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Old December 24th, 2007, 04:58 AM   #16
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Full moon comparisition

Here's a sample from yesterday. Was out shooting the moon who was almost full this evening.
There are 3 sequences, first and last is with Canon 300mm f4.0, aperture at f11.
The middle sequence is shoot with the 20x HD lens at full telephotoend, aperture 8.6.
Camcorder Canon XLH1 at 1080i50, 1/50, gain -3. The sequences is of an average length of 10 minutes each and speeded in post.

In the clear and cold weather I have just a few miles from Oslo and a little higher up, it's amazing to view how sharp the moon surface is, even with the 300mm ~ 2160mm 35mm equivalent!

This short sample also show how much more photographic enlargement (details of the moon surface) you get using ef-lenses compared with the stock lens.
My advise will be to use an adequate ef-lens instead of any 1.4/2.0 extender toghether with the stock lens. My opinion is that extenders soften the image more than ef-lenses.

Link to the sample:
http://www.video-film.no/snutter/fullmoon.wmv (11.4 MB) Please download before viewing!
Sorry only wmv available this time!
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Old December 24th, 2007, 02:16 PM   #17
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Good Afternoon,

No mention of the canon 100-400. I( purchased this lens and have been very satisfied with it on my xl2. No it is not as sharp as a prime, Zooms never are.

However, I shoot mostly birds and a zoom offers the flexability of easier composition and the ability to find the subject more readily without an exterior sight.

Truth be known: the 100 to 400 is at its very best up to about 325mm. I shot plenty at 400 and I would like it to be a tad crisper to be honest.

Seldom do I really need the full 3000 mm reach of the 400. also keeping it dead steady is no easy feat and it also requires a rail of some sort and a heavy duty tripod. ( I got an older f series miller head on a manfrotto 525 set of legs, it works but i still need to be careful!)

An aquaintence has the big mama 50 to 500 sigma. He sold his canon and swears the sigma is clearer. I have not had it beside mine to compare, but, but I trust his opinion.

FD lenses. I have a non lens adapter for canop fd lenses. I have several of them. It was using these lenses that led me to purchase the ef adapter and move onto the L series lenses. It was not that they were poor, but rather i know that the L series lense offer more quality and who would not go there if the funds arre avai9lable.
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Old December 25th, 2007, 12:10 AM   #18
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Dale,
The 100-400mm was my favorite on the XL-1s, but its lack of sharpness at 400mm really shows on the XL-H1, so I have quit using it for the time being.

My current favorite is the 70-200mm f2.8L, but it is obviously somewhat lacking in power by comparison. I have been using the 300mmF4 and 500mmF4 for long shots, but the 500mmF4 is too bulky and there is the fixed power issue with both. The 300mmF4 is better than the 100-400 at full zoom, but it is not in the league of the normal lens or the 70-200mm. In fact I don't think any of the EOS telephotos equal the normal XL-h1 lens, or at least they don't beat it.

I have found that some judicious tweaking of levels and sharpness in post can make many lackluster shots with the big lenses look better. My brother currently has my 100-400. I quit using it in the spring and have not edited much of the footage shot before that time yet, so I am not certain if this will improve it greatly at full zoom or not.
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Last edited by Willard Hill; December 25th, 2007 at 12:10 AM. Reason: composition
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Old December 26th, 2007, 12:47 PM   #19
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Will,

Curiously, is the h1 still substantially better with the 100-400 than the xl2 is with the 100-400??

Also, can an xl2 adapter for my fd lenses go onto the h1??
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Old December 26th, 2007, 04:07 PM   #20
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I've recently joined the world of far reaching video, and like Meryem suggests, I don't expect I'll ever not want more..

It seems there are a lot of setups using the XL--- series Canon cameras. I'm setting up a JVC and while I'm completely new to all this (haven't played with color settings, detail, etc. etc. - YET) I do have a couple of raw Moon frame grabs to show at least the minimum of what this combination can produce.

Interestingly, Per, I believe we both shot the very same moon on the very same night. Must be a Norwegian thing...

Half Moon - Nikon 80-200 ED @ 200mm

Full Moon - Nikon 300 ED @ 300mm

Sunrise - Nikon 28-80 ED @ 28mm
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Old December 26th, 2007, 10:55 PM   #21
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Dale,

"Curiously, is the h1 still substantially better with the 100-400 than the xl2 is with the 100-400??"

I can't give a certain answer as I used the XL-1s, but the h1 is substantially better than the XL-1s at somewhat less than full zoom. It has that blistering high definition look, but at some point it loses it and from then on looks like very good standard definition. I would guess that 300mm or slightly more is the point where it changes from the high definition look. My lens is on loan to my brother so I can't test it at the moment, but I intend to pursue this further when I get it back and come up with a better answer.

"Also, can an xl2 adapter for my fd lenses go onto the h1??"

Again I don't know from personal experience, but I am almost certain it would as the EF adapter works exactly the same way on either camera.

I bought the H1 very reluctantly because of the high price in relation to the xl-1s and xl-2. I do this as a hobby but I must say I have never been sorry. The footage from this camera is simply stunning when shot right. It s' main downfall other than price is the difficulty in focusing it accurately with the big lenses as the color viewfinder is hard to use. I use the fu-1000 b&w finder in cold weather to eliminate the strobing and smear and find that it is easier to focus. A slight miss in focus is much more disastrous in high def. than in standard def. It takes very little error to degrade the image.
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Old December 27th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #22
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Will,

thanks for the response!!

Heck I have enough trouble focusing my gl2 and xl2, particularly on flying birds!

maybe i will buy a 30 foot sailboat instead of an H1!!!!
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Old December 27th, 2007, 08:11 PM   #23
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Dale,

The sailboat would probably cause you less problems and it should have good resale value years from now!

I am not good at shooting flying birds and I miss focus quite a bit on rapidly moving big game animals, but all in all I end up with quite a bit of good footage.

It definitely was simpler and cheaper in the old XL-1s days.

Visit my wildlife blog at: http://pawildlifephotographer.blogspot.com/
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Old January 15th, 2008, 05:39 AM   #24
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Even though I do own a number of SLR/DSLR zoom lenses and both 1.4 X & 1.6 X converters, I rarely use them for video.

My most-used lenses for video tend to be the Canon AF 3X zoom; the Red Eye .5 & .7 X Wide adapters; the Canon AF 20X IS zoom; the Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 IF-ED/N, and the Nikon Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 IF-ED.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 10:28 AM   #25
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Incredible photos Tony. Just incredible.

Is there a sample you can show of your 600mm in video action? And what's the story with the guy walking off the cliff?
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Old January 15th, 2008, 10:56 AM   #26
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Thank you for the kind remarks, Eric.

The 'cliff-jump' was taken in a deep canyon off-shoot section of the mighty Zambezi River gorge near the borders between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is the world's highest "free-Jump" and you literally throw yourself straight off the cliff face!
I was strapped to a harness and rope hanging off the edge off the cliff face to make the shots.
This was part of a 4-month tour of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa using 4WD, dug-out canoes, Microlights, Rafts etc to obtain photos for my worldwide magazine feature articles and my latest book - Globetrotter's Quest.

I'll be flying out to South Africa again next month, this time to not only take more stills shots, but also to make a new major film for the DVD series.

I don't have any footage on my four main websites, but do have some taken with the 600mm in my previous two double DVDs in the GlobetrotterWorld series.

The long Nikkors will be used quite lot in Africa, especially for wildlife, big-moons and giant-sunsets etc.

The biggest problem with the 600mm is cutting through rippling heat waves during warm weather, and in this respect the 300mm is far easier to use. However, the 600mm does allow me to get in tight to wildlife that is too far off my position, especially when filming across water.
The resulting 4500mm lens on the XL2 takes practice and patience to get stable footage...but sometimes those short clips sectioned into the main film footage can be awesome and lift the content to a higher level.
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Last edited by Tony Davies-Patrick; January 15th, 2008 at 10:59 AM. Reason: spelling correction
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Old January 15th, 2008, 11:07 AM   #27
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I agree Tony, lots of "stuff" in the way when you're shooting through half a mile of air. Moisture, heat, etc. I struggle with this while shooting surfers here at the Pacific shore. Very rare for it to be crystal clear conditions. That's what I was most curious about with respect to your 600mm. That thing must see plaque on a water buffalo's teeth from a quarter mile..

Still though, I'm with you. Once you peer through good long glass there's no turning back.
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Old March 30th, 2008, 06:30 AM   #28
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Hi Mat, guys.

I have experience with only two lenses, sigma 50-500 EX nikon fit ant canon 500/4.5 L non EF.
I use them a lot to shoot birds for the last two years (xl1s and xl2).
I was reluctant a bit to post because I don't have an answer to the question "which lens best for nature..." , actually , if I had to pick up one lens I would opt for sigma 100-300/4 EX that you own and use.

Any lens to choose from should have enough optical quality and good focusing ability , focusing should be tight and smooth with a long turn of the focusing wheel.

There are those lenses that can be attached to the camera without additional support. Few zooms (lower quality usually) that don't fit the bill, or 200mm prime lenses.
I once considered the sigma apo 70-300 but didn't even check image quality because focusing was rough, maybe someone have tried new nikon 70-300 vr ?
Any lens that fit this category would be valuable because you can very easily swap this lens with the stock lens.

The other bunch of lenses must have some kind of support.
I think that zooms wins hands down because of the nature of the media and the subject (be ready for the unexpected).
There are some instances that a prime lens can be useful as a second lens.

On the film era two of the converted slr lenses to be used for nature films where Canon 50-300/4.5 L (1.8kg) and 150-600/5.6 L (3.5kg).
Current lenses to be considered (longer than 200mm), are:
Canon 100-400 L
Sigma EX 100-300/4
Sigma EX 50-500
and I think there is also a 200-400/4 from nikon.

Never used the Canon 100-400 L ,but I am sure it is the most popular for the task. It is a push pull zoom that can deliver great results but suffers from sample variation problem.

Sigma 100-300/4 according to reviews on slr lens tests has great IQ one that rivals prime lenses at that range and works great even with TC, never used that one either.

The Sigma 50-500 EX is a lens I used a lot for almost two years it has some good qualities for the task ,but only yesterday I compared its resolution to the Canon 500/4.5 L.
The focusing on this lens is great better even than the prime, perfect for follow focus. Contrast is also great, and CA non existent.
As for resolution (my own non scientific tests) shows that on the best apertures this lens loose nothing to the prime lens on all focal lengths up to 420mm. On 480mm (I think it is the true maximum focal length) quality drops considerably. (nonetheless I like the canon image better)
Overall good performer and if you go only up to 420mm a very good alternative.

The canon 500/4.5 is great lens. One obvious advantage over the zoom lens is that it performs better on windy conditions.
adding a 1.4XTC (700mm) the lens loose some of the crispness but is still very sharp and much better than the Sigma 50-500 EX on the 500mm end.

Hope that helps the discussion .

To get the most out of your lens, be sure (I am sure that you know this) to stable the camera-lens combo perfectly on the tripod and get yourself a good sighting device.
As mentioned on previous posts I think focusing is a pitfall.

Last. Yesterday I spent an hour on testing the equipment (I think it was well spent), I found that if I have done this test from the beginning some of my past footage would have been better.
I actually found which aperture gave better IQ on each focal length, I thought that there is a difference between consecutive apertures but not so pronounced. This is a diffraction issue an its behavior is different than on slr cameras!!
Few observations...
On both lenses f11 was unacceptable, 420mm on the sigma gave excellent performance on f/8 but was terrible on f/5.6 or f/11 and the Canon 700mm performance best on f/11 f/22.

Attachments
Yellowhammer - Canon 500mm f8
Teal - canon 700mm f8
20$bill - canon 500 f/5.6 20m away

Sassi
Attached Thumbnails
Long lens for wildlife - Your thoughts and reviews !!??-image0.jpg   Long lens for wildlife - Your thoughts and reviews !!??-image6.jpg  

Long lens for wildlife - Your thoughts and reviews !!??-20-.jpg  
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Old March 30th, 2008, 11:05 AM   #29
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Very interesting reading sassi !! Many thanks for this. I have to say I do think the 100-300/f4 is a great lens although I do try and back off from the last 30mm as the image does seem to degrade there as well !
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Old March 30th, 2008, 04:01 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassi Haham View Post
...and the Canon 700mm performance best on f/11 f/22.
Sassi,
thanks for your excellent review about your lenses! Are you sure about your findings regarding what I have quoted here?
Even if you use a 1.4 extender how could such a small aperture be the best!? My findings regarding the 500mm f4.5 is that it is sharpest between f7.3-f11.

Also to maintain the best and sharpest aera, I've using different grades of ND's. Shutter speed normally is 1/50 (PAL), so ND is very important to adjust the amount of light to hit the ccd. ND 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 is my most used set for the ef-lenses.
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