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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old April 15th, 2007, 09:22 PM   #1
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HV20 manual exposure question

I haven't bought the HV20 yet - and have a question about how much control one has over manual exposure:

Can you manually override both the shutter and aperture? As an example, suppose you're shooting outdoors at night, and you want the exposure to remain unchanged - along comes a car with its bright headlights, which would change the overall exposure unless there was a manual setting. I've looked at the manual, but I don't see anything to confirm that it can be done - all I see is aperture or shutter priority - not shutter AND aperture.

Also, can one accurately manually focus in real time using the twirly dial?
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Old April 15th, 2007, 09:37 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Phil Shima View Post
I haven't bought the HV20 yet - and have a question about how much control one has over manual exposure:

Can you manually override both the shutter and aperture? As an example, suppose you're shooting outdoors at night, and you want the exposure to remain unchanged - along comes a car with its bright headlights, which would change the overall exposure unless there was a manual setting. I've looked at the manual, but I don't see anything to confirm that it can be done - all I see is aperture or shutter priority - not shutter AND aperture.

Also, can one accurately manually focus in real time using the twirly dial?

Yes

You have the option of absolute control over Exposure.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 01:32 AM   #3
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Phil:

Essentialy what you do is slide the the control button on the right side of camera from auto to p.

Then you select menu. Under the P Menu, if you leave it in P, you adjust getting changes camera selects. It doesn't tell you what is changing. If you select TV, you get direct control over shutter speed, or Select AV which gives you direct control over aperature. There is also a Cine mode, which has limited adjustments, and there is also a specific set of scene selections (like snow, beach, etc....).

Once you select those, you use the toggle to turn on the exposure adjustments. Once you do that, things are locked. You can actually exit the exposure adjustment menu, but it will turn off the lock, when you hit the toggle again. Problem in the exposure adjustment is you don't know what is being adjusted (except that in TV mode or AV mode, shutter or Aperature is locked respectively.)

In all, there is a surprising amount of control for this camera. And after a brief introduction, it actually makes a lot of sense.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 08:05 AM   #4
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Also, yes, you can accuratley focus in real time with the small focus wheel...problem is, especially with small LCDs, you will have a tough time. What is needed is a bigger screen (3rd party) to assist you with focusing. It's not like a focus ring where you use your thumb and middle finger (or index) together but in this case you are using just your thumb. Once you realize its limitations you get used to it quickly.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 08:07 AM   #5
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Ian, have you tried the focus assist on the HV20? It rocks for focusing. I can find focus in about a second on my HV20 whereas it was virtually impossible to ever find focus on my DV camcorder without it.

Usually though I just hit the focus button to see if auto can find focus, then I hit manual focus and turn on focus assist to fine tune if needed. It basically makes having a tiny LCD irrelevant even when finding focus in HD.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 01:14 PM   #6
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Wes, you're 100% correct. I think many people miss the 'focus assist' on the Canon. Very nice pro-type feature.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 01:34 PM   #7
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Wes, you're 100% correct. I think many people miss the 'focus assist' on the Canon. Very nice pro-type feature.
Unfortunately, like with most of these assist features, you can't use it while recording.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 01:42 PM   #8
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Unfortunately, like with most of these assist features, you can't use it while recording.
That's true Chris and kind of a bummer. I've really wanted to have focus assist while recording a handful of times already but it's not a deal killer. It's good to at least have it for setting up shots.

It would also be nice if we could zoom in and out and scroll around the focus assist function, kind of like how you can zoom and scroll around when you are playing back video or still images. That would be helpful.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 01:48 PM   #9
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Unfortunately, like with most of these assist features, you can't use it while recording.
I suppose it depends on which camera is right and for who. For narrative film work all focus points shoud be figured out in advance anyway (a follow focus of course is always helpful).

For weddings or regular videography ? I wouldn't use an HVX.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 02:30 PM   #10
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I suppose it depends on which camera is right and for who. For narrative film work all focus points shoud be figured out in advance anyway (a follow focus of course is always helpful).

For weddings or regular videography ? I wouldn't use an HVX.
Actually, and I've said it before in other threads on this camera, the IAF is amazingly accurate, and should not be ignored an asset of this camera. You can center camera on subject with AIF on, then switch it off to maintain that focus. It will usually do as good or better than you can with the focus wheel.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 02:44 PM   #11
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Actually, and I've said it before in other threads on this camera, the IAF is amazingly accurate, and should not be ignored an asset of this camera. You can center camera on subject with AIF on, then switch it off to maintain that focus. It will usually do as good or better than you can with the focus wheel.
Exactly. It's lightning quick too. It's rare that I don't at least start with AF.

I'm designing a little follow focus dial that I can mount on my HV20 with a button that'll depress the focus button because my big fat fingers don't work so well with the LCD location.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 03:45 PM   #12
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Exactly. It's lightning quick too. It's rare that I don't at least start with AF.

I'm designing a little follow focus dial that I can mount on my HV20 with a button that'll depress the focus button because my big fat fingers don't work so well with the LCD location.
You know, I was looking at that too. Hard to get at that dial for the button with the LCD open. My fingers are a little fat too.....:)
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Old April 16th, 2007, 04:29 PM   #13
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When adjusting exposure manually during TV mode. What is the best way to judge proper exposure. Should the Zebra Stripes be set to 70% or 100%? Then how much of the image should be striped?
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Old April 16th, 2007, 04:30 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
Phil:

Essentialy what you do is slide the the control button on the right side of camera from auto to p.

Then you select menu. Under the P Menu, if you leave it in P, you adjust getting changes camera selects. It doesn't tell you what is changing. If you select TV, you get direct control over shutter speed, or Select AV which gives you direct control over aperature. There is also a Cine mode, which has limited adjustments, and there is also a specific set of scene selections (like snow, beach, etc....).

Once you select those, you use the toggle to turn on the exposure adjustments. Once you do that, things are locked. You can actually exit the exposure adjustment menu, but it will turn off the lock, when you hit the toggle again. Problem in the exposure adjustment is you don't know what is being adjusted (except that in TV mode or AV mode, shutter or Aperature is locked respectively.)

In all, there is a surprising amount of control for this camera. And after a brief introduction, it actually makes a lot of sense.
Thanks for the explanation Chris, but maybe it's your choice of wording or my comprehension skills but I still don't have a full grasp the control aspect of this cam. Maybe a simpler question would be, as far as full manual control goes, what abilities is this cam lacking if it was to be compared to any of the prosumer cams.
Thanks.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 04:35 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jay Stebbins View Post
When adjusting exposure manually during TV mode. What is the best way to judge proper exposure. Should the Zebra Stripes be set to 70% or 100%? Then how much of the image should be striped?
That's a good question Jay. I don't know the answer but I set mine to 70% and usually click down exposure 1-2 clicks.
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