Sony and Canon video cameras have a LANC jack ( it's sometimes called a Control-L jack). The
exception to this is a few low end consumer models from Sony and Canon. If you have one of the higher end cameras rest assured, your camera has a LANC jack. If you want to be sure, check your video camera's owners
manual for the location of the LANC jack.
Since Sony and Canon bring out new cameras every year, especially in the consumer market, we do not keep a list of which cameras have the LANC jack. Therefore, it's best if you check your owners manual.
Zoom Controllers plug into the LANC jack on the video camera and talk to the video camera using a series of codes. These codes are standardized and they are called the LANC protocol. So if you buy a zoom controller for a Canon GL-1 and later you buy a Sony Z1U, you can use the same controller with both cameras.
How a Zoom Controller Works
When the camera is powered up, it will look to see if a LANC zoom controller is plugged into the LANC jack. If it finds one, it will look for commands to control the camera from the LANC port. These commands are a series of codes that the zoom controller will send to the camera. Each code corresponds to a different function. Again, these codes are standardized.
There are a lot of codes available in the LANC protocol, it is up to the video camera manufacturer to determine which codes they will program the video camera to accept.
If the camera has a LANC jack then you will be able to control the following essential functions:
Zoom In/Zoom Out
Power the camera up and down from standby mode
Most cameras have a Manual Focus mode, so you will be able to control the focus when you have the camera in manual mode using the Focus buttons on the zoom controller.
NOTE: There are some consumer camcorders that only have an automatic focus mode, in that case you will not be able to manually focus the camera. Check your owners manual to see if you have a manual focus mode.
The following two functions found on the ProZoom 2 may not be available on all cameras.
(This are not considered essential functions and therefore may not be available on all camera models.)
Display On/Off - Turns all or part of the writing on the LCD screen on or off
Toggle between Automatic and Manual Focus - Please see the Note About Auto Focus and Manual Focus below.
Since these are non-essential functions, not all video cameras will support these two functions. While most video cameras do, there are some that won't. We do not have a list of cameras that will support these functions and here is why:
Camera manufacturers make revisions to the video cameras during production. There are times when the video camera manufacturer may disable or enable a non-essential function, such as the Display On/Off and Toggle between Manual and Auto Focus.
For example: We have found on the Sony VX-2000 there are some version that will not allow you to toggle the display on/off function, while other versions will. We have no way of identifying which version will work and which ones won't. We have tried tracking the serial numbers from customers who reported it, but it doesn't appear to be in any certain group of serial numbers.
This does not mean the zoom controller is defective. We program the zoom controllers using the standard LANC protocol and they are tested before shipping to make sure they are sending the correct codes. If these functions will not work in your camera, then the video camera firmware is not programmed to use the functions. There is nothing we can do about this, since the programming is missing inside the video camera.
Note About the Auto Focus/Manual Focus Function
If your video camera has a automatic shooting mode , this function MAY not work while the camera is in this mode. Generally, the video camera must be set to the Manual shooting mode in order for this function to work.
NOTE: the automatic shooting mode is different for the Auto Focus mode. The Automatic shooting mode is where all or almost all of the manual controls are disabled. Please check your video camera owners manual for more information.
Some video cameras have a switch on the side of the camera or a choice in the menu selection to set the camera for Auto Focus or Manual Focus mode. Depending on the video camera, you may have to have the camera set for Manual Focus mode for this function to work. Other cameras may have to be in the Auto Focus mode in order for you to toggle between Auto/Manual focus modes.
Now this gets wild. We have seen some cameras, a Sony VX-2000, have this feature turned on and off depending on the manufacturing run of the camera. We have seen this first hand with two cameras we have in house. One VX-2000 will not allow us to toggle between auto and manual focus at all, while the other VX-2000 will. We have tried to track serial numbers on this line of cameras, but it didn't seem to be any certain group of serial numbers. PLEASE do not call us and ask us if this feature will work with your camera. We don't know, as it is impossible to track every serial number of every camera out there.
There are some video camera that won't support this feature at all. That is because the video camera manufacturer didn't program the camera to Allow you to switch between auto focus and manual focus through the LANC jack. It's not our fault. Please do not call us complaining that this function won't work on your video camera.
Also remember, there are some consumer cameras that do not allow manual Focusing. On these camera's there is no way to toggle between auto and manual focus, so this function will not work.
Remember, we follow the standard LANC protocol. If a certain function is not working on your model video camera, chances are the video camera manufacturer didn't program the firmware in that camera to allow that function. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do at Studio 1 Productions to make that function work in your camera. It is not a problem with the zoom controller, it is a problem with your video camera.
How fast the video camera will focus is a function of the camera and can not be controlled through the LANC jack with a zoom controller. There are only codes for Focus In and Focus Out. Not for the speed of the focus.
Number of Zoom Speeds
Then number of zoom speeds that you can access from the LANC port depends on the video camera. Most cameras support between 6 and 9 zoom speeds.
A Word of Caution
Always make sure the video camera is powered down or turned off when plugging or unplugging any zoom controller. The LANC zoom controller is powered by the LANC jack. It is not a good idea to plug the zoom controller in with the camera power on, you may short something. Also, we have seen the camera and/or the zoom controller get confused when customers forget to have the camera powered off when plugging in the zoom controller.