Need wider angle... sell XL1S in favor of PD150, or get manual lens adapter for XL? at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old October 6th, 2003, 08:26 PM   #1
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Need wider angle... sell XL1S in favor of PD150, or get manual lens adapter for XL?

Hi. i'll try to make this brief. I use my XL1S mostly for shooting action sports type video.. if it helps, think of your basic skate video (although that isn't what i do, it's the same concept).

Having a camera that at least 50% of the time, you can blindly shove 3-4 feet from the rapidly moving subject, and still get everything properly in frame is important. The XL's lack of LCD, and tight angle lens makes this extremely difficult. We've used a GL1 for these shots before, and it was inifinitely easier. I also use the XL for other shots (established shots, interviews, etc) and it works great for those. The lack of being very wide angle lens is really annoying to me, and i'm at the point i am ready to pretty much sell the XL1S and buy a PD150 or similar, so i will be able to accomplish the "upclose" shots i need more easily, yet still get the established and interview type shots.

The only other option i see, is mounting a fully manual lens on the XL (with an adapter like XL1Solutions sells) that would have the wider angle i need. The fact that i could switch lenses would mean i could buy some insanely wide fisheye or semi-fisheye and use for the upclose shots, and then switch back to the canon 16x stock lens, or to a longer manual lens for shots that didn't require being up close on the subject so much.

Problem with the manual lens solution is.. i don't know too much about lenses, especially 35mm camera lenses, and i'm not sure if this idea is as good as it looks on paper. From what i've seen on ebay, it seems wide angle nikon mount or similar lenses are relatively cheap.. but i wonder if i'm fooling myself, and i don't feel like buying an adapter and lens only to find that out when i could have asked here first.

So.. opinions? Sorry to be so long winded.
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Old October 6th, 2003, 09:15 PM   #2
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Have you considered just getting a good wide-angle acccessory lens for the XL1? Century Optics makes some of the best.

If you can't get the hang of using the viewfinder for action work why don't you also add an lcd to the XL1, such as one from Nebtek? Many of their lcd's can be adapted to use your BP series batteries for excellent portability and lightness.

Together these enhancements will cost less than a GL2 or comparable prosumer camera.
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Old October 6th, 2003, 10:04 PM   #3
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yes, i have considered that, but in honesty, the 16x canon lens SUCKS. even in manual mode, in low light, it will often "refocus" for you. this is a pain, as we do a lot of shooting at fixed distances, so we'll focus to 5 feet, for instance, and start shooting, and in the middle of a shot, the camera will refocus without us being aware. this ruins the shot, and ticks me off.

i would like to keep using my XL1S, but the only way i forsee being able to do that without problem is to switch to full manual. the LCD is a good idea however, we had considered that among 1-2 other options, and will probably go that route /if/ we keep the XL.

does anyone have any experience with adapting 35mm camera lenses to the XL? will they work as i'm hoping?
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Old October 7th, 2003, 06:01 AM   #4
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35mm camera lenses do not provide the short focal lengths (e.g., ~ 4 mm) you want/need for wide angle shots. Mounting a 20 mm lens on the XL1s would net a field if view abotu the same as a 150mm lens on a 35mm camera.

A wide angle adapter/converter is about the best bet.

All MiniDV camcorders have about the same field of view at full zoom, roughly equivalent to a 40 mm lens on a 35mm still camera with their standard (and in most cases their only) lens. To go wider you will need an adapter or converter. In the case of the XL1 you can try the Canon 3x wide angle lens.

If you buy the PD150 you will still need a wideangle converter/adapter lens.

Auto focus needs about 50 lux and an image with vertical contrast to work well.
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Old October 7th, 2003, 08:43 AM   #5
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If you shoot at fixed distances, put your len is manual focus mode (and avoid the "Green Box Mode") and your focus adjustements will be preserved.
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Old October 7th, 2003, 01:12 PM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Don Palomaki : 35mm camera lenses do not provide the short focal lengths (e.g., ~ 4 mm) you want/need for wide angle shots. Mounting a 20 mm lens on the XL1s would net a field if view abotu the same as a 150mm lens on a 35mm camera.

If you buy the PD150 you will still need a wideangle converter/adapter lens.

Auto focus needs about 50 lux and an image with vertical contrast to work well. -->>>

So there is no possibility of fitting a nikkor lens that would give me a wider field of view than the stock 16x canon lens?

as far as a PD150, i've never used one, but we do shoot on occasion with a GL1, and it has a much wider angle field of view than the XL1S when both are full zoomed out.

<<<-- Originally posted by Jean-Philippe Archibald : If you shoot at fixed distances, put your len is manual focus mode (and avoid the "Green Box Mode") and your focus adjustements will be preserved. -->>>

even in manual mode, with all the settings "under my control" the camera will STILL autofocus for seemingly no reason, if i dial in the manual focus and "leave it alone" for too long. this tends to ruin shots, and ticks me off. for this reason alone, i'd like to go to a full manual lens so i can take the camera "out thinking me" away from the equation..
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Old October 7th, 2003, 01:35 PM   #7
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There's always Canon's 3x wide angle zoom, a fine lens. Not a fisheye by any means, but there are adaptors available for it. Obviously this is a pricey solution.
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Old October 7th, 2003, 07:53 PM   #8
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From the Canon manuals:

The GL1 lens is 20x optical zoom, with a minimul forla length of 4.2mm and a 1/4" CCD. This nets to a diagonal field of view of a bit over 56 degress.

The standard XL1 lens is a 16x optical zoom with a minimum focal length of 5.5 mm and a 1/3" CCD. This corresponds to a diagonal field of view bit over 57 degrees (very slightly slightly wider than the GL1!

The gl1, thanks to 20x zoom, will have a narrower field of view at full zoom ( ~3 degrees vs. ~ 4 degrees for the XL1).

And corrrect, the only way to get a wider field of view is to use a wide angle converter/adapter, or obtain/mount a lens with a focal length shorter than 5.5 mm.

Note that using auto exposure may focus to appear to drift if the light level changes causing a change in aperture. Also, depending on how you setup the focus for the shot, focus may shift if you change the zoom setting
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Old October 7th, 2003, 08:43 PM   #9
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There is always the dvx-100 which has quite a wide lens and a big lcd built in.

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