PD170 zoom ring hard to work with? at DVinfo.net

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


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Old December 22nd, 2008, 12:01 AM   #1
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PD170 zoom ring hard to work with?

I wanted to switch to the zoom ring instead of the other zoom - but it seems that the zoom ring is sort of uneven or something. Maybe it's the zoom-er. =) But it seems hard to get a smooth zoom. I'm trying to apply smooth even pressure, but the zoom itself seems to slow down or be jerky. Has anyone else noticed this?
And while I"m on the subject of shaky things on the pd170, I've noticed also that the plate it sits on moves back and forth - even when the screw is tight. I constantly have to take the camera off the tripod, tighten the screw, and it still moves. Anyone solved this issue?
Thanks
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 06:10 AM   #2
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yes the zoom ring is somewhat uneven. this is the same as my 8 year old pd150 and my 12 year old vx1000. my dsr250 was similar as well. This is more the nature of a servo lens than anything else. A bit of intense practice with the zoom ring and you can get smooth zooms thru much of the range but I've yet to get it really smooth end to end.

As for the mounting plate, I'll assume you mean the tripod QR plate. I
have to say mine have never come loose. If anything when I have to remove the QR plates I really have to muscle them off. It sounds like the threads on either the male or female are worn. Perhaps try a bit of thread lock but be very careful with this stuff. Too much and you will NEVER get the screws undone. Just a dab'll do ya. (old Brycreame commecial)

Don
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:36 AM   #3
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Loose Plate??

Don.


I think you may find the screw bottoms out in the hole in the base of the PD170 just before it takes up entirely against the plate and lies to you about being tight. It is the same with Z1/FX1 and EX1.

File about 1mm off the end of the screw, use a washer under the head or insert about 1mm of packing between the plate and the camera base and I think the problem will go away.

I use a piece of truck inner tube. It is a bit compliant but it grips to a larger area of the camera base and surrounding plastic casework. I have anxieties about overtightening that screw and pulling the four little screws which hold the square with the hole in it, so I don't screw it up too tight, just enough to immobilise the camera and no more.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 11:45 AM   #4
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I'm glad it's not me on the zoom. ISo there's no way to get it to zoom smoothly? I'm trying to learn to work with the focus ring and get smooth zooming into body memory, and it doesn't help when your zoom is off.
Thanks for the other tips on the loose plate. I'll check those out.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 12:20 PM   #5
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smooth zoom using the zoom ring just calls for a light touch and lots of practice. it also calls for doing a shot multiple times if possible.

As for the screw being a bit too long (screw hole too short actually) I really haven't had or noticed the problem but I guess anything is possible. Having used the same plates and screws on 2 different pd150s a 170 and my trusty old VX1000 I never noticed the plate being loose at all but again anything is possible. Maybe I just didn't feel it but I do know that the camera(s) sit quite tight.

Don
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 01:17 PM   #6
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In general, especially for Sony amateur/prosumer camers, tripod plate holddown screws must not be longer than 6mm or 1/4" or you run the risk of punching the end out of the screw socket in the camera.

Unfortunately, some of the hold down screws are much longer than that although most also have a locking nut so you can tighten the camera to the tripod without exceeding the permissible screw depth in the socket.

It is possible, if your tripod head is old, that the anti-skid material on the top has shrunk. Mine have, especially the ones made of cork. It might be a good idea to put another layer down if that is the case.

If you need a smoother zoom, you might consider adding a long (light-think balsa or carbon fibre) handle to the zoom ring. The extension will allow you to operate it more smoothly because non-smooth movement of your hand/arm (always use your arm if you can, it moves more smoothly) over the larger range is a smaller percentage of the overall movement out at the end of the handle. Of course, unless you balance it with an equal arm on the other side of the ring, it won't stay where you leave it at the end of the zoom. A 6" extension may not get in the way of other camera moves.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 02:41 PM   #7
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I think the only way to get really smooth zooms with this camera (or perhaps ANY camera) is to invest in a good lanc controller (I use a Bogen 522 for tripod shooting and a Sony controller from one of their cheaper tripods for hand-held shooting on a Spiderbrace). Using the zoom ring and/or zoom lever built into the camera always increases the chance for unwanted jiggle and movement in your shots.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 05:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kell Smith View Post
I've noticed also that the plate it sits on moves back and forth - even when the screw is tight. I constantly have to take the camera off the tripod, tighten the screw, and it still moves. Anyone solved this issue?
Thanks
Hmm...don't have this problem with the 170 but I do have it with the Z1.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 07:04 PM   #9
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LANC for zoom better than manual ring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Burlingame View Post
I think the only way to get really smooth zooms with this camera (or perhaps ANY camera) is to invest in a good lanc controller (I use a Bogen 522 for tripod shooting and a Sony controller from one of their cheaper tripods for hand-held shooting on a Spiderbrace). Using the zoom ring and/or zoom lever built into the camera always increases the chance for unwanted jiggle and movement in your shots.
While I agree technically with your point ("if you don't touch the camera, it's much less likely it will shake"), I don't agree 100% with it yielding better images while zooming.

I struggle with this topic myself -- using the zoom ring I find that my shooting style is far superior... the tacit and fine control it provides allows me to engage myself more into the subject matter, and this translates to better shoots. Thing is, I don't have the smoothness thing down 100% yet, especially after my hand comes all the way around but I need the zoom to keep going!

Using the LANC controller simply moves the rocker off the camera, yes?
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Old January 7th, 2009, 01:50 AM   #10
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Rob, if possible, borrow or rent a lanc controller from someone to try out with your camera. I know from personal experience that the lanc controller gives me the smoothest & most consistent results compared to manual zooming with the zoom ring. I think it's very difficult to zoom in or out at a consistent speed with the zoom ring. On the other hand, many lanc controllers allow you to preset the speed ahead of time so you can achieve more consistent results. When used properly, lanc controllers also prevent zoom "hesitation" throughout the entire zoom range and you don't have to be a contortionist to use one.
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