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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 December 19th, 2006, 10:49 AM   #1
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WA question

I guess it's time to spring for the 6x for my next documentary... most of what I've heard here and elsewhere is pretty positive... 2 questions...

As I understand it, the minimum object distance, without switching to Macro, is one meter - true? How functional (ie quick and easy) is the switch to and from macro? I will be shooting a lot inside cars and airplanes...

Also, what mattebox is working with the lens? I currently use an older Chrosziel super16 mattebox, but it isn't super-wide.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #2
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How quick and easy is the switch to and from macro? Very quick and very easy. It's a simple switch right on the lens barrel.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 01:37 PM   #3
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Maybe I didn't make myself clear. Does the 6x have a true "Macro" mode, where, when activated, the focusing is balanced between the focus ring and the zoom? Or is it a focus stop type macro? I have a super16 Cooke 10.2x54 that focuses down to 8 inches without macro and a Canon 12x120 that does the same down to 14 inches - just wondered if this lens was as usable.

Many times with a wide angle it is necessary to work from one foot to ten feet within the same shot - I know, wide angles have a lot of depth of field when pulled fully back, but when zoomed in, focus becomes critical even with 1/3" chip cameras in HDV.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 01:55 PM   #4
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What I can tell you for certain is that, like all other Canon lenses, an "automatic" macro mode is already built in. Simply zoom out to full wide, and the minimum focus distance is zero... focus is capable right up to the front edge of the objective. The specs state a Minimum Object Distance of 2cm at full wide, but that's a conservative measurement; in reality it's right up to the glass itself. In fact this is why there's a macro to 1 meter, 1 meter to infinity switch on the 6x lens. It forces the autofocus to ignore anything closer than 1 meter; otherwise it could actually focus on dust and other schmutz that might be on the lens. As always, the M.O.D. falls off relative to the amount of focal length dialed into the zoom ring. The "automatic" macro capability is available only at full wide. So in that sense, no, there no optional macro function that can get around the limitations of the M.O.D. at a given focal length other than full wide angle. Sorry if this wasn't what you were looking for.
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Old December 20th, 2006, 09:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
What I can tell you for certain is that, like all other Canon lenses, an "automatic" macro mode is already built in.
Yeah, I read this in the Canon literature, and it left me confused about what happens when you are focusing manually, which was the reason for my question. I don't care much for Canon's AF, maybe it's more reliable on the 6x, but in general I prefer manual...

The documentary I will be starting in January will require a lot of close-in shooting, in low light, with the subjects 1 - 2 feet from the camera. Just wanted to know if I am going to be able to do this manually..

Also, I like to use filters, although with a lens this wide on a 1/3" chip camera there is the danger of filter elements, in diffusion filters for instance, coming into focus even at f 1.6... but I do use a mini-rod supported matte box all the time even without the filters because it tends to protect the front element from getting banged, and keeps spots off when shooting in rain or dew... So, what matte box is working with this thing?
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 10:15 AM   #6
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I received my 6x last Friday, so now I can answer some of my own questions.. When manual focusing, you CAN focus down to the front element (almost).. The AF works remarkably well, compared to the 20x it is superb. In AF mode, you do have to flick on the Macro to accurately focus closer than 1m...

As for matte boxes.. My Super16 (not DV) Chrosziel is not useable (hood is too deep), which is too bad because it takes Panavision filters, of which I have many...

I have an old Von Damien 4x4 matte box that I've modified slightly so that the 6x lens can pass thru the rear filter stage, which places the front filter almost in contact with the front element of the lens... This means I am able to only use one filter, which for most WA work is fine- luckily both stages rotate on this unit, so I can still use polarizers and ND grads.. by having the filter set so close to the front element, the artifacts in SoftFX and ProMist filters don't come into focus at f4....

This setup allows me to take advantage of the lens hood aspect of the matte box, which would be problematic with two 4x4 filter stages on a lens this wide...
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