I Got a Merkury Wide-Angle Lens for my HV20 - Page 3 at DVinfo.net

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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old July 24th, 2007, 08:33 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Fergus Anderson View Post
Does this come with the macro lens too? Is the macro lens necessary for the wide angle to work?
I just checked out the posting and if you look towards to top of the description text, it says comes with the macro lens. The macro lens is necessary to use because it scales down the wideangle lens' image and brings it closer looking into the camera. Otherwise, with just the wideangle lens only (minus macro lens) the image looks really wide and really far away. I'll see about posting some pics with and without the macro.
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Old July 24th, 2007, 10:01 AM   #32
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Okay...here's an assembled picture that lets you see the wideangle lens without the macro lens attached.

http://vettaville.com/photos/CanonHV...ngle_macro.jpg

The three images you see posted help you to understand why there is a macro lens that is used as part of the Merkury 52mm Wide Angle lens. The macro lens is necessary to use because it scales down the wideangle lens' image and brings it closer looking into the camera. Otherwise, with just the wideangle lens only (minus macro lens) the image looks really wide and really far away. I suppose one could try using just the wideangle lens alone without the macro - but the HV20 has a much more difficult time trying to focus through the lens and is very slow in doing so. The macro lens is needed - but then again rules were made to be broken.
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Old July 24th, 2007, 11:12 AM   #33
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I will compare Canon to Merkury wide angle lens

even though I have the Canon WD-H43, I went ahead and ordered the 52mm Merkury lens from eBay for $35 including shipping. I ordered the step up adapter from B&H photo. When I get everything in, I'd like to shoot identical scenes in the highest resolution for stills and do a comparison of the two lenses.

Any suggestions for subjects to shoot (and approx. distances) that will objectively show the differeneces. I was thinking of one zoomed to the fullest and one not zoomed at all with each lens plus without either lens for a total of 6 photos.
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Old July 24th, 2007, 11:50 AM   #34
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Any suggestions for subjects to shoot (and approx. distances) that will objectively show the differeneces. I was thinking of one zoomed to the fullest and one not zoomed at all with each lens plus without either lens for a total of 6 photos.
John, here's something you may be able to confirm. I've noticed that it seems when doing a full zoom in with the Merkury 52mm - the image becomes a little soft from being ever so slightly unfocused (and I mean EVER SO SLIGHTLY). Backing up on the zoom just a hair seems to correct this issue. It's something that you can actually see in the LCD. If the image looks sharp and focused in the LCD - then it is. If it looks ever so slightly unsharp and unfocused - then it is.
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Old July 24th, 2007, 11:55 AM   #35
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I bought the Merkury charger for $14.95 from Fry's Electronics - and the great thing about it is that it is dual purpose, being able to be plugged into a wall socket as well as coming with the car adapter for charging on the road. I leave mine in the car at all times so I can charge when needed.

And the Merkury battery was only $19.95 at Fry's as well. Both items are well worth the money and cost far less than other comparable items.
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Old July 24th, 2007, 03:58 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Nathan Shane View Post
John, here's something you may be able to confirm. I've noticed that it seems when doing a full zoom in with the Merkury 52mm - the image becomes a little soft from being ever so slightly unfocused (and I mean EVER SO SLIGHTLY). Backing up on the zoom just a hair seems to correct this issue. It's something that you can actually see in the LCD. If the image looks sharp and focused in the LCD - then it is. If it looks ever so slightly unsharp and unfocused - then it is.
Good idea to check. I think I'll actually do some visuals like that with my camera connected up to my hi def 32" LCD. It should really show abnomalties that way but I still want to shoot some 1920 rez comparisons to post.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 12:39 AM   #37
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I'm trying it......

While there is some loss of image quality (there always is with extra glass), I am just amazed at how little barrel distortion is evident in the m2t clips on your website. With a 0.45x lens, I would have expected a lot more. I went ahead and ordered one from Amazon to try it. Its worth a shot at $28, and the WD-H43 (which is hard to find right now) won't fit in my underwater housing.

Edit: I noticed the one that I ordered (and the one linked earlier in the thread for $14.95) are not the "Titanium Professional Series" that Nathan has. I wonder if the optics are the same.

Last edited by Tom Alexander; July 26th, 2007 at 01:18 AM.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 03:02 AM   #38
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$32 is an amazingly affordable price for a cake, let alone a wide-angle converter. A few points:

You don't say, but I'd suggest the multi-coating isn't. Maybe a single coating on the front element only? If you unscrew the macro attachment, is that coated? I ask, because my Tecpro lens is the same construction, and to save money only the front element is coated.

I'd suggest you don't use a filter on the front of the widie. It's just adding two more glass surfaces, adding to the flare and what are you protecting? A $32 investment? Much better you hood it than filter it.

The barrel distortion you see is very common. Straight lines passing through the centre of your frame (that white post, for instance) won't bend, but put it at the edge of your frame and what happens?

I'd suggest you screw it to the Canon when you need it. At all other times shoot without it. There are vast quality losses - in sharpness, flare, distortion and chromatic aberations. But then it's a great price!

tom.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 08:27 AM   #39
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You don't say, but I'd suggest the multi-coating isn't. Maybe a single coating on the front element only? If you unscrew the macro attachment, is that coated?
Owning an additional lens is all new to me, but the macro certainly doesn't look coated. I'm not sure I would know what coating looks like - but the macro is very clear looking glass and very smooth, so I presume it has no coating.

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I'd suggest you don't use a filter on the front of the widie. It's just adding two more glass surfaces, adding to the flare and what are you protecting? A $32 investment? Much better you hood it than filter it.
I completely agree with your points. The lens flare can rear its ugly head at times without a hood - and therefore I have to be very mindful of certain angles I capture from so as to avoid the issue. The main reason I haven't stuck a hood on this wideangle is because of it blocking out the iAF and making focusing a much more slower process. Now...if I can find a straight extension tube (not sure about the technical name of it - which I've already seen) to use as a hood, then I'll be doing that so that it will not block out the iAF. In fact, this has always been my intent to use a extension tube and get rid of the UV filter protecting the lens. As you say, one less piece of glass. But then I'll have to consider vignetting issues, so this is another area of experimentation with gear (or customizing gear).

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I'd suggest you screw it to the Canon when you need it. At all other times shoot without it. There are vast quality losses - in sharpness, flare, distortion and chromatic aberations. But then it's a great price!
Once again, I agree with you - it has it's time and place. However, as far as developing my own style of cinematography, I love having it on all the time for what it does offer. Personally I prefer shooting with it doing close-up work - I prefer seeing close-up shots rather than distance shots. And yes, I know one would not typically need a wideangle for close-ups, but as I said it's part of me developing my own visual style. I'm judging the final product on HDTV and there are many moments that are jaw-dropping sharp with detail (for the close-up work).

I wish I owned two HV20 shooting side-by-side, one with and one without the wideangle to see exactly what image details are truly affected and the differences. Unfortunately, I have to make a choice to use the lens or not. My next plan of action is to actually take the time to go out and shoot identical footage with and without the lens and do a visual comparison of the same subject matter and learn to recognize exactly "how much" this wideangle is affecting the overall image quality - looking for the points you bring up. I like watching Discovery HD Theater and also buying some of their shows on DVD (not HD-DVD) such as Discovery Atlas: China Revealed. The cinematography in these shows and DVD's are my examples of what to strive for, even though I know they are using truly professional gear. However, as I have said here already - there are many moments that I capture footage that looks equally as good as the examples I'm learning from. So I have high praise for the HV20 and this wideangle lens in combination with it, they seem to be a good match (especially for the price).

Another point I wanted to mention - I prefer the "visual" look of using the wideangle lens on most shots because it takes away from what I consider to be the flat and static appearance of using a regular lens and gives it more of a visual style all it's own (bear in mind I'm a huge Terry Gilliam cinematography fan). And granted, this also falls into the subjective catagory about "over-using" a particular visual effect and giving the viewing audience a variety of cinematography. I'm sure I'll learn/develop to better balance between the two in time.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 08:42 AM   #40
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However, as far as developing my own style of cinematography, I love having it on all the time for what it does offer. Personally I prefer shooting with it doing close-up work - I prefer seeing close-up shots rather than distance shots.
You're on the right track, because what you're discovering is that wide-angles are not about 'getting it all in', they're about using powerful perspective control to force the viewer to see what you want him to see, from the angle you've chosen and at the distance you judged was perfect.

tom.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 09:00 AM   #41
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There are vast quality losses - in sharpness, flare, distortion and chromatic aberations.
Thanks for mentioning chromatic aberation - I've never known what that was (I'm no video pro, but I am a tech-head. LOL!!!) and just read articles online about it. Now this issue does hit home with me as being a negative in using additional lenses. Thanks for teaching me something new.

My question is this though - do the HV20 (and other similar cameras) have lenses that are fairly free of this issue in their design? In other words, does the HV20 produce little to no chromatic aberation on its own?
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Old July 26th, 2007, 09:12 AM   #42
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You're on the right track, because what you're discovering is that wide-angles are not about 'getting it all in', they're about using powerful perspective control to force the viewer to see what you want him to see, from the angle you've chosen and at the distance you judged was perfect.
Bingo...you said it best by saying "at the distance you judged as perfect" - because there is definitely a zone of distance that I personally prefer to capture with and without any wide-angle lens. I think this is part of learning to develop an eye towards better cinematography and considering the subject matter vs. captured distance vs. captured angle. It's a form of art all unto itself. Anyone can setup a camera and shoot away, capturing some really great footage. But then there is some footage that can become more than just great captured footage - it becomes great cinematography. All still subjective but then not. Because like all things visual or auditory, music, art, video...some are very well-done technically while others rise to the surface as being more than they are because they possess many extra qualities that make them so much more than average or very well done.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 09:21 AM   #43
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The lens that Canon fit to their HV20 is the cheapest lens they can get away with. This means it has the fewest elements necessary, some of which are plastic (the aspherics) and the widest aperture will only be at wide-angle. I'll will exhibit barrel distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberations to be sure, but to a degree that you'll find acceptable for $950. Mind you, the internet means there's no place to hide if it's a stinker, and comperition from Sony is raging-furnace-fierce. Sony is the Terminator; it absolutely will not stop.

This means in effect that the lens on the 20 is pretty darn good, as it is on the HC7, for instance. Sony's street cred meant that they have to pay a German firm to allow them to engrave 'Zeiss' around the lens barrel, but Canon are not shy about the fact that their lenses have earned their position on quality of results alone.

But if Canon thought that adding an extra three elements (or four as you had a filter as well) was going to improve the sales of their 20, they'd have done so. Every added element brings with it the risk of de-centering. Every element lowers the T stop, every extra element ups the cost, the weight and the size.

You'll get the best performance out of your Canon if you bolt it to a ton of concrete, select the middle of the zoom range, stay on the default shutter speed, apply no gain or ND filtration and shoot two stops down from max aperture. Your films will be yawn a mile dull, but boy, will they be sharp.

tom.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 09:25 AM   #44
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I've posted a short clip here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNBi1XaEdtQ

showing how you can force the viewer to see in wide-angle.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 09:28 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
You'll get the best performance out of your Canon if you bolt it to a ton of concrete, select the middle of the zoom range, stay on the default shutter speed, apply no gain or ND filtration and shoot two stops down from max aperture. Your films will be yawn a mile dull, but boy, will they be sharp.
Make this a sticky-post. Well, said and to the primal point.
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