Memory Recording Unit / Expanded Focus issue ... why??? at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-Z7 / HVR-S270
Handheld and shoulder mount versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old August 13th, 2009, 11:00 AM   #1
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Memory Recording Unit / Expanded Focus issue ... why???

I've had my Z7U's for about a year . . . and from day one it was obvious that the MRU, when powered on, would not allow for the use of "expanded focus". Last night I took a peek at the camera's owners manual to see if this "limitation" was mentioned. I didn't find mention of it, which is a bit odd.

Has anyone asked Sony why such a bizarre restriction exists? I was hoping that a firmware update would be announced that would offer a "fix" for something that seems more like a design flaw than a mere product limitation.

Since I always shoot on CompactFlash cards, I have to turn the power off briefly to get expanded focus to "kick-in". This is crazy.

I'd be curious if anyone knows if a fix has been talked about by Sony, or if anyone has had an answer why expanded focus and the MRU aren't compatible.

Thanks . . .

Ian
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Old August 13th, 2009, 01:18 PM   #2
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Perhaps because the camera "thinks" it's in record mode when the unit is attached? Does the unit buffer video from the camera whenever it's on (so you don't miss the beginning of a clip)? Might be related to that...

I gotta say, being able to use expanded focus while recording is a great feature on the EX1. Too bad they have not done this on the HVR series.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 05:50 AM   #3
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that 'bug' has always annoyed me too.

I'd always assumed it was a limitation of the hardware- the cameras CPU can only do so much, and maybe the circuitry it needs for expanded focus is somehow also used for transmitting data to the CF unit?

Have you noticed though that the digital expander still works with the CF card attached?

Doesn't crop in quite as close as expanded focus, but when i have the CF unit attached, i sometimes use the digital expander to check focus. - you have to be careful though- its far too easy to start recording with the digi expander left on!
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Old August 14th, 2009, 08:21 AM   #4
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This got me thinking, so I tried a quick test with my Z1. I connected it to my computer via firewire and opened the log and capture window in FCP. Much to my surprise, expanded focus still worked normally on the Z1 and enlarged the image on the LCD screen but the log and capture window in FCP was not affected and still showed the full frame.

I had read that expanded focus would also enlarge the image sent via firewire (I think from Adam Wilt). Evidently it doesn't affect firewire, so you could capture to some kind of external device and still use expanded focus while you shoot. Only caveat is that I didn't actually capture or examine any video, so maybe it drops frames or something?

Anyway, this implies that the z1 should be capable of showing expanded focus while recording, but for some reason they don't allow it. Since the Z7 is newer, I'd think it could do just as well. Is it possible to connect your memory recorder via firewire on the Z7 as an alternative?
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Old August 15th, 2009, 01:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ford View Post
that 'bug' has always annoyed me too.

Have you noticed though that the digital expander still works with the CF card attached
Thanks Peter,

I appreciate your advice. I have noticed that the digital expander works when using the MRU. The problem for me, however, is that the digital expander only works when shooting interlaced. Since I shoot using 30p most of the time, the digital expander function is unavailable to me. I just wish Sony could update the firmware to include SOMETHING which allows for expanded focus or something similar to work when using the MRU.

When this limitation isn't mentioned in any documentation I've seen, it's got to be an oversight or design flaw, I would guess.

Thanks . . .

Ian
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Old August 24th, 2009, 05:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Campbell View Post
Thanks Peter,

I appreciate your advice. I have noticed that the digital expander works when using the MRU. The problem for me, however, is that the digital expander only works when shooting interlaced. Since I shoot using 30p most of the time, the digital expander function is unavailable to me. I just wish Sony could update the firmware to include SOMETHING which allows for expanded focus or something similar to work when using the MRU.

When this limitation isn't mentioned in any documentation I've seen, it's got to be an oversight or design flaw, I would guess.

Thanks . . .

Ian
i didnt realise the digi expander only worked in interlaced. weird.

Your right, it does all feel like an oversight or design flaw. I might pen an email to Sony, and see if i can get anywhere.

To me- expanded focus is pretty essential with sonys HDV range, especially when the lcd and viewfinder arent as higher res as more expensive cameras, making judging focus at times a little tricky anyway.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 10:15 AM   #7
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I have found the peaking to be of help, especially when shooting in bright light. It isn't the answer in all cases but it lets one know when the image is at its sharpest.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 10:34 PM   #8
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Update?

Hello,
Any update on this issue?
We had the Z7 for a few months now but I only paid attention to this issue now.

Exp.focus stops working when memory recording unit is turned on.

Thank you.

Last edited by Ervz Tia; September 1st, 2009 at 02:57 AM.
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