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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old January 7th, 2008, 09:17 AM   #1
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Auto Focus on Z1

Wondering if anyone can help me. Recently my Z1ís auto focus has been acting erratic. Every so often it goes out of focus for a few seconds. I was filming an interview the other day. The camera was locked down on a MCU of a person. About a minute in it started to go out of focus? The person wasnít moving so im not sure whats wrong. Has anyone else had this problem?? Should I just reset it to the factory settings?? Cheers.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #2
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I don't own a Z1 but I was just curious why you would be on auto focus & not manually focused for such a static shot to begin with.

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Old January 7th, 2008, 01:35 PM   #3
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Hi Dennis,

I would simply do a quick test of your autofocus on something else. I find the autofocus of my Z1 is not as good as a PD150, for example, and sometimes will hunt a bit. It's especially bad on low contrast, low light, or backlit subjects.

That aside, you would be better off using manual focus, anyway. For sure in an interview setting as Bill notes.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 05:49 PM   #4
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well it was a short interview at a wedding, we normally leave it on autofocus as your always on the move when shooting weddings...

I did a test on it after the wedding and i think something is wrong as it keeps happening??
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Old January 7th, 2008, 07:05 PM   #5
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Hi Dennis,

If you actually think there is something wrong, I guess you would have to have it looked at. Hopefully it's under warranty...

Good luck.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 11:49 PM   #6
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The Z1 (FX1 in my case) autofocus lets me down all the time. As another poster has mentioned, low light can can cause it to hunt like crazy. Bright backgrounds are also often a problem. If your subject has dark skin, and the background is even somewhat bright, you're in big trouble. I only use the autofocus on this camera in a real emergency.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 06:32 AM   #7
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If you are a lazy near-sighted wretch like me whose close-up vision is now also shot due to ageing, camcorder autofocus is a godsend when used sparingly and sensibly.

My personal preference is to compose my shot, then go in close with the zoom to frame only the subject, set autofocus on the nose whiskers or sneering top lip or cute top lip whichever is present, switch back to manual to lock it off, then back off the zoom to the original framing.
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Old January 11th, 2008, 02:03 PM   #8
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Unfortunately autofocus can be fooled by many things - some camcorders handle it better than others. I find that autofocus only works for me in the manner described by Bob above, in emergency situations, when filming an event. In all other situations manual focus gives much better results.
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