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Old January 19th, 2003, 04:32 PM   #1
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16:9 on a 1 chip camcorder?

Hi,

I'm wondering if this lens will work on an Optura Pi, DV852, or any other sub $1,000 camcorder.

Century Optics
DS-1609-37 16:9 Widescreen Adapter Lens
37mm (Screw Mount)

US $319.00 at B&H Photo
Michael Wisniewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2003, 10:57 PM   #2
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I am currently shooting 16:9 on an Optura Pi using the in camera anamorphic mode.

The Century Optics 37mm adapter is in my B&H wish list.

I would love to see test footage comparing in-camera 16:9 vs the Century Optics anamorphic.

One advantage to the adapter, besides the (presumably) greater resolution, is the the wider angle of view. Is it full zoom thru?
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Old February 13th, 2003, 03:52 PM   #3
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Mikey: Yes. Any 1/4" camera with a 37mm screw-in thread mount will accept that adaptor with good results.

Tom, a couple of things: the in-camera "16:9" Mode is not anamorphic, it is electronically interpolated, rather than being accomplished *optically* with an anamorphic lens/ adaptor. I wouldn't use in-camera electronically-interpolated 16:9 from ANY brand of camera if the end result needed to be displayed full-screen broadcast. The only type of in-camera electronic 16:9 I would use is the kind produced by a camera utilizing "true 16:9 CCD's", rather than just stretching/ distorting the image electronically from 4:3 CCD's. It's just too soft otherwise, regardless of camera brand or model. To clarify, often times some shooters will use electronically-interpolated in-camera 16:9 if their video is only for web streaming or small frame size playback. Important Filtration consideration: since encoding compression and electronic 16:9 usually softens the image detail a bit, don't use any on-camera diffusion if you are shooting a project under this scenario - your image will be TOO soft with all three things combined.

The Century Optics 16:9 Anamorphic adaptors do not necessarily give you an increased field of view, that is, they are not *wide-angle adaptors* - the wider field of view you refer to is accomplished by using a wider focal length - which is usually the norm when shooting for a wider frame.

One cool new product created by Century Optics is the new LCD Anamorphic Magnifier, which *anamorphically* corrects the 16:9 image being displayed on a 4:3 LCD so that you can view it as an unsqueezed 16:9 image off the LCD while you are shooting. This is currently only available for the GL1/2 and other camcorders with a 2" flip-out LCD panel that do not display a corrected 16:9 image. Perhaps we will see Century Optics create one of these for the larger flip-out LCD panel of the older Optura PI??? hmmmmmmm...

- don
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Old February 13th, 2003, 09:07 PM   #4
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>>the in-camera "16:9" Mode is not anamorphic, it is electronically interpolated, rather than being accomplished *optically* with an anamorphic lens/ adaptor.

Well the image is tall and skinny, which is what I meant to say.

>>I wouldn't use in-camera electronically-interpolated 16:9 from ANY brand of camera if the end result needed to be displayed full-screen broadcast.

By full-screen, do you mean 4:3? If so, yes, I wouldn't use 16:9 but stay with the native 4:3.

>>It's just too soft otherwise, regardless of camera brand or model.

I want the best image I can get on the finished DVD given my budget constraints. (And they are tight, as you may imagine, since I am using a $1200 consumer camera.) But I shoot theatricals - the stage is wide, the people rarely taller than 6 foot. 4:3 gives me a lot of fine resolution devoted to the blank front of the stage and the light racks overhead. I much prefer the look of the letterboxed 16:9.

>>The Century Optics 16:9 Anamorphic adaptors do not necessarily give you an increased field of view.

The adapter can convert 4:3 to 16:9 by either taking in a wider view horizontally, or a smaller view vertically. My understanding is that these lenses use a section of a vertical cylinder, and hence widen the view horizontally by 33%. Am I wrong?

Given my equipment, there are three ways to get 16:9 footage:
- Shoot and protect 4:3.
- Use in-camera 16:9 mode (from what I have read, slightly better because the DV compression has more information to work with).
- Use an optical anamorphic lens (theoretically best, but more lens surfaces involved).

Does anyone have a comparison footage of these three methods?
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Old February 13th, 2003, 10:47 PM   #5
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>>>>the in-camera "16:9" Mode is not anamorphic, it is electronically interpolated, rather than being accomplished *optically* with an anamorphic lens/ adaptor.

>>Well the image is tall and skinny, which is what I meant to say.

- Yes! I like the way I look in uncorrected 16:9,,, makes me look tall and skinny! :-D

>>>>I wouldn't use in-camera electronically-interpolated 16:9 from ANY brand of camera if the end result needed to be displayed full-screen broadcast.

>>By full-screen, do you mean 4:3? If so, yes, I wouldn't use >>16:9 but stay with the native 4:3.

- Well, yes and no,,, I am referring to *full-screen* 4:3 broadcast - meaning the image being displayed at a full 720x480 (640x480) rather than 320x240 or 160x120. My point is that IF your final end result will be played/ presented/ streamed out at 320x240, then go ahead and use electronic 16:9 - scaling down the image will somewhat make up for the loss of detail/ sharpness.

I'm not one to say "you can't do that" all too easily,,, if it works for you, then perhaps that is all that matters. However, from my own experiences and my own personal tastes, I would only do 16:9 anamorphically -or- using real, true 16:9 CCD's.

>>>>It's just too soft otherwise, regardless of camera brand or model.

>>I want the best image I can get on the finished DVD given my since I am using a $1200 consumer camera.) But I shoot theatricals - the stage is wide, the people rarely taller than 6 foot. 4:3 gives me a lot of fine resolution devoted to the blank front of the stage and the light racks overhead. I much prefer the look of the letterboxed 16:9.

- OK, so you will be purposing your video out to DVD - that implies more or less full screen 4:3 with a 16:9 letterbox mask, correct? Without knowing more about your style of shooting, whether or not you are doing one take or many, whether or not you are setup on a static tripod or handheld (I'm assuming that you are on a tripod) and assuming that more often than not you are framed wide to allow for spontaneous movement with the cast,,, best case scenario in your current situation with the equipment that you are currently using would seem to be to pick up the Century anamorphic adaptor and monitor the live signal via the S-Video out with a Sony field monitor capable of displaying 16:9 such as a Sony PVM-8045Q. If you do not have the means for using this setup, then shoot 4:3 and frame for 16:9, still monitoring your signal with an external monitor (use the best monitor you can get, JVC is a good affordable solution for field monitors over the more expensive and better quality Sony units). Phew, that was a long sentence! Now, place that monitor as close to your camera and within the same line of sight as your eyes looking through the lens (so you don't have to keep turning your head to look at a monitor), take some masking tape and mask off the 4:3 monitor to show only a 16:9 image and do it that way.

Also, since your Optura PI is equipped with a true Progressive-Scan CCD, shoot in Progressive Scan. I like the look of the PI's Progressive Scan.

I'm assuming that you have a lot of light - that will help.

>>>>Does anyone have a comparison footage of these three methods?

- Good question... maybe something will surface soon? :o)

- don
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Old February 14th, 2003, 11:14 AM   #6
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Thanks!

I'll put the field monitor at the top of my "to buy" list. Certainly exposure and focus are difficult to manage just using the 3.5" LCD panel.
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