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Old January 27th, 2008, 12:28 PM   #1
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Focus Problems. Bigger LCD monitor the answer?

Is it possible to mount another LCD monitor to the A1? Now that I'm getting going on recording, I'm noticing that when I think I'm focused fine and recording in HD, at best I'm actually a little soft at times on the focus. At worst, I'm actually focused on something in the background! YIKES!

In SD the focus wouldn't be noticed, but in HD playback, I totally notice it.

The problem is I can't really tell on the eye piece or the small LCD that I'm so far off. I thought that a larger (5"-6" or so?) HD LCD monitor would do the trick if I could mount it on the unit.

Is this a possibility? Would this solve my problems? Or should I just go back to "Learn to Focus 101" at school? :) Thanks.

Anyone else have problems seeing their focus is off or is it just me? (I'm only 31 so my eyes still work.... at least I THOUGHT they did!).
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Old January 27th, 2008, 12:30 PM   #2
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Oh yeah, and if it is possible and part of the solution, can you recommend any particular units? Thanks again.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 12:46 PM   #3
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Personally, I'd go back to Focus 101, but there are lots of expensive camera-mountable LCD monitors available. Check B&H. Are you aware of the two little buttons on the left of the camera, under the display button? One gives you the edge enhancement, the other zooms in for easy focus. You don't even have to turn them off when shooting if you want--they only relate to the viewfinder/screen, not the recorded image.

I was surprised at how decent both the screen and viewfinder are on this camera, and I don't have any trouble focusing. I even use the screen quite a bit when doing interviews. Are you zooming in all the way for critical focus? That's the first step in Focus 101 and something you do with any camera (unless it doesn't have a zoom lens).
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Old January 27th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd Claycomb View Post
Oh yeah, and if it is possible and part of the solution, can you recommend any particular units? Thanks again.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=108904

and a few other threads. I've been looking too, but frankly I'm appalled at the prices but I suppose they are in line with the rest of our gear. The Ikans are nearly the same price in sterling in the UK as they are in dollars in the USA.

I've been using a laptop for SD framing and focussing but it's no use for monitoring colour accurately (and it doesn't mount on the camera!).

For HD you need a serious monitor and they don't come cheap.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 01:12 AM   #5
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I sometimes use the Auto focus button at the side .It helps when you are not sure at times.
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Last edited by David Chia; January 28th, 2008 at 04:07 AM.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 03:20 AM   #6
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Hi guys.........

Having struggled with this big time since owning the A1 (over a year), can I shed my 2c worth on the subject?

My struggle with that diddy LCD was driving me crazy till I discoverd a couple of things.

If the subject is less than 10 metres (33 feet) away, a full zoom in (Z99) using both "Peak" and "Magnify", eventually got to do the job, 99% of the time.

Within that range, the amount of detail required really could be seen on the screen.

If the target was more than this distance, I resorted to a LRF (Laser Range Finder) which could measure the distance to within half a metre.

At Z99 you can, with a bit of practice, dial in a manual focus figure almost smack on what the LRF has measured. Get's it right first time, every time, even up to 600 metres plus.

Doesn't look right on the LCD, but looks great on the big TV, every time.

I've tried the diddy add on monitor, and, quite frankly, for focussing, in my mind, they are a complete and utter waste of time and money.

If I could haul my 46" Bravia out and about, now THAT may be worth it, but the LRF is sooo much easier, and works so well, why would I bother?

Hope this gives some guidance.


CS
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Old January 28th, 2008, 12:41 PM   #7
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...I've tried the diddy add on monitor, and, quite frankly, for focussing, in my mind, they are a complete and utter waste of time and money.

If I could haul my 46" Bravia out and about, now THAT may be worth it, but the LRF is sooo much easier, and works so well, why would I bother?

CS
Well thanks Chris, I think you just saved ME some money.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 01:18 PM   #8
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Chris - Would you mind asking that passing flock of birds to wait while I measure the distance . . . etc. etc. Oh, too late, they've gone and I've filmed yet another bit of sky! LoL

I have focussing problems in that I can't focus on the screen unless I'm too far away to see it (or change to my reading glasses), and I can't seem to get anything to appear in focus through the viewfinder - Yes, I have fiddled with the dioptre control.

As my subjects are usually moving, and don't respond to the director's instructions, I have to rely on autofocus most of the time. It's almost a relief at times to be recording something straight to the hard disk, so I can see it on the laptop screen (my new laptop shows decent colours - or perhaps that's just in comparison with the old one). But it isn't practical out in the field.

So, to answer Lloyd's original question - no, it isn't just you!
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Old January 28th, 2008, 02:34 PM   #9
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Back to basics (focus and aperture

http://photoinf.com/General/Klaus_Sc...erspective.htm

Chris,
Small aperture gives greater depth of field (more distances in focus). You need to anticipate the distances you want to have in focus. As you can see from the website above, your plan of attack for your shot does need to be considered. Then you need to adjust your camera to achieve the focus field you desire.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 02:43 PM   #10
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Ah Annie.............

yes, the wildlife! You most definately have a point with the wildlife.

Wild life and focus, the bane of my shooting existance.

This is one area where I still do not have a "gold standard" work around.

Yep, the birds are the worst. It's not so bad if there is a fixed target with nothing behind it (unfortunately a pretty rare occurance).

This is one scenario where I really do wish there was a better screen for focus, but as far as I can see, untill and unless, either someone comes out with a trully portable, full HD screen that really "tells it as it is" OR camera manufacturers allow "bit mapping"** from their cameras, it's never going to work.

** Bit Mapping - Camera O/P is 1920 X 1080 (say), your diddy screen is only 840 X something. Feed camera into screen (using composite 'cos no diddy screens have component) and the result is exeedingly average. Bit mapping would feed just a selected 840 X something area from the camera sensors to screen, allowing the screen to run native and, in effect, put a 3.5 X magnifyer on it to boot.

Now THAT would be usefull!


CS
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Old January 29th, 2008, 09:11 AM   #11
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Last night I had a look at the few minutes of video I managed to take on Sunday. A flock of birds - lapwings - taking flight. The camera autofocus did much better than I did on manual focus. In fact, none of my focussing hit the mark. The only real problem the camera had was when something in the background was still and so was easier to focus on than the birds.

The birds performed several times, though always at a distance. So I had time to try a few different settings. Enough to say that the camera got it right more often than I did. I also used progressive mode rather than interlaced, and that definitely improved the results for flying birds.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 07:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Annie Haycock View Post
So, to answer Lloyd's original question - no, it isn't just you!
Well, that's good to know.

I read through the other links and did some more searching on this. I think part of it is "Focus 101" related that I'll have to work on more. Using some of the tricks/tips pointed out above, that has helped some as well. But still, that screen is so small that it makes it tough at times. Guess it's something I'll just have to work out and/or live with.
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