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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old February 28th, 2008, 01:10 PM   #1
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Long Canon 35mm lens

Hey Crew,

I am planning a trip to Isle Royal, which is a remote national park in Lake Superior. I am hoping to rent one of the fixed long Canon 35mm lens in an effort to acquire super sharp HD footage with my H1.

I currently own the 100-400 mm L lens, and it does okay but does get soft in at 400 mm.

Has anyone used one of long and expensive lens such as the 400, 500 or 600 mm and what kind of results if so?

Has anyone used the 28-300 lens and if so, how might it relate to the 100-400mm?
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Old February 29th, 2008, 05:32 AM   #2
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jacques,

read my upper post.

try 70-200 f4 or 70-200 f2.8 with 1.4x convertor. 500 f/4 is superb but it is fixed. also dont prefer beyond 300 mm. try hides instead for getting closer to th eanimals.

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Old February 29th, 2008, 09:14 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response Mr. Un.

Doesn't the 1.4x converter soften the image? I own the 2X and it was able to work with the XL1/adapter/L series, but it softened the image right to the brink of unusable. I haven't tried my 2X with the H1 because of issues with the XL1's images being really soft.
Because the H1 has so many more pixels, I might predict that the 1.4x wouldn't provide razor sharp footage which is what I am trying to get.

I do use hides and full leaf suit cammies, but rarely have trouble with getting too close with my 100-400 L lens.

Has anyone tried the 28-300 mm L?

Sigma also makes a 300-800 mm lens. That would be a great focal range for what I do, but Sigma is not known for being as good as Canon.



PS. I just saw your footage. Nice work Alkim. I very much appreciate you and every nature videographer who is trying to bring the beauty of nature to people all over the world so they will love it and help protect what is left. We have much more in common as inhabitants of Earth than those who seek to keep us divided for their selfish purposes.
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Last edited by Jacques Mersereau; February 29th, 2008 at 09:28 AM. Reason: saw Mr. Un's footage on website
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Old February 29th, 2008, 01:46 PM   #4
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I have used the 500mmF4 and it sometimes gives superb results, but it is unwieldy. It also can give problems with shimmering from heat waves.

It is not good for all around use, but rather a special purpose tool. I don't think it would be worth buying for use on an H1 in most cases, but it is one of my favorite DSLR lenses and as such I wouldn't want to be without it!
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Old February 29th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #5
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Jacques, second what Willard says, ef-lenses from 300mm and above is for special footage only IMHO.
I've been working with ef-lenses both on the xl2 and xlh1 for several years. My foundings is that the best and most suitable range of lenses for the H1 will be:
- 20x HD original lens
- 6x HD wide angle lens
- 70-200mm f2.8 (I've used both sigma and canon with good results!)
- 300mm f4.0 prime

- 500mm f4.0 (for special ultra close-up footage), shooting for long distances often results in too much air haze!

Attached is a screen capture of a Crane footage, shoot with h1 and 500mm f4.0 lens. Approx. distance to the bird 15-16 meter.
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Long Canon 35mm lens-crane-500mm.jpg  
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Old February 29th, 2008, 04:20 PM   #6
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I wish I could afford to buy the whole set of those big unwieldy lens, but my intention was to RENT one for this trip in order to get a few shots as close as that crane Per posted. We will be working with Loon specialists during the nesting season and need to be able to stay well away, but still acquire close ups. I am actually considering either the canon 600mm or the Sigma 300-800mm.

So your experience is that the 70-200mm is mostly sharper than the 100-400mm?
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Old February 29th, 2008, 04:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques Mersereau View Post
So your experience is that the 70-200mm is mostly sharper than the 100-400mm?
Jacques, I must admitt that I've never tried the 100-400mm so I can not say how well it is! But the 70-200mm is razor sharp, take a look at my uwol-7 entry, the Golden Eagle shot is done with a 70-200mm f2.8
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=115543

My point to lenses above 300mm is that they produce more air haze than the 300mm and below! That's a fact caused by the magnification of these lenses.
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Old February 29th, 2008, 04:50 PM   #8
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I agree that haze can be a real problem, but when one gets a crisp clear morning, there is nothing as good as a magnificent bird filling the frame!
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Old February 29th, 2008, 11:57 PM   #9
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I think the 70-200mmL is significantly sharper than the 100-400, but then it is only 1/2 as powerful and this may be part of the equation. I have not used the 100-400mm for over six months and it is currently on loan so I cannot do any further comparisons at this time, but I am curious to see how the lenses would compare with each set at 200mm. I suspect there would be little noticeable difference in quality at that setting if one looked at a shot of an animal, bird, etc, but the 70-200mm should be sharper if one shot some type of test charts. As we have noted before, where the 100-400 really gets into trouble is on the long end and there is no doubt that the 70-200 is much sharper at 200mm than the 100-400mm is at 400mm.

I think it would be worth renting the a 500mmF4 if you can do so for a reasonable amount. There are times that it will definitely give you superb results if the conditions are right.
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Old March 1st, 2008, 01:22 AM   #10
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Jacques,
you maybe know this, but I'm using the FU-1000 monochrome viewfinder. It can be a real challenge to get perfect focus without it with the huge ef-beast-lenses we're talking about.
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Old March 1st, 2008, 06:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques Mersereau View Post
Thanks for the response Mr. Un.

Doesn't the 1.4x converter soften the image? I own the 2X and it was able to work with the XL1/adapter/L series, but it softened the image right to the brink of unusable. I haven't tried my 2X with the H1 because of issues with the XL1's images being really soft.
Because the H1 has so many more pixels, I might predict that the 1.4x wouldn't provide razor sharp footage which is what I am trying to get.

I do use hides and full leaf suit cammies, but rarely have trouble with getting too close with my 100-400 L lens.

Has anyone tried the 28-300 mm L?

Sigma also makes a 300-800 mm lens. That would be a great focal range for what I do, but Sigma is not known for being as good as Canon.



PS. I just saw your footage. Nice work Alkim. I very much appreciate you and every nature videographer who is trying to bring the beauty of nature to people all over the world so they will love it and help protect what is left. We have much more in common as inhabitants of Earth than those who seek to keep us divided for their selfish purposes.

thanks jacques.

attached photo; I took it 100-400 at 400 mm at F8 with XL2. no crop or color coorection. now I am making a documentary of Bearded vulture and I ll use XLH1. tomorrow I ll use xlh1 with 100-400. If I fix my compressor problem I ll post 1080i clip.

if you hire 100-400 use it at f/6.7 and f/8. I can see the noticable image improvement. yes you are right, if weather is clear and no evaporation, you can use beyond 300 mm.

for the sigma 300-800, it is equal to canon 500 f4 at 500 ! prefer it over 500 f4 because it s a zoom. if I were you I hire 300-800.

and if you decide to buy any lens your choice would like :

stock 20x: 40-770 mm
canon or sigma 70-200 2.8 with 1.4x : 700-2000mm
sigma 300-800 : 2000-5600mm

1.4x doesn't degrade image and/or you can not detect it. so instead of getting 100-400, 70-200 and 1.4x gives you sharp image.

I ll post test footage of canon 100-400, canon 500 f4, and sigma 70-200 2.8 with XLH1 soon.

I also agree others friends suggestions.

thanks,

alkim.
Attached Thumbnails
Long Canon 35mm lens-bearded4_1.jpg  
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Old March 1st, 2008, 01:41 PM   #12
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Per,
Yes, the FU-1000 has been on my wish list for a long time. No matter how practiced with the stock viewfinder, it takes a lot of time going back and forth. I really wish that someone would make a small super high density LCD that could run off of the HDSDI out with a price around that of the FU1000.

Although I have not experienced it, the new SONY EX1 has this and reports from the field are that this new high density LCD is able to let the shooter find sharp focus fast.

Alkim,

I am actually surprised to hear that the 1.4 extender does not soften the image. That might be well worth considering, but I think if I can find a Sigma 300-800 to rent I would go with that this trip.

Cheers,

Jacques
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Old March 1st, 2008, 07:31 PM   #13
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Just to jump in here, since I also I have an interest about lenses to use with the XL H1, and have tried a few different ones. The lens I like to call my working lens, is a Tokina 80-200mm f2.8. I use this with a Nikon TC14A (1.4X), which I found is a good sharp combination. I also have used a Nikon 80-400mm f5.6, but I found that it falls off towards the 400mm end, thus I have to pull it back to 300-320mm. I also have used a Sigma 400mm f5.6 APO Macro, which is very sharp, but you don't have a zoom, so framing is an issue, and a real hassle. I miss the reach of 400mm, but I just have to think a little harder to make up the difference in distance between me and the subject using the Tokina and 1.4X combo, and the difference in sharpness is well worth it. I also am enjoying less of a heat shimmer issue using the smaller focal length lenses, although sometimes you can't escape totally, no matter what lens your using. I think the H1 is the best thing going for wildlife video for the price at this time, and although I'm happy with the lens combo I'm currently using, I'll always be looking for something better coming over the horizon. Attached is a SD video capture of something I got last weekend with the Tokina and 1.4X combo. It's straight off the captured footage, no Photoshop work done on it, other than changing the size and resolution from 96 to 72dpi.
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Long Canon 35mm lens-junco2a.bmp  
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Old March 1st, 2008, 08:33 PM   #14
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Last summer I had an encounter with an eagle at long range. It was across a lake at Sinnemahoning State Park in Pennsylvania. I do not know how far the distance was as I had no range finder or other way to measure it.

It was a muggy, hazy day. I used the 1.4X Canon Extender and the 500mmF4 on the XL-H1. These shots were captured to the memory card. The first shot is with the levels tweaked in Photoshop and cropped to the same aspect as a 40D DSLR.(only the edges cropped to give a more pleasing composition) The second is the same shot as it came from the camera unaltered.

The video taken at the time looks much the same and responds to levels adjustment in Vegas in much the same manner as the stills do in Photoshop.
Attached Thumbnails
Long Canon 35mm lens-img_0625-eagle.jpg   Long Canon 35mm lens-img_0625.jpg  

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Old March 2nd, 2008, 11:43 AM   #15
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As it has been said, I'm agree to say that a long range of a lens is useful to make very close shots of an animal at a maximum of 30 meters average. If it is far away, the haze become a problem.

I've tested the 100-400 @350mm on a deer at 15 meters and the image was very good.



But on a bird at 60 meters, @350mm, the picture was too soft and without enough contrast (it has been boosted on this picture), and the focus very difficult to make.



So I think that the distance of the subject is the main problem.
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