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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
Sony PDW-F800, PDW-700, PDW-850, PXW-X500 (XDCAM HD) and PMW-400, PMW-320 (XDCAM EX).


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Old November 15th, 2008, 08:53 AM   #1
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HD 2/3" Lens Tests

Just run off some tests on some "budget" HD lenses.
I have a Fujinon ZA17x7.6 and Fujinon HAs18x7.6. I tested them against my Fujinon HA22x7.8 (basically a standard, quality HD lens).
I have extracted some stills but unless you see them as bitmaps they don't mean much and the bmps are really big, so I may get around to posting them, but for now to summarise what I saw.
Sharpness was pretty close in all 3, the ZA was slightly softer than the others, while the expensive HA22 and much cheaper HAs18 were very similar, maybe with the tiniest edge to the HAs under a microscope.
Chromatic abberation (in this case purple fringing) was pretty shocking in all of them, so seems to be the way with HD lenses. But the expensive HA lens was reassuringly less bad than the others. The ZA and HAs lenses were about equal, and certainly slightly worse than the HA22, but in real world situations I don't think you'd really pick it out, I was looking at 400% crops. But having said that it is one of the big bugbears of HD lenses and the less bad lens you can get the better.
So far the testing (unscientific) that I've done has shown that expensive HD lenses are mostly a tiny bit better than decent SD ones, cheap HD ones are about the same as SD ones but with more CA. So is it worth getting an expensive (ie 10-15,000) HD lens rather than a "cheap" (ie 5,000) one? It's marginal, but if you can afford it of course go for the expensive one. But on the whole it seems like you can save yourself a whole lot of cash and just buy a really good SD lens (ie Canon J11x4.7, J20x8 etc.) Incidentally I was informed by a lens engineer that the HJ11 and J11 are identical except for one of the small elements at the back and that buying a replacement HD element and having it fitted woul cost about 2,000, so if you can find a bargain J11 for maybe 4,000 you can get it upgraded for a fraction of the cost of an HJ11.
Steve
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Old November 16th, 2008, 07:15 AM   #2
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Thanks for your testing Steve.

The problem I found is that a really good SD lens costs about as much as a "cheap" HD lens.

I just purchased a Canon KJ20x8.5 HD lens used for $5,000.

The only Canon SD lenses that had a 20x range were the J20x8 or the J21x7.8

Well I could not find a J20x8 and the 21x7.8 was $7,500.

I had purchased a J15x9.5 from Ebay for $99 and the difference from that lens to the KJ20x8.5 is night and day.

The J15x9 softened up over f2.8

I can open the KJ20x8.5 all the way and it stays quite sharp.
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Old November 16th, 2008, 08:48 AM   #3
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What camera are you using the KJ20 on? Haven't been able to get hold of one yet, but that seem to be the cheapest one out there and I would like to know how it performs.
I tend to think that for HD work any lens opened beyond about f2.8 is unwise as they all soften up (except maybe Digiprimes etc.)
Plenty of J16x8 etc about for reasonable prices, also Fujinon 15x8 was a very good SD lens and can be found very cheap, though not tried one on HD. I tested my Fuji 8.5x5.5 and it was sharper than the very expesnive Fujinon HD22x7.8.
The Fujinons I tested are still around the 6000 I think, which is still a fair amount, and if they were a lot better than SD lenses then OK, but they're not.
Steve
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Old November 16th, 2008, 09:29 AM   #4
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I am using an HPX-500

The 20x reach is important to me, so my options are limited.

To be honest, the image from this setup wide open is quite detailed and I would not have a problem opening all the way during an inteview to blur the background.

The J15x9.5 could have been off as it was $99 and an older lens.
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Old November 16th, 2008, 09:35 AM   #5
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The KJ20 does not have a 2x does it? So the reach of a J16 would be a lot more than the KJ20, BUT if you are worried about using a 2x I don't blame you! When HD first sprang up the idea of putting a 2x on any lens was blasphemy, and even zooms at all were frowned upon!
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Old November 16th, 2008, 12:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
When HD first sprang up the idea of putting a 2x on any lens was blasphemy, and even zooms at all were frowned upon!
Steve
Plus the light loss of the extender... I love HAVING one but I try not to use it when I'm shooting a lens that has one.

PS. Great insight, Steve. Thanks for sharing.
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Old November 16th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #7
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Yes, the light loss of an extender led me to want a 20x lens.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 03:19 PM   #8
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Steve.. There is a Canon KJ20 on the PDW-700 that Sony are taking on their current roadshow events. Please promise me you'll try one before buying one as from what I've seen its not pretty. Open it up past f5.6 and it softens rapidly. The one on the road show camera is very soft at the edges, much more so on one side than the other. There is also some pretty bad barrel/mustache distortion. It could be that it has been bumped or it's just a bad example, but if they are all like that I may just be persuaded to go down the good SD lens route after all.

My SD lenses always had extenders but I always tried not to use them. On HD I really don't like behind the lens extenders. They soften the image and add a ton of CA. I do have an old but rather good Fujinon 1.8x 82mm adapter that I use if I need a long zoom. It is IMHO better than a rear extender.
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Old November 29th, 2008, 01:48 PM   #9
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Thanks for the warning Alister. Anyone got any thoughts on really good HD lenses they've used? I remember the first HD lens I ever used years back was a Canon HJ18x7.8 cine style and thought it was superb.
I know of a couple of s/h lenses including HJ21x7.8, HJ21x7.5 and HJ9x5.5, anyone got any experience of these, or other favourites?
Steve
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Old November 29th, 2008, 03:53 PM   #10
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HD lens recommendations

Anyone got any thoughts on really good HD lenses they've used? I remember the first HD lens I ever used years back was a Canon HJ18x7.8 cine style and thought it was superb, but it was a long time ago and I didn't really have anything to compare it to.
I know of a couple of s/h lenses including HJ21x7.8, HJ21x7.5 and HJ9x5.5, anyone got any experience of these, or other favourites?
Steve
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Old December 1st, 2008, 10:35 AM   #11
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Wow, you guys are experts with those lenses from the sounds of it. I am buying the hpx500 and am getting the Fujinon XA17x7.6BERM (Fujinon | XA17x7.6BERM 17x 2/3" | XA17x7.6BERM-M58B | B&H)
thrown in, the lens retails for 8000, is there a better option for that 8k budget for a lens?
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Old December 1st, 2008, 11:26 AM   #12
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Doubt you'd see much improvement without spending a lot of money. That's the problem, these "budget" lenses all seem to be pretty mediocre (at best) and are still hardly "cheap".
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Old December 1st, 2008, 12:26 PM   #13
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Canon KJ13x6

Anyone tried the Canon KJ13x6 (one of their hdgc lenses), be interested to hear any views.
Cheers,
Steve
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Old December 4th, 2008, 05:19 AM   #14
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Lens testing

How is my testing methodology? I shoot on PDW700, send them to FCP and view 100% and 400% crops. Presumably this should give me a fair idea of the performance of a lens, every bit as much as viewing on a big HD screen, or am I missing something?
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Old December 4th, 2008, 10:25 AM   #15
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More lens tests

More tests, PDW700.
Comments, will fill you in on what's what later.
Steve
Attached Thumbnails
HD 2/3" Lens Tests-21.jpg   HD 2/3" Lens Tests-21bird.jpg  

HD 2/3" Lens Tests-22.jpg   HD 2/3" Lens Tests-22bird.jpg  

HD 2/3" Lens Tests-36.jpg   HD 2/3" Lens Tests-36bird.jpg  

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