Panasonic VFX1 - Focus weighting?

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by Uncle Toad, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Uncle Toad

    Uncle Toad
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    Hi folks

    I recently got myself one of the new Panasonic HC-VFX1 4K camcorders.
    It works great, but I've run into a perplexing issue.

    I went for a walk and spotted an interesting bunch of thistles in the grass. I thought that they would make an interesting video clip, so I zoomed in the camera at a couple of the plants. However the camera insisted on focussing on the plants in the background, leaving the plant in the centre of the image blurry. I had to zoom back out fully before it would focus. If I zoomed in close again, the interesting plant got blurry but the plants behind it stayed in focus.

    I could have switched to manual focus to force to focus on the plant I wanted, but it's so fiddly that I couldn't be bothered.

    I've been through all the camera's settings menus to try to find a setting that would give centre weighting for focus rather than taking an average of the entire image (which is what I think it is doing). However I have been unable to find such a setting.

    So how do I tell the camcorder to focus on on the image in the centre of its display rather than the entire image? My Panasonic DSLR camera has several settings to set focus priority, but it seems to be missing from the camcorder. Or is there a more advanced hidden menu somewhere that allows this?

    thanks

    Paul
     
  2. stearman65

    stearman65
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    Tried to download the manual for your camera from panny, could only find foreign language versions so I gave up. Read a review which mentioned the focussing problem when subjects are close together, maybe you need to query Panny themselves?
     
  3. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    Go to Panasonic UK, choose the camera and go to Support. Follow through for the user manual download. It covers V800, VXF1 and VX1
     
  4. stearman65

    stearman65
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    Done all that, no joy, a link would be nice?
     
  5. Uncle Toad

    Uncle Toad
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    The full user guide is disappointingly vague about the focus options, apart from giving the option for manual focus. But has nothing about setting centre priority or any other options.
    You can find the manual on their website, here:
    Downloads
    The model number to choose is HCVXF1EB

    Let me know if you spot anything! (such as Spot focus!)

    Paul
     
  6. Emerton

    Emerton
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    Set AF/AE tracking and touch the area of the LCD screen you want to focus on.
     
  7. stearman65

    stearman65
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    Have a look at page 60 re AWB?
     
  8. Uncle Toad

    Uncle Toad
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    Yes! It looks like AF/AE Tracking would do the trick!
    Thank you.

    Paul
    PS. Page 60 seems to be mainly about using the sub camera, which my model doesn't include
     
  9. John7

    John7
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    Maybe you were closer than the camera's minimum focus distance and the background plants (being further away) were within the minimum focus zone?
     
  10. Uncle Toad

    Uncle Toad
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    Here is a sample of the problem. Using the still photo option, I was trying to get the camcorder to focus on the thistle in the centre of the screen. But it is blurred, yet other plants nearby are in focus!

    Or was I simply trying to zoom too close to it?

    Paul
     

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  11. John7

    John7
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    Well, nothing is sharp in that picture (probably motion blur) but to me, it looks like the plant in the centre is closer than the camera can focus.

    Some cameras can focus up close but only when the lens is at the wide setting. Usually, to zoom in, you have to move a bit further away.
     
  12. 12harry

    12harry
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    It's difficult to transfer info from one model to another, let alone from different Mfrs as their mind-sets will be different.
    On the Sony CX410. I can set it so the LCD screen-touch determines the focus point. As the subject ( or camcorder ) moves, the focus stays with whatever was chosen. If it comes closer it changes the focus so the "subject" stays in focus. This is far better than "Auto-focus" which chooses something large/bright/close/ in the middle.
    However, there is an annoying feature that appears to be built-in: if something interrupts the scene, CX410 will randomly select something else.
    I would expect the software to recognise the subject is "lost" but retain the position and focus, in the hope it returns. This is particularly annoying where someone walks across the field of view.... or.... you are filming through trees . . . e.g. a boat on a lake . . . as soon as it is hidden, the camcorder focus will be lost. However, it does depend on the nature of the obstruction . . . I've noticed that small branches of trees/shrubs allow the focus to be retained.
    Oh dear.
    If there was a "focus hold" feature that might fix this, so you release the "hold" when the scene/subject has moved.


    On the subject of 4K Camcorders:
    I've not seen any new consumer models - could this be the Public is quite satisfied with their phone-images?
    The greatest snag ( for me) changing from HD to 4K is that I don't yet have a suitable 4K TV - and I need a new PC to run Editing software to process 4K.
    However, it is somewhat disturbing to read that a slightly older camcorder without 4K is sharper "on-screen" ( i.e as seen by the Audience ) - suggesting that the money saved might better be used for batteries, accessories..... with the benefit that the old-HD software
    can continue to work its magic without this Operator needing to re-learn how-to.

    I agree with Terfyn's comments regarding "Content" - maybe we like to have "new gear" - even when there is nowt wrong with the Old. Of course when a camcorder croaks - it is time to replace - that's when the Mfrs try to sell us something we may not need.

    Cheers.
     
  13. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    My V800 (the HD version of the VXF1 but with the same lens) will focus up to two inches away from the subject but only with the zoom at wide angle. Have you tried wide aperture and manual focus in Manual mode?
     

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