ZR-1000 first impression at DVinfo.net

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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old April 9th, 2004, 09:30 PM   #1
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ZR-1000 first impression

I just received a ZR-1000 from B&H. I immediately set about to get it working with my VX-2100.

My first experience was that the ZR-1000 won't attach to my Bogen 503 handle except in the lower diameter portion close to the camera. The clamp is too small (using the stock screws) to attach to the larger diameter shaft closer to your hand. This could be remedied with longer screws, but then you also have to deal with the extremely short LANC cable on the ZR-1000. The cable is only about 12" long so you would need some sort of extension cable to reach the camera if the ZR-1000 was mounted closer to the end of the handle. (I assume any mini female to mini male cable would do. Let me know if I'm mistaken.)

I am assuming that most folks position the controller closer to the end of the handle, just beyond the rubber grip where your hand goes. Is that how you use these controllers? I'm also assuming that you only use one hand on the handle/controller. If I'm wrong, then let me know on this score also.

The controller seems to work well but I find the veriable zoom using the ZR-1000 somewhat more sensitive than the rocker on top of the camera. I have a lot more trouble maintaining a nice controlled zoom with the remote control. Of course you can use the dial to select a constant speed zoom, but then you are stuck with that one speed. What would be ideal on a controller like this would be for the dial to be a scale factor applied to the variable zoom control. Then you could set the scale factor to 50%, and have variable zoom up to that speed. Do any of the other controllers work this way?

I am also wondering about the left/right rocker used for the zoom. A front back movement would be more intuitive, and perhaps easier to control while holding onto the handle and panning. (Pushing on the left side of the rocker while panning to the right may tax my coordination a bit. Do any of the other controllers utilize a front/back rocker? Are they easier to use?

I guess my first impression is that I am a little disappointed with the unit. I need to play around a little more with it to see if I like it better after going through a little learning curve.

Please respond back with answers to my questions and any other thoughts you might have.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 11:32 PM   #2
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Oh, quit whinning. :=)

The ZR-1000 was wonderful, in fact godsend, on my VX2100, and DSR-250.

I too uses the 503, but also 501 and 700RC2.

Some people like the 501/503 with the VX2100, but I insisted, and still insist, 700RC2 is good enough. In fact, the VX2100 with my 700RC2 has a 7" leftover for the cable, eat your heart out!

BTW, the only submini stereo extension cable I could find last year was from this guy whose website seems to be gone now, but here is the "company profile" that has phone number and physical address, etc,

http://www.netcheck.com/aaacustomcables.shtml

I was using the extension for some other purpose, it works great. He took a few days longer to fulfill the order though, possibly a one-man operation.

The 503 indeed needs longer screw to attach the ZR-1000 to the handle, took me 2 trips to the shop. Hint - the screw is metric.

But 503/ZR-1000 works fine on my DSR-250, which has the LAN-C "hole" nearest to the natural position possible -- at the bottom back right corner of the camera unit.

Overall, I think the 501 is good enough for even my DSR-250.

BTW, I love the ZR-1000 so much is because I use "1" for my wedding stuff, slow and constant zoom out and in, no worrying about slow/fast jerking. For my sport stuff I use "V", got to watch it if I want to use the footage during zooming.

Good luck.
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Old April 10th, 2004, 12:46 AM   #3
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Radio Shack is said to sell sub-mini extension cables. I just built my own by buying a std mini cable and replacing the connectors.
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Old April 10th, 2004, 12:49 AM   #4
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Sorry, I should have said my submini extension cable was very, very long, like 20 ft.
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Old April 10th, 2004, 10:58 AM   #5
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I've got a ZR-1000 for my GL2 and love it. Can't believe I waited so long to get it.

However, I'm about to move up to a PD170 (I think) and am curious as to how it will work with it.

I'm assuming pretty similarly to the VX2100.
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Old April 10th, 2004, 11:10 AM   #6
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Radio Shack does indeed sell a sub-mini (2.5mm) extension cable. It's 6 feet long, coiled, item # 4302003, price $6.89. The male end is a right-angle connector. I purchased one to use with my ZR-1000, and it works fine.

Also, Varizoom sells extension cables from their website.
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Old October 18th, 2004, 10:01 PM   #7
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You said: "What would be ideal on a controller like this would be for the dial to be a scale factor applied to the variable zoom control. Then you could set the scale factor to 50%, and have variable zoom up to that speed. Do any of the other controllers work this way?"

It appears the new Zoe controller does exactly that.

just an FYI.
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Old October 19th, 2004, 12:41 AM   #8
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Which Zoe controller works this way? Model number?
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Old October 19th, 2004, 12:55 AM   #9
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ZOE-DVL

http://www.bebob.de/international/zoe_dvl_eng.html

"MSR Maximum Speed Reduction. Thanks to this new function, you can limit the maximum speed of the zoom without losing the progressiveness of the rocker switch. It makes it even easier to get slow, smooth and stable zoomdrives."


In other words, if you set the maximum speed to, say, 25%, now the rocker varies the zoom speed from 0 to 25%.

(Note: you obviously won't get finer control than your camera / lens are capable of. And I understand the LANC protocol itself is limited to 8 discreet zoom speeds.)
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Old October 19th, 2004, 12:30 PM   #10
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Whoa! I am in the process of writing a review of the Zoe-dvl, and you guys are taking all my best lines.

First, to Alan. I started out with the ZR1000 on my PD150, but as you have noticed, it was hard to do a zoom with the rocker and maintain speed. It is also very hard to initiate a slow zoom, although there will always be a tiny hiccup do to the way the lanc command works. Conclulsion: the ZR1000 is probably the best controller for the money, but I became frustrated with it.

Eventually, after testing many controllers, I found the original Zoe, and spent the money after giving it a thorough testing. It was definitely the best of the lot.

The new Zoe does have the "maximum speed" limit function, which is sort of like having a "governor" on your controller. Turn down the wheel control to say, "fifty" and you can then ramp up to a maximum of fifty, instead of one hundred miles an hour, to continue the automobile analogy. You still get to use the full rotation of the rocker, but your speed is limited. Pretty sweet.

In regards to Alan's suggestion about the throtle control. Sorry, Alan, bad idea. Look at the professional controls out there: they all employ a similar rotating rocker type control. Just makes more sense. There is only one consumer control that uses the throtle, and its not worth mentioning.

As far as a dial with variable set speeds; cute, but not real practical. (Sorry Law) I would never want to be "locked into" a preset speed at any type of function where I had to be prepared for some ad lib situation. Again, there are no professional controllers that have pre-set speeds, although some have a speed control that will allow you to adjust the range of speed. Plus, if you set the speed dial to "5", and activate the rocker, you will bolt forward at fifty miles an hour, with no ramp up, or slow down. Pretty ugly. Sure, I know, some will say "I can dial up the speed and dial it down for a ramp effect." Try doing that in the middle of musical number. And what hand do you use to focus? Bad idea.

Finally, I didn't have any trouble attaching the ZR1000 to the pan handle of my Bogen 501, so I can't quite grasp what is wrong with your set-up. Hmm.

But, as I said, I still think the ZR1000 is probably the best control for the money. However, you will probably outgrow it, and if you have the extra money, you might want to return the ZR to B&H and go for the Zoe. You are more than half way there, cost-wise.

And keep an eye out for my review of the Zoe-dvl.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old October 19th, 2004, 12:46 PM   #11
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Wayne, I was wondering who your review is going to, and if it isn't an exclusive for somebody, could we run it here on DV Info Net in our Articles section. We've just recently posted Ken Tanaka's review of the Zoe DV-L but it's always nice to have another shooter's take on it, especially with different camera models. Thanks in advance,
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Old October 19th, 2004, 01:13 PM   #12
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Thanks for the invitation, Chris. Let me get back to you on that, as I am out the door. Off to shoot a Jerry Seinfeld concert at the Improv. Shhh.
Wayne
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Old October 19th, 2004, 02:44 PM   #13
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Having worked with Professional lenses like Fujinon or Canon with its remote control for both zoom and focus, Lanc controls are just so different !! It can't be compared. The precision, the smoothness of Canon or Fujinon are absolutely great. It's impossible to make lanc remote controls work like professional remotes controls.

Just my opinion.
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Old October 19th, 2004, 11:32 PM   #14
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This reply is going to Wayne.

Thanks for comments based upon your testing. I have a few more questions and one clarification.

With regard to the Zoe "maximum speed" function, does the sensitivity of the rocker change when you adjust the maximum to 50%? In other words, does a rotation of the rocker by 30% give you half the zoom speed as before, or does the last half of the rotation of the zoom button simply not do anything? This is a critical concern. When at 50%, I wan't a less sensitive rocker so that I can initiate zooms and ramp up more smoothly. Does it work this way?

I'm not sure what you mean by a throttle control. Are you equating this to a front/back rocker as opposed to a left/right rocker?

The problem with the mounting of the ZR-1000 is that it doesn't handle larger pan handles. I have Bogen 503's which use extensible handles that are a larger diameter than the 501. (I also have a 501). There are situations where I would like to extend the 503 handle and have the LANC controller at the very end of the pan handle. Of course, besides not fitting the diameter of the 503 handle at this point, the measly length of the ZR-1000 cable doesn't reach that far either, which is another problem...

Please respond to my question regarding the dynamics of the 50% setting. I'm also curious with respect to how far down you can dial the maximum speed.
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Old October 20th, 2004, 12:40 AM   #15
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Back from the concert.

Robert, of course you can't get the super smooth action of a Fujinon or Canon pro lens in of dv cam using the LANC system, but you can improve the quality of your lens work with a better controller, and that's what I believe you will find in the Zoe. By the way, Robert, there are Zoe Pro controllers for those expensive pro lenses. The pro version looks just like the Zoe-dvl, and they work great for about half the money of controllers from Fujinon and Canon.

Alan, I will have to go back and retest the demo model to answer all your questions, but yes, when you slow down the maximum speed, you still get full range of active motion from the rocker.

Yes, by throttle control, I mean the front/back, push/pull action. Bleh. Save me from Micro Force, the only pro contoller that uses that action. That's so an assistant can hold the controller in his hand and zoom. Hard to do that with a twist rocker.

Now I understand your problem. Too bad. I guess that's one reason they increased the spread on the new Zoe to accommodate larger handles. Also, it's a great controller to attach to a monopod. Or, the handle of a PD150/VX2K.

Hope you guys read Ken Tanaka's excellent review. He didn't leave me anything to talk about. (Not very likely ;-)

Wayne
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