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Sony NXCAM / AVCHD Camcorders
Sony HXR-NX100, HXR-NX70, NX30, NX5, NX3/1, HXR-MC2500, HDR-AX2000, etc.


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Old February 27th, 2010, 07:10 PM   #31
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Mark is exactly right, he has a backfocus issue. The EX1 had this problem in some of the early units, which were corrected by going into the service menu, where there is an automatic "flangeback calibration" procedure. You basically point the camera at a star chart 10 ft away, and it maps the correct focus distances into a lookup table. Thereafter, you can zoom in to focus, zoom back out to have it stay in focus. This is because the lens has a servo controlled, rear focusing element, making the lens varifocal. By building corrections into the lookup table, it behaves thereafter like a parfocal lens, with the additional benefit of no focus breathing, a characteristic of rear focus designs.

I don't know why they put this in the service menu on the EX1, but it is on the regular menu in the PMW350.

Pushing the auto refocus button while zoomed out in manual, while I haven't tried that, might be expecting a bit too much for perfect focus when zooming back in tight, even after the flangeback calibration, but it would be close.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 07:34 PM   #32
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There's more going on there... it may be "backfocus", but how the range registered a different distance practically every time makes me suspect there's more to it than that.

Unless you were on one super dolly (I'm presuming tripod <wink>), the variance in distance readouts was extreme... and probably indicative of camera error of some sort.

I too have been pretty surprised by the XR500, they seem to have really gotten that particular cam "right" in the low light/low noise quality image department. Even the CX500 which is using the same sensor/imaging block (and I presume lens?) is noisier (but it seems to have an extra stop or two in real dark conditions...).

There are so many variables to deal with in these complex cameras, I guess it's hard to get them as close to perfect as possible, not to mention manufacturing variances!
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Old February 27th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #33
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Mark's sample footage looks pretty much identical to the back-focus problems I had with BOTH the Sony HVR-V1U and the HVR-Z7U.

I had huge issues trying to find a resolution to back-focus flaws. It took Sony over a year to replace my cameras, since they kept returning them no better than before, after they were serviced.

My two Z7U's, which have removable lenses, could not properly attain focus with the stock lens - even when doing the back flange adjustment to achieve proper focus throughout the entire zoom range. A really good,on-the-ball tech found a design flaw in the model and he was able to "tweak" both cameras to work beautifully. The issue only related to the stock lens and the dedicated wide angle Sony lens for the Z7U. When a broadcast lens, allowing for the back glass element to be adjusted, back focus wasn't an issue.

If you do a search for back focus issues in the Z7U forum, you can see some of my postings about this issue there.

I truly hope that Sony doesn't have a back focus issue with another camera of this class, especially since Sony has had experience with this problem BIG TIME before. For those who have this issue, do not let any service adviser tell you, like they did me, that this is to be considered "in spec" because it certainly is not.

Ian
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Old February 27th, 2010, 10:36 PM   #34
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Hey, Ian, long time no see! I finally got one of these cameras in the other day and will be testing it on Sunday. I'm planning on using this one, and three more, for a sitcom shoot on Monday, so I hope I don't run into any issues.

It reminds me of the Z7U issues that many folks had with focusing issues and everything else.

I'll post any findings on my unit.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 10:49 PM   #35
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Squirrel Sharpness test


Did a test with my NX5U down at teh beach just watching some Squirrels play on the rocks. It was honestly more fun to watch the squirrels than shoot with the camera :-)
One more clip coming after this.
Enjoy
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Old February 27th, 2010, 10:50 PM   #36
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One more. better detail shots
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Old February 28th, 2010, 03:40 AM   #37
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i have studied this camera for over a month....its defective, for sure...
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Old February 28th, 2010, 12:01 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshall Levy View Post
Hey, Ian, long time no see! I finally got one of these cameras in the other day and will be testing it on Sunday. I'm planning on using this one, and three more, for a sitcom shoot on Monday, so I hope I don't run into any issues.

It reminds me of the Z7U issues that many folks had with focusing issues and everything else.

I'll post any findings on my unit.
Hey, Marshall . . .

I will be interested in your findings with the new Sony offering. If you have again the same issues you had before, I'd try and bail on the new camera ASAP if Sony doesn't admit they have a handle on the problem at this point. As you know, soft footage doesn't make an image HD -- blurry images just can't hold the information the camera claims it can capture. So, if the new Sony codec is robust and has the potential to
make great pictures, so what. Without a lens that can focus as it should, it's useless.

I would be interested to know how Sony solves the issue.

Ian
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Old February 28th, 2010, 12:56 PM   #39
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Repeated some focusing test this morning on my NX5U and maintains focus throughout the zoom range just fine. So I think I can confirm I do not have a backfocus issue and mine will record quite happily to both FMU and either Memorystick or SDHC.

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Old February 28th, 2010, 02:28 PM   #40
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pedigree

My question about the pedigree of the camera is this: who did you get it from and how was it treated before you got it?

You still have not answered the simple question: Was it dropped? This could result in all sorts of focusing chaos. If there was a back focus issue I suspect that would show up on the LCD flip-out screen.

My (replacement) NX5U seems very sharp. The lens is not a Leica or a Zeiss, granted --Minolta lenses, as this one is, aren't the very best -- but aside from some chromatic abberation near the edges ('purple fringing') there seems very little wrong with mine.

I've yet to compare the footage to any other cams, but as for being 'soft', I suspect a drop or a mix-up in processing the AVCHD.

Cheers!

Adam
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Old February 28th, 2010, 05:50 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Bruno View Post
If I am not mistaken, one must turn MACRO FOCUS>OFF


I am having reservations about upgrading from the Z5U right now. I really like the appearance of my HDv picture...

...BTW: MARK- Nice meeting you at LIVA last time. Hope you enjoyed my video lecture as I did your outstanding seminar.


The Panasonic looks awesome!!
Hi Lou,

You are correct, Macro Focus should be off when not shooting close to the subject.

Aside from the back focus problem, the NX5U has some nice advancements over the Z5 and there are also a few thing missing on the NX5U that I wish they would have carried over from the Z5. I greatly prefer AVCHD over HDV. It holds up better and with Edius Neo, I do not have to transcode the footage, so it is much faster than spending all of those hours capturing tape.

It was great seeing you at LIVA and I did enjoy your lecture. Thanks for the kind words.
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Old February 28th, 2010, 05:53 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
...You should maybe shoot both NX5U and the 150 in 720P60 and see how they compare so that the 150 would not have to be enhanced as much.
The first test I did was in 720/60p. I shoot about 90% of my projects in that mode, so that is what I naturally went with. After I previewed some of the 720 footage and it looked so bad, I thought maybe the Sony is weak in 720 so I switched over to 1080 and just left both cameras at 1080/30p for the rest of the testing, having no idea the back focus problem was going to consume so much of my time.
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Old February 28th, 2010, 05:56 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Adam Welz View Post
My question about the pedigree of the camera is this: who did you get it from and how was it treated before you got it?

You still have not answered the simple question: Was it dropped? This could result in all sorts of focusing chaos. If there was a back focus issue I suspect that would show up on the LCD flip-out screen.

My (replacement) NX5U seems very sharp. The lens is not a Leica or a Zeiss, granted --Minolta lenses, as this one is, aren't the very best -- but aside from some chromatic abberation near the edges ('purple fringing') there seems very little wrong with mine.

I've yet to compare the footage to any other cams, but as for being 'soft', I suspect a drop or a mix-up in processing the AVCHD.

Cheers!

Adam
Hi Adam,

The camera came from Sony's Demo pool out of San Jose, CA. It was shipped to Tulsa in a Sony hard shell case. Was it ever dropped? I don't know. When I picked up the camera Friday afternoon the hour meter showed 1x10
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Old February 28th, 2010, 08:48 PM   #44
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Hi Mark,

I remember a Sony EX1 customer (I do Sony XDCAM trainings here in germany) who found "bad sharpness when going wide" - it was definetely a backfocus problem: There was simply NO WAY to get in focus when shooting in wide position.

I dont know how to access service menus on the NX5, but I am absolutely sure that your unit has a problem with the lens or BF adjustment.

Ive seen very nice NX5 files - so please check your cam.


Regarding sensitivity: Yes, its mainly a Z5 with a different codec, Z5, Z7 and NX5 use clearvid cmos sensors that are not as sensitive as the ex1 but hold up quite well.

Best regards

ULI
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Old March 4th, 2010, 08:13 PM   #45
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I reshot the comparison footage, both good lighting and bad lighting with the NX5U in auto focus. I will post the footage when I get a chance.
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