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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
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Old December 9th, 2011, 12:59 PM   #1
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Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

Just wondering what 'Auto' modes on the Z5 are good enough to use frequently, or do most of you stick with full manual? Just wondering if you felt some of the auto modes were 'strong' while others on the Z5 might be considered 'weak'.


Thanks in advance.
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Old December 9th, 2011, 01:57 PM   #2
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

The only thing I do manually is WB. Everything else is on full auto most of the time and my footage is always perfect. I do limit the gain (AGC LIMIT) and aperture (AT IRIS LIMIT). I keep SteadyShot and Macro Focus OFF.

This cam is way smarter than I am.
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Old December 9th, 2011, 05:38 PM   #3
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

agree entirely with adam, though of course dependent on circumstances.

even my tv remote is smarter than i am ;-)
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Old December 12th, 2011, 03:17 AM   #4
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

The Auto white in mixed light is pretty poor - it always seems to tend towards "too warm/too blue"
Auto exposure when shooting skintones against black or white is always out a few stops.
Auto focus is pretty poor when trying to track people moving either towards you or away at speed.
Having said that, I think generally "auto: is really good. For your average scene - inside or out it's always pretty close.
Auto audio levels have saved me a few times too.
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Old December 17th, 2011, 07:44 AM   #5
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

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Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
I keep SteadyShot and Macro Focus OFF.
Adam,

What is the rationale for turning these options OFF? I've always had them both ON, even when the camera is locked down or when not shooting close-up - for no good reason that I can recall. Thanks!

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Old December 17th, 2011, 11:44 AM   #6
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

Steadyshot isn't smart enough to know when you are intentionally panning or zooming, so it will try to compensate and then suddenly, when it realizes it can't, it'll give up and snap into proper position, ruining your pans. The manual says to turn it off when you are on a tripod. And if you have a cam that uses EIS as well as (or instead of) OIS -- the Z5 doesn't but others do -- the EIS part inherently degrades your pic.

Other users report that the AF works better and more reliably when MACRO FOCUS is OFF, so I've just followed their advice. Haven't done a scientific experiment to see if there's any difference, but with it off the AF works extremely well, even in low light.
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Old December 21st, 2011, 10:33 AM   #7
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

If you're a run 'n' gun one man band then you have to delegate - you simply can't keep on top of audio levels, w/balance. exposure. focus as well as the ND call.

Some things can be almost invisible in auto. One of these is the audio, and I'm always happy to let the limiter decide. The next is auto focus - the camera decides, goes there and doesn't need to rock 'n' roll to check. The w/bal is slow to respond in auto but will eventually get there. I have the preset on daylight and the next click up 'artificial'. It's quick to click between them if I'm stepping out or stepping in.

But the exposure? No way will I leave that to the automation as it wants to constantly hunt. And it thinks all the guys in dark suits need a wider aperture than all the girls in their pink dresses. Very wrong. I hate the sight of fluctuating (auto) exposure in films. It's fine for stills (1/500th sec every now and then) but movies are a real-time continuation and exposures need to be firmly controlled and not allowed to roam free.

So lock the shutter speed, the gain, the iris and the ND. By all means ask the camera what it thinks before the shot (press the iris button to do this) but then lock in that reading and adjust to suit.

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Old January 10th, 2012, 02:45 AM   #8
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

In no way contradicting,
but, Recently did a concert, and used my Z5 as a roaming cam, walking around the venue, back stage, in the crowd etc.
I went full manual and got some really nice shots. Only problem was that when zooming in the aperture changes so much, then when zooming back out it doesnt change back. Which led to losing some good shots through some being over exposed and some too dark.
Is this a fault in my cam, or normal?
Was thinking on the next one to set shutter and white balance only and let the cam do the rest, does anyone do this or is it just too lazy?
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Old January 10th, 2012, 03:13 AM   #9
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

Gerald, the lens ramping you have (and very nearly all of us have) shouldn't be a 'problem'. If you're shooting at f/4, say, then of course it won't matter two hoots what focal length you decide to use. If you want to use wider apertures, f/2 say, then of course that aperture will only be available to you from 4.1mm to about 30 mm. If you zoom beyond the point at which the iris blades have reached maximum open then either you'll get under-exposure or the gain will kick in to compensate.

If you leave your Z5 in auto (I'm glad to see you don't) then the lens ramping (in dim lighting) will be compensated for automatically by the gain. If you lock the gain at 0dB you can film at wide-angle using f/1.6 but your footage will be 2 stops under-exposed if you shoot at full tele. As you pull back to wide the iris blades will still be fully open, and at wide-angle they'll now register f/1.6.

In your situation I'd not consider using auto, as it'll under-expose when shooting into the spotlights and over-expose pink faces that have large dark backgrounds. It'll also be constantly fluctuating as white shirted people cross your path - a real no-no. You're just going to have to accept gain-up if you want to use all your focal lengths in the gloom.

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Old January 10th, 2012, 04:02 AM   #10
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

Thanks Tom,
So, just getting it straight in my head, sorry.
You are saying to set iris at f4 (or thereabouts, higher the better) even in a darker room, and use a bit of gain (or a lot)...
rather than,
Be at f1.6 and then have the massive ramping when zooming.
Ill get maybe some more noise in the picture, but ill have more consistent exposure through my zooms.
I think I get it.
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Old January 10th, 2012, 04:07 AM   #11
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

In dark places I set the gain such that the aperture needed for correct exposure is f/3.4 (or very close to). Having done that I can zoom with impunity, knowing that I'll never get under-exposure. Of course at wide-angle I'm getting grainier footage than I need to, but in a run 'n' gun situation time is often of the essence, and time spent fiddling with the gain and iris switches can mean missing a shot.
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Old January 10th, 2012, 04:16 AM   #12
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

awesome, thanks so much, totally agree.
I just had one of those moments where something which now seems obvious became very clear.
cheers mate.
:)
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Old January 10th, 2012, 02:29 PM   #13
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

I typically shoot manual settings indoors, 'Auto' outdoors. Sometimes white balancing in the sunlight, as Adam said, the camera is just smarter than me. Plus it's hard to see properly on the screen in the sunlight & I don't always like using the actual viewfinder.
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Old January 12th, 2012, 12:05 PM   #14
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Re: Which 'Auto' modes, if any do you use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ackerman View Post
Adam,

What is the rationale for turning these options OFF? I've always had them both ON, even when the camera is locked down or when not shooting close-up - for no good reason that I can recall. Thanks!

Bill Ackerman
I agree with Bill. If your macro is on, it doesn't mean you're shooting macro mode, it means you have the ABILITY to focus on something close if you have to, like a rack focus from 6 inches away to infinity. This feature works on the widest angle. You can always focus normally, even with the macro on. Try it! I've also never had images "bobble" when I pan with IS on, although theoretically they should.
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