In reversed chronological order, i.e., latest first:-
SD Card Speed Test and Shootout
Tutorial on the Change of Focusing Screen
Selection of a Matching External Stereo Microphone
The Pathetic P-TTL Exposure Accuracy with External Flashgun (Metz and Original)
Size and Weight Comparison with the K-01 (and K-r and K-x as well)
IQ of the K-5 as a JPEG Engine
Subjective Evaluation and Quick Review after the 1st 1000 Shots (Pure Textual)
Focus Adjust with Different Lenses
N.B. This tests list and summary will be updated and pushed to the top when new test is added.
Monday, March 05, 2012
In reversed chronological order, i.e., latest first:-
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
In the course of finding the best suitable external stereo microphone for my K-5 for video recording, I have considered the following products and I think it would be good for me to summarise what I have researched, tabulated as follows:-
[See Note 1]
[See Note 2]
|High Pass / Low Cut Filter|
|Specified Output SNR|
[See Note 5]
|B&H Current Price|
|Audio-Technica Pro-24CM||Yes||600||2 x LR44 1.5V / Plug-in Power||90 (X-Y Stereo)||No||57||No||111||$59|
|Azden SMX-10||Yes||1.5k||1 x AAA 1.5V||Super-cardioid, 120||No||60||Yes||52||$65|
|Azden SMX-20||Yes||1.5k||1 x LR44 1.5V / Plug-in Power||Super-cardioid, 120||No||60||Yes||72||$100|
|200||1 x 9V||Super-cardioid, Unspecified Angle||2||74||Yes||176||$185|
|Rode VideoMic Pro Compact||No (Dual Mono)||200||1 x 9V||Super-cardioid, Unspecified Angle||2||74||Yes||86||$229|
|Rode Stereo VideoMic||Yes||200||1 x 9V||Super-cardioid, Unspecified Angle||1||79||Yes||330||$249|
|Rode Stereo VideMic Pro||Yes||200||1 x 9V||Super-cardioid, Unspecified Angle||No||73||Yes||117||$299|
|Sennheiser MKE 400||Yes||Not Specified||1 x AAA 1.5V||Super-cardioid, Unspecified Angle||No||Not Specified||Yes||60||$200|
|Nikon ME-1||Yes||2.2k||Plug-in Power (Only)||Uni-directional, Unspecified Angle||1||60||No||Not Specified||$129|
[See Note 3]
|Yes||Not Specified||1 x AAA 1.5V||Not Specified||1||Not Specified||No||Not Specified||$95|
[See Note 4]
|Yes||Not Specified||Unknown Battery||90 / 120||No||Not Specified||No||52||$114|
|Chinese OEM Shotgun Model 108||Yes||200||1 x CR2 3V||90 / 120||No||76||No||Not Specified||$25|
(Chinese Taobao Price)
1. Proper matching the Input Impedance (requirement) of our cameras is utmost important! The Pentax DSLRs are specified in the user manuals that the user should find a 2.2k output impedance microphone for best performance. If the impedance of the microphone deviates too much from what the device is designed, sound level and quality will be degraded much as the impedances are not properly matched, resulting in audio power loss and distortion!
2. If your camera supports plug-in power, do find a microphone that can draw the plug-in power from the camera as far as possible. This is very convenient as you don't have to worry about the battery level of the battery in the mic and you don't have to turn on and off the microphone each time. Read the user manual of your camera, the plug-in power is provided via the input phone jack, e.g., Pentax K-5 can provide up to 2V for the plug-in power, which should be adequate for most of the microphones that typically work at 1.5V.
Do note that not all DSLRs provide the plug-in power, earlier Canon and Nikon models that support the video function do not. So, do check before buy! In particular, for example, the Nikon ME-1 does NOT work on the Nikon D90 (but can on the K-5 instead!), as the D90 just does not have the plug-in power.
3. The Pana mic uses a smaller 2.5mm stereo phone jack instead of a 3.5mm one which is used for all other mics as listed above. If you just want to use it on Other Cams with a standard sized 3.5mm input jack, use/buy a radio shack adaptor.
4. The Sony mic has a special hot shoe type which only suits Sony DSLRs/SLTs but not others.
5. The Shock Mount is a structure that is built with rubber or other soft material that is put in between the mic and the hot shoe mount so as to minimise any noise that is transmitted mechanically from the camera body.
6. All models are bundled and supplied with a wind screen, which is made of higher density foam so as to stop wind from causing loud noise to the mic as recorded.
Well, after all, I chose and purchased the Azden SMX-20 locally, which seems to be the best compromise for the feature set and the price/performance. It is yet not too large and heavy, I think. I have carried out some preliminary tests for the mic, obvious it produces better sound than the built-in mono mic of my K-5. The sensitivity is good, sound level is appropriate (a little bit larger than that of the K-5), noise floor is low, stereo sound image and formation is good. Actually, I like it very much for the first day of use. Will see later if it is used for recording musical performance is good enough or not and will see if the wind screen will cut the wind sound efficiently at outdoor and on windy days. Finally, with that external mic with the built-in shock mount, I can now turn the Movie sensor-shifted SR of my K-5 to On for video recording without recording the SR motors' (continuous) movement sound! Really NICE! :-D
Monday, September 26, 2011
Read this latest TechBang article (in Traditional Chinese, or Google English Translation Here).
A really very useful summary for what can be done. The web tools can come in handy when the conversion/saving is required, for all those YouTube users. Enjoy~
Monday, September 19, 2011
It is lately found that the Sony NEX-5N and the Pana GF3 do share the same bug. See these "clicky" sample videos:-
So, I'm afraid that Pentax' defenders have been so right this time, i.e., "every camera has issues"! In fact, this clicky sound video issue has not yet been found/reported for the Pentax Q. And once again this must yet be another victory of Pentax as such! ;-)
P.S. The Pentax Q does not (auto-)focus in the video mode, so it completely eliminates the chance for any sound made as a result, also! ;-p
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Well, 22 minutes 23 seconds under an ambient temperature of 30 deg. C. seems to be a longish time. Btw, I just wonder how long would those Pentax cameras could last. The Q user manual states that the maximum recordable time length is in 25 minutes or 4GB in file size, as per P.112. But I just wonder if it will be overheated before this theoretical maximum limit is reached, as there is also a warning statement about high temperature cut under video recording in the same part of the manual (on the same page).
Besides, although it is not directly stated anywhere in the Q manual, the bit rate of the Q H.264/AVC in MP4 video is at about 21.33Mbits/s, which is calculated by dividing the 4GB with 25 minutes (4,000M x 8 bits / (25 x 60s)). This compressed data stream is of a higher bit rate than that of the NEX-7, which is in 16.4 Mbits/s (nominal) only, as lately revealed by someone. Do note that the Q has a higher frame rate at 30 fps versus the 25 fps of the NEX-7 (whilst NEX-5N does 60 fps at 1080p), nonetheless. So, would the P-Q has a higher video quality? Let's wait and see then!
Nevertheless, the P-Q video has two major fall-backs on paper already, one is that it can never auto-focus during video recording, the other is that it only records mono-sound (both are stated in the Q user manual also).
When Our Video DSLRs Have High Fever.. :-o ;->
Saturday, September 03, 2011
There is where endless measurbation begins, despite that the samples are real-world pictures! Anyway, if you really like, just do it at your own cost and risk! ;-D
Do note that the downsized thumbnails may have been compressed too much such that the DR could be even worse than the originals, which should still contain more highlight and shadow details.
My quick observations: The low ISO pictures are not too bad in IQ but RAW ones could be better, particularly for more vivid colours and being more contrasty as seen from the thumbnails (only). The DR could still be somehow limited, though. But for a DC with a sensor in/of that size, it should be considered that things have been managed very well indeed.
N.B. The DNG files of the Q are not open-able by the Pentax Digital Camera Utility version 4.1 as installed at one of my PCs. So, there exists some kind of incompatibility problem even the RAW file format is in DNG. I am sure the bundled new DCU software with the Q can open it but this incompatible issue is there, and may cause problems with other 3rd party software! :-(
I think for similar scenes and shooting topics, my last year sample gallery of my 550D full review can be compared to:-
(At Montreal, Canada, Copyright (c) RiceHigh, 2010)
Look particularly about the DR, colours, noise and details retained. Of course, the 550D is usually better.
In addition, the exposure accuracy seems to be not good enough and some of the pictures are overexposed with part of the images washed out seriously. This might be related to the limited DR of the pictures nevertheless as the "correct" exposure can never be decided by the exposure system with such low DR of the sensor itself.
Besides, a sample video clip (H.264 in MOV Container) is posted. Judge by yourself about the video quality, e.g., resolution, motion smoothness, sound quality, colour rendition, DR (in particular) and etc. As a friendly reminder, if you're to download the clip, do save it down first as not every media player can decode this new movie codec of the Q. So, it is always safer to save it first and then re-open to play.
N.B. I have successfully played back the clip with the Media Player Classic Home Cinema Edition (aka MPC-HC) but not so with the GOM Player. The CPU consumption of this clip is really high (far more than the "same" 720p MP4 clips that made by my NEX-3, e.g.) and so please be prepared to use more updated and powerful machines for the playback. Otherwise, smooth playback is just impossible!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
With its high bit-rate 4:2:2 colour space MPEG compression, I bet the video quality will be miles ahead of any of the current MPEG4/H.264 compression codec used by most of the current DSLRs and ILDCs in the market. In view of the advancement of video codec in other larger sensor digital cameras of other brands, Pentax is just lagging thousands of years behind, leaving at the Stone Age! :-(
Bottom line: Will the next Pentax DSLR be equipped with a stereo microphone, at least?
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Updated July 2 - More Clips Added and Technical Remarks Appended!
(Mic: External - Make/Model: AZDEN SMX-10, SR: On)
(Mic: Internal, Resolution: 1536 × 1024, Lens: Pentax-M 50mm F1.7)
(Mic: External - Make/Model: Audio-Technica AT9440, SR: On, Lens: Tamron 18-250mm)
(Taken at the Kyoto Station, Tokyo, Japan)
(Mic: Internal, Lens: DA 18-55 WR)
(Lens: Lensbaby 2.0)
I blog, you observe!