Notes on VZ Rock with the A1 at DVinfo.net

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


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Old December 9th, 2006, 12:42 AM   #1
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Notes on VZ Rock with the A1

I just picked up a VZ Rock lens controller (that I'm planning to use for a shoot on Tuesday) and thought I'd share my initial observations.

[For photos and details see Ken Tanaka's VZ Rock article. I have the standard VZ Rock not the brushed Aluminum limited edition shown in the article but they should function identically.]

I'll go through the control features button-by-button...

Zoom (the big rocker switch) -- This rocker provides variable speed zoom and is not effected by the 'zoom speed switch' and the 'zoom speed adjustment dial' on the camera body. Using this rocker effectively will take a little practice but it seems very doable.

A (autofocus button) -- This button seems to have no effect however the 'focus mode' switch on the camera body can still be used.

Focus (small rocker switch) -- Controls focus as expected. Seems to change focus at a constant rate. Will probably opt for the 'Push AF' button on the camera body and the focus ring instead.

F+ and F- (frame forward and backward) -- These buttons seem to have no effect. Can use the 'Record Review' button on the camera body as an alternative I suppose.

Data (Data on Monitor display) -- This button will toggle on/off any text displayed on an external monitor. The text displayed is controlled with the 'Display' button on the camera body in conjunction with On-Screen display settings (customization).

On (standby/on toggle) -- Toggling to standby requires that the button be held down for two seconds. Toggling back requires a normal button push.

R (Record) -- Toggles the camera between record and record-pause, as expected.

To me the benefit is that the VZ Rock will bring three key functions from the left side of the camera body to the pan arm: Zoom, Record and Standby. This will allow me to keep my right hand on the pan arm while accessing other camera controls with my left. (That's the theory anyway).
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Old December 9th, 2006, 02:26 AM   #2
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Thanks for the report. I have a VZ-Rock here as well and my findings are right in line with yours. Much appreciated,
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Old December 10th, 2006, 12:41 AM   #3
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Thanks for that info Steven. I had been considering one of these also.

I need a controller to use with my Fig Rig. Problem with that is that you can't reach the camera body at all while you are shooting, so focus control is pretty important. At a minimum I need the Push A.F. feature to work (or to be able to switch on and off autofocus).

Does anyone know of something that will do this, other than the canon zr-2000, which is feels so cheap and poorly designed that I cannot bring myself to fork out $400 for it?
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Old December 10th, 2006, 01:45 PM   #4
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My Zoe has similar control of focus in that Push AF doesn't work nor can I change focus from manual to auto.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 04:12 AM   #5
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zr-2000

I first got the zr-1000 and found many of the functions did not work on the A1, they did work on my Sony Tvr-900, strange. I really needed the push auto focus feature so I went for the 2000, way over priced (thanks Canon). I have say all the features work. What I did not realize is the 2000 has a wheel on the side that has two functions, when set to focus the wheel is used for focus, much better then the two buttons used on other controllers, IMO. You can also set it to adjust exposure. The Push AF works great. You can hold it down as long as you want, it is as if you have AF on. The only button that does not work is the on screen button, it has no effect.

I am in no way a pro, so the plastic construction does not bother me. It just seems strange so many are concerned about this when they just spent $4000 on a camera that is mostly plastic. I leave mine on the tripod and always bag my tripod, however I look at most Pro setups I can see that it might get destroyed, most tripods look pretty beatup to me. The other problem is it will not fit on a handle that is too thick. I had to replace the one on my 503 with the non extended type. I could have modified it with longer screws and I think that might have worked.

The only real blunder is they made is the cord is about 10 feet. What are we suppose to do with 10 feet of cord. I wish they used jacks with replaceable cords of different sizes, and for $400 that is what they should have done. I ended up wrapping the cord around my handle.

Hope this helps.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 06:18 AM   #6
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Wow. $400 is steep but at least you have focus control. If I'd have known for sure the Zoe wouldn't have full control, I'd have considered other controllers.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 01:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for that report on the zr-2000 Don. Can you elaborate on the exposure control functionality? ie can you switch on and off the exposure lock and adjust the iris?

Thanks

Richard

PS, I don't really care that it is plastic, just wish it was cheaply priced to go with the cheap feel.
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Old December 13th, 2006, 01:32 PM   #8
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AE Shift

AE Shift on the remote is the same as the one under the menu "Camera Setup". It acts differently depending on your setting, Auto, Tv, Av. If you set it for Tv, for example, then the Iris adjusts, if you set it for Av, then the speed adjusts. In auto mode it looks like the camera determines the best way to adjust. If you hit the Exp-lock botton (manual exposure) and lets say you have a one stop over exposure, then the light meter will use this as the center point. This only works in Auto, Tv, and Av. In M, twilight, spot, and Full Auto (green) mode it has not effect.
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