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08-04-2013, 04:04 AM   #1
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MX Timelapse Mode impressions (with video)

Had a chance to play around with the MX-1's timelapse movie mode and wanted to share some thoughts for any curious people.

VIMEO - Pentax MX1 Timelapse Test 4/8/13


Included is one of the videos I captured this evening. It's the full 300mb+ file (AWB/Bright colour profile/-0.7EV) generated by the camera without any post alterations beyond Vimeo cutting down the FPS to 30.

I captured three videos in total and had intended to stitch them together to show you how the MX1 dealt the onset of night, but the video used up all of my week's bandwith on Vimeo, so maybe in future. In the later videos, the camera's ISO automatically ramped up to compensate for the dark making things noisy and as the camera was set to AWB the colours started to flicker (as they would on any other).



How it works:

Time lapse mode, found as a video option, captures every 8th video frame (near as I can calculate it) and spits out the resulting video file as a 640x480 .mov at 119.88fps. It's similar to
which Canon DSLR users may be familiar with, except that it also captures audio with the video (!) at 32khz.

Unlike what I've heard of the Q, the camera doesn't save each frame as image files.


The good:

- MX-1's sharp lens, competent metering system and good dynamic range; resulting timelapse movies look good.
- Handles changing exposure smoothly.
- Audio captured and included in video file.
- MX1's beautiful macro usable in timelapse.
- Capturing in video mode rather than stills means no aperture flicker.
- Simple to use.


The bad:

- Bound by the same limited functionality as the rest of the video mode (no manual control of ISO, shutter speed or aperture).
- 640 x 480 files.
- Cannot alter the frame interval of capture.
- 25 minute max recording time (turns into 3:07 of timelapse)
* however, write times to the card are extremely quick, almost instant with a class 10 card, so if you're nearby the camera to start another video it should be possible to stitch them together in post with little to no noticeable skip between (am confident but haven't yet tested by combining the .mov files I got).


Overview:

It's pretty clear that this mode is too limited to have been designed for power timelapsers. If taken as a fun option with which dabblers can familiarise themselves with the basics it serves its purpose well by being easy to use and generating videos that will look acceptable when posted on facebook walls.

The fact that audio is captured with the video is an interesting addition and opens creative possibilities that give me a reason to use the MX1 in certain situations over my regular kit, despite the low res output. Macro timelapses are on the table and with the MX1 I'm strongly inclined to try one since there'd be less need for lighting than with my current extension tube rig.

Updates Ricoh could make to the video mode overall (manual control of ISO, aperture, shutter) would naturally benefit the timelapse mode also. At the moment the auto-ramping ISO makes the camera particularly unsuited to capturing timelapses like the one I did (if noise is a problem), however the numerous ISO brackets did make the increases more subtle.

If Ricoh had an interest in beefing up timelapse specifically, there's definite potential. My wishlist would include allowing the user to change the frame intervals (with the ND filter it should be possible to get them quite slow) as well as the output resolution and FPS.

Happy timelapsing, folks

VIMEO - Pentax MX1 Timelapse Test 4/8/13


08-04-2013, 05:21 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing, it's pretty interesting. It's kind of strange that it includes audio, I suppose you could turn the mic down. It looks like it goes about an interval movie completely different than the Q or K-30. They take still photos and then put them together, and you can set the times between shots, this as an interval movie and is saved as a movie file. Of course you can do interval photos also, where it saves each frame separately as an image file. I did one with the K-30 last weekend, it worked well but it ended up raining kind of hard during it, and the rain limited activity so it was kind of boring. I started writing this response this morning, left and went to the sate fair, and just got back (10 hours later). I did a short interval movie with the Q today and will try to post it later (more likely not today), I took a slew of photos with it and am in the process of uploading the pics to the PC.
08-04-2013, 05:32 PM   #3
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The video on Vimeo looks TERRIBLE - it's a lot more compressed than the original file in which the colours are quite clear and the edges sharp.

Look forward to the Q movie.
08-06-2013, 06:26 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MX1_fanboy Quote
The video on Vimeo looks TERRIBLE - it's a lot more compressed than the original file in which the colours are quite clear and the edges sharp.

Look forward to the Q movie.
Here it is, very short and unexciting. I was at the Ohio State Fair in the Bricker Building and while my wife and daughter had their teeth whitened, I sat the Q on a display case near a corner. You can see that it has a different look as this is set to take a photo every 10 seconds.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohiobuckeye/9453318163/


Last edited by ramseybuckeye; 08-06-2013 at 06:33 PM.
08-07-2013, 07:44 AM   #5
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Not bad, man! Are you able to set the timelapse to snap the pictures at a slow shutter speed to blur the people? It'll make for a smoother video.
08-07-2013, 05:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MX1_fanboy Quote
Are you able to set the timelapse to snap the pictures at a slow shutter speed to blur the people? It'll make for a smoother video.
Yes, you can if you set shutter and aperture if you use manual exposure mode. On this video I used auto exposure. Now that I've done a test I hope to get some ideas to do something that would be fun.
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