I hooked up my Pentax K-5 to my LCD screen a few days ago to test out the functionality. As you may well know, the K-5 and K-7 are able to display live-view to an HDMI screen (and presumably standard composite).
My little test consisted of setting up the K-5 on a tripod hooked up to the LCD. I then filmed the LCD screen with my K-7 to display what the K-5’s live-view screen looks like displayed through HDMI out.
Here is the K-5 with a HDMI cable attached (technically a down-converter that turns a standard HDMI connector into one of those mini-HDMI connectors):
Here is a short video of the K-5 in action:
That screen I used is 1080p, but the K-5 wasn’t able to output that resolution. I’m not sure exactly what it was running at, but it looked pretty decent and as you can tell from the video that when absolute sharpness was obtained it was easily visible on the screen. Notice how the K-5 is able to do face detection. That feature plus the use of an external screen brings up an interesting possibility of self portraits as I’ll get into shortly.
Now you are probably thinking to yourself… what is that good for?
I can think of a few possibilities (pardon my poor illustrations):
– Taking self portraits. I would setup a studio where the LCD screen would be behind the camera. Using a wireless remote, I would be able to properly auto-focus (thanks to face detection) and take the shot without any guess work.
– Connecting a small portable screen to use the camera as a dedicated video camera. There are small 3-6 inch battery powered screens out there that could be used to connect up to the camera, making it much easier to film video as you could direct the screen toward the face. I’m not a fan of articulating DSLR camera screens, so I personally think having this option is better. This setup would also be great for macro photography as it will be easier for you to focus on small objects most likely close to the ground with a large LCD facing toward your face.
– Astrophotography, while using a computer and tethering software (current Pentax cameras don’t officially support tethering, yet there is at least one functional solution available which I think is called PK-Tether) is ideal, connecting an external screen through video-out can at least help you gain proper focus using a larger screen and also minimize the risk of unnecessary camera handling that would increase the amount of camera vibration.
– Teaching, have a large screen or projector at the front of the class so that students can view exactly what the teacher is doing with the camera. This would be a great way to give a large number of students training that feels like hands-on schooling.
Live-view video-out is probably a infrequently used feature by most photographers, but it certainly has some interesting uses associated with it.