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Old September 12th, 2019, 12:24 PM   #1
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Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

I'm back looking at remote LANC zoom controls and have a question about the Varizoom VZ-Stealth:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/240135-REG/VariZoom_VZ_STEALTH_VZ_STEALTH_Zoom_Controller.html/BI/2855/KBID/3801

Will the power 'ON' control actually work with my Canon HF-G30 ? Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to test. The Operating Instructions (downloaded from the Varizoom website) state:

"The button marked ON will toggle the camera between standby and full power modes. Hold the button in for 2 seconds and release to put the camera into standby mode. To power the camera up from standby mode, simply press the ON button (most camcorders will go into auto standby after a few minutes in record pause mode). Pressing the “ON” button will bring the camcorder back to full operating mode whether you put it into standby manually or if it happens automatically"

My old HF-G10 had a 'Standby/Quick Start' (sleep) mode that that could be set to postpone 'Auto Power Off' for up to 20 mins of inactivity. Unfortunately the 'Standby' mode was dropped on the HF-G30 and the only battery power-saving option is the 'Auto Power Off' function which, when activated, automatically turns the camcorder off after 5 mins of in-operation - in which case the sliding Power switch has to be moved to OFF and back to ON to turn the camcorder on again.

So, if the 'ON' control on the VZ-Stealth does work on the HF-G30, does it completely power-down and power-up the camcorder (over-riding the Power switch) or does it put the camcorder into a 'standby' power state that is otherwise not accessible in the camcorder options ?

I would assume this applies to all models from the HF-G30 and XA 20/25 up.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; September 13th, 2019 at 12:14 AM.
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Old September 12th, 2019, 09:27 PM   #2
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

I see the Manfrotto MVR901ECPL remote also has Full/Standby power control and this chart says it's compatible with the HF-G30, so I guess it must work then:

https://www.kulturbuero.ch/zh/resour...chartv0615.pdf
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Old September 13th, 2019, 04:53 AM   #3
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

I use a Manfrotto Panhandle 523Pro with a Canon G30. If the Autosave is set to on, I have to restart the camera by swtching the camera off and back on. The camera settings are not overridden by the remote.
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Old September 13th, 2019, 10:04 AM   #4
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

Thanks for the response David. I thought 'Auto Power Off' probably needs to be disabled, at least when powered from the battery; when connected to external power the 'Auto Power Off' feature is automatically disabled.

But I'm still not clear if the power control on these remotes is fully powering down/up the camcorder or putting it into a low power consumption 'sleep' state. Does the remote power control 'wake' the HF-G30 any faster than when it is powered on with the camcorder switch ?

The the nice thing about Standby (Quickstart) mode on my old HF-G10 was that it took just 1 second to ready the camcorder for recording when awakened, either by opening the LCD screen, pulling out the EVF or lightly depressing the power button.

I've considered the Manfrotto MVR901ECPL, by the way, but as well as being pricier than the VZ-Stealth, I see that the maximum clamp diameter is just 23mm (0.9"). Which would be OK if I were only mounting the remote on a pan handle but I'd also be using it on a hand-held rig where I need minimum 1.25" clamp width. The older Manfrotto 521 clamp-on remotes had a larger clamp range (max 35mm/1.38"). Would they work with the HF-G30 if I can find one ? I would think so if your Panhandle 523Pro does.

What puts me off a bit about the the VZ-Stealth is that the cable is 40" long and not removable. I'd much prefer one with a coiled cable or one that can be removed and replaced with a shorter/coiled cable when mounted on my hand-held rig. Also reviews commenting that the cable connection on the Varizoom remotes is rather delicate.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; September 13th, 2019 at 11:43 AM.
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Old September 14th, 2019, 07:55 AM   #5
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

Brian
I need to add to what I wrote yesterday. The remote has 2 switches, On/Off and Run/Stop. What I wrote yesterday applied only to the Run/Stop switch. I have just done some more tests.The On/Off switch on the remote will "wake up" the camera with a slight delay, no more that having to slide the camera switch backwards and forwards That was with battery usage and [Auto Power Off] set to On.
In all other cases, i.e. using the mains adapter and [Auto Power Off] set to off, the Run/Stop switch on the remote works as it should.

.
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Old September 14th, 2019, 11:28 AM   #6
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

Ah, OK, so the the remote is able to power-up the camcorder then. That's good to know.

Shame the Libec LANC remotes don't have power control. Actually, I was about to purchase a Libec ZC-LP until I realized that the cable is not detachable as it was on the ZC-3DV, now discontinued. That said, the cable is shorter (2.3') than on the Varizoom models and looks to well reinforced.

Besides the Varizoom and Manfrotto models the only other zoom controllers I can see with power control are old LANC remotes with zoom rockers, like the Canon ZR-1000/2000 and low-cost alternatives like the '8-function' Vivitar/eBenk remotes, renowned for their noisy (clicking) controls.

Otherwise units with push-button zoom controls like the Commander II from Sign Video and ProZoom 2 from Studio 1. And this low-cost clamp-on remote:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/981223-REG/revo_vrs_lanc_video_remote_for_sony.html/BI/2855/KBID/3801

According to the description, the zoom buttons are pressure sensitive and can control zoom at two speeds, but I doubt it could provide the fine control I need for filming action sports. Plus the attached cable is 5' (1.5m) long.

I'll maybe see if any of the camera stores in Montreal have a demo Manfrotto MVR901ECPL I can test. None stock Varizoom or Libec remotes.

Incidentally, whilst searching to see if the Libec ZC-3DV is still available (new) I came across this "ZC-3DV" model from ProAim:




https://www.proaim.ca/products/proai...oom-controller

The design looks identical to the original (as distinct from the ubiquitous generic knock-offs to be found on EBay), except that the Lanc/P selector switch is red - made me wonder if it is actually a re-branded Libec. But I came across an earlier forum thread warning that this company have a reputation for ripping off others designs:

https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/jibs-cr...-any-good.html

There is of course the wireless (Infrared) remote (Canon WL-D89) that came with the HF-G30. At one point I tried attaching it with velcro to the 701HDV panhandle, mounted on the left side so that the IR beam was pointed at the open LCD screen (where the sensor resides), but it was not very practical - constantly glancing at the remote to locate the zoom buttons. I toyed with the idea of using optical cable to convert into a semi-wired remote but never got around to it. Plus it's constant speed only and to change the zoom speed you need to go into the camcorder menu.

I could, and have used the zoom rocker on the camcorder when mounted on a bracket, but it's very difficult to achieve fine control in variable speed mode. Plus you pick up the tapping sound of the rocker. I'd prefer not to use it all.

I'm coming to the conclusion that the older Manfrotto 521i (with power control) or a Libec ZC-3DV might be the better options for mounting on my handheld rig, by virtue of the detachable cable and clamp width.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; September 15th, 2019 at 08:35 AM.
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Old September 15th, 2019, 12:35 PM   #7
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

Another older/discontinued model - Bebob-Zoe DVXL:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/434424-REG/Bebob_Engineering_BE_ZOE_DVXL_Bebob_Zoe_dvxl_Universal_Zoom.html/BI/2855/KBID/3801

Non-detachable cable but looks like it would be perfect for my hand-held rig, assuming it works with the HF-G30. I'm not bothered about remote manual focus, btw.
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Old September 16th, 2019, 06:48 PM   #8
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

This hunting video pretty much demonstrates what you described, David:


He doesn't really go into the zoom functions of the Zoe DVXL remote in that video, but, as I understand, the wheel on the side is used to adjust the maximum zoom speed.

Anyhow, found one 'used' on EBay for $60 plus shipping. I'll see how it goes.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; September 17th, 2019 at 11:31 AM.
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Old September 18th, 2019, 04:37 AM   #9
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

Brian, that delay looks about right.
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Old September 18th, 2019, 11:52 AM   #10
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

On further communication the guy who produced that video says he could never get the Zoe DVXL control to Power OFF the HF-G40 though, only 'wake' up it again after it had 'Auto Powered Off'. Says you could do it with the HF-G10, but not the HF-G40. I wondered if it would work if 'Auto Power Off' is disabled, but he doesn't have the HF-G40 anymore - now uses a Sony AX100 for self filming hunts.

I've yet to receive the Zoe DVXL to test it myself.

Cheers.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; September 18th, 2019 at 04:57 PM.
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Old September 18th, 2019, 02:07 PM   #11
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

David,

Would you mind checking. If you operate the 523Pro with 'Auto Power Off' disabled in the HF-G30 menu, can you actually power the camcorder OFF and ON again using just the power (On/Off) button on the remote ?

It must surely be the same on the Zoe DVXL and if it doesn't work that way I might cancel the DVXL purchase, while I still can (not shipped yet,) and go with a new Libec ZC-LP, as originally planned. I've taken a bit of a risk purchasing a 'used' model of uncertain age.

Cheers.

Edit: Too late, shipped.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; September 18th, 2019 at 04:58 PM.
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Old September 19th, 2019, 06:24 AM   #12
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

Brian

I left the camera with 'Auto-Off' disabled for about 10 minutes on 2 trials.
On the first one, the On/Off switch worked immeditely - i.e. it switched the camera off.
One the second trial, the Run/Stop switch worked immediately, probably quicker than restarting when the 'AutoOff' is enabled.
The camera was battery powered.
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Old September 19th, 2019, 08:51 AM   #13
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

Thanks for checking that David.

Now that is encouraging, assuming it works the same way with the Zoe DVXL. I had a feeling that 'Auto Power Off' has something to do with it.

At events I usually disable 'Auto Power Off', so I don't get caught unawares and miss a shot - just make sure that the OLED screen is closed and the EVF is retracted when I'm not recording to conserve battery power. Having control over when the camcorder is turned off and on without having to reach for the sliding power switch, and check it is in the right position, would be very useful, especially when using the handheld rig.

Incidentally, I wrote to Varizoom to inquire about the power control on the VZ-Stealth. The response:

"I wish I could give you a clear answer, but the truth is that I don't know. In my experience, the ON command is more commonly supported than the OFF command, but I can't say whether it works with that particular camera. It's all based on what commands are allowed in the camera's firmware, but if it's there, ours should work"
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Old September 21st, 2019, 08:26 PM   #14
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Worsley View Post
.... the only other zoom controllers I can see with power control are old LANC remotes with zoom rockers, like the Canon ZR-1000/2000 and low-cost alternatives like the '8-function' Vivitar/eBenk remotes, renowned for their noisy (clicking) controls.
Another one from days of yore:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2855/KBID/3801
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Old September 25th, 2019, 09:58 PM   #15
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Re: Varizoom VZ-Stealth: Power Control

Finally received the Zoe DVXL. Well, I knew I was taking a chance. Testing it with the HF-G30, the zoom, focus, power controls and status indicator lights all worked, but there were issues:

1. The zoom control exhibited creeping i.e. after zooming in, it slowly zoomed out again without touching the rocker. From what I've read this was a common issue with the Zoe remotes. On the the Varizoom VZ-Rock models there is a small access hole for 're-calibrating' the zoom potentiometer with a screw driver if it starts to creep, but I could see nothing like that on the DVXL. If it could be fixed, it would surely require opening up the casing.

The zoom rocker direction was 'reversed' on the unit when I received it (left > Telephoto, right > Wide). I could have tried reversing it again to see if the creeping persisted, but I thought it best to leave well enough alone. Requires pressing the Focus button while the camcorder is powering up and I didn't want to take any chances. Read a horror story on the DVXUser forum from years back, where Zoe DVX remotes had developed creeping with HVX200's and this behavior persisted after the remote was disconnected.

HVX200 Bebob Zoe problem

Whats more:

2. The Maximum Speed Reduction (MSR) wheel that is used to attenuate the maximum zoom speed was completely non-functional. Turning it had absolutely no effect and it turned endlessly instead of coming to a stop at the minimum and maximum zoom positions. According to the guy who did the hunt video, this is common. With heavy handling or a knock the internal mechanism coupling the wheel and potentiometer is easily broken. He had several DVXL's that had 'gone bad' like that. Typically the potentiometer gets stuck at maximum or minimum speed. His 'make-do' fix was to open up the casing and adjust the potentiometer to mid-point speed with a small screw driver and call it good.

Again, I wasn't inclined to do anything like that; the remote was supposed to be in 'good working order'. Also it had been shipped just in a 'bubble mailer' envelope and it could easily have been damaged in transit. So I decided to return it. To his credit, the EBay seller gave a full refund without question.

Just to mention also that the Power button on the DVXL would not power the HF-G30 off, whether 'Auto Power Off' was disabled on the camcorder or not. It would only wake the camcorder up after it had 'Auto Powered Off'. Not what I had hoped, but would have been useful nonetheless had there not been these other issues.

I won't be taking a chance on used remotes in future. Decided to go with a new Libec ZC-LP as originally planned.

Edit: The 'hunt video' guy also told me that zoom creeping can occur if the zoom rocker is moved when the camcorder is powering-on. However, I had downloaded the operating instructions before testing which advised that the rocker must not be touched while the DVXL is calibrating (at power-up) - so took that precaution. I also made sure that I did not touch the rocker on the HF-G30 while the DVXL was connected. I'd seen a video review of the Studio 1 Prozoom 2 remote that warned this can send the camcorder LANC controller into a tizzy:


Last edited by Bryan Worsley; September 25th, 2019 at 11:56 PM.
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