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Old August 2nd, 2006, 05:41 PM   #1
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How good are: autofocus, image stabilizer

How accurate is the autofocus and how effective is the image stabilizer of this camera? Compared to the Sony stuff like the PD170 or Z1u, that is.

If manual focus is the way to go with the HVX200, how easy is it to use? Is the viewfinder good enough to allow for good manual focus?
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 08:42 PM   #2
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These are provably the worst two thing this camera has. Focusing is as bad as the XL1 was if not worst. The viewfinder and the screen are useless for focusing.
If you have the time you can zoom in and focus but in most situations I don't have that luxury.
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 08:50 PM   #3
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about 2 years ago i bought my xl1-s, and three days later i recorded a ethnic dance company, as soon the curtain was open the auto focus was on the hunt.....i had read here, but "overlooked" the hunt issue.
since then i have not used that option anymore.

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Old August 2nd, 2006, 09:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds
How accurate is the autofocus and how effective is the image stabilizer of this camera? Compared to the Sony stuff like the PD170 or Z1u, that is.

If manual focus is the way to go with the HVX200, how easy is it to use? Is the viewfinder good enough to allow for good manual focus?
IMO, there's virtually no reason to use the autofocus... at wider focal lengths, almost everything is in focus... at tele..well, almost everything is in focus! (wince)... not quite true, but the DOF on these short lenses is more of a problem than being out of focus. With either the focus assist feature or a servo-disabled snap zoom to check focus, it's easy to tell what you're doing. Without that, it's tough, but not substantially different than any of the 1/3" handhelds.

The stabilizer is quite effective, though --like all of them-- it needs to be used selectively. If you're doing a slow pan, for example, the beginning and the end of the pan can be strangely Jell-O-like (motion, not image clarity) as the OIS tries to stabilize out the motion.

I haven't used the OIS on HD footage yet to look for artifacts. In standard def I'm not aware of any.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 02:49 AM   #5
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Autofocus on the XL-1 was awful. Much better on the newer cameras. I'm not sure about the XL-2 but certainly HVX is much better.
None of the auto-focus systems works that well in progressive modes though.

Best thing about focus on the HVX are the footage readouts in the viewfinder. Those are incredibly helpful, though I do find them confusing when in auto-focus and I haven't resolved that issue yet.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 05:09 AM   #6
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The OIS on the HVX200 is OK, most of the time.

I was shooting a special event for a catering company one evening and was getting a closeup of a bartender doing a few finishing touches to a drink. Even though nothing was moving, I noticed the image took a slight hop upward and thought it was me.

Then it happened again.

Somehow the combination of bright and dark areas in the shot made the OIS slew the image with the false impression the camera was moving. Not to say that I'm the steadiest shooter around, but perhaps since I was very stable at the time it might be one of those things where stabilization is often detrimental to a mounted camera.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 06:33 AM   #7
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I would rate the autofocus as average; in comparison the Sony Z1 was much better at autofocusing.

However the image stabilization or OIS is quite nice. I've actually shot helicopter footage using just the OIS with very acceptable results. The trick is similar to using a gyro-stabilizer: let the helicopter make the panning and other motion, keep the camera steady in your hands.

For general use I'd say the OIS is better than the Z1's stabilizer and about the same as the XL2's IS.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 02:23 PM   #8
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Slightly off-topic: Regarding helicopter photography, I knew a pilot here in Hawaii, Irwin Malzman, who used to shoot pictures while also flying the helicopter.

He was able to hold the "cyclic" control between his knees and operate the camera with one hand.

If you thought working a Steadicam was a challenge....!
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Old August 4th, 2006, 12:52 AM   #9
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No way on God's green earth the HVX is CLOSE to as good as the XL2 OIS. Are you comparing 20X to 13X? Even then it is not close in my book. I would rate the OIS on the HVX at the bottom of all cameras in this class.... AutoFocus sucks on everything =o)




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Old August 4th, 2006, 09:39 AM   #10
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I mis-spoke - the IS I used was on an XL1, not XL2. There was an upgrade to the IS when the XL2 was announced, so you're probably right. The HVX might not be as good as the XL2.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 09:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Villalba
Focusing is as bad as the XL1 was if not worst.
Is this in progressive mode only, or is it awful even in something like 480i?
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Old August 9th, 2006, 09:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard Levy
Best thing about focus on the HVX are the footage readouts in the viewfinder. Those are incredibly helpful, though I do find them confusing when in auto-focus and I haven't resolved that issue yet.
Do you mean that the viewfinder gives you a constant reading as to where your focus is set? In other words, 5 feet, 30 feet, etc? Is it always onscreen? That would be incredibly cool.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #13
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Yes, the HVX can display the focus distance in feet or meters. The OIS during a slow pan can be iffy. It helps in handheld shots - works awesome with the DVrigPRO. Auto focus is great in 60i/p sucks in anything else. I shoot 99% of the time with manual focus and I have rarely missed a focus mark. Sometimes the large depth of field helps :)
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