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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 April 12th, 2006, 02:26 PM   #16
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Z1 Steadyshot pulse

Hello guys,

I don't know if it's my particular HVR-Z1U, but has anyone ever noticed the following issue:

When the Steadyshot is ON (on any of the 3 settings), there's occasionally a noticeable pulsating slight shift (looks like a slight jerk) of the image while doing a zoom-out while panning left or right. The pulse happens with the frequency of about 2 times per second (even if I do a completely smooth zoom out with panning). It is not consistent, but happens often enough to get annoying. This happens both handheld and on a quality tripod. None of my other Sony cameras with OIS have this sort of behavior. It seems like some false optical motion prediction kicks in at those times.

I sent camera to Sony twice to fix a backfocus issue, while also asking them to look into this Steadyshot pulsating. They replaced the lens assembly the first time (messing up the backfocus even more), finally fixed the backfocus the second time, but after both times the occasional pulse of the image while using Steadyshot and zooming out while panning is still there.

My question is, has anybody else noticed something like that? Or is it just my Z1 camera? I'm sure that if it's only my camera, then I'll have to live with it, in slight pain (because Sony obviously doesn't want to acknowledge the problem). But if it's an issue that affects most Z1's then I will feel much better.

I have some good samples of this behavior, but unfortunately don't have space to host it. I hope I described the issue clearly. Please respond if you have experienced the same problem or if you have any ideas on this subject. As I said, none of my other Sony cameras have such behavior (DCR-VX1000E and DCR-TRV900E).

Thanks.

Ruslan.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 11:41 PM   #17
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Don't forget that you can use image stabilization software on top of the camera's stabilizer. Go to goodervideo.com for a demonstration. Anything but dramatic bumps becomes very smooth.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 02:04 PM   #18
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Anybody?

Thank Marcus for the software suggestion.

However, I wanted to know if any of the people had the same issues with Steadyshot that I did. Since nobody is responding, I don't really know what to think. There's plenty of people on this forum with Z1's and nobody cares to respond whether they have the same issue or they don't. It's a simple yes or know question. Oh well... I guess I'll have to go all the way from South Jersey to B&H in NY just to see if their demo units have the same problem.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 02:09 PM   #19
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Honestly Rusian, I couldn't quite figure out what you were talking about or if it had happened on my Z1 or not. All I can say is that if it has happened then I didn't find it objectionable enough to cause concern. It would be pretty normal for steadyshot to cause a slight jump while panning at certain speeds on a tripod, and all my Sony cameras show this to some degree.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 02:10 PM   #20
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anyway, due to specifications of mpeg2/HDV it is not recommendable to use such camera in situation where the Steadyshot is put under heavy work and particularly on moving pictures like you will probably record from an helicopter.
you could be very disappointed by the result of mpeg2 high compression on unstable camera.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 05:14 PM   #21
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Yeah, but no - but yeah, but, no... but... *

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruslan Odintsov
It's a simple yes or know question.
Yes, I will see occasional stutters if panning my Z1 (in HDV mode, set to HARD) without following a subject. That's exactly what I would expect to happen. Ditto, panning and zooming at the same time. It's not just the Z1, as I found out the hard way. I ruined several shots a couple of years ago by leaving OIS on my PD150 - check out the zoom out of the mini stand (union jack roof of mini):

http://www.mdma.tv/frankfurt03.html

pulsing (watch the spotlights in the ceiling). Mea culpa. Left it on; oopsie. Steadyshot is utterly confused at the conflicting requirements. And no, it's not the web compression, it's very obvious on the original DV file.

More 'nature of the beast' than 'design flaw'? IOW, 'HARD' is there for MPEG2, which needs all the help it can get, but at the cost of a 'no pan, no zoom' diet of shots.

So I guess that makes it No, but yes, but... :-)

* with reference to Vicky Pollard, international spokesperson for Little Britain
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Old April 18th, 2006, 02:34 AM   #22
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I'd hardly called them 'ruined shots' Matt. And I'd be hard pressed to lay the blame on the PD170's OIS, whatever the speed of your pan (zooms are unaffected of course, unlike EIS systems). You talk of Steadyshot getting 'utterly confused' yet the vibrating elements are only responding to camera body movements, and the image on the chips is of no consequence.

As such I can't be with you on your thoughts that MPEG2 needs 'all the help it can get'. The OIS elements couldn't care less what compression is being applied to the digital file further down the line - all they want to do is keep bending the light in equal and opposite measures to the camera movements you're applying.

tom.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 05:12 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
You talk of Steadyshot getting 'utterly confused' yet the vibrating elements are only responding to camera body movements, and the image on the chips is of no consequence.
But a steady shot contains elements that don't move with relation to, say, the edges. If you pan or zoom, the shot isn't 'steady', so the juddering is from the OIS trying to steady a moving shot, running out of adjustment, resetting, and starting over again. I use the 'confused' to anthropomorphise a problem that's clearly due to the operator. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
As such I can't be with you on your thoughts that MPEG2 needs 'all the help it can get'.
If I may elucidate... MPEG2 compression works well with static shots. Pans over a detailed scene (e.g. trees, water) in HDV are the most challenging for the compression system. Therefore, if you have a nominally static shot that will be subject to unitentional wobble (vibration, hand held, etc) the background will not be static, and lean towards the problems with fast pans on detailed scenes - hence a good hard amount of OIS will help stabilise the background and save the compression budget for generating nice pictures.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 05:28 AM   #24
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You elucidate beautifully Matt, and I agree with your MPEG2 thoughts. I had read your post to mean that the digital compression somehow changed the way the SSSS worked.

Of course I'm assuming that the OIS system as used on the Z1 is purely optical, and has no XL1s type 'electronic help'. Sony are getting very good at EIS (see the A1) so it may well be that as the acronym SSSS covers both technologies, so too are the technologies intertwined.

tom.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 06:17 PM   #25
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Thanks guys. At least I'm not the only one who is seeing this issue. Matt, "judder", "confused", "resetting" are very good words that you came up with to describe this pulsating effect.

I feel a bit better now. However, I'm still puzzled as to why hasn't this ever happen on neither one of my DCR-VX1000E's nor DCR-TRV900E, which provide OIS that's just as effective as the one on Z1, but don't have any Steadyshot "resetting" effect while zooming and panning at the same time. So this small, but annoying trouble started with PD150 then?

Boyd, if you have an e-mail address with large storage, I can send you a few seconds DV (or HDV) sample file that best showcases this behavior. Just like you, I'm also shooting a lot of stage shows (not opera, but theatre) from far enough distances to have the need to use Steadyshot. And that's when this "pulse", when it happens, is really getting on my nerves.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 07:49 PM   #26
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Thanks Rusian, but I'll pass on the footage. I use my Z1 on a tripod from over 100' away, and just shot a performance using the Century Optics 1.6x telextender lens. I wondered which steadyshot option would be best, and did a few very unscientific tests which didn't help much. I think I set it for standard.

I notice this "judder" effect when zoomed full in, which would be the 35mm equivalent of 640mm. I think that's the steadyshot's best attempt to steady the image during vibration on the theatre's wood floor, or my own shaky camerawork. I saw the exact same thing with my PDX-10 and a 2x telephoto which would be the 35mm equivalent of 1000mm.

Again, I always just assumed that was the best it could do at an extreme zoom setting. I never noticed it to be associated with zooming however. I don't think my camera needs service, but if you're convinced there's a problem with yours then I guess you'll have to send it back to Sony again.
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Old September 21st, 2006, 04:29 PM   #27
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Pulsating effect (jerky motion)

I have experienced the pulsating effect (jerky motion) that Ruslan described on the first post with my new FX1. I compared my FX1 with another FX1 and finally the people at the service were convinced that my camera was defective and now they will give me a new camera.
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Old September 21st, 2006, 06:47 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruslan Odintsov
Thanks guys. At least I'm not the only one who is seeing this issue. Matt, "judder", "confused", "resetting" are very good words that you came up with to describe this pulsating effect.
Ruslan, one day this summer I had my Z1 focused on a shrine "gate". The camera was stationary on a tripod.
As I looked at the viewfinder I saw the gate begin to sway!
I thought it was an earthquake beginning!!
I SWITCHED OFF the steadishot.......and the swaying stopped.
Maybe it is too simple , and I may be wrong - but if you are using a tripod or other camera support system you MUST switch off the steadishot.
If the steadishot is on and the camera is not unstable the steadishot will try to compensate for motion that is not there. That means it will begin to create its own shudders and jerks...........
I have assigned the steadishot to one of the buttons so I can easily switch to on/off depending on whether I am using a tripod or handheld.
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Old September 22nd, 2006, 12:59 PM   #29
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Look at this handheld stuff that my wife shot on hard while holding the camera by the handle:

http://www.b-scenefilms.com/sp.html

Note particularly the zoomed in shot of the Chihuahua on the girl's lap. You can see some hard jerks in the steadyshot effect. I have noticed that the hard setting seems to have a lock effect. So that when I hold the camera and try to be very steady with it I can see the SS hard effect lock in and then I can move and it seems somewhat stable.
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Last edited by Shaughan Flynn; September 22nd, 2006 at 08:20 PM.
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Old September 22nd, 2006, 06:16 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaughan Flynn
when I hold the camera and try to be very steady with it I can see the SS hard effect lock in and then I can move and it seems somewhat stable.
Shaughan, it more or less supports what I was saying above.

When you are holding your Z1 "very steady" it is the same situation as being on a tripod.
THe Z1 has know way of knowing if the shot is being taken "handheld and steady" or from a tripod.
The cameras steadishot function should be OFF when the camera is steady!

So how should you take take this video to avoid the SS effects? Use a tripod for all the shots - planes landing, taking off, dogs on laps etc. and switch off the SS function. For the ones walking toward planes either do handheld plus SS on as you did in the movie - or get some form of steadicam support. Remember that even with a steadicam support the SS function should be OFF.
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