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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 December 13th, 2008, 10:54 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
Canon have gone wider in the fact that the 5D Mk2 shoots movies with focal lengths down in the 15 mm range - and with zero barrel distortion.
Tom,
I understand that 24mm isn't that wide for a DSLR but for a 1/3 inch sensor it is. Unless I am misunderstanding the technology in the 5d Mk2 it is a bigger sensor and therefore, easier for Canon to manufacture a wide lens for it.

I have had long discussions with an associate I know inside Canon in the US, and he was very specific in explaining just how difficult is is to make a good wide angle lens for the 1/3 inch cameras. That is exactly why it is so expensive and only 6x zoom. I was under the impression that to go wider on a 1/3 inch format would be very difficult and thus, much more expensive beyond the existing 6x lens.

I have an 18mm Nikkor on my DSLR but due to the sensor size it is more like a 24mm in 35mm world. It was very inexpensive compared to the XL lenses.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 11:21 AM   #17
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The size of the sensor has no bearing on how difficult it is to make a wide-angle lens. Very small sensors have very short focal lengths to be sure, but it's quite possible to make a lens with a 2.35 mm focal length - which gives the equiv of 17 mm on a full frame SLR. Zooms start at this focal length for loads of the 1"/6 chipped camcorders that the general public use.

Of course the individual elements are tiny and manufacture can get expensive when dealing with such small parts, but take a look inside a bog-standard Mini DV shell to see incredibly tiny, minutely-toleranced parts assembled into a whole.

Your associate is correct - to have made the 6x start wider and still remain sharp, flare-free and non distorting would indeed have been even more expensive. Covering bigger chips (" say, as in the EX1) would have increased the costs yet again.

I assume your 18 mm Nikkor is a prime, with maybe an f/3.5 max aperture? No wonder the 6x Canon zoom is dear - it's much faster and has a healthy zoom range. Is there a 24 mm to 144mm Nikkor that goes f/1.6 to f/2.6? Doubt it.

tom.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 11:37 AM   #18
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I was under the impression that it is easier to manufacture wide lenses for larger sensors. While you make a point about small mini dv cameras having 2.35mm lenses and such, all of these shoot right through the middle of the glass and the end result is nothing wide at all. Therefore the lenses really only have to be sharp in the middle, who cares if they go soft ar the edges....no one will ever see this. Right? So they can be made cheaper.All of the small DV cameras I have seeen or used have nothing resembling a wide angle lens on them, despite the glass technically being 2.35mm and such.

Technically the XL lenses are 4.5mm and they are not wide either. Maybe I have misunderstood all these years but I was really under the impression that it is just straight out more difficult to get a good quality wide lens for a small sensor camera, where 35mm lenses are much easier to produce and therefore more cost effective.

Also, the Nikkor I have is a zoom lens, 18-56mm f3.5-f5.6. It is a cheapy and the wide end of it is amazing despite this. I have a 50mm Prime lens that is f1.8 and is great also. I grabbed it for less than $100 brand new.

I wish glass for 1/3 inch CCD XL cameras was so inexpensive. I'd be set!

No ill will is intended by any of this. I just want to make sure I have my understanding of the wide angle issues vs. price straight.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
The size of the sensor has no bearing on how difficult it is to make a wide-angle lens. Very small sensors have very short focal lengths to be sure, but it's quite possible to make a lens with a 2.35 mm focal length - which gives the equiv of 17 mm on a full frame SLR. Zooms start at this focal length for loads of the 1"/6 chipped camcorders that the general public use.

Of course the individual elements are tiny and manufacture can get expensive when dealing with such small parts, but take a look inside a bog-standard Mini DV shell to see incredibly tiny, minutely-toleranced parts assembled into a whole.

Your associate is correct - to have made the 6x start wider and still remain sharp, flare-free and non distorting would indeed have been even more expensive. Covering bigger chips (" say, as in the EX1) would have increased the costs yet again.

I assume your 18 mm Nikkor is a prime, with maybe an f/3.5 max aperture? No wonder the 6x Canon zoom is dear - it's much faster and has a healthy zoom range. Is there a 24 mm to 144mm Nikkor that goes f/1.6 to f/2.6? Doubt it.

tom.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 01:25 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik View Post
I was under the impression that it is easier to manufacture wide lenses for larger sensors.
Well a 'large sensor' might be an Ansel Adams 10" x 8" plate, and wide-angle lenses aren't any easier to make for this or for 2 1/4" square Hasselblads. Buttonhole cameras invariably have very wide-angle lenses indeed, as do phone cams. The lens on my Samsung phone is remarkably good.

Marty - your ..''all of these shoot right through the middle of the glass and the end result is nothing wide at all.'' show a basic misunderstanding of optics. Nothing wrong with that of course, but you might like to start here:

Lens Defects by Jeff Donald

You're quite correct in that cams with tiny 1"/6 chips have very short focal length lenses that don't give a wide field of view, but this is down to the fact that true wide to tele zooms are costly to make - as you know. This explains why camcorders don't have 12 or 20x zooms that start really wide - and DSLR's hardly ever have zooms of this range.

Your Nikkor is 18-56mm f3.5-f5.6, so it's a 3x zoom with a very restricted max aperture. Imagine this specification in a camcorder - it would be the laughing stock. But on the other hand if such a specification would suffice it would be very cheap to produce - so your wish for inexpensive glass for 1/3 inch CCD XL cameras could be realised.

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Old December 13th, 2008, 01:38 PM   #20
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I guess my knowledge of "wide angle" is based more on my previous experience with adapters that go onto the end of the lens barrell, and I assume that shooting through the middle of the glass is more approprate there. I could clearly see a lot of abberations and smearing toward the edges when held up to the naked eye, but nothing when on the fron ot the lens. Does that make more sense?

And back to the other situation. If it is so easy to make wide angle glass for a 1/3" sensor why isn;t anyone doing it except this Canon 6x which is the most expensive piece of glass produced for the XL camera? I understand the points that you are making, but I just don;t see how that makes sense with the state of the market for wide angle lenses for 1/3 cameras.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 06:19 PM   #21
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'Shooting through the middle of the glass' is a common misconception of 'good'. Generally zoom-through lens converters use spherically ground elements and (assuming the spherical surface is evenly ground) then it makes no difference whether you use the entire element for gathering light or just a small portion of it.

It doesn't matter what aperture you shoot at, the same amount of adapter glass will be used. Easy to test - just bring your finger in over the edge of the front element and see how soon it appears in your v'finder - whatever your working aperture.

An aspherical element will be just the same - the asymmetrical shape (usually of the inner surface of the element) continues to the edge of the element. Photographic tests are the only true tests - holding the lens up to your eye tells you little.

Why isn't anyone making dedicated wide-angle zooms like the Canon 6x? Mainly because of lack of demand. There are few camcorders that take interchangeable lenses, there's no common bayonet and as you've found out - short zooms with wide apertures are big, heavy and expensive.

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Old December 13th, 2008, 10:03 PM   #22
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It doesn't matter what aperture you shoot at, the same amount of adapter glass will be used. Easy to test - just bring your finger in over the edge of the front element and see how soon it appears in your v'finder - whatever your working aperture.

Why isn't anyone making dedicated wide-angle zooms like the Canon 6x? Mainly because of lack of demand. There are few camcorders that take interchangeable lenses, there's no common bayonet and as you've found out - short zooms with wide apertures are big, heavy and expensive.

tom.
I am not talking about different aperture settings causing you to shoot through the middle of the glass. I have witnessed zoom trhough adapters having chromatic abberation on the edges, then you zoom a little and you don't see it anymore....so in that circumstance you are shooting through the center of the glass. I've also visibly seen imperfections at the edge, I have mounted the adapter on the lens and it is outside of the viewable area that camcorder captures.

As far as your response to why no-one is making dedicated wide angle lenses? Well, that's a bit of a catch 22. I am stating that I have understood they are too expensive to manufacture for 1/3 inch market. You have been stating that they aren't.

You say that they are not being made because the demand isn't there. I believe that the demand isn't there because they are too expensive.

I am not arguing with you (well at least I don't mean to be...) but if they made affordable wide angle lenses for the XL series, people would buy them. People aren't buying them becuase they are too expensive.

Does this make sense? The XL series has always suffered because Canon either:

A) doesn't manufacture the proper add on lenses to meet demands of shooters
B) doesn't make them affordable enough as an add-on to a sub $9K camera

As a result of either "or" both of these, the interchangable feature of the XL series is often overlooked and people buy competitors fixed lens cameras as they see no real benefit in owning the XL camera. They would not be completely wrong.

I use the different lenses a lot but really wish for more options. Still, I'd have a hard time justifying them unless the prices are realistic.

Thanks for your insight and valuable information. I just think we might be talking about two different things.

By the way.....where's Bruce with his input on his new lens? We've been stealing his thunder!
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Old December 14th, 2008, 02:34 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik View Post
but if they made affordable wide angle lenses for the XL series, people would buy them. People aren't buying them because they are too expensive.
Spot on Marty and as you say - a Catch 22 situation. Your Nikkor is an 'affordable' wide-angle zoom that sells well, but as I say - such a specification (3x zoom with a very restricted max aperture) would have few takers in the video field where it's often not feasible to add lights or slow the shutter speed or up the ISO to compensate for the 'affordability'.

Canon's XL series has always been their top dog, and as such Canon have made expensive lenses for it. Even the 3x wide zoom was dear and most buyers opted for an add-on A lens to convert their standard zoom into something wider.

Agree entirely with you that the interchangeability is overlooked, and in Super-8 days it was much the same. The Nalcom and Beaulieu had few other lenses made for them. Sony today seem in no rush to make different lenses for the EX3 or Z7, and the 20x on the Z5 (that starts out at a decent 29.5mm) must make prospective buyers shy away from the Z7.

Maybe the Letus idea has given the interchangeable lens gang enough options. Maybe add-on lenses are 'good enough' even for XL owners. After all, if your clients are noticing CA at the edges of your frame then your super-wide viewpoints and content are hardly grabbing their attention.

I know my Aspheron on the Z1 has CA, but I readily accept that as I rejoice in the fact that straight lines remain straight and that I have very powerful perspective control with its 17 mm (equiv) focal length. This is seriously Kubrick wide. Love it.

tom.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 07:22 AM   #24
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Marty,
I have no idea about the firmware up date for the 6x. how would I check this, and if it hasn't been done, how do I install it?

To add to the lens conversation- I bought the letus Extreme about six months ago, and really love the look. It is ,however, a pain in the butt to take on and off the cameras, and has it's limitations. I have a collection of old Nikon fast primes, from 24mm to 135mm. In addition, I have an 85 f 1.4 which I had bought for portrait shooting with my dslr's. My favorite is the 105 f 1.8...it's beautifull!
Bruce yarock
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Old December 14th, 2008, 08:00 AM   #25
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Marty,
Did you need to do the back focus adjustment when you first got the 6x lens?
Bruce yarock
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Old December 15th, 2008, 07:51 AM   #26
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Bruce,
I did the backfocus adjustment once when I got the lens. I am not sure if I needed to but I did it just to be safe.

If you hooked the lens up and it worked, including the iris ring on the lens barrel, then you probably have the latest update. That is what the 1.4 firmware was for.

Did you actually get to use the lens yet?
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Old December 15th, 2008, 07:57 AM   #27
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Bruce,

I forgot to ask........you used the Letus Extreme on your A1, not your H1, right?

Marty
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Old December 16th, 2008, 12:49 AM   #28
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Marty,
I used it so far on two shoots. Sunday night, indoors on part of a low budget music video, and this morning , on a jib, for part of a national commercial about debt consolidation. I should have a clip of this spot in a couple of days, and in it is my house with a foreclsure sign in front ( not real, thank god).
So far i'm realy impressed with the lens- clarity, focus, color, etc. When I have the time, I'll set uup the H1 with the 6x and the A1 side by sidem, same presets, through two identical monitors and see how they compare.
I've used the letus on both cameras, but prefer to shoot with it on the H1. It's just so time consuming to set up and shoot with that I hardly use (though I would love to more).
Bruce Yarock
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