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Lens Firmware?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:53 am
by Arbalist
I read on another forum that someone had ruined their lens when they tried unsuccessfully to update its “firmware”. Even the manufacturer was unable to fix it. Am I missing something? I’ve never heard of lens firmware before. A quick search says Pentax Q lenses (whatever they are) have firmware but what about normal Pentax lenses? Why would some lenses even have firmware whilst others don’t? Sounds like more to go wrong to me. I’m off now to check if the windscreen on my car has up to date firmware ... :hyenas:

Lens Firmware?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:01 pm
by LongTimeLurker
As someone whose day job involves installing and administering classes of devices that contain firmware, I tend to avoid having devices at home that are filled, if that is that correct verb, with unnecessary firmware, on the basis that much firmware is tends to be written with little care or knowledge, will be full of bugs or unwanted "features", and may require to be updated at some point. Devices stuffed (again, is this an appropriate verb?), tend to exhibit poor design and usability. For example, when I switch on my radio I want it to switch on and reproduce the selected station, not to spend a while booting up and then informing me it needs to be updated before I can use it.

I digress. Back to photography.

My K series and 6x7 lenses are purely mechanical devices and have no electrical, let alone electronic components, hence no need for firmware. Modern lenses, let's say those that are designed to be primarily used with a recent model of camera, may well have a small amount of firmware that tells the camera body of the characteristics and capabilities of the lens such that the camera knows how to interoperate with it.

In my experience camera and lens manufacturers are better than average at writing firmware, with very little need to update the firmware (especially with lenses), and even then it would be expected to have this done in a repair shop, i.e. not for the end user to have to do. Occasionally, updates to firmware can be useful - the enabling of screw drive autofocus to workaround SDM lens motor issues on some DA lenses for example.

Meanwhile I need to tackle a sticking central heating zone valve which is causing our heating to not switch off (not that Mrs LTL minds this failure mode :) ). Thankfully, the designer of the valve has made it simple to diagnose the actual fault and, if necessary, to allow for the replacement of the motor without having to drain the heating system. And there is no firmware involved :rofl:

I hope the windscreen is functioning correctly :wink:

Re: Lens Firmware?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:53 pm
by Smeggypants
LongTimeLurker wrote:For example, when I switch on my radio I want it to switch on and reproduce the selected station, not to spend a while booting up and then informing me it needs to be updated before I can use it.

I don't really watch TV much, but bought a cheap one for my man cave. The firmware in it is the slowest thing you can imagine. Point the remote at it to switch it on and you have to wait 10 seconds for it to actually switch on. then you can't change channel got about 30 seconds, while a message on screen says "Loading....."

It's pathetic!! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Lens Firmware?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:15 am
by richandfleur
I'm all for firmware updates that either fix issues or add new features that I actually want. Pentax tends to add that disclaimer line of added stability etc, which I have no idea at any particular time what that's going to involve. Agree about testing being a part that's missing in many aspects of today's world. I too am in a tech role, both in terms of managing a fleet of iPads, but also building control and access control systems, and commissioning of project work etc is just skipped over continuously these days, it's really quite sad mixed with we're all in the wrong industry when I see what they can get away with delivering, and then charging us to fix later.

Re the TV, that's likely a slow CPU and it's been hinted that that's a limiting factor in Pentax doing too much more with their devices. Cameras in general tend to be very lowly powered devices, which in the DSLR world hints at why the likes of an iPhone can do so much computational stuff quickly, but then again an iPhone can costs as much as a DSLR, but it does more. pros and cons as with anything.