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Thread: PTZ Cam Autofocus Issues

  1. #1
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    PTZ Cam Autofocus Issues

    Good Morning All,

    I just purchased some PTZ1 cameras and excited about the idea of moving to a full NDI workflow. For now we are mixing these cameras with the Sony EVI 100S PTZ cameras and using the SDI and RS_432 control. I can't wait to move away from this and go full IP and will invest in 8 cameras once we are comfortable.

    I am having some serious issues with the Newtek PTZ1 autofocus when zooming in. The autofocus is so bad and can't keep up with zooming in to the point we can't even use it on the show... a serious issue for us. Our subjects are about 15-20' away from our cameras.

    I have tried to set autofocus to normal, fast and it does not seem to change anything. I had updated the firm ware when we bought these cameras about a month ago so I think that is fine.

    Does anyone have any incite? Would moving to an IP controller like the PTZ Optics IP controller and away from the VISCA protocol help at all or is this a camera issue?

  2. #2
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    Are you using the PTZ1 cameras with a TriCaster? If so, then camera control can be done via NDI over the network. You will have access to up to 15 presets per camera, and each preset can have its own MANUAL FOCUS setting, so then you don't need to worry about auto focus. Please let us know all gear in the workflow

    Thanks

    Jeff
    Jeff Pulera
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPulera View Post
    Are you using the PTZ1 cameras with a TriCaster? If so, then camera control can be done via NDI over the network. You will have access to up to 15 presets per camera, and each preset can have its own MANUAL FOCUS setting, so then you don't need to worry about auto focus. Please let us know all gear in the workflow

    Thanks

    Jeff
    Hi Jeff, I put that in my message.
    "For now we are mixing these cameras with the Sony EVI 100S PTZ cameras and using the SDI and RS_232 control."

    We are using the RS-232 in/outs for control with the compatible VISCA Sony controller.
    We are not using the Tricaster because of cost, we are using the Blackmagic Switcher with SDI for now until we hopefully are able to adopt to full NDI with wirecast or maybe a tricaster.

    Using presets is fine for still shots but won't help us when trying to zoom into the subject on a live feed.

    My question is that is it just a flaw of the camera that can't be fixed or is it possible moving to an IP controller over NDI would help or have more better options for autofocus control?

  4. #4
    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    Can you explain a little about the AF issues you're seeing. I've not seen a problem with AF keeping up, at least not when performing a moderate speed manual zoom. For the record, I don't think we advertise RS-232 control as a feature. While it wouldn't surprise me to find it works as well as NDI control, it wouldn't surprise me to find that it wasn't a 1:1 thing either.
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  5. #5
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    If you wanted to try NDI control of PTZ1 cameras, you would have full control from any PC running the free Newtek NDI Studio Monitor software. You can see the camera feed on-screen, even full-screen if you want, with camera controls overlaid on screen and controllable via mouse - presets, focus, zoom, and virtual joystick available. Also, one can connect a Windows gaming joystick to that PC and use the physical joystick for PTZ control. If no access to an existing network, just wire cameras and PC to same network switch ($50). Simple setup and config.

    I've not tried the joystick method myself, but supposed to work. And also, one is supposed to be able to open multiple instances of the software on the same screen, to control multiple cameras. Just change "focus" between them to swap control.

    No reason you can't control camera over network using NDI, and still have live output via SDI and HDMI to your switcher.

    Thanks

    Jeff
    Jeff Pulera
    Streaming Broadcast Solutions - Newtek Elite

    TriCasters: Mini with AE, TC1
    Camera: Sony PMW-X70 4K
    Controllers: All variety of XKeys
    PTZ: Newtek NDIHX-PTZ1

  6. #6
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    Are the ptz cameras lens not parfocal to where you can zoom in, set focus manually and then zoom our and be ok for the rest of the show?

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    Same issue here, with full NDI workflow (Studio Monitor with Xbox controler and Wirecast for mixing) and last firmware.
    Autofocus is so bad that you can't use it in a live workflow, you can never know what it will happen.

    But you can't even use it to make your presets : if you try to use AF to make quick focus, and then disable AF and store the preset as manual focus (to avoid refocusing in live), when you click AF Off, you'll have a full defocusing... and you'll have to manually refocus (with Pg Up Pg Down shortcuts or with Xbox Controller) and it takes time. Manual focus is a pain, really not quick and not smotth.

    Zooming in live is absolutely unusable without AF.

    The only way to use Newtek PTZ is to work with a really simple and static setup : guests on chairs, time to make manual focus and store as presets. But if anything unexpected happen in your show (like audience questions for example), just pray for Autofocus works.

    Newtek guys, a date for new firmware release ?

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    Focus / AF has been the no 1 issue (of many) since I first purchased 2 x PTZ1. There is no way I can use them in a live scenario, not even 12 months old and the've been relegated already to provide stage monitoring for BOH operators, a very expensive security camera and not a very good one at that. I don't hold much hope a firmware upgrade would fix this issue.

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    If you access the PTZ1 camera setup menus via Studio Monitor app, or via web browser, there is an option to change how the focus works. Don't have my camera set up right now to check, but I think there is a "Center" focus option which is not the default, would definitely try what different options are to be found in there

    Thanks

    Jeff
    Jeff Pulera
    Streaming Broadcast Solutions - Newtek Elite

    TriCasters: Mini with AE, TC1
    Camera: Sony PMW-X70 4K
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    PTZ: Newtek NDIHX-PTZ1

  10. #10
    Grizzled Veteran jcupp's Avatar
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    I'll look into the AF settings, that would be an easy fix.
    -Jeff


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by stp_productions View Post
    Are the ptz cameras lens not parfocal to where you can zoom in, set focus manually and then zoom our and be ok for the rest of the show?
    The short answer? No, they are not. It doesn't matter what focus setting you select. We bought 3 of these, and returned them 5 days later due to issues like this.

  12. #12
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    I've discovered one additional Auto Focus setting in the PTZ1 camera that is not available in the PTZ1 web interface, called Focus Tracking. To access, view camera output via hard wire (SDI or HDMI) and press MENU on IR remote control and go to Auto Focus menu subset to change (NDI does not display menu overlay).

    I believe that what you need to do AFTER changing a focus setting in the menu is to then SAVE PRESET in TriCaster (or on remote) using 1 of the 15 Presets. These presets seem to recall ALL current settings, including Mirror, Flip, White Balance, etc. on a per-preset basis. Worth at least trying FOCUS TRACKING "ON" in addition to playing with various other Auto Focus settings that are available in the browser config. But again, remember to SAVE PRESET or the changes won't stick, and going to another preset will not have those settings unless they were also saved in that preset, as each is unique.

    NOTE: when you save a preset via thumbnail in TriCaster PTZ panel, those presets are saved TO THE CAMERA, not in Sessions themselves.

    Thanks

    Jeff
    Jeff Pulera
    Streaming Broadcast Solutions - Newtek Elite

    TriCasters: Mini with AE, TC1
    Camera: Sony PMW-X70 4K
    Controllers: All variety of XKeys
    PTZ: Newtek NDIHX-PTZ1

  13. #13
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    PTZ1 Focus issues

    Quote Originally Posted by dhodlick View Post
    The short answer? No, they are not. It doesn't matter what focus setting you select. We bought 3 of these, and returned them 5 days later due to issues like this.
    Same here except I did not return them, though I wish I did. It is a firmware issue, and Newtek knows it. Lumens makes and writes the FW for Newtek, they also make an exact Lumens PTZ ndi camera (different color and branding)
    I tried them both side by side at NAB, the lumens camera seemed to work in the basic sense it would focus and hold it. The newtek version would not. I was told by a developer last week that Newtek is working on a fix that will be in the next FW update, whenever that may be. So for now 2 ndi cameras sit in a case unused, serious waste of time and money so far. Come on Newtek!!!!

  14. #14
    NewTek Engineering QA VideoEng QA's Avatar
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    We were able to identify the auto focus issues on the PTZ1 and currently have a new firmware version in testing that corrects them (along with a few other minor improvements). We have tested this new firmware version in a variety of camera configuration and lighting environments and can no longer reproduce the focus issues. Before releasing this new firmware we would like to offer early access to anyone who would be willing to try it out and give us feedback on how the new auto focus improvements perform in their environment.

    If you would like to try out the new PTZ1 firmware please email me here (mention this thread or "PTZ1 auto focus" in the title) and I will send you a direct link to download the new firmware.
    NewTek Engineering QA
    For bug reports, feature requests, or technical inquiries: https://fogbugz.newtek.com/default.asp?pg=pgPublicEdit

  15. #15
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    Hi all,
    I installed the new firmware and can report the prelim results are outstanding. We can now recommend the PTZ1 in live environments

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