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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old September 25th, 2004, 09:51 AM   #1
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Using Filters with the XL2....

I'm trying to determine which filters to pick up for this camera and the best way to use them. I'm wondering if most folks here use a matte box or if they use screw on filters. After reading The Making of "Exclusive," Part One:
Affordable Matte Box and Filter Solution for XL1S Filmmakers an article by Don Berube on this site, I'm leaning toward the matte box solution as it seems like I could use more filters at the same time than I could with screw on filters. Is this true? I ask becuase the 4x4 filters are way more expensive than the screw on ones.

Also I would like to know what filters folks here are using, when they select them and how they like them.

Thanks,

Matt
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Old September 25th, 2004, 09:55 AM   #2
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Matt,
A good matte box will usually have two filter trays. One of them should also be able to rotate. You may find that the most useful filter is a graduated ND (neutral density) that will allow you to control skies etc.

Robin
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Old September 25th, 2004, 09:57 AM   #3
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Can you add additional filter trays or are you limited to two?
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Old September 25th, 2004, 10:24 AM   #4
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Matthew,
I've never seen more than two.
Any more and you are starting to stack up a lot of glass in front of the lens.
There is a danger of adding internal reflections, not to mention the chances of any dust etc being seen, due to the wide depth of field of DV.
I should have added that a Pola filter would also be useful - especially since it can be rotated easily in the filter tray.

Robin
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Old September 25th, 2004, 10:24 AM   #5
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There's some matte boxes (often expensive) that have 3, but honestly, I don't know why you'd want to have more than 2 at the same time, except for very rare and specific uses. It's really not a good idea to pile up loads of filters in front of your lens. You increase the potential for distortion, flare and overall loss in image quality (especially if you're not using top notch multi-coated glass filters). There's a reason why most matte boxes have only 2 filter trays.

I personally never use filters except if they are absolutely necessary (like a polarizer outside). I'm very anal about what goes on in front of my lens, be it filters or WA/Tele adapters.

Right now I'm building my very own matte box for the XL2 in a very artisanal way with improvised rods. There will be no filter tray. All I care about is getting sharp images without flares. That's what the matte box should be for. I don't even use clears to protect the lens except if I'm shooting guerilla style outside with lots of uncontroled elements. For the occasional filter I'll need, I'll be using screw-ons.

Some nice ones to have are a polarizer, NDs and maybe a UV if you want to put a permanent one in front of your lens. Maybe you could use color corection filters too but I usually put gels in front of my lights or windows instead. The rest are special effect filters and up to you based on the look you're trying to achieve.
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Old September 25th, 2004, 10:34 AM   #6
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Hmmmm....

I only ask about the number of filters because in Don's article it appears that at times he used more than two (polarizer, diffusion, nd). So if, for example you were using an ND filter and a diffusion filter and you decided that you also wanted a graduated filter for skies, I assume you would then replace the ND filter with that? What if you were using a polarizer and a diffusion filter?

I don't mean to sound obtuse, but I'm still learning.
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Old September 25th, 2004, 10:38 AM   #7
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Well, you've still got the option of the screw in filter, so that would give you three...

Robin
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