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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 April 12th, 2009, 08:03 AM   #1
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Hi guys,
Should I leave the AF Assist function ON? The default setting on the Z5 is OFF. I know what is the reason of this setting but I am not sure that after you use the focus ring to manually adjust the focus (when the focus switch is set to AUTO) if the camera keeps this manually adjusted focus setting.

Stelios
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Old April 12th, 2009, 09:15 AM   #2
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when auto focus does what it thinks best you can then overtake and manually adjust the focus and then auto focus sits back and stays quiet if you still remain in that shot, unlike the wife. LOL
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Old April 14th, 2009, 07:19 AM   #3
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Stelios - leave it on at all times. Focus assist on Sony cams is just wonderful, and I use it all the time on my Z1 to 'redirect' the camera's auto-focus pov.

Note that other manufacturers are also using the term 'focus assist'. But the Panasonic 151 (for instance) simply enlarges the screen centre (called expanded focus on Sony cams), so it's nowhere near as useful, user friendly or intelligent.

tom.
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Old April 14th, 2009, 07:57 AM   #4
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Thanks a lot for the info. In other words if I am on the same scene I can manually override the autofocus function but as soon as I move the camera to another scene then the autofocus takes over again. Is this so? I agree with you Tom, this is a wonderful function

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Old April 14th, 2009, 08:14 AM   #5
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OK, here's what focus assist does on Sony cameras. You have the camera in auto-focus mode but as it's a contrast based system, it may decide to focus on the picket fence behind the pretty girl in your v'finder.

No problem. You stay in auto focus but give the focus ring a quick 'spin' in the clockwise direction (seen from the v'finder end), and the cemera will now focus on whatever's nearer in the finder. Of course if it's a very low contrast subject like a smooth face in the shade it might try and re-focus on the fence once again, but at least it's quickly found focus and now knows what's important to you.

I use it all the time, and its omission from the FX1 makes this a far less user-friendly camera to operate in the run 'n' gun mode.

tom.
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Old April 14th, 2009, 02:48 PM   #6
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Being new to the Z5 (and this level of camera in general) I'm going through and discovering these functions, and working out what's useful to me.

I have enabled this feature (it's off by default), but I've found if I tweak the auto focus manually to get my manual focus, the auto focus kicks in again after I've stopped moving the focus ring, which makes this less useful to me. Ie if the camera has auto focused on the wrong thing in the shot, and you tweak the focus, the camra goes back to focusing on the wrong thing after I've tweaked it.

What I'd probably want is that the moment I move the focus ring, the camera switches to manual, and then stays in manual until perhaps I press the Push Auto, at which point it would return to auto focus.

I find it's difficult to switch between auto and manual focus modes using the switch during filming due to the camera shake etc it introduces... although no doubt I'll get slicker at this sort of thing as I get used to it...
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Old April 14th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #7
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My Zoe LANC controller allows me to switch between auto and manual focus, it focuses with the 'zoom' rocker and switches the 'push auto' button remotely as well.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 02:32 AM   #8
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FX1000 and focus assist?

Does this function work on the FX1000?
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Old April 15th, 2009, 07:00 AM   #9
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Yes, we have it too Martin.

Ben, I agree about the switching to manual focus, and I second the difficulty of smoothly switching to it. I find the buttons in general are awkardly placed also. I always find myself having to look to push buttons and flick switches.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 12:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Yes, we have it too Martin.

Ben, I agree about the switching to manual focus, and I second the difficulty of smoothly switching to it. I find the buttons in general are awkardly placed also. I always find myself having to look to push buttons and flick switches.
You are right Jeff about the switches, you know yesterday I had to film at a gym for a promotional video and I decided not to worry about pushing any "awkward" switches so I left everything in auto! and guess what? the outcome was excellent! colours were right, focus was right, contrast was right so it makes you think.

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Old April 15th, 2009, 05:15 PM   #11
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The auto focus should do a competent job if you don't have any requirements that can fool it, and don't need to rack focus under control.

The problem comes when you *do* need more control than full-auto, and yet don't want to have to worry about full manual when you are doing everything else (and for a newbie like me, it's like learning to drive a car - lots of things you need to keep an eye on while framing creatively, watching and anticipating your subject, keeping good exposure under varying light conditions, keeping focus etc etc.)

Anyway, I've just come back from a shoot, and switched between manual and auto depending on the shot needs, and I had decent results, which will only get better as I develop my camera operator skills - let's face it, at this stage, any mess ups are *far* more likely to be my fault than the camera's. :)
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Old April 15th, 2009, 07:48 PM   #12
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Yes, auto can provide good results but as Ben says it depends. In so many churches you have a mix of indoor and outdoor lighting and the white balance often can't cut it. That's when I find it get sticky.
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