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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old November 7th, 2002, 06:00 PM   #1
mbearden
 
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Lens Advice...I gotta buy!

I have the stock XL1 16x lens and the 3x wide. Have been basically dissapointed with both (like the wide better of the two).

Over the next couple of months, I am shooting my first indy feature "film" and have considered the manual 16x (or 14x) for improved picture quality. Is the final product really improved with these manual lenses, or is it basically the ease of manual controls? Any input is appreciated!

I would go with the EOS adapter, but from what I have read here, the multiplier kills "regular" close shots...am I correct?

Also, Chris, we are going to shoot the entire production on the XL1s over 8 weekends near Ganado / Edna Texas (Hwy 59 South between Corpus Christi and Houston) in January and February. If you are interested in coming down to visit / observe / contribute / drink beer, etc., shoot me an e-mail.

I'm committed to spending some money, so which, if any, lens should I be buying here? All input graciously accepted.

P.S. I cannot afford to go out and buy the P&S Technik adapter and a good 35mm lens, so for all you independently wealthy content contributors, please don't go there...unless you have one you can loan me for about 8 weeks...I'll pay S&H!
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Old November 7th, 2002, 11:27 PM   #2
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Howdy!

In order:

The biggest improvement is the ease of manual control, zoom/focus. While many people here have reported a slight improvement in picture quality, several have also said there is almost no difference. Arguably, if you do not need the manual focus/zoom, it's probably not worth the money.

The EOS adapter with Canon EF lenses multiplies the lense by a little over 7 times. This means a 20mm lens will now be over 140mm, killing any wide angle plans you may have, leaving you only close ups. It's best application is wildlife and surveilance.

If you are commited to spending money, that much money, just for the sake of spending it, feel free to send it to me. I take Paypal.

If I was you and I was spending someone elses money, I would consider renting a P&S mini35 adapter and lens. I don't know how much they rent for (alot, I'm sure), and you may not be able to rent one and the lenses you need for 8 seperate weekends for the price of buying a Canon manual lens. But I'd still look into it, you never know.
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Old November 7th, 2002, 11:50 PM   #3
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What disappointed you about the picture quality of the lenses?

If it's sharpness, or lack thereof, that's one of things about the XL1, compared to other miniDV cameras; it's known for it's somewhat softer image. You can always try upping the sharpness on the custom presets.
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Old November 8th, 2002, 07:05 AM   #4
mbearden
 
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Lens Advice...I wanna buy!

I checked into renting the P+S Technik. I threw out the quote, but I think the final number was +/- $800 day plus S&H...

Sorry for the confusion...I'm more broke than not...
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Old November 9th, 2002, 09:53 AM   #5
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800 / 900 a day here in NY for a PS technick rental.

Which basically means at 8000$ , ten days shooting, you should arrange to buy one (when shooting with someone elses money!)
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Old November 9th, 2002, 04:58 PM   #6
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Re: Lens Advice...I wanna buy!

<<<-- Originally posted by mbearden : I checked into renting the P+S Technik. I threw out the quote, but I think the final number was +/- $800 day plus S&H...

... -->>>

OUCH!
Someone is racking in the cash there! Was that including lenses?
Does anyone see something wrong with a rental price for 2 weeks that would allow you to just purchase the item outright?

Well, write that off and go back to the advice in my first e-mail. If the image is too soft for you and you want sharper, rent a PD-150. Probably around $100/day.
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Old November 10th, 2002, 07:57 AM   #7
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$ 800 a day for the Mini35? That's bizarre. I just checked with my rental firm in the Netherlands, www.hollandequipment.nl, and they rent out the Mini35 for 150 which is around the same in US dollars... Someone in NY is making a lot of money, or maybe he's making no money at all...

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Old November 10th, 2002, 12:20 PM   #8
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I hope that rental fee includes $50,000-$100,000 kit/set of prime lens.

If so, that ain't bad . . . really. You can call Stratton camera here in The Detroit area and see what they'll do for you.

It is amazing that for _each_ "slight" increase in quality you pay out the nose.
If you do rent the PS and lens kit, you'll get better results, but the XL1s/PS/film lens combo still won't be as good as 16mm. It's softer.

I just did a film style shoot with XL1 and various canon video lens. All I could think after working hard on lighting each shot was, "If this was 16mm, we'd be there."

OTOH, everyone who looked at the clips was impressed, so at that point,
the content should take over and do its work, AND we did the shoot for CHEAP.
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Old December 3rd, 2002, 09:34 AM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Josh Bass : What disappointed you about the picture quality of the lenses?

If it's sharpness, or lack thereof, that's one of things about the XL1, compared to other miniDV cameras; it's known for it's somewhat softer image. You can always try upping the sharpness on the custom presets. -->>>

I don't think the XL-1 (not s) has such setting? please correct me if I'm wrong, I would like to know myself how to increase the sharpness or even get better focus, because looking through the view finder is a hit and miss issue for me.

Some of my shots are in focus and some aren't.

I have XL-1.

Thanks,
Shlooky
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Old December 3rd, 2002, 10:29 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Shloooky : <<<-- You can always try upping the sharpness on the custom presets. -->>>

I don't think the XL-1 (not s) has such setting? please correct me if I'm wrong, I would like to know myself how to increase the sharpness or even get better focus, because looking through the view finder is a hit and miss issue for me.

Some of my shots are in focus and some aren't.

I have XL-1.

Thanks,
Shlooky -->>>

You are correct Shlooky. There isn't really much you can do. If you can afford to throw money atr it, you can get one of the manual lenses ans the black and white viewfinder. That should make a huge improvement for you. Otherwise, I usualy just use the push autofocus botton to set my focus. The camera always seems to do a better job than my manual focusing. Sometimes. :)
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Old December 3rd, 2002, 02:01 PM   #11
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Thanks Dylan,

You are right, another suggestion on the Watch Dog site is to buy a $500 colour or LCD screen which should also do the trick.
Because when I lug around my 13 inch TV, I get perfect picture because I know if the cam is in focus or not.

Cheers,
Shlooky
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Old December 5th, 2002, 09:46 PM   #12
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The smartest purchase I have ever made with my XL1s is getting a manual lense!! Gone are the days of spinning and searching for a focus. Now I know which direction will give me focus by the direction my subjcets are moving. Forget the automatic focus on the stock lenses. If you need the camera to be focusing for you, then you shouldn't be handling any cameras in the first place. Practice and experience with a manual lense, then you will know where to set your focus without having to do the "zoom in for focus" on the subject and pull out. Manual lenses are where true photography is at!!!
Kelly
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Old December 5th, 2002, 11:21 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kelly Hoggard : If you need the camera to be focusing for you, then you shouldn't be handling any cameras in the first place.
Kelly -->>>


I prefer to use the push autofocus feature on my XL1 rather than my manual focus. Why? Because I trust the autofocus of the camera more than I trust the so-so picture my eye sees through the viewfinder. My eyes can't tell exactly when the camera is in perfect focus because the EVF isn't detailed enough.
If I had the higher quality B&W viewfinder, this would not be the case.

And of course in your comment, you aren't referring to anyone that does sports photography or anything else that requires shooting a moving object. These people might take offense at your comment about using autofocus.
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Old December 6th, 2002, 12:17 AM   #14
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I still disagree with this. If you twiddle the focus ring back and forth over that point of perfect focus, in manual focus mode, you can tell when it's as sharp as it's going to get, even with the color viewfinder. I'll say though, that it is harder with the stock lens than with the 16x manual, but I blame that on the focus ring on the stock lens rather than the viewfinder quality.
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Old December 6th, 2002, 02:07 AM   #15
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Perhaps its a psychological issue for me in that I am used to a much crisper focus/picture off my SLR camera than the XL1's lens (in the viewfinder). As much as I fiddle the ring back and forth, I can't get an image crisp enough to satisfy me. By using the push focus, I know it's going to be as crisp as it's gonna get.
I know the manual lens and B&W VF would change that, but I really don't have any problem using the push focus.

Using my LCD monitor is much easier, but it isn't attached to the camera all the time.
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