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Old October 25th, 2003, 09:28 PM   #1
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Glass Quality

Theoretically, is a Nikon photo lens better in terms of optic quality than the standard 16X zoom lens that comes with the XL1?
Is it worth the trouble to get a mechanical lens mount just so I can use photo lens?

Your opinion is greatly valued and needed.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 05:53 AM   #2
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Worth it? Depends on what you are shooting. Because photo film is a much higher resolution media, 35mm still camera lenses are designed for higher resolution than video lenses.

But consider the range of useful focal lengths. The field of view depends on the focal length. The standard XL1 lens is 5.5- 88 mm. Even a fairly wide 35mm still lens (e.g., 28mm) will be rather telephoto mounted on an XL1. The relative field of view factor is on the order of 7.2x, thus a 28mm still lens mounted on an XL1 would produce a field of view roughly corresponding to a 200 mm lens on a still camera.
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Old October 27th, 2003, 09:17 AM   #3
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Other lens adapters...

I now understand that the Canon EF adapter has a magnification factor of 7.2x. What this an intentional decision on Canon's part, or is this just what happens when you make incompatible lenses compatible? Or is it just because the distance between the lens and the CCDs is modified by the EF adapter?

Does anyone know if other adapters share this same effect (e.g., the P + S Technik or the new one from XL1 Solutions)? It seems like there will always be a slight modification, but x7.2 isn't quite slight enough...

Thanks!
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Old October 27th, 2003, 12:18 PM   #4
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Nothing is intentional, it's just physics--the difference in size between a 1/3" CCD and a 35mm image. The P+S Technik, by utilizing a ground glass, preserves the focal length/field of view of the original lens and is the only such adaptor to do so. All others will magnify the focal length (= limit the field of view) by a mathematical and predictable amount.
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Old October 27th, 2003, 05:43 PM   #5
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I am using a Nikon 18-35mm lens with the Nikon to XL1 adapter. 18mm multiplied by the 7.2 magnification factor gives you almost 130mm, a fairly narrow field of view. Nevertheless, the Nikon lens produces a much sharper image than the standard 16x auto and 3x wide angle. I've used the 16x manual servo and 14x lens on my XL1, and the Nikon is considerably sharper than either of them.The Nikon lens has one ED low dispersion glass element that improves color rendition and clarity. I also tried out the Nikon 17-35mm lens on my XL1. It has two ED elements and produced a wonderful image. Only problem was cost ($1500) and weight (twice the weight of the 18-35mm). I never would have guessed that the CCDs in the XL1(S) actually outperform the Canon video lenses supplied for the camera. Sadly, as has been observed by others, right now the only way you can get full performance with a wide field of view is with the P+S Technik attachment. It is a revelation to see how much sharper an image the XL1 can produce with a good film lens. I decided to use the 18-35mm with the Nikon to XL1 adapter because the field of view I can obtain is useful for about 35-40% of what I shoot. Also, I can use the 18-35mm with a digital camera body. It is a 5 star rated lens. After seeing images produced by a good film lens on the XL1(S) you realize it was never the camera itself that was producing a "soft" image, but the lenses
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Old October 27th, 2003, 07:01 PM   #6
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Don, I agree with you 100%. I've used an old Nikon 28mm lens to shoot a couple of test shots. The image is considerably sharper and the colors, more saturated. It is almost as though I've upgraded to a 4:2:2 color-sampling camera. I envy the fact that you have such a nice lens! Would you mind sharing a couple of screen grabs with me? I would like to see the difference between an expensive Nikon and a less expensive Sigma lens with the same focal length. By the way, I've just moved to Fairfax Virginia. I don't think you are that far from where I am. Is there any chance that we can talk shop some time?
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Old October 27th, 2003, 10:48 PM   #7
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Hi Jason,

Yes, I'm not far from Fairfax, VA. I'm in Laurel, MD, just north of Wash. D.C. Perhaps we can get together. The Nikon 18-35mm lens I was speaking of actually is not that expensive! I paid about $500 for it new. It is a consumer lens designed to provide an affordable alternative to the outstanding Nikon 17-35mm I mentioned. I read countless favorable reviews of the lens, which is very light. It's quite compact and doesn't look that impressive on my XL1. But the results do give you the feeling you're using a different camera, since it gives you the sharpness you associate with $30,000 cameras,without the hardness commonly found in video (provided your gain isn't too high). That particular lens, however, has a 3.5-22 aperature range, so it isn't the best for low light applications. I haven't had much chance to use it yet, since I'm just getting over the flu and back into the swing of things. I'll share some images. But the tests I did produced gratifying results. It is tricky, however, to "fine tune" your focus using the standard color viewfinder, as I am sure you know. But I was pleasantly surprised at just what the lens could resolve. Remember that you are using just the center portion of the lens. This lens is better than some Sigmas. I did see some comparison shots on an internet site. But I'm not that familiar with the Sigma lens lineup.
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Old November 12th, 2003, 11:27 PM   #8
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hey guys, I'm in DC, it'd be great if we could get together sometime. Do you guys go to FilmBiz? www.filmbiz.com It's a film networking event in DC every month in Dupont Circle. It has a pretty high turnout most months. Maybe I'll see you guys there sometime.

This thread has me interested in Nikon lenses for use with my XL1s. I've yet to see any footage shot with them so if you do have any screenshots that'd be great if you could post them. Do you know the exact model number so I can do some reading about the lenses online?

Anyways, send me an email if any of you guys want to meet up and collaborate on some projects. brad@fusionarena.com
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Old November 13th, 2003, 05:59 AM   #9
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Are you starting a DC area XL1 users group?
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Old November 13th, 2003, 06:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Theoretically, is a Nikon photo lens better in terms of optic quality than the standard 16X zoom lens that comes with the XL1?
Regarding Nikon lenses in general, some are good, some are not so good; some are excellent, some are real dogs. I assume this goes for all lens makers.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 11:59 AM   #11
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Brad,

Yes, perhaps we can get together sometime. I'll e-mail you. I've not been to FilmBiz yet. It sounds interesting. I'm planning to go to the DV Expo at the DC Convention Center Dec. 3-4. Perhaps we could meet there. As I mentioned, I'm using the Nikkor 18-35mm f3.5 IF-ED lens with my XL1 and the XL1 Solutions adapter. I have to second Jason Chang's complaint concerning the adapter. It gives you a 7.2 field magnification, not 2x as advertised. This particular lens (18-35mm) is very light and easy to use with the XL1, except that the color LCD viewfinder can't begin to resolve the detail you actually get with this lens. It's a little tricky consistantly obtaining the sharpest focus with this lens in a "run and gun" situation. It really works better on a tripod. I'll share some footage with this lens as soon as I shoot some that shows it off to really good advantage. I'm planning to use the 18-35mm on a digital camera once good digital backs (with 6+ megapixels) come down in price. The Nikon 17-35mm (2.8, $1500) lens is truly excellent, and a bit easier to focus than the 18-35mm. . But it's so heavy you can't hold the camera long without tiring. Basically, the results you get with a good film lens give you video on par with that of a higher end video camera. As mentioned, the tragedy is you cannot obtain a wide field of view with a strictly mechanical adapter in the 35mm lens format. A PL mount with an appropriate 16mm film lens will give you a wider field of view. If anyone has used a 16mm lens with the PL mount on an XL1(S), please share with us your results. We would be most interested. I should mention I have the Canon 3x wide angle for the XL1 and it is a most satisfactory lens except that it is a bit soft. The field of view is great. If it had the sharpness of the Nikon film lenses it would be spectacular. I figure if I ever need to I can rent a P+S Techniks adapter. Someday (25 years from now) we'll look back on the XL1, P+S Techniks adapter and other mini DV gizmos and appreciate the advances they represented in their day, much as I am intrigued by the crystal radio set my uncle made in the 1920s. Despite its crudeness, it did the job (sort of).
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Old November 13th, 2003, 03:47 PM   #12
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Hey Don W. Thanks for all the info. I have a better understanding now of what to look for from your post. by the way, the previous URL to filmbiz I posted was wrong. It's actually www.filmbiz.org instead of .com It's a pretty shoddy site but the event is decent and a small donation goes to a charity of the month.

I'm going to look around and do more research on the EOS adapter, the PL mount, and of course the mini35 to see what is the best alternative for the money. I like the idea of having better glass with the Nikon lenses, but that 7x magnification might be a downer.

Anyways Don P. I'm not sure if you were talking to me, but a DC XL1 users group sounds like a great idea. I haven't planned on starting one, but if you guys want to do something like that I think it would be a great idea. I have the XL1s, 16x Manual/Servo lens, Standard lens, MA200, Arri fresnel lighting kit, Glidecam V8, Sony Field monitor, and some Sennheisser mics. Let me know guys if you want to get something like a users group started. There seems to be a lot of people from the DC area on this site.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 04:31 PM   #13
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Any of you guys going to the Gov't Video Expo in D.C. early Dec.? I'll be there; it would be great to meet some of you.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 10:56 PM   #14
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Hi Chris,

Yes, I'm planning to go to the Govt. Video Expo in D.C. to be held at the Convention Center. It's Dec. 3-4, I believe. Where will you be? At the Canon booth in the exhibition area? I would enjoy meeting the founder of this geat site. I researched the XL1 on the Watchdog for over a year before getting one several years ago. I am enjoying introducing the dvicommunity to a new generation of up and coming filmakers. A high school age son of friends of mine recently won 1st prize in a small film festival near Middleburg, VA, and 2nd prize at a larger festival. He made a short (12 min) movie using iMovie on an iMac. One of the judges was actor, Robert Duvall! I was impressed and am looking forward to seeing his film.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 11:29 PM   #15
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cool, I didn't know when the date was, I think I will definitely stop by. It would be good to meet you Chris, and whoever else will be there.
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