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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old May 19th, 2006, 03:02 PM   #121
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Thanks Bob abd Boyd!!! It was all in the screw. I turned it out and it worked.

Last Q. I notice I can not zoom all the way....correct?

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Old May 19th, 2006, 03:27 PM   #122
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there are 2 models, the latest is zoom through (means you can use the zoom) and the other one is not (it become very blurry at about 40% of zoom).
my opinion is these adapters are performing poorly regarding useability and price, but sometime it is the only way to get full res 16:9 (before the HDV).
now i got 2 hdv camera, i would not try my 16:9 adapter again.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 09:45 PM   #123
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Look at the front of your 16:9 lens. Inside the rim and sitting onto the glass is an inner washer, very thin. If this has some cut-outs at where the corners of the camera image would be, likely it is a later lens, which may zoom through better than the earlier one.

You will need to pay closer attention to critical focussing and use manual focus more. Also experiment with the manual exposure settings on your camcorder. There was an article on these lenses which is now extinct. It described the Optex 16:9 and Century 16:9 products and came down in favour of the Optex, but this aparently has been discontinued.

Optex were going to bring out a new design but I understand Optex may since have gone to the happy hunting ground in the corporate heaven which leaves Century as the only player.

The writer also sugested that for best performance, the camcorder aperture should be set to f5.6 and corrections for exposure managed with the ND filter or shutter speed where possible. This apparently yields best optical performance from this family of 1/3" camcorders.

You may also find that on full wide-angle, your camera picks up the left frame edge or the corners as viewed on a computer monitor or underscanning monitor. This may be more apparent on a PAL version of the camera.

I don't think you will see the edge crop in the TV safe-area but it is worth minding if you are going to DVD distribution as some modern displays do not waste as much of the image as a CRT television does. Make it a practice to be partially zoomed in, say about 15%.

Don't fret too much about lost wide-angle. The 16:9 has already given you some back and you will really notice little difference. The little cut-outs in the edge of the lens front were Century's efforts to address the corner cropping.

I dismantled mine and filed out about 0.5mm from inside the left edge and corners of the plastic spacer between the two glass elements. Unless you are a lens tech, this is not recommended and the faint-hearted should stay away from this vandalism.

There is also a local glass to metal contact in the rear of the lens which introduces a risk for chipping or impact damage to the rear element if the lens is bumped against a hard object or dropped.

If operating your camera in a highly agile environment where the lens may get bumped, I strongly recommend wrapping a piece of hard foam or leather around it. I also strongly recommend taking the lens from the camera when shipping or transporting.

I had a need to chase that little bit extra of wide-angle performance but have found that in practical terms you really don't need it enough to justify the bother and risk of damaging the lens.

The VX2000/PD150/VX2100/PD170 camcorder families also have a trait. The optical centre is offset to the right as viewed which introduces an edge or corner crop to the left side as viewed.

So if you see this, it is not a defect in the 16:9 but a side-effect of the combination you can't do much about except again to zoom in about 15%.

The zoom-in also gets rid of a little of the barrel distortion which is an optical signature of 16:9 adaptors in wide-angle.

My personal preference is to use the camera at about 15 to 30% zoom-in and frame by moving the tripod or walking closer if handholding.

When setting up the stretch, you need to be careful to avoid using a doorframe or window frame in corner of the image. You need a right-angle target fair in centre of the image.

The barrel distortion I mentioned will cause you to adjust incorrectly if you use the edges or corners of your image as a reference to the right angle target you re adjusting to.

There have been some contentions as to the effectivess of these lenses. With careful attention to setup, best practices with the camera itself such as 0db video gain, exposures if in error preferably on the side of under-exposure, the results are worthwhile.

Apparently, the BBC in the UK originally commissioned these things as a special order, so they can't be wrong.

I find that in a letterbox presentation format, the image from the PD150 with 16:9 adaptor compares very favourably with the HDRFX1 when intercut as MiniDV. You need to de-interlace with good software otherwise artifacts from squashing the image to letterbox format become apparent.

Like all good things, the best results come from familiarity and plenty of experimentation and practice.
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Old May 20th, 2006, 12:55 PM   #124
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Nice response.............it's appreciated.

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Old June 20th, 2007, 06:58 AM   #125
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Century Precision Optics 16:9 Anamorphic Adapter

Hi,

I recently purchased one of these adapters for my Sony TRV-950E, and I'm wondering if I've come up against a limitation of the lens, or I'm not using it properly.

Basically, I attach the lens after first aligning the viewfinder against a horizontal marker (eg kitchen tiles, mantlepiece). I then rotate the lens until the image is an aligned widescreen of the original image.

The trouble is that when shooting, if I rotate the camera left and right - ie on the plane through the lens - the image seems to skew like a parallelogram. With this lens, am I unable to rotate the camera (such as to create a canted frame)? Or do you think this is a problem with my setup?

If my setup is right, it seems to me that this lens is useless when not used with a tripod.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Kind regards,
Nick.
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Old June 20th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #126
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Before you read furthur, the viewed image you see will be stretched vertically and cannot be adjusted electronically in camera to appear normal. So any roll of the camera clockwise or anticlockwise will yield an accentuated effect.

This should be regarded as normal and should go away once you stretch the image in your editing system.

The final image of the 16:9 combination once stretched will exhibit barrel distortion, - curving of straight lines as they approach edge of frame. This is also a normal artifact for this type of lens.

Ignore if my comment below is not appropriate. Only take any notice if you are having trouble getting the image square.

When you adjust for squareness the adaptor lens image against a vertical reference and a horizontal reference, are you by any chance viewing your straight lines across any but the centre of frame to do this?

It will be off otherwise. Trying to reference against something like the corner of a doorframe in the corner of the image frame likewise won't work satisfactorily.

There is another little issue with the PD150 camcorder family and that is the lens centre axis is not coincident with the viewed image centre. but slightly offset to the right as viewed.

Viewing your vertical reference through a notional centre point about 1/16th of a frame to right of viewed centre will put you closer to the optical centre. For practical purposes you don't have to be this extreme or fussy.

You may also find that you need to be zoomed in about 10% from normal wide for the edges of the 16:9 adaptor not to vignette the left corners or the left frame edge. You won't see it in the viewfinder but it will be there in underscan or image in the computer editor.

This is normal for the 2001 Century 16:9 - PD150 combination, the PAL version at least. I can't speak for the NTSC version. Because the 16:9 confers a slightly wider view, in practical terms you do not lose field-of-view.

The 16:9 might not be the easiest thing you have ever used but the improved result is worth the effort. You may need to de-interlace your footage in post to avoid interlace artifacts when rescaling for a letterbox image.

Last edited by Bob Hart; June 20th, 2007 at 10:09 AM. Reason: error
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Old June 20th, 2007, 11:25 PM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Poteri View Post
Hi,

The trouble is that when shooting, if I rotate the camera left and right - ie on the plane through the lens - the image seems to skew like a parallelogram. With this lens, am I unable to rotate the camera (such as to create a canted frame)? Or do you think this is a problem with my setup?
Unless your front rotating lense element on the Century Optics is so loose as to freely rotate when you 'dutch tilt' the camera, you shouldn't have a problem when you rotate the cam. Despite the rotation, the lens should stay fixed on the cam lense to continue to compress the frame exactly on the horizontal axis (relative to the image the cam is recording).

A little confusing, but I'll give my anamorphic lens and PD170P a whirl tonight just to see. Maybe the the image stabiliser is being affected by the anamorphic lense?
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Old June 24th, 2007, 10:51 PM   #128
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Century Optics 1.33x Anamorphic Focusable Converter

Hi Guys,
I notice some others are using one of these lenses, I opted for the full zoom through DS-WS13-SB unit. There is another one, I think you are using which is cheaper, but has some problems with keeping focus on full telephoto and also some vignetting in the picture. I bought this from B&H Photo & Video, they sent this thing in 3 days from New York USA to Australia, unbelievable. To get one here, I would have paid 2 and a half times more. Anyway, there is no information how to actually line it up, I understand it has to sit vertically. Do you sit the camera on a tripod and then line it up with a straight surface? I am guessing I will need to mark this with a white pen so I know where it lines up to the camera body each time? I have not yet tested mine, so I don't know what sort of image you get if you tilt the camera say on a monopod or rig. I know with mine you have a screw which tightens the lens on so it won't move at all once in place and aligned correctly.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 12:57 AM   #129
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Jamie.

Each time you dismount the 16:9 DS-1609-SB from the camera you have to re-adjust the inner and lock it with the knurled knob. Because of the mounting system which is intended to deal with mounting metal to plastic with minimal injury, it won't go on the same way twice.

How it goes with the DS-WS13-SB, I don't know.

You can get fairly close in a hurry with the DS-1609-SB by this method.

Go manual on the camera focus,

Focus close.

Loosen the knob, turn the inner piece to find vertical stretch,

Turn the inner piece anti-clockwise as viewed through camera, until you just pick up the corner vignette on the left lower corner side edge in frame and mark the barrel with a chinagraph.

Then turn it clockwise until you just pick up the corner vignette in the left upper corner side edge and mark the barrel again.

Adjust to a centre point between the two reference marks and lock off.

The PD150 camera family has an offset optical centre axis, therefore don't use top left and right corners together or botton left and right corners together, because you will adjust a skew into the image.

You could use top right and bottom right corners but using those on the left gives you slightly better accuracy because those corners are furthur from the optical centre axis.

Someone with a better practice than mine will hopefully offer it here.

Last edited by Bob Hart; June 25th, 2007 at 01:00 AM. Reason: error
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Old June 25th, 2007, 01:37 AM   #130
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Nice bit of kit Jamie. I use the 16:9 DS-1609-SB Bob is referring to on my PD-170P. TBO I line-up the element by sight! I look down into the lens initially, then adjust looking through the viewfinder, lined with with some straight edges, just settling on a medium position between obvious image skew/distortion...rough but works!

I have printed Bob's guide and will keep it as reference.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 02:00 AM   #131
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It's a pity you didn't buy your TRV950 re-badged as a PDX10, Nick. That way you'd have 16:9 at the flick of a switch, and avoid all the hassles of an added anamorphic.

Your viewfinder images are squashed horizontally when the anamorphic's in place, as this cylindrical lens is a wide angle converter in the horiziontal plane only. As such you get differing DoFs vertically and horizontally and also have to accept distorted out of focus highlights.

Then there's the vignetting problem that means you lose some of your 12x zoom, and if the TRV950 needs anything, it is in dire need of more wide-angle coverage.

So you're a brave man to continue. I still think you should find yourself a PDX10, sell the 950 and breathe a sigh of relief. Composing images with tall thin people getting out of elliptical wheeled cars does not add to the ease of video making in my view.

tom.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 02:17 AM   #132
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Marking the Barrel

With mine, you attach it to the camera with the yellow spots together (inner ring closer to back of camera end, outer toward the mic end). There is a distance ring, which seems useless as it dosen't change the view at all on this. I don't get a vignette as this one is designed not to do that. Then you turn the inner around until it physically hits a wall, then turn the outer clockwise until it feel firm and you hear the squelch of the ring hit its limit. Then I can turn the outside piece (the lens) around wherever I need to. The locking screw will hold it in place once I am comfortable where I need to put it. Excuse my ignorance, but I have never heard of a chinagraph. You are right as for the DS-WS13-SB unit, I wouldn't have a clue, as they seem like different animals with what you are explaining to me. Not sure if I can follow what you are trying to do. With mine I can mark the inner and outer piece where they are fixed, as they don't move. The lens piece can be marked to line up with that once I find the optimal position and then I never need to try and line it up again, I simply line up the marks. It will always be at the same point.
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Old November 1st, 2007, 07:30 AM   #133
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16:9 anamorphic adapters

I just bought a used Z1U to go with my VX2100, with the hope that its low-light capabilities would be able to handle my typical filming environment (I film dog agility, typically indoors and I can't add lights). But in my initial playing around with it, I'm not sure if the Z1U is going to make the grade (although I love everything else about it), so I'm debating about my other options. An XDCAM EX is way out of my budget.

I'm mostly interested in getting good widescreen at this point, so one option is getting a Century Optics anamorphic adapter for my VX2100 (or possibly two). So for those of you using an anamorphic adapter on a VX2100/PD170/etc.:

1) Are you satisfied enough with it to not be longing for an HD camera?

2) How much does the adapter cut down on sensitivity? I often film at 1/100, f2.4, gain +6, so I'm nervous about possibly losing half-a-stop or a full-stop.

3) Do you see any vignetting in the corners at f2.4 (or more than you see without the adapter)?

4) I think there are several different models, and the top one is outrageously expensive. Are there any less expensive lenses that might suit my needs?

As always, thanks for the advice!

-Terence
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Old November 1st, 2007, 07:57 AM   #134
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I suggest you try the 16:9 faux widescreen mode on your VX first - I used to use the same thing on a PD-170, and it was quite usable, compared to the cost, weight, loss of sensitivity, distortion and inconvenience of an add-on anamorphic adapter.

Note, this mode does produce "correct" anamorphic footage, and NOT letterboxed footage (despite the appearance of the letterbox in the viewfinder and screen for framing purposes).

There is a slight loss in vertical resolution, but it's small, so: try it first, before you commit to a decision.
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Old November 1st, 2007, 08:48 AM   #135
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Terence, while the VX/PD faux widescreen does work ok, you have to ask yourself, how will the content be viewed.
If it's being viewed on an SD screen then it will appear fine. But if it's being viewed on a large HD set then the footage will appear very soft, and not look too great.
Overal,l the anamorphic adapters do work pretty darn well. The real expensive Century Optics adapter is worth the price if you need zoom through capability. You will lose about a stop of exposure with it, but your image won't soften nearly as much as the faux widescreen mode on the PD/VX cameras.
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