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jgunther

Sony HC3 Focus Question????

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I will be taking my Sony HC3 video camera and would like to know if focus should be left on autofocus or leave it at a manual setting. I will just be using the stock lens. Any other tips or techniques would be appreciated.

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Are you talking about topside without a housing? If you mean underwater then it partly depends which housing and port you're using.

 

Different people have different preferences in this matter. For example I am running with auto focus most of the time and just going manual:

a) When I'm shooting macro and the autofocus is picking up the wrong thing, or

B) When I'm shooting a pelagic "in the blue" and I'm worried about focus "hunting/popping".

 

But others are using manual all the time with same rig as me.

 

An easy way to go manual and start with the right setting is to hit "momentary auto focus" if you have that feature.

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Are you talking about topside without a housing? If you mean underwater then it partly depends which housing and port you're using.

 

Different people have different preferences in this matter. For example I am running with auto focus most of the time and just going manual:

a) When I'm shooting macro and the autofocus is picking up the wrong thing, or

B) When I'm shooting a pelagic "in the blue" and I'm worried about focus "hunting/popping".

 

But others are using manual all the time with same rig as me.

 

An easy way to go manual and start with the right setting is to hit "momentary auto focus" if you have that feature.

 

Thanks for the quick reply.

I will be using it for underwater video in an ikelite housing. Right now I am not to concerned with macro and just start with broad "scenic" type shots until I am more comfortable with it.

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I'm not familiar with the Ikelite port but isn't it just a flat port? I think you might find that rather narrow for general use and I think you might want to try it with the screw-on wide angle conversion lens. There were some issues with distortion with those but I think Ikelite have addressed that. However I think there might still be an issue with plastic threads wearing out quickly, so check that out before you purchase a wide lens.

 

It's difficult to track focus during a shot and keep the camera steady, so the depth of field affects whether you can go manual with a locked focus. With a wide port you should get a longer depth of field than with the flat port.

 

In my opinion you will probably be able to run in auto focus a lot of the time, but if you do then keep the port spotlessly clean and scratch-free, otherwise you'll likely get focus hunting when your subject does not have much contrast.

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Hi

I would leave it on auto focus, but if you are in sunny clear water and getting wide shots I would lock it on FULL WIDE. If the water is dirty you may have to go to manual as the camera may hunt on the particles.

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Autofocus generally works very well, except in low contrast or turbid situations. The viewfinder or monitor on your housing is not good enough to show if you have perfect focus while shooting manual, and an HDTV will show all your mistakes quite well. It is very difficult trying to manually focus as well as your camera can do in auto. Shoot the same scene in auto and in manual, and then see for yourself after the dive.

Dan

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I read on another site that auto focus wasn't as good a mode to use with HD since the small amount of hunting that goes on is much more visible than with SD. Actually, the writer was suggesting that you auto focus on something up close with a W/A and then hit the "manual" button - thus getting the benefit of letting the camer set the focus since it can do it better than you with the small view, but avoiding the hunting after that. I'm wondering if those who leave it in auto focus mode are shooting in HD and if they notice some hunting in HD like this person was suggesting?

Edited by pablo

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