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Old April 27th, 2004, 03:04 PM   #1
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New toy - lanc controller

UPS just dropped off a lanc controller for me to play with. It is the Sony RM-VD1 and I'll be trying it out on my GL2 this week. There are a lot of lanc controllers out there and I agree with Kennelmaster Chris' assessment (from a different thread) that it would be useful to have reviews and perhaps a table of functions available on the main part of the site.

What's so special about this remote?
1) It's cheap (list $49.99, B&H $39.99)
2) It's small and can clip most anywhere
3) Did I mention it was cheap?
4) It will also work with some still cameras.

It only has one zoom speed (the slowest) and no control for focus. It has buttons for stop/start (video and photo) and a power on/off switch.

Not an ideal solution, but you pay a lot for a Stealth zoom. If you just wished you had zoom and video start controls on your tripod handle this might be the device to look at.

I'll post more once I've played with it.
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Old April 28th, 2004, 04:29 PM   #2
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YOu might try one of the Sony tripods with variable speed zoom and just discard the tripod. They too are very cheap. I bought the 870( I think!!) and use the handle on my Bogen. The handle has full variable zoom, start stop, standby and photo button. The handle was a little thinner than the clamo on the Bogen but a used hard rubber tube that I had to act as spacer.

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Old April 28th, 2004, 04:47 PM   #3
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Sorry to disagree, Ron, but I bought one of the Sony tripod/zoom combos a few years ago, and found it to be of very poor quality. I don't mean to knock your purchase, but I want folks out there to know there is another opinion of this product, and not a good one. I still have the dog, as I can't bring myself to foist it on an unsuspecting buyer.

Wayne
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Old April 29th, 2004, 09:09 AM   #4
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Wayne. I agree the tripods/heads are rubbish but the controllers work as good as any I have tested and work perfectly with Sony cameras. Take the control handle off and throw away the tripod. I have two of them both attached to Bogen tripods with Bogen heads. I have had these for about 5 years with no problems. I guess it depends what you want. If you want to preselect the zoom speed they won't do that. But if you want full variable speed by thumb pressure, start stop and put camera into standby, they will do that quite successfully depending on the camera you are using. My intent was also to compare to the Rm-VD1 which I think is more useful for the Sony still cameras and I imagine a sub set of the Sony tripod unit.
These are worth a try at a fraction the cost of a Varizoom or Bogen LANC unit. IF you don't like it then it can be used as a simple start stop LANC control for a second camera.
Sony made a very low cost unit with simple start stop control and single speed zoom, so I hope you are talking about the variable speed units not the unit with single speed control that was a very different unit.

Ron
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Old April 29th, 2004, 02:38 PM   #5
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What's wrong with Canon's own LANC controller? (ZR-1000)
It's not that expensive and has all the main features that you could possibly need - variable and preset zoom speeds, focus, record, rec search.
It clamps very nicely on the pan bar of my Manfrotto 503 head and has been a real boon for filming sports items.

Robin.
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Old April 29th, 2004, 03:06 PM   #6
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Right On Robin!! . . I use it all the time when on "legs" . . . I don't think - IMHO - it gets enough of a look in either . . can't answer . . here'sthe Brit price:- http://www.askdirect.co.uk/search/Canon_ZR1000.html

Grazie
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Old April 29th, 2004, 03:34 PM   #7
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OT

Grazie, did you buy the 2 filters today?

I will have a play at the weekend, looking forward to using both the ND and polariser filters.
Nice to see you again, keep filming ;-D
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Old April 29th, 2004, 04:24 PM   #8
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For starters, the Canon remote costs $135 more. True, you get more features, it all depends on which features you need versus the money.

Waiting for it to quit raining to give the Sony a try.
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Old April 29th, 2004, 05:51 PM   #9
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OK, I've played with the remote indoors with a GL1.

All you need to do is set the camera in camera mode and move the switch from the lock to the stand-by position. The remote can then toggle the camera on and off with a switch.

The remote itself has a zoom rocker and two buttons. One button starts/stops the video and the other button (photo) does nothing when on the GL1 (which is good so you can't trigger it by mistake).

The zoom has two speeds. If partially depressed it runs at a nice slow speed. Depressed fully and zooms much more quickly (this will be nice for locating a bird then zooming in).

The size of the remote is 1.5" x 0.75" by 0.75" thick. With the attached clip it works out to be 1.5" x 1.5".
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Old May 4th, 2004, 12:19 PM   #10
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I had a chance to go spend part of the day in the field with the lanc controller today. All I can say is, why did I wait so long for a controller, any controller, to use on the tripod?!? It makes things SO much easier.

For the money I don't think you can beat this little Sony controller. Sure, if I had my druthers I wish the contoller zoomed in faster but the zoom speed in general is quite nice, especially out. The only reason I want a faster zoom is that I am normally using a tele-converter and zoomed all the way in for small birds. This can make finding the bird (or the Virginia Rail I was filming yesterday) difficult so I like to zoom partially out and then zoom back in for composition.

Two times I inadvertantly started filming because the video start button is right delow the zoom rocker. This is really just a learning issue not a design issue. I also don't know how well it will work with gloves on.

It would also be nice if I could program the second button (photo) to be focus A/M. Plus, the remote does NOT work with the Digital Rebel :-(

I realize I could easily get all that I want by spending the money on the Varizoom Stealth (about the same size) or with the Canon remote. However, for $40, this remote is still a great deal. It will make filming (videoing for purists) from the tripod so much easier!
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Old May 4th, 2004, 12:44 PM   #11
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Jeff, I hear you. Yes, there are sturdier, fuller-functioned, better-engineered controllers on the market. But the fact is that many people really do not need something completely bomb-proof, as they do not shoot as often or as hard as working pro's shoot. So just having the basic start/stop/zoom adjustment functionality serves 90% of their needs and makes a big difference in their enjoyment.

So enjoy!
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Old May 4th, 2004, 01:38 PM   #12
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Now I'm intrigued by this little thing. A lot of the shooting I do is for local bands in clubs and my tripod has to normally be like 7 feet in the air to get over everyones heads, meaning my arm has to be up in the air all night long to operate the zoom! Get's pretty tired and sore usually after the first set.

I have a bogen tripod, do you think this thing would clip to the handle of the tripod and stay put pretty well (so I could use thumb control), or is this more of a hand held controller?
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Old May 4th, 2004, 03:28 PM   #13
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The largest part of the controller is actually the spring-loaded clip that you use to clamp to the tripod handle (I, too, have a Bogen). So, it really is more of a tripod oriented control than a hand-held control (though it will so that fine as well). It also has a long cable (I can measure if you'd like).
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Old May 5th, 2004, 01:52 PM   #14
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Thanks for the info, I'm sure the cable is long enough, I wouldn't need more than 2-3 feet for what I do, and from the pictures I've seen it looks more like a 6 foot or longer cable which would be plenty.
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Old May 8th, 2004, 06:34 AM   #15
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I am wondering if there is any way to extend the cable say a hundred fifty feet or more for a wedding? And where do you order such a controller? I have a wedding comming up. Thanks for any info.
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