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Sony PMW-EX1 - Auto Focus Issues

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Kirk Johnson
Sony PMW-EX1 - Auto Focus Issues
on Jul 16, 2008 at 9:23:09 pm

Hello all,

I just purchased the new Sony PMW-EX1 solid state camera and am playing around with all of the functions of it and had a question about the auto focus.

I've tried it on every setting and the auto focus has a long delay before it snaps the image into focus. I'm talking like 3-4 seconds before getting the image crisp. Now I don't see many instances when I would use auto focus but nonetheless, I'm sure it will come up in the future and am wondering if I'm doing something wrong or if this is just one of the limitations of the camera.

Has anyone else run into this problem? Is it something that I need to calibrate?

Thank you in advance!

Kirk



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Don Greening
Re: Sony PMW-EX1 - Auto Focus Issues
on Jul 17, 2008 at 5:15:06 am

[Kirk Johnson] "I'm sure it will come up in the future and am wondering if I'm doing something wrong or if this is just one of the limitations of the camera. "

You're not doing anything wrong. The auto-focus on the EX is slow to react but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Once your EX locks in on your subject it should hold focus. Some of early cameras had an issue where the auto-focus was constantly hunting and would never really lock in.

Think of it this way: if you're in full auto-focus mode and the subject in focus moves away from the centre of the frame the EX will not instantly try focusing on something else and you'll have a few seconds of leeway while you re-frame the shot. It's a lot better for the lens to be set up this way than having the auto-focus too sensitive.

To take full advantage of the EX auto-focus controls slide the focus switch to manual but don't pull the focus ring back into full manual mode. Now you can twist the focus ring (clockwise- closer) until you have focus. Doing this will be a lot faster than waiting for the camera to do it in full auto mode. Afterwards, you can always hit the "push auto" button down below and it will still work for you with this setup.

To keep full auto-focus lag time to a minimum always make sure the subject you want to focus on is in the centre of the viewfinder.

Hope this helps.

- Don



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Kirk Johnson
Re: Sony PMW-EX1 - Auto Focus Issues
on Jul 17, 2008 at 3:10:19 pm

Thanks a lot Don. That helped immensely and it all makes sense now.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony PMW-EX1 - Auto Focus Issues
on Jul 17, 2008 at 3:23:51 pm

A good example of why this type of auto focus is desirable as oppose to the kind that changes/hunts instantly - shooting sports in which the object you're tracking is intermittently passing behind other objects.



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Michael Slowe
Re: Sony PMW-EX1 - Auto Focus Issues
on Jul 17, 2008 at 9:43:13 pm

Doug Jensen, author of the Vortex Media DVD EX1 Workshop, suggests that you keep the focus switch always set to 'auto' and when you want to operate the focus manually (most of the time) you pull the ring towards you. If you want auto he suggests just pushing the ring away which is quicker and easier than hunting around for the switch. Don, your suggestion contradicts this, which confuses me somewhat, I thought I had it sussed.

Michael Slowe


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Don Greening
Re: Sony PMW-EX1 - Auto Focus Issues
on Jul 18, 2008 at 12:37:17 am

The original poster wanted to know the best way to make use of auto-focus on the EX. Pulling the focus ring back enters full manual mode, regardless of the focus switch setting. The original poster already knows how to shoot in manual focus mode, so I didn't talk about that. With the focus ring pushed forward and the switch set to manual it's far faster to get dialed in to your subject if you twist the ring yourself rather than waiting for the camera's full auto mode to figure out what you want. Once you've got focus then you can let the camera do its job to hold focus, which it's actually pretty good at doing once it knows what to focus on. While in this mode the operator still has the option of pushing the "push auto" button if you want the camera to focus on something else and you have the time to wait around.

You can do it the way the Vortex Media DVD recommends if you want. The reason I don't use that method is because you have to stop recording to push the focus ring back and forth. Or you can keep recording and risk shaking the camera and you'll surely hear a big "clunk" in your audio track afterwards if you're using the on-camera mic.

- Don


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Michael Slowe
Re: Sony PMW-EX1 - Auto Focus Issues
on Jul 18, 2008 at 8:23:13 am

Thanks Don, I think that your method sounds better as at least you can be certain you are locked on before trusting the auto.

Michael Slowe


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