Canon XL 6X HD lens on XL2 at DVinfo.net

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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 July 28th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #1
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Canon XL 6X HD lens on XL2

I'm off to make another movie for GlobetrotterWorld next month. First to France in August and then Italy in September.

I was going to take the Canon XL-H1 or H1s to produce some of the footage for Blue-Ray sales, but after a lot of feedback from the buyers it looks like I'm going produce the next three movies in the series for normal DVD sales. So I've decided to take the trusty old XL2 instead.

I know that I can easily down-convert HDV footage from the H1 to SD, but I actually prefer the look of the full rez XL2 SD 16:9 footage compared to Canon H1 or Sony Z1 HDV down-converted to SD when it is used for normal DVDs instead of Blue Ray. The original XL2 files will be less hassle and quicker to work on as well.

I like the XL2 matched with 20X & 3x lenses along with the bag of Nikkors, but I sold my last 3X lens some months ago (I've owned three different 3x lenses in the past) so have been searching for a nice mint 3X lens on Ebay these past weeks.

However, I've come to the conclusion that why take the 3X SD when I can simply clamp the lovely Canon HD Video XL 6X 3.4-20.4mm L lens (normally matched for the XL-H1) to the XL2 instead!

What I'd like to know is if anyone out there has actually used the XL2 with the 6X lens long-term, had good results, and if there were any problems of note that I don't know of compared to normal use with the XL-H1 body.

There were a couple of posts last year from DV readers asking about the 6X on the XL2, but apart from basic comments there wasn't a lot of information.

I've been testing out the XL2 & 6X HD lens combination and apart from the redundant on-lens aperture ring (iris settings can be set using the control on the XL2 body) every other function and feature of the lens works perfectly.
Yes, the 6X black lens is bigger and heavier, but I actually prefer the extra weight and it is quite close to the size of the 20 X lens anyway. The macro close-focus is better than the the original 3X lens, and the extra reach of the 6X will save me having to change back and forward from the 20X so often.

I'll be doing some more tests over the next week, but at the moment it looks like it is a good combination. I have plenty of previous SD footage taken with the 3X lens so I'll also try to compare image quality to the 6X. It probably will not be much of an improvement over the 3X but if it matches it or slightly improves on it I'll be equally happy. The 6X produces outstanding results in HD, so I'm confident of achieving very good results in SD.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 03:41 PM   #2
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Tony,

I ran some tests of the standard xlh1 lens on the xl2 and the xl2 lens on the h1, its in the archives somewhere, and to be honest I could barely tell the difference. Using the 6x makes a lot of sense to me!!
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Old September 29th, 2009, 05:31 PM   #3
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My 6X lens is at the camera repair specialists as we speak...it didn't like swimming in a French lake and filled up with water. You could probably hear my screams popping out of the bubbles as my flippers pushed me back to the surface! (I'd stupidly left a tiny portion of my UW housing open and it flooded).

Life is full of those unexpected moments! :)
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Old September 30th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #4
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Tony,

I dunked a camera for 1 second in Africa and it was totally ruined!!

I hope your equipment surives better!!!!!!!!

Water is our nemisis!!!
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Old September 30th, 2009, 02:24 PM   #5
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The flooded XL2 body was ruined - dead on arrival. :) I've now bought yet another one to replace it.

The black Canon XL 6X HD lens filled with water, and so I left it in blazing hot sun for a week to dry out.
Apart from a few water droplet marks left on internal glass elements, all functions seem to work OK on a new XL body...except for the iris-function. Even though the aperture shows it going up and down the scale in the viewfinder, the lens aperture itself remains fully closed and so provides only total blackout.

The camera repairer reckons the tiny iris control component inside the lens is not working and needs to be replaced by Canon.

If I sent it back to Canon it would cost almost as much as a new 6X lens to repair along with lens element cleaning. So I've asked the local repair specialist if he cannot fix the tiny internal aperture control himself, then to simply try to leave the iris on open aperture (or fixed around f/4 if possible). If he can do that, then I'll also ask him to clean the few tiny water spots on the internal glass elements.

Then I would just use the lens at fixed aperture and control the light via shutter speed and ND filters. At least then I'd be able to use the lens instead of chucking the lens away or using it as an expensive paper weight! :)

I'm also hoping that if he leaves the iris open on a fixed aperture, that the electronic signal sent to the body when moving the aperture wheel on the XL2 or lens iris-ring control when on the XL-H1 body doesn't continue to change on the videwfinder readout and therefore provide a false exposure. I'll find out later this week if the lens is going to be a 'keeper' or a paper weight.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 05:21 PM   #6
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Tony,


Do you have insurance for your equipment?? this is something I have been considering doing myself but have yet to do so.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 05:58 PM   #7
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No, I rarely have, as I have always found it far too expensive to insure my mountain of equipment (which includes far more than just photo & video gear) for worldwide travel on a yearly basis, and with no hidden clauses or small-print to avoid hassles with payouts.

Normally I have found it far cheaper to replace equipment with mint-used items after the odd occasion over the years when I've had stuff damaged or stolen. With other equipment I've been luckily covered by several big company sponsors and so it was quickly replaced.

For shorter trips of a week or two it may sometimes be viable to insure the equipment, and maybe I should have done during the previous trip when I had about 20,000 worth stolen in Spain - although that trip lasted several months, so the UK insurance premiums would have been high.

The only time when I've taken out full insurance was when I managed to find a cheap offer for year-round life cover in all countries of the world, and it also partly covered some of my mountain of stills camera equipment.
During that same year I happened to be unlucky enough to be shot in the back of the head with a Magnum .45 bullet whilst in California during a drive-by shooting (luckily I survived the nightmare ordeal). The insurance back in UK thankfully paid up for the ambulance & hospital bills.

Sadly, I've yet to find another company during recent years that offers the same kind of worldwide cover without asking for an arm an leg before you leave on the flight. :)
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Old October 8th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #8
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Bad days & GOOD DAYS...

It has been a difficult week of sorts, with the worst news being that the very special location last month where I finally (following days of negotiations with authorities) obtained 2-weeks permission to film and use a boat etc., has not been granted for an extra two weeks this month. This will prevent me from completing the project. Damn it!

At this moment I'm trying to organise an alternative filming project in Austria & Italy.

But...today was also a VERY GOOD DAY!

I've just picked up my "drowned" Canon AF XL HD 6X zoom lens from the specialist KL Camera Repairs in Essex...and after testing it seems to be working perfectly!

I have no commerical connection with the company, so hope that Chris doesn't mind me mentioning them.
They not only fixed and cleaned the internal delicate iris and shutter mechanism, but also cleaned ALL the internal glass elements! And let me tell you, this particular lens is very complicated and not a short or easy job - something that would have cost me possibly -thousands if sent back to Canon.

And the total bill for this mega-major job? Just 175.00!

To say that I am happy is an understatement. KL camera repairs were established way back in 1969, and with this kind of customer satisfaction I can understand why they are still operating. It will definitely be the place I will go for any future repairs - a superb and very friendly, personal service.

Instead of it being a useless chunk of glass left in my loft or used as a paper-weight, I now can look forward to using this superb and sharp lens during my next project ...and this time I'll try to make sure the underwater housing is properly secure before I dive into the blue-green depths... :)
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Old October 13th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #9
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Tony,

Seems like it never ends at times. good thing there are spectacular highs at times or one may, "packer in".

I have an underwater housing i use at times and I always test, but!! I am always fearful the fool thing will start to leak!!!
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Old November 10th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #10
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What a story Tony. Sorry to hear about your camera. At least it wasn't the H1 huh?
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