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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 February 22nd, 2005, 09:41 AM   #31
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Well, I got the Optex as part of a package, so I didn't pay the full price, and got it used but in A+ condition and mint glass.

With all the soft focus issues going around about the X3 lens, my thoughts now are seriously on keeping the Optex instead. It is a bit of bind having to adjust the back-focus, but if it means maintaining sharpness, then I'll live with it. The only issue with the Optex is that it is a big chunk of glass (although quite lightweight), and that is going to cause a few probelms with bright sunlight in or close to the edges of the frame. I don't think Optex do a lens shade for this (I'll need to look on their website) - but I should be able to find something to fit, as the inner flange has a thread.
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 10:10 AM   #32
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If the Optex is indeed "not" a zoom thru then I'd say the 3x Canon is a better deal. IMHO

I am currently using the .7x Century Optics WA adapter on the 16x manual lens. It is full zoom thru and allows me to get telephoto and wide shots with one lens on the Camera. It is very clean and sharp except at the widest setting where there is a little fallof on the outer edges. The 3x Canon is much cleaner at the widest setting but I opted for this because I don't want to be changing lenses.

FWIW I have tweaked the Backfocus of the 16x Manual lens while I have the .7x mounted. There seemed to be a slight backfocus issue when I mounted it but a minor tweak and it is amazing sharp.

I must say having used the manual lens for a week and a half I see a major improvement in my shooting. What I mean is focus is dead on all the time. With the 20x I thought I was in focus but often would see I was just barely out when I viewed the tapes later. for whatever reason the manual control of the 16x just helps me snap right into perfect focus.
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 10:13 AM   #33
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Marty,

Whats the price difference between the century and the optex?

I agree with the sharpness of the 16x. I couple it with the FU-1000 viewfinder for dead-on shooting, especially in low light. I've also used the 14x, and found it nice and sharp too, and enjoyed the manual iris ring.
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 10:23 AM   #34
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I have never priced the Optex so I cannot say for sure. The .7x from Century lists at $799 I believe. I picked up a used one for $325 on Ebay sometime ago. I think you could get a new one from a reliable vendor for around $599 or so. There is a different model for the manual lens and the Servo lens so that may make a difference.

I have scrutinized the images generated with it and can only see the softness around the edge because I am looking for it. If you never compared it to the Canon 3x you might not even notice it.
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 10:55 AM   #35
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I have the Mark 2 version of the Optex .7 lens.

I'm curious to what you say about the .7 Century + 16X lens being almost equal to the the X3 lens (except in the corners). I'm not sure how much difference there is between the .7 Century or the .7 Optex, but with the Optex being only part zoom, and needing to refocus with the back-focus knob to do so, then it may be that the Optex is sharper than the Century due to it being designed to focus in a narrower band, rather than compromising slightly to anable focus through the full zoom.
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 11:44 AM   #36
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tony Davies-Patrick : I have the Mark 2 version of the Optex .7 lens.

I'm curious to what you say about the .7 Century + 16X lens being almost equal to the the X3 lens (except in the corners). I'm not sure how much difference there is between the .7 Century or the .7 Optex, but with the Optex being only part zoom, and needing to refocus with the back-focus knob to do so, then it may be that the Optex is sharper than the Century due to it being designed to focus in a narrower band, rather than compromising slightly to anable focus through the full zoom. -->>>

Century makes a .6x that is not zoom through and in my mind it is slightly sharper at the edges but shows more barrell distortion. An interesting note is that the .6x century is a single element adapter. Therefore the lens of the XL2/Xl1 needs to focus on that element directly. On the 16x manual you need to access the macro mode to achieve this. On the servo lenses the move from regular focus to macro is automatic and most don;t even know they have done it when they use this lens.

The .7x century is a zoom through and has 3 lens elements in the adapter.

As a side note when I used the .6x Century non zoom I had a hard time focusing even using the macro settings. It just wouldn't quite go sharp enough unless I tweaked the backfocus. SOunds like the same thing you are seeing with the OPtex. Is the Optex a single element adapter?
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 04:00 PM   #37
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I love the 3x Canon lens but I have only used it on the XL1.

The pluses are that it has the 72mm front which is the same as the 16x lens and the 20x lens. This is nice for filter rings, adaptors, or a matte box, one size fits all of the Canon line of lenses.

The focus button is great so you can easily use that to focus which I end up doing most of the time anyway on all the Canon lenses. I tired of trying to manually focus with the servo. And if I can't maintain focus by zoomming in and then out, I should be able to simply use the focus button on the pull out during a shot.

Plus there is a tremendous depth of field with this wide lens at any stop.

I always was always under the impression that the 3x lens was overall sharper than the Optex. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 04:08 PM   #38
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Well, it's clear what we need is a 'shootout' on an XL2, with a 3x lens at both ends, and a 16x lens at both ends with the optex and century .7 adapters on it.

So, who amoung us has access to all three?
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 04:27 PM   #39
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I have access to all but the optex lens....however on Friday I am returning the 3x to the friend who let me borrow it.

I don't have much time but if there are some basic tests that you'd like I could try to fit it in.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 05:41 AM   #40
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I'd like to get my hands on a X3 lens to test it against the Optex + 16X manual.

With the Optex you do not move the 16X into Macro mode, as the Optex will focus extremely close with the lens in normal mode.

With critical adjustments of the back-focus I'm now able to obtain extreme sharpness, and find it difficult to find much difference with or without the Optex in the sharpness stakes. I'm obviously going to need to place a lot more footage through the camera in varied light conditions before I can make more firm judgements, and also look carefully at playbacks on a large monitor.

I'm obviously still undecided about whether to buy a x3 lens, especially as now I have so much control using the Optex. Also, if I choose to use an XL1s & Xl2 with the X3 lens, I may encounter problems talked about earlier in this thread. At least with a manual lens you can adjust for slight differences between cameras and lens tolerances.

The still-frames shown in the x3 lens review shown on this DV site look extremely soft to me, and also under terrible lighting. Id like to see some more outside footage using this lens outside in good light conditions.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 07:06 AM   #41
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One suggestion may be to shoot a test against a resolution chart with all the different lenses and adaptors. Keep the conditions all the same for each lense choice.

Maybe this could be more easily accomplished at a video rental house. They may be the best bet to have the stuff needed including the chart. Very often they have setups just for this type of test.

I would do this myself if I had the time.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 04:15 PM   #42
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Tony wrote: "Id like to see some more outside footage using this lens outside in good light conditions."

I posted a tif-file www.koillismaa.fi/~lkettune captured from a tape I recently shot with the Xl2 and the 3x lens,16:9 progressive mode, lens wide open, 1/50s.

Tony, do you find this as soft as those images to which you refered to?
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 08:33 PM   #43
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As to the 16X manual back focus problems, you have to set the slide settings according to the manual (the little silver knob under the short end of the lense) and then you will get great glass across the entire range with the 16X manual.
It DOES act exactly like the 3X manual in that you would THINK there is some adjustment to calibrate on the 3X, but I guess that is for the lab to see if it is off or not, as unlike the 16X manual there are no user controls.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 02:24 AM   #44
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Buzz - I didn't say anything about the 16X manual lens having any back-focus problems - I know how to adjust the knob for correct sharpness throughout the zoom - but was more concerned about sharpness when using it with the Optex screwed to the front. Now that I've learned that you need to make continual adjustments using the back-focus to keep the Optex correctly sharp throughout the 10X limited zoom range, my fears of sharpness have evaporated.

Jim's suggestion about shooting against a chart might yield some good information, but I am also interested how it will work in true working environments that I intend to use it. I'll be shooting mainly outdoors, in all weathers, night and day, from land and boat - so not only sharpness, but resistance to flare, build quality, ease of manual focus, ease of maintainiing stabil image footage in a boat or canoe using the lens, ease of using a polarizer filter, etc. all need to be checked. Both lenses have positive and negatives, I just need to find out which has more positives!

I've been in the New Forest last weekend testing out the 16X lens alone, plus the 300mm and 600 Nikkors on the XL. I'll be going out on a boat on the River Thames next week to test out how the Optex does in a cramped environment, and if its OK keeping it steady and sharp. My hopes are that it will work fine...but if not, then I'll need to fork out extra cash for a X 3 lens.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 09:57 AM   #45
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Tony, good points to make about reallife situations. Perhaps one can start with a test chart and then move on to other real world situations.

I've many seen people shoot comparative tests that have little value because of a lack of consistancy. The results become questionable and difficult to surmise a steadfast conclusion.

Shooting productive tests takes a considerable amount of time and carefull planning. Shoot the chart for resolution. Shoot low light level tests. Shoot an exterior sunlit location for contrast tests. Shoot overcast for color rendition....

But on the end be sure all the shots are consistant. Framing, focus, lighting, stop, gain...should all be the same for the various lenses. I believe this is the best way to make a truly conclusive comparison.

Of course, if the lenses can't be had all in one place or at one time then you left with no other method than to try them out in whatever applications you need. But it is far less conclusive.

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