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Old April 5th, 2005, 01:04 PM   #61
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Red Eye wide angle filter

I am a broadcast cameraman who primarily works in news and for the past 18 years I have worked (and continue to work) for every major broadcaster in the western world: from BBC to CNN, from ABC News to ITN. I am also one of the cameramen who reviewed the Red Eye wide angle lens for tvcameramen.com some years ago and I’m compelled to reply to the relatively negative comments.

The Red Eye is quite simply an indispensable piece of kit for any professional cameraman regardless of how many other lenses he/she might have in his/her arsenal because it works. It does not ‘pretend’ to be a stand alone lens, nor should it necessarily be seen as a competitor with other similar products on the market: it is a great piece of kit for several reasons.....
1. It has superb optics right across the exposure range and delivers really wide pictures.
2. It is cheap.
3. It is small, simple to use and extremely handy - I keep mine permanently ‘mounted’ on the rear end of my camera’s handle in its little leather pouch, so it is always there when I need it.

I have a dedicated Canon wide angle lens which set me back almost £10,000, but it lets me down at the long end and in practice I rarely use it; I prefer my standard broadcast lens with the Red Eye as it only takes seconds to fit it and I really can’t run around with the Canon lens strapped to my belt!

I’m not sure how to react to some of the comments other than by saying they are just plain silly:
“...every spot of dirt was visible.” Try cleaning it!
“Changing the back focus is not that great an idea when you are on location...” Adjusting the back focus of a lens is a simple affair no matter where you are and is something that should be done on a regular basis anyway. If you find the exercise intimidating I suggest you practice it.
“For me... the need for a wide angle is extremely important... for prolonged use.” Screw it on and leave it there for as long as you want.

I have gone out of my way since the Red Eye came on the market to show it to fellow cameramen all over the world and perhaps Rene Collins isn’t fully aware of how much custom I have put his way! Seriously though, everyone I’ve shown it to has gone out and bought one.

It seems to me there is a little too much dwelling on what such-and-such a lens can do as opposed to another one instead of simply saying what you want to use it for. Quit pussy-footing around, decide what it is you want and go get it.

If there is any doubt at all about a product for goodness sake simply borrow or even hire it for a day and try it out!
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Old April 5th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #62
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Well said Johnny. The amazing compactness of the Red Eye combined with the power of the wide-angle is its great strength. The fact that it gives beautifully sharp results and is immaculately coated to reduce flare sure doesn't harm its reputation either.

tom.
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Old April 5th, 2005, 03:40 PM   #63
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Tom,

Is this an endorsement?!?! In light of Canon's rebate offer for the 3x and XL2 kit purchase ($400), I will either get the Red Eye or the 3x. I do a lot of field work, and the convenience of the Red Eye is quite appealing along with retaining the zoom of the 20x. I was set on the 3x a month ago, but the back focus issues have sent me looking for other options. Eagerly awaiting your findings.

Kevin
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Old April 6th, 2005, 01:15 AM   #64
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I haven't tested the Red Eye on an XL2 Kevin so I can't hand-on-heart recommend that you take that route over the genuine Canon 3x lens option. I have tested the 0.5x and the 0.7x on a VX2000, I have 58 mm versions. There are some points to note however.

Johnny's observations (above) are very true. The Red Eye lens will give you real wide-angle performance for little cost - and certainly when compared to the stand-alone cost of the Canon 3x zoom.

It's light, beautifully coated, comes in a squashy bag that will seemingly protect it from earthquakes. You won't lose any light when using it. Your maximum aperture will remain unaltered. On my Sony both lenses give sharp results, though my tests are not all done yet.

In you case, adding the Red Eye is as easy as adding a filter to the front of the 20x zoom. Think of the other route; you want to add the 3x zoom. So you take off the 20x and store it safely away, lens caps in place. Then you get your 3x, lens caps off, attach it and start shooting again. Suddenly you need more reach. Hells bells - more hassle exchanging lenses all over again.

There are some downsides that may or may not affect you. When you've fitted the Red Eye you won't be able to zoom far. The closer you camera focuses in its raw state, the more you can zoom with the Red Eye in place. On my VX2000 the 0.5x gives me a 6x zoom, from 3 mm to about 18 mm, if this helps your decision.

There's also some noticeable barrel distortion. This is not the lens for you if you're into architectural photography. Some people will never notice it and anyway, as lots of cameras give barrel distortion of their own down the wide end. Canon generally seem more concerned about this than Sony and Panasonic, whatever's engraved around their lens barrels.

tom.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 04:27 AM   #65
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I think that readers should be aware that most of the so-called 'negative' comments mentioned in Johnny Saunderson's post were actually extracted from reviews by Johnny himself after filming in Ireland, and another Red Eye user, David Hands in Lebanon, and not from comments by myself or forum members. And Johnny’s answering comments to those extracted excerpts obviously make sense.

I don't think that any of us, apart from Johnny, can truly provide either positive or negative views until we've given the actual products a thorough testing ourselves.

Johnny’s own experiences have certainly painted a very positive view, and coming from the pen of someone who has seriously tested such lenses, we should sit up and take notice, for long-term testing goes far beyond the normal reviews given by so-called testers that try-out the lenses for a few hours.

Of course, there are always different viewpoints, and people that require different things from their chosen equipment. That is why DV-forum members can look forward to reading more detailed feedback and reviews over the coming months. This can only help us all obtain a more balanced view.

I also will be putting the Red Eye through some thorough testing during future months, but, like Tom, I cannot provide any worthwhile feedback until it has undergone some serious testing under a wide range of conditions.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 02:47 PM   #66
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Thanks Tom!
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Old April 7th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #67
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rene,

did you receive my email?
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Old April 8th, 2005, 07:49 PM   #68
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Hello Arlie,

My internet provider had experienced problems last week and some mail did not get though. All is now working fine.

Kindly re-send your message. I'm out of town until Sunday evening and may not be able to reply until Sunday night.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Rene J. Collins
Collinscraft Canada

<<<-- Originally posted by Arlie Nava : rene,

did you receive my email? -->>>
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Old April 12th, 2005, 03:08 PM   #69
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For those interested in Red Eye distortion, you may be interested in a lens calibration I did today - to evaluate the distortion of a Red Eye 0.5x on a Canon 3x lens on an XL1-S.

The Red Eye is 675mm from the wall and the grid is 1530mm wide.

This link shows the Red Eye on the lens. (The cable ties and stickers are to help me align the camera - not a standard feature!)
http://www.prismproject.com/images/other/redeye_1.htm

This link shows the set-up.
http://www.prismproject.com/images/other/redeye_2.htm

This link shows the image from the camera (I apologise for the slight out of focus - its been a long day and I am getting tired!)
http://www.prismproject.com/images/other/redeye_3.htm

I hope this is of some interest to someone!
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Old April 12th, 2005, 03:34 PM   #70
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Is that at the widest zoom setting on the X3? There is a lot of distortion, and also vignetting in the corners. What aperture was this taken at?
I'd also be interested to see the distortion at the widest setting on the 16X if you can.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 04:26 PM   #71
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>The Red Eye is 675mm from the wall and the grid is 1530mm wide.

Tom, keep in mind that this is a wide angle adapter on top of a wide angle lens. Before people get to excited about bending, these are the distances in feet Richard is talking about. It's rather remarkable that it even works.

Distance to the wall - 675mm millimetres is equal to 2.21 feet

The width of the grid - 1530mm millimetres is equal to 5.02 feet.

A rough “guestimate” makes the angle of view to be greater than 90 and somewhere around 120 degree field of view! Impressive!

Thanks Richard
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Old April 12th, 2005, 05:13 PM   #72
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OK - I admit it - I am an amateur and was running on auto - so don't know the aperture. Yes it was full wide.

In the interests of completeness here are some more combinations - all full wide, all full auto focus.

16x, no Red Eye, 1/50th F5.2
http://www.prismproject.com/images/other/redeye_4.htm

16x with 0.5x Red Eye, 1/50th F5.2
http://www.prismproject.com/images/other/redeye_5.htm

3x, no Red Eye, 1/50th F4.0
http://www.prismproject.com/images/other/redeye_6.htm

3x, with 0.5x Red Eye, 1/50th F4.0
http://www.prismproject.com/images/other/redeye_7.htm

Sorry that I did most of these with a bit of tripod droop, (not a video tripod!) so its not perfect - but it gives you an idea. The distance from the front glass element to the wall was kept the same (although the lens lengths differ of course)

I hope this helps.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 05:33 PM   #73
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Oh,..... one question for anyone who can help - since the 3x wide angle hood does affect the field of view with the Red Eye on the 3x, any suggestions about some means of protection that will not affect the view? - AND - since I will be using it pointing downwards on a high gantry outside, it needs to hold its shape and not become a sail in the wind!

Current thought is to get another 3x hood and attack with a hacksaw to remove the offending petals....... unless someone can suggest a alternative?.... Many thanks
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Old April 12th, 2005, 11:00 PM   #74
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"a lens calibration I did today"

Richard, what's the size of the rectangles you repeated in that grid?
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Old April 13th, 2005, 12:22 AM   #75
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Hi John,

Sorry for the odd scale. It is: 153 x 80 mm line centre to line centre.
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