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09-25-2008, 06:14 AM   #1
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Anyone use K20D's 21fps burst mode for fast action photography?

Hi

The K20D has a burst mode of 21fps. Anyone tried this for fast action photography like say water skiing, surfing, basketball, tennis?

I am keen to see some pictures.

Thanks

09-25-2008, 07:10 AM   #2
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Sorry no help here. I'm curious though, what exactly is this burst mode?
09-25-2008, 07:21 AM   #3
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I downloaded k20D manual to understand more about the camera and I found this part where it says the k20D is able to take pictures at 21fps burst mode. The image size must be reduced from 14.6MP to 1.6MP though in order for this to work.

I am just curious to know if this helps fast action photography or not. If not, what is the purpose of this burst mode then.
09-25-2008, 08:19 AM   #4
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Raider asks if anybody's used the burst mode on the K20D; paolojackson asks what it is.

To Paolo: The K20D has a special feature where the camera takes low-res photos at a rate of 21 fps for as long as you hold the shutter down. It's close to - but not quite the same as - taking 21 fps video. I can't remember the res of the image files, but it's way below the full 14.7 MP that the K20D is capable of.

Back to Raider: Yes, I've played with it a bit. Don't have any pics online to share right now, because I've never felt that the results were especially interesting. If nobody posts anything better in the next six hours, when my daughter comes home from school I'll have her do a cartwheel and I'll put up the photos.

A serious problem with the K20D's burst mode feature is that the finder gets blacked out when you hold down the shutter button. This happens because the mirror is simply raised to expose the sensor - and the mechanical SLR shutter is replaced (apparently) by an electrical pseudo-shutter that records 21 images per second. Since you won't be able to follow a moving subject through the viewfinder, you either have to hope you're pointing the camera in the right direction - or use the K20D's other half-baked innovation, live view. Live View lets you watch what your're photographing through the display on the back of the camera. But as far as I can tell, you can only stay in live view for 3 seconds. If you wanted to do something like, oh, recreate the famous photographs of Eadweard Muybridge, of horses in motion, you'd be much better off using a video camera (not available to Muybridge, of course).

Personally, I find the burst mode pretty useless. I am not one of those who think that it's a tragedy that the K20D can't shoot normal photos faster than 3 fps, but I will admit, that I would be happy to have 5 fps or better for occasional use, even if I couldn't shoot in full 14.6 MP resolution.

On a more positive note, I guess the burst mode of the K20D is simply a first attempt on Pentax's part. It's pretty clear that the ability to do real video is soon going to be expected from digital SLRs. I would imagine that this feature will be more useful on the next Pentax model, whatever it is (K30D?).

Will

09-25-2008, 09:12 AM   #5
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i havent done anything productive with this feature.. other than this

keep in mind tho that these were 60kb exports :ugh:

YouTube - Nadi Nadi
09-25-2008, 01:01 PM   #6
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I tried it a couple of tines at swim meets and got some interesting series off the starting blocks. It does take some getting used to to master properly as it needs some forethought in how you set up to use it (per Will's comments above on finder blackout). It switches the camera to a small JPEG mode. The quality is okay but did not look like it would be suitable for large prints. Dave
09-25-2008, 01:12 PM   #7
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I've used it for golf swings. I need to get a faster shutter speed to freeze the club, but other than my error, it worked fine.

You can see my Flickr set here.
09-25-2008, 01:45 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
i havent done anything productive with this feature.. other than this

keep in mind tho that these were 60kb exports :ugh:

YouTube - Nadi Nadi
Cute girl!

09-25-2008, 01:49 PM   #9
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It was meant to provide enough quality for small sports article shots in newspapers or web sites IIRC. So it's enough for that but not much else. It's definitely not the 5DmkII's 1080p mode :-)
09-25-2008, 01:50 PM   #10
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shes family
09-25-2008, 08:59 PM   #11
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I am quite impressed by the golf swing pictures.

If I were to fit a 300mm zoom lenses onto the k20D and put it on max. zoom on a tripod, would the burst mode work just as well? Will the burst mode work effectively with all lenses and across all aperture and shutter speed?

since the k20D is shooting at 21fps, how do we even set the shutter speed? is the shutter speed pre-determined by the camera?
09-26-2008, 03:10 AM   #12
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Can you keep your finger on the AF button and change focus while shooting a burst?
09-26-2008, 06:29 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by raider Quote
I am quite impressed by the golf swing pictures.
Yeah, Russ did a good job there. But I'd note that Russ picked a nearly perfect subject for this feature - something that moves in an interesting way, but stays more or less in the same place.


QuoteQuote:
If I were to fit a 300mm zoom lenses onto the k20D and put it on max. zoom on a tripod, would the burst mode work just as well? Will the burst mode work effectively with all lenses and across all aperture and shutter speed?
Well, I'm not sure what's going on with shutter speed. Obviously it can't be slower than 1/21th sec because the camera's taking 21 shots a second (or whatever it is). So if you needed a 1/20th sec exposure, well, I'm guessing that would get shortened automatically. But if a 1/500th sec shutter is adequate, I'm not sure whether the feature is giving you that (21 times a second) or not. I will say that, in my test shots, exposure seemed to be decent.
QuoteQuote:
since the k20D is shooting at 21fps, how do we even set the shutter speed? is the shutter speed pre-determined by the camera?
You set shutter speed normally. The only thing that's different if you use this feature is that the mirror stays up - and the sensor exposed - as long as you hold down the shutter button. This option is chosen in the Fn menu. There are, in the K20D, two completely different TYPES of continuous mode shooting. First you have the older type, where the camera takes a normal shot with the exposure settings you requested and keeps doing so until the buffer is full, at a rate of 3 fps or so. The K20D calls this "continuous shooting." Then there's this new type, which the K20D calls "burst shooting". I keep the camera in the first, older type pretty much all the time, because if you simply depress the shutter and release it immediately, you'll never get two shots by accident. But with the newer type, you would NOT want to stay in that mode, because it's almost impossible not to get at least two or three shots no matter how fast you release the shutter.

Will
09-26-2008, 06:42 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
Can you keep your finger on the AF button and change focus while shooting a burst?
Not sure about that. I set the camera into AF.C focusing option, because I have focus tied to pressing the shutter button. I took some test shots yesterday of my dog running around in the yard, and I think the dog stayed in focus as she moved.

I still fail to see the point of this feature. Russ's golf swing shots show that a subject can move a LOT in 1/21th sec: 7 fps might not have been as informative at all. But 30fps video would be even more informative, plus, you could go on for more than a few seconds without worrying about running out of storage.

Will

P.S. By the way, "1/21th"?? Not one-twenty-first. This is a fraction, not an ordinal number. We don't have a fractional ending for 1. It's true that, after 2, the ordinals and the fractional forms are identical: third, fourth, fifth, ninety-seventh, etc. But they're not the same for 2: the ordinal form is 'second,' the fractional form is 'half.' We can say 'one-eleventh' and that sounds fine. 'One-twenty-oneth' sounds odd but I don't know what the alternative is...
09-26-2008, 07:11 AM   #15
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The autofocus doesn't work in burst mode. You set focus before the butrst and that's the end of it. It is kind of awkward to use because there seems to be a delay between the time you press the shutter and the thing actually going on. It still needs to be refined, according to me.
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