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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 30th, 2003, 08:42 PM   #1
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VX-2100 Viewfinder Issues

I've been playing around some more with my new VX2100. I'm not sure I like the new viewfinder. I find that when I try to use it, any small tipping of my head relative to the viewfinder eye cup will cause blurring and significant changes in brightness. The blurriness is probably caused by the lens of my eye moving slightly relative to the focal point of the EVF magnifier. It seems much more sensitive to this than the VX200 viewfinder. I am afraid that with normal panning that such slight changes will take place, and when they do it will be difficult to know whether the camera has gone out of focus or if my eye is no longer in the right spot... The change in brightness is also annoying. My VX-2100 viewfinder acts like it has some visual angle sensitivity; you can get different brightness levels depending upon where exactly your eye is relative to the center of the eyecup. This again is not something I ever noticed with my VX2000. One possible explanation for these problems may be due to the different eyecup that comes standard on the VX2100. The 2100 comes with only the large eyecup, which is different from the small one that I have been using with my VX2000. This larger cup puts your eye farther from the eyepiece, which may make any changes in exact eye position more of a problem. If I can find my big eyecup for my VX2000, then I'll be able to verify if this is the case.
Has anyone else noticed these issues with the VX2100? Perhaps I have a bad unit?
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Old January 1st, 2004, 02:09 PM   #2
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I would suggest to try and find another unit and see if that one
also does it. Not a lot of people have a 2100 yet.
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Old January 1st, 2004, 04:53 PM   #3
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Re: VX-2100 Viewfinder Issues

<<<-- Originally posted by Alan Christensen : It seems much more sensitive to this than the VX200 viewfinder. I am afraid that with normal panning that such slight changes will take place, and when they do it will be difficult to know whether the camera has gone out of focus -->>>

I find it very hard to make focus judgements in the VX-2000 viewfinder! I've always felt that it was really horrible, and only use it in bright light situations where the LCD screen isn't practical.
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 09:09 AM   #4
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Hummm.................your problem makes sense.

Sony decided to use a magnifier to increase the viewing area and percived size rather than an actual larger CRT within the EVF. I bet every lateral movement causes a blurring and/or dead spots.
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Old January 10th, 2004, 11:44 AM   #5
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As a follow-up. I used the VX2100 a few days back and the contrast change in the EVF is noticeable and annoying.

I like the EVF in the VX2000 better albeit slightly smaller.
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Old January 10th, 2004, 03:18 PM   #6
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So, it's like a microscope, right? A microscope that's being panned and tilted.
:-) . For more static shots, you probably will become accustomed to it, as you would a micropscope. But, then, I'm really to the idea of camcorder as microscope (as analogy, mind).
Personally, I don't get colour VFs, when in combination with flip out screens, at all. It's the sort of thing that keeps me from buying certain camcorders.

How do you like the new/improved LCD so far?

Also, does anyone know of LCD hoods that protrude on ALL sides of the screen, rather than just from the top, like a rectangular cylinder? My goal is not only to block sun, but to provide blinders that help control the angle at which I look at the screen, making my readings more consistent.

Shawn
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Old January 11th, 2004, 12:39 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Shawn Mielke :

Also, does anyone know of LCD hoods that protrude on ALL sides of the screen, rather than just from the top, like a rectangular cylinder? My goal is not only to block sun, but to provide blinders that help control the angle at which I look at the screen, making my readings more consistent.

Shawn -->>>

Sure. www.hoodmanUSA.com

But nothing will help you use a LCD screen for making adjustments. It hasn't enough resolution for reliable focusing and the color representation is not good enough to help you in adjusting picture quality. Really only good enough to give you a larger menu and to aid in framing. Of course, since the camera has a larger field of view than the LCD, that doesn't work too well either!
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Old January 11th, 2004, 01:45 PM   #8
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Petrol makes a hood for 19 bucks and it works.

The LCD on the VX2100 is better outside. I, for one, do not use the LCD because of my aging eyes. ALSO-too much battery juice is consumed with the LCD open.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 03:09 PM   #9
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Fantastic! Thanks, Mike. Good link to have around, too.
Yes, I'm quickly learning about the limitations of the LCD. The 8" Sony 8045 has been discontinued; hopefully Sony will replace it with something similar (hopefully also, I'll have the grand for it :+] ). For focus on the PDX10, though, the touch screen is actually a smart alternative to the puny electronic focus ring, IMO, making the LCD a bit more valuable to me.

The Petrol, that I have seen for a 3.5"screen, has only a visor at the top, which, while offering sun block, doesn't look like it will work well as a blinder. Could be wrong, though.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 07:29 PM   #10
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You can always buy a good used 8" monitor for around $400 or so. I did, for a bit less and it is, for me, as good as a new unit.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 07:47 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Lou Bruno : too much battery juice is consumed with the LCD open. -->>>

Well with the NP-F960 I have run my VX-2000 for 6 hours nonstop with the LCD at full brightness the whole time, and the meter reported that I had several hours left in the battery. Surely it would go for 8 hours. Unless you're going away for days at a time without the opportunity to recharge I can't imagine that this is much of an issue.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 07:49 PM   #12
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Good thought, Mike. However, buying used is good when able to visit stuff first hand (right?), an option not terribly available to me, where I live. My purchase will more than likely be online. Also, I would like to have something of a cultivated eye for good and bad used electronics before shopping, which I don't yet have.
Or maybe I'm just a 'fraidy cat. :-]
Anyway, we shall see.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 08:00 PM   #13
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Mike: of course you are correct about using the LCD for critical judgements, but as a practical matter it's not always possible to lug a monitor around on location and still accomplish everything on a tight schedule. Now I think there's a whole world of difference between the quality of the PDX-10's LCD and the PD-150, with around 50,000 more pixels, much higher brightness and a larger footprint. After gaining some experience with the camera and watching lots of footage on a monitor you can get a pretty good sense of what to expect by using the LCD on location. It's a compromise, sure, but a manageable one IMO.

The overscan issue is a big one, as you point out. I find myself being very conservative about framing shots, especially when I know the results will be digitally projected. It's really easy to get something you don't want in the frame when relying solely on the viewfinder and LCD. One portable solution to this is using my Powerbook, a firewire cable and BTV pro. It won't give you accurate color representations, but it does show the full frame and is a lightweight, cheap, portable solution.

Shawn, I have never developed much of a fondness for the PDX-10's spot focus function since you have to navigate various menus to get there. Using the focus ring along with the pushbutton generally serves me well, and the metric distance readout can also help in some situations.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 10:07 PM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Shawn Mielke : Good thought, Mike. However, buying used is good when able to visit stuff first hand (right?), an option not terribly available to me, where I live. My purchase will more than likely be online. Also, I would like to have something of a cultivated eye for good and bad used electronics before shopping, which I don't yet have.
Or maybe I'm just a 'fraidy cat. :-]
Anyway, we shall see. -->>>

There are reliable people out there from whom you can purchase these is relative safety. Their products are what they claim and they do provide after-sales service.

But that does mean that you are going to pay a bit more. Still I wouldn't believe over $500 for a unit with warranty.

I purchased mine long ago and have lost the reference to the seller who was one of those 'permanent' used equipment operations. I think there is one in SoCal.

Ukiah isn't that far away. I did my cross-country trips to there when I was getting my pilots license. Only an hour or so away from San Jose.

Boyd, given my experience with the 150 and soft focus when using the LCD, I don't think it is an acceptable tool at any time. The viewfinder, however, is just OK compared to a 'real' pro viewfinder.

The PDX LCD may be better but I'd bet it still isn't real good for focus.

One screwed-up shot is too many when my clients expect sharp footage.

The push-button is the final solution as long as there is enough light. Otherwise, the poor low-light autofocus and focus hunting is not acceptable either. And the 150's viewfinder is really marginal when the lights are way down low.

Unless I have to run and gun, the monitor always goes with me.

I do have one fall-back. I have a portable Leader waveform monitor that is paired with a 2" color monitor. I use the waveform monitor to tell me when I'm in focus. That's the point where contrast is at its maximum. The whole setup can be hung around my neck (for short periods of time).
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