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Old October 29th, 2005, 10:10 AM   #1
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Qustion about focus and balancing

Apologize for asking a few 'newbee' questions that I still have after reading lots of information about the HD100.

Iíve read that this camera is equipped with a manual-focus lens. For me coming form a world of consumer camcorder (always with auto focus bad or worse) and never realized these pro-cams are manual, this is a bit of a shock. How is the learning curve on getting used to manual focussing? What do you do when you take a shot of a fast moving object, like a train or something?

How is the balancing of the camera? I always thought a shoulder camera is much more steady and well balanced. To me at first glance it looks like the HD100 is really front heavy and could become quite fatiguing after a while.

How would you describe this camera: is it a prosumer model or a professional camera (for what these terms are worth). Is HD only a marginal improvement over SD? (yes, I am still trying to get a good overview of all formats that are out on the market today and what will suit my needs best for the next 2 ~3 years.)

Thanks again for your patience, regards,
Erwin
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Old October 29th, 2005, 11:27 AM   #2
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Hi Erwin,

dont't worry. After a little bit of training you won't miss autofocus because due to the shoulder mount design you usually will have the left hand in the focus or zoom. Fast movements: You zoom to a reference point that should have the average distance you will have during the movement (left-right/right left). You zoom out and you will have a clear picture.

To improve the cam's balance you put a bigger battery or/and HD-recorder on the back and you will see that it's a quite stable cam.

Consider the cam as a prosumer or pro-model. To get an idea of the difference just search in this forum for files to download and you will see what it means to use HDV.

Markus
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Old October 29th, 2005, 01:57 PM   #3
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Professional cameras have no autofocus so you can be sure the focus is where you want, if it fails is your fault and not the camera's. You get so used to it that even when you use a pro-consumer model you use it on manual focus mode, at least I do.

You may think that pro lens could have the option to use manual or auto, but the problem is that when it has auto focus it also needs a servo to move the glass, when you use on manual mode you aren't directly moving the glass but making the servo do the job. The control is less precise, it's not so easy to mark focus ranges. It's like driving an auto gear car, it's not you who's deciding which gear to use. Imagine driving on a race car...

I see the HD100 as a real pro camera, all it's features and design are intended to be pro. The only thing that shares with consumer cameras is the colored view finder, pro cameras have a BW full resolution CRT instead of a colored LCD.

This camera is very well balanced even without big batteries, it won't become fatiguing.

If you are not a professional maybe this is not the camera for you, I would chose a FX1 instead. Use it in manual focus mode and get used to it, it's not the same as a manual lens but it's servo works very well. About the format, I think HDV will also be the future of consumer market.

Last edited by Diogo Athouguia; October 29th, 2005 at 04:26 PM.
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Old October 29th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogo Athouguia
The only thing that shares with consumer cameras is the colored view finder, pro cameras have a BW full resolution CRT instead of a colored TFT.
Actually, there are some pro colour VFs out there and the only reason why they are not more common is because the technology took a long time to get to where the B/W VFs were and it's not cheap. In the future, though, there will be more and more colour VFs and they will be either LCD or some similar technology. I have seen some real nice pro Becatam SX colour VFs and I wouldn't go back to B/W after that at all. It's just one of the initial limitations of video vs. film and the technology is only finally catching up on what film folks had for decades.

Maybe someone more knowledgeable can comment on the technology...?
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Old October 29th, 2005, 04:38 PM   #5
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I didn't know about those full resolution LCDs... I wonder what kind of technology they use, probably those LCDs arenīt TFT. Maybe not LCDs but colored CRTs...
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Old October 29th, 2005, 07:53 PM   #6
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I know they are around, sony has one for one... bit it is quite costly: a HD full resolution LCD viewfinder is about $11.000 I believe.... (whereas a good CRT B/W viewfinder is 'only' about $2.000 - $3.000)
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Old October 29th, 2005, 11:08 PM   #7
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Erwin, an important consideration is what you are going to use the camera for. If you are going to get plenty of opportunity to practice and use the camera then it is well worth while learning to use the full manual features of a professional camera. Learning to use a fully manual camera for doco type work is a craft/artform and does require that you put the hours in.

Similarly, using shoulder mounted camera is a bit tricky and requires some work. I am used to heavier broadcast cams. These sit more easily on your shoulder. I must confess that the lightness and balance of the camera is a bit (I stess a bit - I will have to practice too!) of an issue particularly when you are focused close in.

Also, does the progressive scan look have any special appeal for you? A lot of film makers are interested in this camera because of this feature. If you are used to the smoother video look then maybe also one of the other cameras is the way to go.

If you are going to only use the camera only occasionally then a bit doubtful whether this is the camera for you.

Good luck with your choice.

Rob
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