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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 10:17 AM   #1
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XL1/2 with big lenses, tripod attachment

This is my first foray onto the site so this topic may already have been discussed without my knowing about it.

I use a Canon EF 100-400 lens plus (sometimes) a 1.6x teleconverter on my XL1(soon to be XL2) for wildlife filming.
At the magnifications this gives keeping everything steady is a pain!

I want to be able to mount both the camera and the lens to the tripod, or tripod plate, but cannot find anything commercially available that enables this. I have cobbled together a set up involving a Manfrotto/Bogen 131DD bar (designed in fact to take two camera platforms), a pair of Manfrotto/Bogen 120 D/F 3/8"-1/4" spacers and a spare Libec 3/8" quick release plate. This makes for a heavy and rather un-wieldy set up, albeit it does provide extra stability compared with just attaching the lens/camera combination via the camera tripod bush.

Canon themselves (or at least Canon UK)seem un-interested in coming up with a solution. Kirk Photo did say some months ago that they would be selling plates for this and other EF lenses but I have heard nothing further from them.
Has anyone out there heard of a commercially available solution?
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 10:54 AM   #2
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It seems like this would be simpler and cheaper to design and build (or have a machine shop produce for you)than searching around the internet for somebody making it. My guess is a piece of 3 x 1/4 or 3/8 aluminum flatbar with holes (or a channel) drilled for your camera, lens and tripod plate should do the trick. Probably cost less than $100 to make. Bet you couldn't buy one for that even if it existed...which it probably doesn't.

Barry
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 11:23 AM   #3
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Ron, I use the EF 400/f2.8 L and EF 600/f4.0 L lenses which are much heavier than yours 100-400 zoom, and my support is the Manfrotto 510 tripod head. It works relatively well.

I have the plate attached on the lens, and the whole system is balanced, i.e., if I take my hands of the tripod, the camera stays where it is.

(In my experience the teleconventors make the image rather smooth. Don't you have this problem?)
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 11:44 AM   #4
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This hasn't got much to do with what you are looking for, but I
think you guys might get a kick out of this <g>:

http://www.dvinfo.net/canon/images/images17.php
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 12:03 PM   #5
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I am using the XL2 and the 100-400mm lens and the EF Adapter XL with the Manfrotto 055NAT2 tripod with the Manfrotto 516 head.

With the CH-910 Dual Battery holder equiped with two BP-945 batteries attached to the Adapter holder, the camcorder is perfectly balanced when moved app 1 inch towards the front from centre of the tripod adapter.

It is perfectly stable and can be moved very smoothly.
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 10:35 PM   #6
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Stability is a problem with all longer lenses used with the XL series cams and they should be supported with a good fluid head. In addition, the RONSRAIL will allow you to balance and stabilize the lens - camera - extender interface. The RONSIGHT will allow you to capture the image and pan much more quickly and easily with its larger field of view. Take a look at www.ronsrail.com
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Old November 3rd, 2004, 04:20 AM   #7
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Thanks chaps,
I generally use a Gitzo 1325 carbon pod with a G1380 fluid head,(fancy Manfrotto clones in fact) and I have no problem in balancing the camera or locking it into place. Problems occur when panning/tilting and when touching the outfit, eg to adjust focus, zoom or cameras settings, something necessary when filming wildlife (mainly birds ). When everything is still and "locked" I find it possible to minimise the effect of wind via the lens stabiliser in spite of this supposedly not being for tripod use, but as said, with wildlife you need to "move".
I also have a monster old wooden Miller pod with a Schatler (spelling?) fluid head, 150mm bowl, designed for 35mm movie cameras. I can get the shakes even with this lot.
My Manfrotto contraption helps, and Ron A's bar would be a dream but a mite pricey! I reckon on something along what Barry G. suggested although over here it will probably be necessary to swap for$.
Most of the exotic glass mentioned is way out of my league, noting though that the true internal focus these possess plus no need to zoom should make things easier.

Ron
ps theme for another thread sometime, "does the relatively low resolving power of DV justify the cost of ultra fast high quality still cameras lenses?"

pps not sure I understand "smooth" .
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Old November 3rd, 2004, 08:46 AM   #8
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Ok Ron, I also do only wildlife filming, so your question translates immediately to a familiar pragmatic problem.

The first thing to realize is that the combination of an extremely long telephoto on the tripod+head is a kind of amplifier. Very small motion of hands results easily in unsteady shot. There is, however, a practical way to minimize the problem (which works well in my case although my hands are clumsy).

Thighten your fluid head as much as possible. Then whenever you want to move the camera, put both of your hands on the fluid head and control the motion of your camera by moving the head directly. That is, do not use the handles at all.

There are couple reasons why this trick works:

(i) When you move the fluid head with your hands, you use rather small muscles implying you'll better avoid large unintendted motions as in the relative sense smaller muscles have to work more to move the tight head.

(ii) The unintended motional effects are not "amplified" by the long handle. (Shorter distance implies smaller torque, and the tightness of the head is about how much torque you need to rotate it.)
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Old November 3rd, 2004, 03:21 PM   #9
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Ron; Lauri has a good recomendation in using both hands to move the camera. I have seen many professional wildlife videographers use this method. I have also seen others who use a rubber band attached to the handle to manipulate the camera. A short handle also helps by lenghtening the distance the hand has to travel to move the camera.

Good luck!!!
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