Author Topic: Steadyshot problems  (Read 4668 times)

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Offline sirathol

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Steadyshot problems
« on: April 12, 2015, 02:45:38 PM »
Hello,

I have a Sony Handycam HDR-PJ420 which is causing me some issues...namely with "Steadyshot."

There are three options for steadyshot: "Off" which makes almost any handheld shooting impossible. "Standard" and "Active"...Using either of these results in serious "trembling" of the clip on any meaningful level  of zoomed shooting

The more the zoom, the worse the trembling. I am finding that if I try to zoom in anything like close on a shot then I have to put the clip through a stabilising option on the video-editing software on my computer before I can view it.

The following link will show you a very short video of the steadycam in all three options on the same subject
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzqwPkjyhxTtVGhISTlxaEFLUE0/view?usp=sharing

Has anyone any suggestions for improving this please as I do a lot of wildlife shooting and need  to zoom in to faraway subjects
« Last Edit: April 12, 2015, 10:17:59 PM by sirathol »

Offline AScot

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2015, 10:10:19 PM »
I have no experience with Sony Handycams. However looking at your video it was too long to watch that type of subject, 30 minutes looking at flowers and water flowing in rivers is way too long. An action type theme would be more suited to a longer length but still not 30 minutes. After five minutes I just fast forwarded about five minutes at a time to see if you had a steadyshot problem.

What I did notice was that there is no apparent shake caused by the Steadyshot, it was mostly due to a slight breeze shaking the flowers. You're Handycam does however have a problem. Every three seconds approximately it seams to flick out of focus and immediately flick back into focus, all within a fraction of a second. Flicking in and out of focus is the only way I know of to describe it. This is not a user problem but possibly a camera malfunction.

Sony A7, A850, A77, A700 || Sony>> 70-300G, 28-75 f2.8 SAM, 16-80CZ, 50 f1.4, FE 28-70 OSS, FE 24-70CZ f4 OSS, LA-EA4 || Minolta>> 300 f4 G HS, 200 f2.8 G HS, 100 f2.8 (D) Macro, 50 f1.7, 28 f2.8, 28-135 f4-4.5, 70-210 f4, 500 f8 Reflex, TC x 1.4 HS, TC x 2 HS. || Sigma 21-35 f3.5-4.2. || Tamron SP 24-135.

Offline sirathol

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2015, 10:14:20 PM »
Sorry...you have been looking at the wrong video...the one that should be there is 1.5 minutes long (approx.)

I can't see the link in my original post so I can't check it is correct

Offline sirathol

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2015, 10:18:53 PM »
The  correct link has now been added...sorry about that

Offline AScot

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2015, 10:40:21 PM »
That seems to be a problem with your camera unless you have been drinking. :D Did you use a Tripod? Sony suggests that you should not use a tripod and steadyshot at the same time. Other than that I have no idea.

You do have a problem in the first video that you posted.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzqwPkjyhxTtYWlkakczMHB4M3M/view?usp=sharing
« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 01:12:15 AM by AScot »
Sony A7, A850, A77, A700 || Sony>> 70-300G, 28-75 f2.8 SAM, 16-80CZ, 50 f1.4, FE 28-70 OSS, FE 24-70CZ f4 OSS, LA-EA4 || Minolta>> 300 f4 G HS, 200 f2.8 G HS, 100 f2.8 (D) Macro, 50 f1.7, 28 f2.8, 28-135 f4-4.5, 70-210 f4, 500 f8 Reflex, TC x 1.4 HS, TC x 2 HS. || Sigma 21-35 f3.5-4.2. || Tamron SP 24-135.

Offline sirathol

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2015, 11:05:13 PM »
Right...and now I have a dilemma. Incidentally...I wasn't drunk when I shot the second clip...nor was the camera on a tripod...that is the problem that manifests itself whenever I attempt to do an even moderate close-ups.

I thought the unit was faulty and, being out of guarantee, I sent it to an accredited Sony repair company asking them to check that specific fault. It was returned as "No fault found...within acceptable parameters"

I had asked them to do a clean and routine overhaul as well and it cost me over a hundred quid...but still I have the problem which is compounded by the fact that we have no shops in the area who do camcorder servicing to whom I might turn for advice.

Do you have any suggestions about a reputable person who could do an independent check of the unit for me and give some proper advice? If not, I'm pretty well snookered...every time I now shoot a scene where anything like close-up is required I have to run the resulting footage through a stabiliser before I can view it...which is obviously ridiculous.

Offline chappo1

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2015, 12:38:16 AM »
Firstly, welcome and I hope that we can be of some assistance although I have never owned a video camera either but the principles of problem solving are the same.
You need to determine if the camera si the problem or the operating of it.
Can you put the camera on a tripod and shoot indoors at something like a clock where you can see the second hands ticking around.  Turn anti shake off.
Check the result of this.
If it is fine then the camera would appear to operate OK and you can progressively introduce variations.

As a wildlife shooter myself,  it is difficult to keep the camera steady when using zoom lenses and this would be magnified by attempting to do video.  For me a monopod is an absolute necessity (tripods are difficult to carry and set up in a hurry).  You do not say if you are new to wildlife and video shooting or just new to this camera..
Keep asking and we will dour best.....john

“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

Hector Berlioz

Offline AScot

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2015, 02:13:43 AM »
Looking again at the short video, I think it is a focus problem. Are you sure that you are not exceeding the cameras ability to close focus? Check the manual and in the specifications, what is the closest focus distance?

In a still camera, including my A77 which can take video, if you get too close to the subject, it simply cannot focus. It doesn't jump around like your camera does. This type of problem on a still camera depends on the lens used. That is why we use macro lenses and can get as close as 1 to 1 magnification.

Video cameras, and I assume you have a fixed lens, are very unlikely to have a lens that can get as close as a Macro lens, in fact I doubt that you can get any closer than you are trying to get in your short video. In the part where the steadyshot is off, it is already jumping around with no help from the stabilization. I cannot explain that without more information.

When the steadyshot is in standard mode you get very close but the flowers and pot are out of focus. The steadyshot is helping, but the lens cannot get focus.

In the Active mode you seem to get even closer without, the jumping around, but again the flowers and pot are out of focus. Active Mode may be a stronger stabilization than standard mode, allowing you to get closer.

In conclusion, I think you are trying to get too close. As you get inside the minimum focusing distance of your cameras lens you will never achieve focus, not with any Video camera that I know of, except possibly one with interchangeable lenses.
Sony A7, A850, A77, A700 || Sony>> 70-300G, 28-75 f2.8 SAM, 16-80CZ, 50 f1.4, FE 28-70 OSS, FE 24-70CZ f4 OSS, LA-EA4 || Minolta>> 300 f4 G HS, 200 f2.8 G HS, 100 f2.8 (D) Macro, 50 f1.7, 28 f2.8, 28-135 f4-4.5, 70-210 f4, 500 f8 Reflex, TC x 1.4 HS, TC x 2 HS. || Sigma 21-35 f3.5-4.2. || Tamron SP 24-135.

Offline sirathol

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2015, 08:20:58 AM »
First let me say I have been using cameras and camcorders for about 15 years now. I live on the edge of The New Forest which we visit virtually every day, and that is what we do, we film everything we see that interests us, which I then edit, add music and titles and make roughly one 30 minute film per week to send to friends and relative around the world.

I am no expert but no novice either. I have owned camcorders before but never one with this "floating lens" stabiliser system. I am very loathe to blame the camera as - being no longer a young man, I know I am less stable myself than I used to be - but I have to get to the cause of this problem and find a way to resolve it.

What brought all this to a head and made me realise just how bad the situation had become was when that tanker was scuppered and ran aground in the Solent some months ago. We went up to film it and I used this camera on a heavy tripod and attempted to film the tug-boats chugging round it...the results were appallingly bad.

I could not even achieve a steady view of the whole tanker -which was about 1/2 mile distant - and any attempt to zoom close enough to see - for example, the name plate - were useless.

My wife filmed the same scenes from the same place with a hand-held Canon Powershot camera, using the video facility, and the resulting footage was infinitely better than my camera produced.

We use Nordic walking poles when we go through the forest, and one of mine is special adapted to act as a monopod.

Last week a herd of Red Deer crossed the road in front of us and I filmed them through the car window at a distance of about 50 feet. The result looked as though I had filmed through a violent heat-haze...even whilst zoomed no closer than head-and-shoulders of one of this large beasts...and finally made me realise I had to do something about this.

But what? As a further test, I have filmed using my wife's camera, hand held on very similar subjects that trouble the camcorder, with very much better results...no vibrations!

And my wife has filmed using the camcorder having the same results as I get so I think there is an inherent fault within the camera...writing all this down to explain to you has made me realise just how much we have actually done to try and rationalise this issue...but the key question remains...have you any suggestions as to how I can proceed in order to get a qualified opinion on the camera or, failing that, have you any recommendations on a suitable replacement for it, bearing in mind that I don't having large amounts of disposable cash. I wouldn't mind a used unit provided it performed well on video.

Thank you for your time

Offline Frank [aka Wires]

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2015, 03:15:35 PM »
Having done a brief search for the model of the Handycam you are using I feel sure that the camera has possibly been damaged in some way and the Steadyshot has sustained dislodgement :? One reviewer states that as far as weight of the unit is concerned it is like an empty drink can rather than a full one and possibly easily damaged! From a review over on Amazon.

As you state it's cost you over £100 I would be inclined to re-contact (phone? Ask for senior engineer or department manager) SONY repair and state you do not accept their findings that it is 'within acceptable parameters' and return the camera. State that the fault remains so you conclude it has NOT been checked properly. Email the links to 'pre-fault' video and also footage now - as per your links here.

When returning the camera also send them a CD of the footage showing the fault you now have - possibly send a short video of footage before the fault and then of footage now. Failing them resolving this issue based on the footage you provide I would seriously consider purchasing a replacement camera. Bear in mind the 'possible' high costs of a repair in relation to getting a new camera! It can be cheaper to just cut your losses and buy new with the camera being out of guarantee. A new one of yours on Amazon is 'around' £350... you have already spent over £100.

Can you possibly pin down as to when you noticed this change and recall IF something/anything that may have happened to the camera? On the way out?... on the way back?... knocked and not realising it may have become damaged?
Frank (aka Wires)
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Offline AScot

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2015, 04:52:17 PM »
Looking again at the short video, I think it is a focus problem. Are you sure that you are not exceeding the cameras ability to close focus? Check the manual and in the specifications, what is the closest focus distance?

Did you check the above? When trying to determine the cause of problems it is normal to eliminate camera or user problems. We are principally a still camera forum and only touch on film because Sony included that capability in their latest cameras. We do not normally advise owners of video cameras, as we do not use them and they are unfamiliar to us, however the checking routine remains the same, eliminate possible problems until we (hopefully) arive at an answer. You stated in your first post, "The more the zoom, the worse the trembling." the two films you posted show that. Now you are saying that "a tanker was scuppered and ran aground in the Solent some months ago." So now it is also a long distance problem.

I do not know what you are trying to say in your last post, other than to point out how experienced you are. If you cannot figure out the problem yourself, and you will not answer questions aimed at eliminating possible causes, then how can you expect us to be able to help you?

I think your video camera is faulty and your best bet is to cut your losses and replace it. What you replace it with, only you can decide. Perhaps do some researching to see if a still camera with video capabilities would meet your needs or replace it with aother video camera.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 05:05:31 PM by AScot »
Sony A7, A850, A77, A700 || Sony>> 70-300G, 28-75 f2.8 SAM, 16-80CZ, 50 f1.4, FE 28-70 OSS, FE 24-70CZ f4 OSS, LA-EA4 || Minolta>> 300 f4 G HS, 200 f2.8 G HS, 100 f2.8 (D) Macro, 50 f1.7, 28 f2.8, 28-135 f4-4.5, 70-210 f4, 500 f8 Reflex, TC x 1.4 HS, TC x 2 HS. || Sigma 21-35 f3.5-4.2. || Tamron SP 24-135.

Offline sirathol

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2015, 05:08:43 PM »
I'm not sure what I said to upset you, Mr A Scot, that was not my intention in the slightest...I was asked if I was a novice...I was explaining that I am not. My apologies for troubling you.

I appreciate that you are principally concerned with still photography and that video is not your forte. Thank you for your trouble thus far. I will leave you in peace.

Offline chappo1

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Re: Steadyshot problems
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2015, 11:41:54 PM »
I'm not sure what I said to upset you, Mr A Scot, that was not my intention in the slightest...I was asked if I was a novice...I was explaining that I am not. My apologies for troubling you.

I appreciate that you are principally concerned with still photography and that video is not your forte. Thank you for your trouble thus far. I will leave you in peace.
sirathol,
just in case you read over, I am sure AScot did not mean to upset you.  We are doing our best in an area that is not familiar to us.  With Sony's expertise in imaging, I have had video capability on my still cameras for years and have never used it.  That said, what I think you are describing is the image stabilising system playing up combined with high zoom.  You mention that there are no stores close to you so can you arrange to visit a Sony centre with the camera and demonstrate to them?  I am in Melbourne Australia so cannot help with UK centres but I know that there is one in Melbourne about an hour from me.
If you contact the Sony store you may be able to speak to the camera guy on the phone as a start and take it from there.     john
“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

Hector Berlioz