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Fujinon Brings HD Into Focus With Patented Precision Focus Assist System (23/9/2004)

Breakthrough Technology to be Included in Fujinon's HD Sports and Wide-Angle Lenses Ensures Camera Operators Capture Crystal Clear HDTV Images

Continuing its leadership in high-quality image acquisition, Fujinon (IBC Booth #11.310) has developed a patented, groundbreaking focus system designed to improve the quality of HDTV image capture in field and studio applications. The Fujinon Precision Focus Assist system will initially be available on the company's HD XA101x8.9BESM and XA87x9.3BESM zoom and HD ENG HA13x4.5BRD wide-angle and HA22x7.8BRD lenses. Precision Focus Assist is a built-in feature that addresses precise focus issues in HDTV production stemming from the format's shallow depth of focus and the lack of size and resolution in camera viewfinders.

"The Precision Focus Assist system represents a clear and dramatic progression for HD production," said Dave Waddell, Marketing Manager, Fujinon. "The industry has progressed to a point where overall lens quality is no longer an issue. This system provides a consistent means to achieve focus, leaving the days of unfocused, blurry high definition images behind us. It's truly a breakthrough product for a growing and dynamic market."

This is not an auto focus system, but a focus assist that precisely adjusts the lens for optimum focus. Using this system, a selectable area of the video image is sampled as the focus point. The camera operator can adjust the user selectable point with a roller-ball type of controller, similar to a computer mouse, to position the focus point. The camera operator can then select manual or automatic focus assist. In the manual mode, there are three, colored LED's that assist in achieving optimum focus. When the automatic mode is selected, the Precision Focus Assist system takes control and optimizes the focus, ensuring the captured image will be of the highest possible quality. Additionally, when panning and tilting, the operator can follow the focus point and position it above the object of focus as the camera is moved with the controller. An added benefit of the Precision Focus Assist is that it does not require tight zooming to focus. It performs even on a wide shot.

Because the smaller viewfinders on HD cameras lack high-quality resolution, operators often believe they've achieved focus when they haven't. And home viewers with 50" HD screens can easily see slight defocusing of the HDTV image that would not be discernable in standard definition. Remote controls were recently developed to allow video operators within view of a full-screen monitor to tweak the focus by referencing the large-screen monitor, but these systems have not been widely deployed. Fujinon brings the Precision Focus Assist system to the market to address HD focus issues that weren't answered with remote focus systems.

"This system essentially allows the camera operator to tweak the original focus and gives that operator complete confidence in the images they're sending out to air," added Waddell. "The operator may not see the improvement on the camera's viewfinder, but a video operator looking at the image on a 50" monitor in a studio or truck will notice the improvement. This also puts the role of focus back where it should be - in the hands of the camera operator."

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