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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old February 18th, 2005, 03:10 AM   #1
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In full manual... what order ?

I turned off the auto shutter and turned on manual iris last night, I'm shooting in darkened areas and I felt the confidence to fully take over from the camera. I'm glad I did, the picture seems better to my eyes (dodgy venue lighting never helps) altho still darker than I'd like, but thats because its a dark venue and there doesn't sound like a lot I can do to counter this. It looks similar to how I saw it with my eyes, so I'm guessing thats a good thing.

Anyway, I noticed when setting up the manual (gain/shutter/white balance/iris/AE shift) that if I did it in a certain order, some functions wouldn't work and sometimes wouldn't give me the full range.. usually turning the AE shift on (sometimes wouldn't come on, and sometimes after setting the Lock I could still change the setting) and often the Iris wouldn't set up to 1.6, but would stick to 2 or 2.4. With the AE shift I notched it up a few levels, nothing wrong with this if a 70% zebra is still showing no signs of over exposure yeah?

For a pretty dark small venue environment I was shooting with gain set to 6dB, shutter 50 (PAL), iris 1.6 > 2, AE Shift +3, MWB set to something white I could find that was hit by a light, but different lights there probably didn't help and some areas were definitely darker than others. I'm used to setting most of this by myself (never really took much notice of the auto shutter as I always thought setting it manually in the camera would override this?) but the iris is the main "new" thing. Cranking it so low meant my focus was better, but due to the amount of movement I still left it in auto for most of the night, which I really want to change next time. When swingin from the band to get the crowd view (and using the LCD monitor) its a pain to have to constantly set the focus, but it seemed the improved DOF definitely gave me an easier focus, which is good news :)

So yeah, if anyone has advise as to which order they do things, I'd appreciate that. And also how much do they use the custom preset, if at all. I'm too scared to do a white balance/colour shift quite yet!
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Old February 18th, 2005, 07:21 AM   #2
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Re: In full manual... what order ?

<<<-- Originally posted by James Connors : and often the Iris wouldn't set up to 1.6, but would stick to 2 or 2.4. -->>>

I can't help you too much as I have only had my PD170 for a few weeks. But, from what you describe above, I am guessing that when the iris was 'stuck' at 2.4 was because you were at full zoom?
The lens works the same as most camcorder lens, ie you can only use F1.6 at the wide angle, as you zoom in, your aperture gets gradually smaller (numerically higher).
Does that describe your situation?
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Old February 18th, 2005, 07:27 AM   #3
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Ahhh thanks! The problem is I was using the technique I read on UrbanFox, which was to zoom to someones face, set the aperature by switching it to auto, then zooming back out. I think it must've then got stuck into the fact 2/2.4 was the lowest it could go I guess.

I should bring my camera into the office and mess around during lunch time, we have lots of lights in here so would be a good indoor test of the camera in an environment where a proper lighting rig wouldn't be possible.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 09:16 AM   #4
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Ramping over the entire range may well be unimpressive, but it's sure become the domestic norm. Of course it doesn't have to happen, but manufacturers are loath to mention maximum zoom maximum apertures, and you'll search in vain in the glossy, multi-page advertising brochure for the Panasonic DVX100A for this rather useful bit of photographic information. It's a camera, for God's sake! Why can't I be told the maximum aperture of the lens?

As to whether the ramping is uniform, it's hard to tell. To avoid human brain overload, the viewfinder aperture readout on my Sony and many other cams is given to the nearest half stop. So when it says f2.5 it means it's f2.5 + /- a quarter stop. You can't tell whether it's + or - of course. On tape replay it's the same thing, and in aperture priority (where the shutter speed is smoothly varied) again only the nearest half stop speeds are displayed.

Of course this ramping is great on the sales counter. Mr Punter sees he's getting an f1.6 lens, but with many cameras he'll need nearly four times the light just to film at full telephoto. Many people are unaware of this, and it often takes a good instruction book hunt to find out the truth.

Ramping means fast lenses at wide-angle (good) and lighter, cheaper, smaller zoom lenses (also good). What you lose though is speed, and generally this happes the moment you zoom towards telephoto. The Canon XL2 is a good case in point.

Moral: If it's gloomy and you're struggling, take off any converter lenses and filters, set the white balance to a preset and film at maximum wide-angle. Only then up the gain.

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Old February 18th, 2005, 09:58 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, will give it a good few reading overs to make sure it all sinks in :)

I tend to have a 0.7x Sony WA strapped to the front of the camera because i'm shooting in such close quarters, and I do use the zoom to get some nice "frontman in sticks mic into the crowd" type shots, but more often than not, I'm wide. I do use a custom whitebalance tho most of the time, but half the time I think the preset still looks good, just not the same as my eyes are seeing it. Will have a mess around with that next time I'm shooting. Either that or take a ton of white lights with me, can't stand coloured stage lighting and its not particularly attractive even when you don't have a camera on you!
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