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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old May 7th, 2002, 08:29 PM   #31
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there seems to be some confusion here regarding the manual lense and focusing these cameras.

first off, you cannot set a critical manual focus with any lens, using the color lcd viewfinder... the resolution simply isn't there, and the camera specs for the viewfinder bear this out.

in other words, if you want to set a perfect manual focus every time with any lense on these cameras, you'd better use the upgraded b/w viewfinder or an external monitor.

lets not mislead people into thinking that they can replace the lense, without also replacing the viewfinder.

wrt complaints about the stock is/isII lenses... i shoot a lot of motorsports videography, and there is no way that any non-stabilized lense can get the shots i get without a tripod... and even then some things can't be done.

yes, the focus problems with the is/isII makes 'em nearly unuseable for some purposes... but if handled correctly, it's a dream come true for run-n-gun video, or shots that require extreme zoom.


dan
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Old May 7th, 2002, 08:35 PM   #32
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I defer to the professionals out there for this. Who recommends the b&w viewfinder? We all know it sucks more power, and I believe there are other drawbacks though I can't remember them (obviously, the lack of color. But I have a 5.6 inch LCD monitor that can be camera mounted, and I can use it for checking color--it'll be reasonably close). So?
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Old May 7th, 2002, 08:36 PM   #33
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As far as run & gun video--I can always keep the IS II lens and use it when needed.
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Old May 7th, 2002, 11:56 PM   #34
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As Dan indicated, the b&w viewfinder is fairly essential for focus-critical and fine work. I've used it since day one. The XL1/XL1s b&w vf is actually made by Ikegami, one of the world's top professional video camera manufacturers. Yes, it does consume more power and it also somewhat confounds the early warning on the battery monitor. But it's higher resolution is fundamental for truly crafted focus. B&W also helps to keep your eye from being fooled in various ways. There's a reason why -all- profesional video cameras have high-res b&w viewfinders.

The color lcd is also handy to have for "run-n-gun" and other less critical work. It's lighter than the b&w and consumes much less power. But it's low resolution can make focusing difficult. It also crops the image (underscan) rather closely which can lead to mic booms and flags creeping into the frame undetected.

So I would certainly recommend the b&w vf for anyone who does professional work with their XL1s and can swing the expense.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 01:21 AM   #35
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Hmm. . .I never noticed the underscan problem. I plugged the camera into my TV one time, just to see how the viewfinder's frame compared with what showed up on a monitor (this might have been the wrong way to go about this. . .I'm sure someone out there will tell me), and found them to be the same.

As far as making sure color is okay when using a b&w viewfinder, I usually let it auto white balance, and have never had problems except in flourescent lit rooms. It usually auto balances better than I can do manually, at least to my eye.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 05:12 AM   #36
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I have not had one problem so far using the color viewfinder with the new 16x manual lens. I still use my 8042q when I'm shooting critically but for run and gun, I've had no problem with the color viewfinder/manual lens. As Mike Avery stated previously, "you can see things snap into focus". It was a different story altogether when I would use the standard auto lens or 3x with the color viewfinder, it was a guessing game.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 05:47 AM   #37
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Underscan is a real problem with the color viewfinder in my
opinion. I had it once or twice too having things in frame that
where not there on my viewfinder. Haven't had too much
troubles with focusing yet though.... Or I don't know what
sharp focus looks like :)
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Old May 8th, 2002, 07:08 AM   #38
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While on this topic, and being a newbie I have a question regarding B&w vs Colour viewfinder. I got to play with an expensive Sony camera the other day (Think it was a 570 or something) and it had a B&W vf. Now focussing was great but it seems to me that without colour you're losing all this information about how the scene will look. It's basically a guessing game is it not? Wouldn't a colour vf at least allow you to get a rough idea as to how the saturation, hue and all that stuff is going to come out in the final image? Am I missing something here?

For someone who will buy a camera soon and will not be able to afford an XL1s *and* a B&W viewfinder, but who want's to shoot short movies I would have thought that B&W should be kept way from?

Cheers
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Old May 8th, 2002, 09:07 AM   #39
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I'll post this again, it didn't show up last time. My apologies if it landed in the wrong forum somewhere.

I've used black and white crt viewfinders on several professional cameras ranging from the old RCA TK76 to $75,000 Ikegamis. Most recently the Panasonic AJD 200 series.

There's no doubt they are the best choice for ease of focus.

However, you can achieve critical focus with an XL1 color LCD viewfinder and the 16X manual lens.

I find it's best achieved by using the zebra function. When you hit critical focus the zebras seem to change in appearance, (yes, "snap" into focus).

Sure, you could put a b&W viewfinder on an XL1, but by then you've spent enough to get a better camera.

Mike Avery
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Old May 8th, 2002, 09:41 AM   #40
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I agree with you 100% Mike Avery. I feel the XL1s works just fine for me with the 16x manual lens and no other add on acessories. As you said before and I'll repeat it again, the 16x manual lens was the best investment I made in the MiniDV format besides the XL1s camera itself.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 09:58 AM   #41
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Okay, okay. . .so we do or don't think a b&w viewfinder necessary. . .being that we can use zebra bars to focus. . .and some of don't have underscan issues?
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Old May 8th, 2002, 10:51 AM   #42
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Everyone must have underscan issues.... The viewfinder crops
more than just the TV safe area... and I even want to know what
is in there... Currently I have a laptop with me on my shoots.
That way I can directly see what signal I'm getting through
firewire.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 12:02 PM   #43
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All i have is my varizoom lcd monitor
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Old May 11th, 2002, 02:45 PM   #44
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Underscan on CVF

Hi all,

with respect to the underscan issue; the CVF _does_dramatically underscan. Sometime next week Chris will put a new article about 16:9 and frame mode up that I finished today which has some images to show how much is actually cut off. Until then... you'll have to wait or try it out yourself. BTW: watching the output on a TV is no good either, all TV's underscan too (hence the need for safe frames).
Best thing to check underscan is to capture some footage with a grid or testchart through your firewire - the image captured is the complete image from the CCD's.

HTH,

Kai.
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Old May 11th, 2002, 04:34 PM   #45
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But unless I know my stuff is going to reach theatrical distribution, isn't what a consumer television shows me good enough? Granted there's that portion of the population with HD TVs and such, is it really that big of an issue?
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