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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old April 13th, 2006, 06:24 AM   #1
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HDR-HC1: I need help on wide-angle and filters

I am selecting the right equipment to shoot my first documentary with the HDR-HC1. First of all, I am looking for a wide-angle conversion lens. The Sony Y lens looks pretty good to me, but there might be other alternatives that are equally impressive in their performance. So I would like to hear which lens you are using and how you would rate its performance.

Furthermore, I want to buy some filters. There are hundreds of filters but I only want the essential ones. Color correction etctera is very nice but I guess I prefer to do that in post-production instead of with a filter. I was thinking about a ND filter and maybe something like softening or polarisation. I am also considering a graduated ND filter. What I would like to know is, which filters are essential for documentary filmmaking for indoor and outdoor shooting, and then those filters that are better physical then in post.

Thanks for your valuable input and feedback.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 04:43 PM   #2
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Matt Boxes, Filters, Wideangle Conversion Lens, Lens Hoods, and Stuff!

If you do your homework, you can find other lenses with superior coatings and performance. First of all, you can look for lenses that were designed for higher end cameras, with better glass, that may not fit the 37mm filter threads of the A1U/HC1 out of the box. All you have to do is attach an adaptor (step up) ring to use a better lens. The disadvantage of using bigger high-end lenses is that the filter threads are much larger which means you have to pay more for the filters.

I've read many discussions here speaking positively about the Sony VCL-HG0737Y but this lens has a few shortcomings. For one, the lens doesn't have threads on the lens barrel to allow you to attach filters, etc., so if you purchase this lens, you would have to purchase a lens hood which allows you to attach filters to the hood itself. The Cavision LH77 Lens hood is made for the Sony VCL-HG0737Y lens, and allows you to attach 82mm filters to the inside of the lens hood.

I use a Raynox HD-7000PRO High Definition 0.7X Wide Angle Conversion Lens instead of the Sony VCL-HG0737Y 37mm 0.7x Wide Angle Conversion Lens for a number of reasons. First of all, the Raynox lens has superior glass and was designed for high-end cameras. The Sony lens is also a good lens, but has more aberration at the edges when zoomed to it's widest angle, and more red and green color shift than the Raynox lens.

The Raynox HD-7000PRO High Definition 0.7X Wideangle Conversion Lens requires the use of an 37 to 58 mm adaptor ring because it was made for 58mm lenses and designed for use with 1/3 inch ccds such as the VX2000/2100, PD-170/150, etc. It uses 82mm filters which cost more, but if you want to play, you've got to pay.

You can get a lens hood for this lens too. The Cavision LH100PW 3x3 Rubber Lens Hood for Wide Angle Lenses can be used with the Ranox HD-7000Pro Lens. You will also have to buy a step down adaptor ring ($10.00) to use this hood with the Ranox lens. Cavision also makes a French Flag MBF-3 for this lens hood which helps in outdoor shoots and also acts as a lens cover... Good Stuff!

In my humble opinion, the Raynox HD-7000PRO is a superior lens and costs the same as the Sony but requires a step up ring which costs another 6 to 8 bucks.

I don't have the same filtering problems you do since I use a wide angle Cavision 4x5.65" matt box system on 15mm rails with both my Z1U and A1U. This is an expensive solution ($800.00 plus with accessories and side flaps) for attaching filters but is the only way to get the most out of both of cameras (especially outdoors in bright sun) since matt boxes provide lots of light control and you can choose filters from the pro world of 4x4" and 4x5.65" filters. However, since both camcorders use the same matt box system, I get more bang for my buck. I will use the A1U mainly for second unit work and will frequently shoot outdoors where matt boxes and filtering systems are a must (the A1U/HC1 has more problems in low light situations than the Z1U). Also, in available light situations indoors, the A1U/HC1 has more problems with filters since filters cut light levels down a bit and the A1U can use all the help it can get in available light. Indoors, the A1U definitely needs more light. More light, less video noise.

When I use the matt box with my Z1U, I insert the AR85-72 Conical Adapter Ring into the ARR1385 Rubber Adapter Ring in the matt box so it will fit on the Z1U lens. When I use the matt box with the A1U, I remove the AR85-72 Conical Adapter Ring and slip the A1U with the Raynox High Definition 0.7X Wideangle Conversion Lens (85mm lens o.d.) installed, directly into the matt box.

I also use the Cavision dual hand grips and shoulder pads with this system so I don't need the Spiderbrace that so many here rave about. However I do use a Spiderbrace with whichever camera isn't fitted with the matt box system, at the time. That would be the Z1U, in most cases, since I use the Z1U as the first unit camera (mainly indoors, but outdoors too if the second unit isn't using the matt box).

I don't like the Spiderbrace nearly as much as the Cavision shoulder mount system because the Spiderbrace is a little flimsy and the rubber they put on the abs plastic pipes to hide the ugly white pipes they use to make the thing (you can buy all the parts to make a Spiderbrace at Home Depot for 8 bucks or less) is too thick, and hard to attach accessories to, unless you go to the auto store and buy radiator hose clamps (YUK!) to attach accessories. The Spiderbrace front handles are also a little on the short side and angled too far out and away from you so it is difficult to attach a Lanc remote to the handle and still grip the handle. The Spiderbrace also has a feeble attachment system with thumb nuts from Home Depot, again, to mount the camera. The camera loosens up on the Spiderbrace and can swivel on its mount because it doesn't have a guide pin.

I still use it, though, because it was cheap. The Spiderbrace and HC1/A1U will probably be the number one combination for Hi-Def Porn Shooters, because it is very light, easy to handle, and cheap. But since I don't shoot porn, and mostly use tripods and dollies instead, I plan to buy another Cavision shoulder mount system to replace my Spiderbrace. The Cavision system attaches to a tripod with the handles attached so you can go from shoulder to tripod in a snap.

As a matter of fact, I also use the Cavision RPSHC - SPACER FOR SONY A1U / HC1 instead of the DeMaagd Accessories HC1-SHIM because the DeMaagd shim shifts the camera too far off center, too the right, in an attempt to accomodate bigger tripods. The Cavision shim is better for me because it works with high-end tripods, and also positions the A1U/HC1 tripod mount closer to the centerline to mount on pro rail systems for matt boxes etc. The DeMaagd HC1-SHIM is great and is priced right (actually the Cavision RPSHC shim is the same price as the HC1-SHIM, $25.00) but the HC1-SHIM can not be used with rails.

I did buy the DeMaagd Accessories HC1-SHIM and it works great on the Spiderbrace and my tripod but I don't need two shims to use with only one A1U. When I got the A1U, I didn't think it would work with the Cavision 4x5.65 matt box system, and like you, was thinking about how to solve my the filtering problems with a wide angle lens. I discovered that the A1U would work with my matt box, quite by accident. When I got the Raynox lens and discovered that the lens o.d. was 86mm, I knew it would work on the Cavision matt box if I could find a shim that would allow the A1U to work with my matt box rails, and let me remove the tapes without taking the matt box system apart. After digging around a little on the web, I discovered that Cavision also makes a shim that allows the A1U/HC1 to be used with their rail systems (who'd a thought). Since I already had the matt box system for my Z1U, I ordered the Cavision RPSHC shim and tried using my matt box with my A1U. It worked great!

On another note: I'm planning to sell my Sony Z1U so I can buy a Canon XL-H1. My Cavision matt box system works on the Canon XL-H1 too so the matt box turns out to be a great investment and will be around long after all the first generation HDV camcorders have bit the dust.

You can obtain more information about the Raynox lens I use at this link:
http://raynox.co.jp/english/video/hdrhc1/index.htm

For samples of video shot on the HC1, with this and other Raynox lenses, visit this link: http://raynox.co.jp/comparison/video/comp_hdrhc1.htm

You can buy the Raynox lens at B&H Photo. Visit this link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

For more info on the Cavision LH100PW 3x3" LENS HOOD FOR WIDE ANGLE LENSES, visit this link: http://www.cavision.com/lenshoods/LH100W.htm

You can buy the Cavision LH100PW 3x3" LENS HOOD at B&H Photo. Visit this link:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

For more info on the Cavision MBF-3 3x3" FRENCH FLAP for the 3x3 Lens Hood, visit this link: http://www.cavision.com/matteboxes/more/MBF3.htm

You can buy the Cavision MBF-3 3x3" FRENCH FLAP for the 3x3 Lens Hood at B&H Photo. Visit this link:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

If you want to use the Cavision LH77 Lens hood so you can use filters with the Sony VCLHG0737Y 0.7x Wide Angle Converter Lens, visit this link for more info: http://www.cavision.com/lenshoods/LH77.htm

Century Optics also makes at least two Wide Angle Conversion Lenses that should be considered. Both of these solutions have filter threads on the lens so you can attach filters. Visit these 2 links for info on other Wide Angle Solutions for you HC1:

http://www.centuryoptics.com/product...x_wa/7x_wa.htm
http://www.centuryoptics.com/product...65xhr_37mm.htm


You can get information on glass filters at the following links:
http://www.cavision.com/filters/cavision.htm
http://www.centuryoptics.com/products/filters/index.htm.

For more info on the Cavision RPSHC SPACER FOR SONY A1U / HC1 camcorders, visit this link:
http://www.cavision.com/rods/A1Uspacer.htm

For more info on the DeMaagd Accessories HC1-SHIM FOR SONY A1U / HC1 camcorders, visit this link: http://dm-accessories.com/HC1-SHIM.php


I plan to start a new thread called Dave's Custom A1U or something along those lines to show people that there are, indeed, good solutions out there for serious shooters, other than those that have been discussed so far on this board. I plan to take some photos of my setup and upload them on my server so others can see them.

--Dave

Last edited by Dave F. Nelson; April 13th, 2006 at 05:33 PM.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 05:24 PM   #3
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Ugh, Dave, what a blow to my two most recent purchases: Sony Y wideangle lens and the DeMaagd HC1-shim adaptor. And also the the Spiderbrace 2 I just got a few weeks earlier. But, I still feel all these items I got are great.

True, the Spiderbrace has a crappy threading system, but I haven't experience camera swiveling yet. When do you expect this to happen? As far as the PVC pipes go...my friend fell directly from about 3 feet in the air on the brace and it didn't break.

The DeMaagd spacer does put the camera off center a bit, but I don't find it a huge problem when using my Spiderbrace. The powder coating on the other hand seems a little weak and easily scratchable. It came with a few dings in fact.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 06:54 PM   #4
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Spiderbrace 2 swivels due to lack of guide pin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
Ugh, Dave, what a blow to my two most recent purchases: Sony Y wideangle lens and the DeMaagd HC1-shim adaptor. And also the the Spiderbrace 2 I just got a few weeks earlier. But, I still feel all these items I got are great.

True, the Spiderbrace has a crappy threading system, but I haven't experience camera swiveling yet. When do you expect this to happen? As far as the PVC pipes go...my friend fell directly from about 3 feet in the air on the brace and it didn't break.

The DeMaagd spacer does put the camera off center a bit, but I don't find it a huge problem when using my Spiderbrace. The powder coating on the other hand seems a little weak and easily scratchable. It came with a few dings in fact.
All your purchases were good choices and the right ones for your needs. I would suggest, however, that you get the Cavision LH77 lens hood so you can use filters with your wide angle lens.

My Z1U loosens up after moving about because it is heavier than the A1U. I don't like to turn the screw too tight, just-in-case, if you know what I mean. I haven't used the A1U much on the Spiderbrace 2 yet but I'm sure it will loosen up under normal movements just like the Z1U.

The more you move around, the more likely it is to loosen up. That's why I brought it up. Porn Shooters are always on the move with the camera, and this is where it will cause the biggest problem. A guide pin would fix this problem.

The other reason I mention this is because Porn shooters represent a huge consumer base for camcorders. As a matter of fact, they may, in the end, determine who wins the HD-DVD wars between Sony and the DVD Forum. The system they choose could put a nail in the coffin of Blue-ray just like it did for the Betamax tape format.

Porn producers chose VHS over Beta to ship their product. The beta just didn't have enough length (run-time) in SP mode for the porn product.

And believe it or not, Sony counts on their business because Porn guys buy lots of cameras and DVDs... I don't have the statistics but I would guess that Porn represents at least 50% if all the DVDs shipped in the world.

Big money!

Like I said in my earlier post, I shoot on dolly's and tripods most of the time so it is not a big concern to me, but I do shoot run and gun enough that I am getting rid of my Spiderbrace and getting some more Cavision rails and shoulder pads instead. That way there's no messing around when I go from the shoulder to the tripod. The camera has to be removed from the Spiderbrace to put it on a tripod. With the Cavision shoulder system, you can just screw the tripod slide plate to the bottom of the Cavision setup permanently, and then slip the rig on the tripod in a snap.

There is no best product for everyone. There are only choices depending upon your needs and requirements.

You made choices that were good for you.

--Dave
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Old April 13th, 2006, 07:48 PM   #5
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Well, I couldn't care less about shooting porn, but I do care about the Spiderbrace loosening up. How would one fix that problem when it arises? Obviously, a camera that shakes when you move causes unsteady footage as well as the threat of the camera simply unthreading and falling off and becoming damaged. This is a big concern to me, and so, I would like to check out the Cavision shoulder mount. Could you provide a direct link? I didn't see it in your list of links that you posted.

I'm also considering the Cavision Shim as it seems to offer all the advantages of the DeMaagd shim and then some, with none of the disadvantages of the DeMaagd shim. And at the same price...I really wish I had known about this just a few days earlier - I wouldn't have ordered the DeMaagd shim at all had I known it had so many faults and there was a better, same price solution with more features such as being able to be used with rails and being more centered.

Money is tight for me, especially with no steady income, so it kinda sucks that I didn't do enough research. I had thought with all the ravings about the DeMaagd shim and the Sony Y lens and Spiderbrace, I had made good choices, but apparently not. I suppose the Y lens is still good as I don't notice distortion at all even at the edges and at the different zoom settings, but the shim and Spiderbrace are a bit depressing.

Oh well, live and learn. I'd like to check out the Cavision shoulder mount if you could provide a link. How big and cumbersome is it in comparison to the Spiderbrace 2, and how much does it cost?
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Old April 13th, 2006, 08:13 PM   #6
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Cavision Shoulder Pad System

The Cavision Shoulder Pad System is available in different configurations. It is less bulky than the Spiderbrace, but a good deal more expensive, in any configuration. The benefit to me is that you can also mount a matt box on it and quickly mount or dismount it from a tripod with the handles and shoulder pads on the system. It can be purchased in different configurations and can cost up to $300 to $400. You can buy the pieces at B&H Photo, other pro dealers, or directly from Cavision. You can also purchase a Cavision lanc remote handle for the system, although I don't think I would buy their remote.

The handles can also have extensions if you prefer. Also the length of the rods can be different for different sized cameras. The rods are carbon fiber and aren't cheap.

This is the link to the Cavision Shoulder Mount system: http://www.cavision.com/rods/RS1580.htm

This is a link to a system much like the one I use with my Z1U and A1U. The difference is that my system does not use a follow focus and does not use 4x4 bellows but uses the 4x5.65 wide angle hard shade instead. Visit this link to see a system configured similarly to mine: http://www.cavision.com/pictures/SonyHDV/RS1580_1.htm

I will upload some photos that of my system and provide links to it soon.
Also, the best way to deal with Cavision is to call them. They accept orders over the phone and are very helpful.

--Dave

Last edited by Dave F. Nelson; April 13th, 2006 at 09:13 PM.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 08:37 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info, Dave. The Cavision shoulder system looks very compact and attractive. Seems to have great functionality and durability as well, much better than the Spiderbrace. At $300-400, I think that's a reasonable price. I'll probably get it when I have more income. Until then, I'll keep using the Spiderbrace, which I do really enjoy right now, despite its bulkiness. When the screws start to give though...I don't know, I guess I'll have to figure something out then or sell it.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 10:36 AM   #8
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Wide Angle Conversion Lens Problem

I have recently purchased a Sony HVR-HD 1000 camera. I like that it is very easy to use, and set up. So, overall, I have no complaints. However, I have a digital high definition 0.5X wide angle lens with macro. I shot some footage with it, and ran into a problem. Any time I zoomed all the way out, I got this halo effect around the outside of the frame. Basically, the extreme corners of the frame were black, but they were rounded, almost as if it was the beginnings of a tunnel effect. When I zoomed in just a little, this went away. I did make the adjustment for wide angle within the camera settings before I started shooting. It was disappointing that this happened. Especially, because I could not tell it happened until I viewed the footage later on my computer. This effect didn't show up in the viewfinder or LCD at the time of shooting. What could this be, and what should I do?
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Old April 10th, 2009, 12:54 PM   #9
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This is called vignetting, and it will happen any time you put something in front of a lens, whether it is a filter, a step ring, or an add-on lens. How much it happens depends on which device you add. Essentially you are adding a tunnel the cam has to look through.

There's nothing you can do about it other than try out different lenses to see which vignette the least.... it just is.

You didn't see it when you were shooting because the VF and LCD don't show you the entire frame, so as to replicate the average TV and how much it cuts off the edges. Your PC does show you the whole frame. Some cams, like the Z1, have a setting called Allscan which does enable you to see the whole frame, but the HD1000 isn't one of them.

The "adjustment" for wide angle really only affects Steadyshot, which is of limited value anyway. It doesn't really affect framing as such.

The good news is this vignetting will not likely be visible on a regular TV set. Even modern LCDs and Plasmas, although there is no need for overscan, actually do cut the edges off a little.

Mods -- duplicate post in three other forums. Can you merge?

Last edited by Adam Gold; April 10th, 2009 at 02:14 PM.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 01:54 PM   #10
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Wide Angle Lens response to Adam Gold

Adam,
Thank you very, very much. I really appreciate the information. Someone else suggested it was the lens hood. Initially, I thought that might be it also. So I tried shooting without the lens hood, saw that the vignette effect was still happening, and eliminated that as the reason. I apologize for posting this 4 times. I am totally new to this kind of forum, and was confused about what I was doing. I will try to merge this when I get a chance. Thanks again, very much... (Ben) Bernard R. Mochan
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Old April 10th, 2009, 02:08 PM   #11
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Don't worry about merging -- you can't anyway. The mods will handle if they think it is necessary.

Glad I could help.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 03:42 PM   #12
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A cheap lens will often exhibit vignette problems - one of the OTHER reasons to buy better glass - the big one being that the cheap lenses really suck all the definition out of "high definition", whatever their labels may claim...

You get what you pay for and life's too short for cheap glass. Other than when using telephoto lenses, never seen a proper quality WA cause vignette...
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Old April 15th, 2009, 06:23 PM   #13
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I'm using the Raynox HD5000 (0.5x) with a 38mm adapter ring. No viginetting. You will get a very slight amount of barrel distortion at the edges - but I'm guessing that's par for the course at this magnification.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 11:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene Gajewski View Post
I'm using the Raynox HD5000 (0.5x)You will get a very slight amount of barrel distortion at the edges - but I'm guessing that's par for the course at this magnification.
You call it 'very slight' Gene but I'd rate it more than that and it sure offends me - especially if you're into architectural photography (and this includes almost anything shot indoors, from a den to a cathedral).

To eliminate it you have to use partial zoom-through aspherical lenses. My 0.52x gives no barrel distortion on the Z1.

tom.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 11:02 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
You call it 'very slight' Gene but I'd rate it more than that and it sure offends me - especially if you're into architectural photography (and this includes almost anything shot indoors, from a den to a cathedral).

To eliminate it you have to use partial zoom-through aspherical lenses. My 0.52x gives no barrel distortion on the Z1.

tom.
You didn't say who makes your adapter and how much it costs.
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