Answered Panasonic HC-V550 losing focus

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by Oldturkey, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. Oldturkey

    Oldturkey
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    First day using my new Panasonic HC-V550 camcorder; on a tripod, video recording birds at a feeder on my backyard fence, about 35' away. Camera set on "auto" everything; as I zoomed in to get close ups of a bird, camera stopped focusing on the bird and focused on the tall grass on the slope 15' behind the bird. I could not make the camera return to focusing on the bird unless I "zoomed out" to basic video, when camera would again focus on the bird. Any ideas of what's going on? Is there something I'm doing wrong? Defective camera ? Any help greatly appreciated, by a brand new member here, and new camcorder owner.
     
  2. Best Answer:
    Post #3 by 12harry, Jun 11, 2015 (1 points)
  3. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    Switch your camera to Manual Focus. The camera is trying to satisfy your requirements but, I guess, it tried to focus on the main subject which would be the grass.
     
  4. 12harry

    12harry
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    Best Answer
    May I? - To check if the AF is working, place a target at a similar distance where the birds would be. This needs to have an obvious pattern( Like Text), and good contrast, - a printed box, or a glossy magazine for example.
    In reasonable light you should be able to read the print ( but not anything that's in a light tint ).
    If your camcorder fails this, then you may have to revert to Manual focus, which has the advantage that if the bird flies off, the focus will remain steady until the next.... this is what Terfy suggested, but the above TEST should determine if there is any inherent fault.....
    BTW you aren't filming through window-glass are you? This should be avoided if possible.
    Hope that helps.
    Later-on you might place a small clip-on mic near the feeder and use an extension lead to wherever you are, to record the Audio.... but you'll have to protect it from Wind/rain and unwelcome visitors, etc.

    If the background is a regular pattern this may cause AF to be misled . . .
    - you might consider changing the background so no obvious pattern is present - but this change will have to be 16:9 to match the camera's view.... and a little bit spare, all-round. Ideally it should be dull and look out-of-focus.... a plain matt-black would spoil the shots IMHO.
    Good luck.
     
  5. chrishull3

    chrishull3
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    One thing i found on this cam which i still have is good AF,sadly manual focus is slow and fiddly having to use the LCD and in sunlight LCDs like the 550s are very difficult to get true focus but it may be your only option.Have you downloaded the manual and studied it it explains how to manual focus etc.
     
  6. Oldturkey

    Oldturkey
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    Thank you, I have now studied the owners manual and played with the camera quite a bit. I think I have the manual focus figured out, even though, as you said, it is tricky to use. Panasonic customer service was helpful, eventually, but this is obviously going to require a lot of time to learn!
     
  7. Oldturkey

    Oldturkey
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    Thank you! I did set up a magazine on the back fence and the camera did focus on the print, so the problem is obviously with the "operator" (me), not the camera. I've learned that I must zoom quite slowly, so the camera doesn't lose my subject object. Manual focus also works, but it's not easy or quick to use. And, no, I'm not filming through window-glass. I called Panasonic customer service and learned that it's "normal" for the camera to lose focus if I zoom in too quickly, or if I zoom above about 50 (even though the camera will go to 90, 150, or even 3000 digital zoom). So, this is now a matter of taking the time to experiment a lot more.
    Thanks again for your good advice !
     
  8. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    You do have the advantage of the "blue halo" that shows the subject is in focus. I found this quite useful.
    The 750 has a small wheel for manual control but not the on screen arrows, again this is quite smooth for focussing.
     

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