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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old January 5th, 2009, 11:33 PM   #1
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Depth of field from HV30

Now I have to go learn how to really use this Canon Vixia HV30 camcorder. It's interesting how much better the video on this baby is than my 5 year old Panasonic 3ccd camcorder, but at the same time the extra video quality really brings out the need for better photography.

Depth of field is much more important, since the picture clarity is so much better where the image is tack sharp that the rest of the frame looks bad. It's obvious where focus wasn't as good as it needed to be. This wasn't so obvious in SD. I'm going to have to see what I can pull off in aperture priority mode. With an upper limit of 1/30s on each frame, it isn't going to look like a 6-second still, but maybe it will be plenty good 'nuff. I see it's limited to F8 anyway.

For those of you with a lot of time with this model, do you have any suggestions other than stopping the aperture down as far as I can get away with given the 1/30s upper limit on exposure time for each frame?

If it matters, the subject I was filming was a model railroad under fairly good fluorescent lighting.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 12:57 AM   #2
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Buy some close-up lenses, and zoom-in the camera to 75% or more. In addition of opening the aperture by using the camera in AV mode, that's about the only things you can do to get shallow DoF with the HV series.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 03:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Staley View Post
For those of you with a lot of time with this model, do you have any suggestions other than stopping the aperture down as far as I can get away with given the 1/30s upper limit on exposure time for each frame?
Not quite sure what you're asking us Douglas. Are you after very limited dof or great (deep) dof? For the former you want to use maximum aperture, closest focus, max telephoto and have the background as far away as possibe.

For the latter, reverse all the above points - but remember that the HV30 doesn't have small apertures at your bid and call. Because of the softening effects of diffraction the aperture blades stop closing at about the f/4.5 mark, and internal (and undocumented) ND filtration takes over to simulate smaller iris openings.

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Old January 6th, 2009, 06:59 AM   #4
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I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. It's deep depth of field that I'm after.

So, minimum telephoto, minimum aperture, and maximum exposures are usually the order of the day. With video, I'm not sure if the options are just more limited than with still photography, but probably so- long exposures just aren't an option.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 02:05 PM   #5
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If it's deep dof you're after all's well, because using cameras with such tiny chips makes getting shallow dof difficult. So simply film at the wide-angle end of the zoom - everything will be in focus almost regardless of light leves and apertures used.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 10:32 PM   #6
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Douglas, I know your delemma as I am an NMRA member and often video model railways. Tom is right about wide angle but with this subject you can never get enough DOF.

I find the best results without spending a lot of setting up time, is to use a wide angle (0.7), lens and get as close as you can, at, or slightly below, track level, with the wide angle setting and aperture on auto for most shots. This gives the view from someone standing on the ground as trains go past. I have not had a lot of success with manual aperture as it is just too difficult unless you stage every shot. Unfortunately DOF is always the thing that "gives it away" particularly with HO and smaller scales.
My cousin in the UK models O scale and I videoed his fine layout some years back in HI-8. About six years later I was simply checking what was on some of my old tapes from our UK trip without looking at the labels and was baffled by a shot of a through train from a railway station and said to my wife " I don't remember being there," before about ten seconds later I realised it was a shot from his layout ! It too, was a low shot as mentioned above.

The only other obvious point for MR photography and DOF is heaps of light.

I have recently bought an HV30 and so far have found it excellent apart from the fixed viewfinder, but have not fully explored it yet, so I will be interested in your comments.


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