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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 January 13th, 2009, 03:17 PM   #1
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35mm adaptors for canon xl-h1a

I was thinking about getting either a redrock or a letus 35mm adapter. I have a few Nikon prime lenses that I would like to try on my canon. My questions are, do I really need to buy one of these that are so expensive? Is there another adapter I can just put on my camera to use my Nikon lenses? Lastly what type of setup would you recommend for what I want to accomplish?

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Randy Larioz
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Old January 13th, 2009, 06:11 PM   #2
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There are adapters that let you hang Nikon glass on an XL mount. They're great if you need absurdly long focal lengths, because the smaller sensor size gives you an apparent 7.2X multiplication factor (i.e. a 100mm lens performs like a 720mm lens on a 35mm camera). I have one of the adapters, and use it for nature work where I can't get close to the subject.

The Letus and other 35mm adapters serve a different function: they project the image from the Nikon lens onto a ground-glass screen, which is then relayed through another lens to the camcorder. The reason for this is to get the shallow depth of field 35mm film photographers have enjoyed. It makes video look more "filmic." They add weight and complications to your system, and you lose light in the conversion, so it can complicate your lighting or plans to shoot with existing light.

Regards;
Martin
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Old January 20th, 2009, 01:07 PM   #3
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Ditto what Mrtin said.
I've been shooting with my Canon H1 and a LetusExtreme, when the conditions are right. I love the look, and wish I could use it more often. But there are several caveats that you need to be aware of.
1-your rig gains at least a foot in lenght and several ponds, once you add the adapter, rails and lens. Till I find a usable shoulder mount for the rig, I'm stuck on tripod.
2-Forget autofocus. It's totally unusable, since the camera is now focusing on the ground glas, not your subject.
3-You need lots of light for indoor or night shoots.
4- focus is grueling and even more important than just hdv focus. With the longer primes, your dof is minute, so you need a good viewfinfder and/or sharp hd monitor.
5- I also haven't done enough experimenting yet to use it successfully with a jib or steadycam. you pretty much have to stick with the wide lens, or have a remote focus pulling set up.
6-There's also a significant learning curve, since you are limited with how far you can stop down the iris or jack up the shutter speed. focusing becomes similar to 35mm shooting, where you often need an ac/ focus pulller.
7- You have to be carefull inter cutting adapter and non adaptor footage.
Still, it's a fantastic look, and I can tell you that even with the difficulties, I'm hooked!
Bruce S. Yarock
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Old January 20th, 2009, 03:11 PM   #4
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Yes, I agree. Unless you are doing a narrative production that requires the look, I would stick with your stock lens, which is already excellent.

If you want examples, you can check out my website. It has several films that I've DP'd, where I used an XL-H1/mini35/Zeiss Superspeed Set/Uncompressed recording setup. And I have some stuff (Artist Biopic) where it was just the stock camera.

Will give you a good idea on looks that can be acheived (although some of the higher end stuff had a larger budget with it and a crew behind it - keep that in mind).

www.cinemascopefilms.com
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Old January 20th, 2009, 08:49 PM   #5
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Even narrative work with the stock 20x and optional 6x wide-angle lens looks great.

;)
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 09:21 AM   #6
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Yes, stock lens is very nice too :)

I've used various adapters, and in my opinion, nothing beats the mini35 at this point. Its build really can withstand production use, where as I feel like you have to be extra careful with some of the other ones, as you are just adding it to the front of the camera.

I take the new mini35C built specifically for the XL camera is the best by far, albiet quite expensive.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 09:29 AM   #7
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Michael,
How does the mini 35c compare to the Letus extreme? I really like the fact that it attaches directly to the camera body.
Bruce Yarock
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 06:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Galvan View Post
Yes, stock lens is very nice too :)

I've used various adapters, and in my opinion, nothing beats the mini35 at this point. Its build really can withstand production use, where as I feel like you have to be extra careful with some of the other ones, as you are just adding it to the front of the camera.

I take the new mini35C built specifically for the XL camera is the best by far, albiet quite expensive.
Agreed. the XL Mini35C is by far the best adapter on the market.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 10:35 PM   #9
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I checked on the specs and price of the P+S mini 35C and found out that:
1- It doesn't flip the image, and
2- It costs around $7000.
I guess I'll stick with my Letus Exreme for the time being.
Bruce Yarock
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Old January 25th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock View Post
Michael,
How does the mini 35c compare to the Letus extreme? I really like the fact that it attaches directly to the camera body.
Bruce Yarock
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Yes, at $7000, its quite pricey (mini35's have alway been rental items to me), but I'll be purchasing one of the mini35c's for a feature production in the fall - unless Canon releases its 3 CMOS Full Frame XLH2 :)

The thing about these adapters are they are soooo much better built than the Letus, Brevis, etc. With the mini35, you attach the camera to the adapter, not the other way around like everything else. The build is just that much better, especially for heavy production use. Attaching the Letus and others in front of the stock lens just limits what you can do with the setup (I can't imagine that thing on a crane).

The mini35c was built specifically for the XL camera, so it uses the flip option in the camera for viewing. Also, new relay glass and same light loss as the Letus.

Albeit quite pricey, after using it, you can't fathom thinking about using the other adapters (in my opinion at least).
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Old January 26th, 2009, 06:45 PM   #11
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Michael,
Thanks for the info. It sounds like a nice rig, especially connecting directly to the H1 without the lens. If I get a gig that warrants the rental, I'll try it. In the meantime, I'll plug along with my Letus.
Bruce Yarock
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Old January 26th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #12
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I just never understood using an adapter in the front of an XL lens when the whole concept of the XL was using interchangeable lenses/adapters. It just seems silly to add MORE glass in front of the stock lens.

Isn't that the beauty of the XL? To use an adapter in front of the SENSOR? Why own an XL then? An A1 would be just fine.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 08:53 PM   #13
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Robert,
I have an A1 and an H1. I've been using the H1 with the Letus because I'm used to the ergonomics of the H1, and I often use the fu-1000 viewfinder, which helps my 60 year old eyes. You do make a good opint, though, and I have a shoot tomorrowat which I'll use the Letus on the A1. ( I need the wide angle on the H1).
Bruce S. Yarock
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Old January 27th, 2009, 01:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Sanders View Post
I just never understood using an adapter in the front of an XL lens when the whole concept of the XL was using interchangeable lenses/adapters. It just seems silly to add MORE glass in front of the stock lens.

Isn't that the beauty of the XL? To use an adapter in front of the SENSOR? Why own an XL then? An A1 would be just fine.
Yes, I agree. I once used the Letus Extreme on the XL H1, and it was so much hassle to me, because of the size, but more importantly, I didn't feel it was really sturdy at all. Really limited shots.

The P+S is a whole other level of adapter. Again, it's build is just superb. There are no qualms about using it in various capacities, especially when you have much heavier 35mm motion picture primes on it. The mini35C just upped the ante.

But realize the Letus, Brevis, etc. are much much cheaper, so it all evens out. They provide the ability to own much more feasible.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 08:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Sanders View Post
I just never understood using an adapter in the front of an XL lens when the whole concept of the XL was using interchangeable lenses/adapters. It just seems silly to add MORE glass in front of the stock lens.

Isn't that the beauty of the XL? To use an adapter in front of the SENSOR? Why own an XL then? An A1 would be just fine.
With all due respect, if you own an H1 and are using the lenses (I use 3 XL lenses) and still want a more shallow DOF but cannot afford a MINI35, the extreme does seem appealing at the price and I see no harm in using it. I am waiting for a good deal on a used extreme to stick on the end of my XLH1 when the shoot calls for it. If I could afford an A1 and an extreme I would. But realistically, I could buy an A1 and an extreme for the cost of a used MINI35 that is cheap.

what I am getting at is there is nothing that is really affordable that mounts on the XL directly for 35mm lenses.....well, for DOF anyway.

Robert, I am guessing you mean why go buy an H1 to use an extreme? But if you have an H1 already then why not use it? I know the thing is ungodly long and awkward but in the end the images should be as good as the A1 with Letus.

Peace.
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