Monday, June 30, 2008

Pentax K20D Firmware 1.01 Incompatibilities

When Pentax released the K20D firmware version 1.01, it made some changes beyond the bug fix. It changed some of the standard data for the camera. Instead of showing PENTAX Corporation, it now shows just PENTAX. Also, instead of PENTAX K20D, it now shows K20D. This is not really any big deal except that most RAW converters including the RAW support built into Mac OS X which Aperture uses, no longer recognize K20D RAW files written with firmware 1.01. The major exception to this seems to be Adobe's products which work fine.

The whole story in greater detail is available from RiceHigh's Pentax blog. Hopefully either Pentax will revert back to the old way so we can still use our files or Apple and all the other companies will fix the issue in their software. The latter is the most likely.

In the meantime, one possible solution is to convert all of your K20D PEF files to DNG files using Adobe's DNG converter (available from Adobe's DNG page). This causes another problem though. The date and time for Adobe generated DNG files is stored as the date and time in GMT with an offset. Unfortunately, when imported into Aperture this offset is not recognized correctly so the pictures appear to have been taken on the correct date but the time is 15 hours too early or a similar discrepancy based on your time zone. I understand that Adobe is working on a fix but it is not part of the Adobe Camera Raw 4.5 release candidate currently available.

The DNG solution gives a temporary fix but I will be deleting all of the DNG files and re-importing the PEF files once this issue has been corrected. As far as I know, the DNG files generated in-camera from the K20D do not have the date issue but they are not compressed so I continue to shoot in PEF for the space savings.

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