Does the Pentax K-1 also have the white dots issue during long exposures?

Pentax K-1-white-dots-issue
Does the Pentax K-1 DSLR camera also has a thermal problem/white dots/bright spots during long exposures? A reader sent me the above picture – it appears that Ricoh overlooked the white dot issue during longer exposures (this is a form of noise that shows up on most long exposure taken with Long Exposure noise off). The problem seems to occur the worst on long exposures at ISO 1600 and up to 20 seconds exposure or longer. Nikon had the same issue with the D810 and had an official service advisory. Both the Nikon D810 and the Pentax K-1 cameras use reportedly the same 36MP sensor made by Sony.

This issue has a huge effect on astro photography, night time lapse work or stacking photography. More info can be found here.

This entry was posted in Pentax K-1. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • TinusVerdino

    Whether it has the problem or only a few k-1 ‘s have the problem it will now for ever suck. I have seen plenty of long exposures by the k-1 without white dots. People should take their gripes to Ricoh and not make an news story bullshit out of it.

    These are extreme crops totally exaggerating the dots.

  • BP2012

    This looks very strange and not at all like long exposure astro photos with my K-1. Admin, do you have exif data?
    Is this really K-1?
    What are the parameters: exposure time, aperture, iso?
    What is the focal length?
    Astro tracer was obviously not used, maybe some other functionality like pixel shift with or without motion correction?
    Is this composite or single straight out of the camera shot?
    Which developments software has been used and does it looks the same in raw format?

  • fireangel

    Hello. It is the same problem with the nikon d810 (same sony sensor). And it is a big problem for a camera designed for astrophoto (see astrotracer). Noise removing in camera is not the solution because every serious astro photographer uses RAW. Pentax has to solve this HUGE problem !! Will firmware be enough?

    • BP2012

      I’ll believe that this is the D810 shot or somebody’s joke until I see exif data.
      First, I’m using K1 for astrophotography (firmware 1.1 and 1.2 ) and I don’t have anything like this. Second, there are a lot of K1 users on, dozens of them doing astrophotography and nobody reported anything similar.

      • fireangel

        I hope so it is a simple joke. But there are other people with the same issue on pentaxforums too.

        • BP2012

          Do you have a link please? I’ve been searching Pentax forums for “astro” but didn’t find anything similar.

          • fireangel
          • BP2012

            Thank you. Both of those guys from Australia and from Poland are very early K-1 users, both of them had K-1 at the beginning of May. 99% both of them were pre-ordered and deliviered probably in a first batch at those countries. That could be the reason. My K-1 is produced at the end of June, bought at the end of July and I didn’t noticed any problem on my photos. For first two weeks I’ve been used firmware 1.1 and for last two weeks firmware is 1.2. Tonight I’ll try to reproduce those shooting conditions and parameters with my K-1 .

          • fireangel

            Hello, you can try with the cap on the lens every time (3200 iso, 120 second for example). If you see normal noise (a uniform texture with hot pixel red, blue green etc) is ok. On the contrary if you see gray/white stars is a problem 😀

          • BP2012

            Here it is 120sec ISO3200, full size 36MP, every kind of correction and noise reduction disabled:

            p.s. Could be a little bit slow to open this file, just zoom to maximum and wait 20-40s to be sharpened and drag around photo to see different sections.

          • fireangel

            Thanks for the file. I’m sorry but when I see on 100% it seems a night sky not a typical dark frame. I think that your camera is affected of white dots issue too.

          • BP2012

            Not sure about that conclusion, white dots on that example looks like a snow storm in compare to my file. My file looks much more like random noise without any significant difference in size and brightness.
            In addition to that with my typical exposures
            a) 20-25s without astrotracer and high ISO usually 3200, or
            b) 2-5min with astrotracer and low ISO usually between 400 and 800
            there are no problems at all when viewing at 200%.
            Btw I’m always shooting DNG raw, this jpeg was shot for illustration purpose only.

          • fireangel

            Thank you. Perhaps it is all right since the in the photo with the tree the effect is stronger than yours. I hope so 🙂

          • BP2012

            My example from above was shot in dng+jpeg. For some personal reasons I don’t want to send raw files if it isn’t really necessary. So I opened raw file in Picassa and made 2 print screens, first at full size for uniformity, second is 100% crop for details:



            It’s pretty uniform noise and I can’t see white dots there. Case closed?

          • fireangel

            Yeah! It seems a normal dark frame ! 🙂 🙂 Now we have to know if it was a problem solved by the new firmware or was a issue for the first k1s .. anyway thank you!

          • BP2012

            On my opinion that is a sensor problem with first few batches, probably somehow connected with Sony sensor shortages caused by earthquake. God only knows where they found those sensors.

            Admin, please ask that guy from Arkansas to send you complete exif of his sample. It will be much clearer what is going on.

          • Jan

            Mine was manufactured in August 2016 and have the same issue.

  • François Nuq

    I don’t understand… When I make long exposure with my Pentax (K-3, not K-1 but it should work the same…), there is a second exposure of the same lenght taken after the picture – a black frame- used to remove the noise. It is done when shooting RAW. It is done because of the heating issue of every sensor. And it is implemented in every serious camera. So why bother of this “non issue” since the picture above was taken without this “long exposure NR”?

    • fireangel

      If you do astro-imaging, you need: raw files (pure, if you touch them they aren’t raw), dark, flat, bias frames (all raw!). Then calibrate all the files and after stacking all. No problem if you have noise, hot pixels etc.. all the procedure is to optimize the signal against the noise. The problem of the nikon d810 / k1 sensor is not the normal thermal noise but these white dots which are too excessive for an optimal astro image. You can’t use jpeg with noise reduction applied (is a simple dark subtracted by the camera cpu) because the dynamic range, the deep of the shadow, and the quantity the information for the post production are too low for astronomy pictures.

    • BP2012

      For serious astrophotography it’s not a good idea to use long exposure NR. That will wipe out a lot of stars.

  • Th-Th-Timmey

    So is this issue affecting earlier bodies only? I’m about to jump on a Pentax k-1 ship, but I’m interested in astro stuff and it’d really suck if k-1 gas this white noise issue.. It just arrived back in stock at B&H, I’m guessing it’s the latest batch pentax produced.

  • mlzphoto

    no, it does not have this issue

  • Back to top