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Old Apr 29, 2008, 10:44 PM   #1
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As I've been getting more confident with the K20's handling, I've been trying some of the additional features. Today I tried the burst mode.

Some background - I've used continuous shooting once, when I first got the K10, and quickly decided that as far as my limited sports shooting goes, I was better off depending on my own timing, rather than hope the K10 would get the right moment (not fastenough frames per second). So I was really curious about the advertised 20 frames per second burst mode. No pole vaulters or long jumpers to practice on - just a couple of girls who were exercising.

The first thing that surprised me is that the viewfinder goes black (mirror locks up), but I think it does that in continuous shooting, too - doesn't it? I was trying to pan and was more or less guessing where the girls I was shooting were going to be. I actually did quite well, but then they didn't come close to filling the frame and their forward (in one case, backward) movement wasn't very fast.

The second thing that surprised me is that it doesn't take long to take a whole lot of pictures. I took two bursts, both well under a minute and discovered I had taken something like 100 pictures. The pictures are supposed to be ***jpg at 1536 x 1024 pixels resolution. That's not very many pixels, and I thought the quality didn't look much like ***. Because you are shooting with such a small resolution, you can put a whole lot of pictures on a 4 G card.

My conclusion was that this mode would have limited uses. It seemed that it would be most useful for someone doing gif animations. Or someone who was doing movement analysis and didn't care about top quality pictures. But I don't think it would be useful for the birder who wanted to take a burst to choose the best of a series for printing - I think the quality isn't good enough. Also, the camera keeps the camera at the same focus. That's OK if the action is moving laterally, but would be a problem if it is moving toward or away from you.

This is a 16 frame set I took - it's the last 16 frames of a 44 frame set. The only thing I did was resize them way down so that I could fit them all on one picture (they are 200 pixel wide each). It's hard to see since the girls are so small, but you can get an idea. The girl in the white shirt was going backwards by the way.


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Old Apr 29, 2008, 10:48 PM   #2
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The other girl is going sideways.

This is a 100% crop of the girls, taken from a frame before this section. I didn't bother to do any post processing. As you can see, the quality isn't very good. Perhaps it might be fun to learn how to do a gif animation sometime, though...
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Old Apr 30, 2008, 1:11 AM   #3
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Hi Harriet,

I've only played with it briefly. I think that the best way to use it is to use Live View, focus with either the AF button or manually, then trip the shutter, using the LCD to keep the subject in frame while the camera is taking the exposures.

I'm thinking that it would probably be best to have the camera on a tripod to use it, and can see using it for things like fireworks, or sports when the motion is limited, but stays pretty much within the focus plane, like a pitcher or batter in baseball, or maybe a tennis player's serve. It would be great for a golfer's swing -- the mode is very quiet too. It would also be best to pretty much fill the frame with the subject so you use as much of the limited resolution as possible.

I'll play with it some more as time goes on -- it should be fun to see what people do with it. . .

Scott
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Old Apr 30, 2008, 3:12 AM   #4
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Harriet,

Thanks for posting this as I haven't seen or heard much about how good or *** this mode is.

This definitely helped me decide once and for all that this model like the K10D is not the one for me.

Mahalo,

Tom
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Old Apr 30, 2008, 6:46 AM   #5
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Interesting series, Harriet. I have not tried this mode, and I see its uses as very limited, simply because the quality would appear to be so low. I think I'm going to be shooting baseball this afternoon, and I may give it a try to see if I can get anything with it that I can't get otherwise.

If I get anything interesting, I'll post.

Paul
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Old Apr 30, 2008, 8:15 AM   #6
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Scot - thanks for the extra information about live view staying on while its taking pictures. I thought that's what the manual meant, but didn't actually try it as I didn't have a tripod and find the LCD a bit hard to see outdoors in bright sunlight. And I had the same thought you did - it would be wonderful for a golf swing, or this morning I thought it would be very useful for someone buying horses to examine their gaits.

Tom - I thought the *** jpg was pretty good when you are shooting at full resolution. The camera comes set that way as its default setting. I took a couple of test pictures with it at that setting, then changed it to **** and haven't changed back (always preferred maximum possible quality and the least amount of compression). I think that's why I was rather surprised by the quality here, even though theres so few pixels.
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Old Apr 30, 2008, 11:39 AM   #7
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mtngal wrote:
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Tom - I thought the *** jpg was pretty good when you are shooting at full resolution. The camera comes set that way as its default setting. I took a couple of test pictures with it at that setting, then changed it to **** and haven't changed back (always preferred maximum possible quality and the least amount of compression). I think that's why I was rather surprised by the quality here, even though theres so few pixels.
Harriet,

The shots here look very low res to me and it seems that the burst mode is more of a gimmick than anything else. I can get shots in burst mode with my Panasonic FZ's which actually look better and my new P&S Casio Exilim EX-V8 which I have preferred to shoot lately over anything else.

I still find my DS to be the best Pentax dSLR. I shot street candids with my K100D last weekendand haven't been terribly pleased (oxymoron I know) with the results. Just my opinion is all.

Mahalo,

Tom
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Old Apr 30, 2008, 1:54 PM   #8
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Tom - we actually (sort-of) agree - I think the burst mode would be good for some things but except for them, I agree that its mostly gimmick. Burst mode only allows you to use 1536 x 1024 pixels, which is really low resolution, and that's really the problem, not so much the *** vs. ****. I didn't want you to think that if you were taking pictures single shot, max size and *** jpg that the pictures would look like this.

As far as other aspects of the camera - it very much fits my style and I think it's a brilliant camera compared to my old K10.
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Old Apr 30, 2008, 2:13 PM   #9
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Harriet,

I see that the Pentax K10D and now K20D definitely suits your style and I enjoy the shots you post and your take on some of the features of the camera(s). Though non-scientific what you share is invaluable information to me.

My style is quick from the hip type shooting. I do enjoy shooting as you do but the majority of what I like to do is action, sports and street. Sports is an expensive proposition and using lower end glass on cameras that are on the high end gives results that are poorer than some of the UZ cameras. I have waited too long for what Pentax is doing in the lens department and what is available is outrageously expensive or very hard to come by.

I am glad Pentax is where I got my start and for low light shots at 3200 iso I am still amazed at how good it looks with the DS.

Your posts with the K20D by the way has been excellent.

Mahalo,

Tom
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Old Apr 30, 2008, 8:28 PM   #10
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I have not tried this mode yet Harriet as I also see limited use for it. The one use I could see is my wife's scrapbooking, where she has laid out pages in the past that involved multiple small photos arranged with a larger one.

The regular burst mode is nearly as robust as the K10d though (I have only filled the buffer once at 3fps) and for my purposes that seems to be enough. To answer your question in the thread starter, no, in regular burst mode the shutter only goes black during the actual photo taking (however long shutter speed is) and you can follow your subject through the view finder when using the 3 fps burst.

Tim
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