Pentax K20D hot pixel bug confirmed, tests confirm limited scope.|
(Friday, May 30, 2008 - 15:02 EDT)
The "hot pixels" we noticed in our test shots appear to be due to a minor firmware bug, with relatively limited scope.
We recently posted test images from the Pentax K20D SLR, but noted that they showed "hot pixels" (pixels that show up as white or light colors, regardless of scene content) in most of the frames, despite having run the camera's bad-pixel mapping process multiple times. We've since run further tests that seem to define the scope of the problem, received confirmation from Pentax USA, as well as word that a firmware fix is being prepared to address the issue.
Confirming information we'd received from readers, our own tests seem to show that the hot pixels only appear when the 2-second self-timer is used. (Which of course, is exactly how we shot most of test images, to avoid any chance of camera shake.) The hot pixels disappeared when we shot under identical conditions a few seconds later, with the normal shutter release setting. (We didn't test the 10-second self-timer or remote-release modes, figuring there wasn't any particular point, given that a fix appears to be in the offing.)
Dave posted results of some of his tests on a K20D thread on our discussion forums, for those interested in further detail and examples shot under various conditions.
Pentax USA has confirmed the issue, themselves noting that it only seems to occur when the 2-second self-timer is employed. They said that the engineering team was working on a firmware fix for the problem, and that a fix would be publicly available at some point in the future. No ETA was available for the fix yet, as the engineering team had apparently only just recently confirmed the problem and its cause.
Stay tuned, we'll be sure to update our readers as soon as we hear from Pentax that a fix is available. In the meantime, the workaround is dead simple: Just don't use the 2-second self-timer and you should never see the problem.