Ability to 'ride the iris' - manual mode/other modes? 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 January 18th, 2006, 10:22 AM   #1
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Ability to 'ride the iris' - manual mode/other modes?

Hi. I am quite interested now in picking up one of these cameras, especially after all of your helpful posts and footage.

For event work, I have come to prefer manual lenses (ie: Fujinon on a DV500/DV550, betacam or even my HD100) for the flexibility to quickly rack focus and quickly make slow/'sweet' changes to the iris/aperture. One of my concerns with the H1 was that you wouldn't have this ability, or that it was close, but still a little 'jumpy'.

I was reading the manual today, and it looks like in one of the modes, you can make 1/4 stop step adjustments to the iris/aperture. I was figuring I'd be shooting in Manual mode, and was hoping that the electronic iris dial would let you adjust the iris/aperture smoothly between stops, similar to a manual iris ring, without any step 'jumps'. I believe my Z1 dial does this electronically, lettings you smoothly dial the aperture without steps/jumps.

I would want to avoid 'step' adjustments as much as possible, so if you were shooting something live, they moved and it was a little hot, you could just slowly dial the iris down to the 'sweet spot', rather than have visible 'jumps' in the exposure, and being set between various 1/4 stop ranges.

Does the iris dial in manual mode (or any other modes) give you a smooth roll between aperture settings, or does it indeed jump by 1/4 stops through the range. It's been a concern of mine, as I do a lot of event stuff, and like to keep things smooth, especially on single cam stuff. At least it's not full stop jumps...

I'd also like to know if anyone has used a Varizoom with LANC protocol to control the new lens, and what they thought (smooth through the ranges, etc)?

Thanks again very much for any insight, advice and information,

Shawn
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Old January 18th, 2006, 02:22 PM   #2
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The iris on the H1 is quite slow to respond so using the manual control wheel you can get very smooth seemingly stepless iris changes. Even though you are moving from one quarter stop to another the transition is very smooth. The other control is a large clunky knob that allows you to offset the auto iris and would not be much use in your situation. Having said that I find that the H1 auto iris tends to be a bit hot so I normall have my offset set to -0.5 or -1 stops.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 03:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Alister - very much.

You mentioned that the iris is 'slow to respond'.

Let's say you were shooting someone coming in a door with a backlit window, and then they came into a darker room. Would the H1 be fairly responsive in being iris down for the door, and then you rolling it open as they walk in, or does it take a while/delay for the iris to respond to your touch? I can see wanting to open or close the iris 2-3 stops in such a situation, and would want the camera to be pretty responsive (without delay - especially if they were right in front of you), and still not have major 'jumps' in the adjustment (where you'd see it get brighter on the picture in quick steps, rather than a smooth action). Also - is the iris dial segmented (detents) or does it roll freely?

I feel like I'm really going to miss an iris ring that you can whip a lens open or closed depending on what's going on.

Thanks again - for some reason this is kind of a big deal to me.

Shawn
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Old January 25th, 2006, 04:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Alyasiri
Thanks again - for some reason this is kind of a big deal to me.

Shawn
It is to me too. I love my XL2s but this has to be by far (for me) their biggest drawback.

At first I was just shooting controled light stuff so it didn't bother me at all as I would never ride the iris during a take but I've started a video production business and I must say now I ride the iris a lot for many light changing situations and it bugs me to no avail how noticeable the steps are.

I usually try to edit around it but when I can't it looks very annoying and unprofessional. Plus it takes a while going from say F4 to F8 when it needs to happen in just a fraction of a second.

I also own the 14x lens with manual iris but I can't lose the OIS, long telephoto and slow crawling mechanical zoom of the auto lens so I do without.

When the time comes to upgrade (probably to high definition, though that's not for today), this will get major consideration from me as well.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 04:53 PM   #5
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Yep - It's got me wondering. I figured one main use of the H1 for me was to provide event work with decent focal range at 1080i - at a great price. It certainly seems to do that...

I had an XL1 way back in the day - certainly loved the innovation at the time, but got rid of it when I was able to work with a more 'manual' lens. I haven't been back to Canon since (except for still cameras/lenses). The H1 is bringing me back for a look.

I'm really on the fence - might still pick it up, work with it for the year and use it for B-roll with the Z1 depending on what NAB brings out this year. I am very interested in the Thomson Infinity camera - specs aren't final, but it looks pretty awesome, all things considered, plus they just absorbed Canopus, which I have as an editing platform. I would think there could be beautiful solutions coming there.

Of course, you also have to take into account that you could get 4-5 H1's for the price of the Infinity once it's tricked out with a real Fuji HD lens (20 cam, 20 lens), etc.

Anyway - it's all pretty darn exciting... running out of money quick.
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