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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old December 30th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #1
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Narrow DOF XL2..?

I'm looking for a narrow depth-of-field setup for my XL2 -- anyone familiar with this converter: CANON XL1 XL2 CAMERA XHG1 XH-A1 XLH1 XL-H1 ARRI ADAPTOR - eBay (item 260338863358 end time Jan-04-09 20:25:14 PST)

Any other suggestion heartily welcome.

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Old December 30th, 2008, 04:30 PM   #2
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Its just an adaptor to allow you to mount prime's. It won't do anything special for depth of field.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 02:28 PM   #3
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With that particular adapter I do believe that you will have to deal with a 7x magnification factor as well as a flipped image, though it can give you a shallower depth of field depending on which prime lens you use. The best way to achieve a shallow depth of field is with a decent 35mm adapter. Search "35mm adapter" and you should find a plethora of information to pull from. Some suggestions are Brevis, RedRock Micro, and Letus.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:01 AM   #4
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Some suggestions are Brevis, RedRock Micro, and Letus.
Well, as I've been trying to find an affordable narrow DOF solution for my XL2, I came across this $870 SGblade 35mm converter that looks kind of promising: Welcome to shoot35! Suppose it will ship next month. Anyone knows those guys?

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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:30 AM   #5
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Yeah, I know they can get pretty pricey. That's the only reason that I don't have one yet LOL. As for the unit in your link, it looks like a pretty solid unit. One thing that you have to think about though is light loss. I've shot with a redrock and the light loss from that thing is close to 4 stops. Make sure you talk to someone first and make sure the amount of light lost is doable. If you plan on doing any indoor shooting with it, I would save your money and go for the expensive Brevis with only a half a stop of light lossed.

I'm very curious to see what people think of this unit once it starts shipping. That's a pretty good price. Nice find!
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 12:23 PM   #6
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Ryan

The Redrock M2 with the latest cinescreen II loses less than a stop of light, and with the microX it is slightly more than one stop. I assume "4 stops" includes the 35mm lens and your camera's own aperture limitations?


Thanks


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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:00 PM   #7
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Hi Brian,

That is awesome news about the capabilities of the cinescreen II. I may have to reconsider the M2 after all. I do love the design. I'm not quite sure what you mean about lens and camera aperture limitations though. I was using high speed Nikon primes on an HVX200. It is very possible though that my DP wasn't extremely familiar with how to properly set up the system. I know I had never touched one before then, but he appeared to know what he was doing.

Don't get me wrong, I am not dogging your system. The footage I shot with the M2 came out looking spectacular. I was merely trying to open Peer's eyes to the fact that 35mm adapters do restrict the light throughput, some more than others.

Sorry for the faulty information,
Ryan
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:10 PM   #8
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Hi Ryan

No worries. We have some even better stuff that we will be announcing shortly.

What *is* an important point you bring up is that any adapter setup will have additional light loss from the 35mm lens and from the camera (as you zoom in your video camera can't open up quite as far as when it's in wide angle), and those should be factored in whenever someone shoots with a 35mm adapter.

Cheers

Brian
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 05:15 AM   #9
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We have some even better stuff that we will be announcing shortly.
Hopefully your announcement will come before the $870 SGblade is released next month -- I've already started saving up for that one ;^)

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Old February 19th, 2009, 01:47 PM   #10
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The first key to narrow depth of field with the XL-2 is lighting. As with any lens, you're going to achieve the shallowest focus when you have the iris at its widest setting. Try to light whatever you're shooting at the smallest possible f-stop. The built-in ND filters are really handy for this application...they allow you to keep your iris wide open in brightly-lit conditions.

The second key is the distance from the subject vs. focal length of your lens (affected by zoom). This takes a lot of practice with the XL-2 and you're just going to have to put in the time and figure out your feel for it. I find that I can generally achieve a VERY narrow depth of field with the camera placed anywhere from six to twelve feet from my subject. Don't be afraid to zoom in. The longer you make the lens, the better you can manipulate the DOF. The one downside to using the 20x lens at its longer settings is that the field of view is compacted. This means that objects in the foreground will appear closer to out of focus objects in the background.

The thing that really affects the DOF achievable by video cameras is the small imaging sensor...but you can get around that limitation by using good technique.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 04:49 AM   #11
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Man, I've been on a lot of shoots with those adapters and I consider them more trouble than they are worth. You lose lots of resolution and tons of light, like four stops on some of them. Even the best of them still cost you a lot of light because of the diffuser, then you have to zoom way in, so you can't use the lowest aperture on the camcorder, and then the lens you put on there has a minimum aperture of at least F1.4. That's for a really fast lens. Most lenses are nowhere near that bright. You have to be dead on with your focus too. It's best to use a tape measure. And then, since the depth of field is so narrow, you have to be real careful that the subject doesn't move out of focus. Pulling focus is a bloody pain too. The focus ring on real cinema lenses moves a lot farther, so it's easier to mark. On a 35mm still lens you typically have to make the tiniest of adjustments to track the subject. True, I've seen people pull it off and get great results, but you really have to know what you are doing. You absolutely have to have a dedicated focus puller too. Most of the stuff I've seen shot on those things looks grainy, soft (at best) and frequently out of focus.

Another (maybe better) option would be to get one of the manual lenses for the XL2. You can zoom in all the way and retain your widest aperture. So if you get in the habit of shooting from way back and use neutral density filters to adjust your exposure (as Nick suggests) you can get a narrower depth of field, and since its manual, you can put markings on the lens to pull focus. It won't be nearly as dramatic of an effect as one of those ground glass/35mm adapter setups, but it makes a lot more sense to me.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 08:09 AM   #12
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To add to Marco's post, look at post #9 on this thread http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/canon-xl2...i35-w-cam.html

There is some frames from a short movie I shot last year using an XL2 and the 14X manual lens.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 10:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean-Philippe Archibald View Post
There is some frames from a short movie I shot last year using an XL2 and the 14X manual lens.
Jean-Philippe, year or more ago, you posted the pic of the girl on the phone, along with another showing the entire shot setup with the camera placement, etc. I saved those pictures to my computer, and I have used them at least a dozen times to illustrate the shallow DOF trick, since they are so good.

Caveat: I didn't post them anywhere on the net, because they are not my pix, but used them as email attachments when young friends have asked me how to do it. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

Last edited by Jack Barker; February 21st, 2009 at 12:43 PM.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 12:35 PM   #14
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Jack, Thanks!

I'm glad my work was able to help you and others.
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