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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 May 21st, 2009, 04:01 PM   #1
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Canon 1.6 extender - quality ?

I have been somewhat frustrated by the soft quality of images obtained via my XL-H1A / EF adapter / Canon EF 100-400mm IS lens, even at the shorter end of the zoom range. I'm currently filming peregrine falcons and ravens and would like to get in closer than the 20x lens allows. I know that one option would be to purchase a shorter focal length zoom lens (e.g. 70-200mm f2.8) and I may go down this route.

In searching the forum I have found reference to the Canon 1.6 extender but no reference to its quality. Also, is this the same extender as used for the XL1/2 SD cameras or is there a specific HD extender ?

Can anyone advise me as to the utility / quality of this extender for wildlife videography.

Many thanks,


Neil
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Old May 21st, 2009, 04:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Grubb View Post
I have been somewhat frustrated by the soft quality of images obtained via my XL-H1A / EF adapter / Canon EF 100-400mm IS lens, even at the shorter end of the zoom range. I'm currently filming peregrine falcons and ravens and would like to get in closer than the 20x lens allows. I know that one option would be to purchase a shorter focal length zoom lens (e.g. 70-200mm f2.8) and I may go down this route.

In searching the forum I have found reference to the Canon 1.6 extender but no reference to its quality. Also, is this the same extender as used for the XL1/2 SD cameras or is there a specific HD extender ?

Can anyone advise me as to the utility / quality of this extender for wildlife videography.

Many thanks,


Neil
I use a H1 with all the above lenses with the following setting.

1.6 extender - use the EOSPhoto custom preset setting but turn use a value 1 on the colour gain not value 2.

100-400IS & 70-200 f2.8 IS - use the EOSPhoto custom preset setting but use a value 3 or 4 or 5 on the sharpness & colour gain at value 2 or 3 to suit your personal taste. Also with these EF lenses, remember to use a wide aperture setting i.e. f5.6 to f8(max), anything higher than f8 will start to soften the image. This does limit you to using the shutter speed to control the exposure as you need to keep a wide aperture, so I also use ND filters to keep the shutter speed down to prevent strobing effect.

The 1.6 extender is the orignal XL1/2 SD, as far as I'm aware Canon don't produce a HD extender for the XLH1, its a pity as the 1.6 extender does give you a level of flexibility for only a slight increase in weight.

Last edited by David G. Burt; May 21st, 2009 at 04:51 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old May 25th, 2009, 01:28 AM   #3
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Neil,

I have the 1.6 extender for the xl2 and have used it on my xlh1. It does soften the image as all diopters do, but it is still better than SD.

I use a 100 to 400. I shoot falcons all the time and unequivically at the 350 to 400 range there is a softening.

However at the 100 to 300 mark in particular the lens is still pretty solid.

I have found that focus is so darn critical that I went to the fu 1000 and this has removed a lot of what i thought was softness when in fact it was critical focus!!!

I have shot with the 70 to 200 and the 300 and the 400. while they are marginally sharper I am not soley convinced that most people will even notice the difference, of course you have to please yourself!!

if you use the 1.4 ef diopter in front of any of these lenses you will see a softening, but not terrible.

Zooms are so much better today than in the past it is a joke, but no zoom will be as tack sharp as a prime!! Ever!!

If you like I can post some frame grabs from my 100 to 400 and see if they meet your expectations!!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 01:35 PM   #4
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I have not used the 1.6 extender, but did use the 2x on the old Canon L2 Hi-8 camcorder and found that while usable it did soften the image quite a bit and was not as good as the EOS adapter with 35mm lenses.

I switched to the XL1-s when it came out and used the adapter for the 35mm lenses, which was now called the EF adapter. The 100-400mm was my favorite lens for general purpose long range wildlife photography with this camera.

When I upgraded to the XL-H1, I was no longer happy with this lens due to softness. I did have better results with the 300mmf4 and the 70-200mm f2.8, but still got a lot of unacceptable footage with them. In time I came to realize that it was mostly a focusing problem, and now am using this lens again as my primary long range lens. The 300mmf4 and 70-200mm 2.8, may be somewhat sharper, but I think the main difference is that they are easier to focus as one does not have the jiggle inherent with trying to focus with the push-pull zoom of the 100-400mm which permits the lens to flex somewhat.

Dale is spot on with his comments. I cannot obtain satisfactory sharpness under any circumstances when zoomed completely in with the 100-400, but find it usable by 380mm-350mm. I too have used the fu-1000 and found that it can help, but I have mostly returned to using the stock finder except in cold conditions when it strobes too much. I find it helps immensely to flip up the eyepiece and use it as an LCD and when possible to use the magnifying function. It is most difficult to attain focus when the subject is moving away or toward you and under high speed action circumstances one is bound to miss focus in many cases with any of the telephotos.

Another thing that sometimes helps is to tweak problem footage in post-production. I do not mean sharpen the footage, but tweak the levels, etc. This is much like what David Burt is talking about except that it is correcting a problem after it occurs, while his method is preventing the problem in the first place. I too, use the EOSPhoto preset and find that it helps a lot, but even with it post processing can drastically improve certain shots.
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