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Old June 28th, 2003, 09:44 AM   #16
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<<<-- Originally posted by Eric Lian :
As far as an LCD is concerned, I would never use one. My eye is in the cup, the MA-100 is fixed to my shoulder and the camera is locked down on my body. I am essentially a living, moving, flexible tripod. Ever try to use an LCD in the field, on a sunny day, at noon, while moving in all directions. The LCD becomes a worthless wind flap - can't see a darned thing.
-->>>
Very good point- even outside on an overcast day the LCD is worthless. However that's why they offer lens hoods.
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Old June 28th, 2003, 11:21 AM   #17
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Hello, Glen.

The disadvantage excerpts were not my own work. I compiled them from a couple of different articles - that's why I called them "excerpts"

Personally, I have never touched the DVX100. My main point is I was 2 inches away from purchasing the camera due to all the pre-release hype. After reading several user reviews, I decided I could save my money and invest in other things.

We all have our biases here, but I hope the newbies have the sense to do most of their "own" homework, and maybe pick up a little insight in the forum.

Whenever we get a chunk of money, it tends to burn a hole in our pockets and we want to run out and get the first thing that the industry or someone else recommends.

Again, the best thing to do when faced with this kind of investment (and I really do mean investment), is to not be in a hurry to get something. Do your homework - rent the camera if you can - see if it works with the rest of your equipment - and make sure it has most of the features you think you really need.
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Old June 28th, 2003, 01:38 PM   #18
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xm2

Maybe you should consider to buy a XM2/GL2, pretty similar to the XL1 and it's easier to handle I think, and it's way less expensive. I got the XM2 yesterday, I already love it...;)
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Old June 30th, 2003, 10:13 AM   #19
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wow guys. thanks so much for all your input.

unfortunately however my decision is not getting any easier. this weekend i decided i was going to go with the XL. now i get into work and read this and i'm back on the fence again.

one main reason i'm heading towards the XL is the fact that its a modular design. if in two years i'm ready to upgrade chances are (if canon sticks with the style of design for the XL) i'll be able to purchase a new body only with the latest and greatest stuffed into it. also new lenses mics viewfinders and all that jazz. so that could be a big plus for that camera?

it just seems like a bit more of a pro camera in that sense? not that i'm in any fashion a pro!! just the cam with the interchageablitiy and all that perhaps?

but now again i can't decide. i wish i could find a place to rent around here (baltimore). ive been searching for months with no leads to show.

i'm not trying to rush but ive been reading for a year now and have projects lined up. i just need to decide. like last week.

the MA-100 that glen mentioned. is that the shoulder support with the XLR jacks in it. its kind of triangular shaped?

where would a good place to look for shoulder mounts and lcd screens be. i wasn't finding quite what i was looking for at the BH site. does anyone have model numbers to look for instead of just using keywords. i'm getting a lot of mixed results.

decisions, decisions.

thanks again for all the info, keep it coming.
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Old June 30th, 2003, 03:37 PM   #20
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Jeremy...

If you do get the XL1s then get the manual 16x lens.

It doesn't have the image stabilizer but it won't have the back focus problems that everyone experiences from time to time. The IS II lens is ok. But I've noticed that there are occasions where it'll pop slightly out of focus during a long zoom.

Also, the IS II's aperature isn't the same throughout it's zoom range. It's slightly slower at the longer focal lengths whereas the manual 16x is consistent throughout.

If you do decide to get the full auto lens, then consider getting the body only and getting a used lens (caution, sales pitch here). E-mail me for details if you're interested.

Dean Sensui
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Old June 30th, 2003, 06:33 PM   #21
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Hello Dean and Jeremy,

Dean, I don't mean to step on your toes, but a manual focus lens would be suicide in my business. I'm sure it would be okay if you were shooting static objects, or were able to do multiple takes, but if the objects are moving unpredictably in all directions and you don't have the luxury of "do overs", the auto focus 16x is an absolute requirement.

I've had guys with manual broadcast cameras next to me who ended up with 75 minutes of unusable - mostly out of focus footage.

Lens choice should fit the shooting environment, and Jeremy has not indicated in any of his writing how that lens will be used.

Respectfully,

-Eric
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Old July 1st, 2003, 09:38 AM   #22
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very good point about the lenses guys. i have indeed thought about this but now im a bit confused.

i think i am going to go with the XL. but i thought that the lens that came with it had both manual and auto focus and zoom settings?

i know it has auto zoom and i could have sworn it had auto/manual focus as well?

i will have to double check on that.

to answer erics question. i will be using the camera mostly for like xtreme sports type stuff. like skateboarding, snowboarding, and so on. so it'll be action but ill for the most part be still all the time. no way am i trying to snowboard down a mountain with my XL strapped to my chest. although... that'd be pretty cool.

so i definitely see your point about manual and auto settings. it'll be kind of tough to focus on a subject that's coming at you down a hill at 30 mph.

the body only suggestion sounds good. does anyone have any suggestions about where to go or what models to look at?
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Old July 1st, 2003, 12:25 PM   #23
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The stock lens comes with an auto-focus feature but you can turn it off and go manual. The best feature of the lens is the push auto-focus. It allows you to be in manual mode, but you can use the push af to snap things into focus and then adjust from there. Great way to avoid the "swim." I use the XL and I should warn you that it is fairly heavy and cumbersome sometimes. Not too much trouble when you are shooting, mostly a problem getting to or from locations. If you want something handier that still gets great quality you can opt for the GL2.

Good luck,

~Brad
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Old July 1st, 2003, 12:28 PM   #24
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Hello, Jeremy.

The lens Dean is talking about is a fully manual lens that is available for the XL-1. The auto/manual lens you referred to is the stock 16x that comes with the XL-1.

I shoot in an environment where my subjects are moving at 160 - 760mph. Sometimes they flyby, sometimes they turn and change direction, and sometimes they hover directly over my head. All in all, I have found the stock XL-1 lens to very reliable in all situations.

However, as Dean correctly pointed out, this lens (like most lenses) may have difficulty focusing on the target in some situations. The situation that I have found this to be a problem is usually on an overcast day with little contrast. But remember, I'm shooting directy at the gray cloud cover trying to pick up a gray dot that will be over my head in 12 seconds. I have learned to "help" the autofocus by bumping the focus ring until the object is large enough to be acquire by the autofocus system.

The only other situation in which I have difficulty, is at night. Again I'm shooting into a dark sky trying to pickup small position lights, landing lights, and wing strobes. In these cases I switch to manual mode and focus everything by hand.

But this is true for any autofocus lenses made by any of the manufacturers. I, personally, have had more trouble with the Sonys than the Canons. I'm sure you can find a Sony person to say the exact opposite. :)

It comes down to personal preference.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 12:42 PM   #25
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thanks a lot guys for all your input. i'm actally on the phone right now with B&H ordering my camera.

can't wait. next day air.

thanks again. J.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 03:15 PM   #26
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Eric...

I find that my success rate is a lot better with manual focus. Auto focus tends to shift at the most inconvenient times, and the sometimes the subject isn't a good target for autofocus systems to get a consistent lock. I've never turned on the autofocus feature on my lens yet. In fact, I run just about everything else on the XL1 manually.

Some of what I shoot is set-up. Some of it's run-and-gun.

About the only thing I use a lot is the image stabilizer. However, when shooting football I noticed that the image stabilizer caused more problems than helped, especially when shooting telephoto. For example I can track a runner making sudden moves with the stabilizer turned off. But with the stabilizer turned on, the camera tries to compensate for the sudden moves and ends up mis-framing the subject.

By the way, for the ultimate in manual focus, I find the slo-mo shots of the NFL (shot on film no less) impressive. The ball is framed throughout its flight and the shot cleanly follows the action all the way to the ground, sometimes on a player moving straight toward the shooter.

When I shot with a broadcast camera I could sometimes hit focus just making use of the position of the focus ring since there's a direct relation to distance and focus ring rotation. There's no relationship like that for Canon's IS II lens. Also, with a manual lens I can adjust the rate of focus change by rotating the focus ring faster or slower. It helps when setting focus to snap it in and out prior to a shot -- you can see the change much more readily than by creeping up to it. And, with a manual lens, you can creep up to sharp focus with much more control than Canon's stock lens. That's why I'm hoping to get the fully manual 16x later this year. I understand its also significantly sharper then the stock lens -- you'd think that Canon would maintain higher standards for its stock glass for the XL1. It's not bad, but I hear that it can be better.

I'll still keep one of the stock lenses because of the stabilizer feature. But I'll have to sell off the other IS II lens before I can afford to get the manual 16x. Would be nice to have options.

Dean Sensui
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Old July 1st, 2003, 04:41 PM   #27
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeremy Martin : thanks a lot guys for all your input. i'm actally on the phone right now with B&H ordering my camera.

can't wait. next day air.

thanks again. J. -->>>

*Still a bit disgruntled you didn't go with the DVX*, lol, but.....
Congrats- let us know how you like it. Post some clips when you get set up!
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Old July 1st, 2003, 05:39 PM   #28
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Hello, Dean.

I have no argument with anything you are saying. It's all true :) You sound like an accomplished cameraman. My skills lean more heavily on the amateur side of camera operation and I rely heavily on the auto-focus with a correction thrown in here and there when it locks onto an unintended target or cannot establish a lock due to the absense of contrast or a hard target.

Regarding the use of IS to track a moving subject - even Canon's own manual advises to disable the IS when panning. The effect that I have seen when tracking on the nose of an aircraft with IS enabled is even though I am tracking quickly and acurately in the viewfinder, the camera dampens what it considers to be too quick a movement, and the end result is a weird back and forth float across the subject.

Many of my shots require that I track-in on an incoming dot that will soon appear full frame directly overhead, and then track-out until the dot disappears. When I say directly overhead, imagine following the subject until you are holding your camera in a completely vertical position, pivoting 180 degrees on your feet while maintaining a smooth and attractive composition. I don't pivot the camera around the viewfinder so that my face is still pointed to the horizon. I am literally bending backwards, the back of my head practically parallel with the ground. Most camerapersons would follow an aircraft just so far, and then let it pass through the scene - and I can see why. It's a difficult menuever to master, and would be an impossible feat without auto-focus.

In this environment - a full manual focus lens would be a disadvantage.

I look forward to learning more from everyone in the future.

Thanks!
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Old July 1st, 2003, 08:00 PM   #29
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Eric...

Sounds like you're shooting airshows. That's a blast!

I've seen a few and was most impressed with the precision and speed. Only got a chance to shoot one when the Thunderbirds were here.

I shot quite a fair amount of aircraft operations aboard the Nimitz and some aboard the Lincoln. They demonstrated a supersonic flyby and that's an eye-opener. Starts off as a faint smudge of smoke in the distance and in short order there's a silhouette of a plane streaking by, followed by the classic deep sonic boom.

Regarding manual focus skills, there was a news photographer here who used to shoot boxing without looking through the viewfinder much. He put a piece of medical tape on his 35mm lens with distances marked on it and he'd make adjustments based on where the boxers were in the ring. Seemed to work everytime as he'd get peak action and it would always be sharp.

Dean Sensui
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