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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 April 6th, 2006, 06:10 PM   #1
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A1 slow zoom problem fixed?

I just got my A1 a few days ago and I was playing with the zoom rocker to see how slow of a zoom I could get. Most people reported around 10 seconds. I can very easily achieve 10 seconds. However, with a little more practice, I was able to achieve 20 seconds, then 25 second, and now I'm at 30-35 seconds. The zoom is very, very slow, but clearly continous. I did not zoom a little and release pressure on the rocker so that it stopped zooming. The zoom was continous for the entire 30 seconds. It requires an extremely light touch and maybe small fingers.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 10:36 AM   #2
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aha! I kinda always thought the 10secs may have been due to the *extremely* small pressure required to achieve a v slow zoom.

Either that, or Sony have changed the firmware due to general awareness of this problem. If you could give the approximate serial number of your new A1 Alex that would be great. I'm assuming it's an NTSC model due to your location.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 05:53 PM   #3
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My serial number is S01-1112446-5, and yup, NTSC (it's an A1U). I'm not sure what you mean by your 10 seconds comment. I was able to achieve around 30 seconds. 10 seconds is extremely easy to achieve for me, 30 seconds takes delicate pressure and a pretty steady finger that doesn't twitch at all for those 30 seconds.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 06:47 PM   #4
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Hi Alex
Sorry if it was unclear - the 10second comment means that most previous reports of the slowest-possible end-to-end (full wide to full tele or vice versa) continuous zoom achievable was reported to be around 10seconds.

One or two people had said they could get around 22 or 24secs, but this was very much the minority.
Consequently it's great to hear that you have got a 30secs+ slow zoom and indicates either that Sony have slowed it down maybe on the latest models or that it was always like that but just requires more finesse than the majority of people had been applying.

thanks for the report!

cheers
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Old April 7th, 2006, 06:56 PM   #5
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I see. I didn't know a couple people had achieved 20 or so seconds, I had always heard around 10 seconds as the slowest people could achieve without using a Lanc controller or other means. But yeah, I'm glad at least my camera doesn't have a zoom problem, although it does have red problems (which apparently some people don't have).
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Old April 8th, 2006, 11:22 AM   #6
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One way to get around the zoom problem is to go into shot transition mode on the menu.
Now, as if by magic if you can achieve a really nice slow zoom.
I think in this mode the steady-shot is disabled and perhaps some conflict between the steady shot and zoom speed is the reason that the zoom is so fast in the first place.
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Old April 8th, 2006, 07:22 PM   #7
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Yup, people have mentioned that trick before. However, what I was trying to say was that without having to do any special tricks, I was able to achieve around 30 seconds just using the rocker normally.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #8
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Strange - it seems now after a few more days, I am unable to get the slow zoom anymore, and it has gone back to 10 seconds. I notice a considerable speed up of the zoom. I will keep trying, maybe I just lost the delicate touch I had before (it was very difficult when I did manage to get 20-30+ seconds), and let you know.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 11:55 PM   #9
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Even if you could get 20-30 sec slow zoom with an ultra-super-duper-light touch, it wouldn't matter as it would be impossible to do achieve this in the middle of filming something. I recommend using a lanc controller if zooming is really an issue for you.

I have recently purchased the Varizoom Stealth and I am loving it. I believe that every HC1/A1 owner should get one. It really revolutionized my experiences with my A1. It's only when you go back to smooth zooming that you realize how important it really is. By the way, with the Varizoom, I can get 26 sec zoom easily.

I hear that the Sony lanc controller also gets you 20+ sec zooms and it is a lot cheaper than the Varizoom.
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Old April 10th, 2006, 01:54 AM   #10
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Yes, while LANC controller are a convenient tool, that wasn't the point of this post. The point was to say that it was possible to get a much slower zoom without additional items such as a LANC controller, and because so many people complained about a lack of a slow zoom. This has, at least for me, proved to be false for at least a certain time period. Now, I am unable to achieve the slow zoom as I have before, but the fact nonetheless remains: it was possible to achieve a 20-30+ second zoom. Why I'm not able to do it now, I don't know, maybe because I am not touching the rocker as lightly as before, or maybe another reason.

As far as Varizoom controllers go, I wouldn't recommend the Stealth for at least one reason: it has a strange "rocker" if you can even call it that. I much prefer the Varizoom Rock version, as those are much easier to use, but that's a personal opinion. Also, I've heard that many of the functions of the more complicated Varizoom controllers don't work with the A1.

On top of all this, the compact Varizoom controllers such as the Stealth and Rock don't have much control over the speed of the zoom. Yes, they have variable zoom, but that is pressure controlled. I would rather have a speed dial or speed limiter as found on the 2005 Zoe controllers or the bigger Varizoom models.

Lastly, while this may be a petty grievance, the Varizoom compact models I have looked at such as the Stealth and Rock, look very unprofessional to me. They have a shiny, I believe ABS plastic housing, that makes it look and feel like some sort of cheap toy, despite their high price. The Varizoom Rock Limited Edition, which is the same as the Rock, has a silver/grey aluminum housing, which makes it look a little less toy like, but still, in my opinion, pretty toyish. Shrug. This has nothing to do with the functionality of these controllers, but I just was very disappointed in how they looked.

The 2005 Zoe controller is the one I'm really looking into, but it is extremely expensive, and in fact, I'm not even sure where to buy it. The compact Varizooms, because of their many setbacks, I am not even really considering.

One possible problem I'm thinking about though is how to attach a LANC controller to the Spiderbrace 2 and still have the rocker on the controller work intuitively. It seems that if you attach it to the Spiderbrace, the controller would either be upside down, facing outside (reversed, so the controls would be facing the subject you are shooting rather than towards the camera operator), or at least facing the side. All these positions seem awkward to utilize the controller to me. Has this been a problem for people, and if so, how do you alleviate the problem?

I'm debating if I really need a LANC controller at this point though. Although at first, I had trouble starting/stopping recording while maintaining a steady grip on the Spiderbrace 2, I have a found a way to resolve that problem. Simply press start rec and take a few seconds to set up the shot. Sure, you get a few seconds of unwanted footage, but that can easily be trimmed in post. I haven't had much need to zoom, and the times I have, I found that using the rocker on the camera itself produced decent enough zooms, even if I have to take one hand off the Spiderbrace. Of course, it'd be more convenient with a LANC controller, but is it worth the money? I'll have to think long and hard about that.
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Old April 11th, 2006, 12:31 PM   #11
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Alex

I too am interested in zoom controllers and am looking at the Bebob Zoe controller.
They have 2 distributors in the UK. Here's the link for one of them below.

Price is GBP151 for the Zoe DVL model in the UK which will work with all Sony cams.
I think you may have looked at the prices for the other Zoe models for other camcorders.

http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/publi...=bebob_zoe-dvl

EDIT: sorry i just realised you're in NYC!
OK here's link for USA distributor (you prob already have it):
http://www.16x9inc.com/cgibin/eDatCa...alogno=ZOE-DVL
Zoe DVL is on a promo but it's still USD320. I guess as it's German-made, the export costs make the price (for once !) more expensive in the USA than in Europe.
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Old April 11th, 2006, 03:10 PM   #12
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Thanks, Stu. Yeah, I knew it was around $320 for US, which is almost double the price of the basic Varizoom Stealth. That kills me. And still a good $40-70+ more than the Varizoom Rock (or LE).

If someone can confirm that the push auto focus feature on the Zoe 2005 works with the Sony HVR-A1U though, that might make my decision. I know the Manfrotto's push auto focus feature works, but that for other LANC controllers, it doesn't work with the A1. But I'm really liking the max speed wheel on the Zoe, even if it's oriented in an awkward horizontal rather than vertical position.

Also, could anyone explain to me how to attach a controller to the Spiderbrace 2 so that it would allow for easy operation? Any way I think about it, I can't figure out how to mount it so that the rocker and buttons won't be backwards, sideways, or upside down.
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Old April 11th, 2006, 04:25 PM   #13
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By the way, is it possible to buy from the UK site and have them ship it to the United States, while still paying the lower UK price (151.58 GBP including VAT, which is about $264.17 USD)?
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Old April 12th, 2006, 10:58 AM   #14
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I'd go to the creativevideo.co.uk site and click the 'contact us' link at top right and call them or email them to see if they ship internationally.

Sometimes buying internationally, the savings can be wiped out by the shipping costs, or the import duty costs.

Or try going to the www.bebob.de site (manufactuer) and seeing if you can order internationally from them. They have a price list on that site and the Zoe DVL is priced at 189Euros = about USD228. Don't know if there's any tax on top of this but check it out. They might well simply insist you order via their distributor in USA, but worth a try.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 11:38 AM   #15
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Lan C and Tripod Remote in Grip

Is there a way to make the Sony VCT-60AV Tripod with Remote in Grip work with the Sony HVR-A1U 1/3" Professional HDV Camcorder I need to convert the 10pin D plug on the tripod to a standard Lanc 2.5mm plug.
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