Friday, July 14, 2017

Tips for Using the Twin NX1000 Cameras

A friend recently sent me pictures from his NX1000 rig that were hopelessly out of synchronization. I had a few experiences like that of my own too. So, here are my recommendations on how to use the twin NX1000 rig to assure good synchronization:
  • Before You Start: Make sure that both cameras have the latest firmware installed (1.15). Also, do the “Flash Test” (see the blog on this) to make sure that the pair shows good synchronization. Mark the cameras R and L so you always use them in the same way. Also, mark the memory cards R and L to make sure the same card goes back to the same camera. Finally, change the default menu options to choices of your liking. These steps are described here:
  • How to Turn the cameras ON / OFF: These cameras have a peculiarity: If their remotes are connected then when one camera is off, the other camera will fire. It is as if the camera that is OFF acts as a closed switch for the camera that it ON. So, if you turn one camera ON while the other is OFF, after a short time (maybe 1 second or so) this camera will fire. And if both cameras are ON and you turn one OFF, then the other camera will fire. To avoid this, the cameras can be turned ON or OFF at about the same time (within one second). But if they are turned ON too close to each other, then one camera will not detect the remote. (This was explained by Werner as follows: When the cameras are turned on, they send a pulse to detect the remote and if the pulses are too close to each other, one is missed.)

    To avoid these issues, I have turned on the setting to Clean the Sensors at Startup. This gives a bit of extra time to each camera. So I turn one camera ON then the other. Both cameras detect the remotes and none fires. At turn off, I turn both cameras OFF at the same time. Using this simple procedure I get no misfires and no remote problems.
[PS. Others have found other ways around this. One user keeps the lens caps on. This stops the cameras from focusing and if they cannot focus, they do not fire.]

  • Modes to Use: Use these camera modes: P, A, S, M (same mode on both cameras).

Do not use the SMART mode (this delays the camera in an unpredictable way – that was the problem with my friend’s pictures). If using a flash, use a flash that does not communicate with the camera. So, do not use a Samsung dedicated flash (this delays the camera that fires the flash).
  • Focusing and Firing: When taking a picture, half-press the shutter button and wait to hear/see the focus confirmation from both cameras (hear the sound and see the green focus confirmation square on the screen), then fully press to take the picture. If one camera has not focused, it will not fire (this is the standard setting) and this will lead to mis-synchronization. Most mis-syncronization issues happen if you hurry to take a picture without waiting for the cameras to focus first. If you want to speed up shooting and the distance to the subject does not change, then switch to Manual focus.
  • Focus Setting: Make sure that the focus is set at Single Focusing [SAF] (or Manual focus [MF] if you really want to use this setting), and not at Continuous Focusing [CAF]. It is easy to press the center dial and change the focus mode while trying to get out of the menu. At [CAF] the camera keeps looking for focus and it is delayed.

  • Drive Setting: Make sure that the cameras are set to Single Drive and not timer or any other mode. Again, this setting is easy to press and then change trying to get out of the menu. You can use both cameras in other than Single Drive mode, just not only one.
In summary: If you have a pair that has passed the Flash Test, use the P, A, S, M settings, take your time to half press the shutter to focus, and nothing has changed in the focus and drive settings, then everything should be OK. 

In case of trouble: If you notice a problem, lack of synchronization, or any unusual camera behavior, do not panic (“OMG, my cameras are broken!” – this was my reaction when I accidentally changed the focus to CAF and the cameras were clearly firing out of synchronization).  Calm down and examine the settings, make sure that you are using the same mode and shooting variables (f-stop, shutter speed, exposure compensation) on both cameras, make sure that the focus and drive settings are the same. Check that you have not accidentally bumped the zoom or switched to Manual Focus. Turn the cameras OFF and ON. If everything is set properly, the cameras should return to normal.

The Center Dial

This picture shows how to use the center dial. The dial can be pressed in 5 different ways: Center, up, down, right, left, and it also rotates, plus there are 4 buttons at the corners around it. These buttons and controls have different functions depending on whether you are in shooting or in playback mode.

Top Buttons:
  • MENU: In shooting: Brings up the menu that allows you to change shooting variables like ISO, White Balance, etc., and also menu items. After the initial changes, I normally go there to change the ISO or white balance. But these can also be changed with the Fn button. In playback mode you get a different menu.

  • Fn: This bring a menu with all the shooting variables so you can change all variables in one convenient place. That’s a useful shortcut. In playback mode it has options for manipulating the image you have recorded.
Center Dial:
  • Top: DISP: Changes the display. Experiment with this to set the display to your liking. Since you are using two cameras, you can have two different displays, for example, turn the electronic level ON in one of the cameras but not the other. In preview mode you can pull up information about the recorded image.

  • Bottom: Exposure Compensation: Allows you to change the exposure compensation (when appropriate). The same can be achieved using the Fn button, which is a bit easier to see, in my opinion.

  • Right: Changes the focus mode. Remember, you want [SAF] (or [MF])

  • Left: Changes the Drive Mode. Normally you are using Single Drive, the most left setting.

  • Center in Shooting Mode: Pressing the center dial in shooting mode allows you to change the size and location of the focus area. I change this setting when I take close-ups, where I converge the focus area towards the center. This remains in effect even after the cameras are turned off, so if you change it for close-ups and then switch to shooting with infinity, you might want to bring the focus areas back to center. 

  • Center in Playback Mode: In playback mode pressing the center dial enlarges the image to see details. Rotating the dial changes the magnification and you can also move around to see different parts of the image. This is a useful operation that allows you to closely inspect your images to make sure that they look OK.

Bottom Buttons:

  • Playback: Brings up the last image you recorded and you can scroll through by pressing the right or left side of the dial. While in playback mode, the wheel and buttons have different functions than the normal shooting mode.
  •  Delete: Deletes images recorded. If I see that one camera misfired (i.e. only one camera took a picture for one reason or another) then I delete this image at the spot, rather than having to worry about it later. This saves time on image processing at home.
If you have any tips about using the cameras, let me know.

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