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Old April 21st, 2005, 11:42 AM   #1
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Libec ZC-3DV

Anyone got anything good to say about this remote ? Lanc and Panny friendly !

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=361366&is=REG

Thinking of purchasing for company.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 03:14 PM   #2
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Also curious. Awaiting a review.

I've seen this controller priced as low as $135. I wouldn't need a controller very often in my work, but it would be very convenient in certain situations -- high shots, for example, when the tripod head is elevated above my head.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 03:30 PM   #3
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I'm all about supporting DVinfo's sponsors (just got a goodie box yesterday from B&H), but I'm sorely tempted to try this one at one-tenth the cost. Lanc -1
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Old May 26th, 2005, 02:29 AM   #4
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oh well.

its pretty easy to DIY a remote control for the DVX. which I did. but I need a robust pro one for better control on my magiqcam rig, I guess.
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Old June 29th, 2005, 12:30 PM   #5
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ZC-3DV on it's way

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Wong
Anyone got anything good to say about this remote ? Lanc and Panny friendly !

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=361366&is=REG

Thinking of purchasing for company.
Mine's arriving today. For $99.95 at B&H, I had to give it a try. I'm shooting a wedding Friday. Can't wait to hook it up to my DVC80 tonight. I have no Lan-C camcorder to try it with, however, so my upcoming review will not cover that side of things.
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Old June 29th, 2005, 01:39 PM   #6
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Looking forward to your feedback on that remote, Tim!
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Old June 30th, 2005, 12:54 AM   #7
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yes, its about time. Please do tell us what you think.

in the meanwhile, had advised my company to fork out for a bogen/manfrotto 522/A and that's working well, except big fingers will inevitalbe to punch unless buttons like 'fader'' / 'photo' while on sports shoots.

I want this libec for my own DVX and magiqcam rig ;)
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Old July 3rd, 2005, 12:40 PM   #8
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Review, Part I

Let's start with the manual. Horrendous. It's obviously a poor translation to English from something else, but I was still able to make sense of it. Installation is simple. Mount on tripod, attach the supplied 2.5mm stereo cable, select P. or Lanc with the side-mounted Mode switch, and power on the camera. Easy enough.

I was impressed with the compact size (just like I imagined) and the ease with which the unit attaches to a tripod's pan bar. A very secure fit, and a pretty natural feel. I advise against overtightening the retaining block on the pan bar. The plastic cover over the screw feels like it could be damaged easily. I am always tempted to overtighten things, but doing so is unnecessary with the ZC-3DV. GIve the platic dial a few turns and then nudge the controller unit; if it doesn't move, it won't go anywhere and doesn't require further tightening.

Record/Pause functionality was flawless. The Rec/Pause button design is smart and practical. It sits flush againsts the top surface of the controller to avoid accidentally egaging it with your thumb. When you press the button, it responds with a gentle click, so tactile feedback is effective but not distracting or audible.

Zoom functionality with my Panasonic DVC80, however, left much to be desired. I noticed within the first 60 seconds of use that zooming out (rocking the switch to the left) required more travel in the rocker switch than zooming in. In orther words, there's more "play" in the rocker switch -- too much, in my opinion -- when zooming out. The swtich is quicker to respond when rocking right (zooming in), which leads me to believe the rocker switch wasn't properly calibrated when it shipped from the assembly line. Seems like this would be an easy fix for users, but this adjustment is not accessible to the end user. This was not a major problem, but it took a few minutes of practice to get used to when trying to achieve a slow, crawling zoom from tight to wide shot. I assumed the play in the rocker switch was inherent in the design and figured for $100 I could live with it just fine. To the unit's credit, it provided easy access to the full range of servo zoom speeds built into the DVC80. The farther you rocked the thumb switch from the center, the faster the camera would zoom.

Here's where things get ugly. Within my second hour of use -- while shooting over the officiant's shoulder during a paid wedding shoot -- the ZC-3DV began "misfiring" and telling the camera to zoom in. Shocked, I quickly responded by rocking my thumb to the left (wide), but each time I reframed my shot, the zoom controller fought back and tried zooming all the way in. After three or four quick rounds of this, the unit behaved once again. What's disturbing is that when I checked my connection to the camera by reseating the cable into the camera's REMOTE jack, the camera went berserk again with an extreme telephoto shot. Thank goodness for cutaways! Unfortunately, I experienced further misfiring during the toasts, after which I removed the ZC-3DV and tossed it in my camera case. This kind of behavior in a zoom controller is unacceptable.

After Friday's wedding, I'm left wondering if the problem is with the Libec zoom controller or my camera. I've never had a device plugged into the REMOTE jack on my DVC80, and the jack has never been exposed to dust because I've left the molded cover over it since day 1. I am exchanging the Libec this week for another one under the assumption that I purchased a "lemon," a rare defective controller. The customer service rep from B&H suggested that I contact the manufacturer if the replacement unit gives me the same problem. I've already e-mailed Libec-USA with the details. We'll see what shakes out in Part II of this review.

T.J.
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Old July 4th, 2005, 11:35 AM   #9
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Wow.

Thank you so much Tim , for a frank review of the controller. I guess if that was a lemon, noone could actually tell it , even if they went out to a shop and tested it with their camera for a couple of hours ?

Will be awaiting your sequel to the story diligently.

(p.s. I haven't got time to go down to test it for myself, since I'm pre-occupied with work , which are on the Sony PDs and Z1. I'm losing touch with my own DVX.... argh. )
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Old July 5th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #10
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Swift Libec response!

Libec's service department seemed puzzled and asked if I had the Mode switch set to Lanc instead of P. I had already shipped the package back by the time I head from Libec this morning. The gentleman, Mr. Miller, recommended having B&H exchange it and asked me to contact him and let him know the outcome.

I didn't expect to hear from Libec so fast -- within 48 hours over a holiday weekend is impressive! I'm hoping I just got a bad connector cable or something simple, because the unit really seems well made. If my replacement controller has the same problem, I'll upgrade to a thicker, better insulated connector cable. If the problem persists, I'll know my camera is messed up.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 03:35 AM   #11
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Tim, (or any other ZC-DV3 users...)

What is that socket in the side of teh controller (next to the mode switch) for? is that a alternate output connector (to allow the cable to plug in the side instead of the front?) or is that for chaining to other accesories (liek a focus controller?)


*EDIT: Found a picture online claiming that the side jack is a 2nd output connector, so that you have a choice where to connect the cable. But confirmation of this would still be nice :-)
This alone makes this soudsn liek an awsome controller (Steadicam ops will understand the problem of the cable hiting the gimble..) I really hope the one you had was a lemon and that they are normally ok!

- Mikko

Last edited by Mikko Wilson; July 6th, 2005 at 03:53 AM.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 11:05 AM   #12
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side socket

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Wilson
What is that socket in the side of teh controller (next to the mode switch) for?
- Mikko
Users can plug the 2.5mm controller cable into either a front-mounted or side-mounted jack, which can help with cable control. I prefer the front jack with the cable wrapped around the tripod's pan bar a few times. It's not a very long cable (18 inches, I think), but it's long enough to get in the way -- but that all depends on the height of your tripod head and how down the pan bar you choose to mount the controller unit.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 04:32 AM   #13
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Hmmm...

So I guess it's a safe choice of a controller then...

Nice.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 10:25 AM   #14
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Libec ZC-3DV Review, Part 2

Replacement unit from B&H arrived last Monday, the day I left for a short vacation. They replaced the funky first unit promptly. Kudos to B&H! The new unit's rocker switch seems better calibrated than the first, as there is now equal play in the switch in both the W and T directions. I also notice a small brass allen screw on the bottom of the thumb rocker; this MIGHT be for calibrating the neutral or zero position of the rocker, but because there's no information about calibration in the manual, I'm leaving it alone. Calibration on this new controller is fine anyway.

In over two hours of testing the new unit, there were no misfires from the controller to the DVC80. I watched the two 63-minute tapes I ran through the DVC80 connected to the Libec, and the framing of my shots never changed. I'm a happy camper!

What I have not done yet, as far as testing for real-world application, is connect the ZC-3DV to the camcorder while already turned on. I'm going to contact Libec first, as their instruction manual says to turn on the camera only AFTER connecting the controller. This doesn't help a videographer who, in order to maintain audio sync between multiple cameras, must switch from handheld to tripod shooting while the camera is recording. I'll report back here after I hear from Mr. Miller at Libec USA. Considering this is a $100 zoom controller, I'm willing to work around this limitation, if it even exists.
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Old July 25th, 2005, 09:29 AM   #15
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I heard from Panasonic and Libec about this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Borek
What I have not done yet, as far as testing for real-world application, is connect the ZC-3DV to the camcorder while already turned on. I'm going to contact Libec first, as their instruction manual says to turn on the camera only AFTER connecting the controller. I'll report back here after I hear from Libec USA.
Panasonic says they're not familiar with the ZC-3DV controller and recommends following Libec's instruction manual.

Libec told me "it shouldn't be a problem." I'll find out later today, if anyone cares.
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