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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 March 13th, 2005, 12:28 PM   #1
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Planning For the Future

In his article:

http://www.hollywoodindustry.com/art...jsp?id=26806 0

on the XL2ís NY debut, Charlie White quotes Michael Zorich (Marketing Director, Canon Photographic Products Group) on Canonís decision to make the cam standard definition:

"When ... moving to HD, which has its own different set of specifications than SD, we have to consider the fact that the lenses have to be different, but we don't want to abandon the investment that the XL1 owners have made in the XL series lenses."

What differences will high definition require in video lenses?

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Old March 13th, 2005, 08:50 PM   #2
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If the sensors are the same size then it is likely that lenses of higher resolving power (better resolution, better MTF) will be needed. If the sensors are enlarged then lenses of greater covering power will be needed.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 09:35 PM   #3
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Re: Planning For the Future

<<<-- Originally posted by John Sandel :
What differences will high definition require in video lenses? -->>>

The biggest difference will most likely be $$$$$$$$$$!

Richard
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Old March 13th, 2005, 10:25 PM   #4
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A.J., do you know roughly what resolving power lenses meant for the XL2 have? I thought I'd read Canon's fluorite series exceeded the resolution of SD. (May not be saying much ...)
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Old March 13th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #5
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John,

The resolution of the miniDV format spec is 570 lines of horizontal resolution. The original XL-1 16x auto lense was supposed to be able to resolve over 600 lines(per Canon's literature). Most of the higher end cameras such as those used by news photogs have lenses that will resolve over 800 lines. That's part of the reason that their images look better even though the 720X480 pixel matrix applies to the other digital formats. The other reason is the higher color sampling and less compression that takes place.

-gb-
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Old March 13th, 2005, 11:35 PM   #6
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Does this mean that the lenses on available consumer HD cams have significantly better resolving power? Of course, Zorich's point, above, is that the *buyers* are the ones who'll have to shell out---hence the XL2's SD design.

But I wonder if Canon, in planning for a future HD cam (under, say, an arbitrary price of $10k) would have to design a new line of lenses, or could adapt existing ones ...?
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Old March 14th, 2005, 06:40 AM   #7
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Hmmm, this situation certainly bears a close watch. Canon has given the impression (or at least I've gotten the impression!) that they acknowledge the customer's desire to maintain compatibility in the XL line as it moves forward, and at least up till now have honored it.

To follow up on John's and Greg's comments, it just seems like the L glass in the Canon line wouldn't be less capable than whatever lenses are going into the competing (sub-$10k) HDV / DVCPro cameras. I'm wanting very much to believe that the sensor size would stay about the same as the XL2 to stay within the image circle, and that such an "XL3" would compete favorably in the HDV / DVCPro realm.

But if we ARE at the end of the line with the expensive XL system parts we own, I'm thinking it might soon be time to divest myself of Canon gear in favor of a shiny new HD camera from Panasonic or JVC. My real hope is that the XL line has room to grow into HD and will do so very soon!
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Old March 14th, 2005, 07:19 AM   #8
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The SLR lenses that I use in the XL system already out-resolves the MiniDV image by a large margin. The X7.2 magnification is the the problem though, especially when we need wide or ultra-wide frame footage.

Using the Mini 35 system does of course allow such lenses as the 6mm f/2.8, 8mm f/2.8, 16mm f/2.8, 13mm f/5.6, 15mm f3.5, 18mm f/3.5, 24mm f/1.8, 15-30mm, and 20-35mm lenses etc, at full frame - but the huge cost of the Mini 35 system, just to maintain that full-frame image, is just crazy in my opinion. And the added bulk of the Mini35 system is also a problem in many situations.

It would be really nice if Canon, or an independent manufacturer, could make a much cheaper XL to SLR adapter (Canon, Nikon etc) that gives full frame, or even a more reasonable X1.5 or 2X magnification.
Even if the eventual XL3 has a larger bayonet fitting than the XL2, old SLR lenses (or even medium/large fromat lenses) could be used with adapters.
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Old March 14th, 2005, 08:53 AM   #9
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I think that this stuff is at a EOL. It's been quite a few years in for the XL series and to be honest, they gifted us with a magnificent manual 16x lens and an option for a 14x manual lens, but crippled us with a 3x zoom, which while it does come in handy, is a poor match for someone who invested in a 16x manual.

I would like to see a new series of lenses. Let them come out with a nice wide angle, and nice zoom, and a nice set of primes :)

That would rock!
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Old March 14th, 2005, 09:32 AM   #10
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Can't agree more, John!

I'm beginning to like the 16X manual lens more and more. The only real problem I'm having with these lenses (especially if I also add a wide-angle converter) is the bad glare or internal reflections on all those elements when filming outside when bright sunlight skims across the front elements (even when using a normal hood).
So I'm at this moment trying to build some home-made extension hoods or Matte-boxes/doors to use in extreme conditions. I'm also going to try to use a flag on an extension arm to block side-light (even a hand held up in front of the lens cuts out all glare and provides deeper and more saturated colours, plus improved contrast, but I can only do this on static shots and not while doing slow pans, etc).

A manual 2X or 3X black manual zoom (or even fixed prime, true wide angle lens) with back-focus adjustment to match the 16X would be very, very nice to own...
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Old March 15th, 2005, 11:37 PM   #11
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Tony, if you're going to try and correct a 35mm lens and get it not to have such a high magnification, you may as well go all out and have it be 1:1, thus the Mini35. It really has to do with angle of coverage of the larger format lenses. The 1/3" chip is such a tiny portion of a 35mm cine frame, or stills frame. You have to project that aerial image onto something, so you have the oscillating groundglass of the Mini35. Unfortunately, there isn't really any way to get away from it, unless you want to build your own rig.

The EOS adapter gives you power for the electrofocus lenses.

I would love to see a 1mm-40mm zoom, or 2mm-60mm zoom and a set of primes, large enough to use my follow focus with and fit on my matte box and not look too silly. I am seriously looking at some of the 1/3" lenses for security and mech vision cams. There are wide zooms like a 2-12mm, or something like that. They're ridiculously small, though.
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Old March 16th, 2005, 12:33 AM   #12
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"I am seriously looking at some of the 1/3" lenses for security and mech vision cams ..."

Mark, I'd be interested in hearing more about your search for alternate lenses, e.g. these. Any links to share? Any specific lenses you've considered, inspected &/or rejected?

"They're ridiculously small, though."

How small are we talking? Do you think the XL2's side handle would obtrude the frame with any of these lenses?
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Old March 16th, 2005, 07:35 AM   #13
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RE: "....wide zooms like a 2-12mm, or something like that. They're ridiculously small, though."

What about back focus distance? It's something like 36 mm in the XL2. A 2 mm EFL lens with a 36 mm back focus is asking a lot!
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Old March 16th, 2005, 07:42 AM   #14
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I would like to see a new series of lenses. Let them come out with a nice wide angle, and nice zoom, and a nice set of primes :)
I would really love to see XL full manual primes on my XL2, something I feel is lacking. But I wonder if Canon will really come out with any new XL lens when they've pretty much aknowledge they were done with SD video after the XL2. My guess is the 20X fluorite was the last one until they jump on the HDV bandwagon.

There's always the possibility that the current lenses might be re-usable on future HDV cameras and remain compatible, but I really doubt there's enough resolving power for that. I'd really like to hear from someone that has a better knowledge of this than me. Is 600-800 lines or RP enough for HD type resolutions? Is there anything else to take into account for a successful transition? In any event, I don't think Canon designed the XL lenses with the plan of one day going to HD with them.
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Old March 16th, 2005, 08:27 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by A. J. deLange : RE: "....wide zooms like a 2-12mm, or something like that. They're ridiculously small, though."

What about back focus distance? It's something like 36 mm in the XL2. A 2 mm EFL lens with a 36 mm back focus is asking a lot! -->>>

That would be a manual servo lens. I don't know a lot about lens design, but the 3-10mm lens has been around for a while, so why not a lens with a 2mm wide end?
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