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08-19-2020, 10:16 PM   #1
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Pentax Video Question

My son returned to school (for this 3rd degree) after becoming fatally allergic to his previous profession (after 10 years). This afternoon he received a call from his department head congratulating him on becoming president of the local student chapter of the industry's national professional organization.

They usually go out and do tours of various facilities - but with the current COVID situation, in person meetings are now replaced with web meetings. That said, they had some facility tours being lined up - and the current thinking is that most of the facilities do not have a prepackaged video tour available, and what the organization would be interested in would not be included anyway.

I shot a short video last semester for my son's "handwashing" demonstration, but I really only do still photography. So, being retired, my services were volunteered (yea, I'm cheap as in free - the price is right).
  • I have a K1, video is there but pretty basic - Full HD (19201080) 60i and HD (1280720) 60p with up to 25 minute segments. Plus, I really don't want to tote around 5 pounds of camera body, lens - on some stabilizer for an hour of "filming". Something smaller and lighter would be nice.
  • I also have a K5IIs - smaller and lighter, which would be better - Full HD (1920 x 1080, 16:9, 25 fps.), HD (1280 x 720, 16:9, 30 fps./ 25 fps.). Also, these "productions" really do not need to be at a "professional" level.
The problems I'm forecasting are - real time focusing, and having only a single opportunity at these facilities (no do overs).

The question is - Will Pentax gear be adequate? If not - a GoPro or ??? I'm thinking of some sort of small low end mechanical stabilizer for "walking" tours. A mic is probably not all that important, since they will have someone from the facility narrating the video during the web meeting / presentation. But some audio may be nice in some instances. I would rather not go with a second DSLR/Mirrorless system.

Previous tours included a weapons factory, a food processing / distributor and scientific lab. So, some outside in bright light, while others inside in ambient lighting.

Last edited by interested_observer; 08-19-2020 at 10:23 PM.
08-20-2020, 07:38 AM   #2
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GoPro cameras can be mighty handy. I have a Hero 5 Black among my personal cameras and it does a good job, but the stabilization on the Hero 7 that I have for work seems to be quite a bit better. Of course, I paid around $105 for my Hero 5 used and newer GoPros can be several times that so it kinda depends upon how much you want to put into this deal.
08-20-2020, 07:57 AM   #3
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I have seen quite a few semi-serious video fans using a smart phone on a stabilised gimbal mount.
These seem to be available from Amazon etc at reasonable prices, but to be fair i haven't tried one myself.
A stabilised mount for DSLR will be expensive and it may well be that a smart phone will give sufficient quality for your application.
08-22-2020, 01:55 PM   #4
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Just some thoughts based on my current experience shooting Pentax video. All other cameras listed I have personally shot with or currently shoot with. These comments are all framed based on if I was in your shoes and asked to film a factory tour.

Pentax video - soft and mushy, low bitrate, but advantage of nice lenses you may have, big sensor and aperture so potentially less noisy indoors. Also can get nice depth of field, though for a tour that's not really wanted. Autofocus is a bust in video, so I do all manual focus. For your sake, an ultra wide set to infinity would work, or just practice manual focusing. If you're not comfortable or you know you have places where you would be changing focus a lot, this might not work. Do not shoot interlaced, stick to 30p. Owning and shooting video with k5, k3, and k1, the k1 is slightly better than the rest. Maybe that's just been my perception because of depth of field I could get, but does seem a little better quality as well. The flip down screen works well to stabilize the body against your chest and hold low. The built-in stabilization is AMAZING for stationary handheld video, but bad if you are walking/panning. Not sure how long the battery lasts in straight shooting, but based on my usage I think the K-1 would last at least an hour.

Cell phone video - degrades quickly in lowlight, fixed focal length, but if a recent smartphone then sharp video and convenient. Auto-focus can be pretty good to very good on these as well. Some even have built-in stabilization, or as suggested, a sub $100 gimbal would do wonders here. Make sure you have a good working battery (I know some people wear it out pretty quick) or plug into external battery pack. Could very well be your best/cheapest option depending what phone you have.

GoPro video - Similar to phone, degrades quickly in low light, but sharp, high bitrates. Good angle for a tour. No worries about autofocus because it is fixed focus. Newer ones with built in stabilization are really nice. I have the 7 currently and really enjoy it, you can walk around and handhold no problem. I shoot mostly in 2.7k to avoid the crazy codecs of 4k, which unless you have a very recent (last two years) CPU and a beast of a computer, is not usable. Battery of my hero 7 shooting 2.7k 60fps lasts just over an hour of straight shooting.

Cheap cameras with good video quality: Used Panasonic GH3 ($200-$250)1080p quality was actually very good. Can adapt your current Pentax lenses, just keep in mind the 2x crop factor, so you would need a really wide Pentax lens to make that usable for tours, or buy a m4/3 wide lens. For a little more, the G7 ($350 used) is good, or for $200-300 panasonic has some super zooms like the FZ1000 that take great video, good autofocus, etc.

That was really informally written up, I am typing fast so I can get back to my kids (who are now screaming at me to pay attention), but wanted to chime in since I shoot a lot of video on my Pentax cameras and other cheap alternatives. Hope it helps somewhat.

08-25-2020, 12:58 AM   #5
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K5IIs with MPEG recording actually has really decent image quality (probably the best 1080p quality up to the KP/K1). It'll beat the pants out of any cell phone or gopro.

The downside being MPEG is kind of a pain in terms of file size (and thus shorter recording times), but given the price to size ratio of SD cards these days it really isn't as big of an issue like it was in 2013.

The K5IIs also has great handling of rolling shutter, being nowhere near as extreme as most modern sony cameras even.

A good backup by the way would be to have a hotshoe mount for your gopro or cellphone to have backup video if a shot on the DSLR didn't come back right.

Imo the best option would be buying something like a used GH2 for high quality 1080p recording. But I myself wouldn't buy gear for a free gig.

Last edited by ZombieArmy; 08-25-2020 at 01:16 AM.

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