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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.


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Old March 30th, 2010, 02:12 PM   #1
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HV40 Focus

How are you guys getting tight focus outdoors in sunlight? The view finder is pretty much useless. Is there something you can attach to the camera to help in this? I have searched the forums but these attachements that I have found look a little clumbsy. Anything new out there worth looking into?

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Old March 31st, 2010, 09:35 AM   #2
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Can anybody share their experience?
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Old March 31st, 2010, 12:42 PM   #3
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Peaking and magnify help a lot. There's a device called Irv's Focus Ring that makes focusing easier too. The more you shoot, you begin to develop an instinct for focus and exposure problems.

I still use my HV-30s quite a bit, but my main camera is now the XH-A1. The HV-30 and HV-40 have manual functions for most everything, but sometimes you have to wade through the menus. For example switching between the zebra stripes and peaking on the HV requires going through the menu. On the XH-A1, you have buttons, toggles, rings and dials galore for the manual functions, so you can make adjustments more easily and more quickly.

That being said, the HV's are excellent cameras for the price. You can get great results with them. In full sun, I filmed an airshow with a circular polarizer and the Irv Focus ring. By holding the HV-30s eyepiece to my eye, and touching a finger to the bill of my cap, I followed the planes quite well, kept them in focus, and adjusted the polarizer well. That might not be so easy with my XH-A1, because of the size and weight of the camera. I'll try it with both cameras at the next airshow I attend.

Hope this helps.

Oh yeah, when shooting indoors, whenever possible, with both cameras I use an external HDTV instead of the viewfinder or the lcd.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 07:56 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info Roger.

I will check into the focusing ring for sure. A friend of mine has the HV30 and I cannot use the eyepiece at all. It is way to small. I’m surprised you can use it effectively. I need to find something not only for the viewfinder but some kind of sunshade for the LCD. Everywhere I look they have been discontinued. If anybody else can chime in with their experiences and workflows for better operation in regards to LCD/viewfinder I would really appreciate it.

Thanks!
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Old April 19th, 2010, 05:23 PM   #5
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I bought Irv's focus ring and it's very clever and nicely engineered and looks good. Makes manual focus easy. I just use the LCD screen and "magnify".

Re the LCD screen in bright sun: Make a "viewbox" out of cardboard and tape it temporarily to the screen. Works on a car GPS too.

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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:51 AM   #6
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I'm a professional cinematographer and have made my living as an independent documentary filmmaker for over 40 years. My principal cameras are a super16 Aaton and, currently, an HPX500. I mention this background to give credence to my comments below because I also have three HV40s that I use regularly in adverse conditions...

Why are people so adverse to using the auto focus function on these tiny cameras? It is a simple matter to zoom in to the subject with auto focus, then hit the manual button to hold focus, then zoom back to compose the shot. In my experience, the auto on these cameras is excellent, certainly better than I can do with the LCD screen, which is a joke. The IF function is truly instantaneous, even at 24p (or "f" or whatever Canon's calling it these days). And interestingly, even seems to work with a matte box in place (I use an old Chrosziel 3x3 that I built a custom mount for). In fast moving situations I just depend on auto focus entirely, even though it does go against the grain of my professional upbringing.. But it works, and with these tiny chips the depth of field is so great that a slight error is virtually unnoticeable. And, by the way, I never shoot closed down below f4, so I do tax the camera's capabilities.

I grant you that doing a complex follow focus within a moving shot might be a problem if the subject is on the edge of the frame or if something crosses close to the camera. But realistically that is not what these things are intended for. Buy a used A1 or H1 if that's the kind of shooting style you desire - they're relatively cheap now and are excellent cameras. Or use a lens adapter like the M2 if shallow DOF is your goal.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 10:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen View Post
Why are people so adverse to using the auto focus function on these tiny cameras? It is a simple matter to zoom in to the subject with auto focus, then hit the manual button to hold focus, then zoom back to compose the shot. .
Great tip on the Zoom MF technique. I'm going to try it in the morning.
Thanks
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 01:18 AM   #8
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As far as focus (and a shallow depth of field) goes with the HV's, it is very popular and common to get a 35mm adapter for the camera. I made a few short films with one and it turned out stunning.
Message me if interested, I have one I may let go.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 11:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Clark View Post
How are you guys getting tight focus outdoors in sunlight? The view finder is pretty much useless.
The optical viewfinder isn't great, but it can be used in bright sunlight that blinds the LCD display. And in bright sunlight automatic focus works quite well.

This kite-surfing video action was shot in bright light and 30 knots of wind using only the optical viewfinder (since you have to close the LCD screen to use the OV). I wouldn't say it was comfortable, but I was glad to have it. You have to adjust the diopter to your eye first, using a ridiculously difficult slider. And I wish there was a rubber eyepiece, which there isn't. But at least the camera has a viewfinder, when you really need it.

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Old August 14th, 2010, 11:37 AM   #10
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if you find HV focus hard dont get a DSLR like the 550D, i have both and the HV focus is no problems auto focus never lets me down and i can use its viewfinder far easier than the dslr lcd which in sunlight makes getting good focus difficult.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #11
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Finishing up a 60 min doc that was shot completely with the hmc40. We used a smallhd dp1 with it's hood outdoors and it worked great for focusing. Thursday I shot a mini infomercial in the wonderful AZ sun and though it was my hmc150, the smallhd came to the rescue again. That said, the autofocus does work really well on both cameras and I use the trick of setting focus with auto then switching back to manual too.
On the DSLR subject, my b-cam for the outdoor shoot was my t2i and a loupe like my z-finder is a must. Worked like a charm with the follow focus in the bright sun.
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