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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old March 16th, 2003, 11:17 AM   #1
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Sacrifice for sharper on XL1S

Hello All! I'm a new UK user of excellent camera. This site is my find of the year! Have used Sony DSR 500, and mainly PD 150 for broadcast use, but purchased XL1s recently for corporate work.
Onto the question?
I want sharp pictures. What do I sacrifice by turning the sharp picture option in the menu to the maxium level? How does the camera compensate for this? I appreciate some may prefer the softer look, but I imagine the majority would rather crisp images.
Am I am loosing some quality for doing this? I hope not, because it does make a difference. Should I just keep the menu sharp at all times?

Just bought my first 2 filters, a UV and a circular polariser. Think this was a good shout?
Regards to all
Mark
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Old March 16th, 2003, 11:52 AM   #2
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Use what looks best to your eye. Your the best judge of what is acceptable to you and your clients. If you and your clients like the sharp look I would leave it set high. The only downside may be some increased artifacts if you do a lot of post processing and render multiple effects on your footage.
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Old March 19th, 2003, 01:33 PM   #3
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Rather than tweaking the "sharpness" control Mark (in inverted comas because it doesn't alter the resolution one jot, as I'm sure you know) shoot using the best aperture on your lens.

In Mini DV fed from 1/3" chips you must avoid small apertures like the plague, for they bring diffraction effects to the very visible fore. Also avoid the widest aperture and the next two stops. Although these will be noticeably sharper than f11, the frame will be vignetted untill f4. So you want the sharpest shots? Shoot at f4. Don't use gain up and keep the shutter speed at 1/50th for movies but higher if you want to print from frames.

I'm sure a linear polarizer would've been fine, though spending the extra on the circular won't go amiss. The UV is a great mechanical insurance protection for the front glass of the 16x zoom's VAP OIS. Don't stack the filters. One at a time, please.

tom.
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Old March 19th, 2003, 02:20 PM   #4
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Yes on the XL-1 shooting around F4 can improve things a lot. Try checking out these articles which are very good on explaining camera optics:

The Ultimate Depth-of-Field Skinny
Ten Optical Defects
Soft Focus Problem & Workaround
XL-1 Focus Jumps & Other Observations
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Old March 19th, 2003, 06:53 PM   #5
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FWIW, the XL1 standard lens already has a plain optical glass protective element in front of the VAP
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Old March 19th, 2003, 07:21 PM   #6
 
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My advice is this....don't listen to others...use your camera...experiment, use your camera....experiment.Take note of all your settings, try them over and over. Don't be afraid to try all different settings, but, be methodical and keep good notes. The more you use your tools, the more you'll learn what suits you and how to manipulate your tools to suit your audience/customer. Walk your own path. The chances are that you'll eventually agree with all those quick to offer advice....but, at least you will understand why.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 02:02 AM   #7
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Bill, I can agree with what you say, but to suggest that Mark doesn't listen to others when he's asked a simple question, "How do I get sharp pictures?" is moving the goal posts. I and others answered his question, whereas you sent him on another path altogether. No matter.

Don - the reason to fit a UV filter (easy to replace) is simply to protect the (difficult to replace) front element. And if you look at the front element of your 16x zoom, surely you're looking at the fixed plain glass of the VAP, not another glass in front of that.

tom.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 06:20 AM   #8
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I've seen exploded views of the Canon 16X IS lens (produced by Canon) and the front glass is labeled as a protective element.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 11:59 AM   #9
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Yeah Jeff, but is customer field replacable?
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Old March 20th, 2003, 12:25 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tom Hardwick : Rather than tweaking the "sharpness" control Mark (in inverted comas because it doesn't alter the resolution one jot, as I'm sure you know) shoot using the best aperture on your lens.

In Mini DV fed from 1/3" chips you must avoid small apertures like the plague, for they bring diffraction effects to the very visible fore. Also avoid the widest aperture and the next two stops. Although these will be noticeably sharper than f11, the frame will be vignetted untill f4. So you want the sharpest shots? Shoot at f4. Don't use gain up and keep the shutter speed at 1/50th for movies but higher if you want to print from frames.

I'm sure a linear polarizer would've been fine, though spending the extra on the circular won't go amiss. The UV is a great mechanical insurance protection for the front glass of the 16x zoom's VAP OIS. Don't stack the filters. One at a time, please.

tom. -->>>
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Old March 20th, 2003, 12:35 PM   #11
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Just XL1S talk...

Hi Tom. Many thanks for taking the time to reply (and to other contributors as well!)

I took out my camera (XL1s) to shoot a Manor House and gardens in London a couple of days. Using a circular polariser, I kept the iris in it's sweet spot (f.5- f7), turned the gain to -3, turned up the sharpness option by +2, increased the shutter speed and the pictures were fantastic. It really gave me extra confidence with what the camera can achieve.
Fortunately, I just got my first big corporate hotel job today, which I'm trilled about. My only concern is filming in low light, which is probably the most talked about issue on this site!

Currently, I try to avoid using much gain by setting the shutter speed at 1/25, and refrain from panning etc. I think that's okay for locked off shots. When you are filming in large spaces, barns etc, lighting is difficult to manage. What I will need is a good top light for the camera. The Sony one I have used on the PD 150 is fantastic. Is there anything similar I can get in the UK for a reasonable price? Cannon's one looks poor, but I suppose you can use the same battery charger.

Looking forward to hearing from you all, and once again, thanks for your time...

Sparky x
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Old March 20th, 2003, 12:43 PM   #12
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Mark,

You'll get more responses to your question about lighting if you make a new topic in the XL1 General forum about your lighting issues. You may also want to try a search. As you point out lighting is a frequently discussed topic here.
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Old April 8th, 2003, 11:38 PM   #13
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sharper stuff

I bought the XL-1s because I like the softer look. But there are times when I use it for ENG and I need that crisp, soap opera look the news fors want. So I've programmed my custom presets thusly...

1. Set to look more "Sony" for daylight. Two bumps up on the sharpness, a little less warmth on the color. Two bumps up on the "system" bar and -3db gain. It looks just like the footage shot on a PD150 (and I've done comparisons).

2. Set to look more like the Sony for low light. Three bumps up on the sharpness, tweak the color, and set the "system" bar up three or four notches. This give you more low light capability without having to increase gain. Sharp stuff. In fact, I got some good footage the other night the guy with the $60K Digi-beta cam couldn't get.

3. FYI: I set #3 to work with frame movie mode... softening even more (and I use a 1/2 black promist filter with it). I just shot a music video last week and everyone asks me if I shot it on super 16mm, or I shot it on pure video and did the tweaking in post. It came out awesome. I'd post it here somehwere, but I'm computer stupid and don't know how to do that. Beside, it's a 64 meg .mpg file and that's take me all day to upload, even if I had somewhere to upload it, over my dialup service.

So I can go from shooting regular canon footage, to two scales of Sony footage, to shooting film-like just with the push of a button.

But don't forget to white balance with setup changes and light changes. And white balance with the custom presets engaged, if you're using them. And I like to cheat with warm balance cards, too. None of my stuff looks like it was shot by someone as dumb as I am.
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Old April 12th, 2003, 08:49 AM   #14
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Playing with the settings...

Wow! Many thanks for your help.

I have to say that I am really happy with my XL1S.
As a freelance cameraman in London. I often shoot with a Sony DSR 500 which is a fantastic camera. But when I have to use the PD150, I really wish I was using my Canon instead.

I already adjusted the sharpness up 2 notches and killed the colour a little and it looks great. I'll try out your suggestions as well to see how it turns out.

Many thanks
Mark
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Old April 19th, 2003, 09:05 AM   #15
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Charles. what is the "systems bar" ??? Bob Safay
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