March 8th, 2005, 11:01 AM
First of all, I have XL-1 systems and the VZ Pro-L (2000 model) controller works fine with them. However, I worked with an XL-1s recently and connected a Varizoom VZ Pro-L lens controller to it and experienced some issues with the camera. I called Varizoom before the shoot to make sure that these controllers were compatible with the "s" model and they said yes. What I experienced were intermittent zoom speed, focus and standby issues. The first was that the camera would not focus at all with the controller connected, then the image, at least on the 9" field monitor, intermittently lost sync or blinked (as it appeared) and I'm not sure if that could be controller related, the zoom speed intermittently did not function and finally the camera would not ever go into standby with the controller connected. When the standby button was pushed with the controller connected, the camera would shut off and immediately turn back on, even with repeated attempts. Finally, after unplugging the controller, it shut down as it should. Now after a while of use and knowing what the problem was, the image blinking greatfully and mysteriously went away, the intermittent issues were avoided by powering up the camera without the controller connected and then connecting it after power up. Everything worked fine when that protocol was used. Has anyone else experienced these issues?
March 8th, 2005, 11:41 AM
This same thing happened to an associate of mine. It did it on both his XL1s and his GL1. He also owns the smaler (VZ-Rock I believe) controller with the brass zoom lever and it doesn't have this issue.
Here is the issue though and this is how the problem came to light. We were doing a multi-cam shoot and he was running his camera on the crane. So, he was using the rca video out to his crane monitor. HOWEVER, we were also hooked into a backstage switcher and so he was simultaneously using the S-Video output to feed the switcher. Only when both are plugged in does the controller act up. Unplugging one or the other restores functionality. Now here's where it gets weird (even to a veteran electronics tech like me). You don't have to have the other end of the cable plugged into anything. It will act up if both plugs are connected at the camera and is fine if you unplug either cable. He has contacted Vari-Zoom and they were interested in seeing the controller. To my knowledge, he hasn't sent it in yet.
So James, my question to you would be what all do you have plugged into the camera when this is occurring?
March 8th, 2005, 12:05 PM
I wouldn't think this caused the problem because I have used it many times with my XL-1 but this camera, the XL-1s, was on a jib as well and maybe the 25 ft. Lanc cable run was part of the issue at least with the "s". The only cabling that was connected to the camera was the video return and the Lanc cable. In the past, I have also had composite and S video connected going to the truck as well as the Lanc connected with my XL-1 with no issues. The only time I really had issues was when the "s" model was powered up with the Lanc already connected, sort of like a PC with peripherals connected. So, whenever we powered down, I just disconnected it and then reconnected it after it powered up and didn't experience any problems. The blinking image was strange though. I've never seen that before. I had someone look at the 9" monitor and tell me exactly when it happened again while I was looking in the camera's EVF and I didn't see anything. So, apparently it was only occuring in the video out circuit and not recording to tape. I think this is an "s", GL or non XL-1 issue. Thanks for the info.
March 8th, 2005, 12:10 PM
James, have you contacted VariZoom technical support about this yet? If not, call them at 888-826-3399 and ask for Tom Smith.
March 8th, 2005, 12:12 PM
Not yet, but I think I will.
March 8th, 2005, 02:04 PM
Interesting... FWIW, I've been using the Pro-L for a couple years on my Sony PDX-10 and VX-2000 and have not seen any problems whatsoever.