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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 05:56 PM   #1
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Widescreen lens?

Hello,

Although 4:3 is acceptable for me at the moment, I am wondering if there's a way to make my VX2100 a good 16:9 cam by using the widescreen lens converter? I really like the camera and wouldn't want to switch it right now by any means. Can you recommend a good 16:9 lens and will the camera be fully functional? I've heard that some zoom positions may cause troubles in the footage.

Thanks!
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 07:16 PM   #2
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Greg,

There are lots of threads on the subject of you do a Search. Then, if you need clarification, there are plenty of people ready to help.
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 08:31 AM   #3
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Gi Georg,

Personally I don't think it makes any sense to do this with a VX-2100 - I came to that conclusion 3 years ago when I needed to shoot 16:9 on my VX-2000. I ended up buying a PDX-10 instead of spending the money on a conversion lens.

If you want full zoom thru capability then you would need this lens, but it costs as much as your camera is worth, so I don't think it would be a good investment:

http://www.schneideroptics.com/Ecomm...D=1072&IID=878

There's a less expensive version which has limitations - you can't zoom all the way through - and it's still very expensive:

http://www.schneideroptics.com/Ecomm...D=1072&IID=873

Unless you can find one of these cheaply in the used market, I think it would be a much better strategy to sell your VX-2100 and buy an FX1 which would give you native 16:9, much better controls and high definition capability.

Mike is correct, this has been discussed frequently in the past (way in the past, since most people don't want to go this route anymore due to the availability of reasonably priced native 16:9 cameras today). Try a search in this forum for "century anamorphic" and see what you find...
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Old July 24th, 2006, 03:06 AM   #4
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Have you tried shooting with your (PAL, I presume) VX using the in-built 16:9 mode Georg?

So you shoot 16:9 and when shown on a 4:3 TV it's obviously letterboxed, and shown at the full resolution the VX is capable of giving. Unfortunately, the sharpening/edge enhancement used in 16:9 mode seems to be distinct from that controllable in the custom preset menu, so you're pretty much stuck with it.

That said, the BBC's tests suggest that at least the PAL version of the VX2000 family does a pretty decent job of electronic 16:9. People who have complained mainly seem to be objecting to the NTSC version. Why there should be a difference between the two standards with respect to this I don't know, but there does seems to be, and oddly enough it apparently goes in the other direction for Canon camcorders.

Since electronic 16:9 is full-raster 16:9, not letterboxed, if you just play back a DV tape shot in 16:9 mode onto a 4:3 television, it will fill the screen and look stretched vertically. However, if you generate a 16:9 DVD and play that back through a correctly configured DVD player, it will letterbox it for you on the fly.

When you shoot in electronic 16:9 mode, the camera starts with its usual
4:3 image, which has 288 scan lines in each PAL field. It then discards scan lines from the top and bottom to leave a 16:9 rectangle with just 216 scan lines. Finally it electronically regenerates a full 288 scan lines from those 216, in effect "stretching" the picture vertically to fill the full height of the digital raster.

(The numbers above are for PAL, but change 288 to 240 and 216 to 360 and
you have the equivalent description for NTSC.)

Except for the loss of scan lines from the top and bottom of the frame, this is just what you'd get shooting with an anamorphic lens or 16:9 chips. There are no black letterbox bars stored with the picture.

If you create a 16:9 DVD and play it back on a 4:3 set, the DVD player itself generates a letterboxed image on the fly by in essence reversing the electronic 16:9 process. That is, it takes the 288 scan lines of each field and electronically squashes them down into a 216-scan-line partial field, then adds additional black scan lines at the top and bottom to fill in the full 288-line raster.

If on the other hand your DVD player is connected to a 16:9 set, a 16:9
DVD should play back with no conversion at all in the player or the television.

(Incidentally, since DVD players are often set up by default for a 4:3
television, in practice it's not unusual for a 16:9 DVD to undergo
letterboxing in the player and then de-letterboxing in the television,
which obviously throws away resolution. If you have a 16:9 television,
you should go through your DVD player's menus to look for the setting
for television screen shape and make sure it's right.)

tom, with thanks to D Gary grady.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 08:12 AM   #5
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I've argued in favor of the NTSC VX2000's built in widescreen before, but the more I look at the footage I've shot with it, the less pleased I am. The apparent resolution is more than acceptable to my eyes, but I get an ugly black ring around moving objects for some reason (perhaps the nondefeatable edge enhancement Tom mentions), and it quickly becomes bothersome. Depends on what you're shooting, I suppose, as the effect isn't so bad at computer/internet resolutions. Video that will be projected, however, or simply viewed on a large screen, would no doubt accentuate said artifacts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
People who have complained mainly seem to be objecting to the NTSC version. Why there should be a difference between the two standards with respect to this I don't know...
Isn't it because of the difference in resolution? As you point out, PAL starts with 288 lines in each field, where NTSC only has 240. The scaling is therefore more pronounced, and the quality suffers, no?
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Old July 28th, 2006, 07:34 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the long and informative replies! Was very interesting to read. Now it really seems like getting the widescreen lens is pretty pointless. I will try to get the Z1 or FX1 when it becomes absolutely necessary, but currently I can live with the VX very well. I do have the PAL version so I believe the widescreen is a bit better here. By the way, I know that King Kong production diaries at www.kongisking.net were filmed using several PD170s in built-in 16:9 mode and they were taped by professionals. The diaries are currently being sold on DVDs too.
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Old July 29th, 2006, 08:16 AM   #7
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If you look for long enough, you'll be able to obtain a 16x9 adapter at an affordable price. I paid 150 for mine on eBay, in comparison to the 595 (or so) RRP over here, so I definitely got a bargain. Its the old non-zoom thru one, which should be fine for me anyway, and the price difference is enough to convince me! My only snag is, I didn't get any lens caps with it, so I've got it wrapped up all the time which is quite infuriating. I might write to Century Optics to see if I can obtain a set somehow (and the back cap for my Sony 0.7x too!)
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