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Pentax firmware v1.02 for K-3 allows bracketing by AA filter mode

By dpreview staff on Feb 5, 2014 at 18:01 GMT
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The Pentax K-3 uses an innovative system for simulating the effect of a physical anti-aliasing filter.

Pentax has released new firmware for its flagship K-3 DSLR, allowing users to bracket exposures by AA filter simulation mode. As a reminder, the K-3 lacks a physical anti-aliasing filter, but simulates the blurring effect via minute movement of its sensor, with two intensity levels available (three if you include 'off'). Firmware v1.02 allows you to shoot a burst of sequential images at each AA filter level, to fine-tune the optimal balance between resolution and artifacts like moiré.

The update also includes the usual minor fixes and 'stability improvements' - see notes below. 

Firmware v1.02 for the Pentax K-3

  • Added Bracket shooting in [Anti-Aliasing Filter Simulator].
  • Improved stability for general performance.
  • Improved stability of battery level indicator when using with battery grip.
  • Optimized performance of continuous shooting when setting AF.C mode.
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Total comments: 29
By Peiasdf (2 months ago)

Maybe those K-3 owners pining for review could go out and actually voice with their wallet and buy a darn K-3 instead of flooding the comments section with demand for review. If you guys actually mean what you said, a la, buying a Pentax, maybe K-50 wouldn't be #60 and K-3 #63 on Amazon's DSLR sales chart. DP shouldn't waste time satisfying 7 people's curiosity.

1 upvote
By Roadrunnerdeluxe (2 months ago)

My wallet spoke loud and clear as soon as the K3 was released. Pentaxians aren't so much the target audience for this outstanding review but the people who are in the market for a new camera. Since the review (the K5 II review took almost half a year, I believe) would probably boost sales, this lag is exactly what is keeping undecided people from speaking with their wallet.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
By DatBokeh (2 months ago)

I don't know where you're getting your information, but this page shows the K-3 at #31:

That doesn't seem too high, until you realize it is the highest camera that isn't a Canon or Nikon.

Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (2 months ago)

I thought K-3 owners already brought a K-3? :)

By Peiasdf (2 months ago)

It is a vicious cycle. No one buy Pentax so no review and 3rd party lens so it means even less people buying Pentax.

@Andy Crowe
Lots of people own stuff they don't actually own.

1 upvote
Paul the Sunman
By Paul the Sunman (2 months ago)

I tried the AA bracketing as soon as I installed the new firmware. It works very well, though I haven't yet tried it on a subject that actually exhibits moire. I just wanted to see the difference in sharpness. Using the DA 18-135 lens, sharpness differences were visible at 100% on my monitor, but quite subtle. This is actually good, as it means that even if you use AA level 2, you don't pay a big price for it. And yet, judging by a number of comparisons I have seen on the web, it is pretty effective in suppressing moire.
I think bracketing will be most valuable when shooting fashion, or anything with fabrics.
By the way, before anybody asks, no, you can't bracket both AA and EV compensation at the same time. If you turn one on, the other turns off.

By wed7 (2 months ago)

Dear DPR, (For crying out loud) Kindly finish the complete review of this camera. Thank you

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By alexzn (2 months ago)

A useless feature if I ever saw one...

Cynog ap Brychan
By Cynog ap Brychan (2 months ago)

It's not useless at all.

1 upvote
By RichRMA (2 months ago)

Pentax produces decent images, but there are times when high frequency detail might cause a problem, but why overkill it with anti-moire effects when you can get the best combination? It's a good feature. Some brands that seem to produce overly soft images (at least in tests here) like Fuji should look at this.

1 upvote
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (2 months ago)

A useless comment if I ever saw one... ;)

By pseudobreccia (2 months ago)

This feature is only useless to someone that finds it useless. A good feature does not have to be useful to all.

By peevee1 (2 months ago)

"Optimized performance of continuous shooting when setting AF.C mode."

This. If only somebody could objectively test what it REALLY means.

By Freestyler (2 months ago)

If only dpreview could only.... Review the actual camera...

By HaroldC3 (2 months ago)

I think if I needed a DSLR again I'd go Pentax. It's too bad mirrorless satisfies my needs.

By digiart (2 months ago)

Pentax alternative to AA filter removal is a very promising solution. It deserves a detailed review by DPR soon.

AA bracketing will be very useful. But I wonder if one day the camera will be able to analyze the image taken and warn the photographer that moiré is present or very likely, or even activate the AA filter simulator automatically and take another image immediately. That would be the ideal solution. That is one complicated thing to do. But, with image processors getting more powerful everyday, who knows if in a few years that will be possible.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 51 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By Rmano (2 months ago)

The problem with aliasing is that the artifacts are impossible to be set apart from real data. (Nyquist's theorem). When you see moiré you know it's an artifact because... You have seen the original. If you shoot a photo to a subject with really has the colored pattern (I have seen "joke" neckties with it) there will be no clue in the data that this is real and not an artifact. So no, the only way to detect aliasing would be to shoot in parallel an image with much more resolution AND an AA filter... ;-)

By dpthoughts (2 months ago)

I'm rather with digiart. A human like us can spot aliasing artefacts on a photo relatively reliably, even if we haven't seen the original scene. That's because these aliasing artefacts have visual properties (e.g. soft color ripples alternating between red and blue), which are very rare (or pretty much non existent) in real-world scenes. Assuming this, then a machine (a camera's firmware) should be able to accomplish what our brains can do already? I'm optimistic here ;)

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
By brew1brew (2 months ago)

I think DPR is waiting for the next gen K3 to do the review. Or maybe they are waiting for Richo to buy add space. . . ?

Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (2 months ago)

Hopefully you're joking, but either way, the K-3 review is coming soon!

By dpthoughts (2 months ago)

The ad space idea gave me a chuckle, that reminds me of a jolly 'conspiration theory' from k-5 times, that DPR would postpone reviews of Pentax flagships deliberately, after the point of time when Nikon released a newest APSC flagship and after that one would have been reviewed on DPR :)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
gerard boulanger
By gerard boulanger (2 months ago)

Good job Pentax!

Maybe DPR will publish a review on your flagship camera one day..?

By dosdan (2 months ago)

To effectively use this will require a very sharp lens, (probably a prime), but it could be a breakthrough in some architecture, fashion and for certain landscape shooting situations.

It strikes me that the Ricoh purchase of Pentax will probably lead to the adoption of a Ricoh attitude to firmware updates, where significant improvements, and even new features, continue to be provided by firmware updates for a relatively long time.

Super-resolution/Super-sampling, which is rumoured to be coming in future cameras, (though similar manipulation of the SR system), may even be retro-enabled in the K-3.


By BorisAkunin (2 months ago)

Let's hope so...

G Davidson
By G Davidson (2 months ago)

Very interesting technique at getting dramatically better results from existing sensors. If this was used automatically on a K3, I could see it performing like a medium-format camera.

By AbrasiveReducer (2 months ago)

Canon or Nikon should hire the guy who thinks this stuff up.

By dosdan (2 months ago)

It requires very fine physical sensor movement, That's why it's being offered in a camera which has IBIS. Canon & Nikon do their DSLR IS in the lens.


Wallace Ross
By Wallace Ross (2 months ago)

That should make testing it easier. P.S. It works really well

By Smeggypants (2 months ago)

Should satisfy the pixel microscopes for a while :)

Total comments: 29