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04-11-2018, 07:42 AM   #1
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Recording time and overheating differences between models

TLDR: I know Pentax has fallen behind in video since the K-7. But I was wondering if there was any difference/improvement with the newer models in terms of recording times and overheating. What are your maximum recording times at each quality setting? How long do you get before the sensor overheats?


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I have the K-7 and I would really like to upgrade at some point to reap the benefits of the past decade of camera development.

That said, when I bought my K-7, Pentax's video features were competitive, and were part of the reason I chose the model I did.


I have a nice collection of lenses now, I love the Pentax ergonomics, and I don't want to leave the brand. I use my camera primarily for stills, but sometimes, I film concerts or performances, or family things. I think if anything is going to make me leave, it is the video limits. I can live without video AF, log-format recording, and even lousy compression algorithms, but the recording time limits kill me.

At the highest IQ settings, I can only record clips up to 7:31 in length. At medium quality I get 9:37. If I pick the really c***y 640x416 picture, I can get a glorious 25 minutes of recording time, but I don't want to record at such low resolution.


And to top it all off, I might get 30-40 minutes of active video mode time before the sensor overheats and forces me to give it a cool-off period.

I really need at least 15 minutes of continuous filming time at a decent resolution. I would *like* 1-2 hours so I can set it and forget it for performances. I know single clips have a 25 minute limit for all DSLRs because of some stupid trade thing, but other cameras have gotten around this by simply recording continuously and starting new files every 25 minutes.


How do the newer models compare? Have there been *any* improvements to recording lengths?


Last edited by Canid; 04-11-2018 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Clarity
04-11-2018, 09:36 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canid Quote
And to top it all off, I might get 30-40 minutes of recording time before the sensor overheats and forces me to give it a cool-off period.
If you are getting 30-40 minutes, that is truly exceptional. The cameras are programmed to shut off at 25 minutes due to still camera import regulations.

As for my K-3, it is capable of recording the full 25 minutes at 1080/30P at ISO 800 and 21C.


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04-11-2018, 10:04 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
If you are getting 30-40 minutes, that is truly exceptional. The cameras are programmed to shut off at 25 minutes due to still camera import regulations.

As for my K-3, it is capable of recording the full 25 minutes at 1080/30P at ISO 800 and 21C.


Steve
No, no 30-40 minute recordings. 30-40 minutes of powered on and recording on and off time, maybe even a bit more, but of course it will depend on environmental conditions. Clip length is as I outlined - 7:31 to 25 minutes depending on resolution.

I am glad to hear the latest generations are more capable though - this was a major shortcoming with the video system for me... and I don't need it to be ideal, just workable.

How long will your K-3 run before it overheats? And how does it handle the 25 minute mark? Do you have to manually start the next clip, or will it automatically make a new file and keep going?
04-11-2018, 01:34 PM   #4
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The cutoff time for most cameras is 29+ minutes, as an accommodation to tariff regulations in Europe. If you need 1-2 hours of continuous recording, one option is the Panasonic GH4. It has no recording limit and will record till you run out of memory or battery, whichever comes first. It will also record in far higher quality, both 1080P and 4K, including Cinema 4K, than any Pentax camera. I use my GH4 and Pentax lenses with an adapter. Even though it's a m4/3 format, the sensor in the GH4 is 16 megs and if you believe DXOMark, outperforms all technical aspects of the APS-C sensor in the K-7, as well as most Canon APS-C sensors. Used GH4s can be found in the $500-700 range.

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04-11-2018, 02:24 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canid Quote
How long will your K-3 run before it overheats?
I have never had the camera overheat.

QuoteOriginally posted by Canid Quote
And how does it handle the 25 minute mark?
The video stops recording and the screen returns to the movie "ready" mode. (The K-3 video implementation is different than the K-7.)

QuoteOriginally posted by Canid Quote
Do you have to manually start the next clip, or will it automatically make a new file and keep going?
The next clip must be manually started, though this may be automated by means of an external (wired remote) intervalometer.


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04-11-2018, 02:56 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by CDW Quote
Even though it's a m4/3 format, the sensor in the GH4 is 16 megs and if you believe DXOMark, outperforms all technical aspects of the APS-C sensor in the K-7
That is probably because DXOMark normalizes its sensor scores according to sensor size and pixel count. As a result, valid comparisons for the GH4 should only be made with other m43 bodies.

That bit of trivia aside, the GH4 would be an excellent choice for a video-centric user and one that I would not hesitate to recommend, even in preference to any current Pentax product. However, the OP has been shooting primarily stills and occasional video. For that mix, I would be hard-put to recommend a GH4 or even the new Lumix models over even a K-3II, particularly if primary use would be with Pentax lenses. Those can only be adapted for use as manual focus lenses and models without aperture rings require an adapter with calibrated aperture ring built-in ($$). Even with m43 lenses, higher-end Lumix models are credible stills shooters, but are optimized for video capture and presented as such for customs purposes (hence the lack of time limit). I know several Lumix owners that use their cameras almost exclusively for video and only one who uses it mostly for stills.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-11-2018 at 03:05 PM.
04-11-2018, 06:47 PM   #7
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I should have noted I use a number of legacy manual focus lenses with my GH4, and now my a7III as well. The OP indicated autofocus for video was not an issue, so it appears he is wishing to lock down the camera for some shooting situations. I actually find my GH4 files yield excellent prints up to 24" wide, that compare quite well to my previously owned K5.

There seems to be a perpetuated myth that the LUMIX bodies, being video centric, are less suitable for stills. I have not found that to be true and the GH4 certainly focuses more quickly and accurately than any of my Pentax bodies past or present.

My experience has been that if one is shooting stills and video, sometimes in the same location, one camera body is not sufficient. For night shoots, night sky, or any situation where I might possibly make a print 40" or wider, I would only consider my K1. For state of the art video, as consumer cameras go, Panasonic and SONY rule at the present and the SONYs especially when it comes to focus tracking for shooting stills or video.
04-12-2018, 09:06 AM   #8
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Basically, if I switch systems, I switch systems lenses and all. If I buy a new camera, it will be used for all my shooting, video and stills, since whatever I buy will be an upgrade for both, and I've no interest/budget to have two cameras, let alone two systems. But I don't really want to switch systems. I can't really afford to either, to be honest.

I was posting more in the hopes that people who (like me) use their Pentax cameras for occasional video use could weigh in with the differences between generations.

04-12-2018, 09:47 AM   #9
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If budget is an issue, then I'd think that you could buy a decent small video camera that can record as long as you like for far less than the net cost of totally switching systems. A small video camera can handle your concert/performance/family video needs whilst you continue to take still photos with the K-7.

That option gives you more total functionality for less total cost.
04-12-2018, 11:19 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
If budget is an issue, then I'd think that you could buy a decent small video camera that can record as long as you like for far less than the net cost of totally switching systems. A small video camera can handle your concert/performance/family video needs whilst you continue to take still photos with the K-7.

That option gives you more total functionality for less total cost.
Except that photo and video outings are often the same, and I don't want to carry two cameras. My phone can take pretty decent video in a pinch, but if I want better than phone quality, it means a bigger, heavier, more expensive camera. I'm a big believer in using what you already have, and what I have is a nice DSLR kit with a flexible selection of lenses that *can* take video.

I know that just about any camera will be easier to use for video than Pentax, but my only major problem with Pentax was recording time and overheating, and if I can resolve that, I don't want to lay down $500 on something that can do it even better - what I have will be enough.
04-12-2018, 12:25 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canid Quote
Except that photo and video outings are often the same, and I don't want to carry two cameras. My phone can take pretty decent video in a pinch, but if I want better than phone quality, it means a bigger, heavier, more expensive camera. I'm a big believer in using what you already have, and what I have is a nice DSLR kit with a flexible selection of lenses that *can* take video.

I know that just about any camera will be easier to use for video than Pentax, but my only major problem with Pentax was recording time and overheating, and if I can resolve that, I don't want to lay down $500 on something that can do it even better - what I have will be enough.
Photo and video outings are often the same but the best technologies (and cameras) for photo and video are different (unless you have the budget for a high-end system). If you only have one camera, you are forced to decide between video and stills at every event and you are forced to buy a compromise camera (unless you have the budget for a high-end system).

Switching to an interchangeable lens body plus lenses that can do decent stills and video is going to cost a lot more than just buying a little camcorder.

The least expensive way to use what you already have and get better video in the camcorder option.
04-12-2018, 06:59 PM   #12
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Yes, I understood what you were saying, but I don't think you quite got what I meant.

I am WILLING to compromise on video features. I am not willing to carry a 2nd camera with my DSLR kit, if my DSLR kit can do video, even if a second camera could do it better.

I need my camera to be great at stills. I need it to be passable at video. Passable means 1080p for at least 15 minutes at a time, and able to run without overheating for about 2.5 hours. I think these are modest requirements, but my K-7 falls short. When I eventually upgrade, it will be for the still photography improvements... I just want to make sure that my basic video needs will be there too.
04-12-2018, 07:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
The least expensive way to use what you already have and get better video in the camcorder option.
I don't believe that the OP was looking into keeping the K-7...

QuoteOriginally posted by Canid Quote
I have the K-7 and I would really like to upgrade at some point to reap the benefits of the past decade of camera development.
The main question had to do with whether an upgrade would allow longer video sessions without overheating. The post has since been edited to change the emphasis and to include the desired use case.

QuoteOriginally posted by Canid Quote
How do the newer models compare? Have there been *any* improvements to recording lengths?
The short answer is no, 20-29 minutes remains the limit for most ILC cameras capable of high-end stills performance and video. It is possible to work around the Pentax limit, but not without at least momentary interruption. Overheating is not as big a problem with current models as it apparently was with the K-7.

QuoteOriginally posted by Canid Quote
I would *like* 1-2 hours so I can set it and forget it for performances. I know single clips have a 25 minute limit for all DSLRs because of some stupid trade thing, but other cameras have gotten around this by simply recording continuously and starting new files every 25 minutes.
Pentax does not make such a camera. In addition, I doubt the ability of current models to support extended video without external power or a fresh battery. Perhaps owners of K-1, KP, or K-70 models will chime in with their experience.

Summary: There have been improvements in terms of usability, but if you want the features of a dedicated IL video camera, it will not be found with Pentax product at present.

BTW...which brand/model features automatic restart?


Steve
04-12-2018, 08:00 PM   #14
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The video recording limit is a very vexing one. Only Panasonic is addressing it.
Apparently, cameras in Europe are subject to a whole 5% tax if they can record longer than 30 minutes.
The problem is that Pentax, and even Canon and Nikon, would rather not pass on this tax to US buyers, and make a single model worldwide with this limit.
Only Panasonic has addressed the true need of videographers by making different versions for different regions.
I just got a Lumix DC-GX85 for $599 with two lenses (12-32 and 40-150). $499 after a 20% ebay coupon a few weeks ago.
It can record up to 4K / 30p at 100 Mbps bit rate, up to 96GB or the size of your SD card continuously, whichever is less.
So far I got 1 hour 44 min in this mode out of this camera on one battery (stationary, left all night, turned off the LCD to conserve power) using a 128GB SD card.
The camera says I could have recorded up to nearly 3 hours of video. I don't know if that would have been continuous. But it would have required using an AC adapter, which I also purchased, but did not try yet.
IMO, Pentax is so far behind in video it's not even funny.
For $500-$600, the GX85 just can't be beaten for video.
Yes, the micro 4/3 sensor is smaller than APS-C, but it's still decent. And there is dual IS, both in body and in lens, which can help for handheld use.
For tripod, the APS-C sensor of recent Pentax bodies will do better in low-light, but it is mostly wasted by the low bit rate, recording limit, and low resolution (no 4K) in Pentax bodies.
The GX85 4K photo mode is good enough to extract 8MP frames that can be printed large and look great. Think of it as an 8MP still camera that shoots at 30fps, with no shutter sound. This is better quality for stills in low-light than my first Pentax APS-C body, a 10MP K200D, which had a much worse sensor in terms of noise (peak ISO was 1600 and looked horrible, and the K200D didn't do video at all).
And there is a Fotodiox adapter you can use to mount Pentax lenses on the GX85. It has an aperture ring on it, so you can even use DA lenses.

---------- Post added 04-12-18 at 08:20 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That is probably because DXOMark normalizes its sensor scores according to sensor size and pixel count. As a result, valid comparisons for the GH4 should only be made with other m43 bodies.
What's your evidence of that ?
I don't believe that's the case.

DxOMark camera sensor testing protocol and scores - DxOMark

The K-7 is about 9 years old. Sensors have evolved dramatically since then. I think the DXO comparison between the GH4 sensor and K-7 is accurate. The GH4 has a much better sensor, despite the smaller dimensions.

Similarly, a comparison between my first Pentax body, a K200D, vs my newest DC-GX85, shows this :
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 vs Pentax K200D
(it says GX80 there, but it is the same as GX85, GX80 is just the European version with the 30 min recording limit, I believe)

On the other hand, my 2012 vintage Pentax K-30 gets a better showing than my 2016 vintage GX85 :

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 vs Pentax K-30

The difference is particularly true in low-light, where the K-30 sensor does nearly twice as well in terms of ISO as the GX85.

It is fair to say that both the K-7 and K200D are obsolete today due to their outdated sensors.
04-13-2018, 11:06 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Pentax does not make such a camera. In addition, I doubt the ability of current models to support extended video without external power or a fresh battery. Perhaps owners of K-1, KP, or K-70 models will chime in with their experience.
^^^^^^

This!!! This was the point of the thread! Anyone?


As a side note...

QuoteOriginally posted by madbrain Quote
It is fair to say that both the K-7 and K200D are obsolete today due to their outdated sensors.
That's a slight exaggeration... the K-7 is certainly a fair bit noisier than modern generations, but it still outperforms cell phones in any light. I wouldn't call the sensor obsolete until that test comes out false.
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