Suggestions for Pentax K-7 firmware 1.02

Started Sep 8, 2009 | Discussions thread
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joshnl Regular Member • Posts: 384
Suggestions for Pentax K-7 firmware 1.02

So I've now had about one full day to play around with my new K-7, and so far, I'm quite happy with it.

There are some areas in which I'm a little disappointed, however my expectations in these areas may have been a bit unrealistic (my previous camera was a 5-year-old Canon Rebel XT, so I was expecting a camera that would perform light years ahead of my old one).

One of these areas is autometering. Autoexposure works well outdoors in very simple scenes, although it still seems to underexpose these scenes by 0.7-1 EV. This is no big deal, as you can just use EV compensation. Autoexposure becomes a problem as soon as you have a scene with even a slight amount of complexity (e.g. sky brighter than foreground, sky alone for that matter), as not only are the scenes generally underexposed, but the amount of EV compensation needed is hard to predict (it generally fell anywhere between 0.7 and 2 EV). When I get more used to the camera, maybe I'll be better at predicting what types of scenes need what amount of EV compensation, but we'll see...

Another one of these areas is auto white balance. While this seems to perform very well outdoors (at least under "normal" lighting conditions), tungsten lighting indoors gives inconsistent results. It may be better than older generation cameras, but it's still not reliable to the point of being useful, IMHO. Tungsten white balance, however, works very well, so this shortcoming is not the end of the world.

The third such area is automatic focus point selection in autofocus mode. Unless I'm simply not using this function properly, it seems utterly useless to me, as it's impossible to predict which autofocus points it will select for a given scene. This may not be better than other cameras, but I'm not sure why camera companies even bother to include this function. Hopefully I'm being thick and just not using it properly, because it would be terrific if it did work to the point of being useful.

There are, however, a couple of additional points which I would imagine could be dealt with in a firmware upgrade. These are:

1) Camera button responsiveness: I often find I have to press a button twice to get it to respond. While this is definitely not critical, it is quite annoying, especially when fiddling during a crucial moment.

2) Shake reduction lag: This seems to be a more significant problem, and may actually affect the overall useability of the camera for some situations (e.g. photography of slowly moving subjects, modeling photography). There seems to be about a 1 second lag between pressing the shutter release button half way and activation of SR. I can imagine this being a significant issue when trying to shoot a SUBTLY moving subject (e.g. the head of an animal). I say subtly, because if you're photographing, for example, a flying bird, you could just put the camera in AF-C mode. I need to play around in real-world situations before determining if this will actually be a significantly detrimental feature. However, even if the priming time of the SR system could not be changed through firmware, I'm guessing other aspects of this issue could be. For example, there could be an option in the Custom menus to make it impossible to release the shutter until the SR has kicked in. Alternatively, a second beep could be sounded to indicate the engagement of the SR system. While the underlying issue would still remain, at least people could avoid taking pictures before SR kicks in, ruining that critical photo-taking moment.

Overall, an impressive camera, but there is still quite a bit of room for Pentax to improve. Hopefully, some of these improvements can come before the release of the next camera in this category, in the form of firmware updates. I know there was another K-7 firmware suggestion thread about a month ago, but it would be great to have a fresh thread on this topic. So if people could add their suggestions, that would be terrific. Hopefully Pentax will be reading these things, and implement some of the suggestions to make its customers happier people

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