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Old July 14th, 2010, 11:29 AM   #1
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Auto Focus

Are there any prosumer models that have auto focus?
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Old July 14th, 2010, 12:49 PM   #2
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Prosumer models of what?
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Old July 14th, 2010, 01:10 PM   #3
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The term "prosumer" means different things to different people. For me, it has always suggested a camera that tries to address the needs of both enthusiasts and the b-camera needs of serious professionals. The first true prosumer DIGITAL video camera, in my humble opinion, was the Sony VX-1000. What set it apart from a true "PRO" camera at the time was things like : auto focus on a permanently attached lens, no XLR inputs, no separate gain and iris controls etc. that one would reasonably expect on a "pro" camera.

A LOT has changed in the past 12 years but in my HUMBLE opinion, I would suggest that any camera that HAS auto focus is very likely consumer, prosumer or higher. So your question, in my mind, speaks to one of the very fundamental distinctions of "prosumer" in that ALL prosumer cameras should have auto focus (and of course, I acknowledge that some true pro cameras do as well - the Sony EX1 and EX3 are the first examples that jump out at me, even though they don't meet the traditional definition of broadcast FORM FACTOR, they are certainly EXCELLENT and professional in all regards)
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Old July 14th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #4
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Cameras like the AH A1 HD models. Lower priced.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 01:52 PM   #5
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Practically every video camera that falls within the "prosumer" or "consumer" levels will have auto focus, including the Canon XH-A1s (Canon XH-A1s 3CCD HDV Camcorder 3238B001 - B&H Photo Video) that I assume you're referring to.


(and +1 to Shaun for the detailed explanation!)
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Old July 14th, 2010, 10:35 PM   #6
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As has been pointed out, almost every camera without a full-manual lens will likely have an auto focus feature, including the current crop of "prosumer" HD cameras. However, particularly in the case of HD, auto focus should never be used for other than "run & gun" type shooting -- even slightly out-of-focus can ruin HD shots. That's why most of the better HD cameras have some kind of focusing aid (or several), which are used in the manual mode, and are considered mandatory.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 02:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
I would suggest that any camera that HAS auto focus is very likely consumer, prosumer or higher. So your question, in my mind, speaks to one of the very fundamental distinctions of "prosumer" in that ALL prosumer cameras should have auto focus (and of course, I acknowledge that some true pro cameras do as well - the Sony EX1 and EX3 are the first examples that jump out at me, even though they don't meet the traditional definition of broadcast FORM FACTOR, they are certainly EXCELLENT and professional in all regards)
An exception being the JVC GY HD cameras, which have no auto focus.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
An exception being the JVC GY HD cameras, which have no auto focus.
And herein lies the complication: The GY-HD cameras are certainly PRICED pretty much right in the centre of some of the cameras we are discussing as prosumer AND use HDV which is also sort of a hallmark of prosumer HD quality; the completely manual lens AND the more traditional switchgear of these cameras makes them sort of an "odd man out". And it should be noted I own two for EXACTLY these reasons so I'm not the most unbiased of commentators here.

The GY-HD series was marketed as a budget minded pro camera for pros and isn't ideal for consumers looking for better quality or more options. I sort of saw these cameras much the same as Sony used to qualify their Betacam line: the BVW series were "Broadcast" cameras (2/3" SELECT CCDs on the cameras and all the "trimmings" on the VTRs)) while the UVW/PVW/DXC series were "Professional" or "Industrial" (1/2" or 2/3" on the cameras like the UVW100 or BXC537 dockable and lacking high end features on the decks). I've always seen the GY-HD line as a middle ground or "professional/industrial" offering and not as a prosumer line or a broadcast line, even though they HAVE appeared in broadcast (mine have, albeit downconverted to SD in post).

I return to my original comment: "prosumer" means different things to different people and the "line" (if there ever truly was one) has become increasingly blurred over the years as the quality of more inexpensive cameras has increased AND the reluctance to use a camera that wasn't a Sony shoulder cam has decreased.
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