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Old September 29th, 2009, 08:54 PM   #1
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Sony DSR-390 Help!!!

I recently got a Sony DSR-390 and am in need of some answers. If any one out there can help me i would greatly appreciate it. I am running Sony Mini DV tapes (60 min sony dvm60 Premium)) and I am only getting 40 minutes of record time on a tape. I am also getting blow out colors when shooting in moderate light (today was overcast and 54 degrees), I tried no nd filter, and then the other two ND filters and its either to dark or too light and blow out. I am wondering if maybe I am missing a record setting or something and maybe my two problems have something to do with one another. If I am shooting inside a hunting blind the colors are rich and vibrant but when I shoot across a bean field or out through the timber it appears to get real light and washed out. Any ideas? I am using Auto White Balance, auto iris (fujinon s20x6 lens). I even tried to white balance the camera and have also set the black balance. I have read the manual ten or fifteen times and cannot see anything I missed. I am entering hunting season and would really like to either figure this camera out or sell it and get something else. God bless you if you can help me, i am at witts end!!! BTW, i am running the footage back through the s video jack into my sd tv. I tried a dvcam-30 deck and get the same results...
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #2
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the Sony 300 and 500 series of cameras record in DVCam only, not DV.That's why you are only getting 40 minutes out of a 60 minute tape. To get more record time get full size tapes. They come in 124 and 184 minute.

As for color being washed out/blown out is the lens set to manual or auto iris? It maybe set to manual which could explain why the colors are blown out when in a brightly lit area. Check the switch on the top of the lens handle and make sure of where its set, auto or manual.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:19 PM   #3
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Don, thanks for the response... I am running it in auto and manual and get the same results.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:20 PM   #4
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I do notice that the iris either stays "open" or around f2/8
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:23 PM   #5
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could the iris sensitivity be off a little?? Or maybe something wrong with the video heads?
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:30 PM   #6
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OK if manual is giving you the same exposure as auto then I have to ask (sorry for asking such a question) are you adjusting the iris in manual to open or close as needed?

As I remember that lens has a pretty accurate and quick auto iris which might be the better way to go than manual in this case.

Can't give a specific exposure of course but when I ran DSR cameras I generally ran manual WB, only used the ND when called for, auto iris if runnin' and gunnin' but could handle manual iris and focus with my left hand while right hand handled zoom.

Try this. Take a typical scene you might shoot (something like the scene where the color was blown out) use manual WB, shutter at 1/60 and auto iris. Then set the iris switch to manual, see what the iris setting is and compare the 2 clips side by side. The auto iris may not be working and you think it is. Don't use any NDs keep it simple and see what happens.

the DSR390 is a great camera sounds like it could be a small thing with the lense.

Let me know what you get.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:46 PM   #7
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I find that most Sony cameras overexpose by at least half a stop when used in auto iris mode, from BetaSP/SX/DigiBeta down to the DSR3xx series. I would NEVER think of using a 390 in auto iris, nor depending on the "one touch" auto iris feature under your pinky.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:46 PM   #8
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Don, the auto iris is working as far as it tells me in the viewfinder anyways, it goes from open and fluctuates up and down. I have in manual tried different aperature settings and can see the light fluctuating (SP?). Also the camera does not give me a ND warning, should it? And 1/100 is as low as my shutter speed goes, wish it had 1/60th but it doesn't. I will try what you recommend tomorrow and let you know what I find out. It is so hard to judge exposure with the black and white viewfinder, I do use the zebra stipes but do not fully understand them and trust my judgement.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Mayne View Post
And 1/100 is as low as my shutter speed goes, wish it had 1/60th but it doesn't.
Turn the shutter control off and it defaults to 1/60th.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #10
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the switch on the front of the camera? then it goes into auto shutter? Thanks,
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
I find that most Sony cameras overexpose by at least half a stop when used in auto iris mode, from BetaSP/SX/DigiBeta down to the DSR3xx series. I would NEVER think of using a 390 in auto iris, nor depending on the "one touch" auto iris feature under your pinky.
So what is the best way to truly guage your exposure? Run in manual iris the run zebra stripes? I noticed that things really vary just by adjusting the contrast and brightness of my viewfinder, so is there a specific way to handle that? I appreciate all of the help, i truly do!!!
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:15 PM   #12
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Not auto shutter, default shutter. Unlike the palmcorder style cameras, the shoulder mount Sony's work differently: default shutter for NTSC is 1/60. If you want to change from 1/60, engage the shutter switch.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:18 PM   #13
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Brightness and contrast should be set up properly using the colour bar generator, specifically the grey banding area at the lower right of the bars pattern called the pluge. Do a Google search on setting up a B&W viewfinder.

And I personally set up my viewfinder so I can trust it and then use zebra at 75IRE to gauge highlights on skin tone.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:20 PM   #14
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Here's a good start:
Color Bars and How To Use ‘em Video University
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Old September 30th, 2009, 06:09 AM   #15
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Wow, I went to bed, woke up and found 4 news posts here. Everything Shaun said except for me I never had a problem using certain lenses on auto iris and using the "pinky button".
Personal choice but anyway, once you set the shutter to 1/60 run some tests I think you'll find a nice difference. As for the VF, I always set it as Shaun suggested but would adjust the brightness a bit brighter, I mean just a tiny touch. It was a safety precaution to me and a bit more comfortable for my eye. I also used an I-Cuff on my VF. Again, just personal comfort.
The DSR390 is still a great camera-you should be able to produce a rich looking quality image with it.
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