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Old March 29th, 2004, 04:28 PM   #1
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Help needed on a XL1s+mini35 purchase

Hello fellow filmmakers,

I have been waiting an opportunity to buy my own XL1s and now that time has come. I have been dreaming about 35mm type lens conversions to DV for some time now, and now that I have the plan, I need your help.

The money I can spend for a setup is about 5000 - 5500$. I am now yet sure what exactly I need (I am new to this, but learning fast) but I think basically I can go for 2 options:

One, I get a XL1s with decent accesories - like the remote focus/zoom device, a decent wide-angle lens, a good tripod, an UV filter and so on, BUT:

Two, I get a clean XL1s and use a mini35 conversion device and a 35mm type lens to aquire the awesome and great film look :)

What would your suggestions be for my case? What 35 film camera lens should I look for, which ones have the best price/look relation? What are the options for the cheapest lens adapter?

Do I need a matte box, a big follow-focus ring aswell? :)

Please help me out guys.
What would you get for 5,5k $?
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Old March 29th, 2004, 04:44 PM   #2
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5500... you're kind of stuck in xl1 territory... I got really lucky and found a mini35 for $4500... I use it with an xl1 (not s) and a nikon adapter... honestly I would suggest it... the mini35 has a phenomonal look and with some post it can approach film... HOWEVER... nikon lenses are not cheap. $200-500 each 28,35,50/55, 85,105 all 1.4-1.8 and you need a real tripod, you can't shoot handheld as easily, you need to light better, frame shots better, etc. It really makes you better. I'd suggest snagging a dvx100a. It's in your price range, shoots wonderfully, and you can get a mini35 for that later when you have made some dough...

if you go with the mini35:
XL1 off ebay (search and buy locally) $2200
mini35 (4500-6000 if you have time to look)
nikon 50mm 1.4 lens (your dop lens) $100
vivitar series 1 28-90mm 2.8 zoom (look at it as your crappy variable lense) $60
jtl everlight kit $500
serious tripd (22lb+ load) $500
total: $7860+
or
DVX100a $2700
glidecam $250
tripod $250
$3300 --- $2200 as a down for your 24p to film conversion ;)

either way I'd also recommend using an AT 835b for audio... (XLR mount needed on the XL1)
good luck!

((it can be a money suck! all this stuff not to mention the better b&w viewfinder, firestore, dolly, NLE, laptop, weird arri bits to slap on the mini35.... mmmm bits.))
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Old March 29th, 2004, 04:57 PM   #3
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thanks for the quick answer :)
if indeed the mini35 solution without a lens alone costs 6k$ that it's pretty much out of the question :) i might have 6$ max for the whole setup.

can you explain the DVX100a for me a little bit? what are the major differences, etc? I do not know that camera ;)

as for the xl1s - i've been doing some serious digging the net and I believe I can get a decent setup for 5-6k. Meaning - a decent wideangle lens, serious tripod, focus/zoom remote control, UV filter, glidecam, shouldermount, carrying bag and the works...

still about the DVX100a... what are its strong points? Does Panasonic offer a wide range of lenses for it like Canon?
What about shooting 16x9 Anamorphic video? I mean, can that be done using some sort of cheaper lens, not a huge lens conversion system?

This is kinda sad, my goal was to acquire the film look at least to some extent and not digitally. As for now, I think I'll be considering what I can get for 5-6k.

If you have any suggestions for a 5-6k good setup, please post :)

Thanks
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Old March 29th, 2004, 05:08 PM   #4
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I shot a feature 5-6 years ago (HA! still in post -- seeing my editor WED!!!) used some victor smith photofloods, a century optics x6 wa lens, a bogen manfrotto tripod, that AT835b, and a radioshack mike stand... I missed having a dolly or a steadicam. My actors were champs and my editor rocks... wish I had a dp or someone to help crew. Thank god I over did it with shot lists....

xl1 or dvx? see below. Go to the sites, google them. Find out your needs first and budget second.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19066&highlight=dvx100+xl1

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&thrċeadid=22191&highlight=dvx100+xl1
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Old March 29th, 2004, 06:50 PM   #5
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Reinis,

The DVX100 is the only prosumer camera in the $2000-$5000 range that can shoot at 24p (the same frame rate as a film camera) so you'll get the same "non-video" look as a film camera. The only advantage of the Mini35 is the shallow depth-of-field of 35mm cameras, but it's so expensive, it's just not worth it, in my opinion. If it cost $2000, then maybe, but not $6000.

The DVX100 is a fantastic camera that produces the most film-like images you can get without a Mini35. You can get a 16x9 anamorphic adapter for it for about $750 (check B & H website) so you don't lose any resolution by electronic letterboxing.

The DVX doesn't have a removable lens, like the XL1s, but you can add lenses on top of the stock 72mm Leica lens that comes with it. And as pointed ouit earlier, you can always add a Mini35 to the DVX100 later on if you get more cash.

I agree with the suggestion to go with a DVX100 for film-like images on a budget of $5000, get a Glidecam, a good tripod, a nice softbox lighting kit, a remote zoom controller, and a good external mic setup. I highly recommend going to a store that has both a DVX100 and an XL1s on display, both hooked up to professional NTSC monitors. When you see the images the DVX100 can produce by itself, you won't miss the Mini35 at all.
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Old March 29th, 2004, 07:12 PM   #6
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I'll try to avoid the whole DVX vs. XL1 issue, and instead point out: this is probably not the right time to be buying an XL1. If you can wait three weeks, many possible new camera announcements will be made at NAB. At the bare minimum we're looking at announcements on a Sony HDV camera, perhaps one or two new JVC HDV cameras, and the possibility always exists that Canon may announce a new camera.

If you were to sink $5000 into an XL1s system right now, you might really wish you had waited a few weeks. There's no guarantee that anything that gets announced will be appropriate for what you want, but if you're in no huge rush, you might be glad you waited to see what the next round will bring.
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Old March 29th, 2004, 08:44 PM   #7
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good advice... I've been waiting 4 years for an XL2.... sheeeeesh.
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Old March 29th, 2004, 08:56 PM   #8
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It should also be pointed out that most of these cameras (if not all) won't ship until the end of summer or early fall. If you can make money now with a camera outfit, then it's a good time to buy. However, if you don't having any pending jobs you might want to wait and see what develops.
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Old March 29th, 2004, 09:42 PM   #9
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Yeah, I don't normally recommend to wait, but it seems exceptionally prudent right now. Considering Canon's had a $500 rebate on the XL1 for so long, it really really seems like they should be announcing a replacement. Then, on top of that, you have the various HDV announcements... and it's only three weeks away.
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Old April 8th, 2004, 04:27 PM   #10
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Good advice to wait. I've seen the press release on the Sony High Def camera but I don't think it has 24P. Still the Panasonic AG-DVX100A is definitely a good buy. If you search in the Alternative Image Methods on the home page of this site, you will see folks building their own mini-35 adapters. A home-made adapter is definitely not as good as the P&S but it is a start if your budget only allows the DVX100. Also throw in a tripod, a cobra crane, a home made track dolly and Glidecam 4000 Pro and that $5 grand is well spent. Check Ebay for some of the stuff I mentioned here.
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