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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old August 25th, 2009, 02:50 PM   #1
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Follow Focus - HVR-A1

Hey, I have been extremely annoyed at the focus ring on my A1. Every time you move it the amount it moves the focus changes so you can't put tape down and mark it or anything. Has anyone come up with any sort of way to get around it, also has anyone tried putting a gear and follow focus onto it with any luck? Let me know if anyone has any ideas, pictures, tips for focusing.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 03:26 PM   #2
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Hey I agree it's truly annoying. No tips really, but a couple of times when a precise pull is needed I have resorted to using the shot transitions - takes a bit longer but at least you know where you are.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 05:25 AM   #3
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This used to be a problem with zoom lenses on still cameras too. Change the zoom and you lose the focus. The Sony A1 seems particularly bad, especially if you try to zoom too fast, and in poor light.

The best solution I've found is to use a lanc controller, something like the bebob zoe where you can change the speed of zoom and focussing to give you more control. The lanc is also useful if, like me, you are prone to hitting the on-off button when you mean to just hit the record button. Of course, this really only works on a tripod or other mount.

For anything handheld, I now try to stop and think of the best way of approaching it so I don't have to touch that ring or zoom at all. That means relying heavily on autofocus. As my eyes won't focus properly on the screen (and the larger battery gets in the way of using the viewfinder) that's what I have to do most of the time. In poor light, the focussing hunts a lot, so it's really only practical in good light - and it does work successfully on animals moving slowly towards me in good light. But in those circumstances I mainly use my Canon A1.

I use the Sony A1 mainly for infra-red, so I'm working in poor light. Therefore I use a tripod, and (when possible) an external screen for checking (manual) focus.

It's really a case of learning the limitations of your equipment, and finding ways to work around them. Nothing is perfect.
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Old October 20th, 2009, 12:44 AM   #4
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That's a great suggestion! I am definitely going to invest in a LANC controller. Is this the one you have?

Bebob Engineering | Bebob Zoe-dvxl Universal Zoom | BE-ZOE-DVXL
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Old October 20th, 2009, 01:56 AM   #5
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Yep, that looks like it. I also used to have a cheaper one that used rocker switches to control zoom and focussing. It was easier to use if you didn't want to touch the tripod at all, or had the camera on a beanbag (for low-level shooting), but there was no control on the speed of focussing or zoom. When it died, I got the Bebob, and find I sometimes hit the on-off switch instead of the record switch - the same as I do when hand-holding the Sony A1. It's just something to be aware of. If you can get to a shop and try out one or more lancs, then you're more likely to get something that suits.
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