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Old January 24th, 2010, 02:49 PM   #121
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I have actually found auto WB to work fairly accurately - particularly where there are faces it can recognize and adjust to. Of course, this can be a problem if you want a fixed WB to work with in post.

I usually try the indoor and outdoor settings to see if either is close enough to provide a workable starting point in post, and if not, find a "white" object and take a couple seconds to do a one push WB, which will retain that setting, AFAIK indefinitely... certainly long enough to shoot a specific clip with a static WB setting.

Any AF, AWB, A-anything, will sometimes make mistakes because it mis-identifies some part of the image as the intended "target" and uses that as a reference. Thus why some people use warm cards to "fool" the algorithms. Thus why if you start you camera up and it "sees" a part of the image that it "thinks" is supposed to be white, you can end up with some really weird WB...


That WA lens looks horrible, I've got "cheap" Sony glass that looks better... and HG lenses that are MUCH better, but not going to be as wide (.7x). Frankly that lens isn't helping you or the camera get good results. Bad lenses are going to degrade everything, period.

Have you tried the spot focus function when you're finding the camera hunting? You have to remember that a non-"radar-range" AF is looking for patterns and hard lines in an image and will lock to those FIRST in many cases, which means a discernable background with a strong pattern will be the "default" choice over a "soft" foreground object (although face detection will fairly reliably lock to the face it's detecting). By spot focusing, you "tell" the camera which specific part of the image you want it to analyze, and it will try to resolve a pattern or hard lines in that area rather than the whole image.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 09:21 PM   #122
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When you put the WA lens on the XR500, did you go into the menu to change the selection to tell it which lens you had mounted? Not too sure what the settings do, but the pin switch in the lens threads tell the camera that there is an aux lens on the camera. You can go into the menu system to tell it which lens.

As far as low light hunting,the only time I have found my Sony camera's hunting in low light, is when the WA lens is on there, and for some reason it decided to pickup on an un-noticed piece of lint on the camera lens. Once the light came up a little and it was able to see more background contrast, of course it kicked in and did its proper job.

Also with a WA lens you will notice more vignetting the more the camera is zoomed in.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 09:21 AM   #123
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i have tried everything, with WA option, without it...etc.
i have bought new one WA lens which is perfect, but still the sony is stubborn. i am positive that the only thing that sony hunts is the most easy contrast to lock on in the frame, so if it is in the back, you will loose focus even if the subject head is the 95% of the shoot.
very bad, and it is not for any kind of documentary reporting or journalism camera. sony AF is not adequate and smart enough for the job.
i see that problem on TV documentaries and news/interviews, and now you can easily recognize when it is made by sony. i think sony should put finger on the head, and give us some firmware update (which of course they will not)
so, the front may be 95%, if you have better contrast in the back...sony will hunt it.
now since with out WA it come to as nearly as 45mm in 35 mm cameras, without WA it quite unusable camera. i had the same lens on canon HV30, and frankly while using canon i did not know that focus can be problem of any sort at all.

@dave - i have tried the manual spot focus, but it hunts also. low light is a nightmare for me...

on the end, the color reproduction (the snow some times during the day comes green :)) and focus is a disappointment to me, and a big one.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 02:21 PM   #124
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This may be a "your mileage will vary" issue somehow. I haven't seen this autofocus issue with a wide angle lens, limited though my experience is with that usage. Were you filming fast-moving objects or something similar? Or just filming scenery? I filmed the globe at Epcot's Illuminations recently and don't see this issue during playback even though a lot of stuff was going on around the subject, including fountain streams to its front left and fireworks shooting off all around it.

I think there's some general agreement that the Sony autofocus to date is a little slower or pickier than the Canon autofocus, though I'm seeing preliminary good reports about the 2010 cams. But I have been using Sony HD cams for three years now and really don't have any complaints to register about the autofocus. Typical footage for me would be scenery, trains moving from far to near and away again, soccer games, and pets moving around. Maybe I'm just not filming the same kind of subjects as you film...
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 04:16 PM   #125
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Martin -
Almost wonder if you got a "bad" unit. I've not seen major focus problems, although I did notice a bit of hunting in some footage I was editing - a busy scene, camera wasn't sure what to lock onto. Spot focus should lock onto the pint you tell it to and stay on that point, but if you've got a lot of motion in the scene, it could be trouble, but ANY cam will struggle under that sort of scenario.

Your "green" snow also puzzles me, as auto and one push WB are fairly reliable.

Honestly I edited some footage last night, and it looked very very good on all counts, in difficult lighting.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 04:34 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Gull View Post
This may be a "your mileage will vary" issue somehow. I haven't seen this autofocus issue with a wide angle lens, limited though my experience is with that usage. Were you filming fast-moving objects or something similar? Or just filming scenery? I filmed the globe at Epcot's Illuminations recently and don't see this issue during playback even though a lot of stuff was going on around the subject, including fountain streams to its front left and fireworks shooting off all around it.

I think there's some general agreement that the Sony autofocus to date is a little slower or pickier than the Canon autofocus, though I'm seeing preliminary good reports about the 2010 cams. But I have been using Sony HD cams for three years now and really don't have any complaints to register about the autofocus. Typical footage for me would be scenery, trains moving from far to near and away again, soccer games, and pets moving around. Maybe I'm just not filming the same kind of subjects as you film...
if your `millage will vary` means that i am not handling the camera right, i am hoping that you are right.
in good lighting camera is OK, where the iris is narrow, depth of filed solves the big deal of the problem. i am not doing a lot of stuff outside. but indoors and low light is the problem. tele and wide open iris and your problems will begin for this camera, my experience.
here are the examples.
if sometimes in million cases canon fails to deliver sharp focus in same situations you just literally shake it centering the subject and focus gets it, and from there you are safe.
sony is always catching the easiest thing to focus, which is horrible solution.
the tele position was in range of a focus, it is not the problem :-)

P.S. the PMB sony browser rocks - this thing is making my day. excellent tool. fast, not processor/memory demanding, very organized and viewable. the BIONZ should be programmed by this falks :-)
any way to tell PMB to delete videos after importing? - i saw this option once on some menu that popup just once, and clicked it - but nothing happened and that popup i cant find any more?
Attached Thumbnails
Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100101091231-1-.jpg   Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100201191042-2-.jpg  

Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100201191042-5-.jpg  
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 05:01 PM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Martin -
Almost wonder if you got a "bad" unit. I've not seen major focus problems, although I did notice a bit of hunting in some footage I was editing - a busy scene, camera wasn't sure what to lock onto. Spot focus should lock onto the pint you tell it to and stay on that point, but if you've got a lot of motion in the scene, it could be trouble, but ANY cam will struggle under that sort of scenario.

Your "green" snow also puzzles me, as auto and one push WB are fairly reliable.

Honestly I edited some footage last night, and it looked very very good on all counts, in difficult lighting.
the green thing may be disregarded due to WA adapter, and the grass was green so in the motion it is a bit sluggish, but the whole picture is a bit tinted. on the second it is going blue due to CromaAberrations.
so, that probably is not the camera fault.
Attached Thumbnails
Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100120091414-2-.jpg   Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100120093408-2-.jpg  

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Old February 3rd, 2010, 12:41 AM   #128
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Hi Milutin -
With PMB, there's a big red "X" in the toolbar - that deletes media files, and you can right click, the options are on an extensive menu. When in the preview window, again the big red "X" does the trick.

If you've got CA from a bad WA, that's not the WB, bad glass is bad glass... and I've seen some really bad WA's. About the best is the Sony HG0737Y IF you can find one. Big, heavy, and very very crisp, the earlier and later HG lenses are smaller and lighter, but you'll see a few quibbling points with the image...

On the three images, the third one is probably center weighting in action, the other two puzzle me, as the cam SHOULD be focusing on the center of the frame, right where the subject is. I'm not sure why switching to spot focus and pointing at the specific spot on the screen you want in focus isn't working, these are the exact type of shots where I've found that function to work well...

ONE possibility is if you're tele'd in too far, you may simply be outside the range where the camera lens can resolve focus - that's a distinct possibility with those first two shots, and it will TRY to focus, but not be able to shift to the closer plane, and it WILL keep trying. You may need to spend some time getting a feel for the focal range and where it can and can't focus. If you're zoomed in, and try to get close to a subject, it can get iffy.

You mention shaking a Canon to reset focus... with Sony, a crash zoom out and back in is more effective <wink>! Forgot about that trick, might help you! Every camera has it's quirks!
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 12:19 PM   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milutin Labudovic View Post
if your `millage will vary` means that i am not handling the camera right, i am hoping that you are right.
No, actually I meant that you may be filming in some entirely reasonable way that just isn't the same as what I'm filming, also in a reasonable way. What and how I'm filming may not find the weak points of the autofocus where what and how you're filming may find them. That's why Dave was trying to understand the details of what you're doing.

He may also be right that your particular cam itself may not be performing to its own specs - it may be "a lemon" or sour compared to what it's supposed to be.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 12:21 PM   #130
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Hi Milutin -
ONE possibility is if you're tele'd in too far, you may simply be outside the range where the camera lens can resolve focus - that's a distinct possibility with those first two shots, and it will TRY to focus, but not be able to shift to the closer plane, and it WILL keep trying. You may need to spend some time getting a feel for the focal range and where it can and can't focus. If you're zoomed in, and try to get close to a subject, it can get iffy.

You mention shaking a Canon to reset focus... with Sony, a crash zoom out and back in is more effective <wink>! Forgot about that trick, might help you! Every camera has it's quirks!
I've definitely seen what you describe here, and the my solution has been the same as well. If the distance just isn't right for clean focus, alter the zoom. And when you start out with telephoto zoom up high and point it at something and get a blur, just zoom out, get the focus, and then bring the zoom back in. It's as if the autofocus resets itself in the process and finds something to grab at lesser zoom, and then does fine zooming back in.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 02:14 PM   #131
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One has to remember that Depth of Focus will typically become more shallow as you zoom in, and the focal plane has to be within the range the lenses can resolve.

In other words, something that the camera can focus on when zoomed out may simply be outside the lens range if you zoom in 50%.

To illustrate, pick a scene a few (fairly close, say 3-4) feet away from you, sit in a chair or put the cam on tripod so you can keep the distance/scene steady. Start wide, slowly zoom in... at some point the focus should fall apart (and not usually gracefully) as you exceed the lens range.

I tested at close range, and was able to get to about 75% before it lost it, at around 6 feet (from the primary object) it seemed able to go through the entire range and hold focus on the foreground object as the background went out of focus - remember that add-on lenses are going to "adjust" this, dependent on the lens.

I moved the cam a bit off the primary object (a cloth covered chair with not much pattern to detect), and as soon as the background was into the central area, cam zapped to the background, and foreground went OOF. Switched to spot focus, selected the chair area, now off to one side, camera sought out and locked it, and MAINTAINED that focal distance (think of spot focus as "assisted manual"). Touching the background, it zapped right to it, going back to the foreground it had to hunt a bit, but got it.

I've always found spot focus to be nearly as effective as having manual focus (I prefer an assisted manual ala the FX7) once you get the hang of it. Just don't forget to hit the "auto" button as you exit, or it will be stuck in the manual mode! It may well be the "getting the hang of it" that is presenting a challenge.

Overall, I'm very happy with what the XR500 (and now the CX500) can achieve image wise, and while I'm waiting to get hands on the CX550V, these are pretty good and usable. There can be a variance between cameras of the same exact model, so it may be that Milutin got one on the far end of "spec", but I hope the tricks we've mentioned will help. It's funny how when you get used to a camera, you just do certain things without thinking, like that crash zoom out and in!

It'll be interesting to see what the added manual controls of the new releases really offer... and they WILL have a wide lens range that looks to be equivalent of the current cams with a .7 WA attached.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 08:17 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Milutin Labudovic View Post
i have tried everything, with WA option, without it...etc.
i have bought new one WA lens which is perfect, but still the sony is stubborn.
What WA lenses do you have that you have tried? (brand and model #).
Thanks
Greg
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Old February 4th, 2010, 09:44 AM   #133
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One has to remember that Depth of Focus will typically become more shallow as you zoom in, and the focal plane has to be within the range the lenses can resolve.

In other words, something that the camera can focus on when zoomed out may simply be outside the lens range if you zoom in 50%.
........
maybe i`v got a lemon, but the main subject is unfocusable for me. and it is really making me mad, since i can`t relay when shooting on this cam. but i will have to live in not so happy marriage, since i can`t return it. thus this is ending any kind of my sony experience :(, so i have to stop veining and start working with my not so smart cam

i have uploaded some more examples, there is no way to focus on first subject in the shot.
clearly seen on the guy with the telephone (pic n3 - the wardrobe is in he fokus also), i have start zooming and grrr (pic n1), the back is my sony favorite. then to zoom gymnastics and a bit closer shot of the same guy (picn n2), and the focus is Ok. that kind of gymnastic discredit this camera even for the family snap shots - since wardrobe and wall will be only sharp thing on the birthday party :)
even on the broad day light, cops are unshrap, and the back is. i wish i win the lottery and break this camera in peaces for the you tube :)

(i will upload original files later, they are 18mb, and my upload is very slow, i am going to play games and internet is needed :-)

- PMB, the delete button X is only for deleting the movies on the PC HDD, not on my camera, but i would like after importing do delete all camera footage from PMB if possible. so i don`t have to bother in the camera. on the import screen i cant find anything of that kind?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Andrews View Post
What WA lenses do you have that you have tried? (brand and model #).
Thanks
Greg
the lens is Fujiyama 0.45/52mm diameter with ring to 37mm. quite nice and adequate lens for many purposes. all shoots are with it. hp boxes also

Fujiyama 0.45 x Wide Lens : Moneta d.o.o (0.158)

http://www.fujiyamacorp.com/productD...&category_id=4

price ~30 euro
Attached Thumbnails
Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100203141948-1-.jpg   Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100203141948-4-.jpg  

Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100203141948-5-.jpg   Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100203143130-1-.jpg  

Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100203143219-1-.jpg   Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100203141717-1-.jpg  

Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-pmb.jpg  
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Last edited by Milutin Labudovic; February 4th, 2010 at 10:31 AM.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #134
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Ok, let's start with the easy part - PMB. When importing (first screen that pops up when you connect the cam), there's a button for settings, and you can check or uncheck a box for "delete clips from camera after importing" or something to that effect - it's in the same area where you select your target folders. You can also delete from in camera if you left clips on, as it will only detect and delete NEW clips I think. With the in cam delete menu it's pretty fast and you can select all...



In the third pic, the center of the frame IS the background, and that's where the cam will focus unless you use spot focus on the guy on the phone. That's a "center weighted focus". Spot focus overrides that, and is about the only effective way to do it.

NOW... about that WA lens... I'm presuming you're leaving this lens fitted when all the focal problems are occurring? I can see it look relatively sharp in the center, but looking soft(er) as it goes out to the edges - VERY typical cheap lens "performance". may be almost OK in the center, and gets worse as you go out... even more of a problem with a 16:9 image.

You're talking about a lens that's probably retail around $50 US... I've got some here, I actually keep them around for the odd optical distortions, in case I want that effect...

The Sony HG0737Y when issued was nearly $300 (it was designed for the HC1, which was a 2K camera), even the current HG (High Grade) Sony lens is around $200 IIRC, and I've got several versions of the HG0737 - ONLY the Y makes the grade IMO, but it's too darn heavy to drag around, so I usually keep a "C" version handy, and live with a little less image quality.

What I'm geting at is if you're putting cheap glass on an expensive camera and blaming the camera for the issues which arise, you're looking in the wrong place. Cheap glass is cheap glass. When it comes to optics "you get what you pay for".

I understand the desire for a wider field of view (Sony evidently does too, as the cams released later this year have a "WA" field), but I've seen how badly a cheap WA degrades the image on an HD camera, and it's simply unacceptable. I don't know how Sony's current WA compares (HGA07), to me the HG0737C is barely acceptable, but it's way better than the cheap stuff.

I understand your frustration, but myself and many others have and use this cam to excellent results, so unless you have a lemon (which I'm beginning to doubt), you need to look at your whole system before writing off the camera or Sony...

What I'm seeing is "normal" operation and indications of a cheap WA add on lens.

I've shot some very challenging close up focus situations (and yes, lots of "family" stuff), and had NO problems whatsoever...
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Old February 4th, 2010, 06:11 PM   #135
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Milutin -
Just for kicks I pulled out my XR500 and a few WA lenses...

A cheap-o Digital Optics import lens (oh, but it SAYS "high definition" on the box...) probably equivalent to the lens you've got, more or less...

a VCL-0637 Sony SD WA .6 lens

The VCL-HG0737C, and the 0737Y

The DO had lots of image quirks, particularly halo'ing/CA around bright areas, and worse at the edges, and has a definite softness to it. The 0637 is a "bit" better, but the two HG lenses it's immediately clear have a sharper image overall, with the Y being the best (but it weighs as much as my CX500V I think!! And not MUCH less than the XR!)

The DO and cheap Sony came close to replicating some of what I see in your captures.

SO, I went a bit further and discovered something - the camera seems to like the lighter areas of a frame (I suspect a part of the algorithm that presumes the subject will be well lighted?)- something that is in each of your images I think - the background is brighter than the subject you're trying to focus on - if I pointed at a white tile with a darker backgound out of focus, it would grab the white tile every time, and jump right back to it if moved so it re-focused on the darker background then moved back...

Then I tried a dark foreground with a brighter background, and yep, it didn't want to focus on the darker object.... HOWEVER, when I used the spot focus to set the focus distance to the dark foreground object, no problem whatsoever, although I think it took two passes to be sure it had the lock. If you know you're shooting a scene, set the focus before you start to record using the spot focus, and you should be OK, presuming you keep the subject/camera distance reasonably constant.

SO, in some respects I've replicated your issues, I still say you're going to need better glass if shooting HD with a WA (did you have a WA for the Canon? Perhaps an adapter ring?), and the spot focus may be needed with a light background and a dark subject in the foreground.

ALSO, you might want to consider a small "fill" light, particularly when shooting the above conditions - even a 3-10W can help if you're close in, I use the Sima 36 LED "20" series myself for fill. Something that would brighten up the subject just a touch, should make the focus lock easier.
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