The cost of Hi-Def lenses 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 November 15th, 2005, 05:35 PM   #1
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The cost of Hi-Def lenses

A lot of people here mention the high cost of the XL-H1 due to its Hi-Def Lens. And that pro HD Lenses generally run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Well my question is why???

Let's compare.

The lens in the XL-H1 is a 20X image stablized able to resolve 1.5 Megapixels (1440x1080) for a 1/3" sensor.

Now take the Canon PowerShot S2 IS Digital Camera. This camera costs under $500, and comes with lens that is 12x and also image stablized and able to resolve 5 Megapixels!!! And the sensor size is bigger too - 1/2.5".

So what's the deal??? Or should I say justification...
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Old November 15th, 2005, 05:56 PM   #2
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Stills camera lenses are easier to make. Bayer pattern means you need less resolution on the lens, larger chips mean bigger pixels means less resolution needed on the lens.

Also, stills camera lenses tend to breathe a lot - this is ok, but not on a video camera.

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Old November 15th, 2005, 10:31 PM   #3
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Also if you compare the size and weight of the 20x HD lens to the PowerShot lens, there is a tremendous difference in the amount of glass between them... and more glass usually means much more money.
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Old November 16th, 2005, 12:12 AM   #4
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What if you were to compare the 20X XL2 lens to the 20X H1 lens? What makes the high def glass so insane as to be worth so much more?
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Old November 16th, 2005, 01:50 PM   #5
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The H1 lens is operating close to the diffraction limit. This means that higher order aberrations must be better suppressed than in the XL2 lens making the designer's job more difficult and the lens more complex.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 07:40 PM   #6
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It costs more 'cause it is black, and therefore more professional.


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Old November 22nd, 2005, 09:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
It costs more 'cause it is black, and therefore more professional.


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Old November 23rd, 2005, 06:50 AM   #8
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Canon's pro "L" lenses are white though (usually).

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Old November 24th, 2005, 07:45 PM   #9
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I've read around here, I think, as well as elsewhere that the lenses from an XL1 would not be good enough for the new HDV Canon. Yet in the P2 board, there's an article which states that the Panasonic uses the "same stock Leica" lens as the DVX100 series. How come the old lens is good enough for the Panasonic but not for the Canon?
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Old November 24th, 2005, 07:56 PM   #10
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I'd severely doubt it's the same leica as in the DVX100 - it's a different size for starters.

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Old November 24th, 2005, 08:28 PM   #11
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It's not the same at all. Different focal length, different diameter, different zoom range. It's a newly-engineered high-def lens specifically designed for the HVX.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 03:58 AM   #12
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Mass manufacturing is one of the major deciding factors that drives the cost of a lens down. That is why the Canon Powershot lens and the non-removable stock lens that is attched to the Sony FX-1 or Z1 for that matter can be made for so much cheaper. The Pro HD lens is most likely a limited run item. Unless Canon is selling this lens like hotcakes and still not lowering their price after a while, then the buyers have a case to complain.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 11:58 AM   #13
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SO does that mean if a body only kit is ever released then the cost of the camera will be greatly reduced? Are we talking like 2k? because if that's the case that's a pretty good chunk towards a mini35 or a micro 35 or an agus 35 or whatever.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 02:42 PM   #14
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JVC sells their HD100 body only for $800 less than when they sell it with their specially produced Fujinon 1/3" HD lens. So an 1/3" HD lens can be produced relatively cheaply. Of course their wide angle 1/3" replacement lens due out in December is said to be in the $9,000 range, but then wide angle 1/2" lenses are typically this expensive. Fujinon does sell a 1/2" HD lens that fits the HD100 by means of the $1,470 ACM-12 adapter. The S20X6.4 BMD sells for around $10,000, but when you use a 1/2" lens on a 1/3" camera there's about a 1.4 multiplication factor which would give you an effective range of 280X9 on the HD100.
However, the fact that both of JVC's 1/3" lenses are available only from JVC and not Fujinon may be an indication that Fujinon were asked to cut corners to keep prices low and they may not want to take "credit" for the chromatic aberation that some HD100 users have reported.
Hopefully the premium price of the XL H1 will be reflected in a much higher quality 1/3" HD lens compared to the one Fujinon made for the HD100.
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Old November 26th, 2005, 11:43 AM   #15
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Hse Kha's question is a very valid one. Lens offerings today, in general, are no better than they were twenty or thirty years ago. Now keep your hair on, I said in general. Technology today allows us to make unsurpassed optics, optics that pinpoint the beginnings of our universe, etc. The heart of the matter seems to lie, not with capability, but with intent, or commerce. Perhaps both. But that does the professional little good. The sharpest lens I currently own, and I'm sure I have ever owned, is fixed to a plastic 2-1/4" format camera(the lens is not plastic) made in the "Soviet Union" and purchased new for 25$ canadian about twenty yrs ago. It beat the hell out of my Hasselblad lenses.
The next best was a Fujinon purchased twenty yrs ago for 8"x10" format.
At that time the Fujinon cost about a fifth of the less sharp Schneiders and Rodenstocks, because the Fujinon didn't come from a place historically known for its optics.
I own a 60$ Takumar-A zoom lens for 35mm format, lots of glass in this fella, and it is every bit as good as the XL series lenses. Breath? Heck yes. Cheaper to make? Absolutely- but the optics are still there. Coupled with a Pentax K1000, the lot cost 160$- and the images I have made with this combo are included in museum collections, okay they weren't purchased because they were sharp but you get my drift. Put a still lens on your XLs and see for yourself. Optics, resolving power, not chip size Vs film size- are what matters.
In the recent past, the best Kodak was willing to do for filmmakers wishing to shoot Black and White motion picture stock was dreadful compared to the choices weekend still photographers had. Even the Kodak developers for motion picture Black and White stock were atrocious. All this in spite of the fact that making a movie cost a little more than shooting Aunt bessie in her new hat. I, among others, naively tried pointing this out to Kodak, and now were doing much the same in the digital realm. But, as an aside, I love the digital realm.

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