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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
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Old February 11th, 2009, 08:29 AM   #1
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FX1000 Autofocus Q.

This may be a general HDV question, but....

I got my FX1000 from B&H last night - awesome. Coming from VX2100 it felt very natural, almost no learning curve. Even my wife picked it up and stated filming without any help. From the layout standpoint, the best addition for me was the location of LCD screen on the front and top. A huge help when you're trying to shoot kids at their eye level. The low light capability is what everyone says it is. Better saturation and contrast then my VX2100, at least in my opinion. This leads me to my question, because this seems to be the biggest difference in my switching to HD:

I now have to work with a 16:9 frame instead of 4:3. Composing shots feels very difficult with autofocus if you're trying to have your subject off center.

1.) How do you guys do it? Is it a manual process everytime?

2.) How does AF ASSIST feature (Pg. 69 in manual) work in real life? i.e, lets say the camera is autofocusing, but you start to rotate the focus ring - will the focus stay where you left it or will it start refocusing as soon as you let go?

Thanks in advance for any insight.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #2
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I don't have an answer for you, but I agree it is a real learning curve to frame shots effectively in 16:9. Very difficult after shooting for years in 4:3.

I am pleased you are so concerned with proper framing of your shots, I see so many videos, some even well done otherwise, that could be vastly improved with proper framing of the subject. Proper is not the right word, since there is no "right" way to frame shots all of the time, of course.

I am still getting the hang of using manul focus myself. It was relatively rare I needed it with my old 4:3 cams, and I find it exasperating, expecially with the added need to set exposure manually so much more often than before.

One "trick" you could try, when possible, would be to center the subject, then hit manual focus, then move off center to frame your shot. That should get you pretty close.

I hate using manual focus for the simple reason I will sometimes forget to turn it off when I don't need it any longer and I end up shooting slightly out of focus until I realize what I've done. It is embarrasing to admit, but I have done that a couple of times and I feel really stupid when it a happens. But in the heat of the moment I don't always examine the image as closely as I should because I'm often not looking at the LCD, but around me for the next shot.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
One "trick" you could try, when possible, would be to center the subject, then hit manual focus, then move off center to frame your shot. That should get you pretty close.
You know what - that's exactly it, thank you!!! I think if I force myself to do it, it may become a habit, but either way, that's an excellent idea. I have a photography background so proper framing was always important to me.

I wish these cameras had focus areas, kind of like the modern SLR still cameras. It allows for tracking focus in motion, in whichever area of frame you desire. But I suppose it pays to learn manual focus.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 03:01 PM   #4
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Glad I could help. You want to hear a confession? I have never done what I suggested. I only thought of it while pondering your question.

So thank you!
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Old February 13th, 2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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I have just been filming a documentary with my new Z5 and the aforementioned method seems to work a treat!

I use that when i am in a rush, but considering the smoothness of the focus ring on the lens it is also not an issue doing completely manual focus.

Also in reply to the AF assist mode, it seems to work perfectly with me in that you can overide its focus and it will keep itself on what you have just adjusted the focus ring to.
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Old February 16th, 2009, 02:10 AM   #6
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Video is hard caper

[QUOTE=Jeff Harper; It is embarrasing to admit, but I have done that a couple of times and I feel really stupid when it a happens. But in the heat of the moment I don't always examine the image as closely as I should because I'm often not looking at the LCD, but around me for the next shot.[/QUOTE]



Jeff, Its not like we all have a director in the ear saying "Hey Jeff you are slightly over exposed or Jeff focus up mate".

This video game is really hard to get right all of the time. You sound like a creative thinker Jeff.

Well done.
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