"focus assist" vs HD Field Monitor for Accuracy at DVinfo.net

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Old November 13th, 2006, 08:33 PM   #1
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"focus assist" vs HD Field Monitor for Accuracy

The 110U is my first venture with HD and a manual focus lens, so bear with me. Can I assume if one carefully uses the focus assist function of the camera, that a HD Field Monitor is not necessary to acheive critical focus?

My early use of the focus assist seems to be producing good results, however is there an additional focusing benefit to using a monitor?

( I am returning to the jungle in December and do not want to lug around another gizmo, necessary power to run it, and spend big bucks, unless absolutely necessary.)

thanks in advance for your thoughts,

Jon
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Old November 13th, 2006, 08:40 PM   #2
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Using the peaking and focus in combination, I was able to achieve critical focus pretty easily in my limited time with the HD100.

Try some difficult focus situations (low light) to be sure you are comfortable that you are indeed getting good focus.

If you like the results you're getting, I'd say it's a judgement call, especially if you're going into a situation where less gear to haul is at a premium.

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Old November 14th, 2006, 07:38 AM   #3
 
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IMHO....due to the very deep DOF inherent in 1/3 inch lenses, unless you have enough light or a slow enough shutter speed to force the lens aperture wide open, finding the point of focus is very difficult, regardless of the focusing technique. Zooming in to full zoom heps a bit.
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Old November 14th, 2006, 08:23 AM   #4
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I was shooting across Europe in the summer and much of the work was in the middle of nowhere, trudging along endless fields and forests in rural Russia and there was no way we could have carried around a field monitor and there would have been no one spare to monitor it either! I'm happy to report that most of the footage is in focus. I operated the camera using peaking and the focus assist. However, with a DSR 570 it would all have been in focus. I'm sure of that. A CRT viewfinder would have made a real difference. And that's just comparing SD. Of course, with HD focus is even more critical and I must say that it takes quite a lot of practice before you can achieve reliable focus on the HD100 in a run and gun scenario. It is a total pain in low light.
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Old November 14th, 2006, 08:31 AM   #5
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There's something I do that just helps me aout quite a lot, and rarely do I misfocus a shot in run'n'gun scenarios: Practice (a lot) this exercise... position your self in front of an object...of what kind, doesn't matter... then zoom in, focus and read the distance on the lens scale... do this over and over with objects at various distances from you... eventually you'll be able to look at an object and say pretty accurately what distance it is from you.. then just look at the lens and focus for that distance. At least it works with me...
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Old November 15th, 2006, 04:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon R. Haskell
The 110U is my first venture with HD and a manual focus lens, so bear with me. Can I assume if one carefully uses the focus assist function of the camera, that a HD Field Monitor is not necessary to acheive critical focus?
The answer is no, I'm afraid. Just as Anthony, I rarely have the opportunity to carry a field monitor with me, but you do get the hang of it. using focus assist, a lot of the footage will be in focus. especially in in the wide shots, obviously, with the high dof. (of course using the standard rechnique of zooming in at full tele and selecting focus there with focus assist).

However, I get it wrong from time to time (or is it better to say that the focus assist get's it wrong or has too big of a tolerance :-) ?), so te be absolutely certain of reliable focus there's no substitute for a full res preview. Moreover a monitor at full res will allow you to see where the CA starts to come in, so what focal lengths you cay take the shot at without the CA.

Anyhow, if you open up and see the size of the lcd in the viewfinder, it always makes me wonder... wouldn't it be possible to square up 4 af these small LCD's and have a full res viewfinder? Especially if the housing of that EVF would be in metal rather then plastic, I'd buy one... No matter what cost (maximum 4 times the price of this one, right?) :-)
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Old November 15th, 2006, 12:24 PM   #7
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I don't leave the house without my 23" HD monitor when I shoot. Too much footage out of focus and it just is close to impossible to see it on the little monitor.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 12:27 PM   #8
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many thanks

thanks to all that have responded.I hope experience will help me conquer the beast. I just had a mental picture of a 50' orange retractable tape measure duct tapped to the camera to measure distance.
Maybe I should have bought a Sony ZF something or other with auto focus for this type of work. I guess time will tell...jon
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Old November 15th, 2006, 12:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Duke
I don't leave the house without my 23" HD monitor when I shoot.
What monitor is this? Thanks!

Related, have you (or anyone) tried using a tape measure to focus?

If shooting one-camera film style, will measuring from the lens with a tape be consistent and highly accurate?
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Old November 16th, 2006, 12:35 AM   #10
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focus assist jvc hd100

I actually find this feature of no use in low light, its good with sharp edges, but when your trying to focus on a face, well, theres no sharp edges. Also, I don't believe unless this is fixed with the hd110 and 111 that you can't use the zebras when using focus assist and peaking. And these cameras lcd and evf are useless to figure correct exposure levels, so you live and die so to speak using zebras.
Peaking and zebras how I've personally found the best way of focusing, when every pore of the skin pops you know you've nailed it. But to be fair, so far I've only shot SD with the JVC.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 01:20 AM   #11
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Whats the cheapest and smallest HD monitor around?? best for the jvc of course...
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