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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old June 19th, 2006, 01:38 AM   #1
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Xl1s filters (urgent)

I need a UV filter for my camera, and a polarizing one couldn't hurt either. Should I just buy a cheap one, I mean how complicated can a filter be? I was looking at ebay (http://cgi.ebay.com/72mm-Polarized-P...QQcmdZViewItem)


Any suggestions? I need to buy one rather quickly as I have a project coming up in 2 weeks. Thanks.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 05:10 AM   #2
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Cheap filters are, well, cheap, and may be more likely to introduce stray reflections than a higher-priced, quality filter.

Also, filters are surface that can catch dust, located further from the optical center of the lens, meaning more in focus during wide, closeup shots, especially on a bright day.

In general, use filters only when you need the filter effect, or if shooting where your really need the added protection in front of the lens.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 08:26 AM   #3
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I have cheap filters and get good results from them. Make sure you keep lens cleaning supplies around for them and keep them clean. Make sure you flag the top of your lens (some cardboard and gaffers tape will do just fine...I used this in a pinch. Light will hit the filters (and your lens for that matter) and washout your image as microscopic dirt and dust on the lens catch the light and send it streaming into your camera. UV filters are fine for protecting your lens from damage (esp. when windy). A Polarizer is your friend (circular if you want to use any auto focusing at all) in most situations for eliminating off axis light rom washing out your image. Colors will richen and highlights can be dialled down.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #4
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Read Don's post again, then read it again. Remember this: Filters add nothing; they only take away.

Mike Johnston says it all, and you can believe every word:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/co...m-feb-05.shtml

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Old June 19th, 2006, 10:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
Filters add nothing; they only take away.
The trick is determining what you want to take away from the image :). This means test shots with different hardware setups (including filtration). Stray light is a problem with DV, I almost always use a polarizer to shoot outdoors and often indoors as well.

So read Don's post, then read again, then determine your needs for the shoot, then run tests with lighting and environments that will match what you will be shooting and get to the point where you feel confident that you will capture good footage on the day.

Spend time getting to know what the filters do in different situations. That way, when you are on set/location and the sun is lowering on the horizon, you can confidently know what you need to get the shots you're trying to acheive.

Always have options available, it makes your day go more smoothly when everything else is ready to fly out the window.

I would say buy the cheap ones, if you don't end up using them, you're not out that much...if you do use them, pay for a more expensive one and keep the cheaper one around as a backup.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 05:30 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. The MAIN reason I want a filter is to protect the lens from scratches. The second reason I want one is to protect it from UV rays. The 3rd reason is for getting a better picture. I think I'll pick up that $25 set on eBay (UV, Fluorescent Density and Polarizing filter). Another question. When I used my old GL1 in my buddy's basement the color would change even when I had all the settings locked in manual mode. I think it was becuase he had lit the room with fluorescent lights. Would a Fluorescent Density filter fix that if I had the same problem on an XL1s?
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Old June 19th, 2006, 05:33 PM   #7
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Also, that set of filters is from a company called Merkury (I've never heard of them). Would I be better off just getting a single UV filter from Tiffen ($10 on ebay)?
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Old June 19th, 2006, 07:35 PM   #8
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If you've never heard of them, and reputable photo/video shops (e.g., B&H) do not carry them, probably not a bad idea to avoid them. (It depends on how much risk you are willing to take.) Tiffen is a reasonable name in moderate priced filters, as is Hoya, and a number of others.

Unlike incandescent lights, flourescent lights flicker on and off at line frequency, nominally 60 HZ (give or take a bit) in the USA. And the color varies slightly over the 1/60 of a second. NTSC video field rate is 59.97 Hz. If you are shooting at a shutter faster than 1/60, you will likely see a gradual back and forth shift in color at a rate equal to the difference in the frequencies. No lens filter will correct this color shift.

One additional thought on filters. Consider filtering in post using your NLE as an alternative to filters on the lens if you are seeking a special effect. What folks usually want on tape as a starting point is the best possible image with the best possible exposure as a starting point.

On protection for the front element, on the Canons it is just a piece of flat optical glass that protects the VAP image stabilizer. I find that for most of my shooting situations the lens hood provides adequate protection from the risks I encounter.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 09:55 PM   #9
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Flourescents have a green spike in their spectrum. You can get flourescent bulbs that do not have the spike, but they are somewhat expensive. Newer, higher quality balasts (power converters for the bulb) don't have the color flutter that old ones do either. Generally if you white balance in a location, you should be ok, though the green spike will affect other colors...but make sure you manually white balance to the location, not just using the presets.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 02:28 AM   #10
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Now then, you've bought a Canon camera with a long zoom lens. This lens most probably has 14 individual elements in the line-up, with two of them aspherical. All of these elements will be multi coated, and *the* most important element (from a coating point of view) is the front one.

It's the best lens Canon can give you at the price. If they thought that
adding a $15 UV would improve the performance, they'd have included one. So remember, if you plan to add another element to the line-up of 14 you
already have, make sure it's the very finest you can buy, with the best
super multi-coating on offer.

I have two identical VX2000s, one fitted with an uncoated UV and the other
with no filter. In contrasty light and in 20 seconds flat I can convince any one of you out there to unscrew the UV and happily skim it out over the lake, never to see it again.

So use filters when you must, remembering that all glass absorbs UV, you don't need another magical filter for that. Remove all filters if you want the best picture quality and filter in post (it's reversible, thank goodness) as Don says. There are times of 'must', which include dusty or smoky atmospheres, sticky-fingered children's parties and so on, but generally I'd say beware.

The Sony / Canon VAP isn't protected by flat glass Don - as you can see by the reflections. The front element is a plane-parallel gently radiused piece of glass (beautifully coated) that forms the non-moving element in the VAP assembly.

Protection? Better to properly hood the front element in my view. Modern coatings are a lot tougher than of old and the odd cleaning won't harm.

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Old June 20th, 2006, 06:00 AM   #11
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The main brands that I use and can recommend for round screw-on UV, ND, and Polarizer filters are:

B+W; Hoya; Tiffin; Jessops MC; Heliopan; Pentax; and Nikon. (surprisingly, Jessops own brand came out top in a test of various filter brands). I prefer the build and solid quality of the B+W filters. The Hoya Pro thin filters and B+W thin Pro filters are also good when trying to avoid vignetting with wide angle lenses. The Pentax SMC surface lens coating is superb.

The main brands that I use and can recommend for Square and Oblong filters (ND, Graduated etc) to fit special holders with Bellows or Matte Box are:

Cokin; Tiffin; and Lee.

The Cokin grad filters can be indispensable for some of my work, especially landscapes (for both stills and DV) but tend to scratch too easily. The Lee filters are of higher quality, but of course are stamped with a much higher selling price.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 05:34 PM   #12
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> The Sony / Canon VAP isn't protected by flat glass ...

The Canon Service manual for the Video Lens 16x Zoom XL, 5.5-88mm IS 1:1.6-2.6, clearly shows and describes protective glass at the front and back of the lens. I quote from the manual: "The optical system configuration includes a 12-element (including 2 aspherical elements), 10-group zoom lens, with a variable-angle prism (VAP) placed in front and protective glass in front and back."

The front glass is part of the bayonet mounting ring, Canon part No. YG9-5738-000 000 (held in place by four screws), and the rear glass is part No. DY1-17952-000 000 (held in by a couple clips).

On my lens the VAP component has the flat bottom/top in its aperture and is located perhaps 5mm behind the front glass.

Can't speak to the Sony system.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 01:33 AM   #13
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I stand corrected, thanks Don. So you mean the 12 element lens in the Canon has what amounts to 4 extra elements in this configuration? These extra 4 elements sound like 2 protective (fixed) elements and two plane-parallel VAP elements held together by the bellows mechanism.

The VX2000s I used to have had 12 elements in 9 groups, two of which were aspherical. Then there was a two element VAP and of course three prisims.

My current Z1 has moved away from the VAP principle and uses a vibrating doublet for OIS, with four settings controlling the speed and travel of these elements available in the menu. I suspect that a bellows mechanism the size of a 72 mm filter thread is harder to control from an inertia and momentum pov, and the side-effects become more obvious.

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Old June 21st, 2006, 05:24 AM   #14
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Thats about the size of it. The two VAP elements might be considered one (or three) given that they have an optical fluid between them.

As I recall, the Canon L2 Hi8 camcorder that dates to ~1993's also offered a stabalized lens as an (expensive) option.
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