I recently purchased and returned a Canon HF-S100 AVCHD camcorder. I misread the camera’s specs and incorrectly assumed the camera shot native 24p. Besides this I was not happy with the camera’s manual focusing features. Specifically, there is no focus ring on the lens. There is a small roll mechanism located just behind the lens on the left side of the camera. In my opinion this is a poor implementation.
Pictured to the right we have two new camcorders by Panasonic and Canon. The Panasonic HDC TM350 (AVCHD) was announced in Japan last week. So far no news with regard to US availability. The Canon HV40 (HDV) is the latest edition to the very successful line of Canon HV camcorders.
Notice the placement of a traditional lens mounted focus ring on the Panasonic. Very nice, indeed. What puzzles me is Canon continues to design their prosumer camcorders with this roll focus mechanism (located between the silver buttons at the front of the HV40, pictured right). This design strategy has been widely criticized by the public at large.
I found a very cool piece that may solve this problem for disgruntled HV line camcorders. Irv Design Inc. offers a manual focus ring attachment designed to enhance manual focusing for these Canon camcorders. The ring is made of anodized black aluminum and it is designed so that it will not “block or hinder camera functions.” From what I can see rotation of the ring interacts with the camera’s rolling mechanism and it controls focus adjustments. You simply slip the ring over the outer edge of the camera lens and it locks into place.
It appears the piece is currently out of stock. The next batch is expected in mid to late June. Irv Design states plans are in the works for new models of the focus ring for Canon and Sony camcorders.