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Old October 20th, 2006, 11:14 AM   #1
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Zoom rocker sensitivity

Anyone know why my $400 Sony handycam has a more sensitive zoom than my HVX200?

I can actually do slower, more subtle zooms with the Sony and its puny zoom controller. I've tried it many times and the HVX doesn't "ease" into the zoom. Had this problem with the DVX too and found it pretty frustrating.... curious how anyone dealt with this.
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Old October 20th, 2006, 11:38 AM   #2
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. .. because it was a Sony. . .
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Old October 20th, 2006, 12:44 PM   #3
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I don't know if this would be it, or make a difference, but I am aware that on some (most? all?) of the Sony Prosumer cams, the zoom is 100% controlled electronically, there is no actual manual control over the linkage, even if you turn the ring to zoom, whereas the Panasonic's is manual or servo controlled, so you can do a true manual zoom w/ the ring.
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Old October 20th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #4
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Jason, this is not even a prosumer, this is straight-up Handycam consumer camcorder from Best Buy for taping my kids & stuff. Great for what it is though.

I seem to remember the 20x zoom lens on the Canon XL1s being very sensitive as well. Wonder what the actual difference is with the HVX/DVX zooms...
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Old October 20th, 2006, 02:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Curtis
. .. because it was a Sony. . .
Meaning...
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Old October 20th, 2006, 02:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Hill
I can actually do slower, more subtle zooms with the Sony and its puny zoom controller. I've tried it many times and the HVX doesn't "ease" into the zoom. Had this problem with the DVX too and found it pretty frustrating.... curious how anyone dealt with this.
Take the HVX off servo and zoom manually.
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Old October 20th, 2006, 04:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Jankis
Take the HVX off servo and zoom manually.
Sam, I appreciate the suggestion, but the results aren't nearly as smooth that way. The manual zoom ring is loosey-goosey, so if I'm shooting, say, an interview and I decide to creep in a little tighter on the subject, I simply can't pull that off by moving the zoom ring with my hand. It would take the steadiest hand in the world to do it as smoothly as a servo...

Really all I want to know is what is the mechanical difference between the Panasonic zoom and others (as it relates to this). Appreciate any knowledge if it's out there...
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Old October 20th, 2006, 06:58 PM   #8
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Manual zooming (rack/zip zoom) is an art form to be mastered then cherished !
Servo zoom is for ?
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Old October 20th, 2006, 09:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Burton
Manual zooming (rack/zip zoom) is an art form to be mastered then cherished !
Servo zoom is for ?
I'm talking slow and steady Matt, a completely different type of effect than a snap zoom. So slow that you can barely see it.

Try that, manually, on an HVX- it won't be smooth. Unless you're Steve Austin and have a bionic arm.
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Old October 20th, 2006, 09:36 PM   #10
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Ben,

I too have been disappointed with the lack of a ultra-slow creep zoom or, the ability to pull into a zoom very slowly. I noticed this when I first purchased the Rock PZFI controller from Varizoom; I thought the external controller was to blame. After discussions with the Varizoom engineers it turns out Panny just didn't design the zoom servo controller very well hence, we're stuck with it's lackluster performance in servo mode.

There is only one - and very expensive option - for getting repeatable and smooth ultra-slow zooms out of the HVX and that is to purchase one of the several manual zoom controls from either Zacuto, Century Optics etc. With those controls you can, with practice, get glass smooth manual zooms and ultra slow crawl-type zooms with ease.

The hope is that if Panny makes an "A" version of the HVX (as they did with the DVX) that both the autofocus and zoom controllers will be updated with better versions.
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Old October 20th, 2006, 10:44 PM   #11
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How expensive are those expensive options and how do they work?
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Old October 20th, 2006, 10:46 PM   #12
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Thanks Robert, and you're right the autofocus and zoom are the 2 things that really bug me (i.e., that I expected better performance on). Otherwise the camera is a great tool.

Out of curiosity, where can I see one of these expensive zoom controls you're talking about?
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Old October 21st, 2006, 02:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Hill
Sam, I appreciate the suggestion, but the results aren't nearly as smooth that way. The manual zoom ring is loosey-goosey
The only other thing I can think of is putting a follow focus on the zoom ring.
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Old October 21st, 2006, 09:53 AM   #14
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Talk to Jens @ Zacuto; I don't see it on their website but he mentioned a version of their follow-focus setup that could be used for zooming instead. The caveat, is that because of how this rig it setup you'd either only have this manual zoom setup or, follow-focus, but not both. There's not enough room to have both focus and zoom rings setup for external manual controls.

I don't remember the follow-focus pricing, but if you dont' already have the Zacuto baseplate system then your'e talking about $2k to get the entire rig setup. Not very cost effective if all you're after is better zooming.

For now, I'm just living with the zoom as-is. I've considered a super-long zoom knob/stick to mount on the zoom ring to give more finesse in manual, but it's still not going to match servo smoothness.

I just hope the Panny engineers are working on an "A" version of the HVX will better autofocus and servo zoom controllers.
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Old October 21st, 2006, 02:00 PM   #15
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You're absolutely right Robert, no substitute for servo smoothness, and this is a huge shortcoming when comparing the HVX200 to ENG cameras with mechanical lenses. I'll live with it too...for the time being.
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