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08-12-2008, 12:00 PM   #1
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K20D - Occasional blank captures

This is weird. From time to time, using my K20D, the first shot I take after turning on the camera is entirely black. Here are some samples, should you wish to pixel-peep or review EXIF:

Pixel Peeping - Black Frames- powered by SmugMug

I'll look at the preview and it's black. A few seconds later I'll snap another shot and it will come out fine. This has happened with (at least) a couple of different lenses and a couple of different memory cards, so I don't think I can attribute the problem to either of those. And if you look closely at the samples, stretching out the pixel values to extremes, you will see there's noise over the entire frame (and it varies, as expected, based on ISO), so clearly it's trying to capture SOMETHING.

Before I go any further, let me make it clear that THESE ARE NOT LENS CAP PICTURES! I'm 100% certain of that. I'm pretty sure I'd notice it when, say, looking through the viewfinder to compose.

Another indication it's not a lens cap issue: if I look at the EXIF for the immediately subsequent (successful) pictures, the exposure settings are similar. So to me it looks like it's metering successfully, then attempting to snap a shot, and then I don't know what happens. Intermittent mirror or shutter failure, perhaps?

I wonder if anyone else here has seen this, or might have suggestions. It doesn't happen very often, unfortunately, so that makes it hard to analyze. I'm afraid if I take it in for repair I'll get a "works for me" diagnosis.

It's irritating. I have been lucky so far, but sometimes you don't get a second chance to take a shot.

08-12-2008, 12:16 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: York Region Canada
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This used to happen with my istD, but only using the pop up flash. 5-6 good shots, then 1-2 blank screens, then some good ones.

A trip to Pentax Canada for a repair fixed that.

I used to get these type of things with my Nikon D1, when the battery was starting to fail, but still showed full or 3/4 full.
A fresh battery fixed that up.

Those are my only two cases.

08-18-2008, 11:33 AM   #3
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Original Poster
Urg, now it's happening almost every time I power on.

It doesn't seem to matter whether it's an AF or old manual lens, and with old lenses, using the green button to perform stop-down metering first doesn't seem to affect whether I get a blank picture.

But it appears it's ONLY the first shot after power on. So until I can get it fixed, I guess I'll get into the habit of burning one shot every time I power up.

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