Firmware Friday: Pentax K-3 gets diffraction correction; Nikon updates Coolpix P-series cameras


posted Friday, July 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM EST


Ladies and gentlemen, the weekend is here! You know what that means -- time to head to the beach, the mountains, or to your own favorite photographic subject and get some great photos! But before you head out the door, it's also time to check your camera's firmware and perhaps apply some updates -- if you're shooting with the Pentax K-3 or a Nikon Coolpix P-series camera, that is. And as an added bonus this week, our Firmware Friday post also covers some new software updates from Nikon.

We'll start with the Pentax K-3 this week, because its brand-new version 1.10 firmware update is our very favorite kind. Most firmware updates merely fix bugs, but the Pentax K-3 v1.10 firmware also adds a brand-new feature, increasing the capabilities of your camera beyond what it offered when it left the store shelf. (Now, doesn't that just put a smile on your face?)

The new tool in the Pentax K-3's arsenal is a fourth type of lens correction. Previously, the K-3 offered distortion, lateral chromatic aberration and peripheral illumination (aka vignetting) corrections in-camera, but now it adds diffraction correction to the list. This new feature aims to combat the detail-robbing effects of shooting at narrower apertures, improving sharpness and fine detail in the in-focus areas of each shot. As with the other options in the camera's Lens Correction menu, the new function is optional, and will apply only when shooting in JPEG mode. Also note that this function will only operate with certain Pentax-branded lenses -- specifically, the company's DA, DA L, D FA, and FA Limited lenses, excluding fisheye types or lenses mounted on rear converters.

Other changes in Pentax K-3 v1.10 firmware include faster processing of digital filters and chromatic aberration correction, improved automatic white balance, and a change to the exposure bracketing function in TAv mode, which will now bracket shots using ISO sensitivity. And as usual, Ricoh -- which owns the Pentax brand -- promises "improved stability for general performance", without actually disclosing any specific tweaks made. Get the new firmware here.

And the only other firmware this week comes from Nikon, accompanied by some new software as well. Three Nikon Coolpix P-series models receive updates, although so far only one update is available from the company's US division. The Nikon Coolpix P340, P530 and P600 firmware updates all resolve an issue that could cause a camera lockup if the camera was powered on with the shutter button held down. For the P530 and P600, the new firmware also resolves an issue with occasional overexposure with bright subjects when using the camera's pre-shooting cache function. No other changes are made in these updates, which can be obtained at the links below:

Alongside these updates are new versions of Nikon's View NX and Picture Control Utility software. Picture Control Utility 2.0 adds support for the Nikon D810 DSLR, a choice of NP2/NCP custom picture control file types, several new picture control options, and some user interface enhancements. It also allows standalone use, as well as allowing operation with View NX and Capture NX-D. View NX 2.10.0, meanwhile, adds support for the Nikon D810 and Picture Control Utility 2.0.

And that's all for this week. Check back next week for another look at the latest in the world of camera firmware!

(Camera parts image courtesy of Kelly Hofer / Flickr; used under a Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0 license. Image has been modified from the original.)