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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old December 18th, 2002, 12:29 PM   #1
Lee Evans
 
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Anyone here Using an XL1S for surfing footage?

Hi,
I recently up graded from an xm1 to an xl1s and have found once ive finally got the cam in focus it does produce the goods but its a little disapointing to think the cam i got rid of focused faster (if i did need to use auto),i used to use manual on my xm1 once id achieved a fix in auto, similar to using the auto overide on xl1s.I'm digressing but my point is this; has any body whos using an xl1s got any tips for the same purpose as my self?.I think filming surfing is a whloe world of pain in its own right made worse by the really bad evf on the xl1s ie hard to focus low contrast shots (i cant afford a b+w).The subject/target is constantly moving distances even before they start riding waves so a camera that really does take its time to lock is really a recipe for a headache.(This is a land based viewpoint not in the water)
Any tips for the best result appreciated.
Anybody out there?
Cheers Lee
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Old December 18th, 2002, 04:52 PM   #2
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Practice, practice, practice. I shoot hawk, falcons and eagles in flight. Very similar type work, small subjects moving in an unpredictable manner. I don't use auto focus. Everything I do is manual focus and manual exposure, using the zebra pattern. I've been doing this for almost 15 years. It gets easier the more you do it. But it is easier with a B & W high resolution finder.

i don't have any tips, other than don't get discouraged. It took me 2 or 3 years to start getting consistent results. The early footage was mostly junk, unuseable. But I kept at it. Now the challenge is finding the birds. But if it's really what you want to do keep it up. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Jeff
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Old December 19th, 2002, 04:25 AM   #3
Lee Evans
 
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Thanks jeff,this is why im so lost ive been shooting surfing footage for 4 years, and never had a problem with my old xm1(gl1) even with tele extenders and nd filters attached.
I know also how bad it is to Film birds in flight,i used to train and breed raptors with my father mainly falcons , Harris and Redtail Hawks. Its got to be the ultimate test following a stooping peregrine on a grey over cast day.Are you using and xl1s if so whats youre lens set up?
Thanks Lee
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Old December 19th, 2002, 06:41 AM   #4
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I shoot my establishing shots with the standard 16x IS lens (white). But, as your aware, even hawks are quite small in flight. I use Canon EOS lenses with the XL adapter. The camera and lens set-up mount to a custom bracket that holds it all rigid. Then it attaches to the tripod. all of that is necessary to get extremely stable and smooth shots.

Something like the falcon in a stoop shot is very difficult. My approach is to try to get only 4 or 5 seconds of smooth, useable footage. Then in post, slow it down and stretch it out to a more appropriate length. If I got more than 5 seconds it's great, but that rarely happens. Now if they are flying, that's different. Those shots can run for 30 seconds or longer.

Switching cameras requires a period of re-adjustment. When I switched from large Beta SP cameras to the XL1 it took about a year to get comfortable with it.

Waiting for a bird to fly by probably doesn't sound like a great deal of fun to most people. So, I should add patience to the practice advice. If the view finder is giving you fits (smaller, less sharp) try using a small monitor. that might be what you r missing from your old camera.

Jeff
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Old December 21st, 2002, 01:37 PM   #5
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Lee...

Are you using a tele extender to shoot surfing? I've photographed some pro tournaments (stills, not video) and find that the lens I use most often is a 600mm on a Kodak 620x. This translates into a 900 mm for a conventional film SLR camera. A 1200mm lens is usually too long unless there's a huge break at Waimea Bay or Pipeline.

The 88mm focal length of the XL1's stock lens is equivalent to about 560 mm for a 35mm SLR.

Just wondering as I might have to shoot video of these events sometime (I have an XL1s) and am considering using Canon's adapter to shoot with their longer lenses.
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Old December 22nd, 2002, 12:19 PM   #6
Lee Evans
 
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Hi dean,
I use a 1.6 extender with the standard 16x IS II which takes you up to just over 1000mm slr equiv' and i use an EF converter with a 75-300 canon lense. i have also used a canon100-400 L (white) lens but the zoom as you may know is a pull style zoom, not twist, so its very hard to get a smooth zoom.
I spent 2 winters over in Oahu a few years ago now and can tell you with just the 1.6 extender should be good all except for waimea or when it gets big at sunset, big lani's and moke's beaches to maybe, but the image does get a little soft to which you put the electronic sharpness up one notch.
Here in the Uk its mainly beach breaks that break far out so im always at the top end of the zoom so a damn good tripod is a must.
Hopefully this info can help.

Check out my site www.landofsaints.com

Oh how i miss the Islands Kauai ....... Pakala's those long lefts...............aaaaaaaahhh

Aloha Lee
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Old January 13th, 2003, 02:03 AM   #7
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Lee - Just got back from shooting on Maui and was EXTREMELY disapointed with the performance of my XL1S for shooting surfing. Shooting with autofocus is basically impossible and shooting with manual only is a pain in the ass.

I also broght along my Sony DCR-TRV900 which I normally only use with a water housing and ended up shooting almost exclusively with it. NO PROBLEMS with autofocusing with that cam whatsoever.

I hate to think I spent a bunch more money on a cam that looks great and performs like crap. In my opinion the performance of the XL1S in this situation was totally UNACCEPTABLE.

I AM BUMMED!
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Old January 14th, 2003, 08:19 AM   #8
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Jeff, where do you video eagles? I am going to Alabama this weekend to video eagles. I agree that the XL-1/XL-1s camcorders are not "point and shoot" camcorders. It took me a long time to get to really know how to use it. I used to have a Sony 3chip, focus was much faster. But, the image can not compare to the Canon. The Canon is a magnificant recorder. I have had it in the Amazon and it performed perfectly. I recently got back from Colorado and videoed skiers at below 0 temps...no problems at all. It is intended for high end use and by people that want to push themselves. In my opinion it is the most versital one out there. I always try to shoot in manual. When I did 35mm I also shot in manual. I think a lot of people blame the equipment and not themselves. Take the time to learn how to use the XL1. It is not a toy camcorder. I do a lot of videoing of hazardous waste sites in Florida for EPA and Public Health Service. Try videoing while dressed in a "moonsuit" Again, the XL-1 produced great footage. Bob
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Old January 14th, 2003, 08:53 AM   #9
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I've done flight shots of eagles at Pt. Pelee National Park, Canada during fall migration. I've shot Golden Eagles at the Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area near Boise, ID. Land between the Lakes in KY is another good area. Here in Florida, I know of several Bald Eagle nests that I routinely visit.

Jeff
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Old January 14th, 2003, 09:36 AM   #10
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Jeff, every year about this time the bald eagles come and roost at Lake Guntersville in northeast Alabama. A magnificant sight. I understand that Florida has more eagles than any state other than Alaska. I use the standard 16x lens with the 1.6 converter on a tripod and get excellant results.
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Old January 14th, 2003, 10:03 AM   #11
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Florida does have an abundance (if there is such a thing). Often, while walking, I'll look up and see an eagle soaring over head. Even after all these years I still get goose bumps seeing them soaring above.

A forgot a couple of places I've seen eagles, but never close enough to get a shot (right place, wrong time). Cape May in NJ is one of my favorite spots. I've seen eagles there many times and it truely is a birding hot spot year around.

Hawk Mountain, PA is another great spot in the fall. But I've always felt Pt. Pelee and Cape May were better for photography.

Jeff
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Old January 14th, 2003, 10:23 AM   #12
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I was in Land Between the Lakes a few years back and got great shots of the elk and buffalo. Also, I am heading down to Patagonia in Feb. to see the wildlife there. Of course I will take the Canon. My trip up the Amazon in 2000 was a birders dream. 1,400 species in the area I was at, plus monkeys, sloths and other wonderful animals. In 1996 I did three weeks in Kenya and Tanzania but had a Sony 3chip at that time. Still the footage was beautiful.
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Old January 14th, 2003, 12:27 PM   #13
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Alaska

Come to Alaska once the Salmon come in, and I can put you 30 feet away from hordes of them (no zoom required =)
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Old January 15th, 2003, 05:11 AM   #14
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I am going to Patagonia in Feb to video wildlife. Maybe I'll come to Alaska next year!!
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