Chris, a question at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old August 21st, 2004, 12:47 PM   #1
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Chris, a question

According to the Canon website, the XL2 standard lens is 5.4mm at the wide end. This is less than 1mm less wide than the DVX100a lens, which is 4.5. Nine-tenths of a millimeter isn't all that much to me...so why the hell are people saying the lens isn't wide enough? With all the information/disinformation out there even before the camera is out there, I pretty much gave up reading about it for awhile; but I ran across the Canon website today and saw that figure, and I think 5.4mm is not all that bad. Granted, 3mm would be nicer, but who has that? Obviously 5.4 is not as wide as 4.5, but there's not all THAT much difference, really. Or am I missing something here?
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Old August 21st, 2004, 01:33 PM   #2
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Bill, I guess the fast answer is that everyone is paying attention to the 35mm equivalent fields of view.

For the DVX100/100A in 4:3 mode this is 32.5mm to 325mm.

For the XL2 with 20x lens in 16:9 mode this is 42.3mm to 846mm.

For the XL2 with 20x lens in 4:3 mode this is 51.8mm to 1036mm.

That's from the manufacturer's specs and I'm already giving myself a headache, so I'll stop here.
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Old August 21st, 2004, 04:10 PM   #3
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OK, so the B&H site is giving the spec in 35mm terms. In those terms, then there would be about a 10mm difference. I've been shooting video so long I think in terms of 2/3" chips, which is closer to 16mm frame size, where a 25mm lens is considered "normal." With 1/3" chip cameras, I'd consider around 6mm or so "normal." So anything a bit wider than that is good. I'd prefer wider to longer, but that new lens is probably more in the ballpark than most on 1/3" chip cameras. I believe the wide end of our DSR250 is 6mm, and it's OK under most conditions, but there have been times I've used a wide angle adapter. You'd think the manufacturers would go wider rather than longer, but it probably costs more to make a decent wider angle lens. Anyway, 5.4 is better than average and so is 4.5.

The XL2 crops in from the sides of the chip to give you 4:3, just like our DSR500, and that also cuts down on the wide end of the lens. So in shooting 4:3, a person probably would definitely want a wide angle lens. At least with Canon you can buy a real wide angle lens instead of having to use the adapters which have their own issues. My old Nikkor ED zoom I use on the DSR500 is an 8.5-127mm, and that wide angle is very nice, but in 4:3 it acts more like the "normal" 10mm. Eventually the world will be 16:9 and that issue will go away.
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Old August 25th, 2004, 10:10 AM   #4
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Wide Angle

I have to agree with Bill...10MM on a 35mm equivalent (I will be shooting in 16:9 on the XL2) is not a big deal to me...certaintly not enough for me to fork over $1500 for the 3X WA...I don't see the big deal...most 3 CCD palmcorders give you a 39.5MM equivalent...I think people are just spoiled with the DVX's 32.5MM view.
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Old August 25th, 2004, 10:24 AM   #5
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For me wider is always better in a lens, but the difference isn't that great for most shooting, especially in 16:9. And, if you buy this camera, you probably plan on mostly shooting 16:9.
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Old August 25th, 2004, 05:32 PM   #6
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Isn't the wider the lens the more distortion you have. For example a fisheye lens is like a super super wide angle lens. Yes it is nice to have a little bit wider of a lens to shoot with but I always felt the setting of the shoot should be changed so an extreme wide angle lens would not need to be used. I understand however that if most of the people complaining are giving such a big deal for an extra $1500 for a camera then they must have a very tiny budget to try to shoot the next big blockbuster. Clearly they will not be building half of a bathroom set to pull the camera back far enough but actually shooting in a real poorly lit bathroom. For very low budget projects maybe extra wide angle is a big deal but for the real deal I can find more things to be concerned about. If there is a bathroom scene well then rent a 3x lens for that day. I hope you will not be doing an entire movie in a bathroom however. How come more people don't complain about the lack of telephoto on the dvx? Using the dvx for any type of live event work is almost out of the question if you need telephoto. Try shooting with a dvx from the balcony of a gothic cathedral. It would not be fun with only a 10 or 12 zoom.
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Old August 25th, 2004, 05:54 PM   #7
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A fisheye by definition distorts. But a good quality wide angle doesn't. In almost all interior shooting, I'd take wider over longer any day. The new standard lens on the XL2 is wide enough for probably 90 percent of things, but there will be times a person will wish for wider. I can almost always get in closer, but it's usually more difficult to get farther away. If you're shooting sports or wildlife or things like that, then the opposite would be true, of course. Most people I know or have heard about who bought the DVX100a over the PD170 say the wider lens was the major deciding factor (they like the progressive scan, of course, but usually like the Sony camera itself better, but then the wider lens on the Panasonic seems to be a major factor that pushes them that way.) Still, I don't think the standard lens on the XL2 is a deal killer for people who are looking at that camera seriously. To me, getting true 16:9 is a fair tradeoff for a millimeter or two off the width of the lens. A 4.5mm lens plus the 16:9 would make it really ideal, though, wouldn't it. Of course then Canon wouldn't sell many of their wide angle lenses.
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Old August 25th, 2004, 08:25 PM   #8
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I've been on a recent documentary shoot with the DVX100a and was impressed with the wide angle of the standard lens. I much prefer a big wide angle for production work unless it's shooting music and theatrical productions from the back of a venue. I love the 28mm lens of my 35mm still camera. So I'm a little bummed by the XL2 range but have been saving my dough for a WA adapter. Hopefully the same one will fit my 16x manual lens as well.
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Old August 26th, 2004, 03:32 AM   #9
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I have the century optics wide angle adapter that is .6x and is not full zoom through. I have confirmed from multiple vendors and Century Optics themselves that this one does indeed work with the XL2. It seems to go for about $329.00 if you can even find it now. It appears that the demand for it has been loew since the Xl1-XL1s are older models. Century told me they anticipate that when all of the new XL2 users realize that the .7x adapter is not compatible that the .6x one will become hot again and that the supply and demand will jack up prices on it.


I always had great luck with the .6x on my original XL1. You couldn't zoom through but you could definitely zoom further than the 3x of the official Canon 3x WA lense. The only problems I ever had were cause by lights causing glare and reflections from the outer edges. You have to remove the XL1/2 lens hood to mount this and then it is subject to refraction of light form outside edges. Some type of matte box would probably reduce this but I can't afford that now. I may try and rig up some homemade lens hood with french flags to alleviate this if I find it to be a problem.

On a side note I hope to have my camera by middle to end of next week. I will update how the CO adapter works then!
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Old August 27th, 2004, 07:44 PM   #10
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Chris (or anyone)
Any specs on what the 35mm equivalent of the 3x lens is on the XL2 in 16:9 mode?
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Old August 27th, 2004, 08:28 PM   #11
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Dylan, look here! http://www.dvinfo.net/canonxl2/articles/article04.php

26.6 - 79.8mm
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Old August 27th, 2004, 09:06 PM   #12
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The century should match that one if my math is right.

XL2 widest 43.8 x .6= 26.28

Now if my math is right the difference in Price between the Offical 3x WA and the century is is the neighborhood of $800.00.

With either one you need to take the adapter off or the lens in order to access the far telephoto so I prefer the adapter. I just hope it doesn't degrade the image any. With the Xl1 it was fine but with a new fluorite lens and the rumors of it being so much cleaner and sharper I wonder.....hmmmm.
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