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Old March 31st, 2012, 11:23 PM   #1
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130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

Hi All

My mate in the UK Chris Hewitt emailed me this morning and mentioned that while using AutoFocus having "Face Detect" turned on helps the auto focus lock onto people especially where you have a wedding situation and a tight shot on the happy couple!

Anyone else have Face Detect turned on, apart from Chris?? On my HMC80's I used to keep FaceDetect turned off but if it assists in stopping the camera hunting and drifting off focus then I'm all for it??

Do you have yours on or off on your 160 or 130????

Chris
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Old April 6th, 2012, 12:52 PM   #2
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re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

Do you have a ag ac 130 or 160 Chris? I was planning to buy a 130 this year but I read a lot of bad comment about a hunting autofocus, even in well lit situations, is it really that bad?

When I can I use manual focus but in many run and gun situations I have no other options then to rely on the autofocus as with my current xh-a1 I cannot judge focus accurately on wide shots on its low res lcd screen. (I never zoom in when in autofocus)

Autofocus on the xh-a1 however is very good when doing wide shots, never hunts unless its very dark and I use it in all run and gun situations. The stories I read about the 130 about the autofocus got me worried a bit.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 01:21 PM   #3
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Re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

Be careful - if it's anything like the GH1 then it can get confused - if your main subject turns away slightly it will find another face to focus on - not good during the ceremony.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 07:23 PM   #4
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Re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

Hi Paul

That was my first concern!! Just testing it at home, that's exactly what happens!!! It loses a face the moment you get a side on profile which is hopeless for weddings..On my old HMC82's I always had face detect turned off and these will get turned off too!! Thanks for giving me the heads up with your GH1's

Hi Noa, I have AC-130's but the autofocus is the same as the 160....the auto only is an issue with big zooms..at full wide it works much the same and I have had no issues at all...however zoom in a decent amount in autofocus and you can quite easily lose focus!! What I do is on any big zoom, is flip to manual and then use the push-auto button to set focus..that way it doesn't try to hunt!! Yeah, it is a small disadvantage (I think the lens is just too big for the autofocus to handle) but it's totally outweighed by the awesome resolution and IQ of the camera....the picture just blows you away if you are used to a XH-A1 .... !! You will be fine at wide angle..I do all my Realty shoots in auto without any issues either ...At weddings I ONLY zoom one camera onto the couple and then snap that into manual...same with the speeches...the other cam stays wide and in auto too!!! You will LOVE the AC-130 but if you are going to handhold look at my shoulder mount mods I have for mine..they work very well!! Posts are here !!

Chris
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Old April 7th, 2012, 02:34 AM   #5
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Re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

thx Chris for your reply, if the autofocus doesn't hunt when the lens is wide then I"m ok with it. That the 130 will be a upgrade to my xh-a1 I'm sure but I still like the image that comes out of it. the camera produces more resolution then my dslr's (side by side it clearly notices) and yet my weddingclients prefer the look of the softer dslr, go figure.
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Old April 7th, 2012, 02:46 AM   #6
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Re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

Hi Noa

The bottom line is that we tend to get over-technical with exposure, resolution etc etc while the bride simply wants a movie so she can see how pretty she looks and how great the bridal party was...remember that 90% of a movie is the storyline! Women especially are following the ceremony word for word and are not thinking "hmmm the image is a bit soft" or "I would have used a different angle" ..all they want to do is follow the day's events!!

I have had horrific wedding where exposure was a nightmare and I battled thru the entire ceremony which changing backlighting and the end result (sadly) wasn't my proudest work!!! However the audio was good and the bride went nuts over the video .... again...go figure!!!

Yeah I shoot all my handheld stuff at weddings full wide with autoiris and autofocus and never an issue...once the cam is on the tripod, just switch to manual and use the push to focus button to nail the focus and leave it there and it's perfect!!

Chris
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Old April 7th, 2012, 09:57 AM   #7
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Re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

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the bride simply wants a movie so she can see how pretty she looks and how great the bridal party was
Agree, but last year I received 2 comments from brides that made me decide to sell my xh-a1 and that was regarding the grain this camera produces when it gets too dark and that can already be a bit darker church. Often I have no option then to push to 6 db (which is actually not that much) but the grain is just painfully visible, especially compared to my dslr's. 2 Brides noticed this last year as well and gave a negative comment about it, not a pleasant experience. Even a Sony xr520 I also use produces much better footage in these circumstances. I just need a camera with the same formfactor as my xh-a1 and the same functionality (not a fan of touchscreen controlls) but one that will give me a clean picture at 12db gain.
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Old April 7th, 2012, 07:44 PM   #8
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Re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

Hi Noa

The 130/160 wouldn't even have to use gain...in most Churches I'm sitting at F4 or F5.6 with this camera whereas my older machines in Churches were always Open Iris plus a bit of gain!!

Even at +12db the picture is remarkably free of noise!!! and that is really, really dark environments I doubt whether you would ever get a Church where the 130 would need gain!!

Chris
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Old April 10th, 2012, 10:15 AM   #9
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Re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
however zoom in a decent amount in autofocus and you can quite easily lose focus!!
I saw that there is allready quite a discussion going on about the autofocus issue, must say that the video examples that are shown there that demonstrates problem looked quite bad, there was even one sample filmed during the day where the autofocus was hunting!

Never saw it that bad and I would never shoot with this camera in automode for sure, I do understand that the focus aids are quite good with this camera if you are in manual?
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Old April 12th, 2012, 07:52 PM   #10
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Re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

Hi Noa

The AF only seems to not really hunt but it tends to move to another focal point after a while BUT only on BIG zooms!! The simple solution is to just flip the switch to manual focus and push the "push auto" button which nails the focus and keeps it there!!! It wide it does a perfect job...it only struggles and cannot make up it's mind on big zooms done quickly!!

Yes the focus aids are really great...just switch in focus assist and the object/person that the camera is currently focussed on is given a bright red leading edge. It's probably more accurate than the older focus assist which used to only just magnify the centre of the image so make focus easier..this actually tells you where the camera is focussed.

The AF is extremely quick at full wide..I do Realty shoots and have to quickly record inside houses and can spin around filming any defects in a room ceiling and everything still stays sharp!!!

Chris
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Old April 13th, 2012, 01:51 AM   #11
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Re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

It was this one that got me worried: Panasonic Autofocus Hunt Issue Illustrated - YouTube
That was in broad daylight and the camera seemed to be fooled by that blue canvas, there are several other example video's that you can find on youtube and most are in more dim situations where the camera totally seem to loose track of what it is seeing.
This reminds me a bit of the sony xr520 I"m have been using as well, when used as a second camera in the church I always lock the focus as the camera will loose focus completely if its not bright enough, even at full wide.

But as long as the focus assist is good enough I would feel more confident in going full manual most of the time in run and gun. The longer you work with a camera, the better you know when or when not to use auto modes. I think I know my xh-a1 very well by now to know when it will do a better job then me when focussing, especially with it's lousy lcd screen you often have no other choice then to trust your camera, only when I know the camera will not handle focussing right (and that I know by experience) I use manual. That focus loss in the youtube example I showed above is the worst that could happen at a critical moment and can make you look like a amateur, since that guy was on a fixed spot he should have zoomed in and lock focus and then he could have zoomed in and out without ever loosing focus, but it's good that he didn't so we got to see a good example about some of the camera limitations :)

Thx Chris to answer my questions about this camera, hope you won't mind me asking some more in the future if I decide to buy it.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 02:45 AM   #12
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Re: 130/160 Face Detect helps Focus?

Hi Noah

By all means ask away!!! That's how we discover information and share it too!!

I have a contact in the UK too with a PAL model and he seems pretty happy with it and is still also discovering how things work as the Panny manual isn't very good at all. There are things you need to find out for yourself and if something has been figured out and shared you learn all that faster.

Chris
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