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Old January 13th, 2007, 02:52 AM   #1
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Shallow D.O.F with the Canon XL2

G'day all!

I've read through the Canon specs in the sticky but can't seem to find a definite answer to this question...

How shallow a depth of field are you able to get with the Canon XL2?

I intend to get my hands on the XL2 in a few months, and as I am going for the film look with my project, D.O.F capabilities is of a high importance to me. Camera's like this aren't found in any old shop where I live (Perth, Western Australia) so really all I have to go on are internet/magazine articles and sample footage I've found on the net. Unfortunately none of the articles/reviews I've read seem to mention it, and virtually all the footage I've seen sports a very deep D.O.F

So is this simply due to the people behind the cameras, or is it difficult to acheive a shallow D.O.F with the XL2?

I know the 20x zoom should probably tell me something but at this point I don't know enough about lens' to tell - I'm still learning :)

And while I'm here, can anyone tell me the fastest zoom in that can be pulled off with the auto zoom feature? I often use the "fast zoom" in my projects but usually have access only to handicams, and I have to go through a long and hard cheating process :P

My apologies if these questions have been asked and answered before.

Cheers - Jon
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Old January 13th, 2007, 03:55 AM   #2
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Jon, you can do a search using "shallow depth of field" in this section of the forum; and take a look at those threads:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ow+depth+field

look the dog and the background (2nd pic)

and

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=83722

those are mine footage. At the beginning of the first there are twoshots of a girl. She was moving so it was hard to keep the focus, but i think you got the idea. Later there is a guy close up on some streets.
I see if i can shoot something today at various type of shot (medium shot, close up...); if i can, i'll post into my thread.
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Old January 13th, 2007, 04:02 AM   #3
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Aah, you know for the life of me I didn't think to use the search function in these forums :P

Thanks very much Michele, they're just the examples I was looking for :)

P.S some nice footage there. I really like the shot of the sky with that red tinge. Also impressed with how well the camera performed with such low light.

Thanks again!
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Old January 13th, 2007, 03:27 PM   #4
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What will also help is getting the subject away from the background and shooting with the aperture as close to wide open as possible. Using a telephoto end of the zoom also helps sell the effect.

The problem with smaller formats is the inherent DOF is greater.
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Old January 13th, 2007, 10:09 PM   #5
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See also http://www.dvinfo.net/articles/optics/dofskinny.php
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Old January 15th, 2007, 10:36 AM   #6
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camera touching the subject (minimum focus distance) will throw the background out of focus pretty well, buut make framing extremely difficult...alternately, backing the camera up really far and zooming in will exaggerate the "Circles of Confusion" in the out of focus areas of the image, but flatten the image pretty heavily. More distance between your subject and your background will help exaggerate this effect garnering you more blur in the background.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #7
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Jon,

Here is a light hearted tutorial about DOF by Perry James who works for Digital Juice. As a matter of fact, there are several different videos on that site that cover a bunch of topics. Of course it mostly plugs their product but the content is great.

Check it out http://www.digitaljuice.com/djtv/seg...how=all_videos
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Old January 21st, 2007, 02:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Gonsalves
Jon,

Here is a light hearted tutorial about DOF by Perry James who works for Digital Juice. As a matter of fact, there are several different videos on that site that cover a bunch of topics. Of course it mostly plugs their product but the content is great.

Check it out http://www.digitaljuice.com/djtv/seg...how=all_videos
Hey Gary, that video helped me a lot.

Very noob question coming. Does the XL-2 have built in filters? I'm guessing no, but I figured I would ask. I don't have the XL-2 body or lens infront of me right now.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 02:49 PM   #9
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The body itself doesn't have any built in filters, like a pro cam, but the lenses do have ND filters built in, 1/6th and 1/32. I forget how many stops each one is, there's a thread here somewhere that spells it out.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 02:50 PM   #10
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Thanks, Mark. I appreciate it.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 03:49 AM   #11
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Thanks a lot to everyone who answered...you have been most helpful :)
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 04:17 AM   #12
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No Problem

Matt.....glad you found the link informative.

Mark is correct the 20X lense has three ND filters to choose from.

Now since we are on the topic of D.O.F., I personally like the technique but find that I am sometimes limited using it because of my talent. Not "my talent" but the talent in front of the lense. Other than a few lines or paraphrasing a script, my talent has to wing his lines because it is impossible for him to read from the teleprompter so far away. I will note that I hate when a person doesn't make I contact with the lense and can be seen reading his/her lines from a cue card to the side of the camera.

So with that in mind, I am interested in hearing how those who use D.O.F. get around this...

Gary
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 11:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Gonsalves
the 20X lense has three ND filters
Nope, just two.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 04:13 AM   #14
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Jarrod, I forgot. Thanks.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 12:01 AM   #15
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I have the 16x manual lens that I use with the Canon XL2. One thing that helps me in a pinch to get Shallow D.O.F. is using the macro focusing ring. I can quickly focus really tightly on a small object in the foreground and throw the background out even at close distances and while I'm wide open (f1.6)

Normally, I try to shoot with the lens shut down and at a distance which makes it easier to control what is in focus and what isn't, but play with the macro - just remember to return it to it's proper position or the focus will seem screwy.
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