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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 June 5th, 2006, 08:28 AM   #1
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XLH1 manual lens discussion

it's interesting that in their initial, official announcement of the camera, they pronounced the XL series of lenses as "unable to resolve for HD," and now they are pushing the 3x and 16x lenses as professional accessories for the XL H1 on this website. what gives?

still, this camera does get the juices flowing...every time i think i've ruled it out on the basis of its price point, i read something about it and get a bad case of the IWANTs....

also, after hearing all these rumors floating about regarding scott billups' testing of this camera, it's interesting to get a little bit of this feedback. has he published his own version of his testing results yet? anyone know where?

i'm assuming console will work with the new intel-based macs and windows, so canon is probably not motivated to release a mac version....
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Old June 5th, 2006, 11:07 AM   #2
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Hi Meryem,

I think regarding the lenses, from the get-go Canon (marketing?) have been doing the standard marketing thing and speaking out of both sides of their mouths. On the one side, the H1 is an XL camera with an XL mount and therefore all the existing lenses are "compatible" and certainly can be used -- and were listed as accessories from the very start.

But on the other side, those existing lenses were designed in the days of SD for SD cameras so it was an easy thing to preserve market space for better and more expensive purpose-designed HD lenses like the 6x that'll be released in a few months. Hence the "HD Incompatible" message that appears in the viewfinder for a few seconds when I power up with the 3x. No doubt the 6x will have superior optical qualities, but in the meantime, when I need a wide shot I have NO hesitation about slapping the 3x onboard. And those with the 16x seem pretty happy with the results they're getting.

To compare apples with apples, the new 20x HD lens is undeniably a better lens than the SD one that sold with the XL2, but from an end-use perspective, not THAT much (the engineers will groan at that, sorry!)...so it becomes a matter of marketing semantics whether the SD 20x would be deemed capable of "resolving HD" since the HD version **is** better, and meets whatever unpublished standards Canon holds for calling a lens "HD Compatible." At least that's my perspective on it...that and a quarter USED to get you a cup of coffee. Now you get an HD coffee for about $4. ;-)

Don't know about the Mac / Console situation.
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Old June 5th, 2006, 11:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
i'm assuming console will work with the new intel-based macs and windows, so canon is probably not motivated to release a mac version....
Your assumptions are correct, Meryem. I observed Console running on an Intel based Imac at Canon's NAB booth. Cindy, a Canon booth rep, said that the program ran very well in this configuration.

-gb-
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Old June 5th, 2006, 11:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Bauer
a quarter USED to get you a cup of coffee. Now you get an HD coffee for about $4. ;-)
LOL!

Pete, I'm in agreement regarding the 16x lens, it's fine on the XLh1 and the added softness compared to the 20x can lend itself to a filmic look if that's what one is after.

In my opinion, the same cannot be said about the 3x wide angle because the lens is not resolving detail the way it should for HD. One of the biggest selling points of the camera is its ability to render detail and this is lost with the wide angle.

Detail or lack thereof is most obvious when there is a lot going on in your frame and lack of edge-to-edge sharpness is really obvious when everything is in focus. It's easy to get away with this when you are doing medium or closeup shots because you can make a narrow depth of field work to your advantage.
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Old June 5th, 2006, 11:57 AM   #5
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Steven,
You describe the 16x manual lens as being softer and possibly more film-like. But do you feel it still resolves and holds detail? I ask because you mentioned the 3x wide does not.

Thanks,
Marty
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Old June 5th, 2006, 12:02 PM   #6
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Marty, I'm really talking about theoreticals here. The whole reason behind a wide angle lens is to capture a lot of small detail in a cityscape, landscape or just to expand the space of a small room, etc. If using it for the latter then it won't be a problem because the audience is not focussing on the details so much. If one is shooting a landscape, then uneven resolution is going to be really obvious particulary as the eye is driven to the edge of the frame. The full potential of the camera is not utilized in this case and maybe it's not a big problem for everyone else but it is for what I'm looking for. I bought the camera mainly because of the sharpness and resolution.

I believe both lenses are good but the fact remains that there is a heavier demand for finer detail when using the wide angle lens.

Am I making sense or just meandering? I feel like it's the latter :)

Oh yeah, the 16x to my eye does hold detail but it's more akin to what the HVX200 can resolve, which is fine but it ain't gonna look like the full 1080
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Old June 5th, 2006, 12:08 PM   #7
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Steven,
I know what you mean. I am more interested in the 16x manual lens. I realize it will not be as sharp as the HD lens but I have been hearing more and more great reports about it. I can understand how edge to edge sharpness is critical for the work that you do and can completly relate to seeing blurriness or chromatic abberation at the far edges of a landscape shot or something like it.

Thanks,
Marty
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Old June 5th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #8
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There is a good article in the latest issue of DV that compares the 2 lenses. When I first bought my H1 (Dec. last) I had an XL2 with a 16X and reported on this site that after shooting some pretty comprehensive real world tests I thought the 16X worked very well with the H1 - in fact my reactions were very silmilar to those in this DV article - it is softer at some aperatures at some focal lengths...

I have, unfortunately, sold the XL2 since - along with the lens - because I (wrongly) assumed that Canon would jump quickly to support this camera with other lenses in order to compete with the February Panasonic release...

Personally, with no manual lens on the horizon, I am probably going to buy another 16X next week... But I sure do wish Canon cared more about their market...
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Old June 5th, 2006, 08:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen
There is a good article in the latest issue of DV that compares the 2 lenses.
See my post about that article here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=68833
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Old June 20th, 2006, 08:26 AM   #10
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The hubbub about a $1300 3X wide angle standard def. lens not giving
superb wide out shots in HD is somewhat perplexing to me.

In the HD and film worlds, a good prime lens costs MORE than
the H1 WITH a 20x zoom lens. Come on folks, the 3X is/was/will always
be SOFT. Now, I am not saying that in the proper hands and given
the right job the 3X cannot produce great results, but as a crystal clear
wide out lens that resolves over 1000 lines? NOPE!

Remember, the 'good' lens for the JVC HD100 also costs more than the
H1 Kit.

Do I want a great wide angle lens for a grand, YES, but I also want
to win the lotto.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 04:18 AM   #11
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XLH1 - manual lenses

Hi Guys,

My point earlier on in the year was about adapting an existing 1/2" or 2/3" lens to fit the XLHI, which I explored then put off, hoping we were going to hear something from Canon. I have maintained right from the start that the camera looks like an upgrade. It is part of Canon's dichotomy that they supply both professional and amateur kit. Unfortunately, the XLH1 is caught between two stools and unless Canon really commit to it and produce some stunning manual lenses then it will always be a semi - pro product, even though it produces great results. It is not us, it is they that need to get their act together and begin to take the community of film makers more seriously. Our world is changing, the Web will soon be our broadcast medium and film will be as liberated as music is. Canon and all the others need to take our requirements more seriously. Wake up Canon, we are waiting...

Rod C
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Old July 15th, 2006, 04:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Compton
...adapting an existing 1/2" or 2/3" lens to fit the XLH1...
Surely you're aware that adapting an existing 1/2" or 2/3" lens to fit the XLH1 is highly impractical for two very big reasons, right? First, since the XL H1 handgrip is very much built into the camera body, there's no way to mount one of these broadcast lenses without cannibalizing it. Otherwise, the hand grip on the lens won't clear the hand grip built into the XL H1. Some major mechanical surgery is required there, which most owners of existing lenses would be highly reluctant to perform.

Second, since those lenses are made to work with a significantly larger image sensor than the 1/3" chips on the XL H1, you'd be forced into an all-telephoto situation where even the widest lenses have their fields of view magnified by the conversion factor of putting a 1/2" or 2/3" lens on a 1/3" camcorder. Not a disirable situation for most shooters.

What really needs to happen is for Canon Broadcast to get back into the 1/3" lens market. They could cater to the very large JVC HD100/200/250 crowd, and such a lens could be adapted by the factory to use with the XL H1 relatively easily.

It's been said before and is worth repeating now that Canon is dedicated to the XL series cameras. Certainly there will be more lenses, but the process doesn't happen over night. The new 6x was announced at NAB, and obviously there will be more to follow in the future.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 07:55 PM   #13
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obviously there will be more to follow in the future.

I wish that I felt as sure about the "obviously" part.. When Canon introduced the XL1 they weren't the only game in town, but they were the only game with a "pro seeming" DV camera till the DSR300 came out..

Now, they are being battered from all sides by serious competition... I'm afraid that, given Canon's conservative reputation, they will proceed slowly with accesories for the H1 until they're sure of the market.. bad for us!!! We want to be loyal, Canon...
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Old July 16th, 2006, 03:38 PM   #14
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Hi guys,

I have an XL2 and I'm considering the XLH1, but because the New Zealand market is not yet ready for HD, I'd be shooting quite a bit of SD footage with the new camera.

I just want to confirm that in SD mode, the 16x manual will work just as well with the H1 as the XL2, is that correct? I'm assuming that the issues (at certain apertures/focal lengths) raised in the DV.com article relate to HD use only, or am I wrong there?

Thanks.
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Old July 16th, 2006, 03:49 PM   #15
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Josh, I was about to post a response in this thread that Canon's marketing of the 3X and 16X lenses as being compatible with the H1 were likely referring to using the H1 in SD mode with those lenses.

I was hoping Pete or someone could put one of those on the H1 and see if the HD incompatible message appears if the camera is in SD mode.

-gb-
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