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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
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Old October 12th, 2006, 07:50 AM   #1
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HVR-Z1U Steady shot questions

I've been reading a lot of the posts re: when to use steady shot (will use normal steady shot as a refrence point). I know that using it on a tripod, expecially in pans and zooms can lead to some unwanted jitter and stutter and I have experienced this first hand. But in shooting some hand held shots the other day - very good light, at a high frame rate say 250-400 fps, I noticed that there was almost the same stutter and jitter effect with pans and zooms, with steady shot on, holding the camera as steady and supported as I could. This was rather consistant with shots of this nature so as to lead me to believe it was more than normal hand held camera shake. Has anyone had a similar experience and or tips and insights into this? Am I doing something wrong or is my assesment of the situation dubious?

note: I suppose the logic and theory is that if steadyshot is not recomended for panning shots on a tripod because it will add a stutter effect then wouldn't it add the same effect, all-be-it slightly differently, when doing hand held panning shots, holding the camera fairly steady?

Thanks!

Last edited by Duane Harper Grant; October 12th, 2006 at 06:25 PM.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 10:27 AM   #2
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It's a design flaw

Duane,

You have probably read the thread "SteadyShot Options..." where I had the same concerns with SteadyShot turned on. Most people in that thread concluded that it was a defective camera. Well I was quite upset that Sony could not eliminate it during the repairs.

Then, a few days ago I was at the B&H in New York, and tried 2 different Z1's that they had on display in two different spots. So I decided to check if they have the same issue. Guess what? - both of them did! The same exact jitter/pulsing/stutter as on my Z1 when doing a combination of certain type of zooming and panning. That really made my day :) I was finally satisfied to find out that it's a design flaw in the whole Z1 (perhaps FX1 too?) series and not a defect in one particular camera.

In short, most likely all the Z1 owners have this flaw, though not everyone has an eye to notice it. And I also wrote in my other posts that neither of my other two older Sony 3CCD cameras with optical SteadyShot have that issue.

So the answer is, either do multiple takes, hoping that one of them is not going to have a jitter, or turn the SteadyShot off completely. Also, slower, more careful zooming usually prevents that from happening too.

Ruslan.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 10:44 AM   #3
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I could not let this one go rolling by down the hill with giving it a kick along to help it on its way.

Design flaw or operator mismanagement?

Steady shot. That's what it is for, not camera moves. Panning, tilting, tracking, they are moves. Steady shot should be selected off for these.

It may help you a little with wide shots on tracking or follows with a shaky dolly. But please do not pick on Sony for the camera simply doing its job.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 10:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Harper Grant
But in shooting some hand held shots the other day - very good light, at a high frame rate say 250-400 fps, I noticed that there was almost the same stutter and jitter effect
I think you mean "shutter speed" and not "frame rate." The frame rate is always 30 per sec for NTSC and 25 per sec PAL (or pseudo-24 fps with NTSC cineframe enabled).

Why are you shooting at such high shutter speeds? I've found that high shutter speeds like that tend to give you a jerky/strobing sort of motion which I personally dislike. Unless you have a specific reason to use high shutter speeds, try setting the shutter a 1/60 for NTSC or 1/50 for PAL and see if that helps.

Also, are you making these judgements by watching the built-in LCD screen or playing back on a monitor? I find that movements look more jerky on the LCD screen, especially in PAL mode on my Z1.LCD
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Old October 31st, 2006, 11:22 AM   #5
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I've done quite a bit of shooting with the Z1 steady shot on and it's excellent. Normal shutter speeds, of course.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 03:04 PM   #6
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The above replies just prove my point: people don't know what to look for. And I've been doing video long enough to know that it's a camera shortcoming and not an operator mismanagement. I'll say this again, I have also two Sony VX1000's and a TRV900, which all have optical SteadyShot. I also used VX2000 and PD-150, and none of those cameras had this issue. Is it a freak accident that all 3 different Z1's that I've tried are defective in the very same way? I certainly don't think so.

So please, stop questioning my abilities, and simply admit that Sony did not do a good job on SteadyShot in Z1, while using a zoom and panning at the same time. I still love the camera, but that's one area where it definitely underperforms, compared to its predecessors. Three different Z1's is a proof enough for me.

Also, there are a couple of people who shot with my camera, also on a tripod, and this issue did not come up almost at all because of their gentler zooms and pans. But I sometimes like dynamic zooms and pans (fast change of action on stage, for example), and that's when this issue starts happening. And I'm not talking shaky shots, but fast and smooth work on a tripod. It doesn't happen during a gentle work - with that the camera is mostly fine.

P.S.: This issue doesn't happen every single time you do zooming+panning, but only about 20% of the time, so it's quite possible that many of you simply didn't pay attention, or maybe in a state of denial (after all $5000 is a lot of money). I'm sorry to rant like that, but it's slightly maddening when people who didn't see any of my work question my abilities. Thanks.

Ruslan.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 03:23 PM   #7
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I'm just giving you my experience too. The Z1's steadyshot is the best I've seen on any camera. It is not useable on a tripod when panning, tilting or zooming.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 03:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruslan Odintsov
people don't know what to look for. And I've been doing video long enough to know that it's a camera shortcoming and not an operator mismanagement.
Steady on, old bean. Let's not slap that tar brush around too far.

If OIS is getting confused, turn it off. It's not a magic wand. When it works, it's really great and I've had wonderful shots and 'saved bacon' with it. But if the Z1's on a tripod, I'll start with OIS off because it will only get in the way - unless I need to correct a fault (e.g bouncy floor and 1.6x extender).

A GV wide angle pan where no object is being tracked will be mauled by OIS. Of course it would. There's nothing useful for OIS to do. It's like asking a dog to chop vegetables rather than find slippers.

Yes, I've been bitten, but got over it. I use USR-1 button to toggle it on and off. And FWIW I use 'Hard', this mode seems to understand best what I'm asking it to do (find slippers, and hold on to them no matter how much I appear to tug them away).

Erm, hope the analogy works... :)
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Old October 31st, 2006, 06:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Daviss
Erm, hope the analogy works... :)
Excellent :-) Your experience matches mine exactlly. Steadyshot is very useful on the tripod shooting performances at full zoom with the Century 1.6x from the back of the theatre. Doesn't seem to help at all at full wide using the .6x.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 07:05 PM   #10
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Steady Shot worked fine for me panning hand held. The normal setting was more forgiving but less effective, the Hard setting was really steady but will jump if you pan without the right acceleration.

The panning movement was the key for me, one that resembled an elevator ride, a very gentle acceleration to tell the OIS that the movement is not a shake. The optical element will gently lag, then accelerate to the center where it stays until you decelerate. In other words, it's possible to accelerate from a static position, level off to a linear panning velocity, and then decelerate again to a stop, with no detriment from OIS. Practice makes perfect.

My particular style makes use of the optical eye piece, to steady the cam against my head. For me, I can't do it as well using the LCD.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 07:34 PM   #11
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I have the VX2000 and FX1. With steady shot on, I have run into the same effect with the VX2000. I think it is the nature of the beast, meaning OIS. I think with movement at a certain acceleration and speed, it occurs.
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