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Old December 21st, 2003, 05:35 PM   #1
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buying first xl1s

Dear All,

I've been reading a lot of posts in the past and have finally got the cash to buy my first good camcorder.

I have only worked with 8mm on home videos/shorts but now want to start on bigger projects. I am making a documentary in Papua New Guinea next summer on a conservation project out there. I will also be making short documentaries before this. This is what I'll mainly be using the xl1s for.

What equipment would you recommend so I have a fairly complete kit to work well with the xl1s?

Which lens should I get with the cam? I don't have enough to purchase miniDV yet.

I'm based in London and any contacts of cheap, but good and knowledgable places to buy equipment from would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

BJ
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Old December 21st, 2003, 06:30 PM   #2
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some things

Some of the items you might consider straight off not knowing how you plan to use it but these should be applicable whatever you plan on shooting (however if its going to be a lot of hiking in to your shoot location, run and gun I would actually reccomend a vx2000/pd150 due to portability/cost and long life of batts, the 170 and vx2100 just are not that much bettter):

for the XL1
Im using the 16xmanual lens at the moment, which I really like but that is a subjective item either lens will be okay...but VERY IMPORTANT a 72mm UV filter to put on that lens and never take off for lens protection of whichever you use.

A good tripod is a must, for me the bogen 501's are the least you should use

A ma-100 or ma-200 for audio and shoulder support.

A good shotgun mic sennheisers me-66 is a nice option. I use a beyerdynamic mce-87 which I like. And if your going to get a good mic you would be cheating yourself without a lightwave mic isolater.

Extra batteries, a lav mic, a case to protect the camcorder are also some smart options for a start. There is a good list of must have on the watchdog site, and Im sure if you describe in better detail the conditions/ type you expect to be shooting/in you will get some better responses than this...

M
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Old December 21st, 2003, 08:13 PM   #3
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B.J.

Do yourself a huge favor if you are considering the XL and are really serious about your shooting...dump the auto lens for the 16X manual lens.

There are many posts in DVI concerning this but in short, the auto lens is atrocious when it comes to focus.

Michel has a point about camera choice. The VX2000 is not quite as delicate as the XL. If you are shooting under pretty challenging physical conditions, I think I would rather go with the SONY.

Good luck and good shooting, RB
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Old December 21st, 2003, 08:15 PM   #4
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The 16x IS auto lense that comes with the camera is a better choice for documentary work, as you won't always be able to shoot ff a tripod, and the Image Stabilizer on it works very well.
I'd also consider getting the 3x wide angle lens, as it is very useful. I use mine more than I use my 16x and 14x lenses.

Also, do a search on this forum for "top 5 accessories" and you will come up with several threads on what you need to get.
There was one just a few days ago I think.
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Old December 21st, 2003, 11:51 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper : The 16x IS auto lense that comes with the camera is a better choice for documentary work, as you won't always be able to shoot ff a tripod, and the Image Stabilizer on it works very well.
I'd also consider getting the 3x wide angle lens, as it is very useful. I use mine more than I use my 16x and 14x lenses. -->>>

Dylan,

Thanks for the points you made here; it makes me feel a little better about my "non-serious shooter" auto lenses. :)

Would you mind giving some examples of the work you've done using the wide angle lens?
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 10:28 AM   #6
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...Failure to Communicate?

Lorinda.

The comment about being serious about your shooting was not meant as a dig, especially since I have no idea who you are, I hope you didn't interpret it as such.

B.J.

While the auto lens's image stabilization is nice to have I would never trade it off against rock-steady focus that you can depend on. Your picture, no matter how steady, is useless if it is out of focus and this happens more often than not with the autos as they hunt for focus. The lens is just as bad in the manual mode.

80% of our shooting is done documentary style, run and gun, or whatever else you would like to call it and the manual lenses perform flawlessly. All of our BetaCams (3) are fully manual and none of them have image stabilization, so the lack of image stabilization is not even considered as a factor.

We do own two of the 3X wide angles and they are great, especailly as focus is not so much of an issue when zoomed out.

Just for info, my opinions are based on experience gained during practical, field applications and I feel that I would be doing a great disservice if I wasn't anything but brutally honest about my experiences with certain pieces of equipment.

Regardless of what my opinions are based on they are nonetheless, still opinions and you know what they say about opinions.

Merry Christmas, RB.
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 07:23 PM   #7
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Lorinda, If you watch Lady X: Episode 13 www.ladyxfilms.com most of it was shot with the 3x lens, although it doesn't reflect on picture quality, as we were using a set of Tiffen Pro-Mist filters for a specific look.

Rick, I agree that the manual focus system on the stock lens is cheezy at best, however, I think you exagerate how bad the autofocus is. It's not perfect, but none are. If you aren't expecienced with using a manual lens, the stock 16x is a much better choice for someone learning to use the camera (although I think everyone should learn to use a manual lens in the long run, you might agree).
If I'm doing a long day of shooting handheld, and my arms are going to get tired and shaky I'll take the stock lens for the image stabilizer. If you have the technology, use it. If I'm shooting anything long distance, like nature/outdoors stuff, for me the 16x IS wins over the manual (I have the 14x manual, not the 16x). However, if my camera is on a tripod, then it's the manual lens.
Unless I need a wide angle, which I usualy do, then the 3x wins over everything.
Actually, the 3x is good for documentary work in the field, since it lets you get closer to the subject to pick up better sound if you are using an on camera mic.

Boy I like the 3x lens.
I have a 14x manual lens for sale, if anyone wants one.
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 08:12 PM   #8
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Don't worry about it, Rick; I was in no way reacting to your remarks. It's been the general consensus that anyone really serious (for lack of a better word) about shooting uses the manual lens. I was more poking fun at myself and my little operation. I'll get one someday--maybe soon.

Dylan,
I'll have to run into town and watch the Lady X episode on a cable connection--19.2 kps is what has kept me from watching the others, so this will make me do it! :)

And yes, I'd be interested in that lens; want to email me with a price?

Thanks.
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 10:00 PM   #9
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Lorinda, here's a link to my original classified posting for it:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...072#post126072
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 12:59 AM   #10
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Hey Dylan,

I'm kinda cynical about auto focus lenses. OK, I hate EVERYTHING auto, (except the preset white balance on our BetaCams).

My background is in film where each member of the camera crew carries out a separate "manual" chore, whether it is the zoom in-out, operating the camera itself or pulling focus.

The first time I picked up a video camera to shoot, and honestly, I had never, ever picked up a video camera before and especially in public and during the daytime where people could see me doing it! (Film Snob I guess...but I'm feeling much better now after the medication was increased!)

Everything on the vidcam was manual and I was fairly comfortable and at home with how and why things worked. I honestly think that training up-and-coming shooters in the manual realm is the way to go. If you teach in the positive with manual lenses then they will have a better idea of what to expect from any lens. This does not apply to an experienced shooter as they already know what is correct and what just outright sucks. If you teach a newbie in the negative (using the stock autos), I feel that they would not be as well prepared to deal with the problems that will arise with this piece of equipment. They can possibly leave with a misconception of what a manual lens really is and does.

We never "teach" people how it is NOT done as much of the information will be retained an possibly be used, although inadvertantly in the future. We only teach in the positive or how to do things correctly the first time.

Quoted from my previous post:

"While the auto lens's image stabilization is nice to have I would never trade it off against rock-steady focus that you can depend on. Your picture, no matter how steady, is useless if it is out of focus and this happens more often than not with the autos as they hunt for focus. The lens is just as bad in the manual mode."

Let try to be subtle and diplomatic here...I HATE THIS LENS! Sorry, time to increase the dosage again.

I use a light mono-pod or a tripod for long days. The mono-pod is great for run and gun, shooting on the move stuff.

Again, just my $.02 based on personal experience. Ticks me off that Canon can do so well on the majority of the camera system and seemingly took major shorcuts in what is probably the most important part of any camera system, film or video.

Hope everyone has had a Happy Holiday and may the New Year bring us all really cool electronic stuff with lots of blinking lights and cool sounds...and everything MANUAL!

RB
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 08:49 PM   #11
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Rick



(shhh.... I hate auto lenses too...)


Anyway, I agree with almost everything you say, and as I stated before, everyone should learn to use a manual lens. I also agree that it was pretty crappy for Canon to make the auto-servo lens, and not put a real manul lens on it in the first place.

But on the other hand, that lens will work as a manual lens (sigh, sort of), but it will. In fact, I think focusing the IS lens is harder than focusing a "real" lens. You know it's a b!*ch! :) I hate those focus rings...
ANYWAY... If you have it in manual mode, it stays focused, all the time, and stays sharp. There is no focus issue once it is focused with the autofocus off, so please don't mislead people here into thinking that it is useless. In reality, for most people here, a real manual focus is not a huge deal. Most people just work around it instead of spending an extra $1500 to get a manual one.

The XL1 IS lens was the first lens I ever used with image stabilization, and it is wonderful. If you are shooting anything without a tripod, like a large number of people here do, then it is a powerful tool. Guess what's more useless than a picture with some focus shift? A picture that shakes all over the place.

For shooting in a studio, or on a tripod, the manual lens would easily be my choice. Actually, wait, the 3x lens would be choice.

For shooting without a tripod in a situation where you would be using the zoom, the IS lens would be my choice.


Remember, what is good for you might not be good for everyone. One of the reasons this camera is great, is that it can be configured for many different types of users.
A few months ago, I rigged up a rally race car with some XL1's. Despite me owning manual lenses, would you care to guess how many of them had manual lenses and how many had IS lenses?
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