Just got the Century .6x and 1.6x lenses at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old January 17th, 2006, 06:33 PM   #1
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Just got the Century .6x and 1.6x lenses

Was in the city on Sunday, so I stopped by B&H and picked up the Century VS-06WA-HDS wide angle and VS-16TC-HDS telephoto adaptor lenses for my Z1! Have been busy so I haven't really had much chance to play with them yet.

However here are a few initial thoughts. The .06x has a lot of barrell distortion, which I was aware of beforehand and I don't think will be too much of a problem for my uses which are mostly outdoor landscapes and nature. I considered their .7x full zoom through, but it was more than I wanted to spend and I really wanted to go a little wider. They also have a .8x (Sony also sells a .8x) but that really didn't seem wide enough. I like the bayonet mounts on the Century lenses - really easy to take on and off. I did some quick shots at sunset the other day and liked the wide effect. Zoomed all the way wide it's equivalent to 19.5mm lens in 35mm terms. Haven't really experimented, but looks like you can probably zoom at least halfway with this lens.

Now the 1.6x is one big, heavy, impressive looking hunk of glass. It's pretty expensive, but I wanted high quality for this lens which I'll use to shoot performances. Would have prefered a 2x but there aren't a lot of options there. One which I considered was the Raynox DCR2020 2.2x which B&H sells for $190. You would need an adaptor ring since it's a little smaller than the Z1's threads. I was just worried about all this, so I bit the bullet and got the Century instead. The quick test I did looked very nice. Zoomed in all the way it gives you the 35mm equivalent of 624mm. That will be just about perfect for the type of shots I like when shooting performances about 100 feet from the stage. The Z1 is really lacking for this sort of distant event work using the built-in lens; it needs an adaptor. You can zoom out about 50% before the 1.6x lens starts to vignette.

But I also found something else cool which doesn't seem to be on Century's website. They have a promotion for their "HDV Sunshade" which fits the .6x, .7x and 1.6x lenses by clamping to the outside rim (the lenses don't have front threads). It's really more like a mattebox and has one 4" filter slot. This seems like a really good deal on sale now for $125. You have to order this directly from Century; just placed my order today and will let you know my impressions when it arrives at the end of the week. Like I said, I don't see this on their site anywhere but here's a link from B&H (note they aren't offering the promotional price though):

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

The Century offer was supposed to expire Dec 31 but they told me it had been extended (not sure how long). They also have promotional pricing on a tray and clear filter kit. For more info on the lenses see the following:

http://www.centuryoptics.com/product...x1/hdr-fx1.htm
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
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Old January 17th, 2006, 07:57 PM   #2
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Nice Boyd. I really like Century. I've got a couple of their adapters.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 01:06 AM   #3
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Just to add for matteboxuser:
Vocas MKII Wideangele with railsupport fits on century´s 0.6 and 1.6
Formatt 400 does NOT fit neither 0.6 nor 1.6

alex
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Old January 18th, 2006, 01:10 AM   #4
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glad to hear the 1.6x is nice...most century glass is! but oh, the price!!
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Old January 19th, 2006, 09:33 AM   #5
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The lens shade just arrived, and it looks great. At first I thought it was aluminum, but looking more carefully the hood itself appears to be molded plastic attached to a metal box and mounting ring. Has a nice solid feel like you would expect from century. It clamps onto the front of the 1.6x lens, but since the .6x lens is so shallow it clamps onto the bayonet locking ring there. You would need to make or buy some sort of adaptor if you wanted to use it without a Century lens however.

I didn't get the filter tray yet, but with the .6x lens I guess you'd need to insert them from the bottom since the mike is in the way. But on the 1.6x lens it easily clears the mike.

So all things considered, I think this is a nice $125 alternative to an expensive mattebox, but my main interest was providing a sunshade to prevent flare with the wide angle lens. Here are a few quick photos:

With the .6x lens:
http://greenmist.com/hdv/mattebox/6x01.JPG
http://greenmist.com/hdv/mattebox/6x02.JPG

With the 1.6x lens:
http://greenmist.com/hdv/mattebox/16x01.JPG
http://greenmist.com/hdv/mattebox/16x02.JPG
http://greenmist.com/hdv/mattebox/16x03.JPG

Last edited by Boyd Ostroff; January 19th, 2006 at 06:29 PM. Reason: fixed a couple of errors
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Old January 19th, 2006, 09:38 PM   #6
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Looks great. Do you have any more comments on the image? I was surprised how liitle degradation there was on some recent footage shot behind the glass from within a moving automobile, quality optical elements placed in front of the cam lens would hopefully have only minimal adverse effect.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 03:29 AM   #7
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That is MAD nice!

Not to distract your thread but do you ever use for z1 for a 24p conversion? If yes what type is it(720p24, 1080p24, dvcpro50 24p)? And how do you think it looks?

I'm really interested in the z1 and that's all that's stopping me.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 07:49 AM   #8
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Tom: I don't think shooting through a windshield is really comparable to using a high quality converter lens :-) Obviously, anything you put in front of your lens is going to take something away, but good quality optics will still give nice results, and they're the only choice we have since the lens is part of the camera. I've been playing around with the lenses and will try to capture some footage this weekend and put a couple stills online.

Evan: Thanks. I haven't done any 24p conversion myself but I do have DVfilm maker which I used with my SD cameras, and I hear it does a nice job. But please start a new thread if you want to discuss those issues so we can stay on topic.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 09:08 AM   #9
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Hi Boyd
Thank you for the information and great photos. I am also in matte box search mode, so your info is much appreciated.
dkane
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 08:16 PM   #10
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Some frame grabs

Here are examples of the same scene shot with the Century .6x and 1.6x lenses. The images on this page were resized in photoshop to 960x540. Click on any of them to see the uncompressed original TIFF frame grab (from FCP). I was using a picture profile with sharpness set to 8, black stretch on and cinematone type 1.

http://www.greenmist.com/hdv/century/

BTW, here's the location this was shot from:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...9,0.040555&t=h

The abandoned factory is on an island about a mile away.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 06:06 AM   #11
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Your abandoned factory is an interesting place. But, oh, the chromatic aberration on the Century teleconverter! Seen on the LHS of your picture. I've been using an old Canon C-8 1.4 teleconverter ($50 on ebay) and the aberration I get is no worse. I can even see similar problems using the Sony wide angle converter, except that the aberation now appears on the RHS of the picture. Look carefully in shots with high contrast on the RHS. I blame the standard lens, you can see aberration when it's fully zoomed in (LHS), but you really have to look for it. Shows up with high contrast subjects.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 09:16 PM   #12
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I got the smaller Century .65 wide angle lens for my HVR-A1 a few months ago. I couldn't believe how horrible the picture looked. I don't know if it was a faulty lens, it's a bad match for the camera, or if that lens just sucks, but whatever it is, the lens is just not useable. I got the Sony lens and the picture looks fine. It's a shame because the Century lens was smaller, wider (.65 vs .7) and it was threaded for a filter. I would haved loved to be able to use it.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 08:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Corfield
Your abandoned factory is an interesting place. But, oh, the chromatic aberration on the Century teleconverter!
Are you referring to the greenish outline on the left-most telephone pole? I can see the same outline on the right-most structure, in the .tif, if I look carefully. I just want to be sure about what you refer to as color aberration.

Thanks,
Matt
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Old February 1st, 2006, 04:24 AM   #14
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Yes, the green/red fringing on the LH pole. I can also see it on the right of the picture too but not as bad. In effect it means that the edges of the picture aren't quite as sharp as the centre
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Old February 1st, 2006, 05:33 AM   #15
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Boyd,

A little post CA correction does wonders

http://s42.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=0...J06VY18OH845GL

it would have been almost perfect save for the colour scorch marks left by the sharpening halos

less sharpening = better CA correction
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