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Old September 11th, 2006, 06:52 AM   #1
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Manual zooming.

Since very recently acquiring the GY HD100 I've tried as best to stear clear from any auto controls - I relied on these on basic mini dv cams in the best and they could be very unreliable at best.
My manual focus skills are certainly coming along to the point where it is almost second nature - same applies with the slow pans; zoom however is a different kettle of fish. I considered myself having a 'very steady hand' but I must admit to finding the zoom handling a little erratic at best!
Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
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Old September 11th, 2006, 07:34 AM   #2
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I too stay away from the auto features most of the time. However it's hard to beat the zoom motor built in to the lens. With the short handle on this lens, I can't do a smooth zoom. I leave the zoom in manual when using to zoom to move up to focus and then set the focal length I want or to compose the shot, but I go to the motor zoom anytime the shot will actually include a zoom. Likewise, I use the auto levels on the audio when there is not time to set up the sound ahead of time.
Good topic, how do others use the auto features?
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Old September 11th, 2006, 07:51 AM   #3
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Always use the zoom motor unless you want a crash zoom or a jerky effect - for control without a motor you need a long zoom lever fitted to the lens. However, the mechanics of these cheap lenses won't really be up to doing smooth moves manually.

The zoom motor not an auto feature, all professional cameras use them, either built into a video style lens or as a separate zoom motor in the case of cine style lenses. Good zoom motors will have a means of controlling the zooming speed, so you have control, not the camera.

You can also get fluid dampening zoom controls that work in the same way as fluid tripod heads for use on the cine style lenses.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 09:03 AM   #4
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Thanks folks - I won't feel bad or if I'm cheating using the motor zoom now!
The tripod I'm using has really good fluid movement and I was adjusting to using the manual focus...I felt as though I had shortcomings when it came to the zoom - this is a relief!
If I were to use the wide angle lense (hardly likely at the moment considering the cost) then would I still be best off using the motor zoom?
I'll mostly be using a seperate short gun mic anyhow if motor noise was much of an issue with this camera?
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Old September 11th, 2006, 09:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Scattergood
If I were to use the wide angle lense (hardly likely at the moment considering the cost) then would I still be best off using the motor zoom?
The servo on the 13x3.5 is even better. It doesn't have a fast top speed like some other ENG lens I've used in the past, but it can crawl so slow that you can barely see the movement in the frame.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #6
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I don't expect to be using a wide angle for some time unfortunately :(

Saying that I've been more than impressed with the wide shot footage using the stock lense as shown on these boards.
But for a super fast zoom (which corporates often seem to like) I can get away with a quick turn of the zoom lever.
The slow is pretty handy on the standard lens - I find pressing more towards the centre of the zoom button helps - I also use an elastic band for pans on the tripod - ultra smooth and it 'melts' into a stop.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 02:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale
The zoom motor not an auto feature, all professional cameras use them,
Not quite true, a lot of studio-style lenses used on live sports productions (with huge zoom ratios and tele capabilities) use a manual "crank-style" zoom control since a lot of camera operators prefer shooting sports that way. It's a lot easier to do a smooth crawl with a crank than on an ENG style lens though.

The servos on some of these ENG lenses are way too slow for sports, but I still end up using the servo anyway since the grip doesn't provide a convenient way to do manual zoom and still keep a hand on the focus control.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 02:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen
Not quite true, a lot of studio-style lenses used on live sports productions (with huge zoom ratios and tele capabilities) use a manual "crank-style" zoom control since a lot of camera operators prefer shooting sports that way. It's a lot easier to do a smooth crawl with a crank than on an ENG style lens though.

The servos on some of these ENG lenses are way too slow for sports, but I still end up using the servo anyway since the grip doesn't provide a convenient way to do manual zoom and still keep a hand on the focus control.
I've never seen one on a studio style lens, the ones I've seen all have a servo control system controlled from the remote on the pan handle. I'm not sure how it would work given the size of those large zoom lenses (usually encased) and the cameras often have the monitor type viewfinders, so the operator stands at the back. The focus control is usually operated by a second remote (this is a wheel/crank), so you operate with one hand on the remote zoom control mounted on the pan handle/bar and the other on focus control.

The studio lenses tend to have much better servo controls than the ENG lenses and can creep beautifully. Some found on the old 1970's studio cameras would put a modern ENG zoom motor to shame.

I'm not saying you don't have the method you mention doesn't happen, but I've never seen it on any outside broadcast units in the UK.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 04:04 PM   #9
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You still run the camera from the back, the zoom crank attaches to the pan handle and connects to the lens through the same kind of cable as a focus control. If you look at a lens with a servo zoom on it, look underneath where the focus cable comes in, the servo for the zoom is right next to it. You can detach the servo and put in a module for a manual zoom in its place.

You can see a few zoom cranks in this accessories catalog from Fujinon. In the upper-left labelled "F," and in any of the other diagrams of "manual zoom" lenses.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 05:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen
You still run the camera from the back, the zoom crank attaches to the pan handle and connects to the lens through the same kind of cable as a focus control. If you look at a lens with a servo zoom on it, look underneath where the focus cable comes in, the servo for the zoom is right next to it. You can detach the servo and put in a module for a manual zoom in its place.

You can see a few zoom cranks in this accessories catalog from Fujinon. In the upper-left labelled "F," and in any of the other diagrams of "manual zoom" lenses.
Thanks for that, I'm surprised that they'd prefer to use a manual crank over a servo zoom.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 06:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale
Thanks for that, I'm surprised that they'd prefer to use a manual crank over a servo zoom.
It's crazy sometimes, some of the camera ops complain extremely loudly about how "Whoever bought this **** doesn't know how a camera should be set up for sports" whenever they have to shoot out of a truck that has servo lenses on its hard cams. I've seen a guy borrow a manual zoom kit from another truck and gaff tape the servo control to the side of the camera so he could still access controls for intercom, extender and returns.

As far as I can tell it's just about having more of a feel for how much your zoom is moving when you move it, kind of being more connected with it. Imagine if someone asked you to run a camera with servo focus, you wouldn't have that feel of how much you're actually racking the focus anymore. I ran servos for 5 years before I ever touched a camera with a manual zoom, so I can really do either, but a lot of guys are the opposite and they like what they're used to. I suppose I would be the same way if I came across a camera with a servo focus.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #12
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I'm used to manual control on film cameras (fluid drive) and servo zooms. The only zoom crank I've used is the one to be found on the old Angenieux 16mm zooms and I wasn't really taken by it.

The servo focus on the studio cameras can have a lag when you're making quick adjustments and it can start to hunt compared to directly adjusting the lens.

My concern about these manual systems as described in your link would be the twisting you can get in cables, although I assume there are pretty beefy control cables being used.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 06:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale
Thanks for that, I'm surprised that they'd prefer to use a manual crank over a servo zoom.
A nice slow zoom on an interview subject, give me servo. Action, sports, uncertain interview conditions I'll take the manual zoom. Ring, crank, whatever.

Now if JVC could put the focal distance in the viewfinder, I'll be set.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 07:17 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by William Hohauser
A nice slow zoom on an interview subject, give me servo. Action, sports, uncertain interview conditions I'll take the manual zoom. Ring, crank, whatever.

Now if JVC could put the focal distance in the viewfinder, I'll be set.
I usually set the zoom speed pot so that you can crash zoom in and also get a good slow speed crawl on the zoom control. On video, I save the manual for effects shots.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 08:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser
A nice slow zoom on an interview subject, give me servo. Action, sports, uncertain interview conditions I'll take the manual zoom. Ring, crank, whatever.
When you're running it handheld how do you use the zoom ring? I tried shooting hockey using manual zoom on the ring (since the lens' servo was incredibly slow) but focusing and zooming with the same hand was a huge pain. Is there a way to work the right hand in there somewhere? Preferably on the zoom, since I'm used to focusing with my left hand.

I'll usually just crank the zoom speed pot all the way up. My fingers/thumb are sensitive enough on the rocker switch that I can manage it, and the higher end lenses with super-fast servos are smart enough to curve the response of the rocker switch so you can still do slow crawls.

Quote:
My concern about these manual systems as described in your link would be the twisting you can get in cables, although I assume there are pretty beefy control cables being used.
I dunno if it's the cable or the mechanism in the lens, but it's all really smooth, a lot more than an ENG lens. It's like the cables have ball bearings in them or something, you can pull off some very graceful moves. Really the only limitation is the camera operator, I've seen very jerky zooms and very clean zooms from the same camera, just a different person running it. It's the circular motion you have to make with your hand that's really the most trouble to get used to.
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