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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old May 1st, 2003, 08:06 PM   #1
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Can another lens help me.

It seems as though I am never satisfied with the shot I am framing (XL1S standard zoom IS II). It seems either to be far away or close up. I never seem to be satisfied, I zoom in I zoom out, I never seem to be able to fill the lens with the content of the shot I want. Today I was shooting a man on a dock trying to fish while wet bikes played in the lake in front of him. The jet bikes looked far away, I zoom in and it looks like a close up. Am I crazy or is this a reality of the multipurpose lens?
Just what does an anamorphic lens help with, I have been afraid of appearing stupid but I finally just had to ask that question. Thanks for any experienced opinions.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 08:56 PM   #2
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just doesn't seem to be in proportion.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 10:02 PM   #3
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Extreme or Super telephoto lenses will compress the distance between foreground and background, or foreground and subject. This phenomenon is used quite often in films. Many chase scenes, airplanes taking off, etc. try to use this effect to compress space and put the viewer right in the scene. The effect becomes more apparent at magnifications above 12X or about 83mm focal length on the XL1.

For a more pleasing or natural look trying going to the wide angle settings (below 7mm on the XL1) and getting much closer. This is not always possible because of the physical location (you can walk on water right, Don). So compromises in composition are just a part of the business.

If you zoom the lens you are only changing the angle of view. Moving the camera closer or further away changes perspective. Changing perspective is different than changing the angle of view. Here is how to see the difference.

Pick a subject (maybe a person) 100 feet away. Shoot the subject so it is small within the frame. Without zooming the lens, move the camera closer and closer until the subject fills the frame. Take a shot every 5 to 10 feet. Examine the background of every shot, as you move closer.

Go back to the same spot and start shooting again. This time do not move the camera. Make the subject bigger by only zooming the lens. Continue shooting and zooming until the subject fills the frame, again. Examine the background and you'll see a distinct difference.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 10:52 PM   #4
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Don,
Building on Jeff's remarks, two activities have helped me with compositional judgement (not to say that I'm no longer in need of further help <g>).

One has been, and still is, to return to still photography. In that medium, you're trying to tell a story or suggest a mood in a single frame. That goal forces me to concentrate on the composition of the frame, to consider how all of the elements either reinforce or distract from the goal. Spending a few days with only a still camera never fails to help rejuvenate my eye for composition and help my video work.

Second, due partly to reading Walter Murch's remarks on editing, I try to concentrate on the emotional tone of the shot and the context in which I plan to use it. Is the subject whimsical? Solemn? Introspective? Threatening? Making those judgements often goes a long way toward helping my eye decide how the shot should be composed.

So I would not necessarily run towards a new device, such as a lens, to provide the elixir to your shooting. Those are technical tools to help you achieve a specific goal. Developing a self-critical eye and practicing will take you much further in my opinion.

Good luck and have fun, Don!
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 06:07 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone as always. Ken, I still enjoy stills and am looking at the 10d. Thanks Jeff, that explains why it was occurring, does aperture have any effect on the compression?
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 06:22 AM   #6
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Aperture is one of the factors in establishing the amount of Depth of Field (DOF) in your shoots. DV, because of the smaller CCD's, inherently has more DOF than 35mm film.

A small aperture (F11, F16, F22) will have more DOF. This can contribute to the compression of distance effect. If the background is more in focus the compression is more noticeable.

A large aperture (F1.6, F2, F2.8) will provide a narrower DOF. The background will not be as sharp or well defined. This isolates the subject from the background and the compression effect is not as noticeable.
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