Camera choice for telephoto at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 18th, 2009, 02:57 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK
Posts: 390
Camera choice for telephoto

Hi,
I really enjoy making wildlife films, but I'm often struggling with the zoom capabilities of my current cameras - Sony FX1 and A1 - both 12X..... So I have played around with teleconverters (mid range raynox jobs) with no real joy, seem to get too much in the way of CA - i guess this would diminish with better glass. I've also got a Letus Extreme which I have used a couple of times with a 400mm FD lens, which when coupled with a 2x extender and zooming at max on the FX1, gives me a reasonable zoom, I guess around 1000mm. But then the DOF becomes pretty hard to control and the whole setup becomes as wieldy as trying to butter a bagel with a shovel. Plus the image quality does get very soft....
So i'm thinking about an upgrade, maybe selling some old kit and one of the cameras and investing a little more in some new kit that will be good to use day to day but also have the capability to reach further in HDV. Budget wise this could stretch to maybe 4,500 perhaps....

Now the options I've seen posted on this board from research seem to be:
Sony V1/Z5 with teleconverter (century optics 2x)
Canon XL H1 w/ EF adapter, and decent lenses (dont own any EF at present) -probably second hand from the price bracket I'm looking at.

I'd be grateful for any advice in this area for these or any other options....
Rob Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2009, 04:26 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Denmark
Posts: 491
Hi
I use the sony EX3 with an adapter to my nikon lenses. I use a 120-300mm Sigma lens together with the adapter. The adapter gives an magnification 5,5 wich gives me a tele with around 1500mm (I guess) But the most important thing is that the material is absolutely fantastic. The camera can record up to 60 frames - and in a 25 P project it gives a great slowmotion. Today I use this combination for almost all tele-work and my expensive broadcast camera is only used for handheld work. If I were you - I would go for the EX3 because of the interchangeble lenses and no need for teleconverters, that just dosent makes the pictures more crispy....
Bo
Bo Skelmose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2009, 10:06 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Miami, Florida
Posts: 811
Rob,
The Canon system is so versatile, that you really won't go wrong with it. Since your price range looks to be about $9000 (is that an accurate conversion), you could get the new
version of the XLH1 (I forget the actual name, but there are fewer bells and whistles, and it's only $5-6000), the EF adapter for $500 and a perfectly good 70-300mm zoom for another $600, and you're in business.
Steve Siegel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 22nd, 2009, 02:27 PM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Oppland, Norway
Posts: 1,394
Rob,
as an old Canon user from the days of XL2 and on the H1 the last 3.5 years, what I'm going to tell you may surprise you a bit.
I have been using a setup of H1 with ef-adapter and lenses like - 70-200mm f2.8, 300mm f2.8/4.0 and 500mm f4.0 for a long time with good results. But, there's a big question here, because camcorders on the marked today are starting to be tapeless with lots of handy functions.
Canon don't seem to follow up, and if I was in the situation of buying a new system today, I would definitive think of tapeless with functions like pre-record buffer and time laps and over-, undercrank.
I don't have a clue of how many times I missed the "moneyshot" because the camcorder had gone to stop and it takes approx. 3-4 seconds before it actually start recording after you hit the record button (HDV).
For wildlife, function mention here is essential IMHO!

You're also telling that you don't have any lenses yet, so you can go start with whatever system you like!

I don't want to promote for any special brand, but I will strongly advise you to think over, what's your requirements are. For wildlife I will say - system with interchangeble lenses (for long telephoto), over-, undercrank (for slowmotion and timelaps) and preferable pre-record buffer. That's my most major/important points if I had to invest in new gear today!
__________________
- Per Johan
Per Johan Naesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 22nd, 2009, 03:28 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK
Posts: 390
Guys, thanks for your responses!!

I think a lot of this choice is going to be motivated by cost - with the recent weakening of the pound and price rises, the EX3 solution is looking a little bit out of reach now...........
I have had a good think about the whole tapeless thing, and TBH although it's a bit of a pain, having to capture tapes is not something that has a detrimental effect on the way I work, so it becomes a bit of a moot point.
Going to have a look at a second hand xl h1 tomorrow, for what seems to be a good price - I'll let you know how i get on!!!
Rob Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23rd, 2009, 12:46 AM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Echuca, Victoria, Australiamate
Posts: 179
I found the built in lens to my Sony DSR-250 was a bit limiting, as in not wide enough or long enough, so I bought the top of the line wide and 2x converters... the result is the damn things just sit in the bag 99% of the time, and even though I spent serious money on them, the chromatic abberation was horrible especially with the 2x. Not only that, the 0.66x Raynox was not all that much of an improvement.

I should have learnt from my 35mm stills days, and stuck to the optics that could do the job without bolt-on bits.

In the end, I bought a DSR-570 with Fujinon lens. This gives me the 35mm equivalent of an 18 to 800mm zoom. I bought it second hand, and spent less than $11K all up. Having the aspherical glass, the pictures are razor sharp.

Ben
Ben Longden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23rd, 2009, 04:05 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 938
Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Johan Naesje View Post
You're also telling that you don't have any lenses yet, so you can go start with whatever system you like!

For wildlife I will say - system with interchangeble lenses (for long telephoto), over-, undercrank (for slowmotion and timelaps) and preferable pre-record buffer. That's my most major/important points if I had to invest in new gear today!
Per,
Do you know of any HD cam with good over/under-crank for slowmotion in particular? If it has pre-record buffer, all the better?
I enjoyed your videos of 2 swans ... it's great to see someone else tracking birdflight for a change.
Brendan Marnell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23rd, 2009, 04:40 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Oppland, Norway
Posts: 1,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell View Post
Per,
Do you know of any HD cam with good over/under-crank for slowmotion in particular? If it has pre-record buffer, all the better?
Well, the Sony EX3 has it, think Bo must chime in to tell how good this is? But the EX3 dosn't have any pre-record buffer AFAIK.
__________________
- Per Johan
Per Johan Naesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23rd, 2009, 04:58 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Miami, Florida
Posts: 811
Per,
I was filming the other day with a guy who was using a tapeless Sony camcorder. He told me that the memory cards in his unit cost $1400 each! So what do you do when one fills up? I guess the only solution is to download to tape for storage, erase the disc and start over. But what happens when you are in the field, and the disc fills? You can't just slip in a tape and keep going.
Steve Siegel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 24th, 2009, 01:02 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK
Posts: 390
Steve, have a search for MxR - using SDHC cards and kingston adapters instead of Sony SXS... pretty crazy really!!!
Looks like I may have a couple of options on an XL H1 to consider, which is nice. Really quite looking forward to it!!!
Rob Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 24th, 2009, 05:06 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Denmark
Posts: 491
I think this could have been said every month for the last 100 years: Things are going so fast now. I do not know if there is any other cameras around the corner that have all what we need right now - but there certainly is. I can only say that I am very happy about the EX3. I use it a lot, because of the great slowmotion features. Swans - taking off, landing or just flying - fantastic when recorded in 60 frames and played back in 25 frames per. second. There are other possibilities with small sony cameraes that can record a lot of frames in 3 seconds - but that reqiures a lot of work to make it usable. Some other cameraes - like "the Red" can also record a lot of frames - but it is just not very handy for wildlife shooting. Only thing is - if i should say anything negative about the EX3 is that it is very difficult to focus on any moving object on an LCD viewfinder. The Focus assist - on the EX3 and on other LCD monitors - seems only to work when there is no movement to the objects. Probably because anything that moves - dont know what it is called in english - just is not sharp enoug to trig the focus assist. Second the LCD monitors still isent fast enough.
Bo Skelmose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 25th, 2009, 02:00 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 938
It helps a lot to hear the voice of real experience.

Thank you Bo, very much.
Brendan Marnell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 25th, 2009, 02:39 AM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 3,004
Good evening,


What Bo writes of of value to be certain. thought I would share my purchase process.


when i went to buy I was not looking at initial costs as a problem. I nailed it down to an ex 3 or an xlh1 or a Red. I did a cost analysis of a red and all the necessary add ons and gear to make it viable and I was up over 20 thousand dollars (27,000 canadain). Not impossible to do but quite expensive, also requiring huge upgrades in other areas for me as well, now making things even more costly. I looked at the video clips I could round up and after realizing that tVs still only give 1980 by 1080 I started to shuffle it to the back of the pack (I also considered the learning curve on top of it).

leaving the ex 3 it was about 9000 dollars+ at least 3 memory ccards and an adapter to use my canon lenses. throw on canadian conversion (dollar had dropped), Taxes and I was looking at a huge investment to, not as much as the red to be certain and duable, still kind of steep, probably over 15000 canadian. I also did my research and read that the overcrank for slo mo was only 720 P not full hd (or at least equal to the 1080P). then there was the rolling shutter and I read all kind of mixed reviews about issues doing fast pans and such. I could not find any difitive awnser to the type of fast action footage i shoot. I did not rule it out however.

I then looked at the xlh1s and A. coming from an xl2 everything about it was familiar. I must say i have preferred sonys auto focus in camcorders to canons, but i tend to shoot manual most of the time with a fu1000 that i could put on the H1.

I researched hdv versus avchd and all that. Even some of the very expensive cams use the same propriety that hdv does. I watched some achvd and must say it did seem more compressed looking than hdv. On the computer and the large screen plasma the hdv was mighty fine and with my vision could not tell much difference from others.

anyway, in the end I opted for the xlh1A. Yes I would like slower motion, but in the same format as the rest of the footage. Yes the red would do that, but I do not know if the desparity between actual costs could warrant that for me.

by the time i got it in the door with taxes, shipping and brokerage fees I was looking at about 9000 dollars canadain at that time.


Until companys step forward to the future and take the simple lead from casio exlim cameras I will be happy with my xlh1, and the price did not choke me either.

If one shoots to cut to film , well then thats a different story. I only shoot to cut to DVD and Blu Ray.

I spent the best part of 6 months sorting this out before making the move. when i do my part it puts out awesome footage!!
__________________
DATS ALL FOLKS
Dale W. Guthormsen
Dale Guthormsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 25th, 2009, 03:59 AM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 938
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Skelmose View Post
........... I use it a lot, because of the great slowmotion features. Swans - taking off, landing or just flying - fantastic when recorded in 60 frames and played back in 25 frames per. second. ....... - if i should say anything negative about the EX3 is that it is very difficult to focus on any moving object on an LCD viewfinder. The Focus assist - on the EX3 and on other LCD monitors - seems only to work when there is no movement to the objects. Probably because anything that moves - dont know what it is called in english - just is not sharp enoug to trig the focus assist. Second the LCD monitors still isent fast enough.
This insight raises and explains the question in my mind about real slowmotion ... so, is there any HD camcorder under US$6000 that can record in 60 frames and playback in 25 frames AND has x20 zoom? That would be my camera choice for telephoto ...
Brendan Marnell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27th, 2009, 10:18 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 3,004
Brendan,

The closest I have come to this is to shoot 60 Interlaced, (In Vegas) Process as Progressive, set to interpolate fields, then go to properties and change the play rate to .5 ( personally usualy go to about.6) and that will give you as good a slo mo as you are going to get under 6000 dollars and have interchangable lenses.

If the ex3 shot 1080 while overcranked or under cranked I would have sprung the extra dollars.

times will change, we will see it in a few years. Look at the casioexlim line!! we need that at full frame size is all.

oh yea, for focus I recent purchased the smallHD 8.5 inch monitor. it is a full 1280x720 resolution, should help in focus to be sure when not doing run and gun.
__________________
DATS ALL FOLKS
Dale W. Guthormsen
Dale Guthormsen is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:34 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network