Enabling debug mode on K10D/GX-10, part deux

This post explains how to enable and disable the DEBUG MODE of the Pentax (and Samsung) DSLR line on-the-fly using nothing but your regular memory card with an extra text file on it.

I just found a site called Pentax Hack where they have disassembled and examined the firmware of the various Pentax and Samsung cameras. It turns out that it is possible to enable the infamous DEBUG MODE on all the Pentax and Samsung DSLRs without using the program I have previously mentioned.

All you need to do is make a text file called MODSET.TXT (the file ending depends on firmware & camera) and write a a bit of text that will enable you to enter the debug mode and also get out of it. Save the file on your SD-card.

For my GX-10 the MODSET.TXT file that enables it looks like this:
Remember to also append a newline-character (just press <ENTER>). Forgetting that made it not work for me.

To actually get into the menu that enables the DEBUG MODE, you have to open the memory card door and then turn on the camera. You should now be presented with a new menu, in which you can turn on/off the DEBUG MODE.
More info on the Pentax Hack homepage. Cred to the hackers!


14 Responses to Enabling debug mode on K10D/GX-10, part deux

  1. Carl-Erik sier:

    I found why [OPEN_DEBUG_MENU] did not work for my GX-10, and more importantly; how to make it work! There are two things you will need to remember:
    1. After entering [OPEN_DEBUG_MENU] in MODSET.TXT, also append a newline-character (just press ). Forgetting that made it not work for me.
    2. You have to open the memory card door while turning on the camera (after updating the file).

    Some of this particular info on [OPEN_DEBUG_MENU]was taken from the RiceHigh blog.

  2. John sier:

    Hey Carl-Erik. I can’t get it to work at all. Any other hints? I have the proper file, I have the new line character, I have the door open, yet my GX-10 won’t go into debug. the screen just flashes and the camera goes dead. I am about to sell this damn camera if I can’t get this to work.

  3. Carl-Erik sier:

    Hi, John. I’m a bit busy at the moment, but will have a lot more time come Friday. No reason to sell the camera – you’re probably 99% there 🙂

    Here’s my two cents on why it might not work.
    1) You might not have the latest firmware (v. 1.30 – get it here)
    2) You are supposed to open the memory card door first, and then turn on the camera. Rereading my post one might get the impression that you are supposed to do this concurrently.

    My bet is that you are experiencing (1). To see what firmware your camera is running, just hold MENU pressed while turning on the camera. You should then see a string similar to "VER. 1.30"

    Just hang in there a few days; I’m sure we’ll find what’s wrong. It’s super-handy when it does work. I have two lenses that front-focus (FA 35/2 and DA 16-45/4), and it works miracles when I can adjust them in the field.

  4. John sier:

    I am running v. 1.30, and I turned on the camera with the door already open.

  5. Carl-Erik sier:

    Hmm … that is indeed strange! But why am I trying to make things more difficult than need be; just download the file that I use on my memory cards and see if that works for you.

    There are all sorts of funny things that could be going on to cause this. First things that pops up is that Windows might hide you filename extension, so that when you name it MODSET.TXT, you are in fact calling it MODSET.TXT.txt. You might frown at me for even mentioning this, but it is a surprisingly frequent solution to mysteries like this.

    Try the file out. Then we will, at the very least, have excluded yet another potential source of error. Crossing my fingers for this one 🙂

  6. John sier:

    Well your file worked. Not sure why mind didn’t. I wrote the file on a Macintosh using a plain text editor, but the camera worked the way everything says it would once I tried your version of the file. Now, I have to figure out what to use to get this thing working properly. Thanks!

  7. Maya sier:

    WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY append a newline-character (just press ) ?
    I tried everything like you said but no new menu appeared that would let me turn the debug menu off and it is starting to drive me crazy….
    I have Pentax K10D and now when I open the camera with Menu button pressed down it shows me that I am running two firmwares – 1.3 and 1.1 since I put the 1.1 on in order to get the debug menu in the first place… I wish it was all a bit simpler 🙂 thanks a lot for your help !!!

  8. Carl-Erik sier:

    @Maya: It seems you are trying to ride two horses at once, and you should always try to close one case before you try another. In other words: clean the slate by installing firmware 1.3. If you have used the penta-club.ru program to enable debug mode, then use that to disable the debug mode.

    First then, after everything works as normal, you should try using this textfile to enable and disable debug mode.

    To answer your questions:
    1) WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY append a newline-character?
    Appending means adding to the end of something. A newline character is the character/sign produced by pressing the Enter-key. So appending a newline character simply means pressing enter after the written text.

    See above.


    «wish it was all a bit simpler »
    Well, it actually is a bit simpler, once you read the comments following the original post. There you would have found a link to a working file. To save you the trouble of scrolling all the way up, here is the aforementioned link:

    Just download it, copy it to your memory card, insert the memory card into your camera, open the camera door, and turn on the camera. Voila.

    All this, of course, assumes that you have cleared the previous firmware, and that you are running firmware version 1.3.

  9. CO sier:

    Hi there, Thanks for the tips.
    Do you have Firmware 1.1 for me ?

    by editing it you can upload the older 1.1 to the camera again. The older version doesnt need the computer program to reach th focus adjustments

    The files on this page are not there..

    Please mail me 🙂



  10. Carl-Erik sier:

    Hi, Co. I never said the files were on that page – I just said the instructions _for using the program_ were there. That’s why I kept my own copy of the instructions.

    As for your question, I have two things to say:
    1. No, I do not have the firmware for either GX-10 or K10D.
    2. You do not need it, nor do you need the usb software.

    The second point is something you should have figured out from this posting, since it specifically says that my first posting on this matter is rendered obsolete by the MODSET.TXT hack.

    By just copying a simple text file to your sd card you can enable/disable the debug mode whenever you want to. As stated in the comment thread, I have prepared a file to use:

    Turning on debug mode in the field now requires 5 seconds of work 🙂

  11. CO sier:

    Ok, i am in the debug menu and can see the current settings
    AF PINT OFFSET values but i cant change them with any of the buttons !! What am i missing ?



  12. Carl-Erik sier:

    You are missing the fact that you are not supposed to do anything in that menu except _enabling_ the debug mode. Don’t mess around with anything else.

    The setting you want to change is reached by
    1. Enable DEBUG MODe
    2. Turn on/off the camera.
    3. When presented with the menu, just press OK
    4. You are now in debug mode
    5. Press the MENU button.
    6. Go to SETUP MENU and then to the new sub page TEST MODE (3/3).
    7. Go to the setting Af Test.
    8. You can now change the focus correction.

    When you are satisfied with the focus correction, turn off and on the camera, and disable the debug mode.

  13. CO sier:

    I just figured out your steps 5+ 6 as well. THANKS AGAIN !

    I have a very big correction at close range ~one meter.
    Do you know what the other sensors 1/2/3 are for ? Other distances?

    Been doing the «0» sensor adjustments so far.


  14. Carl-Erik sier:

    I have read it somewhere, but the basic thing you need to remember is: forget about everything else than sensor 0 🙂
    AFAIK they are supposed to mean vertical, horisontal, diagonal something, but in truth they have no impact what so ever.

    Just keep on doing whatever you were doing.

    There are some caveats:
    1. Remember that the camera always focuses wrong in tungsten light (normal non-fluorescent indoor light). This is not unique to pentax and also happens with Canon and Nikon. It has something to do with temperature of the light, but I do not remember the details. Anyway, in essence this means that you have to correct the focus differently in indoor lighting.

    As an example, my Pentax FA 35mm is set to +140um correction in outdoor lighting, but I need to change it to +220um in indoor lighting.

    2. Different lenses require different adjustments. My FA35 mm requires +180um on average, my DA16-45 +140um, etc. The lens often has an optimum for a specific focal distance, and if it is a zoom, that adjustment might not be optimal for another focal distance… This can be very frustrating.

    3. The GX-10 has just one adjustment. Later models like the GX-20 or new models like Pentax K-5 can save a setting per lens.

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