Z5/1000 Autofocus-The Anti-Christ of Face Detection? - Page 4 at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old February 21st, 2009, 03:22 AM   #46
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Ken,

re the Panasonic I would refer you to the Panasonic Avccam forum, check out Mark Von Lanken and others comments as to how they compare. It is quite competitive with the Sony and Canon.

With respect to the Canon XLH1A (not XHA1) vs. Sony FX1000....if you read the whole report they also say the Canon did better in low light (!!!), had less noise, etc...resolution of 900 lines vs 800 on the Canon notwithstanding. But so what.

The Sony FX1000 is a great cam in its own right. Very well balanced, great picture, very cost effective, etc. With all due respect, is it relevant how it compares to a $6000 Canon?
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Old February 21st, 2009, 04:17 AM   #47
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I absolutely agree Steve, so what?

Regarding Mark, he has said the Panasonic is the finest camera he's ever used. It is a serious contender no doubt. For the money, considering the pro audio, it is a great buy also, possibly a better buy.

I am shooting tomorrow with my FX1000s. And while I would love to have tried out the Pansonic before buying the Sony, and I know the FX1000 is not the VX2100 reincarnated as I had hoped it would be, I'm STILL looking forward to shooting with it. It does do some nice work. From the beginning I have alternated between liking the camera and finding it so-so.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 10:10 AM   #48
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If the review addressed the responsiveness of the auto focus, I missed it. That would not normally be overlooked in a professional review.
Jeff, there were several strange discussions in that review (pretty much par for the course for CCI). One was the autofocus...they did comment on it and they said it was wonderful! Huh??? I guess we must all have different cameras than the one they checked out. I had my first shoot with the Z5 and, for the most part, the autofocus worked fine. But oh baby, when there was a face to capture, I immediately switched over to manual. These cams just don't like faces and that's why I started this thread. I've already learned how to work around it, so I don't find it a big deal anymore, but to ignore this failing is pretty absurd. It seems to have little problems focusing on other things, but you need to exercise care with faces. So how they came to the conclusion that the autofocus was wonderful is beyond me. The Canon's all have 'wonderful' autofocus, but not the Sonys. In fact I've never owned a Sony cam whose autofocus I would say was 'wonderful'.

I agree with you Jeff, I don't know why they chose a cam that's 2X the price to compare. They should have chosen the similar, less expensive version of that Canon (without interchangeable lenses). But then again, I've heard the image on both is comparable, so that may have been their rationale.

The biggest gripe I had with that review though was how they characterized the low-light. To me it's utterly absurd to keep the camera on zero gain and see how bright the image is in poor light. If your gain is well-engineered as it is in the Sony, why in God's name wouldn't you use gain up to 9 or 12 db??? When you do that, the Sony just blows the Canon away. I'm certain that the vast majority of people using these cams does just that. The Canon shows significantly more noise at a similair gain setting than the Sony. So why handicap the Sony by not factoring this in? So for them to come to the conclusion that the low-light of the Canon was better than the Sony, was one of the worst conclusions I've seen in any review on any camera.

These are just some of the reasons I've always taken CCI reviews with more than a grain of salt.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 10:11 AM   #49
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Stelios go here

Sony Handycam HDR-FX1000 Camcorder Review - Sony HDV Camcorders

The advertisements betweeen every page are quite tedious, and one of the reasons I do not visit Camorder Info any longer.
Jeff, you can click on the links at the top of each page and bypass the ads.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 10:21 AM   #50
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And while I would love to have tried out the Pansonic before buying the Sony, and I know the FX1000 is not the VX2100 reincarnated as I had hoped it would be, I'm STILL looking forward to shooting with it. It does do some nice work. From the beginning I have alternated between liking the camera and finding it so-so.
Jeff, I really disagree with you on this one. Having both the VX2100 (and a VX2000), I find the Z5 to be a far superior camera. It's puts out an unquestionably better SD image, with much better exposure latitude, better colors and an overall sharper image. I did many many A/Bs with my Z5 & 2100 and I was very happy to see how much better the image was. I will definitely prefer using it over the 2100 even for SD work. I'm still learning the cam, but I'm already getting a superior image. I'll be getting the digital card recorder next week, and that will make for a tremendous combo. You can have what is essentially a tapeless work flow if you so desire or a combination of both. You can't beat that.

Yes, the Z5 is a more difficult camera to operate than the 2100, but a much more sophisticated camcorder will be. You have tons more control over the image than the 2100 could ever hope to offer and you're rewarded with a better image. As you grow in this profession, you have to adjust to more controls as you change over to more sophisticated equipment.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 12:16 PM   #51
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I don't know, the focusing on mine seems OK, but I guess different people have different expectations. I think it's a bit better then my VX2100 was, if you consider one thing:

You are now shooting in widescreen, versus 4:3. The focus on both VX2100 and FX1000 seems (to me) to be center-weighted. Now that I'm using 16:9, there's less of a chance of my subject being always in the center. This prompted me to open a thread a while back on how to do use autofocus with such composition techniques. Jeff Harper's answer was right on: use AF ASSIST feature of FX1000. Using this feature gave me full control over the frame. I can focus on the upfront subject and then use the focus ring to snap to a person behind them without moving the camera. It's a very professional looking effect.

So far I'm very happy with the FX1000, but I have nothing to compare it to as far as HDV goes. I'm just saying that for me it was a worthy upgrade from VX2100.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 02:10 PM   #52
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You'll here me criticize it, but it is a nice camera and I feel lucky to have two of them. I'll feel luckier if I can replace one with a Z7 though.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 04:27 PM   #53
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The advertisements between every page are quite tedious, and one of the reasons I do not visit Camcorder Info any longer.
Same here Jeff. Quite pathetic actually.

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Old February 21st, 2009, 07:09 PM   #54
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To anyone that's about to post along the lines of "professionals should always be in manual focus" well I say get up with it.

Auto focus has become a very useable function and seasoned cameramen from the old school are now seeing the benefits of it.
I hate to burst your bubble, but you do realize that most real pro cameras (Betacams, etc) don't even come with autofocus. Wonder why?
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Old February 21st, 2009, 07:31 PM   #55
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I don't know, the focusing on mine seems OK, but I guess different people have different expectations. I think it's a bit better then my VX2100 was, if you consider one thing:
Igor, it's interesting, but I've been having less trouble with the Z5 autofocus than I had been. I think that's because I'm learning the situations where the autofocus will go south and anticipating it. For those situations I choose manual focus or focus assist.

I've shot in HD for two days now in San Francisco, and I would say the autofocus has worked perfectly 95% of the time. It's that other 5% that threw me when I first got the camera since I don't recall my 2100 behaving that way. When I need to focus on a face and see anything with any detail in the background, I know the autofocus will probably go wonky.

As long as I have a reliable work-around, I'm OK.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 09:33 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Igor Garber View Post
I Jeff Harper's answer was right on: use AF ASSIST feature of FX1000. Using this feature gave me full control over the frame. I can focus on the upfront subject and then use the focus ring to snap to a person behind them without moving the camera. It's a very professional looking effect.
How do you use that technique when shooting fast moving action like a hockey game from ice level?
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 11:28 PM   #57
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auto can be handy

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I hate to burst your bubble, but you do realize that most real pro cameras (Betacams, etc) don't even come with autofocus. Wonder why?

Roy, well I hate to burst your bubble but a very well respected TV cameraman of 25 yrs plus here in Australia is new to the smaller DV cameras and says he just loves the option of going AUTO focus.

In the heat of the moment when the battery is flashing FLAT, the bride is coming down the aisle and its all a mad situation auto can be great. Don't you agree?

I do understand your reservations about being "all auto".
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 06:58 AM   #58
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In response to John's question about videotaping a hockey game, I would normally have thought a smaller f-stop would have taken care of depth of field issues, making focus less of a headache. But I've found the Z5 isn't particularly sharp at smaller f-stops and those should be avoided for maximum picture quality.

On the other hand, the jerseys that are worn by the players should provide something more substantial for the autofocus to lock on to rather than a nebulous face...something these autofocuses don't like. So for a hockey game, you might be fine.

I'm telling you, if Sony had provided 'face detection' for these cams, they would be nearly perfect in my opinion.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 10:23 AM   #59
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In response to John's question about videotaping a hockey game, I would normally have thought a smaller f-stop would have taken care of depth of field issues, making focus less of a headache. But I've found the Z5 isn't particularly sharp at smaller f-stops and those should be avoided for maximum picture quality.
I was using the hockey game example to illustrate a typical scenario with very fast moving subjects that requires AF. I've shot hockey at ice level through the glass (clean section) with my VX2100 and I am able to track a speeding hockey player as he skates towards me right to the point where he smashes against the glass in front of me.

Obviously shooting hockey from high above would require very little AF performance and could probably be shot with manual focus.

I've been holding off buying an HD camera until I can get something with similar AF peformance.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 10:45 AM   #60
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But John my thought was that the Z5 might well be able to focus on hockey players as a result of detail in their uniforms. You're not really focusing on the face per se, but rather the entire player, uniform and all.

I don't think the Z5 would have an issue with that, but you'd want to make sure prior to purchase.
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