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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 10th, 2008, 10:22 AM   #1
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Wide angle reccomendations

I read some of the older threads on this subject, but wanted to see if anyone has any new information.
I shoot with an H1 and A1, and sometimes use my Sd Canon wide angle lens which I bought when I had my XL2. This lens, when shooting in hdv, is sometimes good and sometimes not, depending on the conditions. I had a producer complain recently about the look after a shoot in a low light situation.
Has anyone tried the new Century Optics .75 zoom through?

0HD-75CV-XLH .75X WIDE ANGLE CONVERTER HD XL/XA --

If so how does it compare to the Canon hd wa lens? Any other options?
Thanks
Bruce Yarock
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Old December 10th, 2008, 11:28 AM   #2
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Can you be more specific when you talk of the producer's disappointment? Sounds like he was upset at the gain-up grain rather than anything the Canon wideangle was bring to the shoot, unless he was objection to the barrel distortion or the added flare.

When you add a wide converter you need to avoid small apertures because of difraction, especially if you're shooting HDV.

tom.
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Old December 10th, 2008, 03:41 PM   #3
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Tom,
There were two prblems with this footage.
1- It wasn't crisp and sharp like mcuh of the other hdv stuff I've shot for him.
2- There were some focus issues-this was probably a combo of low light and a dolly shot with the talent walking and talking. In retrospect, someone should have pulled focus ( I was shooting while moving the trpod dolly (varizoom cinevate)).
I'm going to do some tests on my own in decent light, and capture and compare the same scene with both lenses.
I'm hoping to hear about people's experience with the various WA options, and their reccomendations (when shooting in hdv).
Thanks
Bruce S. Yarock
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Old December 11th, 2008, 04:04 AM   #4
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The Canon 0.7x wide angle has a very good reputation indeed Bruce, but adding an extra three elements in front of your zoom can't help sharpness or flare levels. Then again, the Canon performs beautifully I find, so I'm surprised at your 'focus issues'.

When attached you have a focal length in the 4 mm range. This is tiny, and the dof will be near infinite at whatever aperture and focus setting you dial in. You're not zooming up to longer focal lengths with this Canon lens in place are you? That's a no-no; it's designed to do one job - shorten your zoom's focal length, no more. The fact that it is a zoom-through is merely a by-product and a sales gimmick. Ignore this feature if at all possible.

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Old December 11th, 2008, 04:30 AM   #5
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"You're not zooming up to longer focal lengths with this Canon lens in place are you? That's a no-no; it's designed to do one job - shorten your zoom's focal length, no more. The fact that it is a zoom-through is merely a by-product and a sales gimmick. Ignore this feature if at all possible."

Tom,
I'm a bit confused. I've been using the lens in a couple of ways. The first, is full wide, when I need the extra real estate. The second, is the way I shoot with my normal lens. For example, the shoot I mentioned- our first takes were wide, and then we zoomed in for the same shot as a medium close y up. Are you saying that you're not supoposed to use this lens for zooming in and re framing? The focal issues, by the way, were worse when I was wide ( i think I used both auto focus and manual at different times). On the zoomed in shot, I could see focus much better, and the result was better.
At any rate, I pulled the trigger on ebay and nought the canon Hd wide angle lens about an hour ago! So I'll be selling the sd wa lens ( if you know anyone interested).
I appreciate your feedback, and please let me know if it sounds like I'm not totally clear on the zoom issue with the wa lenses.
Bruce yarock
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Old December 11th, 2008, 05:02 AM   #6
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The 20x zoom lens on your Canon A1 probably has 13 or 14 elements, all beautifully matched, coated and centered. If Canon thought sales would be better by going slightly wider to start with you can be sure they'd have done it. But to get a true wide to tele zoom would have meant sacrifices were in order, and if they sold it at the same price then to keep the sharpness as good the barrel distortion would be more pronounced or the CA worse or the ramping increased.

So the market for wide-angle converters flourishes. Zoom-thru optics are generally of 3 elemts, though there are some two and some four element designs. The more elements the better the correction, but they get heavier and dearer and generally add to the flare levels.

So to get the best out of your wideangle converter, use it when you must, and only when you must. If you must include a zoom that starts really wide then of course there's no way round it - you must shoot with the converter in place.

But if you're planning on shooting at 15 mm (say) then it's much better to remove the converter and shoot at 15 mm using your camcorder's zoom alone. Those extra uncentered elements do you no favours except when you need a wider view of the world.

tom.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 10:52 AM   #7
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Bruce,
Unlike the 3x WA lens that you have, the 6x HD version weighs a ton! I don't know exactly how much it weighs but it makes the H1 feel twice as heavy! It is great glass mind you but just a bear to work with. I've had it for about 1.5 years and use it sparingly. The 6x zoom is really pretty good for framing.....so you won't have to keep switching the lens. Still, I remember reading people used to buy the 3x because it was light and easier to wrangle....which is no the case with the 6x.

I think your issues with the 3x sd lens stem from the lens being rather soft when wide open, and it sounds like that is where you had it set for lighting purposes.

I still use my 16x manual lens a lot, and find that is sharpest at f3.2 to f5.6 but still shoot wide open at f1.6 for better DOF effects whenever I can. The results are stunning, albeit technically not as sharp. Still, it looks great. I am glad to have options with lenses!

Good Luck with your new toy!
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Old December 11th, 2008, 06:00 PM   #8
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Hi Marty,
Good to hear from you. Your old H1 is still chugging along, although it went back to Canon twice for viewfinder and other electronic problems. Now it's fine.
I'll have my 6x tomorrow, and will sell the 3x. Does the back focus have to be set with the 6x lens as you haver to with the 16x, or does the h1 automatically take care of that?
You're probably right about the "soft" look on the other lens. I could'nt light the place enough because of nasty reflections on the wood sample.
take care.
Bruce yarock
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Old December 12th, 2008, 07:38 PM   #9
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My 6x lens arrived today. The thing is MASSIVE, and weighs about 4 lbs! Way bigger than the stock 20x lens. It looks great, although I haven't shot and captured anything with it yet.
Bruce Yarock
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Old December 13th, 2008, 06:36 AM   #10
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I'm really interested in wht you think of this lens. What's the 35mm ewuivalent at it's widest angle - about 21mm? And what's the barrel distortion like? Hopefully non-existant when you've paid so much money.

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Old December 13th, 2008, 08:13 AM   #11
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Tom,
The good news was that I got it on ebay for $1300 plus fedex. Like I said, the thing is a monster...huge! It's 3.4-20.4mm, which I think is around 24mm at it's widest in 35mm equivelent. I haven't recorded anything yet, but will today. At what width do you typically see barrel distortion? Anything else I should look for?
I like the fact that it has the iris ring, the focus and zoom preset switch, nd filter.
It's kind of strange that there is very little posted about it on the forum lately. There is one thread that began in 2006 and stops in 2007. Any ideas why no one is talking about it lately?
My 3x version left last night with an XL 2 shooter.
Bruce Yarock
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Old December 13th, 2008, 09:10 AM   #12
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Yes, 24.6 mm. Usefully wide but not startlingly so.
As you point out it's an expensive (though not to you), not-very-fast heavy monster, and with a so-so 6x zoom it's made XL folk look to adding a zoom-through to the front of their 20x zoom. Far less space taken up in the kit bag.

Of course your lens will have far better optical correction down the wide end (where the barrel distortion will be most evident) and this is easily checked by framing up your widescreen TV in the v'finder.

I think the above means Canon didn't sell many, and it will be interesting to see what Sony comes out with for the EX3 and Z7. In reality I feel Canon should have gone much wider for dramatic effect, say an 18 mm to 90 mm equiv. Now that would be worth stumping up for.

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Old December 13th, 2008, 09:31 AM   #13
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There is very little posted because the XLh1 is beginning to lose steam and people are buying more "trendy" cameras and talking about their accessories....but you know that already! The lack of a decent viewfinder and a real manual lens has really hurt the XL series recently....plus it is missing a key ingredient: variable framerates for over/undercranking.

There has always been a very, very low percentage of XL users who even buy additional lenses and with the H1 in particular, the cost prohibits this even more. So I think that is why there is so little talk about the wide lens......very few people have it!

Now, there is very little, if any barrel distortion at all. In fact, the lens is so amazingly flat and geometrically sound that it often looks fake! I know that sounds odd but it does. It looks like a 2d image being panned. I used to watch programs on HDnet and see this amazing effect and think it looked odd, but I have come to learn it is natural to look this way. Our brains find it odd looking at first as we are accustomed to seeing barrel distortion even in moderate length glass. When panning even with the stock lens there is some distortion occurring at the edges that we really don't really notice since all of our lives we have seen this on film/video footage and most lenses behave this way.

The 6x has little to none of this and at first looks remarkably weird. "How can it be so wide, so clean and not distort" our brain asks? "This looks fake" it says to us.

Let me know if you witness this.

Bruce, Make sure you have the latest firmware update or certain features of the lens won't work. Hopefully they updated the firmware when you sent it in. My 6x lens came with an SD card with 1.4 firmware I believe.

Good Luck! Prepare to be impressed!
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Old December 13th, 2008, 09:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
Yes, 24.6 mm. Usefully wide but not startlingly so.
As you point out it's an expensive (though not to you), not-very-fast heavy monster, and with a so-so 6x zoom it's made XL folk look to adding a zoom-through to the front of their 20x zoom. Far less space taken up in the kit bag.

Of course your lens will have far better optical correction down the wide end (where the barrel distortion will be most evident) and this is easily checked by framing up your widescreen TV in the v'finder.

I think the above means Canon didn't sell many, and it will be interesting to see what Sony comes out with for the EX3 and Z7. In reality I feel Canon should have gone much wider for dramatic effect, say an 18 mm to 90 mm equiv. Now that would be worth stumping up for.

tom.
I agree with most of what you said but I still find that 24.6mm seems like an extreme wide angle to those of us used the the 42mm limitation of the stock lenses. I got mine for about the same price as Bruce 18 months ago and have been happy with it ever since. It is a beast however!

If Canon had gone wider, the cost of the lens would have gone even higher too.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 10:46 AM   #15
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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.
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