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06-14-2009, 06:46 PM   #1
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Why it was essential for K7 to have Video

Title: Will Video Kill the Still Photography Star, by Louis Lesko

From: Digital PhotoPro dated: July August 2009

url: Will Video Kill The Still Photography Star? - Digital Photo Pro | DigitalPhotoPro.com

=======================
In the last month or two, most of the comments i've read on Pentax Forums about the K7 video fell into 2 camps:

1. Thats a shame, no way would i ever use video - just extra cost and complexity. Its just being added to increase sales to less experienced consumers.

2. Might be fun, might have a use for it
========================

Well the above article puts a whole new light on video in DSLRS. It says the video is needed by professionals.

The author claims that since July last summer, a few photographers were asked to shoot catalogs with the RED Digital Cinema Camera. The video was to be used for web snipets and the images for the print publications would be pulled from the video. He also claims that later on, he spoke with agents for two high profile photographers. "In the last 6 months, several jobs have been lost because of the video issue." he also claims that the wedding world is changing. "... the traditional, 30 minute wedding video with the schmaltzy soundtrack was being replaced with the 3 and 1/2 minute tightly edited YouTube style video of the highlights of the wedding with a rocking sound track."

I don't know if Louis Lesko knows what he is talking about, but he makes a convincing case that video is an important adjunct to the professional photographer. I think the article is worth reading. It appears Pentax really did their homework when determining what to put in the K7.

I don't want to mislead anyone, Louis doesn't mention specific brand cameras other than the one rumour. But if you are a manufacturer, you want to be leading the pack, not following.

06-14-2009, 07:59 PM   #2
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Good read...
I do not subscribe to the increased cost argument of having video capability. Like computer chips, every generation of chips have shown better and higher capability at roughly similar or lower cost.
The same is true with sensors today. Sensors have evolved, issues of heat build-up, power consumption, image quality and noise control have seen improvements with every generation of new cameras.

Be that as it may, there will still be a segment of photographers who fall in the first category that you've mentioned, who remain stuck or even fixated with equipment, work flow and mindset shaped by past experience, notably pre-digital. This is not a criticism per se but a personal observation culled from many of my own photo buddies who are old hands in photography and who exhibit this trait. There is an almost instinctive rejection to video as being separate from pure still photography. My take is that in this era of digital convergence, such a feature as video is actually complementary to traditional still photography. It can add a new dimension in creativity if only we are receptive, not dogmatic nor fixed or set in our notion of image capture. Convergence is already here in many shape and forms in the stuff around us. Like smart phones today, you can stick to the basic functionality or you can capitalize on the many features... it all depends on the user.
06-14-2009, 09:51 PM   #3
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When i started to get serious about photography, I started noticing how good some of the film classics were, i'd see a scene and think what a great image that was, etc. Which led me to the conviction that still photography is good training for video's, i.e. one has to walk before they can run.

New generations that are accustomed to putting video's on youtube are not likely to see any significant boundary between the arts of still and video photography.
06-14-2009, 10:01 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
When i started to get serious about photography, I started noticing how good some of the film classics were, i'd see a scene and think what a great image that was, etc. Which led me to the conviction that still photography is good training for video's, i.e. one has to walk before they can run.

New generations that are accustomed to putting video's on youtube are not likely to see any significant boundary between the arts of still and video photography.
A film DP is first and foremost a lighting expert. The framing and technical aspects come after that. I've worked with a few DPs and to a one they were great still photographers and were totally tuned into the light.

I've argued against video on dSLRs to-date, finding it to be a niche tool mostly due to the poor handling of audio. I admit that I'm changing my tune a bit, am intrigued to see the stereo specs on the K-7, and would like to do some video work on it and compare it to my XH-A1. I'm willing to bet the my ltd primes will give a better picture, but if it won't capture 16 bit 48khz sound, the dedicated video camera will still win out, again except in certain specific situations (like shooting to accompany existing video, b-roll, etc.)

06-14-2009, 10:12 PM   #5
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Can I have my still-image-only K7 $300 cheaper now?
06-14-2009, 10:32 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Can I have my still-image-only K7 $300 cheaper now?
You wish...
Did you know that in many consumer electronics such as DVD players that are made by OEM manufacturers, many a times the top end model and the entry level model share the same circuit boards and chips and components... only a few ICs are omitted or disabled to "cripple" the added functionality and only the fascia, controls and buttons are tweaked a little to differentiate the models. Not only does the manufacturer reap the rewards of cheaper unit costs due to shared components but they also get to sell the "higher-specced" models at a premium to unknowing consumers...

Anyway a K-7 without video would be dead in the water sales wise in today's market, as it would run counter to what the competitors are already rolling out in their current cameras...
Public acceptance towards video is there so it would be foolish for Pentax to swim against the tide and omit this feature. I'm glad Pentax did not repeat the kind of big blunder made by now defunct Minolta when they launched the professional grade Minolta 9xi SLR years back... plenty of pro features but faulty thinking by the marketing and design team led to the omission of a pop-up flash. The thinking was that pros don't need and wouldn't want to use a built-in pop up flash (already an established feature of many SLR cameras then)... one of the reasons why the 9xi was a commercial flop...

Last edited by creampuff; 06-14-2009 at 10:44 PM.
06-14-2009, 10:45 PM   #7
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M-JPEG Is Practically a Free Throw-in

QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Can I have my still-image-only K7 $300 cheaper now?
No. From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mjpeg): "As a result, M-JPEG is an outdated and inefficient codec, whose main advantages are low processor overhead, ease of editing, ease of implementation by developers using existing JPEG algorithms or libraries, and broad compatibility."

Video in the K-7 is basically a low resolution fast frame-rate series of JPEGs in a single file. The most expensive part of it, is probably the audio jack.

If Pentax had chosen any other codec besides M-JPEG, I would have thought that a cheaper non-video camera would have been possible, and having it would have detracted from still shooting performance. As soon as I saw the codec was M-JPEG, I got a big grin because it's basically a free throw-in. As usual, Pentax made the correct technical decision.
06-14-2009, 11:22 PM   #8
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It's necessary for photojournalists, as more and more newspapers are expanding online. More and more want three minutes of video to put on the webpages, with stills for print (if the paper's actually still printing.)

I was a against video, but that was under the assumption that K7 was gonna be just a K20 with video. I'd be willing to bet that HD video encoding can be now done on nothing but a twenty-pin IC that you can buy in lots of a thousand from Malaysia for three cents a pop.

06-14-2009, 11:48 PM   #9
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Wow, that was quite interesting. I often consider it cheating to fire off 8fps and just select the keeper. Imagine having 24 or 30 or more fps to choose from... from minutes of footage. SHIT! Now that is cheating. But imagine the technology to get 15 or 20mpixels out of each one of those frames. Imaging the time taken to post process. Imaging the personal computer you will need.

The mind boggles at the tech involved but it is such a clear and simple step of evolution for a camera.

Damn... the k7 seems old hat already.

Are the photogs getting the jump on the videographers here.... the movies from SLRs seem to be taken seriously. Are the Stills from video cameras taken seriously. One day there may just be a 'camera', not photo or video... BOTH. Image the race by manufacturers to release that one. aha.... the k7 makes more sense...


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06-15-2009, 05:48 AM   #10
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25 years ago a good friend and myself shot Super 8mm surf movies with very good Canon's having 600mm lenses and true 24 fps slow mo.

I also did still photography.

When running through the movie we used to do frame by frame advance and when we got to an absolute radical looking frame - freeze it and wished then that we could just produce a beautiful enlargement from it and made wild comments how incredible if a standard camera could do the same.

That future is now here and whether some like it or not it will be improved and expanded upon whereupon we will be able to choose from a frame of time and publish to print or HD monitor.

I wait for the day when I can project true HD quality pictures via my HD projector and 4.5 x 2.5 screen!!

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06-15-2009, 06:54 AM   #11
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I'm both a still photography and videography enthusiast. To me, the arguments on video vs. not having video are a bit futile.
I've only glanced through the K-7's video specs but I suspect its a lot like my pocket P&S's video capability - useful (up to a point) , functional but somewhat clunky.
I will very likely use it, but mainly for casual, unplanned video shots in "wish I had my Videocam with me" situations.

For important video occasions, the mid-level Handycam's capabilities are just way too far ahead. Continuous adjustment capability during video capture - focus, exposure, ISO sensitivity , white balance, Frames-per-second capture. These are all important parameters which you want to be able to either control manually or have the camera automatically adjust DURING video capture. Ah, yes 5.1-Channel Dolby Stereo Surround Sound as well.
06-15-2009, 07:14 AM   #12
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In much the same way the argument about video cameras doing still images, I don't expect the K-7's video capabilities to match a dedicated video camera.
However the plethora of lenses from fisheye to super telephoto, macro and large aperture lenses can offer quite unique visual effects... bokeh shots, differential/split focusing, pull focus effects, close-ups etc.
06-15-2009, 09:19 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kittykat46 Quote
I've only glanced through the K-7's video specs but I suspect its a lot like my pocket P&S's video capability - useful (up to a point) , functional but somewhat clunky.
I will very likely use it, but mainly for casual, unplanned video shots in "wish I had my Videocam with me" situations.
Completely agree. For me video on the K-7 would be useful for totally casual "wish I could take video of this" situations. I look forward to using it in that capacity. If I ever become serious about video I'll look into proper video cameras, or maybe by then hybrids will be equally capable on the still and the video sides.

Yes, the K-7 had to have video. It has quickly become a checklist feature, and not having it would be a big negative in terms of sales no matter how clunky or primitive the implementation.

But I'll repeat what I've said before: the day the only way to get stills is by picking one out of a video clip is the day still photography dies.
06-15-2009, 09:34 AM   #14
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Actually whenever somebody brings up "economy of scale" as justification for a feature, it reminds me of the old Henry Ford dictum that said you could get a car in any color you wanted as long as it's black.

What you have to worry about regarding video is that for every person who wants it there's somebody else who doesn't - and won't buy the camera if it's there. They'll decide the camera's "too complicated" and look for a different brand. Telling them "if you don't want it don't use it" doesn't address the fact there are still buttons and modes for them to have to pick through. You can't just turn your back on a particular market segment and expect sales to grow.

As for newspapers and their requirements, most of them require Nikon or Canon. Sad, but true.
06-15-2009, 09:53 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yohan Pamudji Quote
Completely agree. ...

Yes, the K-7 had to have video. It has quickly become a checklist feature, and not having it would be a big negative in terms of sales no matter how clunky or primitive the implementation.

But I'll repeat what I've said before: the day the only way to get stills is by picking one out of a video clip is the day still photography dies.
Yes, i hope that would never happen, i.e. picking all images out of video clips.

At my photo club, i was getting some nice compliments about some long exposures i was taking on a tripod. I had the settings down pat on my K10 at the time, and so was really thinking about the background, foreground, available light, etc before even setting up the tripod. On our discussion board, one of our members, who never uses a tripod, said that he really had to pay more attention to his backgrounds. Tripods, single shots, do force a more considered process.

Some great images do happen just by chance and perhaps a bit of planning - some street shots would fall into that category, but many great images take a good deal of work and planning. So i totally agree.
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