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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old May 13th, 2005, 08:43 PM   #1
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Best Set Up?

I used to use the old consumer digital camera (JVC) but I just moved up to the big boys and bought a Sony DSR-PD170. Have two lens - 1. Wide Conversion 2. Telephoto

I'm using it to record dance recitals for my dance studio and want to know the best lens to use in conjunction with whether or not to use wide mode or not. Can some please educate me with all of this?

Much appreciated!
Thanks!
Karyn
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Old May 13th, 2005, 09:40 PM   #2
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In general, you never want to use an auxiliary lens unless you need its feature, wide or tele. Otherwise you want to use the prime lens to obtain the best possible picture quality.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 11:33 PM   #3
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So what's the point of having these two lens' ??? I mean for what I'm going to use the PD170 for that is.

Karyn
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Old May 14th, 2005, 02:04 AM   #4
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If you have enough room, you won't have the need for the lenses. If you ever have to shoot in a short room, you will like the Wide, if you ever have to shoot from the bleachers, you will like the tele.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 06:47 AM   #5
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Hey Karyn, welcome to DVinfo! Just trying to understand your situation a little... Since you are unsure why you'd need the wide and telephoto adaptors, why did you purchase them? Were they part of a package of some sort?

What make and model are these lenses? Do you have any sense of what their quality is? My personal experience is that the Sony lenses are quite good: the PD-170 was originally bundled with their wide angle adaptor but not a telephoto. Together the two Sony lenses may have added as much as $600 to the cost of your equipment, which is a lot of money for something you very well may not need at the present time for your specific application.

On the other hand, if they are cheap low quality glass from some no-name company then whatever they cost was just money wasted because they will seriously degrade the quality of your image.

As Mike pointed out, there are very legitimate needs for both a wide and telephoto adaptor lens. Aside from the practical aspect of filming in tight places, a wide angle lens changes the perspective of your shots and can be used to create a certain style. A telephoto can let you get shots that would never be possible otherwise... I use one so I can still get closeups when filming performances from over 100 feet away. For these kinds of shots a good tripod is essential of you will end up with useless, shaky footage though.

But just as a general rule, try to measure your purchases and if you're uncertain of the need for something then don't buy it! Otherwise you may end up with expensive equipment that sees little or no use, or you'll have some cheap accessories that don't have the quality to be useful.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 03:41 PM   #6
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Karyn,

Welcome to DVInfo.net!

One of the great things here is that different people have different styles, and you will have the benefit of considering them all in determining which style works best for you.

The main purpose of a zoom lens is to frame the shot. I find that with a high-quality wide-angle adapter attached I have maximum flexibility. I have not shot yet with the PD170/wide-angle, as I just moved from a GL2 to the PD170. With the GL2/wide-angle I never noticed any loss of quality. And I even innercut GL2 footage with and without the wide-angle -- always looked great!

So for me, I like to keep the wide-angle on the camera most of the time -- it's my default lens setup. The combination of the zoom lens and wide-angle give me what I want most of the time. Now it may be that since the PD170 zoom is only 12x, whereas the GL2 was 20x, that I will have to modify my technique.

In your case, with dance recitals, it may depend on where the camera is located. With the wide-angle you will be able to get much closed to the stage and still cover the entire stage. At the same time you can zoom in for a close-up when needed.

If you need or want to place the camera relatively far from the stage (like at the back of the room), then you may find the telephoto will best meet your needs.

If the quality of your wide-angle and telephoto adapters are good, then you will have a very flexible shooting system when combined with the 12x zoom of the PD170. The best thing to do is experiment. Try shooting rehearsals with different combinations of lens adapters and camera location. Find out which gives you the most flexibility for this specific shoot, and which gives you the quality and look you want.

And don't forget about lighting. While the PD170 is best in its class for low light performance, you will in general get better quality footage with good lighting. Stage lighting may or may not be the best for acquiring video. Since it's your dance studio, you can choose the lighting setup that best serves both the stage and the video.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

Best Regards,
Pete
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Old May 14th, 2005, 08:04 PM   #7
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We were shooting performance w/5 cameras, and non of them had any lenses on. Footage turned out good, but it would be better if frontstage camera had wide angle and back wall camera had telephoto...
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