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10-17-2014, 02:00 AM   #1
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Interesting things I just found about the Pentax K-x

Hi All!

Apologies for opening a topic about a camera which came out approximately 5 years ago.

Anyway it was in regard to its video capability.

I found out that the K-x inspite of not giving any manual controls, using outdated mjpeg codec for encoding the video is one of the rare dslrs which actually seems to be using the image stabiliser physically while shooting video as against an electronic stabiliser. I am sure most of you are aware that apart from Pentax, the sony slt series, olympus pen series (mirrorless compact system cameras) provide sensor based image stabilisation while shooting video. A common thing is when you shoot video with image stabilisation these cameras provide only electronic stabilisation (with exception of the em5). The problem with electronic stabilisation is the crop factor. As electronic stabilisation seems to need to crop of the edges of the sensor in order for it to work they tend to cut of the sides of the video thereby reducing the fov of the lens. This becomes a problem especially while shooting with ultrawides or wide angle lens as you dont get the entire wide view when electronic stabilisation is on. To my knowledge in Bodies like the K-01, K30 (correct me if I am wrong on this) and in almost all of the sony slt series (I have the a37) the sides are cut by default whether you use the stabilisation or not and in case of the pen series the sides dont get cut if image stabilisation is disabled (but thats a different issue then) but in regard to the K-x the sides dont get while shooting with image stabilisation on. So it seems to be an advantage if one is looking for an affordable image stabilised video capable dslr which doesnt crop when IS is enabled. Very useful for those wanting to shoot quick stabilised videos without a tripod while retaining full wide angle view while shooting with a wide or ultrawide.

Another very interesting thing I found out is the k-x allows you to magnify live view in video mode (before recording ofcourse). This is very useful if one is using manual lenses and want to check focus. Strangely this feature is absent in most dslrs and mirrorless compact systems (I cant do it on the slt a37 or any of the pen series including em5 but this can be done with the nex series though but then they dont provide is)

Another thing I found out is the live view though a bit laggy at times seems to give a bit more detail while using magnification alongwith manual lenses. I tend to use fast primes like the pentax 50mm 1.4 and 1.7 and while using them on mirrorless bodies such as the nex 5n or em5 I tend to use focus assist (magnification) to magnify portion I want to check focus for but in both models inspite of using 9.5x magnification (the nex 5n) and 14 x magnification (em5) images tend to be very soft while using fast primes such as the pentax 50mm 1.4 and 1.7 but funnily when same lenses are loaded onto the k-x and seen at even around 5x I get to see more detail and sharpness of object and focusing seems to be more accurate. Sadly when you magnify to say 10x you see lots of grainy image due to the very low res k-x screen but never the less at 5x it tends to show a little bit more detail while using fast primes compared to newer dslrs. I am able to nail more accurate focus.

Finally the k-x though using the outdated mjpeg codec seems to encode video at a higher bit rate (35942 kilobits per second or 4.38 megabytes per second) when shot at HD (1280 x 720). Just for sake of comparison The EM5 at its highest settings (1920 x 1080 50i) shoots it at around 11560 kilo bits per second. I might be wrong but I think more bit rate means a little more detail is preserved of the image in the video

Anyway I wasnt using the k-x for a long time but planning on playing around with one of my old favorites from pentax just to experiment more with the IS

Anyway my intention for starting this topic was to tell all that just because newer technologies come out and you get supposedly better cameras one shouldnt write off the older models as they still pack one or two features which might be missing in the newer ones and so if any of you are planning on disposing of your older k-x bodies you might wanna just reconsider.

Thank you for taking time to read this!

10-17-2014, 02:52 AM   #2
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Pentax today doesn't seem to care much about video.
The recent Ricoh discussion video from photokina just highlighted that they don't see it as a priority.
As such those looking for more from their dslr are acquiring new bodies from other manufacturers.

As you allude to, it's quite sad that Ricoh don't improve the software to make full use of the hardware and ergonomics we love and own. The ingredients are all there, but they've undercooked it.
10-17-2014, 04:46 AM   #3
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In support of your post, the K-x is a great little camera that has been put to good use by many people to make some excellent videos - music videos, commercial videos, art movies even. K-x videos seem to have a certain smoothness and style.

Browse the video sub-forum here from several years ago and onwards to see a selection of those. Or search Vimeo or Youtube. There are lots.
10-17-2014, 05:04 AM   #4
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I'm still happily using mine... :-)

10-17-2014, 06:08 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
Pentax today doesn't seem to care much about video.
You're right, but I think Pentax is missing the boat. Videos and stills are all part of the same boat these days. I can see the value in only concentrating on stills, but unless you're Leica (which Pentax is NOT), it's going to be a tough row to hoe to sell superior stills in favor of less-than-current-equivalent video.
10-17-2014, 07:12 AM   #6
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IBIS video on the K-x is OK, but very noisy and huge battery drain. I prefer to shoot wider and then stabilize in iMovie.
10-18-2014, 06:22 AM   #7
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
Pentax today doesn't seem to care much about video.
The recent Ricoh discussion video from photokina just highlighted that they don't see it as a priority.
As such those looking for more from their dslr are acquiring new bodies from other manufacturers.

As you allude to, it's quite sad that Ricoh don't improve the software to make full use of the hardware and ergonomics we love and own. The ingredients are all there, but they've undercooked it.

Its sad they are ignoring such an important feature which is like standard even in the cheapest mirrorless compacts olympus or panasonic

hope good sense prevails and they start treating video more seriously

---------- Post added 10-18-14 at 02:23 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
In support of your post, the K-x is a great little camera that has been put to good use by many people to make some excellent videos - music videos, commercial videos, art movies even. K-x videos seem to have a certain smoothness and style.

Browse the video sub-forum here from several years ago and onwards to see a selection of those. Or search Vimeo or Youtube. There are lots.
I have checked out lots of videos shot with the k-x and admit the video is great coming from a camera which only shoots semi hd and no manual controls

---------- Post added 10-18-14 at 02:24 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
I'm still happily using mine... :-)
me too!!

---------- Post added 10-18-14 at 02:27 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
You're right, but I think Pentax is missing the boat. Videos and stills are all part of the same boat these days. I can see the value in only concentrating on stills, but unless you're Leica (which Pentax is NOT), it's going to be a tough row to hoe to sell superior stills in favor of less-than-current-equivalent video.
it could be they have realised unless its some really pioneering feature in video implementation they wont bother even trying and not compete with likes of Nikons and canons who superdominate the market!

though i did point out an important feature which not many out there have implemented which is a real sensor based image stabiliser (as against an electronic one) which doesnt crop video from sides could be really useful for lots of indy filmmakers who cant afford expensive stabilisers and who avoid using cameras which crop videos due to electronic image stabilisation

---------- Post added 10-18-14 at 02:29 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
IBIS video on the K-x is OK, but very noisy and huge battery drain. I prefer to shoot wider and then stabilize in iMovie.
You have a point regarding battery drain. I also feel in long run probably the sensor based stabilisation might just break down due to physical wear and tear. regarding audio its sad the k-x doesnt allow external mics and only work around to avoid capturing noise of the IS is to use an external recorder and sync in post
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