Anybody planing on using B4 mount lenses with the XL2? 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 31st, 2004, 10:58 PM   #1
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Anybody planing on using B4 mount lenses with the XL2?

I've decided to buy the PAL lensless version of the XL2 since I want a fully manual lens and do not care for the new 20X automatic lens (those fake focus rings drive me crazy).

So for the low budget feature I want to shoot with the XL2, I've decided to buy the body only version of the cam and rent the Optex B4 to XL adapter (more info here) combined with a 2/3" broadcast zoom lens or Zeiss' Digiprimes for the increased resolution I should be able to get out of it (and the full manual controls as well of course).

So I was wondering if anybody else was planing on going with a similar setup, or maybe some XL1 users have already tried it and can comment on the results. Is this worth the hastle and extra money? Or should I just buy the full manual 14x Canon XL lens and maybe add a wide angle converter (I'm not sold on the idea of using a converter of any kind with this camcorder, but I guess this is still a valid plan B nonetheless).

Any comment would be appreciated


PS: If Canon ever decided to develop a true manual zoom lens for the XL1/2 with a high resolving power and a more usable focal range (starting at 30mm or less in 35mm equivalent), I'm guessing it would sell like hot cakes, given the number of comments I've read/heard regarding the lack of solutions presently available.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 11:16 PM   #2
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David

I for one would love to try out a fujinon 13x4.5 lens on the xl2, who rents the b4 adapter? I think the digiprimes will work out great though they're really freakin heavy for an xl2 and I'm not sure how much more resolution the xl2 would pick up past a pl mount lens and a P+S technik but I think it would be awesome if you can post some images.

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Old August 31st, 2004, 11:38 PM   #3
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I do not even know yet if I'll be able to find someone who rents the B4 adapter, but I've anticipated the cost of it in my budget if I have to buy one (although if I did, I would need to find first if the increased resolution and sharpness is really worth the increased price, hence my question on this site).

I've thought about using the PL to XL converter too with some film lenses but I'm not sure I'd be able to get a decent wide angle with it because of the magnification factor. On the ZGC site it says there's a focal lenght increase of 7 times, although that might just be for the 35mm lenses. Maybe it isn't the case for 16mm lenses.

I've seen the footage of a resolution chart somewhere on the net (I cannot find the link anymore) shot with an XL1S and various lenses, one of which was a broadcast 2/3" lens and the difference between this one and even the 14X servo zoom lens was night and day. That's why I got interested in this solution when I learned there was a B4 adapter for the XL1/2.

As for the mini35 setup, it's rather bulky and I do not know if I like the way the image is converted. Seems to me it could introduce some distortion and loss of sharpness, but I guess it's still a viable solution.
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 07:03 PM   #4
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David,
The mini35 will add another dimension, the DOF and FOV of a 35mm motion picture, but at a loss of about 2 stops. If your project doesn't require vast amounts of light and you are shooting mainly exteriors, this would be a good option.
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 07:45 PM   #5
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Thanks Valeriu for the input. The thing is, my project is indoor only and what I do not like about the mini35 is it's bulky. Not quite sure how much it weights, but since lots of shots will involve the use of a stabilizer (glidecam), this might be an inconvenient. Also at that kind of price, I could not afford it, so I'd have to rent, which is less than ideal for me since the shooting will likely extend over several weekends. Of course the reduced DOF advantage could weigth a lot in the balance as it's a definite plus and a big one. In the end if I can find a good deal in a rental place in Montreal I might go for it, I've not decided yet.

In fact, I have even more options than I had before now after speaking with the tech at ZGC regarding the PL to XL adapter for the XL1/XL2. It's reasonably priced ($600) and would allow me to use 16mm lenses (which I'm used to) with a magnification factor of 2.17x (meaning a 8mm would become a 17mm in FOV, while preserving the original focal length of the lens and therefore the optical characteristics of the glass). This would be an even less expensive solution than the B4 adapter which is more than double the price of the Arriflex PL adapter.

I'm still juggling with all my options, I still have quite some time before pre-prod is completed and we're ready to shoot so I'm taking my time to research extensively and maybe try different solutions. All other inputs are more than welcomed.
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 08:08 PM   #6
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David,

I am really intersted to get your comments about these differents solutions. I am, like you I suppose, an independant filmmaker. I am using an XL1 for now but plan to take the XL2 path in a near future. Since we are not so far away from each other (I'm in Saguenay, 5 driving hours from montreal) I will be very interested to know where you rent the lenses and adapters, price, and your overall experience using it.

Good luck with your projects,
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 08:37 PM   #7
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Jean-Philippe,

I actually plan to buy either the B4 or PL adapter if I choose either one (so far I've only seen them available at ZGC) but could not afford to buy the mini35 so I'd have to rent it. This will also depend on my final budget which isn't complete yet.

I'm still in research mode since I have to phone pretty much all the rental places in Montreal to check the availability and price rates for the mini35 and/or 35mm lenses, 16mm lenses and 2/3" broadcast lenses, and probably won't get my XL2 until Octobre anyway. I'll post my findings for you here if you like.

I'll let you know my conclusion/decision when I have made up my mind and eventually probably post results. Also if I find those adapters for renting in Montreal I'll let you know.

But right now I'm still in the fog. For all I know I could end up buying the lensless version of the XL2 and buy the 16x manual servo zoom (not my 1st choice though, I'd rather get more resolution from a film lens).

And who knows, maybe Canon will finally release a wider full manual lens that kicks butt. In any case, I'll be updating you and everybody else if I find something worth mentioning.
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 09:11 PM   #8
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There's also this site that lists XL2 - PL adaptors for $495 (as well as selling them on eBay.) The website looks a bit sketchy but they do say that Du-All here in New York and LA Camera sell and rent them as well as lenses.
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Old September 4th, 2004, 02:16 AM   #9
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<<what I do not like about the mini35 is it's bulky. Not quite sure how much it weights, but since lots of shots will involve steadicam use, this might be an inconvenient.>>

My Mini35 with a DVX100a, Zeiss prime, Chrosziel mattebox and follow focus clocks in around 15 lbs. Figure 2 more for an XL2 (but subtract for lighter weight lens/m.box/f.focus if applicable). It was just about workable on a Tiffen Flyer that I tested it with. Any Steadicam capable of flying an SR3/zoom setup should manage it just fine. Which rig would you be using it with?

Interesting thought about 16mm primes...certainly cheaper than 35mm lenses. As long as the conversion factor doesn't kill you. And of course, if you ended up using the Mini35 down the road, the 16mm format lenses wouldn't provide enough coverage.

<<,The mini35 will add another dimension, the DOF and FOV of a 35mm motion picture, but at a loss of about 2 stops. If your project doesn't require vast amounts of light and you are shooting mainly exteriors, this would be a good option.>>

I've shot quite a few interior projects with the Mini35, and while it does take more light than a standard DV setup, it's still quite doable assuming you have access to units bigger than 650's. I was recently able to create a pretty convincing daylight interior (shot at night) using two 1200 PAR HMI's and a 4x4 Kino; had this been a night for night interior, I could have gotten by with a 1K open face for bounce, a couple of 650's and 300's. (Here's that film).
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Old September 4th, 2004, 01:12 PM   #10
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Charles, I really don't have a whole lot of room as far as weight is concerned. I'm using a Glidecam V8 stabilizer which is listed at 10lbs max, although I've in the past pushed it up to 12 lbs without too much trouble. Depends on the balance of the cam (which could be a problem here since this one's front heavy). I won't be using a matte box nor a follow focus rig with the Glidecam. The XL2 body is listed at 5.7lbs on Canon USA. So that's why I would rather go with a simple and light weight mechanical adapter like the Arriflex PL to XL so that I can keep the weight to a minimum (at least when I'm using the stabilizer, which will obviously not be used with heavy telephotos or zoom lenses).

As for the conversion factor, it was actually the selling point for me. 2.17x FOV reduction for 16mm lenses, but much worse for 35mm of course. So 35mm as far as I'm concerned are certainly not an option, at least without the mini35. Of course the mini35 would certainly be nice for tripod shots.
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 07:31 PM   #11
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16mm prime question

I really don't think anybody took this one on in detail, but what about using 16 or S16 primes on the XL-2. You can pick up a decent set of Zeiss Superspeeds far cheaper than their 35mm cousins and at more or less twice the price of the 3X wide and 14/16X manual including the adaptor. The magnification factor is much less than the 7x of the 35's, only 2.2x I think, although bit more in 4:3.

If anyone used them on the XL-1(s), feel free to share your thoughts. Otherwise, would the increased resolution of the native 16:9 XL-2 bring out more of what the S16 glass has to offer, at least in theory? Furthermore, are we leaving something on the table with the 3X and 14/16X given the bump up in rez throughout the 16:9 image?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
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Old October 28th, 2004, 07:42 PM   #12
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I saw a while ago a post about using B4 lenses with XL1. Someone showed side by side images of various lenses with impressive results delivered by the 2/3
The adaptor wasn't Optex, but one that was custom made and its price was ~$400. I have few broadcast 2/3 lenses sitting idle and wouldn't mind to use them as an option to the 14x or 16x manual lenses.
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Old November 19th, 2004, 02:49 AM   #13
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I would love to know more about people using 16 or S16 primes. Is there any supporting material for this route?
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Old November 19th, 2004, 11:25 AM   #14
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I wonder if Canon will ever recognize the demand for prime style manual lenses for the xl2. With all this hype about HDV and what it could do to XL2 sales you'd think that Canon would be all over this unique oportunity to relegate every other fixed lens "prosumer" camera to the toy department by offering a line up- OK 2 maybe 3- of well placed focal lengths. Does anyone out there have any clout with Canon? Get on it!
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Old March 1st, 2005, 04:55 PM   #15
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Many moons later ...

After some weeks of shooting with the XL2 (and loving it) with Canon's 14x manual zoom (and missing shorter focal lengths), I wonder:

Has anybody from this thread, or on these boards generally, learned more about mounting 16mm lenses on the XL2?

What is the magnification factor when figuring focal length equivalents for the XL2's 16:9 mode? In this thread, David Lach reports a factor of 2.17 for 16mm lenses.

Others have asked about using Super-16 lenses. I've never shot this format. Would the magnification factor differ, and by how much?

I remember Leitz made a 10mm prime for their Leicina Super-8 camera. Does anybody know enough about that lens to suggest if its image circle would cover the XL2's target area? (I know that the Super-8 frame is somewhat larger than the XL2's target area.)

Last: when calculating the XL2's target area, should I use the surface area of the prism face I see in the XL2 body? Or should I use the old (Vidicon-based) "tube diameter" of 1/3", by which most folks describe the XL2's CCDs?
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