Pentax K-1 Review

Firmware Additions

As a professional-series model, the Pentax K-1 may enjoy occasional feature-enhancing firmware updates.

In firmware version 1.40, launched on November 16th, 2016, the following features were added:

  1. LCD Night Vision Mode
    The backlight is dimmed and the LCD adopts a red color palette to allow you to operate the camera in darkness without being blinded.

  2. Extended Bulb Timer
    In Bulb mode, it is now possible to select shutter speeds up to 20 minutes.  There's no longer a need for a remote or a cable release just for this purpose.

  3. White Dot Noise Reduction
    Some users have experienced stray white dots in long exposures of the night sky.  When long shutter speeds are used and slow shutter speed noise reduction is enabled, new in-camera processing seeks to remove these artifacts.

The latest update also includes all of the features from firmware version 1.30, originally introduced on September 29th, 2016:

  1. Electronic Front Curtain Shutter in Live View
    EFCS can now be enabled for live view shooting.  This will help alleviate shake that otherwise induces a slight degree of blur at shutter speeds in the 1/90-1/180s range.  This function is primarily intended for shooting on a tripod, so Shake Reduction is unavailable while it is enabled.

  2. 1:1 Crop Mode
    Originally found on the K-1 prototype, the square crop mode has made a return.  As in APS-C crop mode, lines in the viewfinder indicate the crop area.

  3. Function Dial BKT Quality-of-life Improvement
    You can now go back to single-shot mode while BKT is selected on the Function Dial.  This is a big time-saver, as previously, you had to enter the menu or turn the Function Dial to another setting to exit bracketing.

  4. 2-frame AA Simulator Bracketing
    You can now choose to bracket for only the Type 2 (strong) AA filter simulator setting.

The third item effectively addresses our gripes regarding the user-friendliness of the Function Dial while BKT is selected.

More importantly, however, the addition of electronic front curtain shutter (EFCS) will ensure sharp images in certain shooting conditions.  Due to the large size of the K-1's shutter mechanism, internal vibrations can otherwise induce blur at slower shutter speeds.  We are this very happy to see EFCS being added to the K-1; this also makes the camera more competitive alongside the Nikon D810, which has a similar setting.

Previous firmware updates (v1.1 and v1.2) added compatibility with Pentax's tethering software and the latest DA lenses.  All updates are cumulative, so you only need to install the latest update to get all the available features.


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