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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 23rd, 2012, 09:21 AM   #1
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Automatic Focus

I am having a bit of a problem with the camera`s automatic focus. As a wildlife videographer, I have a custom designed camouflage "drape' over the whole camera up to the perimeter of the lens. I usually start each segment with the automatic focus engaged as with wildlife you never know where or when action might begin. I also have the "focus assist' engaged so as to help tweak to a crisp focus as needed. I have noticed with this camera, as a subject is clearly in view at close range the automatic focus wants to "creep" off perfect focus requiring continual adjustments with the focus assist to keep even a stationary subject in good focus. It seems to want to continually soften and will not hold. Many outdoor scenes are shot under low-lighting conditions and require an "open' lens and I realize a higher f-stop helps in depth perception but it`s not always feasible under most circumstances. I understand that manual focus is the way to go but automatic gets a total scene in focus so much faster and actually is better than me on a moving object. Just can`t figure why when it gets to the subject it`s very good but then creeps away somewhat. Is the automatic focus reading through the lens or is there a sensor outside the lens that may be affected by my camera`s cover? Has anyone else noticed this "creeping away' at all and what have you found to help with it? Thanks....
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 12:31 PM   #2
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Re: Automatic Focus

Others have reported that AF works better if you turn Focus Macro off. But then you are limited to things further than about 2 1/2 feet from the lens.

I haven't experienced the issue you describe, so may be worth sending to a shop for a checkup.

One workaround might be to go to manual with Peaking engaged but use the "Push Auto" button as soon as anything interesting comes into range.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 03:17 PM   #3
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Re: Automatic Focus

When working with wildlife, hand movement must be kept at a minimum so I have to be careful moving to different buttons, especially the micro-small one`s on this camera! Peaking is not an option also as shooting in a "woods" situation the lighting is always changing and the peaking changes the view of each scene making it difficult to get correct exposure of changing scenes. I`ve tried the different colors but they are even worse as they change the look of the scene. As I said, I can focus manually O.K. but I just wish the automatic would "hold" when it gets to correct focus....
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Old April 24th, 2012, 12:01 PM   #4
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Re: Automatic Focus

You know your business best. But you could certainly use a remote controller on your tripod handle to minimize hand movements.

Peaking doesn't change your exposure in any way, and you can't judge exposure from looking at your screen anyhow. It doesn't change the look of anything except your display. If you don't trust auto exposure you should be using zebras and histogram.
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Old April 28th, 2012, 03:23 AM   #5
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Re: Automatic Focus

AF can be really frustrating and I imagine extremely variable with what you're shooting. I can't use AF on anything fast unless it's sideways - anything to or from and the AF is "hunting".
I think you need to go manual with peaking.
Peaking is constant with focus. I think it's an invaluable way to maintain and find focus.
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