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Old June 20th, 2006, 08:42 AM   #1
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Having buyer's remorse

I ordered my HD100 and haven't received it yet, but the buyer's remorse is already setting in. Not because of the price but because of the lack of autofocus.

I've been using a SONY HC1 for over a year and have been more than ready for months to move to a 3 chip HD camera with better manual exposure controls, etc.. But my work is very much run and gun. I shoot partner-dance workshops in which I'm often in the middle of a large circle of dancers trying to capture the spontaneous demos of the instructors while they teach. The dancing is not so fast that I'm worried about the 720p30 (vs 720p60) but the instructors will at times start their dance 15-25 feet from me and then will move within 8 feet of me without warning (in which case I don't get their full bodies in the picture, but that's OK momentarily). I typically have my camera on tripod+dolly and am moving laterally around the circle all the time, although at many moments I can't always back up or move laterally quickly to get more distance because there are people too close to me. I have no control over lighting and it's not always that great (indoor, flourescent, sometimes some bright side windows).

I really want to move into progressive so the Sony Z1U is less desirable to me. And I'm not wild about what I'm reading about the Panasonic.

Any suggestions? Obviously I'll get the camera (tomorrow) and try what I can within the 7 days I have to test it out, although not in combat conditions. But will I have learned enough about how to focus with this camera to be able to make an informed decision? Thanks for any help or suggestions.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 08:52 AM   #2
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I would say that you shouldn't worry too much. I think you should be able to adjust very quickly to manual focus. I know many people who have. It's just a question of practice. Personally, there's nothing I hate more than the autofocus hunting that goes on with cameras like the Z1. Of course, the 'Push Auto' is often useful but you can get just as quick manually. Also, don't forget that the focus assist function on this camera is great for beginners and that there are many things you can do to help give you a decent depth of field. I'm using the HD100 in a run and gun situation at the moment and I've had great results.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 08:53 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricia Lamm
I ordered my HD100 and haven't received it yet, but the buyer's remorse is already setting in. Not because of the price but because of the lack of autofocus.

I've been using a SONY HC1 for over a year and have been more than ready for months to move to a 3 chip HD camera with better manual exposure controls, etc.. But my work is very much run and gun. I shoot partner-dance workshops in which I'm often in the middle of a large circle of dancers trying to capture the spontaneous demos of the instructors while they teach. The dancing is not so fast that I'm worried about the 720p30 (vs 720p60) but the instructors will at times start their dance 15-25 feet from me and then will move within 8 feet of me without warning (in which case I don't get their full bodies in the picture, but that's OK momentarily). I typically have my camera on tripod+dolly and am moving laterally around the circle all the time, although at many moments I can't always back up or move laterally quickly to get more distance because there are people too close to me. I have no control over lighting and it's not always that great (indoor, flourescent, sometimes some bright side windows).

I really want to move into progressive so the Sony Z1U is less desirable to me. And I'm not wild about what I'm reading about the Panasonic.

Any suggestions? Obviously I'll get the camera (tomorrow) and try what I can within the 7 days I have to test it out, although not in combat conditions. But will I have learned enough about how to focus with this camera to be able to make an informed decision? Thanks for any help or suggestions.
I believe you must learn how to focus manually. With HD, focus is critical. I am a little surprised that auto focus does the job well for you, because of it's limitations. No pro cams have auto focus, only prosumer cams have. I have never worked with an auto focus cam, I don't think I could trust it.

I am sure you will do just fine, you need to practice, that's all.

Carl
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Old June 20th, 2006, 08:58 AM   #4
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I'm sorry, but we are talking about the JVC HD100U, right? I just got mine last week, and it not only does have AutoFocus, but Auto Iris, and even FullAuto.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 09:04 AM   #5
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Please ignore my previous post. I never tried it in auto anything, I just plunged into full manual mode. It does have auto iris though...
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Old June 20th, 2006, 09:07 AM   #6
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Hello all,
I have this camera and it does not have auto focus. It has auto zoom. If there is an auto focus on this camera, please let me know where the button is. It does have focus assist, but that's not the same thing.
However, I'm fairly new to this (or any) manual video camera, and have only shot about 10 hours worth of video with it, and I think I've started to get used to the manual focus. It takes time, but I think it's worth it in the end. It's more fun, and like a manual transmission car, it's second nature after a while.
Enjoy the manual fun.
Mike.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 09:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricia Lamm
I ordered my HD100 and haven't received it yet, but the buyer's remorse is already setting in. Not because of the price but because of the lack of autofocus.
Patricia. The lack of autofocus is a desired feature for a professional camera. It 's a Good Thing(tm) and one that you'll get to appreciate in a short time.
Autofocus removes the operator from the driving seat and is highly unpredictable. What I mean with this is that the AF can "hunt" for a subject and decide to focus the wrong object.
See this post by Tim http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....92&postcount=6

Basically, set the aperture at f4.0, go wide and set the focus at 8 feet. You should have pretty much everything in focus and not to worry except for small adjustments. Based on your previous experiences you can also run some very simple tests and mark the lens for the spots where the instructor usually comes closer to you. Practice moving the focus ring to the mark. You'll find out that it's easier that it seems and it's way faster than any AF system.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 09:32 AM   #8
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Many thanks for the reassurance and, especially, the tips for focusing in this situation, Paolo! Now i just have to put in some time practicing and hope that I can pick up the needed skills quickly.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 09:50 AM   #9
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Patricia- I have to agree, this is a great cam. It is also "a huge leap into a different pond" TM. I have had mine a week, and am blown away by the improvement in images. Sure, it is a little difficult to keep focus, but can learn that. Play away, and enjoy. It is a good thing!

Crap... now I owe Paolo 4 cents...
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Old June 20th, 2006, 11:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricia Lamm
Not because of the price but because of the lack of autofocus.
I've used all four little HD cameras. The autofocus on them is very close to worthless. By contrast, the HD-100 is fast to focus manually. You've got the easiest run and gun camera of this bunch - that's why I chose it. If you try the HD-100 and then try something else you'll SPRINT back to your JVC.

Just take a couple days to PRACTICE focusing fast.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #11
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The JVC by far has the best Focus Assist on the cameras and it is critical for HD work. I hate Auto-Focus personally.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 02:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Steve Benner
The JVC by far has the best Focus Assist on the cameras and it is critical for HD work. I hate Auto-Focus personally.
Right! I completely forgot to mention the FA. I started playing with Peaking too and I find it very valuable for verifying the focus. These two tools make focusing much simpler.
BTW, Patricia, when you get the camera spend the necessary time to set the backfocus as explained in the manual. Also, check the backfocus each time you move the camera. Failing to do that might result in "soft" images. Backfocus problems are hard to spot using the display or the viewfinder but they will "hit" you in post. This is true of all HD cameras, not just the HD100.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 02:43 PM   #13
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Focusing 1/3" chips is a piece of cake. I've seen high school students who've never touched a camera in their lives manage to handle focusing very well even at full tele and a wide-open iris. It's really not a big deal, and you'll soon come to appreciate the benefits of full control over the plane of focus.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 04:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
Also, check the backfocus each time you move the camera. Failing to do that might result in "soft" images.
each time u move the camera? I thot we need to check only when switching lenses - is it not true?
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Old June 20th, 2006, 04:33 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ram Ganesh
each time u move the camera? I thot we need to check only when switching lenses - is it not true?
Every time you move it. I don't mean lifting it by the handle and move it a couple of feet away to a new setup. You put it in the bag, drive somewhere for a wedding/video/etc, take it out, set it up, check the back focus.
You'll be glad you did it.
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