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06-13-2013, 11:14 PM   #1
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Low video quality (comparison with the K-5 and Nokia 808 PureView)

I got my Pentax K-01 on Monday. I've had Pentax since 2007 when I bought the K10D, then later the K-x, then the K-5, which I still use. I bought the K-01 to use for manual focus photography as I have several manual focus lenses. But also planned on using it for video as it has manual exposure for video, which the K-5 does not.

I've tested it a lot since Monday, and the image quality for photography is great, I love it, and manual focus photography with it is as good as I hoped for. I use the LCDVF with it since it doesn't have a viewfinder, and that works very well for me.

For video however, the image quality is very bad. Noise is not a problem, but the level of detail is very low. I've read through the manual to see if I've overseen something, but I hadn't. I've tested various custom image styles and also adjusted the one named "muted" to be completely flat with no sharpness to do all the adjustments I want manually later, like with raw vs. JPEG image files.

Pentax has also chosen to do a very strange thing that has to do with shake reduction. For video, the K-01 does not use the normal Pentax shake reduction where the sensor moves, but instead it captures video from a bit smaller area of the sensor, then move the capture area around to counter camera movement. And when shake reduction is turned off, it still doesn't use the whole sensor, so regardless of shake reduction on or off, you get a little less field of view on your lenses compared when you photograph still images. I don't care about the way the image is stabilized, but I would like to have normal field of view for when shake reduction is off.

The level of detail is so low that I won't be using it for video at all. My Nokia 808 PureView has quiet a bit better video quality, but of course, it can't change aperture, focal lengts, and it doesn't have manual video settings, I can only adjust EV and ISO (and set contrast, saturation and sharpness to their lowest settings).

Here is a RAR archive with screenshots from videos of the same scene from the Pentax K-5, Pentax K-01 and Nokia 808 PureView with natural/standard and flat settings. For the Nokia, I also added a screenshots from CameraPro, a third party software which gives a little more control:
- https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/69293550/VideoDetail_PentaxK-01_PentaxK-...08PureView.rar

It's not a bitrate issue as the Nokia video files are below 8Mbit, while the K-01 is around 18-17 Mbit, and the K-5 is around 80 Mbit, but of course, the K-5 has a very inefficient codec. The K-01 and Nokia has the same codec according to VLC (H264 - MPEG-4 AVC (part10) (avc1))

So I'm wondering. Have I overlooked something? Is this really how bad and fuzzy the video quality is? I hope I've overlooked something and it's actually a lot better, cause this is very disappointing :/


Last edited by netrex; 06-13-2013 at 11:16 PM. Reason: Forgot the last paragraph
06-14-2013, 02:26 AM   #2
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First up, turn off the SR and use a Tripod or Camera Rig, big improvement straight off.

The SR does introduce blur in my experience with my K-01,.. which is only about a month more then yours.

The method of stabilisation that Pentax have used is the same as Steady Shot for pretty much every regular video camera.
As far as I know, the only Video camera's that do Steady Shot in the lens are the Canon XL series, and I think a Sony series, where it's called "Optical Steady Shot", and none do it by moving the sensor.


QuoteQuote:
I can only adjust EV and ISO
Menu - Video -> Exposure setting.
From the above, I'm betting you've got that set to "P", or your using a K or KM lens.

In P and Av Exposure settings, when you press the +/- button, you see the EV adjustment display. In both of those modes, it's like having the ISO, shutter speed and Iris set to full auto, which means the vision gets brighter or darker depending on what your pointing at.

If you're using a K or KM ( M for Manual,..) lens, even in the "M" setting for Exposure, you'll still end up with the ISO ramping up and down. It's a pain. The solutions are using KA lenses, or hoping for a firmware change.


Under that same Video (film camera icon) menu area, make sure the "Movie Capture Settings" are set to "FullHD", and the Quality set to 3 stars.
If you open a .mov file in Quicktime Player, and open the Movie Inspector under the Window drop down, One star shows 10Mb/s, three stars shows around 20Mb/s
Frame Rate should be set to what's correct for your local area, 25fps for PAL, 30fps for NTSC, and 24 for 'film' projects.


So far I've used it to film things as diverse as a concert pianist, sports cars at a grand prix track, wrestling, rock bands, drone camera tests, mock light saber duels and a few other oddball moments.
I'm finding the Muted setting is useful in matching other footage in the Colour Grading process for film projects, and the Natural setting is good for TV use.

There's also one other thing to check,...
Are you running the focus manually? There are other comments on poor auto-focus performance, especially with those camera's still running the firmware they were shipped with, and appreciable improvements with the v1.03 (current) firmware.
Regardless, it is better practice in video and film to run the focus manually.

I bought mine primarily to do video, and beyond some minor niggles, I have found the image quality for video to be the equal of every DSLR I've shot with, and the form factor is good training before I get myself a BMD Cine Camera.

Last edited by PiDicus Rex; 06-14-2013 at 02:34 AM.
06-14-2013, 03:00 AM   #3
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As stated above, better with SR off and on tripod. it is only useful while filming handheld to smooth out real shaky movements but don't move the camera a lot, no pans or so...
I have a sony A77 that uses the same digital shake reduction but the sony is far superior in doing it.

With regards to video quality. I feel that in wide angle details are very badly resolved, again, my sony is much better for that. And using tele lenses, results & details are much better. actually quite good to my taste & comparable to other dslr's.

Overall, i bought my Sony to make up for the pentax & the pentax does well as second video tool with my great telelenses for close ups...
06-14-2013, 07:53 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by netrex Quote
Here is a RAR archive with screenshots from videos of the same scene from the Pentax K-5, Pentax K-01 and Nokia 808 PureView with natural/standard and flat settings. For the Nokia, I also added a screenshots from CameraPro, a third party software which gives a little more control:
- https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...08PureView.rar
I'll have a look at this tomorrow & compare it with mine...

06-14-2013, 09:16 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by PiDicus Rex Quote
First up, turn off the SR and use a Tripod or Camera Rig, big improvement straight off.

The SR does introduce blur in my experience with my K-01,.. which is only about a month more then yours.

The method of stabilisation that Pentax have used is the same as Steady Shot for pretty much every regular video camera.
As far as I know, the only Video camera's that do Steady Shot in the lens are the Canon XL series, and I think a Sony series, where it's called "Optical Steady Shot", and none do it by moving the sensor.


Menu - Video -> Exposure setting.
From the above, I'm betting you've got that set to "P", or your using a K or KM lens.

In P and Av Exposure settings, when you press the +/- button, you see the EV adjustment display. In both of those modes, it's like having the ISO, shutter speed and Iris set to full auto, which means the vision gets brighter or darker depending on what your pointing at.

If you're using a K or KM ( M for Manual,..) lens, even in the "M" setting for Exposure, you'll still end up with the ISO ramping up and down. It's a pain. The solutions are using KA lenses, or hoping for a firmware change.


Under that same Video (film camera icon) menu area, make sure the "Movie Capture Settings" are set to "FullHD", and the Quality set to 3 stars.
If you open a .mov file in Quicktime Player, and open the Movie Inspector under the Window drop down, One star shows 10Mb/s, three stars shows around 20Mb/s
Frame Rate should be set to what's correct for your local area, 25fps for PAL, 30fps for NTSC, and 24 for 'film' projects.


So far I've used it to film things as diverse as a concert pianist, sports cars at a grand prix track, wrestling, rock bands, drone camera tests, mock light saber duels and a few other oddball moments.
I'm finding the Muted setting is useful in matching other footage in the Colour Grading process for film projects, and the Natural setting is good for TV use.

There's also one other thing to check,...
Are you running the focus manually? There are other comments on poor auto-focus performance, especially with those camera's still running the firmware they were shipped with, and appreciable improvements with the v1.03 (current) firmware.
Regardless, it is better practice in video and film to run the focus manually.

I bought mine primarily to do video, and beyond some minor niggles, I have found the image quality for video to be the equal of every DSLR I've shot with, and the form factor is good training before I get myself a BMD Cine Camera.
I have SR of.

What you quoted about ISO and EV is about the Nokia 808 PureView, not the K-01. On the K-01 I have it on M, like I said (yes, in the menu for video exposure settings where you can chose P, Av and M).

That the camera changes the exposure automatically while using completely manual lenses while in M must be a bug, I see no other reason for it to do that, it makes no sense. If it's not a bug, why doesn't the camera do that for still images as well while in M mode.

I have it on FullHD (1080p), but HD (720p) is no better. And I have video quality set to max (three stars).

Also, I have it set to 24 FPS all the time as my local area doesn't matter when I put things online

I will try to get some kind of Canon with APS-C sensor to test and compare with as I have an adapter for those to use K-mount lenses on.


QuoteOriginally posted by grispie Quote
I'll have a look at this tomorrow & compare it with mine...
Let me know what you figure out. A screenshot would be nice to see, as all the video I've tested looks mushy and bad.
06-15-2013, 03:17 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by netrex Quote
Let me know what you figure out. A screenshot would be nice to see, as all the video I've tested looks mushy and bad.
just had a look at your screenshots. i'm sorry, i recognize this. it is a shot with a lot of details (trees, leaves,...). and the codec just cannot handle this well. sometimes it does but most of the time, these kind of shots, wasted...

VIDEO - IMAGES

Look at this video, nice testing scene. you'll notice that in tele it is not bad.
ps: you can also download the video if you would want to (button on top of video...)
06-15-2013, 03:45 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by grispie Quote
just had a look at your screenshots. i'm sorry, i recognize this. it is a shot with a lot of details (trees, leaves,...). and the codec just cannot handle this well. sometimes it does but most of the time, these kind of shots, wasted...

VIDEO - IMAGES

Look at this video, nice testing scene. you'll notice that in tele it is not bad.
ps: you can also download the video if you would want to (button on top of video...)
It's the same codec as the Nokia 808 PureView uses, and it has just below half the bitrate, with better quality. I suspect it has to do with how the image is pulled from the sensor.

I couldn't judge the quality from those videos, they were too low resolution, 640*480, sorry.
06-15-2013, 04:17 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by netrex Quote
It's the same codec as the Nokia 808 PureView uses, and it has just below half the bitrate, with better quality. I suspect it has to do with how the image is pulled from the sensor.

I couldn't judge the quality from those videos, they were too low resolution, 640*480, sorry.
if it helps, i can put a high res on there?

06-15-2013, 05:10 AM   #9
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Isn't the bitrate around 22-24 Mb/s when FullHD and 30fps and ***. This is the best setting for IQ.
06-15-2013, 05:48 AM   #10
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My K-01 might not have the resolution of my Canon S11 camcorder (24mbit avchd) but it has much better DR, noise performance, and access to my lenses, which I have longed for in my video work for years. I'm going to be using my Canon for moving shots and general focal lengths where a shallow DOF is not needed. The K-01 will come out for the creative shots with my 15mm Ltd and 50mm primes. Maybe my 55-300. But obviously it's going to have to be on a tripod because the stabilization is awful. I've found the quality to be excellent, though, for the $250 I paid for it.

Last edited by NitroDC; 06-15-2013 at 06:09 AM.
06-15-2013, 12:44 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by NitroDC Quote
access to my lenses
same for me. the real mushy quality in scenes with a lot of detail, brought me to buying a sony dslt as well. Combining best of both worlds this way...
06-15-2013, 01:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by grispie Quote
if it helps, i can put a high res on there?
Maybe for one of them if it's OK.

QuoteOriginally posted by grispie Quote
same for me. the real mushy quality in scenes with a lot of detail, brought me to buying a sony dslt as well. Combining best of both worlds this way...
This is the reason I did a test where things were mostly still, so bit rate would be less of an issue. The K-01 and K-5 video still did worse than the Nokia though, and the Nokia and K-01 has the same codec, Nokia between 7 and 8 Mbit, the K-01 around 18 or so in that video, the Nokia was still a lot more detailed, so it happens before encoding.

How is it using a Pentax lens on Sony? Do you get aperture control?
06-15-2013, 01:24 PM   #13
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Will do,

I have not yet put a pentax lens on the sony. Believe the adapter has additional glass in it.
The sony came with a 16 50 2.8 lens. Really great lens and body for video. If i really want to go tele, i use the pentax, and it does that quite well.
06-15-2013, 01:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by grispie Quote
Will do,

I have not yet put a pentax lens on the sony. Believe the adapter has additional glass in it.
The sony came with a 16 50 2.8 lens. Really great lens and body for video. If i really want to go tele, i use the pentax, and it does that quite well.
Ah, I see. I know I can use K-mount on Canon's APS-C cameras, I will try to get hold of one for a test to see how it turns out. But they don't have peaking though. But for just video, that's not a big thing, as they do have HDMI out for while you record, so I can use a monitor that has peaking.

I'm going to photograph some motocross tomorrow, and I'll bring both my K-5 and K-01, and maybe I'll try some video. I'll also test the Nokia for that just to see the detail level.
06-15-2013, 01:56 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by netrex Quote
Ah, I see. I know I can use K-mount on Canon's APS-C cameras, I will try to get hold of one for a test to see how it turns out. But they don't have peaking though. But for just video, that's not a big thing, as they do have HDMI out for while you record, so I can use a monitor that has peaking.

I'm going to photograph some motocross tomorrow, and I'll bring both my K-5 and K-01, and maybe I'll try some video. I'll also test the Nokia for that just to see the detail level.

I have shot with canons from friends as well. I feel quality is not that much better than the pentax though. Colours are more filmic straight from cam. You can zoom in before filming for focus check. But yes, in detailed scenes, canon performs better.

I chose the sony a77 as the "kitlens is great for video, steady shot makes filming handheld real nice, viewfinder can be used for filming as well (bright sunlight...). sofar i have only done one project with it and it blows the pentax away... even the canons in my opinion.
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