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Old June 19th, 2002, 08:17 AM   #1
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So let me get this straight...

I bought the manual 16x zoom lens for the XL1s, and now it seems that if I want to control focus and zoom remotely, I need not one controller now, but two? The manual lens requires its own focus controller, but I'd still have to buy the remote zoom controller. Expensive! like 800 bucks for all this jazz.
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Old June 19th, 2002, 07:36 PM   #2
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They are 2 different animals so yes you'll have to buy 2. The Canon remote will work perfectly with the 16x lens, except for focus functions of course, but a focus controller attaches to the focus ring on the lens and moves it mechanically. Maybe someone like VariZoom will come up with a combined controller but then it will still cost at least $800. DOH!
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Old June 19th, 2002, 08:40 PM   #3
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Yeah, I saw a package on someone's website.. .800 or so for both pieces, I believe. Damn it.
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Old June 20th, 2002, 12:28 AM   #4
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Yes, it's a VariZoom focus controller in the $500 range, which by the way is *inexpensive* for a focus controller. Any LANC controller will do for zoom control and record start.
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Old June 20th, 2002, 12:33 AM   #5
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Yes, kennelmaster, you have a point. I could simply get the stealth zoom instead of the one with a lot of consonants and numbers in the name, yes? I'd still come out on top.
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Old June 20th, 2002, 01:01 AM   #6
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Staelth is fine but you're really better off with a VariZoom PG-L, or Pro-L, because you can lock in a specific zoom speed and have it every time. Very important. Stealth can't do that. You're on a budget? Get the Canon ZR-1000 for $200, does pretty much the same thing as the Pro-L except it's plastic. Hope this helps,
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Old June 20th, 2002, 04:19 AM   #7
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So guys, I'm sort of wondering how/why you need a remote focus controller. Do you set up like a studio pedestal camera with two panhandles and a top mounted monitor....? If so, do you do that for narrative type shooting as well as event shooting?
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Old June 20th, 2002, 07:37 PM   #8
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Oooh ooh I get to answer one: yes, guy, you do set it up like a studio cam, because then you can zoom and focus without touching the lens and bumping the camera. Wow, that was fun. Thanks everyone. zr1000 eh? I'll remember that.
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Old June 20th, 2002, 07:49 PM   #9
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Alrighty, so that's what I figured. Something I'm wondering is that if your tripod is less than ideal, doesn't operating from the back exaggerate the ill effects? I'm vaguely remembering dealing with an ancient Bogen in my youth at some half-assed public access setup that was really sticky if operated with two handles--I ended up working in the "ENG" style, wrapping my body around the camera and leveraging it from the rear handle with one hand and working the focus with the other, which seemed to dampen the sticky effect. I always liked to have the rear zoom control on the pan handle rather than working the servo up at the lens since you give up the leverage that way, and are back to relying on the head again. Has anyone tried it both ways, have any similar results to note?
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Old June 20th, 2002, 10:44 PM   #10
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Hey Charles, I'm using two pan handles (left for focus, right for zoom) on a Bogen setup: 3251 sticks under a 503 head. The sticks are fairly big and tall and heavy, which is a pain to hump around but fairly sturdy when positioned. The 503 allows you to dial in just the right amount of pan and tilt tension. Although I would still rather have a Miller, Matthews or O'Conner, this particular Bogen rig does get the job done.
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Old June 20th, 2002, 11:21 PM   #11
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Yes yes Mr. Chris, about that. If you can dial in the amount of drag, what separates a 5000 dollar head from another head?
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Old June 21st, 2002, 01:37 AM   #12
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I know a guy in Hawaii, who likes to buy O'Conners off of e-bay. He loves his O'Conners, that boy. Used ones can be quite the deal because many people don't know how good they are. And regarding Millers, they go for a lot cheaper in Canada. Why? Less of a mark-up. In Australia, they're even cheaper (just use FEDEX).
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Old June 21st, 2002, 01:53 AM   #13
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The $5000 head is always repeatable. Set your drag, counter balance etc. and no matter what temperature, or other variable the head acts the same. With 1 finger you can pan, tilt and when you stop the head doesn't give one last little hop and jump. When clients pay you hundreds of dollars an hour to make each shot perfect you have to deliver. You can't have the head dipping or stuttering at the wrong moment. Believe me they help make life wonderfull.

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Old June 21st, 2002, 02:21 AM   #14
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Agreed Jeff. As I have mentioned before, a quality head becomes invisible. It's just you guiding the camera to the exact frame you want, effortlessly. The ideal is to have as little of your attention as possible go towards the mechanics of operating.

Chris, I'm guessing Bogen has gotten its act together since I suffered with them 20 yrs ago (I can picture the head from those days, but can't remember its model number).

After buying my full-size O'Connor head a few months ago with the confidence that it was the industry standard (as it has been in the film world for a good ten years), Cartoni has come out with a new unit that looks to be the thing to beat. Very depressing. I may just trade mine in and take the hit. Technology and design marches on!
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Old June 21st, 2002, 07:55 AM   #15
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Charles, from where I sit, Bogen has indeed come a long way forward and they have definitely improved their product line. They're still the king of the ratchet-masters but at least they've made a serious attempt at coming up in the world with better gear (couldn't help but get better, from how bad it used to be).

However I fully agree with you and Jeff, nothing beats a $5K head and sticks, and in this business we all know we get what we pay for.

I want to take a closer look at the Matthews-Libec combo from our sponsor Zotz Digital, they are quite affordably priced...
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