View Full Version : AC130: Inconsistent Focus Plane?
02-27-2012, 07:26 AM
I've had my AC-130 for about 4 months now, and I've loved it thus far. However, I was shooting a wedding this weekend, and I discovered a focusing issue that I hadn't seen before.
Basically, the focal plane on the camera appears inconsistent from side to side in the frame. At first I thought I mucked up my settings somehow, so I tried various different things (OIS on/off, exposure changes, manual focus assist on/off, etc.). I centered the camera, and pointed it at a wall that had some picture frames with sharp edges on both sides of the shot. Then I manually focused from infinity to minimal distance and back several times. Unfortunately, I got consistent results.
As I approached infinity, the left side of the frame would go out of focus noticeably sooner than the right side. As I approached minimum focus distance, the right hand side would go out of focus much earlier than the left. As I continued to test, I could actually see the blur moving from left to right as I adjusted my focus.
Am I missing something? This is my first substantial camcorder purchase, and I wasn't expecting this. I have used cheepie little camcorders, as well as DSLRs with L-series lenses, and I've never had this issue on any of them. Anyone else had this issue? Is this a common thing for entry level pro camcorders?
02-28-2012, 01:40 PM
Well judging from the number of replies you have gotten so far I guess no one has a clue as to what's the problem. I know I don't. You're going to have to send it in to service.
02-29-2012, 02:19 PM
That's kinda what I was thinking. It's on it's way in the mail :/.
03-04-2012, 08:22 AM
I have an AC160 which has the "auto focus bug" (see thread for 130/160 auto focus bug), it also has the soft edge on the right side of the frame when I am zoomed out. I shoot concerts from the balcony which puts the camera a good distance and at a slight off center from the stage to the right from the orchestra/performers. It is noticable if you look for it, but not so bad that it totally distracts from the frame content. This is another "bug" in the lens/focus of the new Panasonic AC a130/160 and probably 250. So far Panasonic has chosen to address the focus bug as "the way it is for such a great new big super lens". Jan has offered Pana fixes...push auto focus button, use focus area control....others have reported in the thread that these corrective actions leave much to be desired, in short we have been told by Panasonic that what we have is the way the cameras work and be happy for the new camera and super lens?
I am so sorry I paid the big bucks for my AC160 but Panasonic has not accepted it's design flaws and I do not expect that they will address this lens issue any better than they addressed the "auto focus bug" issue I really expected more from Panasonic.
03-04-2012, 06:39 PM
That is discouraging. I for one would gladly trade the new big super industry leading zoom lense for a "lesser" 20X or 16X that worked correctly.
03-05-2012, 07:29 AM
I bought the HPX250 and it is very sharp from the left side of the screen to the right. Same lens and optical block. So it's not a design flaw or all of the 160s, 130s, and 250s would be affected. Probably a manufaturing defect. As far as the autofocus, I usually run a totally manual camera. They may come up with a solution, but it will probably take them some time. And if you shoot events, you need that 22X lens. They start these cameras out so wide now, that if you zoom in with only a 13X or 16X lens, you barely have a head to toe shot.
03-06-2012, 08:26 PM
On one hand, I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one with this issue. On the other hand, I really hope that it's a manufacturing defect and not a "feature of this great lens."
I keep searching for explanations, and so far @jtczere is the only other one I've heard of having this issue.
@digitalgecko - I'm very hopeful that this is just a manufacturing defect. Your post was encouraging, and fell in line with most of the responses I've seen from others. The only remaining issue I have is dealing with poor customer service reps and paying $136 to ship/insure a 4 month-old camcorder. Not the professional experience I was hoping for when I bought it :-/. Oh well.
Thank for your guys input!
03-07-2012, 01:04 PM
... So it's not a design flaw or all of the 160s, 130s, and 250s would be affected. Probably a manufaturing defect. As far as the autofocus, I usually run a totally manual camera. They may come up with a solution, but it will probably take them some time. And if you shoot events, you need that 22X lens. They start these cameras out so wide now, that if you zoom in with only a 13X or 16X lens, you barely have a head to toe shot.
I'm glad it's a manufacturing defect and not a design flaw. I'm sorry for wasabigrinch having the problem. Hopefully they will get it taken care of.
Good point made about the wide angle the cameras start out with and the need for a long zoom. I remember shooting stage with my 10X DVX100B and it just didn't have the zoom needed so we'd use the other camers to get tight shots.
I imagine the next go around Panasonic will get all this worked out beautifully. But until then it looks like the cameras are what they are: A lot of good features, but also some compromises and issues to deal with or wait until the next model arrives and is better.
04-04-2012, 09:49 PM
Just got the camcorder back from the service center. Overall, I wasn't that impressed with the service - mostly because I was hoping for something beyond the typical experience.
I sent the camcorder off at the end of February. After being reassured that it should only take 3-5 days of work, I finally received the camcorder back in the mail today. I had included a packing list in the case that I sent it with (trying to make it easier to send everything back), but the camcorder arrived without the accompanying battery pack I sent. I called in to inquire about the service performed (and the battery). They told me they had replaced the lens assembly and that they would ship the battery back tomorrow.
I ran some basic tests, and everything seems ok so far. I will have to use it a bit more to be sure. I'm hoping this will be the last of it.
Has anyone else had better service experience with Panasonic? This is my first substantial purchase with them, and I suppose I was hoping for better with the larger buy-in price. Glad to have my camcorder back though!
04-10-2012, 04:50 PM
GAH! Just received the wrong battery pack back from the service center. This one has some sort of corrosion on it, and it's not even the correct model number. *grumble grumble* Sorry. Had to vent.