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Old October 27th, 2014, 10:25 AM   #1
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PMW 200 Focus

I was recording some greetings at a wedding recently and I noticed there was some focus hunting going on the camera was on auto focus in a reasonably bright area, anyone know is this an issue or should I have taken it off Auto Focus?
it can be seen slightly at about 6/7 seconds and more pronounced at 17 seconds.


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Old October 27th, 2014, 11:51 AM   #2
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Re: PMW 200 Focus

My thoughts would be the high contrast edges on the painting in the background could be the source of the hunting. It was competing with the foreground subjects.
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Old October 27th, 2014, 03:19 PM   #3
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Re: PMW 200 Focus

Hi thanks for that.
I tested it at home but couldn't get it to repeat the same behaviour!
so i guess the lesson here is - use manual focus
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Old October 27th, 2014, 03:29 PM   #4
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Re: PMW 200 Focus

Mr. Rob Cantwell...I've been told by working Pros the 'best practice' is to have the camera on 'manual focusing'. However, having done my fair share of Weddings as a 'Photo Dog', I realize it is a dynamic environment, not necessarily conducive to manually focusing. The 'Peaking' feature is very helpful.

In that former life, while doing 'events', Weddings, Anniversaries, parties, etc., I would set my camera's shutter and Iris at a fixed values and 'Zone Focus'. I don't know how familiar you are with 'Zone-Focusing'?

Essentially, it allows you to set a 'Zone' (a.k.a., Depth of Field) or range that will be in focus, based on the f-stop (& shutter) you set. Somewhere around f/5.6, f/8, etc., is where you begin to get more background (Depth of Field) 'in-focus'.

Unfortunately, the PMW-200 (and others) will introduce 'noise' at higher Iris settings (+f/4).

I presume this same technique will work with video cameras? Surprisingly, I've never tried it with my PMW-200 (Ugh! More testing.).

I don't know if the technique translates from emulsion film to ones and zeros media. In my simple mind, light is light and an Iris is an Iris?

I'm sure others with more information will chime-in.

Regards,

J.
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Old October 27th, 2014, 03:29 PM   #5
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Re: PMW 200 Focus

Correct. The XDCAM cameras like the EX1, EX1R and 200 are not known to have good autofocus. If you are reliant on autofocus, NXCAM fares better, but uses an inferior codec to XDCAM for recording.

Otherwise, practicing manual focus is a great skill to have as a camera operator.
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Old October 27th, 2014, 09:35 PM   #6
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Re: PMW 200 Focus

—and I'll add this to what Jack says: try using the Hoodman Loupe. It fits over the fold-out LCD. Looking through the loupe you can see everything much more clearly, and focussing in much much easier.
And yes, peaking is a must as well.
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Old October 28th, 2014, 07:30 AM   #7
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Re: PMW 200 Focus

thanks for the input/tips
this camera was not manned during this segment and people had been directed to go to the mic and record their greetings etc. so it was running away on it's own.
I did have someone stand at the mic and focused also using peaking and assumed it would pic out anyone who stood at that spot after that!
I had considered manually focusing but thought the auto would have been better. Whenever i am operating the camera it would be on manual so i never noticed this behaviour before.
anyway
thanks guys

Lesson learnt

:)
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Old October 28th, 2014, 07:37 AM   #8
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Re: PMW 200 Focus

You should have manually focused the lens about 1 foot behind the microphone stand, and then locked down the camera and taped the mic stand to the floor so it couldn't be moved. That would have solved easily your problem. Auto-focus is never the right choice in any shooting situation, and one of the benefits of a 1/2" camera is that you have a lot of depth of field whether you want it or not.

Mastering the PMW-200-160-150-100 Camcorders


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Old October 29th, 2014, 02:53 PM   #9
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Re: PMW 200 Focus

spot on Doug, thanks

theres always more to the learning curve eh?
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