Where are the Lens scale/focal length markings on the x20 H1 lens? 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 26th, 2006, 04:28 PM   #1
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Where are the Lens scale/focal length markings on the x20 H1 lens?

So, I'm completing a script for a film on shooting mini DV and HDV, part of which is about lenses and lens choice: "Don't just position your camera on the most convenient spot, and then select your shot size. Choose the focal length you want to work at and position the camera accordingly. Even if you only have the standard zoom that comes with the camera, you should 'choose’ the lens (or focal length) that's appropriate for the composition and look you want...", I write.

However, when I take a look at my brand new XL H1, on which we will shoot much of the film, to my amazement and horror, I discover there's no lens scale/focal length markings on the all-new x20 lens, just a plain black barrel.

How do I know what lens size I am using? If I want to shoot, say, with a 5mm lens, or a 14mm lens – how am I gonna know where that is? Oh, I see! Just plonk the camera on the most convenient spot, zoom in or out a bit and hey presto, that's my shot!

Why does Canon (and presumably Sony et al) believe that the HDV shooter no longer needs this information? Try leaving it off your film, digibeta or HD lenses and see how many you sell! The H1 is not a consumer toy, most users will have some commercial or professional objectives for it's use.

Canon really are doing their customers a disservice, particularly those shooters who are starting out and who miss out on so much film information and education as it is. Why disadvantage them further for a want of simple, but essential markings on the lens?

Understanding lenses and focal length is fundamental to filmmaking. Each lens, each focal length has its own particular characteristic – it’s important to know why a particular focal length is needed and so you must be able to see the lens size you are choosing.

I can solve my immediate problem by using a manual lens – but where does that leave the majority of HDV shooters, who, quite reasonably expect to use the lens the camera comes with out of the box?

Perhaps someone (Chris H and all) can give me a sane reason for this extraordinary omission.
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Old November 26th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #2
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i agree, and an ISO rating would be very very useful as well...

as for learning your lens lengths, there is a 1-99 display available in the viewfinder, it's not in millimeters which is dumb but you can still get the idea and after awhile think, "Her face looks best at a #24" so there is at least some kind of reference.

you can also get a focus distance in the viewfinder in meters or feet, it's only there when the ring is turning though and the focus adjustment is way inconsistent, that's the part i don't understand, you have room to turn the focal ring on the long end of the lens and be fairly accurate but when you're on the wide end the tiniest movement of your finger takes it from macro to infinity, just terrible.
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Old November 26th, 2006, 05:30 PM   #3
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According to other threads and forums ISO ASA for XL H1 is about 300 - 320 @ 0 db gain.
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Old November 26th, 2006, 06:26 PM   #4
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Use the 16x manual lens if you need the barrel markings. It's more than adequate for HD.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 09:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonas Nystrom
According to other threads and forums ISO ASA for XL H1 is about 300 - 320 @ 0 db gain.
Pardon my ignorance, but could you then convert this ISO rating at 0 db to an ISO rating at -3db?
(I try to shoot at -3db a great deal of the time)

Thanks so much for this info.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 09:44 AM   #6
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I'm not positive but pretty sure -3 drops you down a stop which would give an iso rating of around 150-160 however I'm pretty sure it's closer to 200. Don't know if that helps or not but I think 200 should be a pretty accurate speed.
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