View Full Version : + teleconverters

Brendan Marnell
June 29th, 2007, 04:58 PM
After 2 years shooting big bird flight footage, mostly handheld and autofocus, I'm looking for extra magnification to my GL2 (XM2) for bird landings and take-offs (with or without a tripod).

Any advice on suitable teleconverters, please?

Comments about resolution loss, maximum zoom gain without vignetting, how much extra weight, how to attach to GL2, possiblities for bird flight videography, handheld use, autofocus use would be particularly welcome.

Graham Bernard
June 30th, 2007, 04:40 AM
I use a Century 2x.

1] Vignetting from around 55% out.

2] As I would be using a mattebox, I've got mixed feelings about a "screw" or "bayonet" mount

3] I've yet to do it, but I want to experiment with setting up one camera on WA and the other on tele.

4] My guess is that you WILL miss the opportunity, especially with bird shots, is to "hunt" with the tele on and THEN homing-in. I've found this a bit of a pain. What would be REAL neat would be a turret type of lens adaptor. But that just AIN'T gonna happen!!

5] Auto focus works for me, but there again the "hunt" on mixed-object moving references going on - all them crazy birds! - is something I haven't experiment with. What I would do is manually set focus to the point I want and trust to "luck" and the Bird-God, just what I could capture. Auto on landings? Nuh-uh! . .. I'd set my focus to about the place where they WOULD land and take it from there. IF I could NOT get to what I wanted I would "twist-that-ring" (technically term there!) to get IN to the shot I wanted. Yah never know, you just my get a nice action focus-in effect you could use in post?

6] Yes, it does add weight - but you kinda SHOULD be using on a tripod anyway!! I've used it on a a SpiderBrace - it's fine.

5] Got mine off eBay.

What else can I say?


Brendan Marnell
June 30th, 2007, 08:12 AM

It's great to see you again (as somebody said). Your XM2 experience has encouraged me before. I'm inclined to agree with you that it's already too easy "to miss the opportunity" when shooting bird flight without adding a teleconverter to the equation. Thank you for that practical thought.

I also agree that a good landing site deserves manual focus. I have found manual useful for take-off too provided that I switch to autofocus just before each take-off.

Can I press you to comment on how you think the HD extra resolution of, say, an XHA1 would or could improve my flight footage, please? Links to samples below, if you can find the time.

Also, I would love to hear more about the benefits of your Spider Brace for bird flight above and below the horizon, or is it strictly for horizontal use?

For clips of vultures in flight see ..

... and "save target as"

The VLC player is free from ...
and the video is high quality.

For low quality version see ...

Graham Bernard
June 30th, 2007, 01:49 PM
Hi Brendan!

I can't comment on any HD work. Don't have a HD equipment.

I've used my SPiderBrace on swimming, resting and wading birds. Birds in flight? I would need to experiment.



Ron Stoecklein
July 1st, 2007, 08:28 AM
Once you do get the set up that works for you--you might try using a red dot sight --it will mount in your hot shoe--you can then adjust it for whatever lens your using----I have used it mainly for surfing and with my 400mm lens mounted on my Xl2--which takes the magnification to about 3200mm(approx.)--I can actually look through the red dot hit record without even looking through the lens and be pretty sure I'm on target.

I've shot pelicans and egrets in flight while in between filming surfing--the red dot makes it fairly easy to target the bird.


Brendan Marnell
July 1st, 2007, 11:53 AM
Please don't be scandalized when I admit that I have just discovered that AUTO is not the only programme on my XM2. However, having found MANUAL, I also find my viewfinder screen remains cluttered with info I don't want about settings I do want. I never use LCD for hunting or focussing (there isn't time or shade), always my viewfinder; How can I clear my XM2 viewfinder screen of the data so that I can use all the screen as a working viewfinder?

Thank you for telling me about the red dot sight ... if it works for clips of surfing it might be very useful for bird flight. XM2 has a hot shoe that I rarely use for flash light.

can you confirm that the hot shoe on XM2 will operate a red dot sight?

Bottoms up!

Graham Bernard
July 1st, 2007, 04:12 PM
I use a "shaded" 7" external LCD for framing. By now I've found the camera LCD just to tiny for my needs.

If you look in your Users Manual you will see just what you want to have on or off in the display. That's another advantage of a larger LCD - the data is larger, yes, but so is the image I want!

I have no knowledge of a red dot sight that operates from the hotshoe? I would think that the hotshoe is only being used as a "clamp" for the red dot device?


Brendan Marnell
July 4th, 2007, 12:57 PM
Now that was very close.

...... I had a tightly edited diatribe all written out proving for all time that XM2 had lost control over clutter on the viewfinder/lcd screen and wondering what you were getting at, Grazie. I mean Pages 148,149 & 150 are devoted to Screen Displays but not a mention of how to turn the bloody things off.
Then P. 36 opened by accident and all was revealed ... there's a tiny button hidden inside the lcd compartment that allows complete or partial turn-off of all screen displays ... here we go again, Read the Manual, Marnell and leave these busy people alone ...

... not likely!

Graham Bernard
July 4th, 2007, 03:14 PM
... not likely!

Brendan, I'll hold you to it me ole mucha!

Glad you found the "secret" switch . . ssshhhh don't tell everybody!!

The XM2, in many ways, set a standard for this size of camera - but that was 5 years ago . . .and now . .as they say .. is now.


Brendan Marnell
July 5th, 2007, 03:36 AM
The XM2, in many ways, set a standard for this size of camera - but that was 5 years ago . . .and now . .as they say .. is now.


It's probable that I'm trying to find fault with my gear rather than face the truth that I am unable to keep alert and rock-steady when the chances suddenly appear, from all angles. Elbows locked on my chest are useful until the bird soars above the horizontal ... then I wish I was sitting on an office chair with swivel back and seat ... or perhaps you have found such a seat; my swivel seat is quite practical and flexible until I have to lean back, even slightly. There's no Instruction Manual for this, I'll just have to practice; dear me, I had forgotten I used to be alive from the waist down ...

>> and what's this got to do with teleconverters, you may ask!

Graham Bernard
July 5th, 2007, 04:42 AM

OK, I would advise you consider a stand-alone separate LCD screen.

This HAS allowed me to waggle my tripod-mounted camera very rapidly, keep "stuff" in-frame so and I neither have to rapidly bend my head backwards nor whiplash my neck.

In the past I've bolted my battery LCD to one of the lets of the tripod.


Brendan Marnell
July 7th, 2007, 09:35 AM
... a stand alone LCD screen, I think, means one that runs on it's own battery but is wired to the cam, so that it can follow the cam's field of view.
If that's right then I have to be able to monitor the LCD screen as I follow the bird with the cam. In practice that means I have to first frame the bird through the viewfinder and then turn to LCD and follow the flight through that ... if I have that right it sounds like something that would work OK when the flight path is predictable; I mean I could zoom in or zoom out a bit tighter using an LCD as a viewholder, but I must be mssing something ...

Any chance of an example/link to a small LCD, preferably with a serious shade, Grazie please ? Any chance of getting one that would slide on to the "Advanced Accessory Shoe" ?

Graham Bernard
July 7th, 2007, 10:32 AM
Apologies Brendan. No, not in the SHOE, but clamped to something stationery - bolting to the trip leg.

What this means s that you can waggle the camera about, and still have a your viewing point - the LCD - staying at one point.

I find this very easy.

And yes, a battery operated LCD. I got me a cheapo TV monitor, I run the AV out of the XM2 and into the AV-in socket.

I've done a "Spoof" of my SpiderBrace setup - my photography is well dodgy! But I think you WILL get the idea.

Here's the thread link - you'll find my lil vid somewhere in here: