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Pentax Digital Camera Utility (for Pentax K1 or K3 II, etc)

See my Pentax K1 wish list at B&H Photo.

Some readers have suggest using Pentax Digital Camera Utility for Pentax K1 SuperRes pixel shift mode with Motion Correction; see my previous analysis of Motion Correction with Adobe Camera Raw and Pentax Digital Camera Utility raw converters. Pentax ships Digital Camera Utility version 5.5.0 on CD with the K1.

Pentax DCU is a variant of SilkyPix, which if it does not get the gold medal for worst raw conversion software interface ever, comes in a close second, just behind Sigma Photo Professional. However, Pentax DCU (SilkyPix) does an excellent job emphasizing coarse and medium structures (though not fine details), and color rendition is very nice too. I worked with it for some Fujifilm X-Pro2 files and had exactly the same impressions—overall very good image quality, but lacking in fine detail rendition (probably sharpening algorithms). Which after all is one of the main points of SuperRes mode (fine details).

Pentax Digital Camera Utility 5.5.0 ships with the Pentax K1 on CD

My recommendation to Pentax K1 or K3 II users working with SuperRes pixel shift mode is to try Pentax Digital Camera Utility. It may prove acceptable or unacceptable—I have my own workflow and other requirements, but mine ain’t yours. For starters, I do not want to establish an entirely new workflow apart from from Photoshop/ACR, not for one camera. The same situation holds (almost) for Sigma/Foveon sensors, and Sigma Photo Professional is a major drawback that always costs me a great deal of extra (wasted) time when reviewing Sigma cameras.

I did try Pentax DCU on one of my mosaic SuperRes pixel shift mode images (from which ACR delivers the best sharpness I have ever seen from a DSLR on that subject). Pentax DCU 5.5.0 (the version shipped with the K1) delivers a soft image not even in the same ballpark, totally lacking in the fine detail and micro contrast that ACR is able to extract. However, ACR does not support Motion Correction and Pentax DCU does (or might, it’s not clear as yet if it does so or just extracts 1 of 4 frames).

I cannot try version 5.5.1 of Pentax DCU, because the Pentax updater to version 5.5.1 does not work on either my Mac Pro or on my iMac 5K. Note the “$19.95 weekend special” English translation, typical of the SilkyPix interface quality—this kind of sloppy work not inspire confidence (it’s insane—can’t they hire someone for a few hours to proof it?). As a professional, I do not want to work with this dreck. Actually, no professional can afford to—putting jobs on the line for slipshod vendor software support.

Cannot to find old version that is valid target of upgrading. Installation is cancelled. [sic]

See workaround below.

Pentax Digital Camera Utility 5.5.0 ships with the Pentax K1 on CD

Jay S writes:

If you rename an ext USB drive to S-SW160, the DCU 5.5.1.2 updater will install a full DCU app with no previous installations required. I had to use this workaround as my MBP has no optical drive. Did the install, changed the USB drive back to its original name, double-clicked the DCU icon, et voila! -- a fully functional RAW convertor for my new K-1, nearly as slow as Sigma's.

DIGLLOYD: well now, why didn’t I think of that? Thanks Jay! It works. The external drive is not affected, but a fresh copy of Pentax Digital Camera Utility is installed into the Applications folder.

Yes, it’s as slow as Sigma Photo Pro. Well, even slower with multi-second rainbow beachballs every few seconds. Unusable on the fastest Mac you can have (8 core 3.3 GHz Mac Pro with 64GB and D700 GPUs). Doing stuff suddenly moves controls from screen to screen, the image jumps around and is drawn half off the screen (I guess it doesn’t like a dual-display system?). Pentax Digital Camera Utility is an unusable steaming pile of dung*. And to top it off, the detail on my mosaic image with maximum sharpening is a blurry mess compared to what ACR can do.

* A summary of a grossly unreasonable approach to raw processing:
1) the program itself is very badly done in overall GUI, layout, appearance, spelling errors, non-functional software updater, and so on.
2) Pentax shipped a CD with with the K1 with a version of Pentax DCU that was non-functional for SuperRes mode. Moreover the updater was non-functional (see above).
3) Performance is all but unusable.
4) The presumptuous idea that the workflow used by a vast majority (ACR/Lightroom) should should have to be swapped-out for this kludge shows both an ignorance of professional needs and mentality that thinks only of hardware, as if the software were not equally important.

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