Clarity of landscape (infinite focus) at DVinfo.net

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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old November 17th, 2001, 04:56 AM   #1
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Clarity of landscape (infinite focus)

Hi

I am a new owner of a VX2000 (and video maker) and I am wondering about the quality of my images when shooting on infinite. I mean that the far background always seems to be unclear, busy, too much contrasted, not at all the same quality of the images taken at a shorter distance.

What could be the problem and how to investigate further?
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Old November 17th, 2001, 06:47 AM   #2
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Paul,

at high Fstops (f22 and above) there is a phenomenon called refraction, this causes softening of an image. Check out the article on the XL1 Watchdog, it explains it pretty well, even has pictures
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Old November 17th, 2001, 08:36 AM   #3
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Hi Adrian

Can you be more specific and tell me which article you have in mind?

I know the effect in macro-photography but here it is slightly different. The image seems to be overcontrasted & blurry in the same time. I have never taken any snap shot, but if you think a jpg could be useful in detecting the problem, I am ready to do the test and post the photo.
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Old November 17th, 2001, 07:12 PM   #4
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Hey Paul,

the article I mentioned is on the XL1 Watchdog/Article Menu/Soft Focus Problem and Workaround

Have a read of it and if it dosen't solve your problem we can go from there.

When troubleshooting always look for operator error/photography basics first before thinking about a problem with a $4000 camera.
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Old November 18th, 2001, 01:38 AM   #5
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The only article I found is "XL1 Focus Probs with Picture link" and looked at the web site http://www.azuho.com/waveform/camtest.html
with the tests but... I am missing the connection or the solution to my problem...

Please help further.
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Old November 18th, 2001, 02:05 AM   #6
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Hey Paul,

go to the Watchdog www.dvinfo.net/xl1.htm in the side menu, click on Articles Menu then on the Lens and Optics link. Scroll down the page until you find the link that says Soft Focus Problem and Workaround, click it and you might find the solution to your problem.

To shoot a shot with infinite focus you have to use a very small iris setting, f16 and up. At f22 and above you get a occurance called refraction which produces an image with the problems you mentioned, soft focus and overly high contrast. Try shooting with your camera in AV mode and set the Iris to f16. This will ensure you have a full depth of field and eliminate the refraction problem
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Old November 18th, 2001, 11:48 AM   #7
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I "finally" found the article (sorry for the confusion... I was still looking in the discussion threads).

I did some basic tests on a tripod with stabilisator off and checked the speed & f/stop. With speed below 50, the image is completely blured, above 50 up to 1000, corresponding to a f/stop of 11 to 4, the image look the same, very blured on the infinite. When I say "very blured" it is in fact desastrous, I did not realise it untill I upload the clips on my Mac with iMovie. The quality is not even good for the cheapest camera! However the shots at short distance are excellent!

I am sure there is something wrong with the camera lens or I am doing something weird?

I have a jpg file converted from a video clip that shows what I mean. And trust me that the jpg is not responsible for the bad image, but the video it-self. On the viodeo it-self you barely distinguish the flowers and the mountain is slightly blured.

http://www.gondwanastudio.com/Clip.jpg

Thanks in advance for helping me...
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Old November 27th, 2001, 05:08 AM   #8
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Hey Paul,

sorry I took so long to reply, I've been up to Mt Fuji shooting photos. Gotta love winter ay, it's cold but the sky is so blue and clear, even here in Japan.

I looked at your shot and it's got me. It looks pretty bad. If it does that at f4 it's not difraction. So everything works fine on all settings except infinite, It might be time to contact Sony mate.

Sorry I couldn't help more
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Old November 27th, 2001, 06:47 AM   #9
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Even if it is late, I appreciate your feedbacks...

The camera has been tested by Sony Repair Centre in Cape Town. They didn't find anything wrong with the flange back settings but admit that there was definitely a serious lack of sharpness on wide angle especially at infinite. They suggested to replace the full lens block (under warranty). It will take a couple of weeks to get the part in the country.

Any expertise on that can of problem.

I would like to compare the footage of the same subject from another similar camera, with the one obtained with my camera. Do you know anyone around Cape Town?
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Old November 27th, 2001, 09:58 AM   #10
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Howdy from Texas,

Paul, I've looked at your sample .jpg and I can tell by the quality of your website that you're a talented artist and a professional photographer. Your site is very impressive, in content and design.

I'm not doubting there's anything wrong with your VX2000 -- apparantly Sony thinks there is -- but I did want to mention something about DV camcorders in general.

They all tend to be a bit soft at full wide angle and on extreme long shots. This is due to the format... it's only 720x480, which is sufficient for broadcast but nowhere near what you're used to as a photographer. DV is great for video but in terms of comparing to digital still photos, DV a small, fairly low resolution format.

One of the drawbacks of DV is the process of pixel averaging. There are only 720 pixels of width (and 480 in height) to build an image. This is fine for close-up shots, superb in fact, but significant amounts of detail are lost at the full-wide focal length. 720 pixels is perfect for a shot of a flower, a face, or anything small. However 720 pixels is not a lot of resolution for a mountain range... large, broad subjects such as landscapes are going to lose *a lot* of detail at full-wide, because there aren't enough pixels in the image to do them justice. Shoot a landscape at full-wide, and you have the pixel averaging phenomenon softening things up quite a bit. This occurs in *all* DV camcorders; optical quality will affect it somewhat.

Again, it looks like there is something wrong with your particular camera, but I wanted to advise you not to expect stellar results from DV when used for wide shots of expansive landscape.

Your intention to compare the output with another VX2000 is a good one, I hope you can hook up with somebody in your area... a PD150 or DSR250 will suffice in place of a VX2000, as the lens and CCD's are the same between all three cameras. Good luck,
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Old November 28th, 2001, 07:42 AM   #11
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Outcome of blurry landscape?

Did your problem only occur with a still capture or is this a problem with the overall camera? I would think that the problem would be consistent when shooting or capturing a single frame. Also, did you identify and fix the problem? I am considering purchasing a GL1 or a VX2000. As I said in my other post, I am going to be shooting mostly outdoors. Thanks.
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