Pentax K10D – Known Issues

I love my Pentax K10D. Very worthy replacement for my *ist DS.

As everything else, these days, it does have issues. I’ll try to keep up to date with them in this post, so that new owners for the K10D can be made aware of them and hopefully find help in here.

I’ll mainly list the issues that are firmware related (and there for fixable), but I’ve included a couple of issues that are, probably, not fixable by firmware, or even something you really want fixed. Things like the Jpeg Edge issue is not really something that should be fixed, it’s just about knowing that you need to switch from Natural to Bright mode if you want sharper jpegs.

This blog has a thread at DPReview.com – where I’m trying to get help to make the list complete.

Please try to keep further discussion about specific issues to the linked threads. This blog is not really a good platform for discussions (a real forum is a lot better for stuff like that).

Update Jan. 20th 2007: There’s a version 1.1 firmware to be found. It seems to be the real deal. It changes this. From what people have reported on dpreview and my own experience it fixes what’s the change document says and nothing else. I’ll move all the issues that a fixed my 1.1 to a separate section..

Update Mar. 6th. 2007: There’s a version 1.11 firmware. Only a couple of minor issue fixed.

Exposure issues

Auto ISO will only go down in HyperProgram (P).

People are consistently reporting that auto ISO will correctly go down when selecting a slower shutter speed in P mode. But it will not go up when a faster shutter speed is selected. Use TVa mode instead – pressing the Green Button, will allow the camera to start from the top ISO speed again. Notes on FW1.1: Seems to be fixed, but I want a second opinion before I move it as this isn’t mentioned in the documentation.

Max shutter time of 30 seconds in Av

The camera gives a max shutter speed of 30 seconds when working in Av mode. This is as designed, but there’s should be an option to remove that maximum, and worse, some people are reporting that  when the shutter time should be more than 30 seconds the K10D cuts back to a very short exposure, like half a seconds, totally ruining the shot. Only fix is to work in bulb mode with a wired remote, which means giving up on the automated metering. Not changed with FW1.1

JPEG issues

Soft edges in jpeg.

Probably one of the most discussed issues with the K10D after Phil (owner of DPReview) mentioned it in his review (“Image Sharpness” paragraph). The general consensus on the dpreview Pentax SLR forum is that it can be solved by simply setting the images setting to “Bright” instead of the default “Natural”. There’s lot’s of threads about this on Dpreview, just search for “soft edge”. Here’s an example and another example here

Low dynamic range in jpeg.

The dpreview also reported low dynamic range in the jpegs. It also suggests that it can be better with the contrast turned down to -2 or -3

Will go back to Jpeg if Raw was selected by Raw Button

Even if “Continuous” was selected in the “Menu->C->One-touch Raw+Jpeg”, the camera will go back to jpeg mode if the menu is opened, replay mode is selected or camera mode is changed. Only way to be sure that the camera will stay i RAW mode is to select RAW in “Menu->Rec. Mode->File Format”, which will turn of the raw button. Not fixed in FW1.1.

Lens Issues

Over Exposure using the Green Button with M lenses.

Using the Green Button to set the exposure, with M lenses, seems to over expose in a lot of cases. Only solution is to work in manual mode. In some cases pressing the GB twice will solve the problem. Possibly related to instant preview mode. Note on FW1.1: Doesn’t seem to be solved.

Under Exposure in M mode with large apertures.

There’s fairly consistent reports of underexposure when using large apertures in M mode. It’s only an issue when aperture is set using the aperture ring on the lens, and only on M mode. Using exposure compensation and the preview histogram to fix. P.S.: This seems kind of mirror issue to the “Over exposure…” issue right above – I think that it may be the same issue, simply with somebody mixing accidentally writing Under when they meant Over.

Other/minor issues

Frames left wrong when using PEF.

The “frames left” counter will report the number of DNG images that can be take with the remaining memory, even if you are shooting PEF. As PEF files are “only” about 10MB and DNGs are about 16MB this is obvious wrong. Not fixed with FW1.1.

Internal Flash dying.

A few people have had their internal flash die on them. It not consistent, lots of people are having no problems at all, but it happens.

Camera freeze after lens/card change

A few people have a problem with the camera freezing up, after the memory card or the lens has been changed. Fix, is to remove battery for a short while. Probably a hardware error, and a return to Pentax is probably the only fix (but you could wait and see if it’s fixed by a firmware update, if you do not want to part with the camera).

Fixed with Firmware 1.1

Battery depleted after 32 seconds in Bulb mode

The camera turns off and reports that the battery is depleted after 32 seconds, when long time exposures are done in bulb mode. Try to read this thread on DPreview

Apparently it’s an issue with new batteries, that needs to be charged a couple of times before they behave right. “Auto power off” setting does not make a difference.

FW1.1 note: I’ve tested this myself. The first time after updating, with a nearly depleted battery it actually give me a 32 seconds exposure, but after charging the battery it works fine.

Banding in long time exposures.

Yes, there’s banding issues at long time exposure. See this thread on dpreview

GordonBGood has done some amazing detective work on this issue and thinks that it can be solved either in the firmware (but with a speed penalty), or in postprocessing.

A response from Pentax was posted in this thread. Note: Some people are questioning, whether the response is really from Pentax or not.

FW1.1 note: As I haven’t been able to do long time exposure before I upgrade to 1.1, I really do not have anything to compare with, and I haven’t seen any thing on DPreview about whether this issue have been solved to satisfaction. But I’ll keep an eye out for it.

Front/Back focus in low/artificial light

Some people are reporting issues with back or front focus in artificial light. It doesn’t seem consistent, but it’s rather hard to judge these reports, as good focus tests has a lot of variables, and people often forget to report lighting conditions, when they tell about their focus issues. Other people report that they have better focus with better charged batteries.

FW1.1 note: Not an official fix, but someone figures how to activate the service menu, where the auto-focus can be adjusted: Self Focus Adjust (at DpReview) other people have reported that 1.1 is better and that it isn’t an IR issue.

26 thoughts on “Pentax K10D – Known Issues

  1. Ben

    Exposure-Bracketing in M: K10D varies Apernature *and* exposure Time – that should not be. Should only vary one of them when the green button is set to Tv shift or Av shift in M.

    Reply
  2. Peter Thomas

    I’m very happy with this camera, except for how it’s handling exposure with m series lenses.

    See: ‘K10D with M200 &M100 macro’ in DP Review.

    The K10D constantly overexposes by 1-2 stops – and this can be confirmed by comparing exposure times with the *istDS and looking at the exposure curve. Pentax need to pick this up urgently as it is one of the key features (backwards lens capability) which endears on to the Pentax digital SLR’s.

    Reply
  3. Stig Vidar Hovland

    Have found that autofocus does not work very well with my FA*200/4 macro lens. K10D will not focus through the focus range of the lens, but stop before focus is found. My *istDS was hunting from infinity to shortest focus and was able to find correct focus, but K10D does not do this at all. Have to use manual focus with K10D which is no big deal, but I think its a bug anyway and so here it is.

    Reply
  4. Deryck

    Myself and quite a few others have found that the internal flash doesnt work and completely stops the unit from working when popped up.

    Reply
  5. Larry

    Firmware should allow AWB to extend to 2500K and not only to 4000K. Tungsten lighting is too common to be eliminated from the AWB range.

    Reply
  6. Larry

    For Deryck –

    You have a broken camera.

    The camera won’t fire before the flash is charged up, unless you allow this in the CUSTOM MENU.

    BUT, the fact that the flash just doesn’t work means its broken. As I said, by being broken, it will never charge up, so your camera can’t fire, unless this setting is changed in the C menu.

    Get the camera fixed with the warranty. Pentax is aware of the problem.

    That is not a firmware related item.

    Reply
  7. Larry

    interesting suggestion comes out of a post where it was explained that shooting can get tripped up by the autofocus because unlike Nikon or Canon, the Pentax system seems to do a double-check of the focus after a first guess. The camera won’t fire until this is finished. Nikon and Canon just do the one pass, and this leads to quicker, yet sometimes innacurate focusing.

    The poster went on to say that this can be circumvented by putting the camera in AF C, and taking the picture between the first focus, and the double check as you can trip the shutter at any time in AF C. He found that the Pentax system was correct the first time as much or more than the Canon/Nikon cameras he compared it to.

    A setting in the Custom menu for the AF C or AF S to do only one pass, and calling it "AF Hi-Speed" would open that choice. People would realize it could be less accurate, but a welcome choice to some complaining about AF speed.

    Reply
  8. Larry

    The metering seems to just cut out around its spec’d 0 EV, instead of unofficially at least trying to expose correctly. In other words, if Pentax officially states that the camera will auto-expose & meter down to 0EV, this doesn’t mean that the sensor cells just immediately & completely quit working.

    There shouldn’t be a programmed-in shut off resulting in suddenly a quick shutter speed, and black exposures as it continues to get darker. The camera will time down to 30 sec, so the auto-exposure should be allowed to attempt to keep the shutter open at least until that point.

    This feature could be user selected in custom, so that those not wanting that could leave it as is.

    The blinkings and warnings would always be there.

    This is an inherent feature in the camera that shouldn’t be prohibited, and can be enabled in firmware.

    Reply
  9. Larry

    > Fix by pressing the Green Button

    This statement in your above bug description for HyperProgram & Auto ISO is incorrect. Pressing the green button just resets the camera to the opposite Iso value of your range. (for example 800, instead of 100)

    It does not "fix" the problem. The camera is now just ready to begin lowering the ISO again, & never being able to reverse direction & be brought back up.

    Reply
  10. Henk Sweet (Sweets on dpreview)

    On Soft edges in jpeg.. I think this isn’t an issue. We can/might also look at it in the way the designers probably expected: w’re given the opportunity to CHOOSE what we want: hard sharp pictures or softness in them. I don’t think C or N give a choice on this one. It’s hard and sharp and that’s it. In my use, i don’t need soft-lenses any longer for protraits using the default setting and when i want sharpness, i just change the setting adn have it there. Waw, thank you very much, Pentax, that’s something very fine just like others in this nice product.

    Reply
  11. Larry

    Just changing the sharpness setting was an obvious possibility that was tried immediately, and didn’t help the jpeg situation because of the TYPE of sharpening in-camera. It is NOT edge sharpening.

    To improve the results in-camera, the sharpness needs to be more towards edge sharpening for more acutance. That would enable you to use the default setting for your portraits, and those wanting more clarity of detail could THEN change the sharpening setting (or Bright setting) for real results.

    Reply
  12. TC Post author

    Thanks for all your comments. I hope that I’ve changed the text enough to address the issues that you mention.

    Henk: I agree that it isn’t an issue. But out-of-the-box it may be perceived as an issue, so I mention it and the solution.

    Reply
  13. Lackey

    Hi,

    While exposure bracketing & self timer is set camera takes only one shot instead 3 or 5 ( depends on selection ). The shutter must be pressed all time during bracketing & selftimer and that is annoyng durnig longer exposures. Only way is to use it with cable ( not always practical ).

    Do you have a same issue ?

    P.S. On my aging Olympus C4000 this was not a problem.

    Reply
  14. Heinz Koch

    Send back my K10d yesterday. The internal flash on my Cam seems to be "overpowered". All pictures (in automatic mode) are white (range 3-4 m).

    Reply
  15. Larry

    Well, here’s another point posted on another forum showing that the camera has the ability to meter below that range and Pentax PERMITS it to in MANUAL, but FORBIDS it is automatic. This becomes a firmware bug.

    In "automatic" mode’s meter stops "working" at 0EV metering range limit (values blink without chancing). But in manual mode K10D continues to give readings even when out of metering range (this hint comes from finnish forum).

    http://www.photozone.de/act

    This now becomes a firmware bug.

    Reply
  16. Brian

    Thanks for your research and posting of this information. I leave with both my *IST DD & K10D tomorrow. I’ve not played with the K since getting it. Your post will help me over come the learning frustrations.

    Reply
  17. Edvinas

    "Auto ISO will only go down in HyperProgram (P)" issue isn’t fixed in 1.10 firmware. Tested this morning.
    PEF frame count also not fixed.

    Reply
  18. Larry

    Yes, HyperProgram & Auto ISO bug not fixed at all. I’m not even sure they are aware of it.

    Anybody get any specific comments about it from someone in Pentax?

    Larry

    Reply
  19. Goffen

    I have two issues which i have not seen reported by others.

    1. When remote (ir) is enabled the camera flashes red both in the front and back. PLEASE add option to turn this off. Not excactly great for wildlife photography.

    2. When using MF lenses i have to turn the focus selection button to MF position to be able to shoot.

    Camera detects that the lens is MF, but in SAF mode insists on focus confirmation (the green focus led to be lit) before allowing to shoot.
    This costs me a lot of lost opportunities, and also when switching back to AF lens and forgetting to switch back to SAF or CAF.
    There should be a menu selection to turn on/off "Allow shot without af confirm on Manual Lenses".

    Also i cannot understand why Adaptall lenses work great in AE mode, and not with using the aperture ring. Does anyone know if its an adaptall limitation or an intentionalily cripple from Pentax ?

    Reply
  20. Daniel

    Not 100% sure if this is an issue or not, but should definately be updated in a firmware revision;

    When bracketing, if you’re in Tv mode, the bracketed exposures are done via shutter speed, as they should be.

    But when in Av mode, the brackted exposures SHOULD be done via F/stop, but they are still using Shutter speed. You’re in Av mode because your F/Stop is your priority, and therefore your brackted shots should be compensated using F/Stops, and not shutter speed. Or at least give an option to choose between the two.

    Same with Sv mode, which should bracket using ISO.

    Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but I have read the manual cover to cover, and I cannot find a solution

    Reply
  21. Nick

    Can anyone confirm if the exposure errors using the green button occur with KA mount lenses when using the aperature ring (ie. not on the A setting) in manual mode as with an M lens?

    Reply
  22. Martin

    I have had my pentax k10d for about 4 months – but today the playback screen no longer displays anything. If I press any of the buttons on the back – they don’t do anything. Manu, Info, Fn etc… Any ideas

    Reply
  23. Helen

    Just been shooting some photos and its come up memory card error – going to lose a whole day of quite boring work if I can’t get the photos back. Only had the camera and card it came with a month or so, no probs before. Would be v.grateful for any suggestions..
    Cheers!
    Helen

    Reply
  24. Dan (South Africa)

    My K100D Super (two weeks old) has locked up. Displays "Program Mode" on LCD screen, and NO buttons do anything. Powered down (no batt or mem card) for 24hours, no difference with or without mem card (2 different ones used). Help!!

    Reply