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04-12-2017, 04:42 PM   #1
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Pentax Firmware - Ever going to add features?

Hey all,

I recently heard a podcast (PetaPixel) that spoke of the wonderful things Fuji is doing for their cameras with firmware updates - not just their new cameras but their older ones as well. I own three Pentax cameras and rarely (if ever) see anything like this for the cameras. I currently have as my primary a K3ii and it has potential - but - I see that Pentax will most likely not have anymore updates for it as it is soon to be replaced. I remember recently filling out a survey for firmware software feature requests (Thread to collect easy firmware improvement suggestions (software feature requests) - Page 7 - PentaxForums.com) but doubt if this will occur for the K3ii....just looking at the Pentax track record of no added bonuses after a while. The only thing I ever see are "stability fixes" and fixes for lens issues.

I feel that being a loyal Pentaxian has its benefits and its limitations. Limitations include fewer third-party lenses (Sigma has some killer glass on the market but has basically ignored Pentax recently - save for a scant few lenses) and accessories. Benefits are reliability in crud weather and easy to handle. Also a very low learning curve from model to model.

Does anyone feel the same about firmware or is it just me? I have invested lots of money into Pentax cameras and lenses - hate to see the cool features on the new models only - but this does get one to upgrade camera hardware sooner...

04-12-2017, 05:00 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Firmware updates would not be able to bring new features to an old camera if the hardware does not support the new feature. What sort of updates do you have in mind?
04-12-2017, 05:37 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by claskowski Quote
recently heard a podcast (PetaPixel) that spoke of the wonderful things Fuji is doing for their cameras with firmware updates
That is Fuji's product development model. Hardware goes to market with an immature feature set and users are subsequently wowed with stuff that might have been on the camera on initial release, had the company chosen to delay the product for a couple of months. Pentax, up until recently, tended to keep the feature set static and release firmware for product support or bug fix purposes only. There are pluses and minuses to both approaches. The interesting thing is that Pentax has started migrating some features back to other models within the limits of hardware support. That is very cool. I keep hoping that the night vision LCD scheme will make it back to the K-3 along with the EFC shutter in live view. Both should be possible...we will see


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04-12-2017, 05:57 PM   #4
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+1 for Steve's post.

Firmware upgrades can never give you a feature that the hardware isn't already capable of.

The product may be released before the bugs are ironed out, and the feature is added in later.

Pentax K-1 examples include EFSC, and 1:1 crop mode (which was in fact in the pre-production firmware, but pulled for whatever problem they found in the Gold release).

04-12-2017, 06:17 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Pentax does it better than some. I have a GX-20, which Samsung abandoned without applying all of the firmware updates Pentax came out with for its sibling the K20D. Samsung left off at version 1.03 while Pentax went on to release one more revision, 1.04, which included a desirable feature of stability with larger SDHC cards; thus the GX-20 cannot use cards larger than 16GB (officially only 8GB) while the K20D can use larger cards.
04-12-2017, 06:24 PM   #6
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I don't expect firmwear upgrades to add features, only to fix hardware glitches that weren't right. Maybe Fuji put some products out that really weren't ready, or purposely held the features back, that's fine but not normal.
04-12-2017, 06:57 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That is Fuji's product development model. Hardware goes to market with an immature feature set and users are subsequently wowed with stuff that might have been on the camera on initial release, had the company chosen to delay the product for a couple of months.
Yes.. I looked into the last firmware update of the Fuji XT2, and I was very astonished that many of the features added by firmware were already included in my Pentax camera when it was released. Then I realized what the Fuji firmware update was about.
04-12-2017, 07:13 PM - 1 Like   #8
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We've started getting more than just compatibility additions in the K-1 and 645Z. That was very refreshing to see and it looks like the trend may continue with the potential addition of video SR to the K-1 and KP.

At the same time we have to be realistic: Ricoh can't afford to maintain older/cheaper models via firmware, beyond compatibility updates to support the latest lenses and accessories as hardware allows.


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04-13-2017, 12:43 AM   #9
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You are right, it's a shame that they don't support older cameras with firmware updates. I would like to see all those new jpeg corrections (vignetting, diffraction) in my K-x and K-01, as well as support for more Pentax lenses. At least the FA primes (FA 35/2, FA 50/1.7) should be supported for jpeg corrections.
04-13-2017, 01:04 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by climit Quote
You are right, it's a shame that they don't support older cameras with firmware updates. I would like to see all those new jpeg corrections (vignetting, diffraction) in my K-x and K-01, as well as support for more Pentax lenses.
The Prime MII image processor and accelerator unit might have more to do with that than firmware.
04-13-2017, 04:03 AM   #11
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There was time when we had "Ask Ricoh" section on this forum. Then it was closed. There ware quite a bit of theads containing firmware suggestions.
Some firmware changes should be easy to implement, like autofocus fine tune range extension(from -10/+10 to -20/+20), all pentax cameras allready have this feature, along with much more advanced tune up options, but its hidden into debug menu that no one should mess around if not skilled enough.
There was also a survey with firmware suggestions passed to Ricoh, but there was no response.
04-13-2017, 04:19 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Let's take the K-1 as an example - it's not random, but their K-mount flagship and one of the cameras for which they added most features via firmware updates.
Reference: Latest PENTAX K-1 Firmware Update : Software Downloads | RICOH IMAGING
New features (not bugfixes):
- KAF4 support
- EFCS support
- square format crop mode
- new bracketing options
- red light LCD monitor display function (night mode)
- bulb timer
We're waiting for (at least) another firmware update, one which would add mechanical SR for video.
04-13-2017, 04:57 AM   #13
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To answer MarkJerling's question - There are a few things that could be added such as a "night mode"; ability to dim the rear display down even more in dark settings; "focus bracketing" where the auto-focus system would give a slight focus shift either before or after (or both) on the central point of focus; ability to bracket seven exposures; longer timer; live-view stay active when switching between it and the menu; timer-countdown on the rear screen.

As for open-source firmware - not saying that... - open-source is a two-edged sword...it can add cool features but the risk is very high that something will go wrong and you get a Pentax paperweight.

One more - I read many examples in this thread of what features have been brought to the K-1 in firmware updates. What about the K3ii - it is still available for sale (although it is soon to be discontinued).

Not knocking Pentax cameras as they are - but the Ricoh folks seems to only work on their latest model(s) and ignore (but still sell) the others unless there is a major bug - then it is squashed but no features added.
04-13-2017, 06:49 AM   #14
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KAF4 support on older models I believe would help on selling newer lenses, so that sort of firmware upgrade wouldn't be bad?
04-13-2017, 08:21 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by climit Quote
At least the FA primes (FA 35/2, FA 50/1.7) should be supported for jpeg corrections.
Never mind that corrections for those two lenses are not supported even on the newer bodies. Pentax only supports corrections for DA and D FA series lenses.


Steve
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