 10:39 AM.
10-08-2016, 10:21 AM   #2
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Just a guess on USB 3: It's a design decision forced by the peak power requirements in both the USB interface and SD card interface. UHS-II cards require twice the peak power of UHS-I (2.88 W vs. 1.44 W) and I'm sure that USB-3 driver chips need more power than USB-2 chips.

There's a lot of stuff in the camera tapping power (SD card, USB, CPU, LCD display, SR system, AF motors, mirror motors, shutter motors, etc.). Draw too many amps for even the briefest moment from the battery and its voltage will drop and the whole system will glitch.

So if the designers put in a UHS-I chipset to ensure reliability, the bandwidth limits on the card make it pointless to put in USB3.

(Note: peak power is different from the number of shots per battery charge. A camera can have really high shots per charge but still be more power-hungry than another camera with few shots per charge)
10-08-2016, 10:38 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Just a guess on USB 3: It's a design decision forced by the peak power requirements in both the USB interface and SD card interface. UHS-II cards require twice the peak power of UHS-I (2.88 W vs. 1.44 W) and I'm sure that USB-3 driver chips need more power than USB-2 chips.

There's a lot of stuff in the camera tapping power (SD card, USB, CPU, LCD display, SR system, AF motors, mirror motors, shutter motors, etc.). Draw too many amps for even the briefest moment from the battery and its voltage will drop and the whole system will glitch.

So if the designers put in a UHS-I chipset to ensure reliability, the bandwidth limits on the card make it pointless to put in USB3.

(Note: peak power is different from the number of shots per battery charge. A camera can have really high shots per charge but still be more power-hungry than another camera with few shots per charge)
That would make sense with the K70 due to the smaller battery but doesn't the K-1 use the same battery as the K-3 II?
10-08-2016, 10:51 AM   #4
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As explained by one of the Pentax execs... when the design of the K-1 started, USB 2 was the way to go. Changing to USB 3 would have slowed down the release date.

10-08-2016, 10:57 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sarge Quote
That would make sense with the K70 due to the smaller battery but doesn't the K-1 use the same battery as the K-3 II?
That's true. But the K-1 has much higher peak power demands from the larger sensor and larger SR system.

Some of the cases of the K3's "crazy mirror sickness" may have been related to power issues in which the battery could not supply enough power to fully complete the mirror down-up cycle. Power glitches can be hard to diagnose after the fact because they depend on each subsystem just happening to draw a lot of power at the same instant.

Note: what I wrote is just a plausible guess rather than direct knowledge from Pentax.
10-08-2016, 11:04 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
As explained by one of the Pentax execs... when the design of the K-1 started, USB 2 was the way to go. Changing to USB 3 would have slowed down the release date.
And we are Lucky to not have USB 1.1

I think different teams work on these models. All component cost money. Not only in parts and design, but sometimes also in a the form of a licents fee.
10-08-2016, 11:12 AM   #7
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I doubt power requirement is a factor. The power would be supplied by the computer the camera is connected to, not the camera.
My card readers and portable hard drives don't have batteries.
10-08-2016, 11:22 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sarge Quote
Both do not have USB 3. My K-3 II does. Neither have NFC either. My wife's K-S2 has it.
If you have all products, you all features.

10-08-2016, 01:06 PM   #9
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Nfc has been dropped from phones and cameras a lot lately. I think that particular technology is still on the cusp of could gain more traction and stay or just fade away.
10-08-2016, 01:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by sarge Quote
I was going through some of the specs of the K-1 and the K70.
Both do not have USB 3. My K-3 II does.
Neither have NFC either. My wife's K-S2 has it.
Why in the world would Pentax do this?
With the K-1 they said it entered development before the K-3, hence no USB 3. Possibly no room for it, either, since it's a larger connector and they were already trying to keep the body size down.

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10-08-2016, 01:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
I doubt power requirement is a factor. The power would be supplied by the computer the camera is connected to, not the camera.
My card readers and portable hard drives don't have batteries.
The camera rarely has computer-supplied power during most picture-taking actions so why add support for UHS-II if the camera's battery can't handle it.

And if the camera is limited to to using UHS-I cards, why add a more complicated power system and USB-3 if the cards are too slow to take advantage of it?

Last edited by photoptimist; 10-08-2016 at 02:11 PM.
10-08-2016, 01:37 PM   #12
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While I agree that it is puzzling that K-3/K-3II/645Z have USB 3, but more recent Pentaxes don't, there is no need for Pentaxians to feel left out about USB 2.

Even the latest and greatest Sony's like the A6500, RX100 V, A99 II, A7 RII, A7 SII - which are otherwise bristling with the latest technology - only offer USB 2. So there must be practical reasons for sticking with it. I suspect that 480Mbps is probably fast enough for most purposes.

Other brands are like Pentax, with mixed USB3/USB2 support - eg the newest Nikon pro DSLR's (D500, D5) get USB 3, but the latest Nikon amateur DSLR (D3400) only gets USB 2. Same with Canon: pro DSLR's like the 5D4 or 1Dx2 get USB 3, consumer DSLR (80D) only get USB 2.

In a year or two, I suspect, USB 3 will be the default.
10-08-2016, 02:28 PM   #13
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I literally never use the usb connection on my k-3.
10-08-2016, 04:01 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I literally never use the usb connection on my k-3.
I didn't until I tried it. It is much more convenient and creates less wear and tear on the door, slots and cards. The rubber USB cover is easier and cheaper to replace when it wears out than the card door would be, and the USB connector is designed for frequent use, and has no moving parts unlike the SD slots. Plus, in my case, the card readers on both my computers are internally attached to USB2 bus, so the read speed is far higher.

My biggest gripe with the K-3II was that for the price of the body, they were too cheap to include a cable, despite it being the recommended way to transfer files in the manual!
10-08-2016, 10:42 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by victormeldrew Quote
The rubber USB cover is easier and cheaper to replace when it wears out than the card door would be, and the USB connector is designed for frequent use, and has no moving parts unlike the SD slots.
Not when Ricoh won't sell parts to end users so you have to send it in to a authorized service center which charges a flat service rate of $250-325 USD.

Molex rates the durability on their connectors at a minimum of 10,000 cycles. So if you cycled a card out once a day it would last a minimum of 27.4 years.

Last edited by Not a Number; 10-08-2016 at 10:53 PM.
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