Century Optics X Wide Angle vs. Canon 3X Extra Wide Zoom Lens at DVinfo.net

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Old October 30th, 2005, 01:54 PM   #1
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Century Optics X Wide Angle vs. Canon 3X Extra Wide Zoom Lens

Would you buy the Century Optics XL2 Wide Angle or the Canon 3X Extra Wide Zoom Lens?

Or if you have one of the above, why did you choose it?
... and are you happy with your decision?

I've read about some problems with the Canon 3x in this forum, so I'm leaning towards the Century. The fact that it's about half the cost does not hurt my feelings either.

I have the Century Wide angle for my GL2 and I've enjoyed it so much, it's stayed on the GL2 about 90% of the time, so my experience with Century products has been very good so far.
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Old October 30th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #2
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The Century Products are very good. I own both the .6x adapter and the .7x adapter. I have also used the 3x wide angle from Canon a few times on my XL2. Here is my brief experience.

The optical quality of the Canon lens is superior to the Century but that is to be expected. Any timne you hang more glass on the end of your lens you will lose some quality. The zoom on the Canon (3x) is weak and will not likely fit all of your needs. I found it way too limiting and opted for the Century units.

The .7x is zoom through and works well but I notice softness at extreme edges of the frame. It also exhibits some chromatic issues out there too but in the center it is pretty tight. It weighs a ton and will make the XL2 even more front heavy.

The .6x is a non zoom and works well. While it shows more geometric and barrel distortion it exhibits little, if any, chromatic or softness issues on the edges. However it is limited to basically a wide field of view, as is the Canon.

I still long for the Canon 3x wide but cannot justify the price at this point. I also did experience some backfocus issues with the 3x I used but your mileage may vary.

If you have any specific questions please ask and I'll be glad to answer if I can.

Peace!
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Old October 30th, 2005, 03:25 PM   #3
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Thanks Marty. That's very helpful. I'm going to be doing some work in front of a greenscreen and am just trying to figure out the logistics of what kind of area I will need to be able to shoot my body (from head to toe) with a little bit of walking around space.

The closer I can put the XL2 to the greenscreen and still capture all of this, the better, as I will have more options with constructing my greenscreen set.
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Old October 31st, 2005, 12:50 PM   #4
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OK so I keep seeing this thread over and over and would really like to see a definitive answer. Century Optics or Canon 3x lens, for day to day, run and gun, what's really the best solution. I can't see myself plunking down another 1600 dollars for a lens if I can get away with a screw on adapter for .7 and nice zooming capabilities so this is more of my gut feel but is this really the best.

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Old October 31st, 2005, 01:04 PM   #5
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Well, I think I'm goint to go the 3x route, because Marty had a good point about the added weight to the front of the XL2. Plus, I have a RedRock M2 and it will be easier to use the
3x + M2 than it will be to use,
20x + Century Adaptor + M2.

And not that it would be any HUGE difference, but I'd rather not loose the light by adding the adaptor vs. just changing the lens. I think I would also rather have the images going through one piece of glass instead of two. Or when using the M2 adaptor... two peices of glass instead of three.

Last edited by Guest; October 31st, 2005 at 01:52 PM.
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Old October 31st, 2005, 01:49 PM   #6
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The 3X is superior to the CPO adapters and for not much more money on the used market. The zoom thru adapters like the .7x introduce noticeable aberrations, the 3X is optically perfect.




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Old October 31st, 2005, 03:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
The 3X is superior to the CPO adapters and for not much more money on the used market. The zoom thru adapters like the .7x introduce noticeable aberrations, the 3X is optically perfect.




ash =o)
Ash,
Are these abberations specific to the XL2 and .7x? I never heard of people seeing this on the XL1 and others use a .7x zoom through on DVX and GL2s etc. and I have never heard complaints. Just wondering if you have seen this on other cameras.

Marty
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Old November 1st, 2005, 01:25 AM   #8
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No, you can see them on all cameras. They are minor but you can see them. The CPO stuff is very good, just not as good as the 3X.



ash =o)
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Old December 13th, 2005, 06:39 AM   #9
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Went the Century Route

Just wanted to let everyone who participated in this thread know that I decided to get the Century .7x Wide Angle adaptor. I won't be using it with my M2 so the extra glass is no longer an issue, and it's half the price of the Canon 3x. Another reason was because I heard the comment Marty made more than once, so I thought the 20x/Century combo would offer the most flexibility:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik
The zoom on the Canon (3x) is weak and will not likely fit all of your needs. I found it way too limiting and opted for the Century units.
It was a tough decision because in one hand you have more flexibity with zoom and in the other you have superior optics. Thanks to eveyone who helped me make my decision by pointing out the pro's and con's to each option. Hopefully this thread may help others looking at these two options.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 09:43 AM   #10
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Derek,

Did you get the adapter yet? I'd be curious to see what your opinion is on the softness near the edges. It drove me nuts but I know of many other users who shoot with it and don't notice it at all! So I am either too "anal" about it or others aren't "anal" enough. :) I spoke with Bill Turner of Century Optics and a few guys at Canon and they reiterated that they have sold thousands of these units and there is not a widespread concern from clients over this issue. They also stated that I may have a very critical eye and that is why it bothers me yet others don't see it.

The bottom line is wide angle lenses are difficult to make good "and" affordable. The CPO units are great quality and as long as you know the minor shortcomings (of all WA adapters)you should be all set.

Congratulations!
Marty
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Old December 13th, 2005, 10:00 AM   #11
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Marty,

Thanks for the info. I've ordered it and should get it late this week or early next week. I'll post my opinion when I get it and maybe I can even include a screen grab or two of something that I shoot, so you can take a look at it. Thanks!
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 06:00 PM   #12
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Century Wide Angle Update

Just wanted to let Marty and anyone else who may be interested that I got the Century .7x Wide Angle Adaptor today and it's nice. I took a few seconds of still footage of the wall that I will be adding a greenscreen to. This adaptor works well. The room is exactly 12 feet wide and my XL2 lens is exactly 11 feet from the wall.

Please ignore the lighting. I just lit the room with the overhead light and the back wall with a Rifa 44 soft box (with eggcrate on it). I was really just looking to see how much more I could get into the picture.

Stock XL2 with Stock 20x Lens:
http://www.thisis24p.com/20x-stock.html

Stock XL2 with Century .7 Wide Angle Lens added onto the Canon 20x:
http://www.thisis24p.com/20x-stockwithcentury.html

I'm happy with my purchase, especially after doing a recent search for the 3x and seeing that some of the folks in this forum are having problems with their Canon 3x lenses. It seems that some of them have just mysteriously stop working all the sudden.
Here's the link to more on that subject: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...light=canon+3x

I give the Century Wide Angle Adaptor a big thumbs up. Feel free to ask me any questions if you wish.

PS: Shannon Rawls gave me the advice on decorating my walls. (inside joke for any of you who may have followed Shannon's thead on his purchase of the Canon XLH1.)
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 08:03 PM   #13
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Derek. I noticed some serious distortion along the baseboard and abberation on the wall edge right of frame. (not sure if the latter problem is due to your lens or not) I never had a Century Optics .7 but had a Cavision Wide angle lens (until I Ebayed it away). I did a similar comparison and found that although the Cavision was not entirely without merit, it produced significantly more distortion and abberation than my Canon 3x. (although I'm assuming that the Century most likely outperforms the Cavision).
Maybe you should at least rent a 3x and compare it with your Century rather than with the normal 20x.
I believe Ash is right when he says it really doesn't get much better than the 3x in comparison to many of the aftermarket adapters available.
It is more money but trust me, it's worth it.
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 12:37 AM   #14
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Yes Eric, what you see is normal and will be exhibited in many shots with the .7x adapter. It is not BAD, just there... The problems with the 3X lens are almost all from user error. I have had one for YEARS and used it almost daily and never had an issue. You just have to mount and unmount it with the power OFF! Also, keep it dry and covered/capped on both ends.



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Old December 23rd, 2005, 06:37 AM   #15
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Eric & Ash,

I can see where you are both coming from and appreciate you guys taking the time to look, but for my purposes the .7x will work well enough.

My primary goal was to be able to set the XL2 up in a room with limited space and have enough room to record a person in front of a greenscreen with a little bit of walk around room. Just a few steps forward and few steps back, not any major movement. I also needed a little room above their head and below their feet. That DedoLight is set up at about 5'10", which is about my height, so I think this should work. I can see the problem areas you mentioned, but I don't think those areas will affect a single person in the middle, with most of the other area (which will just be all green) not even getting used.

In other situations I may or may not use the Wide Angle, it will just depend on what I'm shooting. If I do, I think there will be a few factors that would not make the distortions/abberations so noticable. First, there will be quite a bit of various stuff going on in the background with several variances. Second I also tend to use 1:1:85 and 1:2:35 matte boxes in post with Final Cut Pro 5, so the top and bottom will be cut out.

My sample footage was kind of on the extreme side (and that's one of the reasons I chose to shoot that area) with all the straight lines,right angles and wide open empty areas. The other reason was to see if it would allow me the space I was looking for, which I think it does.

I do appreciate you guys looking though and giving your opinion. You both really know your DV stuff and you are 100% right, but I "think" (for now) the .7x will work out. I've pretty much kept my Century Wide Angle on my GL2 for a couple of years and everybody's liked the footage that I've shot and nobody's noticed any of the distortions (which I would imagine would be similar to the ones mentioned above if shooting the same wall).

Last edited by Guest; December 23rd, 2005 at 01:42 PM.
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