Canon XH A1/ G1 & ZR - 1000 Controller issue at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old August 7th, 2007, 11:44 PM   #1
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Canon XH A1/ G1 & ZR - 1000 Controller issue

Hi all.

Can someone with the above setup try this little test for me and see if you get the same results as I did this afternoon? I can't figure out whether this is a ZR or an A1 issue.

Connect the ZR - 1000 to the Lanc port. Fire up the camera. Set the focus switch to Manual focus. Zoom in 90% on something about 3 - 4 metres (10 - 13 feet) away. Use the focus buttons on the ZR to try to get the object in focus. Note the distance figures on your display.

I was trying to get some footage using my new jib and had totally had a gut full of the Instant AF going everywhere but where I wanted it to, so with great reluctance decided to try manual. Every time I so much as "pinged" either of the focus buttons on the ZR, the distance figures jumped at least 1.4 metres, from, say, 3.4 to 4.8.

No matter how I used the buttons I could not get the distance figures more accurate than to within a metre.

I haven't reviewed the footage as yet but from what I could see on my 7" screen the camera was indeed jumping focus by huge leaps making it impossible to get the chosen object in focus.

If anyone has the ZR - 2000 could you try this as well?

I'm really hoping someone will say this is a bust ZR - 1000 rather than a total inablity to manual focus with accuracy with either of the ZR's.

Thanks in advance,

CS
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Old August 8th, 2007, 04:29 PM   #2
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To the mods.............

As this seems to be an A1/ G1 issue (this behaviour hasn't to my knowledge been reported with any other Canon camera) perhaps this would be better moved to the Canon XH A1 forum instead?

Pretty please.

CS
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:52 AM   #3
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Now a really serious issue.............

Further investigation suggests (my) ZR - 1000 steps in a fixed sequence which varies the focus in bigger or smaller steps dependant on distance/ zoom depth.

IE, at short distances and full zoom it steps in huge chunks, longer distances and less zoom it steps in much smaller chunks.

The bottom line is this:

I cannot use the ZR - 1000 (unless it is faulty) to control the A1 on the jib at distances less than approximately 15 metres (50 feet) unless the lens is zoomed out to almost 30%, and get it to focus anywhere near the actual focal plane required.

This means, in a nutshell, my plan of using the A1 and jib for wildlife video is completely shot.

If someone can confirm the ZR - 2000 does not behave this way (or that my ZR - 1000 is cactus), I will be only too glad to hear it.

Just what I didn't need - yet another "I can't focus my A1" problem on top of all the others.

I am starting to think I may need another sort of camera for this - the A1 seems destined to be an "urban legend" and a "wildlife videographers nightmare" at one and the same time.

Somebody please tell me I'm wrong with this!

CS

PS. Thanks Mods...

Last edited by Chris Soucy; August 9th, 2007 at 05:14 AM. Reason: Gratefull
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Old August 9th, 2007, 05:22 AM   #4
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Did you set your focus ring sensitivity to 01- SLOW?

(see custom functions - [FOCUS RING CTRL] Focus Ring Control)
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:21 PM   #5
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Yes Piotr............

It's on slow, tho' "slow" still isn't anywhere like slow enough. The manual focus ring on the lens works fine (well, as "fine" as the manual focus ring ever works) and can, with a very deft touch, notch up in 100 mm (4") increments from practically 0 to 10 metres in manual.

This problem is with the working of the ZR - 1000 (or not, as the case may be). It would appear, as I said, that the ZR sends a fixed length "focus" pulse/ data string to the camera which at shorter distances/ greater zoom results in huge jumps in the focus setting. As the distance increases/ the zoom decrease the pulse/ data string results in progressively shorter focus jumps.

Thus, at 4 metres distance and almost full zoom (my target critter is only 2" tall BTW) the focus jumps well in excess of a metre a pop (that's 3 to 4 FEET!). About as much use as an ash tray on a motorbike in HD land.

I really do hope someone can pull a rabbit out of a hat on this one (if you'll excuse the expression).

CS
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:43 PM   #6
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On reflection.......

I strongly suspect that "the problem" is not with the ZR - 1000 at all. Whilst the "issue" becomes apparent when using it, I now believe that what I'm seeing is a firmware bug in the A1 itself (lest there is, actually, a hard fault somewhere).

I've tested this on my XL1s, and the firmware in that camera DOES take into account the focus distance/ zoom ratio when moving the lens for focus under ZR - 1000 command. The A1 is not (apparently) applying the same correction under ZR command as it does when using the focus ring. Hence why I can manually focus in 100 mmmm (4") increments using the focus ring and not when using the ZR.

Can anyone either confirm or deny?

CS
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Old August 9th, 2007, 06:03 PM   #7
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Hey Chris, I think you hit the nail on the head, I remember reading a firmware update on the a1 that had something to do with the focus. I cant remember where i read it or can confirm it for sure. Sorry i cant help you but my guess is that its a firmware issue. Good Luck. I have the same controller and will see if i can find the information.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #8
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Thanks Brent.......

I've just fired off an e - mail to Canon Photographice Services here in NZ, asking if this is a possibility, guess I'll just have to wait and see what they say.

If anyone can confirm/ deny this behaviour with their system I'd appreciate it.

CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; August 9th, 2007 at 08:13 PM. Reason: Finger trouble
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Old August 12th, 2007, 11:22 PM   #9
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Horrible thought just came to me.....

I did a set of tests today to get more of a handle on what, exactly, was going on. To cut it short:-

At Z99 (full zoom in) the .1 metre (4") incremental focus is gone beyond 2.8 metres.

At Z90 it's down to 1.8 metres.

At Z80 it's down to less that 1 metre.

I was just sitting pondering further tests when it occured to me that this looked very similar to the results of having the "Focus Ring Control" set to "Normal".

A quick check of the manual and aaaaaaarrrggggg! The "Normal" / "Slow" setting ONLY works on the Focus Ring - NOT the Lanc focus (well, if the manual doesn't mention it, I guess it doesn't do it).

Which means Canon are probably going to call this a "feature" and thus not deserving of a "fix".

Now, I'm not going to pre-suppose how they (Canon) are going to respond on this subject, but if the answer is "niet" to a fix then, in a nutshell, a Canon A1/ G1 (and probably the H1 to boot) on a boom/ jib/ crane in circumstances where AF doesn't work is practically uncontrolable focus wise.


Just thought I'd share that little gem with one and all.

More news as and when I get a response from Canon.

CS
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Old August 13th, 2007, 06:16 AM   #10
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i have a bepop zoe controller for my fig rig that can be used with a jib arm by use of an extension cord.. i have had no issues using it to focus.. but it has a variable speed zoom/focus dial on the controller itself.. which appears to be independant of the settings used on the camera..

im not familiar with the controller you are using but perhaps one of these would be suitable instead?
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Old August 13th, 2007, 09:53 PM   #11
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Firmware level...........

I've just been asked by Canon what the firmware level of the camera is (1.0.0.0)

Anyone else out there with a PAL A1 got an update on this firmware level?

VCR / playback mode.
Card mode.
System Setup
Firmware Level

Thanks,

CS
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Old August 28th, 2007, 09:13 PM   #12
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A1/ G1 Issue - UPDATE

OK, well, the Support Centre in Auckland have tested their G1 with a ZR1000 and have, as far as they can tell, replicated the issue. So, apparently, have Canon Australia, tho' as their test was performed with a ZR2000 they are not entirely convinced it's exactly the same problem.

The interesting bit is this, there is a new firmware release for the A1/ G1 (shhhh, don't tell anyone) which apparently "addresses issues with the ZR1/2000 remote controllers", amongst other things. Whether it addresses my particular issue is left in considerable doubt at this stage.

More details of what's in this release I do not have (yet) BUT my A1 is (or will be very shortly) winging it's way to Auckland to have the new firmware installed (gratis), so that I can field test the whole ball of wax.

Yippee!

CS
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Old September 10th, 2007, 05:21 PM   #13
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Firmware Upgrade to 1.0.1.0...........

has been done and, yes, the focus function with the ZR1000 is better, tho' not by much.

At

Z99 it's improved from 2.8 metres to 3.9 metres

Z90 1.9 metres to 2.2 metres

Z80 1.4 to 1.7


As you can see, not exactly startling results. It is conceivable that this upgrade didn't actually deal with this problem at all and all I'm seeing is a random change brought on by camera temp etc.

Unfortunately I still haven't had any details from Canon of what, exactly, this upgrade was supposed to acheive apart from a vague "problems with Lanc remote controllers", which didn't help much.

More details as and when.


CS

This is also being discussed here:

http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=103258

Last edited by Chris Soucy; September 10th, 2007 at 08:04 PM.
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Old September 10th, 2007, 08:20 PM   #14
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More news.......

Canon NZ have now confirmed my measurements, and come to the same conclusion - it's better, but not by much.

The good news for all you non - Canon Lanc users out there is that this upgrade does address issues with functions not working/ working correctly with these Lancs. What issues/ Lancs are not detailed. Guess if you have an issue you'd better give Canon a hoi and see if they'll do this upgrade for you.


CS
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Old September 14th, 2007, 11:35 PM   #15
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Chris -

I received my ZR-2000 today and was curious if I would experience a similar situation to your own. I didn't have the means to conduct a very rigorous test, but from the little I did, I didn't run into anything I would consider unexpectedly problematic. Focus speed on cam was set at normal. Instead of buttons, the ZR-2000 has a small focus dial with notched increments. Forgive my approximate (and non-metric) measurements, but if I set the lens at full telephoto and focus at about...

5 feet: each notch of the ZR's focus dial changes the focus a tiny fraction of an inch. I literally have to fully spin the dial 4 or 5 times to change the focus distance from say 4.8 to 4.9 feet. (By 'spins' of the dial, I don't mean a complete rotation, but more like a role of the thumb.)

15 feet: each notch moves the focus distance about a 1/2 inch, or 24 notches (maybe one spin) to go from 15 to 16 feet.

30 feet: about 20 notches to progress 1 foot.

At full wide, each notch might change the focus a foot or more. It would be nice to have more control over how it acts in each situation, perhaps, but it seems to be working according to prediction. Am I doing something differently than I should, to reproduce where things might start going wrong?
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