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Old November 19th, 2006, 01:20 PM   #1
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Half inch HD lenses and quality issues

I am working for a client this coming week who is very disapointed with the quality of the Canon half inch lenses, specifically the KH20.

After all the discussion and issues discussed on this forum with relation to both the Canon and the Fuji HD lenses, I was wondering how many had taken their complaints to the companies in question?

The consensus seems to be to purchase a decent half inch SD lens. Obviously, this isn't absolutely ideal as one would expect that for the price the high def lenses would deliver quality in spades.

I know Greg mentioned that he has a replacement lens which he is happy with. But is this the same for all the Fuji lenses and all the Canon lenses?

Just thinking that it might be a good idea for the DVinfo participators to submit their test images so that they can be taken in bulk to the companies in question. For the prices that these new lenses cost these issues really should be solved once and for all.
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Old November 19th, 2006, 01:39 PM   #2
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Absolutely agree, Simon. My original lens had mis-alignment (seen on the collimator), but even after the tech adjusted that, he said it remained a bity 'hazy' and that's when he called NJ (the main service center in the US).

They determined I had one of the pre-production model lenses which apparently aren't up to spec. Especially since they requested that I spread the word to others that might be in the same situation to get their lenses swapped out. I am very impressed at the attitude Fujinon took at solving my issues and how they want to solve everyone else's.

The marketing manager told me that they know how bad information travels around the internet and nobody ever brings the issue up with the manufacturer and sales are lost because of it.

I can't say that Canon would be any less helpful with perceived quality issues. I'd like to believe they would be. I can only report on how Fujinon treated me and they did the right thing without me having to ask anything other than, "Can you take a look at my lens to see if it's my imagination?"

We know now that it wasn't and I'm very pleased which is why I posted up those frame grabs in the other thread. This replacement lens is razor sharp and shows only the slightest CA in the usual conditions of full telephoto with wide open aperture. Stop down to around F4 and that issue goes away.

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Old November 20th, 2006, 03:33 AM   #3
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I'm still using my KH20. I can't excatly say that I am pleased with it. It is however better overall than the 19x6.7 SD lens, but not by a lot. The images produced are more consistant than the SD lens and it is certainly sharper at the center. So far the only thing anyone at Canon has had to say is basically "You get what you pay for". The canon people I have spoken too have all stated that in order to keep the price down the KH20 is not made to the same specifications as the KH21ex5.7 IRSE or KH16ex5.7 IRSE.

My gripe with canon is that thier own literature describes how they now have different optical grades of HD lenses. Those in the HDgc family and those in the HDxs range. As the KH20, KH21 and KH16 are all in the HDgc range I would expect them to have similar optical properties. Indeeed on the Canon website all the HDgc lenses use exactly the same text to describe the optical performance. The web site goes on to say that the principle difference between the low cost KH20 and the other lenses is the lack of extender and e-drive. The literature implies that the optical quality is the same, yet when you speak to senior Canon people they say that the KH20 is not made to the same optical specs as the more expensive lenses.

I have not been able to compare any of the other 1/2 inch HD lenses (Canon or Fujinon) against my own so I have no idea how they all compare. What I would say is that I have used Canon HDxs 2/3" lenses on my F350 and to be honest they were no better than my KH20, but they are not designed for use with 1/2" optical blocks.

Perhaps we should all shoot a matching chart with our various lenses at at common focal lengths, exposure and camera settings. We could share those results and maybe see what if any the differnces are.

Maybe these lenses are as good as it gets? Without anything to make an accurate assesment against it is difficult to tell.
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Old November 20th, 2006, 07:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
My gripe with canon is that thier own literature describes how they now have different optical grades of HD lenses. Those in the HDgc family and those in the HDxs range.
I learned the same thing recently when I took my lens in for service. The Fujinon XS lenses aren't spec'd as tightly as the HSs lenses (and the price reflects that). Actually, the lenses are made the same, but the HSs glass is hand selected as the cream of the crop. He told me you might get an XS series that's as sharp as an HSs lens, but there is no guarantee.

It's sort of like the old high density/standard density floppy disk thing. All the discs were made on the same assembly line, but those who failed high density QC, were relegated as standard density discs.


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Old November 20th, 2006, 09:22 AM   #5
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My point Greg is that Canon's literature and website implies that all thier half inch lenses are in the same HDgc quality range, with the same optical quality. However the people I have spoken to at Canon have suggested that the KH20 is made to a lower standard than the other lenses within the same range. So what do you belive, the advertising and marketing literature (which was all I had to go on when I made the purchase) or what a Canon rep has told me.

What we need is some definition of what is and what is not an HD lens. There should be some sort of minimum specification before a manufacturer can stick an HD badge on the lens.

At the moment I am pretty much in the dark as to what I should be getting from my KH20 as I have not been able to compare it against any other 1/2" HD lenses. Maybe I am expecting too much, maybe it is in fact a good lens for the price. My gut feeling is that it is not worth the price hike over the SD lens. Don't get me wrong, it is an improvement, but it is marginal.
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Old November 20th, 2006, 09:34 AM   #6
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I was assured by the Canon reps originally that it was the same optical quality. Though it seems now that this is not the case at all.

For the money of these lenses there should be more than just a marginal improvement, and sharpness should be far more uniform across the picture. In high def where this sort of thing is more noticeable, the manufacturers should be pulling out all the stops to get it right.

Its a shame that the Cooke zoom doesn't have a hand grip on it!
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Old November 20th, 2006, 09:06 PM   #7
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Altho i havent owned any XDCAM (yet), i very much feel for you guys who bought this excellent platform, yet being flawed by the lenses!

You have spent good deal of money for HD-grade PROFESSIONAL lenses. You should get satisfactory as professional-grade people!

I agree with Simon, you who have bought the lenses should come together and be more aggresive. I'd say first collect a list of people who have bought these lenses, do some tests for prove the flaws, then sign a petition together!
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Old November 20th, 2006, 09:17 PM   #8
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Oh geez, it's not that bad. You think you can collect a list of people that are unhappy, take it to a manufacturer, and they'll go "Oh sorry, here's the good lenses." ? A petition from a few lens owners is not going to change the realities of cost/marketplace demand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Wyndham
In high def where this sort of thing is more noticeable, the manufacturers should be pulling out all the stops to get it right.
Well, they do. Cooke S4s, Zeiss Digiprimes, etc. The literature on these new lower cost HD lenses discussed here makes no bones about the fact they are low cost options with implied compromises.

The only beef that I think might be even remotely valid is how the manus designate and price "HD" lenses.

The only lenses I've EVER seen that almost completely squash aberration and sharpness issues are those that cost $20k plus. And even at that level, there's still problems to be found.
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 01:08 AM   #9
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Is there a thread in this forum - or a link to some past article - where I can learn the basics of how to test a lens? What are the standard charts one should use and where to get them? What focal lengths to test at - f-stops etc.

The Fujinon 1/2" HSs18x5.5BRM we bought for the XDCAM F350 produces some beautiful shots, but I am noticing some blurring around the edges - in the left foreground particularly - on a 42 inch screen (shot was taken yesterday at F11).

BTW - Mt Rainier (Washington State) was looking great in its first snow of the season with a cloud cap like a humongous mushroom, and other clouds swimming along quite nicely in the foreground. The voice-over has to cover a 60-year time-frame in 12 seconds or less so I did a static MWS, then some interval recording without changing focal length to speed up the clouds somewhat (4 secs interval), and dissolved between the two in FCP today....and I really like the results:-).

But before I talk to the Fujinon rep, I'd like to know a bit more about what I'm talking about, which means I'd like to do some tests like the pros do:-)

Help....

Michael Knight.
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 01:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Knight
The Fujinon 1/2" HSs18x5.5BRM we bought for the XDCAM F350 produces some beautiful shots, but I am noticing some blurring around the edges - in the left foreground particularly - on a 42 inch screen (shot was taken yesterday at F11).
Michael, contact Fujinon as I indicated earlier in this thread. If you happen to be holding one of the pre-production lenses, they want it back and will give you a new one in exchange. I can't be sure, but the tech looked at my new lens and pointed out a thin gold trim ring at the front which he thought the original did not have. Might want to look at yours for comparison. If it doesn't have that gold trim ring, definitely get in touch with Fujinon.

Be aware also that some image softening can occur with higher f/stops. I wouldn't want to stop down much further than F11.

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Old November 22nd, 2006, 02:03 AM   #11
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Thanks Greg.

I don't have the camera with me right now, but I certainly don't recall any gold trim ring.

Will definitely get in touch with Fujinon since they're obviously as keen to deal with the issue as I am.

Will post results when there are some.

Michael.

PS - If I don't remember ever hiding any easter eggs, am I senile?
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 02:06 AM   #12
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I notice diffraction on my own rig between F8 and F11.

If I see F8 in the finder, I ND down and open up.
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 02:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver
I notice diffraction on my own rig between F8 and F11.

If I see F8 in the finder, I ND down and open up.
Nate, OT but I tried to IM you earlier today. Did you receive it? Regarding the yellowish tinge you reported.

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Old November 22nd, 2006, 05:55 PM   #14
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Gold trim ring...

Had to check my lens after reading about the gold trim ring. I was pleased to see that my lens has it. Anybody know what it actually signifies?

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