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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old August 1st, 2007, 04:30 PM   #1
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slow zoom with PD170

So I was in B&H the other day, playing with the cameras. Just for fun (and because I intend to go HD sometime - not sure when), I was playing around with the Canon HDVs. On the XL H1 I noodled around with the stock lens (which can't zoom and focus at the same time - weird) and found a lever for zoom speed control. I turned it all the way down and got a wonderful, almost imperceptible zoom. I was impressed.

The reason I'm mentioning this is because I'd like to do a comparable zoom speed on my PD170. I was planning on buying a Lanc controller anyway, so I had already found a couple that looked nice to me. Some even had speed controllers. But I've heard that some Sonys have issues with zoom speed using a Lanc controller, so I want to know is will something like the Zoe DV, when the speed dial is down all the way, achieve a slooooooow zoom with my PD170. Anyone know the answer?

Thanks.
~~Dave
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Old August 1st, 2007, 06:56 PM   #2
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Don't use the ZOE but I do use a Varizoom ProL on both my 150 and 250 and when the speed control is dialed down you could take a nice nap during the zoom. As you said there are times when it's great to have the nice sssssssllllllloooooooowwwwwwww zoom.

Don
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 06:25 PM   #3
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I wanted something with a speed control knob AND a pressure sensitive rocker. The ProL doesn't look like it has the latter. Is it easy to manipulate the speed knob while you activate the zoom in or out?

Thanks.

~~Dave
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 06:29 PM   #4
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Thumb on the rocker and pointing finger on the wheel. Works for me. (takes a few minutes of practice so you don't rotate the wheel too fast though)
Don
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 12:42 AM   #5
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Dave, I used the Zoe on my VX2100 and it has both a pressure sensenitive rocker and a speed wheel. If you turn the speed wheel to the minimum, it gives a wonderful slow crawl. I just hope it works as well with my new V1 when it arrives.

My huge fingers couldn't manage doing two things at once on this sort of controller. :)
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 10:27 AM   #6
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Thank you both for your replies.

Now a further question - how slow are we talking? Slower than the slowest rocker zoom? So slow, you're not sure you're even pushing in at all?

Thanks.

PS - Mike, I've heard that the V1's zoom ring has a little lag to it. I'm assuming that since the rocker doesn't have this problem that a Lanc control won't either. When you get it, would you mind letting me know if that's the case?

Last edited by Dave Dodds; August 3rd, 2007 at 10:30 AM. Reason: new thought (PS)
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 10:45 AM   #7
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I once thought my controller was broken because the zoom was so imperceptable even though I had my thumb on the rocker like I used to keep my foot on the gas pedal---to the floor ;-)
Well maybe not quite that slow but it can be dialed down to a very very slow zoom. OR you can crank that puppy and get dizzy watching it "go fast"

Don
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 01:46 PM   #8
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Dave, I wouldn't call it an imperceptable crawl, but it's just about as slow as I can make it. Just before the VX2100 is packed up and sent to the dealer for trade-in, I fired off a couple of quick and dirty videos.

The first video is made with the rocker, as smooth and slow as I can go:

http://www.mikeb.org.uk/temp/rocker.wmv (1MB download)

The second is made with the Zoe, speed wheel set to minimum, and the zoom pressed down hard:

http://www.mikeb.org.uk/temp/zoe.wmv (1MB download)

Each video is 22 seconds, there's only a few frames in it. In more skilled hands than mine, I'm pretty sure you can make both the Zoe and the rocker go even slower, but I've been blessed with farmer's hands!

The Zoe makes it easier for someone as unskilled as me to transition the zoom, you can start and stop slow and go faster in the middle. You still seem to get a slight 'bump' when you start and finish, though I understand that it's a limitation of camcorders and controllers at this price point.
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