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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
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Old December 30th, 2008, 05:13 PM   #1
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Preset causing focus issues?

Hey Guys,
Lately I have had some issues with focus in both SD and HDV modes on both cameras, and was wondering if there was something about my preset that could be causing my focus issues. Here's my preset...
Gam N
Kne A
Blk P
Ped 0
Set 0
Shp -2
HDF M
DHV 0
Cor 0
NR2 H
And then all color matrixes are set for the truecolor.


What I've changed recently is Blk to P. I get a cleaner picture in low light, but I am having a very hard time maintaining focus, and have alot of shots that are just plain ole out of focus. I also had the Time Warner editor call me and ask if I was using manual focus because everything was off. It seems to only be a problem when I have a light background. I have a similar issue with both cams which led me towards the preset. This basically started showing itslelf on my 10/11 wedding. Not wildly out of focus, but just not sharp I guess. I have been using basically the same preset since August and had no issues. Anything I'm missing here? Do I have 2 broke cameras. Oh and it seems to be much worse in SD.
Bill
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Old December 30th, 2008, 05:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Grant View Post
Hey Guys,
Lately I have had some issues with focus in both SD and HDV modes on both cameras, and was wondering if there was something about my preset that could be causing my focus issues. Here's my preset...
Gam N
Kne A
Blk P
Ped 0
Set 0
Shp -2
HDF M
DHV 0
Cor 0
NR2 H
And then all color matrixes are set for the truecolor.


What I've changed recently is Blk to P. I get a cleaner picture in low light, but I am having a very hard time maintaining focus, and have alot of shots that are just plain ole out of focus. I also had the Time Warner editor call me and ask if I was using manual focus because everything was off. It seems to only be a problem when I have a light background. I have a similar issue with both cams which led me towards the preset. This basically started showing itslelf on my 10/11 wedding. Not wildly out of focus, but just not sharp I guess. I have been using basically the same preset since August and had no issues. Anything I'm missing here? Do I have 2 broke cameras. Oh and it seems to be much worse in SD.
Bill
Grant Photo & Video
Couple of questions, was this outside or bright condition? did you use ND filter or have a really high aperture. In the manual it states which I did not read and made the same mistake that if there is too much light and the aperture is too closed that the image goes soft so make sure that you switch the ND filters on especially if its sunny then put it on 1/32. I am assuming this is the problem, I would say your presets should not impact the focus as it has nothing to do with focusing.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #3
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NR2 set to High also softens the picture. Add that to the -2 SHP and the picture will definately not be as sharp as if you had NR2 turned off. I don't know if that qualifies for "out of focus" but if you are slightly off and add the softness of the preset...

Are you manual focusing or using the auto focus?
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Old December 31st, 2008, 09:48 AM   #4
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Thanks for the response guys,
This has been with ND on and off, but primarily off. The trouble comes in with 2 scenarios. Number one if I have a light background, number 2 is if I have a complicated background. This is also usually inside withenough light. And I am using auto focus but in the case where it is troubling, it seems to be in focus in the LCD, but when I get it home it is out. And when I say out it might be just "soft" but it certainly isn't sharp. Here is an example.
www.grantdigitalmedia.com/Christmas.m2t this is with ND off, 1/48 in 24f.
Notice how long it takes to find focus. And then it's just not in.
Maybe not the best example, but anyway...
Bill
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Old December 31st, 2008, 06:05 PM   #5
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Hi Bill. The focus isn't wildly out, just not very sharp as you say. In general, I find the autofocus to be slow and unreliable (drifting) when lighting is not very bright, so I gave up on it a long time ago except in situations where I really can't use maual. How about trying a similar shot with manual focus and see how it turns out?

Setting Black to P does reduce the overall image brightness, depending on the scene composition of course, and this may make the autofocus even slower. It should be simple for you to shoot the same scene with Black set to press and then to stretch, and see if it makes a difference to the auto-focussing.

Richard
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Old December 31st, 2008, 06:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Grant View Post
Thanks for the response guys,
This has been with ND on and off, but primarily off. The trouble comes in with 2 scenarios. Number one if I have a light background, number 2 is if I have a complicated background. This is also usually inside withenough light. And I am using auto focus but in the case where it is troubling, it seems to be in focus in the LCD, but when I get it home it is out. And when I say out it might be just "soft" but it certainly isn't sharp. Here is an example.
www.grantdigitalmedia.com/Christmas.m2t this is with ND off, 1/48 in 24f.
Notice how long it takes to find focus. And then it's just not in.
Maybe not the best example, but anyway...
Bill
Bill the example above actually is read as 29.970P 1280X720 in Vegas. If you shot this in 24F there is some ghosting going on when you render this out as the above format. Reviewing your clip it just seems like your A1 is slow to focus as you stated. The background of the kid is actually in focus and not him. The attachment shows the cat in the background is actually in focus. Try bringing the subject away from the background and zooming in to create a shallow depth of field and cause the camera to focus on the shallow background then force it to focus on the subject. See how long it takes to do either. I personally have not liked the A1 auto focus much. I found myself using manual focus most of the time except when I am using my glidecam, when I am not wanting to deal with manual focus, or when I just can't see the LCD due to the sun. :/ There have been times where the Auto Focus have been troubling for me. Are you using Peaking at all?

Monday
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Old February 6th, 2009, 03:43 AM   #7
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Hi guys

I accidentally used the Panalook2 preset indoors (forgot to 'Execute' the 'default' preset) and, despite the 'peaking' showing me that my subject was in crisp focus, the resulting focus on the subject was soft, with preference given to the busy background.

I could have sworn I had the focus nailed. Could this be as a result of using the preset?

I had the camera zoomed right out with the subject standing just in front of the camera. When zoomed in a subject who was in the distance the focus seemed to work okay. Auto focus was turned off throughout.

Peter

Last edited by Peter Dunphy; February 6th, 2009 at 04:14 AM.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 07:51 PM   #8
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I think I'll just avoid any Presets for the time-being so I can be sure that my shots are focused! Would love to hear from anyone with the same problem.

All the best

Peter
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Old February 8th, 2009, 10:46 PM   #9
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Gentlemen........

Under the circumstances related, using Auto Focus would seem to be a highly suspect strategy.

Even Manual focus is no guarantee of accuracy given the A1's LCD and ELF problems (forgetting about old codgers like me who can't even see the damn things!).

With the exception of the gent (Monday) using the glidecam, where there really isn't an other option, I would strongly suggest, for your own sanity if nothing else, getting your hands on a decent IR Laser Rangefinder and doing it the "old fashioned way".

The days of the "focus puller" are not gone, just the tools have changed.

That cigarette packet sized piece of kit has saved me more blood, sweat, tears (and stuffed up footage) than I care to think about.

Why oh why they aren't actually being built into the latest cameras has me dumbfounded.


CS

PS: I use the Nikon Laser 1200, not perfect, then, who is?
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Old February 9th, 2009, 04:51 AM   #10
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Hi Chris

Thanks for your feedback. I was unaware of the A1's LCD and ELF problems :o/ Must do some research, and I'll check out a laser rangefinder too - sounds very handy. Any you might recommend?

All the best

Peter
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Old February 10th, 2009, 05:02 PM   #11
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Peter,
changing my preset has helped considerably. I shot an SD project on 1/17 in vey dark circumstances with sharpness up to +2 and called me to say that they were glad I got the cameras "fixed" I don't think it was a focus issue as such, I just think I was running soft and honestly expecting too much from auto focus. I will continue to use auto focus on fast moving subjects like dancing, etc, but I am much more concious of the lack of detail in the LCD at this point...
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Old February 10th, 2009, 07:25 PM   #12
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Not that it matters much, but I can't imagine any preset for any camera that alters focusing ability, auto or manual. From what I understand, any image processing from presets etc., is done at a "post" level, meaning anything before processing should remain as is (what the lens "sees", auto focus circuitry, etc.) Maybe I'm wrong, but it wouldn't make sense otherwise.

But if it seems to work for you, all the better :)
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