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Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant
The 4K DVX200 plus previous Panasonic Pro Line cams: DVX100A, DVC60, DVC30.


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Old August 30th, 2003, 09:34 AM   #1
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Who on EARTH would buy a zoom controller for a DVX?

Hey kids... before I got the dvx I had to rely on a trv900 and I desperately wanted a zoom controller for it but couldn't decide on one... by the time I was ready to buy, I did the math and figured I could sell the trv900 and get a dvx. So I did.

Well a little time has passed and now I've got that zoom controller bug again... the problem is that ALL the zoom controllers available for the dvx ONLY do zoom and rec start/stop... NO FOCUS!!! Can ya' believe it? Who pays $300-$400 for the ONE off-cam control of zooming? Don't get me wrong, a smooth zoom is a great thing, but the dvx ALREADY has that top mounted zoom rocker that can be set at a pretty slow speed... I do wish that speed was slower, but I'm not paying $300 for a slightly slower crawl then the one Panny already so generously provided...

Sorry to vent, but I fully expected that once all three (Zoe, VZ, Manfrotto) controllers were available that ONE of 'em would have had focus control... which on this cam is AT LEAST as valuable as off-cam zoom control. If you're getting a PAN-ARM zoom controller then that establishes that you're already using a tripod and obviously all these companies would say that to zoom and focus you already must "handle" your cam... so as best I can tell you shouldn't be causing bumpy camera motion even using the on-cam zoom (either rocker) since you're on 3 legs already. The WEALTH of features on the Sony/Canon zoom/focus controllers makes them indispensable. Zoom control only isn't exactly a wealth of features.

On the dvx NOT ONLY do you have a top mount settable zoom rocker in addition to the pretty decent one on the side, but you ALSO have a rear mounted IR receiver so you can use the FREE remote control for zooming and rec start/stop.

If you cracked your piggy for one of these and you feel it was a good deal then fire up a reply and put me in my place! I only posted this because I really want a zoom/FOCUS controller for the dvx but I can't see any reason to get a zoom only controller when we already have a top mount fixed zoom.
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Old August 30th, 2003, 09:41 AM   #2
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It's not the controller manufacturer's fault. Panasonic didn't provide remote focus control ability. So no zoom controller will be able to control focus, like they can on cameras with LANC jacks.

Focus can only be controlled remotely on this camera in the same way it's done on pro video cameras and film cameras: by using an external motor and a geared focus ring. Varizoom's working up such a system, but don't expect it to be cheap.

This is definitely one shortcoming that Panasonic should have addressed.
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Old August 30th, 2003, 09:58 AM   #3
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Yeah Barry... don't read me wrong. I'm not dissing the focus controller companies. It's just that in the case of this cam I'm having a hard time seeing the point.

If a dvx vz-rock was around $200 (because of the limited functions) then I'd definitely buy one... OR if I had a pd150 I'd HAPPILY pay the $300 for any of 'em... but when I read the hype on the Manfrotto 522p I didn't realize that when it finally came out it would be basically the same as all the rest as far as the dvx is concerned. Zoom and rec start/stop ONLY.

I'm venting at the circumstance rather then Panny or the zoom companies. It's a bummer that as far as I'm concerned, the emporer has no clothes. This is one accessory that I'm going to have to pass on.
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Old August 30th, 2003, 12:51 PM   #4
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Matt:

I may be missing the point here, but I'm just wondering if your right hand is busying zooming, what is your left hand doing that it couldn't be focusing right on the barrel (or with that nifty Century follow focus)? I'm not even sure how you would operate a zoom and focus control simultaneously with one hand, which is also operating pan and tilt.

The standard "EFP" setup has the operator leaning over the eyepiece, with the right hand on the pan handle and an external zoom control (zoom and start/stop only), while the left hand focuses. The "studio" setup adds a separate focus control as well as an additional pan arm on the left side of the tripod, which must be able to support such a thing; and you need an external monitor on top of the camera since you are now standing upright and behind the camera. This is the preferred operating style of our man Chris Hurd!
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Old August 30th, 2003, 02:36 PM   #5
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I guess you're right Charles. I just think that the limited function of the dvx zoom controllers should have translated to a lower price, when in fact they're the highest of the prosumer cam controllers.

Unfortunately I don't think I can afford the follow focus just yet... maybe later.

You make a good point that it would be really hard to focus and zoom with one hand. I guess I was just thinking about the times when I have pretty good control over DOF and I like to jump back and forth between focal points. Times like that it would be nice to not have to touch the cam.

Zoom, frame, focus, change focus, crawl out, frame, focus... all one handed. If this was one continuous shot then it would look amature as heck, but if you know you're going to be cutting it up editing then the multi-functions that the other zoom controllers have would be nice.

Considering the new 522p (manfrotto) is $365 I thought it might do a little more then zoom and rec start/stop.
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Old August 30th, 2003, 03:09 PM   #6
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You can make your own for $10 or so:

http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/remote/
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Old August 30th, 2003, 07:13 PM   #7
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A remote zoom controller would be very useful when the camera is mounted on a crane, or a car mount, or on a steadicam or steadytracker or glidecam-type device, or in some other place where you can't easily push the buttons.

A remote focus controller would be very handy indeed, but it could be argued that it's less important than zoom control because of the camera's extremely wide lens and great light sensitivity -- you usually have a lot of depth of field, so nailing precise focus may be a bit less of a concern. But it's a glaring oversight for Panasonic to not have included the ability to remotely control focus.

Finally, there is the possibility for remote focus when mounted to a professional jib arm (such as a Jimmy Jib): those jib arms have focus control with motors and gears, and Century is making a ring that goes over the DVX's focus ring which will provide industry-standard tooth pitch so that the jib's motor could mesh with the focus gear and control it.
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Old August 30th, 2003, 10:22 PM   #8
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Decent price controller

Here is a link to a reasonible priced controller for the DVX. I was thinking about picking one up, but have not yet.

http://www.studio1productions.com/dvx100.htm

Does anyone have any experience with the ProZoom controller?

Some of the features look very cool. I especially like the one touch option for zooming in at one speed and out another.

Heck, for $150 it sure looks like a deal. It is not as "Pro" looking as some of the more expensive units, but it has some features the others lack.

Thoughts?
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Old August 31st, 2003, 03:32 AM   #9
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Geez...... just reach around and focus with the barrel. I mean you are standing right there. Zoom all the way in, focus, then zoom out with the controler :-)

Reffering to the title of this post - having zoom on a handle is very usful for when panning and zooming at the same time. Almost impossible to do both smoothly with out one. Just did a wedding this weekend and it sucked because I didn't have one. I only panned.

but anyway, my 2 cents.
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Old August 31st, 2003, 07:49 AM   #10
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Yeah, you're right Mark. In truth I had to give this little rant a provocative title so you guys would respond.

I'll end up with a controller eventually anyway... I was just frustrated to see that all DVX users can get from any companies zoom controller is zoom/rec start/rec stop...

Here's some text directly from Manfrotto's site which led me to believe that they were going to deliver a zoom control that somehow did MORE then everyone else's... BTW they say the MSRP on this is around $520... ha... here's the text:

Built into a video head pan bar that attaches to any Manfrotto video head, the 522P Remote Control puts all of the essential commands of the Panasonic AG-DVX100 at the userís fingertips, while simultaneously providing them with greater control over framing and camera movement by allowing them to keep their hand on the pan bar at all times.

LOL.... "ALL" the essential commands? On a camera that does a million things I wouldn't call zooming "all the essential commands". That's the only reason I started this thread... I knew about this controller months ago and also that it would be the highest priced in this class, but on all the Manfrotto sites there wasn't any info on exactly what the features were. Now 3 months later it's out and low and behold, it's pretty much like everybody elses.

Sorry if the title of this post bugged anybody... I just wanted you guys to reply.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 12:11 PM   #11
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I was planning on buying a zoom controller for the DVX100, but I'm still confused about which is the best. Who owns a Manfrotto 522P? Has anyone actually played with the VZ-Rock-DVX:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=277447&is=REG

Does it even exist as a shipping product? I like the ergonomics better than the Stealth. Also, would a rep from Varizoom explain to me how their zoom controllers will integrate with their focus controller, if and when that product is released for the DVX100/80.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 12:44 PM   #12
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Is this the focus remote control for the DVX100?!

Look at this webpage, almost at the bottom, you'll find the message that focus control for DVX100 is being developed:
http://www.varizoom.com/controllers/stealthdvx.php

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Old December 31st, 2003, 01:23 PM   #13
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Yes, Peter. That's the Varizoom unit (which I have). I believe that Zoe (Bebob) also makes a controller for the DVX.

I admit to being a bit surprised that Panasonic does not use the LANC control protocol and that external controllers for their cameras are so consequentially limited.

However, I must also admit that lack of focus control on this unit has really not cramped me severely. I do wish that there was a good remote focus control rig (i.e. focus pull) for less than the Chrosziel prices. Perhaps the upcoming Varizoom unit will fill the bill.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 04:26 PM   #14
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I see that Varizoom controller for the JVC 300 is now available and has iris control as well as zoom and focus!!!

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Old December 31st, 2003, 04:59 PM   #15
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well if you were doing something like a crane and you couldn't physically reach the focus barrel you could always use the remote!

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