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07-22-2016, 09:22 AM   #1
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K-1 video quality: why?

Using my K-1 (+43mm/f.9) for about a month so far, and almost totally happy - best stills camera I've used. Almost, but one thing: the quality of its video.

One common thread I see in reviews and discussions about K-1 is the forgiving/condescending attitude to it's video quality: "OK it's really a stills-oriented camera so we just won't talk seriously about it". I find it very unconvincing: as I see it, video quality is perhaps the only thing that makes the difference between being a "good camera" and "great camera" for K-1. And video in K-1 is really a bad, noisy/blurry thing that anyone who saw what other cameras of this calibre do will not want to look at.

In fact, the discrepancy between the quality and thoughtfulness of literally everything in this camera and its video quality makes me suspect that this all is the result of a conscious decision by K-1 designers to intentionally keep the video quality low. I just can't see how else in such a big and long project there was no room for an imaging engineer who'd bring the video quality to its today's standard. But in the life of me I can't see the logic of such a decision.

Does anyone have any ideas or knowledge on the subject?

07-22-2016, 09:29 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by bob_oi Quote
the discrepancy between the quality and thoughtfulness of literally everything in this camera and its video quality makes me suspect that this all is the result of a conscious decision by K-1 designers to intentionally keep the video quality low.
I think its a little more complicated than that. It has to do with things like encoding chip, buffer size/speed, and maybe even codec licensing. All of these things would raise the price of the camera for something that Pentax doesn't see as a priority.
Canon is generally good for video - though there have been many complaints about the stills quality of Canon sensors
Then there is the problem with SR and video. Mechanical SR is loud and can cause heat when used for a long time. I'm afraid that Pentax would have to do some major changes to get video quality on the level of its competitors
07-22-2016, 09:45 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bob_oi Quote
as I see it, video quality is perhaps the only thing that makes the difference between being a "good camera" and "great camera" for K-1
That's a very subjective view - perfectly valid but, respectfully, not one I agree with. Our video enthusiasts here will undoubtedly agree with you to some extent, though. They'll certainly - and quite rightly - pick up on the K-1's below-class-standards of video capability. But those of us who care primarily about stills photography (and I'd wager that's a majority on these forums) just don't see it as a big issue. The things that make it a great camera for many of us are image quality, build quality, weather resistance, ergonomics etc. - and, of course, price. If it had good video capability, that already-great camera would become a great camera with great video - something all of us would be pleased to see, but the majority of us aren't too concerned about.

I certainly don't think Ricoh / Pentax is holding back on video capability intentionally. If it had already developed that capability, you can be sure it would be included in the current and forthcoming products...
07-22-2016, 10:35 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by bob_oi Quote
I just can't see how else in such a big and long project there was no room for an imaging engineer who'd bring the video quality to its today's standard.
What is video quality today's standards? Can you explain?

07-22-2016, 10:38 AM   #5
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Oh, one more thing. While I have never managed to make a good video from my Pentax cameras, I have seen many examples of other users who made stunning videos. What is their secret? Hell if I know! But check the video subforums here. I have seen music videos, adverts, all kinds of videos made with Pentax cameras that looked just great. Can't find any fault in them, can't really tell them apart from Canon or Sony videos.
Of course video takes a lot of other gear, guide rails, follow focus, careful planning, lights, post processing..

Last edited by Na Horuk; 07-22-2016 at 10:47 AM.
07-22-2016, 10:52 AM - 1 Like   #6
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In the next Pentax APS-C and full frame bodies, Canon-like AF performance and 4K video with a robust codec will be essential.

Pretty sure Ricoh/Pentax can do it, but if they don't I really can't see any point in upgrading and I honestly can't see the attraction to shooters of other brands.

I could really use 4K video these days in the one DSLR package. Otherwise I'll need a dedicated 4K camcorder, i.e., more and no lens options.
07-22-2016, 03:06 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by bob_oi Quote
And video in K-1 is really a bad, noisy/blurry thing that anyone who saw what other cameras of this calibre do will not want to look at.
Huh? A totally vague and empty complaint. People should be embarrassed to post such stuff.

People always say Pentax video is bad, but I've seen great cinematic videos and commercial music videos on YouTube and Vimeo made on K-x's.

And the video specs of the K-1 match or exceed those of cameras like the Canon 5D2, which remains the workhorse of the DSLR video world.

But it's a Pentax. So in the minds of other brand gear enthusiasts, it must be flawed.

Last edited by BigMackCam; 07-22-2016 at 03:25 PM. Reason: Edited minor vulgarity
07-22-2016, 10:19 PM   #8
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I see it totally different. If I wanted to capture video . . . I'd use a video camcorder.

Pentax was, and is, a manufacturer of one of the best SLR cameras made. For taking pictures. I've never used the video capability on any of my bodies, and couldn't even tell you know how if asked.

07-22-2016, 11:27 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Oh, one more thing. While I have never managed to make a good video from my Pentax cameras, I have seen many examples of other users who made stunning videos. What is their secret? Hell if I know! But check the video subforums here. I have seen music videos, adverts, all kinds of videos made with Pentax cameras that looked just great. Can't find any fault in them, can't really tell them apart from Canon or Sony videos.
Of course video takes a lot of other gear, guide rails, follow focus, careful planning, lights, post processing..
Thanks, I hope there is indeed a secret Will try digging in the video forum
07-23-2016, 05:30 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Huh? A totally vague and empty complaint. People should be embarrassed to post such stuff.
I don't know much about video, but I've found that home video clips taken with my Sony RX100-II, and my Panasonic LX100 and GX7 often look better than what I've gotten with my Pentax cameras. As for the nuts and bolts of why that might be, I'm not sure.

DPReview has a widget for comparing video quality, and some cameras do look much better than others on video, stills performance notwithstanding.
07-23-2016, 05:52 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by volosong Quote
I see it totally different. If I wanted to capture video . . . I'd use a video camcorder.

Pentax was, and is, a manufacturer of one of the best SLR cameras made. For taking pictures. I've never used the video capability on any of my bodies, and couldn't even tell you know how if asked.
I tend to agree, but times are changing that stills cameras offer superb video too. I think by the next generation of, particularly mirrorless, cameras I can see camcorders becoming pretty much obsolete apart from the high end broadcast equipment.
07-23-2016, 06:08 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I think that Pentax wanted a great still image photography camera and figured they would fit whatever video in that could without compromising still image quality. For me it is a perfect fit with my iPhone and its 4K. If I liked videography I would buy a Canon Cinema EOS or Blackmagic. Cameras that do not compromise video quality to accomplish still images.
07-23-2016, 06:41 AM   #13
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Unless Pentax can replicate and exceed the billions of Yen spent by Canon/Nikon/Sony R&D over the years to develop world-class video, they will always be labelled as "inferior" for video. The pixel peepers and spec-calculators will never be satisfied with Pentax video no matter how much it improves because "the big boys" will always be better.

Personally, I'd think that Ricoh would do better to invest it's R&D time in novel features that Canon and Nikon cannot offer such as pixel-shift, astrotracer, composition adjust, horizon leveling, etc. And I love all the added functionality on the K1 (function dial, illumination, tilty-screen, LCD/OVF overlay). Pentax may lag on video (and really can't do anything to prevent lagging on video) but they are leading on dozens of useful features of stills photographers.
07-23-2016, 07:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Unless Pentax can replicate and exceed the billions of Yen spent by Canon/Nikon/Sony R&D over the years to develop world-class video, they will always be labelled as "inferior" for video. The pixel peepers and spec-calculators will never be satisfied with Pentax video no matter how much it improves because "the big boys" will always be better.

Personally, I'd think that Ricoh would do better to invest it's R&D time in novel features that Canon and Nikon cannot offer such as pixel-shift, astrotracer, composition adjust, horizon leveling, etc. And I love all the added functionality on the K1 (function dial, illumination, tilty-screen, LCD/OVF overlay). Pentax may lag on video (and really can't do anything to prevent lagging on video) but they are leading on dozens of useful features of stills photographers.
This is where it would have been handy if Sony had bought Pentax. They could have had the best of what Pentax does combined with the AF and video capabilities from Sony as well as the latest sensors.

The camera could have been produced in K-mount and be Pentax branded and also A-mount but Sony branded. I feel for Sony A-mount shooters, they've been left right in the lurch.
07-23-2016, 07:38 AM   #15
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If Sony had bought Pentax... now the K-mount would be dead, and Sony would be making NEX-series mirrorless cameras.
It happened with Konica-Minolta. There's no reason to believe it would've been otherwise if it was Pentax.
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