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Old January 5th, 2008, 12:57 PM   #16
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Good questions Sean. Hold on I'm going for more advil..

Originally I did a few primitive tests shooting the same shots with the different lenses. We had no color profile for the Nikons, and my original Zoerk adapter was "out of spec." Surely that fact compromised the image (See Rollover Image). I will shoot more comparisons.

As for there being advantages in using your 35-70 2.8 over the Fujinon, I think it depends on the range of the shot, and the contrast (hawk, bright sky, branches). I think I remember your frame grab from a hundred years ago with the branches against the bright sky with even the 17X (pardon me if I'm remembering wrong. It was a while ago right?). From what I have seen so far the Nikons are pretty clean when it comes to CA. As for wide shots with the iris in it's friendly zone, I think your 17X would be one tough cookie to beat. Even the 16X looks great in my opinion (the marina shots in the DVinfo valentine video are remarkable I think, and they were shot with the 16X).

I once posted a question about CA on this forum. Simply, what is it? What I got from all the answers was that it's extremely difficult (if not impossible) to make a relatively inexpensive video lens that can manage the different colors of light properly throughout such a broad range of zoom - 5.5mm to 88mm (16X). My response was, "Then why make it? Then why sell it? Then why not make three lenses, all much more accurate, and sell each one for $2,000?" It was explained to me why it was not appropriate for me to be thinking this way, and I did see the point - "We need to follow a moving subject and can't ask the subject to stop while we change glass." Still though, I was left feeling that while we do have a "16X" lens mounted to the camera - we don't really have a "16X" mounted to the camera if we can't use the footage captured with it (Hawk, sky, branches), so we can't follow the subject effectively anyway.

To me, the test shot that I took a while back which compared the 18X to the 16X - with both at full zoom, did two things for me. One, it showed how much better the 18X was, and two, it sucked the life out of me because I did not own the 18X and therefore would be left to go shoot the zoomed world through what looked like a dirty fish tank.

I have spent a great deal of money, for me, getting into videography and at this point I simply cannot justify dropping another 9 grand so I can shoot the 33mm that the "16X" can't (and it wouldn't even be 33mm because the 18X doesn't reach 88mm). Surely my education and experience here is lacking, but in my monkey brain with a usable safe shooting-zone of 10mm to 55mm, I consider the 16X to actually be a "5.5X" effectively).

Since I purchased this Zoerk adapter and the Nikons, I don't have that fish tank feeling anymore. In fact I feel quite the opposite and guess what -

Zoerk adapter - $389 plus $12 shipping
Nikon 105mm 2.8 VR Micro $600 (used)
Nikon 28-70 2.8 ED (used) $800
Nikon 80-200 2.8 ED (used) $850
Nikon 300mm 2.8 ED (used) $1,800
New life breathed into my HD200 - $priceless$

So far with the adapter and four great pieces of glass I'm at $153 more than just the HZ-CA13U with no lenses yet. I believe this is why Paolo suggested that at the price point for the Zoerk adapter and some very affordable Nikon lenses, this is a great option for those of us who are budgetless.

*This is a missing point that neither Paolo or myself have mentioned: According to Paolo, the HD200s render color differently than the HD100s. I have seen this myself as I used both side by side on a wedding once. They are different, and from what Paolo showed me on the wave form monitor, the HD100s render blues more effectively. On this HD200, though, with the Nikons mounted via the Zoerk adapter, Paolo felt that this camera rendered blue better than any HD200 he had seen. Maybe it's a rogue camera? Or maybe it's some complementing coincidence in how differently the Nikon lenses render color compared to the 16X Fujinon. Because believe me, they do.

It is my gut feeling right now that the different lenses, 16X VS Nikons via the Zoerk adapter, will complement each other well - but neither will cancel the other out. I think the 16x will reign superior in it's range. And where it falls off we will use the Zoerk/Nikons.

Consider yourself lucky Sean. You're already a Nikon man. I am Canon but slowly changing over. The real beauty of this is that now the two very different worlds of still shooting and video, for me, are both enhanced because the money is not separated with a big ugly axe anymore. When the Nikons are not in the video bag, they are in the stills bag - and one or the other, if not both, is always in the truck.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 02:16 PM   #17
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Lot of info in this thread.

Did the set up give a sharper image?

The fact that CA is reduced and color rendition improved is great, a sharper image would give the hat trick.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 09:03 PM   #18
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my .02$. I'm the guy who modded a canon 50 1.8 to mount directly onto the HD100. after shooting with the 50 a bit, its basically softer and less contrasty then the stock 16X lens. in fact the stock lens really kind of blows it away, even for CA. what the 50mm does do is focus from infinity to 1.5ft. without breathing very much. its a handy macro lens. I have a canon 50mm1.4 which I want to mod, but its got the older lock ring mount which is completely different internally and so modding it much harder. Still I have hope that I can pull it off and get images on par with the 16X stock lens.

as far as the click stop thing, its easy to fix. take the lens mount off, and usually the iris control ring is right there. remove the iris ring and you'll find a small ball bearing between it and the lens body. remove the ball, reassemble and now your iris ring will move smoothly. at least on FD glass this is pretty trivial to do. never taken a nikon apart, but I doubt its much harder. its also possible to re-wire the iris springs in a canon FD so the the iris always follows the iris ring rather then stopping down, but if the lens it mounted to a FD receiver, you don't need to make this mod.

What I'd really like is something wider. a 3.5-10 or 15mm lens would sell like mad if the price was right. give me a short wide zoom. canon did this with the XL1 with their wide angle 3X. lets face it, if you are shooting really wide, long isn't important, and you can always switch back to your standard lens. even a 3.5 prime would be welcome.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 11:05 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Adair View Post

I'm surprised that some people buy the 35mm lens adapters without really understanding what they are trying to accomplish. It's a very specific look and feel, only appropriate for some things.

Telephoto perspective is often simply not what you see, and the lens perspective is for me, a often overlooked and more important element than DOF.

I
Regarding lens adaptors, couldn't agree more, they have their place but I think way too much money and effort is spent achieving Shallow focus. It's almost become the holy grail of the 1/3" cams.

I want to dogpile on that second point too, so many people shoot shallow focus or 60p or crane or go super wide for no other reason than they *can*. Purely unmotivated photography--and often feels like a cover for weak content. In most cases, creating shots that more or less recreate what the human eye sees gives the most immersive viewing experience.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 10:15 AM   #20
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Thanks for the acknowledgment, Brian. It's a pet peeve of mine, when important things are neglected to force some unnatural thing in. Shooting like editing is usually best when it's transparent. You don't see the cuts or the blurred background, you are just drawn to the subject without overt effect.
Problem is, it's often more challenging to achieve. Also, to have a palette of useful tools, we have to practice (and sometimes purchase) so we can deploy the right things at the right time.

Paulo, I'm totally with you. I think the search for narrow DOF is a totally overblown issue. People even use these clumsy long adapters with SD! I shoot verite docs and events where I bless the EXTENDED DOF of this camera. In fact it's still challenging keeping a subject in sharp focus without an external monitor say when it's a little darker and everything is moving. HD raises the bar for critical focus already.

I'm an old dog, with a handful of the usual tricks for limiting DOF. I do lots of interviews where I like that look, so I know not to overlight, and get the camera back as far as possible to optimize the aperture and focal length variables. I rearrange seating to get more depth behind my subjects, which is probably the most important thing of all. Most of all, I'm realistic about not compromising other aspects of my shoot. I've also done some very effective masking and blurring in post where it's really called for.

I'm also totally with you re renting. Back in the day when I started, virtually no production companies owned a complete set of production equipment. "Reasonable" quality gear was very expensive compared to now. Renting the right equipment for the job is a factor that isn't weighed in properly by many newcomers to production. It's simply bad economics to buy expensive tech equipment that you won't be using regularly for paying gigs. OK, there are some excuses, and learning the ropes is a reasonable one. Getting great results with a package you can afford to buy is completely possible today with the additional investment of patience and ingenuity (not sure if the latter is an acquired trait, but it can be shared!).

I'm guilty of a few of these impulse buys. My lectrosonics wireless I bought in a fit after blowing a corporate shoot with an inadequate unit. t I can rent this $2,800 kit for $75 a day, and I still use a cable whenever I can...

Most of my shooting career was on betacam SP and some DV-cam with 2/3" lenses. My SD camera is a 1/2" lens. I've shot a 16mm feature, assisted with 35mm cine (pulled focus!), and shot stills with multiple formats - still own a great 6x7cm system. I know that DOF is a double edged sword, and that resolving image size format is only part of the game. For the record, a 1/2" camera with a 2/3" lens on a mechanical adapter gives 1/2" lens DOF characteristics. Expensive glass has many advantages from subtle to obvious (like expensive red wines). Unfortunately, they are used more for daytime game shows than they are on personal docs, but that's economics for ya.

I'm also a long time proponent of JVC for their cameras that have ergonomics and features like the real pro gear. This is a big advantage for people moving in BOTH directions. I had a client stop renting my 1/2" JVC DV camera when they bought a panasonic to shoot 24p (don't get me started...). I can wrangle embedded menus and balance compromises, but there was really more lost than gained. I've owned these small cameras, and they are great for some things (say following a hip-star in a crowded party, or trekking at 13,000ft elevation...), but much harder to get consistent results with in other situations that come up more often (variable lighting, stable handheld shots etc). I've been watching the dollars melt off my unused JVC 1/2" DV since I don't want to sell it for less than the popular minicams out there.

Yeah - the hawk was simply not a good situation for video. Too far away up in the tree, overcast white sky. Even polarizers or grads wouldn't help here (I have them, although they weren't with me this day). I think that's an important lesson in itself. I did try different exposures, and could have improved things considerably in post, but it was just testing. It was handheld at too long a lens too, but that's another thing... Some things are just best not even attempted. I could tell you about repeated attempts to do a long rack focus along with a camera move by myself on 16mm film....

There is a fcp filter to reduce CA that specifically looks for and de-saturates the color from edges. Handy for sure. Underexposure with post correction definitely helps in many situations too. But it's best to find a way to avoid the problem areas. Truth is, I'm very comfortable in the telephoto range of my lens in most situations. It's only real contrasty hard edges that I have to avoid.

I really appreciate the detailed reporting on the Zoerk mount with nikon lenses. I will definitely be taking this path, thanks to you Eric. Maybe not right away.... I'm not Mr. Moneybags either, with a kid to feed and a manhattan mortgage WELL in front of the list.

The HZ-CA13U is really a completely different animal, with different advantages. It gives 16mm DOF characteristics, and an awesome selection of high end glass to our modest cameras in a standard focal length range. I'll be renting it when the project warrants it (eg pays!). The Zoerk does not modify DOF at the same focal length. There are some compromises involved with shorter focal lengths. It's a simply great tool for extended range though. For outdoors nature and sports shooters it's a major step at a quite affordable price.

Back to the grilling of you testers....
I didn't see any mention of adjusting the White shading control of the HD200. The HD100 series doesn't have this control, which works to minimize color imbalances introduced by different lenses. I tuned this very carefully for my 17x, and I'm away from the preset. I stretched the recommended procedure to make lens characteristics obvious. This deals with a specific type of chromatic aberration, and will help overall quality. You might have to make a new color preset with the DSC chart though (hehe - sorry - back to the advil!) I recall you having problems with a color shift at the bottom the frame with one of your tests Eric, and this might be the key for that.

Lastly, how are these Nikon lenses behaving as far as breathing characteristics? That is, do they zoom a little when racking the focus? Minimizing this is one of the highly desired aspects of cine lenses, so that a rack focus keeps a stable frame. It's a non-issue for still photography, so the effect can be very strong sometimes I've heard (like with the ground glass rigs). An all-in-one video zoom lens often has this compromise to a distracting level, and even in cine, it's one of the reasons people prefer prime lenses. Of course, it's only a factor when dealing with narrow DOF work, where follow focus or a rack between subjects is called for.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 10:31 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
after shooting with the 50 a bit, its basically softer and less contrasty then the stock 16X lens. in fact the stock lens really kind of blows it away, even for CA. what the 50mm does do is focus from infinity to 1.5ft. without breathing very much.
Thanks for sharing Steve. Maybe the 1.4 will be better, but improved breathing is a small benefit for the compromises involved with the 1.8. Lens design has a lot of variables and compromise, so it's hard to keep expectations up when using them for very different ways than intended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
as far as the click stop thing, its easy to fix.
This makes sense. At least with FD lenses which are pretty reasonable these days. But I'd be a bit reluctant to mess around with the $800 glass...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
What I'd really like is something wider. a 3.5-10 or 15mm lens would sell like mad if the price was right. give me a short wide zoom. canon did this with the XL1 with their wide angle 3X. lets face it, if you are shooting really wide, long isn't important, and you can always switch back to your standard lens. even a 3.5 prime would be welcome.
These is the recent thread asking for the same thing. I agree a really short lens would be great. The 13x lens is really sweet, but I also would like wider and cheaper, with magnification factor least important of all.

This is something I can use lots. Handheld, in small rooms, everything in focus. That's NYC compared to the wild Pacific coast right there!
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Old January 11th, 2008, 12:23 AM   #22
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Sean, are you in competition for the longest post in this forum ;)
Just messing with ya.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Adair View Post
In fact it's still challenging keeping a subject in sharp focus without an external monitor say when it's a little darker and everything is moving. HD raises the bar for critical focus already.
It definitely does. I had to do Steadicam work with this camera and no remote follow focus, not pretty. But when the image is sharply in focus, man, it's a pleasure to watch it.

Quote:
I'm guilty of a few of these impulse buys. My lectrosonics wireless I bought in a fit after blowing a corporate shoot with an inadequate unit. t I can rent this $2,800 kit for $75 a day, and I still use a cable whenever I can...
Are they working for you. I'm asking because I used them and I wasn't impressed at all. It's not a matter of the Lecsos, it's just that wireless mics don't seem to be reliable. At all. Used the Lecsos with some Countryman lavs and the best sound I ever got was from using my Rode NTG1 on a boom. Much cheaper and simpler to use. I know that lavs have their place but man, wireless technology has a long way to go.

Quote:
I didn't see any mention of adjusting the White shading control of the HD200.
I did some tweaking with that when I designed TrueColor 200 v1.0 and I didn't see much improvement for the "skewed" color matrix, or better, I saw the improvement but also a pretty visible color cast so I stopped using it. It probably has its place but for TrueColor I didn't need it.
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Old January 12th, 2008, 09:01 AM   #23
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white shading

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone View Post
I did some tweaking with that when I designed TrueColor 200 v1.0 and I didn't see much improvement for the "skewed" color matrix, or better, I saw the improvement but also a pretty visible color cast so I stopped using it. It probably has its place but for TrueColor I didn't need it.
White shading is specifically to adjust to a specific lenses Chromatic properties. Specifically the color tinting that shows up at the top or bottom of the frame when mismatched. The preset (as on the 100 series) is supposed to be right for the 16x, but by having this configurable you can make this compensation for other lens situations on the 200 series. It isn't a uniform effect on the whole frame, it equalizes purple or green that transition on the top or bottom. The correction I've made is subtle, but I suspect also helps minimize CA by balancing out these colors.
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Old January 12th, 2008, 09:09 PM   #24
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Sean, I apologize. I owe you info on whether or not the Nikons breathe. I updated to FCP 6 and effectively took myself out of the loop because 6 wouldn't work with my decrepit video card. All better now though. My gut says no they do not breathe, at all. Now that I finally got a new card and I'm seeing green lights again I will shoot a test and post it. ;- )
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Old January 16th, 2008, 02:09 AM   #25
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OK Sean, the 300mm 2.8 ED does NOT breathe. I'll test the 80-200 tomorrow evening.

Rack focus sample
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Old January 16th, 2008, 09:57 AM   #26
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Eric, thanks for posting the test! You really are a mighty contributor with your web publishing links.

However, and I'm reluctant to go here, I don't think this is a conclusive example. The rack focus on these small, close items is so strong, that I can't see the frame edges, and the out of focus blobs do seem to be a bit shifted.

What will show this more clearly would be an outdoor rack from infinity to closest focus, with some obvious markers on the edge of the frame (like uh trees?). Or just racking focus in more normal shooting scenarios, where the edges of the frame can be tracked for creep. It's an iris independent thing, showing if the focus mechanism and optics shifts the effective focal length.

But don't feel obligated to post video for every little quibble I bring up!
I'm happy with your typed report from experimentation in some different scenarios.
Breathing is not such a vital day to day issue for most of us, and it's only particular situations where it raises it's ugly head.

But getting back to the truecolor preset a bit... Did you run through the manual's white shading procedure for adjusting lenses to the camera with any of your Nikon's? Don't go making me guilty with web video, but I think it might be worth the few minutes to you to see if there is any optimization you can make. It's a great pro feature of the 200 series. I pushed the recommended settings a little to make the changes clear on my 24" (dell) monitor hooked to the camera.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 10:09 AM   #27
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You're right Sean. I keep getting home after dark so I'm left to shoot inside tests and this house is not very big! I'll try again before I head out. And no, I have not played with white shading yet. You've got me curious now though. I'll hit that one tonight..
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Old January 16th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #28
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Alright brother try this long outdoor shot instead. For reference the street is about a mile long. I know that because I ran it last night and it took me half an hour to get to the end, which is about my pace these days..

Don't mind the shakes. It was cold as a witch's....... purse, this morning and the new tripod is not here yet.

Street Rack Focus, Nikon 300mm


I'll do the others tonight, some of which operate in the 16x range.

Bokeh is very different isn't it.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 05:19 PM   #29
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Paolo is there a colour shift when using 720 50p

in your TrueColour, or any calibration? As I believe the 50/60p is a 3:1:1 compression. I did a couple of shoots and I'm getting a purple-ish cast to things? I did change the black stretch just by 1, but I wouldn't have thought it would throw the colour out that much?

Thanks in advance, and once again thanks for all your hard work transforming our cameras!

Regards

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Old January 17th, 2008, 05:43 PM   #30
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As I believe the 50/60p is a 3:1:1 compression.
Adam
Really? First time I heard this...
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