Some VX2000 & PD150 Tips & Tricks

Here are a few hot tips for VX2000 and PD150 operation. The only way this page will be worth anything is through the generous contributions of camera owners... so send them in and I'll post 'em here.

Inexpensive Wide Angle for PDX10

From Ignacio Rodríguez de Rementería: I bought a cool little Vivitar 0.5X wide angle adapter for little money (much less than a Sony or Century Optics), it's not the best quality, but since it is really 50mm, I am only using 37mm of it and not getting much distortion from the edges. It does not vignette noticeably in video mode... just a very slight darkening at the top left in 16:9 mode. It visibly vignettes in photo mode, which uses the full height of the CCD array.

PD150 Manual Iris

"I recently bought the PD150 and was pleased to note the manual iris control on left side of the lens. However, I noted that as soon as the iris is adjusted, the camera automatically compensates by adjusting shutter speed and gain. This is fine for depth-of-field options, but if I simply want to change the iris, then it seems I must have shutter speed, gain and iris all set to manual. Am I missing something?"

From R. Geoff Baker: The PD150 allows full manual control over aperture, shutter speed and gain... but anytime you set just two of these three parameters, the camera will automatically set the third for you, so in fact you are still in "automatic mode." For example, with the camera in manual mode using the manual/hold/auto slider, use the button at the back in combination with the thumbwheel to set the shutter speed to 1/60, then set the gain to 0dB, then push the aperture button on the side of the lens to activate manual iris (and so activate the side-camera thumbwheel). Trust me when I say it is quicker to do than describe!

Once you've made these choices, the camera will "remember" them if you power down and up, start and stop -- it will even return to them if you go to auto mode, and then back to manual. But if you fail to set one of the three parameters (and gain is the one most new users and magazine reviewers have missed), then the camera is still in automatic. This is quite unlike the older VX1000, which combined the aperture and gain in one operation; and maybe like or unlike the VX2000, of which I am unfamiliar.

It isn't a question of "auto shutter," which is one of the features of full automatic mode, one in which the camera will adjust the shutter speed after running out of aperture and gain options for a given lighting situation. Turning off auto shutter means that you will never find the camera has, without your instruction, switched to a speed other than 1/60 during automatic operation.

Memory Stick Applications

From Brooks Reid: Although the VX2000 can generate its own color bars, you can record SMPTE color bars with your company's name, client info, codes or dates right from the stick and bring it up in the camera on location.

How about recording test patterns and calling them up for calibration.

And one person wanted to know how he could letterbox "on the fly" at the shoot. Well, create a blue or pure white graphic page 720x486 in any paint program, then make black bands at the top and bottom in a 16:9 ratio. Record it to your memory stick (with the include Sony interface) and superimpose them right in the camera!

Attack of the Munchies

From Kim Gertler: With slight modification, the plastic lid from a can of Pringles potato chips makes a perfect lens cap for the Sony VCL 0752H wide-angle adapter.

Thrown together by Chris Hurd

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