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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 30th, 2006, 05:14 AM   #1
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considering a XL H1...Depth of field???

Do you need a 35mm adapter of some sort to acheive a shallow depth of field or can I get that using the stock lens.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 06:54 AM   #2
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It is a 1/3" CCD camera so based on that will have wider DOF than a camera with a larger sensor. On the other hand, the 20X lens is a bit more telephoto than typical so one can use that to advantage. This ain't pretty, but a quick test I did with the XL2 a while back might give you a feel for it (essentially the same size sensor and lens focal length):

http://www.geosynchrony.com/scratchp...Depth_of_Field
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Old December 30th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #3
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The Depth of Field using any direct mounted lens, at any equivalent 35mm focal length, at any aperture, on the Canon XL H1 will be deeper than an actual 35mm lens at the same focal length and aperture. By "deeper" I mean that more will be in focus, as opposed to a shallow depth of field. This is due, at least in part, to the size of the CCD as opposed to the size of a 35mm negative.

There are some techniques that you can use to give you a shallower depth of field. These include using the lens at long focal lengths (telephoto range)(as Pete said above while I was typing this reply) and using the density filters (built in on some lenses) to use a wide aperture. But be cautious, as you will probably run out of room before you get the depth of field that you desire. In my opinion, if you are indoors, you will run out of room before you get the shallow depth of field you may desire.

35mm adapters are available, but I consider these specialty solutions which dramatically change the dynamics of using the camera. For most 35mm adapters, “Run and Gun” is not really possible, as all scenes must be carefully setup. With most 35mm adapters you need a lot of light. Think in terms of the light needed for “64 asa” or even slower film as compared to an estimated "320 asa" for the standard camera/lens setup. You also give up resolution with most 35mm adapters.

If you consider purchasing a 35mm adapter, determine if the lens/adapter combination will give you the shallow depth of field that you desire, or if the depth of field will actually be too shallow. Also remember that all 35mm adapters are not equal in build quality.

With the currently available 35mm adapters, as far as I know, you generally lose auto focus and image stabilization capabilities of the Canon 20x lens that comes with the XL H1.

Some 35mm adpaters have a "Flip" function, others don't. If they don't, and if the 35mm apapter mounts on front of the normal Canon lens, then (at this time) your image in the viewfinder will be upside down and backwards. An external monitor can be mounted upside down to compensate for this effect. (The Canon "Flip Function" currently only works with non-Canon lenses, negating its usefulness when you are using a 35mm adapter attached to the front of the Canon lens.)

35mm adapters have their place and usefulness, just be careful to fully research this topic before you make any serious financial decisions. A good 35mm adapter and a full set of fast primes can get expensive. Remember that prime lenses and not zooms are usually recommended for use with 35mm adapters.

The upside of using 35mm adapters is that there is usually a wide selection of used 35mm Canon FD or Nikon lenses available at excellent prices compared to their original cost.

I recommend that you research the "P+S Technik Digital Image Converters" and "Alternative Imaging Method" topic areas of this forum.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 10:03 AM   #4
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The Redrock, which is relatively affordable and has shown some pretty impressive results, will use those Canon FD or Nikon lenses - or Minolta, etc.. there is a noticeable loss of resolution, but it is similar to using diffusion, a pleasing look.. You do have to use it with the 20x lens, which makes a formidable package, but the results are worth it if you work carefully..

The image is upside down in the viewfinder.. an alternative with the H1, rather than use an external monitor upside down, is to simply remove the viewfinder, take off the mike, and remount the viewfinder on the right side of the camera.. Because the depth of field is so shallow, it is easy to focus even with the terrible H1 finder...

Of course you need to flop the image 180 in post, no problem with most NLEs... FCP does it in real time...
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Old December 30th, 2006, 06:16 PM   #5
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Dear Steve,

What a novel idea! I just tried it and it works (of course).

One minor problem is that all of the system data in the viewfinder is upside down. I feel it would be easier to get use to that as opposed to the image being upside down and reversed from side to side.

I wish Canon allowed us to flip the image while we had a standard Canon lens on the camera.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 08:55 PM   #6
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Dan: Yeah, I'm surprised Redrock hasn't thought of it and posted it as a sollution on their website.. definitely better than a magnet or disassembling the LCD.. They'd probably sell more units to Xl1,2,H1 users...

As for the finder, it would be nice if canon offered a flip feature - But there are so many things wrong with the finder (brightness, resolution, the locking nut) that I'd put that one at the bottom of the list - after all, how many users actually ever need to flip the image - in my case, I just turn all that stuff off (luckily Canon does offer that option)...
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Old December 30th, 2006, 10:00 PM   #7
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Dear Steve,

I feel that you are aware that Canon has already built in the "Flip Feature", but has it disabled if one is using the Canon lens.

I just want the feature to be available at all times, as this would be helpful for certain 35 mm adapters that use the standard Canon lenses.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 09:55 AM   #8
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Didn't know that.. wonder if it would work with the 16x? Sure seems like a simple firmware fix...
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