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Old Nov 12, 2007, 11:00 AM   #141
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The HD700 does have to "see" clear edges / outlines to focus, so when in 9-point auto-focus mode, if your subject(s) do not have clear edges / outlines but your background does, that could be a problem (if I remember correctly the manual has tips as well). I haven't had issues with the auto-focus exceptin low-light (camera does not see clearly) where I need toset or lock the focus.Certainly with high definition it's easier to scrutinizing focus detail than with standard definition camcorders.
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Old Nov 13, 2007, 9:42 AM   #142
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I wanted to give an update to my reaction towards the focusing problems I've had with the HD700. I think I was a bit unfair and may have jumped the gun.

Last night I spent a good deal of time watching sample video from various video cameras in this category. I have discovered that the problem with focus hunting isn't specific to the HD700 at all. It is more related to the technique used by the user. Isn't that always the case.

Basically, I was having a tough time getting the camera to lock focus which caused the auto focusing system to hunt. But the problem isn't with the AF system of the camera. It is more so due to the subject matter and the approach taken to achieve a proper focus.

I'm not a teacher and usually learn things from teaching myself, but I will attempt to explain how I now deal with the problem.

First, I keep the AF set to spot focusing.

When shooting a landscape in wide angle, it is best to simply assign manual focus to a joystick shortcut and set it to infinity. This way, any foreground that may be present in panning will not cause the AF system to hunt and try to focus on close objects.

When shooting in wide angle and using zoom, I set the AF lock (again assigned via shortcut) to my subject and have found the camera maintains the focus on the subject regardless of zoom. I'm not sure if this is a documented feature, but it seems the AF lock is actually locking focus on the subject, not a focal range. I may be nuts because I'm not sure how this is achieved, but nevertheless, it is very helpful.

At full zoom, I simply set MF.

With MF and AF lock armed and ready to go via shortcut, I have found I can pretty much eliminate any of the focusing issues I was having.

Hope this helps. I feel the reviews are a bit too harsh on this camera due to user error or lack of understanding (I too can be blamed).

Good luck with the camera. It's a great little camera that can achieve awesome results once you learn how to properly operate it.

EDIT: I just reread this and noticed some errors. Basically, I use manual focus at all times. :? I'm not sure why, but the whole part I wrote about AF lock maintaining focus regardless of zoom isn't working now. I knew I may have been nuts.
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Old Nov 13, 2007, 10:27 AM   #143
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Thank you for sharing this knowledge and insight Ominx it is very much appreciated. I am awaiting delivery of this camera - I returned a faulty one and I am hoping when I get delivery of the replacement that I will be pleased with it because reading the harsh reviews I have been a little worried. Although it is a pocket sized cam and apparently we shouldn't expect too much from such a camera, I am still hoping I will get good results as this type of cam is the only one I would be able to operate one handed (left handed) and have never been able to have a camcorder etc before for that reason. This is the only reason I have taken the plunge to purchase it - my first ever movie camera.

Please inform of any tips as well as your results with it - that would be exellent. When I receive mine I shall try out your settings to see how it goes.
Thanks again.:-)
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Old Nov 13, 2007, 11:58 AM   #144
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Ominx wrote:
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[...]It's a great little camera that can achieve awesome results once you learn how to properly operate it.[...]
Glad to see it's working out. True,it's a good ideato spend a little timeplaying withthe camera's features(and read the manual... it's full ofuseful info. and tips!) to learn how to get the most out of it. Besides manual focus, there are also auto-focus "modes",for example, toreduce focus hunting you can try changing the default "total range" mode to something a little more specific like "normal" or "macro" (ranges are given in manual).Also certain situations will make it very difficult, or even impossible,for the camera to auto-focus on, such as when you zoom in on a relatively close object, this is a normal physical limitation of lens optics (full telephoto limits the ability to focus on near objects). Generally do not zoom in on relatively close objects, it's better toclose in on them with the camera in wide mode to get a close up.
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Old Nov 14, 2007, 1:59 AM   #145
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Hi there, I am still struggling between HD700 and HD1000. Here is my most common use of video camera: indoor with fluorescent lamp (light tube), NOT halogen light,NOT spot light, shooting my kids who running around the house.

Also, something aboutediting program. Has anyone of you people tried to edit by importing a song as the background music? If I want to play the edited file in PS3, what program is capable to produce an edited MP4 (H.264) file, so that I can play the final product in PS3. I want to produce a 1280x720pvideo withmy selectedsong as background music in MP4 (H.264) format. Thank you in advance for any advise.
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Old Nov 14, 2007, 11:30 AM   #146
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One of the reasons I decided on the HD700 over the HD1000 (besides size) was the ease of editing. I know you can "dial down" the capture resolution of the HD1000 to 720p @ 30fps, but that didn't make too much sense to me. Plus, I am not a huge zoom person, so being those were the two major differences between the cameras, I settled on the HD700.

Having said that, I have no idea if the HD1000 shoots better in low light as I haven't used it. I can say the HD700 is ok, not great, but definitely better than what you would get from the movie mode on a consumer point and shoot.

As for editing with music, I do just that. I use a mac and imovie. It is insanely easy to edit the clips from the HD700. I import them, trim to length, make any color or cropping adjustments, add my sound track, and output to MP4.

Here is the final product of a movie I made with the HD700 about a week ago. It demonstrates a lot of the capabilities of the camera itself, as well as what is possible through editing and adding a music soundtrack.

http://www.vimeo.com/372928
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Old Nov 14, 2007, 4:41 PM   #147
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Well i'm back from my trip to NYC. This camera is in the box on the way back to Amazon as I type this. The quality of video is not *in my humble opinion* worth $550. As soon as I get my clips sorted out i'll post some examples so you can see what I mean. The only time this camera excels at great video is on a perfectly sunny day which isn't practical in most parts of the world.
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Old Nov 14, 2007, 5:14 PM   #148
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Schafeman wrote:
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Well i'm back from my trip to NYC. This camera is in the box on the way back to Amazon as I type this. The quality of video is not *in my humble opinion* worth $550. As soon as I get my clips sorted out i'll post some examples so you can see what I mean. The only time this camera excels at great video is on a perfectly sunny day which isn't practical in most parts of the world.
Was it really that bad ... compared to what would you say? Apart from the good ergonomics and the pocket size of this camera, would you get better results from a cheaper camcorder? You know what I mean :? I'm just asking as I have never owned any camcorder or anything like it and am waiting for the HD700 (replacement as I thought the one I received was faulty) to be delivered and need to be impressed with spending this amount of money :!:
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Old Nov 14, 2007, 9:54 PM   #149
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3 weeks ago, my Canon S1 IS died. My grand kids are 1 and 3, and I don't want to miss any of those magic moments. I saw the review on this site of the HD700, and decided it was for me. It was not easy to get one in Canada, but mine arrived last week.
It is not perfect, it does not capture perfect images or videos in all conditions, but I love it. There are always trade offs, but this is what I am trading off against.
1) Really small for the feature set. Fits well in my jacket pocket, I take it everywhere.
2) In 2 sec it is ready to go. I don't miss anything, unless the mad cow disease kicks in, and I forget I have the camera
3) If the conditions are easy, you can get great videos, or stills, easily. There are also
plenty of options to make tougher situations a little better
4) The editing features on the camera are great. Fix red eye, cut and join video. In just a few miutes I have put the stills and clips I have taken into shape for sharing.
5) I parked the base unit beside my TV, and can, in less than a minute, show off the grand kids,,, or whatever else I have captured.
6) The XACTI Library is also really neat, Plugged in a 350GB hard drive to the base, and I can sock away video clips for a long time.
7) MPEG4 compression on my 8GB SD card, means plenty of room to capture the action.
8) Extracting great shots from video is a snap, so often I do not bother taking stills, I just start shooting video (in less than 2 sec) and pull out some nice shots later (right on the camera)
9) The sound captured is amazing for such a tiny device.
10) There are plenty of toys to play with in more difficult (or in my case, less time constrained) shooting conditions ie filters, face chaser, preset scenes, full manual, exposure options, short cut, noise reduction just to name some of my favourites.
Sorry I cannot help those of you who want comparisons with the 1000. I chose the 700 because it was cheaper and smaller. I have no regrets.
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Old Nov 14, 2007, 10:13 PM   #150
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I think the reason there is a love/hate feeling towards this camera is primarily due to expectation. Clearly the manufacturer as well as users are only going to show their best results, so when we personally get sub-par video, it gets frustrating and we want to blame the equipment.

With another day gone by with the HD700, the more I love it. I've learned how to overcome it's weaknesses and can achieve pretty good results. That's more than I could've said in the first week or two.

I also look at the alternatives and, well, there really aren't any. My requirement was size, manual controls, and easy uploading, editing capabilities and of course video quality. The HD700 satisfies the first three no problem. As for video quality, it takes a little practice. With that said, the first time I picked up a SLR I got crappy results too. Even with a $4,000 SLR, one that doesn't know how to use the equipment won't be very pleased either when their expectations aren't met.

For me, there isn't anything else out there at this point that will fit my needs. Even the HD1000 is too big. It must comfortably fit in my pocket or else it will find a home in a drawer. I thought maybe I could get by with one of the newer Casio models that shoots video in H.264. But after taking a look at Steve's samples, there wasn't any comparison to the HD700.

So like I said, at this size and price point, there aren't any real alternatives. I strongly suggest those that are frustrated with the camera to really give it a workout and mess with the settings to find the sweet spot for your shooting style. After I did that, I've found the camera to be very capable. From my experience, a few tweaks before hitting record makes all the difference.
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