Viewfinders “The curse of the new camcorders”

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

Decent viewfinders were once part and parcel of the camcorder experience, mainly black and white as they gave you the best contrast ratio to allow decent focusing.

Today life is a bitch when it comes to viewfinders and the lack of thought that manufacturers give to their use, position and resolution.

The classic example of a useless viewfinder lies with the Sony PMW-F3, a classic large sensor camera with the sole intention of capturing TV drama in full HD yet the supplied viewfinder is appalling.

If you can’t be bothered to produce a VF fit for purpose then make sure the DP can buy a Hi Res alternative that fits on the camera and has all the correct connections, alternative VFs like the Zacuto are good but still need powered up and you need a small bag of Canon batteries to make sure you get a days use out of them.

Tim Bates from Germany “I come from an ENG background and have been spoilt for high quality broadcast viewfinders. For me the viewfinder is one of “the” most important components of the camera. The viewfinder is my window to the world. I find a quality viewfinder an immersive experience that can’t be achieved with an LCD and a t-shirt over my head. 
Very few seem to talk about this design fault- and even fewer complain.
 
Why is it that almost any video camera under $20,000 has a crap viewfinder? We know that quality viewfinders are available. Sony’s NEX 7 has one. Fuji make great viewfinders. My GH2’s viewfinder is usable.
When I read the specs for the C100 I could not believe that Canon are planning on using a 0.24 inch viewfinder in an $8,000 camera. My Canon Legria HFG10 has an 0.24″ viewfinder and I think it’s unusable. I realise that the C300 0.52 inch viewfinder is usable – but not great. At least they could put the C300’s viewfinder on the C100.
 
I also realise that most would simply say – okay lets just get a Zacuto EVF. That was the answer I got from the team that supposedly “helped” design the Sony FS100. Sorry but I find that answer really dumb. It’s like a car manufacturer building a car with an unusable steering wheel. Or placing the steering wheel in the back seat, then to say that most people are happy to spend another $1,000 on a proper steering wheel even if spoils the ergonomics and compactness of the original design.” 
It’s shocking how little attention is now made these days to the second most important feature on a camcorder, the viewfinder, and camera after camera falls off the production line, crippled by a poor viewfinder.
The new Sony NEX-EA50 is to date the only large sensor camcorder to have a decent viewfinder and one in the correct position and best of all it’s semi-pro !
DPs are forced to buy into the relatively expensive external viewfinder like the Cineroid, Zacuto EVF or the Alphatron when camera manufacturers are getting far too lazy and sloppy with camcorder designs these days.

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Ugly duckling to Swan in 40 years

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

This is the “look” we all associate with a Lada, a metal box on wheels, my sister had one of these cars and loved it, very basic but got you from “A” to “B”.

My friend Alexander is filming with his Canon C300 at the Moscow motor show, he finds the C300 excellent in low light conditions but a bit of a pain not having a servo zoom.

It’s the major downfall with most large sensor camcorders is the lack of a servo zoom making then very clumsy and limiting compared to an ENG camcorder, rigs like the Zacuto C300 Recoil help but lack of zoom control seriously limits your creativity. Sony are the only company to date to have addressed this issue putting a servo zoom on the PMW-F3 , NEX-FS700 and the new NEX-EA50, the 14x Sony zoom for the F3 the Sony SCL-Z18X140 (SCLZ18X140) 18-252mm / T3.8 is £7,680.

A lot of us are pinning our hopes on the Sony PMW-200 to fill this gaping hole, a camcorder that will be good in low light with it’s larger 1/2″ Exmor sensors and constant aperture 14x lens.

I hope to have my very own PMW-200 by the 14th of September where I will put it through it’s paces alongside the Canon C300, this will finally give me the best of both worlds.

 

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Camera menus for iPhone/iPad please

Categories: Miscellaneous No Comments

The time has come when the big four need to supply their camcorder menus for iPhone/iPad download. Panasonic, Sony, JVC and Canon all use different menu systems and differing terms for the same thing, initialisation and formatting being one of them.

This is the Canon C300/XF305 menu system which is relatively easy to navigate.

This is the easiest of them all the Panasonic menu system especially the picture profile section which is double Dutch on Sony professional camcorders.

It’s simple, every so often I get a phone call from someone who needs some explanation on how to navigate their way through a menu system and it would be very easy if I could call up the “Sony” generic or specific menu system for the camcorder the person is talking about.

 

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