I feel really dumb... expecting the PD170 wide-angle to do too much. at DVinfo.net

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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old May 18th, 2004, 11:46 PM   #1
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I feel really dumb... expecting the PD170 wide-angle to do too much.

I have been covering a number of events recently where the wide-angle came in very handy for some tight spaces with capturing some interviews. In one event I was also capturing some zoomed in shots of a speaker in an auditorium. Initial framing test showed that I did not need to remove the wide-angle in order to improve the composition... so I left it on.

As I was capturing the shots I found myself squinting at the LCD display and also in the viewfinder as the image appeared to be a little "soft". I moved it through focus and back again... and decided that I probably just needed better glasses (I have had perfect vision until I noticed the need for glasses on close-up work a couple of months ago).

I was also capturing the event with a VX2000 without a wideangle lens.

The VX2000 footage is great quality... very sharp image... but the PD170 stuff is all soft (not exactly out of focus but just a pretty rough image). I basically have to write-off all the close-up shots captured on the PD170.

So... what I am kicking myself for is that now I think about why this happens it seems pretty obvious. You should use a wide-angle lens for what it was designed for... and if you find yourself using the full zoom then you should remove the lens and go back to the default.

So... if anyone else can learn from my mistake.. I hope this post helps.
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Old May 19th, 2004, 07:28 AM   #2
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Thanks for posting that, definitely something to be wary of.
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Old May 19th, 2004, 08:29 PM   #3
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I don't use the WA adapter unless I absolutely have to. Then I always sharpen the image a touch in Post.

The WA on my PC-110, being much smaller (maybe), doesn't soften the image the way the Century does on the 150. It's a Century too but I think made in Japan.

The Century for the 150 is so soft I sent it back to them. They returned it claiming that it is 'razor' sharp and normal. Since I've had it on 3 different 150's and it produces the same soft image, it has to be the price one pays for not using a primary lens for wide.
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Old May 19th, 2004, 11:45 PM   #4
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Mike,
Is it soft throughout the zoom range? Or just more toward
full tele?
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Old May 20th, 2004, 10:47 AM   #5
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I think it is soft everywhere compared to the bare 150 lens.

If I can get the shot without it, I do.

BTW, the LCD is pretty much useless for accurate focus as compared to the viewfinder on the 150/170. I have some embarassing footage of a great speech (Vietnam POW) that is quite soft because I used the LCD screen to focus. I find that I can get a more reliable (easier anyway) focus with a Monitor than with the viewfinder (old eyes).
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Old May 21st, 2004, 02:27 PM   #6
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I've found the PD-170's WA to be somewhat soft in general but especially at full tele or close to. If I'm shooting at distance I'll remove the WA. I'll only use it for close in situations which is where it makes the biggest difference anyways.

I've found an external monitor is indispensable for focus as well as detecting subtle camera vibration from a tripod which can't be seen very well if at all through the viewfinder or LCD screen.

I was burned a few times when everything looked good at the shoot only to play it back on a 36" TV and have the picture bobbing or vibrating enough to be distracting. I use a portable DVD player with line inputs (Samsung DVD-L200) now to spot this in the field.
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