Problems with StealthZoom on a DSR-250 at DVinfo.net

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Old July 9th, 2003, 06:05 PM   #1
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Problems with StealthZoom on a DSR-250

I purchased a StealthZoom by VariZoom for my DSR-250 but I am not getting good results. The only reason I purchased it was because I tested a StealthZoom on a TRV-900 which seemed to have produced some good results and I thought the performance would be the same on the DSR-250.

I sent the unit in for repair and some problems went away, but I still cannot get a slow or smooth zoom out of it. I can get a better zoom from the rocker on the lens itself, so I doubt the camera is the problem.

In fairness, I am used to studio quality zoom controlls so perhaps I am expecting too much. But all the hype about VariZoom leaves me to expect better performance than the zoom rocker on the lens itself.

Anyone have a different experience than I with the StealthZoom on a DSR-250?
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Old July 9th, 2003, 07:47 PM   #2
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You will never get a better zoom than the camera provides. At least in the PD150, the zoom start and stop is abrupt. If you can get a no-bump start as you would get in a pro camera and the zoom control won't give it to you, then it would seem to be either defective or inappropriate for that camera.

A call to Sony phone support should get you the answer about what is possible with the camera. Then you can decide on the zoom control.
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Old July 10th, 2003, 01:51 PM   #3
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At the editor's request I've just tested the VariZoom Stealth and Rock for Computer Video magazine. My conclusions are harsh but amount to this: If the units cost 1/4 of the price they're being sold at, I know of not one persomn I recommend them to.

Here's a chunk from my conclusions.
Both the controllers exhibit two disturbing failings. The first is much more noticeable on the TRV900 than it is on the VX2000 and that is that in crash zoom mode the zoom speed isnít constant. Slower zooms are fine though, and as a check all zooms performed using the cameraís own rocker were fine as well. Although no fault of the controllers, both of them started the zooms off too quickly for out liking Ė as if you started you car from rest and were immediately doing 10mph. Using the manual zoom ring on the VX2000 gave us imperceptible starts to the zoom that could gradually ramp up to speed, much more visually appealing.

The biggest failing of both controllers is their propensity to start slow zooms by inching forward. The zooms progress in tiny jerky steps until the controlling lever is pushed with slightly more force, at which point they move into the 10mph mode, the first of the six speeds programmed into the Sony lens. We feel this is quite unacceptable and during a wedding shoot the VZ-R was quickly unplugged. You donít need to spoil more than two zooms to feel you can do a better job using the cameraís own rocker. On both the TRV900s the cameras would often start this slow stepping zoom of their own free will, with no fingers on any buttons.

Ask for your money back Dan.

tom.
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Old July 10th, 2003, 03:58 PM   #4
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Performance Verified

An email from someone at Varizoom told me that the StealthZoom operates in 4 of the 6 speeds, leaving out the fourth and last.

While disappointed, I will still use it for shots where I dissolve to the zoom. I need something to use on the handle of the tripod.

Someone suggested a controller made by Zoe. I will report back if I get one.
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Old July 10th, 2003, 04:12 PM   #5
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Yes, all I've read from respected videographers points to the Zoe and the Manfrotto as being the best zoom controllers you can get.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 10:18 AM   #6
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I guess that saves me the trouble of sending my unit back to Varizoom...

I have the Stealth on a 150 and often it will continue to crawl when I let go of the controller during a zoom in. Inching away... click click click. Not to mention the abrupt starts.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 08:41 PM   #7
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Hmmm, I've been using one for 2 years with no complaints. Twice a week during the school year and almost every weekend for extended periods.

The fast start is an issue with the lens zoom servo system, not with the control.

Wonder if they've change them?
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Old August 30th, 2003, 03:01 PM   #8
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Your VariZoom on the DSR 250 and 150

Dan & Doug,

This is Tom McKay from VariZoom. Dan I am unsure of why you are having the problem you are having but I would very much like to send you a new control and test the one you have in your possesion.

The control you have is not a bad choice for DSR250 but it is not our best control for that camera either.

I would like to send you a PROL and a VZRock so that you can see the difference for yourself.

Doug,

The control you have should start you off in the slowest speed your camera is capable of starting. I am concerned however that your joystick may be damaged because you mentioned the zoom drifting in one direction.

Please call the office at the toll free number below and we will replace both controls immediately.

The Stealth has been a very reliable control for us and quite popular. If there is a problem we want to hear about it and we want to take care of it.

Mike's experience of using the control problem free for years is more what we are accustomed to hearing about.

Please call the toll free number below and talk to Tom Smith or myself. We want our customers to be happy.

Tom McKay

888-826-3399
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