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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old May 21st, 2009, 12:53 PM   #1
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New XR500V Owner

I've been using a Sony TRV38 for several years. I shoot a lot of people moving material outside (marching band) on a tripod that is by nature single take – get it right the first time. After doing research online I chose the Sony RX500V for the following reasons:

LANC – It seems Sony is the only company that includes LANC in some of its consumer level video cameras. I've seen the 'wired' remote control work-arounds some of the Canon users have creatively employed, but I figured with the kludge factor, plus the numerous, small and closely spaced buttons on the remote I'd be spending more time paying attention to the remote than the shot.

Auto Mode – Most that have written about the 500 have said it performs very well in auto mode. This appeals to me (as stated above) because of the get it right the 1st time nature of the majority of the material I shoot.

LCD Screen – The 500 has a 3.2 inch LCD screen (the Canon's have a 2.7 inch screen). My aging eyes need as much screen real estate as possible :-)

Despite the above, choosing the 500 wasn't all that easy. There seems to be an entire subculture centered around the small Canon cameras. Lots of folks sharing info, hints and tips, etc. Reading and seeing some of the ways people have been able to use and outfit their cameras has been most interesting. Kind of like the iPhone... There are other good and capable phones available, but all of the cool stuff people are writing about and using makes the iPhone most enticing.

Sony small camcorder users should band together to share info and ideas like this. I've searched, but cannot find an active forum for Sony AVCHD users (can anyone point me in the right direction?). Maybe Chris could set up a subforum (under AVCHD) here?

Anyway, I hope to contribute to the knowledge base as I use and explore my new equipment.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 10:32 PM   #2
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Hey Allen -
There are a few XR shooters here, most of us have been shooting one or another of the Sony cameras along the way.

I agree with the LANC and bigger screen (and the VF), those are part of the reason I end up back with the Sony.

You're right that the Canon cameras have a near cult-like following - I think it has to do with a lot of people excited to get the quality of image out of a cheap camera that can be added on to.

Not a huge amount of "adding on" with the Sony really, and I don't think that necessarily "fits" how most of use use the camera. I know I have mine well accessorized, but it gear I've collected and had over several generations of Sony cams.

If you've got questions or ideas, toss 'em out, you'll get responses here!
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Old May 24th, 2009, 09:17 AM   #3
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New XR500V Owner

Hi Dave,
Thanks for the reply. I just noticed that I inverted the 'R' & 'X' in the thread's title and I don't see an edit button to change it. Sorry about that.

Along with my 500, I purchased a VCL-HGA07 wide angle lens. The 1st time I used it, I forgot that you need to tell the camera you've added a conversion lens and happily shot ~15 minutes in the standard lens mode. I realize Sony has targeted the 500 as a consumer level device and that many may not be changing lenses all that much, but having to remember and then wade through the menus just to change a lens seems a bit extreme.

I do note that there is a tiny 'button' next to the flash in the lens' threads. Any idea what it's for? Couldn't be just for lens conversion support as anything screwed onto the lens is going to depress it (filter, attachment ring, etc.).

Anyway, I am now in the process of installing Adobe Premiere CS4 hoping that I can edit the shots I've taken so far.

Regards,

Allen
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Old May 24th, 2009, 09:30 AM   #4
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The little button stops the flash working when the lens is on the camera as the lens partially covers the flash and would lead to incorrect exposure so Sony just stopped the flash working!! Its in the manual. You will find Vegas will edit the native files on the timeline but I convert mine to Canopus HQ ( you could use Cineform too) to make it easier to edit. I like my XR500 very much. It is a real improvement over the SR11 that I also have a both mix well with the FX1 HDV too.

Ron
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Old May 25th, 2009, 02:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
The little button stops the flash working when the lens is on the camera as the lens partially covers the flash and would lead to incorrect exposure so Sony just stopped the flash working!! Its in the manual.
I see what you are saying. The Sony manual states:

Page 79 (and 84):
Quote:
FLASH MODE

You cannot set this item when a lens filter or accessory lens is attached to your camcorder.
Which makes sense for a conversion lens, but maybe not for a filter such as a UV Haze or Skylight (basically lens protection).

I still think Sony should have made it easier to attach/detach a conversion lens without having to remember to wade through the menus. :-)

Regards,

Allen
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Old May 25th, 2009, 11:46 PM   #6
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Allen - you don't HAVE to change the setting in the menus to mount a lens, the camera will still work as expected.

My understanding was that changing the setting in the menu will optimize the camera for the attached adapter, but I'm not 100% sure of the EXACT changes the camera makes - I thought it was primarily a change to the OIS, which makes the most sense, as the sensitivity there would benefit from being changed to adjust to the add on lens field of view, but there may be more to it than that?

FWIW, it's been a feature of Sony cams for a while, I haven't always remembered to change the setting, and never had a "problem".

One thing that occurs to me is that I seem to recall the WA lens you mentioned is not a "zoom through" type lens to start with, and changing the settign won't help there - a non-zoom through lens will still lose focus about halfway through the range.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 02:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
My understanding was that changing the setting in the menu will optimize the camera for the attached adapter, but I'm not 100% sure of the EXACT changes the camera makes - I thought it was primarily a change to the OIS, which makes the most sense, as the sensitivity there would benefit from being changed to adjust to the add on lens field of view, but there may be more to it than that?
This makes sense. Maybe the firmware is changing the characteristics of the OIS based on zoom level and focus info (akin to the face and smile detection algorithms). If this is the case, it stands to reason the camera needs to account for the difference a conversion lens makes in distance (and field of view?).
Of course, much of my footage will be shot on a tripod, so... :-)


Quote:
FWIW, it's been a feature of Sony cams for a while, I haven't always remembered to change the setting, and never had a "problem".
The XR500V is my 1st HD camcorder. Up until a couple of weeks ago I was shooting with a Sony TRV38, so I've missed out on some of these experiences.


Quote:
One thing that occurs to me is that I seem to recall the WA lens you mentioned is not a "zoom through" type lens to start with, and changing the settign won't help there - a non-zoom through lens will still lose focus about halfway through the range.
Hmm... I've not seen any mention that the Sony VCL-HGA07 wide angle is a non-zoom through lens. It replaces the VCL-HG0737C which is zoom through, right?
Maybe you were thinking of the VCL-HG1737C telephoto?

Here is a Youtube video that shows the VCL-HGA07 wide angle at various zoom levels:
YouTube - SONY HDR-XR520V with VCL-HGA07 in SHIBUYA (HD)

I don't see a zoom through problem with it, do you?

Regards,

Allen
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Old May 26th, 2009, 04:15 PM   #8
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Whoops, looks like that's a new lens I hadn't seen before... and it does replace the HG0737C, so should be a full zoom through. I think I was mixing up the model nomenclature with an older lens.

Remember too if you're shooting on tripod to turn the OIS off... I noticed quite a bit of "springback" with the super OIS when on tripod - I forgot to turn of the OIS, and if you watch carefully, you can see the image "re-center" when panning... not a big deal, but one of those "things". I shot with a couple of XR's the other night, got great footage, noticeably better than footage shot under identical conditions with the SR11/CX12 - bad school play lighting!
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