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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old June 16th, 2005, 01:02 PM   #1
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Telephoto lens suggestions for VX 2100

I'm being drawn closer and closer to buying the VX 2100 for my event (mostly weddings) business. My only concern is the 12X zoom. I currently use a Canon GL-2 and frequently need most or all of its 20X capability. What are my best options?
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Old June 16th, 2005, 03:58 PM   #2
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Ken

I use the PD170 for weddings and find the 12x fullfills my requirments, you might try to get a bit nearer but I have never had a problem.

Useing a tele- converter in my opinion is not recommended you lose low light capabilitys and it adds to weight of the camera and iam sure theres more.

Just my 2pence worth.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 08:16 AM   #3
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Don't get hooked on the Panasonic DVX100 then. It's 10x zoom peters out at 45 mm (as against the Sony's 72 mm), and on a two week shoot in Turkey I really missed the telephoto compression of the Sony zoom.

tom.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 10:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Thomas
Ken

I use the PD170 for weddings and find the 12x fullfills my requirments, you might try to get a bit nearer but I have never had a problem.

Useing a tele- converter in my opinion is not recommended you lose low light capabilitys and it adds to weight of the camera and iam sure theres more.

Just my 2pence worth.

Thanks for your input, Ian. I suspected tele-converters created more problems than they solved (my initial concern was that they probably also affect the wide-angle shot as well). But, since I've never used them, my suspicions were just that. Now, I feel they're well-founded. Appreciate it.

Ken
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Old June 17th, 2005, 11:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
Don't get hooked on the Panasonic DVX100 then. It's 10x zoom peters out at 45 mm (as against the Sony's 72 mm), and on a two week shoot in Turkey I really missed the telephoto compression of the Sony zoom.

tom.
I think 12x is about as lean a diet as I can stomach. I have to work in some pretty cavernous churches, many of which routinely ban videographers to the balcony. If I went with a Panasonic, it would have to be the DVC 30 with its more generous 16x (not to mention its more affordable price). I guess I've been spoiled, as well, with the GL-2's 20x. Maybe I should just stay with it. Haven't had any problems but a lot of others apparently have.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 10:33 PM   #6
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I use the Sony HCL-HG1758 telex lens with 1.7X magnification, about 75% of the time on my VX2100. It provides a total of 20.4X magnification. I'd be lost without it, in my long-range wildlife shooting and wouldn't have bought the 12X VX2100, if this telex hadn't been available. I see no significant reduction of light with it, unless things are very dim. In such a case, I wouldn't have the telex on, anyway. It causes vignetting below 40% of the full zoom point. Since it has a 58mm mounting thread, it exactly matches the VX2100 and other similar Sony models. This camcorder is such a featherweight, I hardly notice the telex and I don't experience nearly as much front-heaviness as with many of my other, larger cameras. Such factors are all relative to what you're accustomed to handling. The Canon VL and XL series models are the ones that are very front-heavy. I use a shoulder-mount with all my cameras that eliminates weight-balance problems, even with this type of Canon.

I considered the Century Precision Optics 2X telex, until I read several remarks here about some problems with focus throughout the whole zoom range, when using it. I don't know if these complaints were valid and the extra magnification it gives, would be nice, if it did work properly.

The Sony 1.7X telex has given me tight focus and no distortion at any point of the zoom range. One other nice thing is that the autofocus works very well with it attached. It's not cheap, but I can use it on two of my other camcorders and it's indispensable on my largest digital still camera. On the rare occasions I still use my Canon L-1, I mount it with a 72-58mm step-down ring and get a total of 51X optical magnification, when the 2X Canon extender is also mounted under the main lens. It vignettes in the bottom 65% of the zoom range, but once in awhile, that extra-long reach is just what I need. If you used it on the end of an XL2 in the same way, you'd get 54.4X optical magnification. This would be with the 20X basic lens and the 1.6X extender underneath. From my experience with the L-1, I'd predict that the XL2 would give top image quality, even with these two extenders combined.

Century PO also makes a relatively large 1.6X telex lens (more expensive), that has a 76mm mounting thread, primarily for the XL cameras (works well with a Panasonic DVX100). It comes with a 72-76mm step-up ring and causes vignetting only near the bottom of the zoom range on an XL model. You might also use it with a 58-76mm step-up ring (if that exists) on a VX2100, but I couldn't tell you how much vignetting it would cause. The Canon extenders that fit under a VL or XL lens, cause no vignetting, focus or distortion problems.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 06:32 PM   #7
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Correction on Telex Thread Size

One of the Century Precision Optics Telex lenses I mentioned above, is the VS-16TC-75 and has a 75mm (not 76mm) mounting thread. It would use a 72-75mm step-up ring to fit on the end of a Canon VL or XL lens. Last time I checked, it sold direct from the manufacturer for $895.

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Old July 12th, 2005, 08:35 AM   #8
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Great information here. I have a related question. I shoot with a VX2100 and need at least a 2X, preferrably a 3X teleconverter for a specific shot for a project I'm working on. I likely won't need it for anything else, so I'm reluctant to shell out for the Century Optics 2X, the Sony 1.7X or anything more high-dollar. Low light won't be a problem, and vignetting should not come into play as I will only need the maximum magnification for the shot. Has anyone used the Tokina 3X? Though a 2X will be OK, a 3X will work better for my shot, and the Tokina is the only 3X that I have found that will fit the VX2100. It runs $75-$80. Wondering if I can get by with this one.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 08:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Robinson
Great information here. I have a related question. I shoot with a VX2100 and need at least a 2X, preferrably a 3X teleconverter for a specific shot for a project I'm working on. I likely won't need it for anything else, so I'm reluctant to shell out for the Century Optics 2X, the Sony 1.7X or anything more high-dollar. Low light won't be a problem, and vignetting should not come into play as I will only need the maximum magnification for the shot. Has anyone used the Tokina 3X? Though a 2X will be OK, a 3X will work better for my shot, and the Tokina is the only 3X that I have found that will fit the VX2100. It runs $75-$80. Wondering if I can get by with this one.
If I don't say this, several other people will. Your need would best be served by finding a place that will rent you a Canon GL2 or an XL2 for that one shot of which you speak. Both have 20X on their standard lenses. A 2X telex on the end of the GL2 or a 1.6X telex that goes under the lens on the XL2, should give you the magnification and image quality you want. A place that rents these camcorders may have these telex lenses at a small extra cost.

If you try to squeeze too much magnification out of the 12X lens on the VX2100, you won't be happy with the quality. Lower cost 3X telex lenses will give poor results. I have a 3.5X telex with a long, narrow barrel that I consider to be worthless. It makes a Hi-8 or DV recording made with it, look like VHS (at best). About 17 years ago, I paid $170. for a long 2.5X Raynox telex, that worked quite well for long shots. I lost it in a moment of carelessness and I don't see anything like it in the current Raynox lineup.
I've never heard much that was good about other telexes that had this much X power.

The only alternative I will recommend for you is the Raynox 2.2X telex, the DCR-2020PRO. I bought it mailorder from a dealer in NYC that was listed on the Raynox website. It cost $200. plus $10. shipping. It's both wide and long-barreled. I put it on my VX2100 with the furnished 58-62mm step-up ring and it delivers 26.4X total. Its image quality is good, but it is so long (about 5 inches), that it vignettes throughout most of the zoom range, except the highest 15%. I almost never use mine, but it might be the best for your one-shot need, if you don't want to rent another camera. I also use this Raynox on my digital still camera with good long-range results. Drop by my house and I'll loan you mine (probably the most expensive alternative, unless you're in the neighborhood already).

There's also the possibility of digiscoping, using a spotting scope with a special attachment. Look under Search on the main DV Info Forum and on the Internet for details about this.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 01:04 AM   #10
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Steve,

Thanks for the reply, I appreciate the info! The Raynox 2.2X looks like a good solution.

Thanks again!
Dan
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Old July 16th, 2005, 02:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald
I use the Sony HCL-HG1758 telex lens with 1.7X magnification, about 75% of the time on my VX2100...
Steve, did you mean VCL-HG1758, or is there actually an HCL which is different? I find only the VCL at B&H
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Old July 16th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Johnson
...I guess I've been spoiled, as well, with the GL-2's 20x. Maybe I should just stay with it. Haven't had any problems but a lot of others apparently have...
Ken, I assume that you're referring to the tape transport (REMOVE CASSETTE) problem. I have a GL2 too. I was about to post what I estimate our odds are, but I think I'll make it a new post in the GL2 forum. I'll call it "Odds of GL2 Remove Cassette Problem?"
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Old July 16th, 2005, 05:30 PM   #13
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Definitely a Sony VCL-HG1758

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Retread
Steve, did you mean VCL-HG1758, or is there actually an HCL which is different? I find only the VCL at B&H
-----------------------------------------

Whatdaya know------I looked again and I have a VCL-HG1758. I guess it was too far from my video cabinet to my computer to remember the right number.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 01:56 PM   #14
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FYI, my Raynox 2.2X lens arrived this week and I've had an opportunity to test it. I posted a review on the StormTrack forums:

http://stormtrack.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7455

I also did some searching and found a lens called the CrystalVue LX, which is an 8X converter that runs about $200. It is essentially a spotting scope modified with camera lens mount threads. That would achieve a 96X zoom, which would be incredible. For $200 I wouldn't expect great results, though. However, I've seen some web sites with sample images from the LX that seem to look fine. I'm going to try finding a camera store that carries them so I can test it out before considering it.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 02:05 AM   #15
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Thanks for the review, Dan. I had never realized that there was a 37mm mounting thread inside this Raynox's outer 62mm thread. It's a good thing this telex is lightweight for its size, as it might otherwise put a dangerous strain on the internal lens mounts on this camera. The VX2100 is a solidly-built model for its size, but I wouldn't want to find out its limits, the hard way. I'd be very careful how I swung a smaller minicam around with this thing on the end. When I got my Canon A-1 in 1989, on the first day, I popped one of the main internal mounts when I put a 2X telex on the end and was a bit too heavy-handed when I screwed it in place. Canon fixed it without charge. I was disgusted with myself 2 years later when I did the same thing again, even though I thought I was being careful. I took the camera apart and replaced those fragile mounts with my own triple-strength version of how they should have been made. I had to do the same thing to the flimsy Record/Pause button mechanism on my L-1.

That's a nice selection of comparison shots with the VX2100 and Raynox 2X telex. However, the substantial urban air pollution dulled the image quality.
The more magnification you have, the worse the pollution will seem to be.
I have taken some full-zoom shots with this same camera/lens combo in clear mountain air and could see no loss of sharpness, compared to using the basic lens only. If you study the optical-sharpness specifications for this telex on Raynox's website, you can see it far exceeds the ability of SD image-sensors to resolve a picture. This lens is recommended for digital and film camera use, as well as for video. I believe Raynox has given honest figures for their products' performance. The reality is, that there's few times and places where the air is pristine. This is one of the main drawbacks of using high-magnification lenses.
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