can someone explain spot focus and spot ae in more detail? at DVinfo.net

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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old June 16th, 2003, 11:51 PM   #1
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can someone explain spot focus and spot ae in more detail?

I'm interested as an indie filmmaker in upgrading to the pdx10 since I love shooting 16:9 and want to have a camera that's small - I have access to magic bullet so 24p is not so key...

may seem like a retarded question, but how does the spot focus work while shooting? how precise can you "pull" focus while recording? are you supposed to use a special pointer on the screen and how accurate is it?

Even with XL1 with basic lens, it's hard to pull focus for dramatic shots - can anyone comment on how well this actually works?

and what's the idea behind spot ae?
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Old June 17th, 2003, 11:10 PM   #2
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I haven't made any serious use of either feature, but they do seem to work. You pick a menu option on the touch screen, then just touch the area you want to focus with your fingertip. I think you would need to be using a tripod for this to be practical, would be kinda awkward while handheld. Like I said, I haven't really used it, but would like to play with it one of these days if I can ever find the time! :-)

Personally, the spot AE didn't look very useful. It did set the exposure, but not always to my liking. But I much prefer to work in manual mode and use the zebra pattern...
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Old June 18th, 2003, 06:44 AM   #3
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If spot ae is anything like SLR spot metering or the "spotlight" setting on the GL1/2, then what it does is limit the area of the image that the exposure metering is taken from. Depending on the camera this can vary from anywhere between 4-1% of the image area, whereas normal metering takes readings from the reflected light of the entire image area.

Where spot metering is useful is when you have extreme differences, like a musician on a stage under a bright spotlight. If you expose for the entire image rea you will end up with the singer blown out in places as the metering tries to expose for the dark background.
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Old June 19th, 2003, 09:38 AM   #4
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There is a stylus for useing with these features and it is a good idea to use it rather than a finger. Works great for a rack focus.Tripod shooting is a must for using these modes.All in all I have found both "touch setting" to be of use.
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Old June 19th, 2003, 02:30 PM   #5
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thanks so much

I will need a 2nd camera for weddings this year.

if Canon doesn't release HD 24P XL2, then I will go for this cam.

Thanks for your help.

M.H.
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Old June 20th, 2003, 08:34 AM   #6
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Mark I wouldn't be holding your breath for a 24p HD XL1 this year. So far the rumors are next summer. Even if it does come before then the chance of it being HD are pretty slim, 24p is a strong possibility, but HD in an XL form factor may never happen.
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Old June 23rd, 2003, 10:58 PM   #7
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i'm frustrated that Canon just seems to have stopped...

it's development of miniDV stuff of late - but this has always been their style - Sony and Panasonic and JVC are "innovators" and then Canon comes out with the best version of their innovations with extra bells and whistles and then proceeds to clean up the market.

I used to work for Canon selling photocopiers and learned that this is in fact a Canon "strategy" as a corporation worldwide. Rarely is Canon "first" with anything. They like to sit back and see what will stick and then they make the best one.

It's ironic because Canon lenses are so popular on Sony cameras in high-end applications...

I want to stay true to Canon - but all the cams coming out this year seem so novel, so high-quality....

decisions, decisions...
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Old June 24th, 2003, 06:33 AM   #8
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I agree that people are making quite a leap of faith that Canon will introduce an HD XL-1 upgrade (or that Sony will come out with an HD PD-150 upgrade). The JVC HD cam is still a grand experiment.

But don't you think the real problem is the overall economy? These high end consumer cameras just aren't selling that well... witness price drops on many of them recently. It's easy enough for Canon and Sony to continue cranking out the current models and meet demand. Both companies have been discouraging us from expecting upgrades anytime soon.

You're right about the Canon lenses on the high end Sony's. I just finished doing a set for a PBS special that was shot with 8 HD Sony cam's. They all had Canon lenses. They were also running around with a handheld XL-1 and an older Panasonic DV camera during the rehearsals, shooting additional behind the scenes material to include on the DVD :-)
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Old June 24th, 2003, 08:27 AM   #9
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Mark,
I've heard same about Panasonic, that is their corporate strategy is refine products that already got market acceptance, rather than experiment with completely new ideas.
This leaves just Sony and JVC as the main new idea incubators. But looking on their innovations, not everything is worth the money and effort they are spending. And many products are coming out half-backed. Well, this is probably natural for that kind of business.
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Old June 28th, 2003, 09:52 PM   #10
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I haven't tried this, but it might be promising:

turn the LCD backwards and stick it into the camera body. Shoot looking into the viewfinder. Every time you need auto-focus to kick in, press on the LCD screen. When you don't need it, don't press on the LCD screen. This way it doesn't hunt!

The PDX might have a auto focus button, in which case this method is just redundant.
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Old June 29th, 2003, 12:23 AM   #11
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kenn - how big is the stylus?

sorry to sound so particular on this spot focus issue, people...

kenn, how fine a point (how precise?) can the selection be made to focus? If I put a pin-head to the screen would it register? a ball-point pen tip? a tooth pick? just wondering how well this feature really works or is it a gimmick that really won't see the light of the day like nightvision (hey, there's a joke in there somewhere for sure), also if you use 2 styluses, can you do fast fast rack focus? get it? hold both over screen. touch one. touch 2nd right after - if you don't lift 1st up, will it pull focus to 2nd or stay? if you drag stylus across a range and say there are different focal planes, does the focus rack over the entire drag?

hope my questions can be answered!
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Old June 30th, 2003, 06:12 AM   #12
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The stylus is the size of a small jewlers screwdriver and expands from about 4 inches to 6 inches.The tip is the size of a ballpoint pen.
It will focus from one area to the next fairly fast except in situations where the lighting change is drastic in that case it takes a few seconds to get right.I have never tried dragging the stylus across the screen so I have no idea if it would follow or not but will try it out later today.
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Old June 30th, 2003, 08:38 AM   #13
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Just for the record, the PDX-10 does not include the stylus. It only comes with the TRV-950 for some weird reason.
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Old June 30th, 2003, 11:44 AM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Farris : Just for the record, the PDX-10 does not include the stylus -->>>

Thanks for that Jeff. I was beginning to think something was missing from my PDX-10, because I know there wasn't a stylus in the box.

Also, reading an article someplace, I saw that the TRV-950 was "internet enabled" and that you could even use it as a web browser! Is that really true? Maybe that has something to do with the stylus? I don't think the PDX-10 has this ability, not that I would want it. What a goofy idea...
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Old June 30th, 2003, 12:46 PM   #15
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The TRV-950 most certainly is web enabled...to what end, I personally could not guess. It's a whiz bang feature that must appeal to some markets and not others.

When my TRV-950 developed problems after only a week of light use, I opted to trade up for the PDX-10. Though the outside of the camera is exactly the same size and the control layout is identical, the PDX-10 seems "denser". The lack of Bluetooth wireless networking would appear to allow for a bit more heavy duty hardware elsewhere. The stylus was handy for using the touch screen menu items, but it seems responsive to a fingertip, as well. I might pinch one of my wife's spare styli (?) from her Palm PDA.
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