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


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Old September 26th, 2002, 05:15 PM   #1
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External Monitor or LCD?

I am looking into getting either an external "TV monitor", or an external LCD monitor for a VX2000 I want, so that I can judge the focus better, does anyone else use one? If so, which ones, why, etc? Any information would be helpful, thanks guys.

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Old September 26th, 2002, 05:49 PM   #2
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Just curious, you don't think the built-in LCD screen on the VX2000 is adequate? I've always thought it was pretty good. Of course a professional field-portable CRT video monitor is the best way to go, but even the smallest of these are bulky, heavy and expensive.

The really low-priced 5.6" LCD monitors that are out there, I don't think they're any better than the built-in LCD screen on the VX2000. They're mainly handy for cameras that don't have flip-out LCD displays such as the XL1S.
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Old September 26th, 2002, 06:30 PM   #3
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I continue to try and find an acceptable LCD that will allow me to judge focus. I haven't found anything except, perhaps, the over $1,000 products that come out of the LA region.

For a CRT, I think you need about 9" for color, maybe 5" for B&W.

Right now, the viewfinder on my PD-150 is about as good as it gets for prosumer cameras.

My EVW-300 and DSR-300 have viewfinders that make it easy to determine focus. I keep wondering if one of their viewfinders could be modified to work with a 150/2000.

Anyone know where to find repair manuals for these viewfinders? I'd guess they are available directly from Sony.

BTW, the viewfinders sell for around $800 so they are no cheaper than a large monitor.
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Old September 26th, 2002, 09:30 PM   #4
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Thanks

Chris,

I don't have a VX2000 yet unfortunately... I'm just looking into the equipment I'll be purchasing when I get it. I've heard people say it's tough to accurately judge focus by the color LCD or viewfinder... so I was wondering what other options people were using for improving that... thanks, and anyone else who wants to post, please do so..

Moore
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Old September 26th, 2002, 10:58 PM   #5
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I think most LCD's are going to generally be of less video quality than a monitor. Via firewire, I use a D8 walkman and while it's not a great LCD, I've learned what range is right for exposure and to some extent, the focus. I use it as a record deck, but the image is very handy. I like how small it is and the price ($800 w/ battery -about $300 less than miniDV and a thou. less than dvcam versions).

I was thinking of getting a 13"tv for $79 and putting a cheap vcr in the middle to make the video connections, but while the image would be much better (as well as the price, it seemed a bit of a hassle.
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Old September 27th, 2002, 08:24 AM   #6
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Whatever display you use/have ,you should push the sharpness setting on that diplay (if availabe) to max if focussing is your first concern.
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Old September 27th, 2002, 12:26 PM   #7
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If you zoom in and then press the momentary focus button on the camera, the focus is almost always right on the button.

As I get more used to the PD-150's viewfinder, I am finding it easier to use for focus and exposure. I might even get to like it. I did find a big difference in the results when I finally started using the large eye-cup inside and outside. The light leaks with the normal eye-cup really fade the display.
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Old September 27th, 2002, 12:52 PM   #8
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The "zoom-in/zoom-out" approach is very usefull if the back focal adjustment of the lens system is perfect on your camera. Better checK the approach first because some camera's just rely on automatic focussing and are not optimal in focus using this approach.
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Old September 27th, 2002, 02:39 PM   #9
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You raise a good point. It would be useful for everyone with a VX2000/PD-150 to check this. The cameras are supposed to be backfocused out of the factory. And for the most part they are.

I had to send my new 150 to Sony for a repair. When it was returned, the Backfocus had been misadjusted.

So check them once in a while. Cameras with replaceable lenses have a backfocus adjustment that can be made by the operator.

A suitable target for backfocus checking is a sunburst type of pattern like the Japanese flag. The expanding wedges design.

Print this out on a laser or inkjet and place it about 20 feet away from the camera. Then, using a large TV image to check focus, first focus on the page at extreme telephoto. Then zoom fully wide. The graphic should stay in focus all along the way. If it doesn't, you may need to send the camera off to your favorite repair shop.

did I mention that you have to be in manual focus mode?
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Old September 27th, 2002, 03:19 PM   #10
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TV

Actually, while we're on the subject, does anyone know the main difference between a "professional monitor" and a regular TV? I'm sure there are plenty, as the price would indicate... but what about just buying a cheap 13" TV and using that as a focus monitor?

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Old September 27th, 2002, 04:54 PM   #11
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For the purpose of focusing, any well-focused tv or monitor will work. Probably need at least a 9 inch display.

For focus and exposure, monochrome monitor is easier to use once you get used to it. A 5" monochrome monitor works well.

Usually a 'professional' monitor will not have a tuner, only non-RF inputs.

Beyond that, anything goes. Underscan, cross-pulse, blue-gun, component input, broadcast phosphors, electron beam-stabilization, multiple setup menus, wide-screen, and more. Did I mentiion price?
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Old September 27th, 2002, 06:10 PM   #12
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Sooo....

So I guess a low-cost alternative to professional monitors, would be a $69.99 Apex 13"?? Turn the color down, and sharpness up and I should be ok, or at least more able to judge focus than on the built-in LCD.

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Old September 27th, 2002, 06:51 PM   #13
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Re: Sooo....

<<<-- Originally posted by moore511 : So I guess a low-cost alternative to professional monitors, would be a $69.99 Apex 13"?? Turn the color down, and sharpness up and I should be ok, or at least more able to judge focus than on the built-in LCD.

A 13" tv will do OK. Turning the color down isn't the same as using a monochrome monitor it that's what you mean by that.

A monochrome monitor has a continuous layer of phosphor on the faceplate. A color monitor has some combination of RGB phosphor dots or bars or wires that limit the resolution to the pitch of the RGB triplets. That's why pro viewfinders are always black and white.

Actually, if you could find a 5" portable monitor with a composite input (AV Input) that would be better for focusing purposes. I don't think you can find non-pro monochrome monitors any larger than that.

You might prowl tv repair shops and see if they have a 9-13 inch b&w TV in the back with composite inputs and maybe even 12 volt power. The time spent would be worth it.

Actually, now that I think about it, security monitors are often b&w and are relatively inexpensive. Might look there too.
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Old September 28th, 2002, 03:37 AM   #14
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If focus is a big concern for your, there is another possibility for you, something I sometimes do for resolution comparisons. Just try to find one of those (handheld) digital LCD oscilloscopes and use it as a waveform monitor. If using "delayed sweep mode" you can select the area of (focus)interest and maximise the "noise" on the signal. This is not only more precize than intensity focussing but also allows you to verify the signal as a whole (waveform monitor function)
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Old September 28th, 2002, 11:24 AM   #15
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That works very well.

The principle is that the best focus is matched by the maximum contrast. So the 'fattest' signal means the best focus. Many autofocus cameras use this mechanism.

I have a very small Leader waveform monitor that I use on critical shots. It works in this manner plus, of course, it allows me to maximize the image quality.
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