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03-20-2017, 09:18 PM   #1
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Reliability issue

Hi there,

I am a long time Pentax user, I shoot film before digital so I know how good was the LX. My first DSLR wasn't a Pentax but an used Olympus E300, then I decided to switch to Pentax because it has better ergonomic and I want a bigger sensor.

My first Pentax DSLR was the K20D and I fell in love with it, I specially like the weather sealing design, I don't see any other brands at least not that price range came with this feature, I also like the twist locking SD card and battery compartment, but sad to see Pentax simplified the locking system on newer models. After some 7-8yrs. of use I do have some complain on Pentax DSLR, which is the reliability problem.

My first problem was with the K20D, it keep locks up after every 100 or so shots, the display locked up all button failed to respond, power switch won't function, I must reload the battery to fix this. Then later I switched to the K7, I don't have much time with it due to it has sensor fault, there are horizontal color stripes at high ISO which is a common problem with this model, I traded it for the K5 soon after repair. I got the lock up problem with the K5 as well but to a lesser extent, then I switched to the K3 after a year, the lockup problem is very rare but still exist after every 4-5 hundreds of shots, but removing the battery to unlock in the middle of shoot is quite trouble, especially when it is raining, and this bring to my 2nd problem with the K3, the water resistance.

One of the reasons I use Pentax is the weather sealing, I shoot lot of outdoor and wildlife so weather sealing is important to me, one day I shoot in a down pour which is not my first time to do this, but I used a sling belt to put the camera in near up side down position, after 5 min. of use the camera locked, I carefully reload the battery of course in the upright position, the camera worked but locked up again and again until it completely freeze, I've no other choice but bring it to service. The technician found water in the battery compartment and caused a short and ruined the circuit board, the repair would cause me $400 because it was caused by 'human error', after lengthy 'discussion' with Pentax I finally got a new replacement from Pentax Japan FOC after 2 months of time, but up to now I still don't know what caused the lockup that forced me to open the battery door in the rain, did the lockup caused by water leak ? I purchased the K50 which is also weather for temporary use before I got the K3 replacement, and I put a tape to seal the battery door just in case. I also purchased the K3 battery grip for added water protection, and I will definitely do this with my new Pentax as well !

My problem did not end here, just yesterday my camera plus grip locked up again, I reload the grip battery did not fix that, I must reload the camera one, I already set the grip battery as default power source but the camera still rely on the internal battery. I don't see any water leak on the K3 after 3yrs of heavy use, I dropped it couple time scratches and dents all over the place but it still works, it is just the lockup problem bugging me. I understand it may not electronically possible for easy switching of power source, but the lockup problem must be fixed, if Pentax can't fix that they better put an easy accessible reset switch somewhere, btw I always update the firmware so this is not the one thing to blame !

03-20-2017, 09:28 PM   #2
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Silly thought, but is the camera showing that there's a battery in the grip? It should use the grip battery first if you tell it to, with the internal battery only being used to start the camera up. Dirty or damaged contacts on the grip could cause issues with this.

Do you also get lockups without the grip?

Also, are you using a high-quality SD cards? Slow or low-quality cards can crash the camera. You should be fine with a Sandisk extreme card, for instance, as long as it's UHS-I.

Adam
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03-20-2017, 09:46 PM   #3
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Yes the camera show both batteries installed, and the camera locks up even without the grip, battery contact may not be the problem as I change battery quite frequently, dirt will not stay. Good question about the SD, I am using Flashair wifi SD, it did fail on writing sometimes, so I have to install a 2nd normal SD as backup. The problematic Flashair did halt the camera some times, but my first lockup was without the Flashair. Btw I tried all wifi SD I can find in the market, Eyefi was the most powerful one the signal can reach long distance, but the s/w is not user friendly and I must apply an a/c to use it, I heard the new model does not support online storage so no need an a/c but never tried...
03-20-2017, 10:12 PM   #4
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Has your K20D got the latest ( last ) firmware version update, V1.04 ? The last update was to enhance image downloading to SD cards. Might be worth you updating if you have a previous version. Good luck.

03-20-2017, 10:14 PM   #5
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I'd completely skip out on wireless cards and see if they're part of the problem. Power drain plus slowness of the memory itself could be an issue under heavy use.

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03-20-2017, 10:23 PM   #6
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My K20D long gone and I believe it had the latest fw back then.

QuoteOriginally posted by pjv Quote
Has your K20D got the latest ( last ) firmware version update, V1.04 ? The last update was to enhance image downloading to SD cards. Might be worth you updating if you have a previous version. Good luck.


---------- Post added 03-21-17 at 01:24 PM ----------

WiFi SD is the only way before the K1 when I want to view and send the pics in a hurry.

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I'd completely skip out on wireless cards and see if they're part of the problem. Power drain plus slowness of the memory itself could be an issue under heavy use.
03-20-2017, 10:28 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
My K20D long gone and I believe it had the latest fw back then.
Apologies. I read the post too quickly and missed some info.
03-20-2017, 10:57 PM - 1 Like   #8
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No problem

QuoteOriginally posted by pjv Quote
Apologies. I read the post too quickly and missed some info.


03-21-2017, 01:41 AM   #9
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Weather sealing doesn't mean weather/waterproof. Seals can and will be damaged by wear, tear & dust. They don't last for ever.
03-21-2017, 02:01 AM   #10
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I only say water resist, and it is not a dive camera...
03-21-2017, 08:01 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
after 3yrs of heavy use, I dropped it couple time scratches and dents all over the place but it still works, it is just the lockup problem bugging me.
Could be many reasons. Including the "drops" or "heavy use". Or a weak battery, or a loose contact on the grip or the wi-fi card which generally seem to have issues. While I am sorry to hear you are having issues, nothing I see here indicates a reliability problem with Pentax. You seem to use your equipment roughly and that is fine but expecting things to last as long in that environment as they would in a studio seems unlikely.

As others have stated if you are having lockups start eliminating things that would cause them. It might not be the camera at all, but rather something you have attached to it, such as the wi-fi card, grip or even the SD card you are using. Older batteries can also be problematic. In general when comparing cameras used with grips and those without there is a large number of posts over years indicating that using a grip reduces the overall reliability of the camera. Try without the grip and see if that changes things.
03-21-2017, 10:39 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
My first problem was with the K20D, it keep locks up after every 100 or so shots, the display locked up all button failed to respond, power switch won't function, I must reload the battery to fix this. Then later I switched to the K7, I don't have much time with it due to it has sensor fault, there are horizontal color stripes at high ISO which is a common problem with this model, I traded it for the K5 soon after repair. I got the lock up problem with the K5 as well but to a lesser extent, then I switched to the K3 after a year, the lockup problem is very rare but still exist after every 4-5 hundreds of shots, but removing the battery to unlock in the middle of shoot is quite trouble, especially when it is raining, and this bring to my 2nd problem with the K3, the water resistance.

You started with a K20D seven or eight years ago and have gone through multiple bodies, all but one of which has failed or had serious issues. I bought my K10D new and got seven years of trouble-free use before moving to the K-3 just shy of three years ago. That camera has also been trouble-free. I live in a very wet part of the globe and don't baby my gear. I am not a fair-weather-only shooter. On the other hand, I can't imagine using tape in an attempt to buy extra water resistance. Ditto for adding a grip for that purpose.* If it is raining, the camera gets the same protection that I provide for myself.

QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
One of the reasons I use Pentax is the weather sealing, I shoot lot of outdoor and wildlife so weather sealing is important to me, one day I shoot in a down pour which is not my first time to do this, but I used a sling belt to put the camera in near up side down position, after 5 min. of use the camera locked
OK...this is your second K-3, right? IIRC, the first died due to water incursion after a 30 minute rain session and was replaced under warranty by Pentax as a "special case". In that thread you mentioned that your previous Pentax cameras had "condensation" on the top LCD.

QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
I dropped it couple time scratches and dents all over the place but it still works, it is just the lockup problem bugging me.
I remember reading about drop #3 here at PF (LINK). Three drops and still functioning except when it gets wet...impressive

It is tempting to deduce that there is a common thread with your camera problems besides the brand, but I won't go there.


Steve

* Adding a grip does not increase the number of seals between the wet and the electronics. From my point of view, doing so introduces additional potential points of failure.
03-21-2017, 10:59 AM   #13
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I don't think this is a reliability issue. As Steve has suggested, I believe you're simply much tougher on your equipment than the average photographer - either that, or you have really terrible luck

My old K-5 (which I bought soon after it was released) and current K-3 (I think I bought that a few months after release) have both been subjected to very wet conditions from rain and sea-spray, but always with WR or AW lenses attached. I always carry a small towel or old, clean cotton rags with me if there's any chance my gear will get wet, and I wipe my equipment dry as soon as I get the opportunity. After a cursory wipe down, I open any doors and port covers and wipe those dry too in case any moisture has made its way in. I make sure my gear is properly dried before storing it away. If I'm going from a very cold environment to a warm one, I leave my camera and lenses in the bag for as long as possible before taking them out, which gives them time to gradually adjust in temperature and avoids condensation forming internally. In all the time I've shot with the K-5 and K-3, I've not once had a problem with water ingress or condensation.

Also, a point with the grip... Water has a habit of staying put in the small gap between the grip and base of the camera. I found this out after a weekend away last year where I was photographing grey seals from the water. I wiped the camera and lens dry as usual, but didn't take the grip off the camera. A few days later, I removed the grip, and salt water had started to corrode the metal of the grip's top plate, near the connector and screw mount - only very slightly, but the black paint finish had faint "bubbles" visible on it. I've since experimented by spraying water from a bottle into that gap, then tried shaking it and blowing it clean without removing the grip... but some usually remains. So, I now take everything apart and clean each item individually

Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-21-2017 at 11:06 AM.
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