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Getting started
Focus
Macro option
Adjusting the back focus

SONY DSR500 CAMERAPART 1: GETTING STARTED - SONY DSR500

by Christina Fox

You will see from looking at the camcorder and its manual that there are a vast array of buttons. Some of them you will use regularly and are essential for day to day operation. Other buttons you will start to use as your confidence and experience grows. Here are the main ones to get you off to a quick start.

POWER ON / OFF

The POWER ON/OFF switch should be obvious how this one works!.

If a cassette is in the camera - the tape head drum rotates and the camera will drop into record almost immediately. If you leave the camera switched on (but not recording) for eight minutes the camera will drop down into save mode to reduce battery consumption (NB this time can be altered in the menus).

When the camera is in save mode- the tape head drum stops rotating this reduces wear and tear on your tape. So, starting to record in save mode will take longer (a couple of seconds) - in order to give the drum time to get up to speed.

POWER ZOOM

  1. The 'T' stands for TELEPHOTO and will zoom the lens in.
  2. The 'W' stands for WIDE-ANGLE and will zoom the lens out.

The speed of the zoom depends on the pressure you place on the zoom controller. The harder you press the faster the zoom. If you wish to zoom the lens manually you must switch from SERVO to MANUAL (the switch is at the base of the servo unit)

RECORDING START / STOP

There are two record buttons (VTR). One by your thumb when the camera is on your shoulder and your right hand is gripping the lens servo. The other is below the lens beside the white balance switch.

TO START RECORDING - Press the VTR button, the two red tally lights will light in the viewfinder. If you have selected Record Run, the Time code will start to count up in the display panel.

TO STOP RECORDING - Press the VTR button again, the red tally light will go out.

TAPE REVIEW

To review the pictures you've recorded on tape you can use three different methods

THE RET BUTTON beside the zoom controller
  1. Dab the RET button once and the camera will rewind and show you the last two seconds on the tape
  2. Press and hold the RET button down and it will rewind and show you the last 10 seconds on tape.

The RET button is very useful if you have powered the camera down then switched back on again. If you hit RET before recording the camera will ensure there is no blank tape between shots.

TAPE TRANSPORT BUTTONS
  1. Lift the cover hiding the tape transport buttons (to one side of the Blue eject button)
  2. Rewind, fast forward, play, stop and still are all there for you to play with.

EDIT SEARCH two buttons FWD and REW
  1. Holding down the EDIT SEARCH button marked REW allows you to rewind the tape while FWD, forwards the tape.
  2. There are two tape transport speeds press gently for "play" speed and press harder for fast forwards and rewind.

Be very careful when you use the edit search facility. If you forward onto blank tape and start recording, there will be a break in timecode this will cause you problems when you come to edit. Always cue up on the last recorded picture to ensure you have continuous timecode throughout your rushes.

Back to the top.

FOCUS

Focusing is one of the most difficult skills to master. Get it even slightly out and your picture will look wrong and will be unusable.

MANUAL FOCUS

  1. Zoom in as tight as you can to the subject (for a person zoom into their eyes)
  2. Turn the FOCUS RING, at the front of the lens, to get the picture into focus
  3. Zoom out to frame the shot.

ZOOM IN.... FOCUS.... FRAME UP


USING THE MACRO FEATURE

The macro feature of the lens allows you to shoot small objects close up to the lens.

  1. Set the FOCUS RING to the closest focus position
  2. Rotate the MACRO RING fully clockwise
  3. Select the ZOOM to MANUAL.
  4. Zoom in and out manually to find the focus.

Back to the top.

CHECKING THE BACK FOCUS

If the lens is set up correctly then you should be able to zoom in to a correctly focused object and then fully zoom out with the object remaining in focus.

If you find that the camera goes out of focus as you zoom out, you will have to adjust the BACK FOCUS of the camera lens.

  1. Select manual lens IRIS. Then open the iris as wide as possible to reduce the depth of field. If necessary dial in the ND filter. (The EZFOCUS will also do this for you)
  2. Zoom in on the lens chart provided or a distant object (one with strong horizontal and vertical lines) and focus as usual with the focus ring.
  3. Zoom out wide check that the object stays in focus
  4. If the object goes out of focus as you zoom out you must adjust the back focus
  5. Loosen the locking screw on the lens.
  6. Turn the ring until object come back into focus
  7. Tighten locking screw
  8. Go through steps 2 7 a couple more time to be sure of accurate lens adjustment.

    Back to the top.

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Part 2: WHITE BALANCE
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Christina Fox