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


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Old January 6th, 2006, 10:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
hey, i would simply looooove to use the FX-1 for wildlife, but the measly zoom prevents it. so it's FX-1 for landscape work, XL2 for animals.
Well now, my VX2100 has the same 12X zoom and magnification power as the FX1 and I'm able to pull in critters just about as well as I need. I have three telex lenses, 1.4X, 1.7X and 2.2X. This gives me 26.4X magnification at the long end. By buying only the best add-ons, the image quality doesn't suffer. I've developed magician's hands for quick changes to avoid vignetting. In the dim evening light in which half of my monkey shots are taken, I wouldn't trade my VX for any Canon. Of course, the FX is a dog in dim light, but the issue here is about magnification power.
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Old January 6th, 2006, 10:43 AM   #17
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vx2100 probably is the ideal camcorder for eugene. here in bright sunny CO, i like the FX-1. you probably already know that teleconverters for the 58mm mount (on a vx2100) are much more common than the 72mm variety. it would be nice if the optics companies did something about a real set of universal 72mm teleconverters. it would make a whole lotta Z1 and FX-1 users happy....and some XL2 users, too, who could then use the canon 1.6x and a 72mm mount together. the FX-1's low light underperformance is overstated. it performs superbly in magic hour light.
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Old January 6th, 2006, 08:02 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
vx2100 probably is the ideal camcorder for Eugene. here in bright sunny CO, i like the FX-1. you probably already know that teleconverters for the 58mm mount (on a vx2100) are much more common than the 72mm variety. it would be nice if the optics companies did something about a real set of universal 72mm teleconverters. it would make a whole lotta Z1 and FX-1 users happy....and some XL2 users, too, who could then use the canon 1.6x and a 72mm mount together. the FX-1's low light underperformance is overstated. it performs superbly in magic hour light.
So, you're saying that with no more than minimally good light, the FX1 is more of a fox than a dog? You probably know about the Century Precision Optics 1.6X telex, that has either a 75mm or 76mm mount. It will fit the FX1 and the XL1/XL2 and L1/L2/LX100 Canons as well as the DVX100 and Z1, with a step-down ring. It sells for a mere $895. Some Canon users put them on the end and also the 1.6X extender under the lenses, for as much as 51.2X total magnification. You could use this CPO telex on both your FX1 and XL2. If I had these cameras, I'd buy this telex for sure-----assuming that its optical quality measures up for HDV work.

You might want to look here: http://raynox.co.jp/english/video/hdrfx1/index.htm This page shows the Raynox high-definition add-on lenses that will work with the FX1 and Z1 and the other 72mm cameras. Their DCR-1540 PRO (1.54X) model has a 340 line per mm resolution at lens center. If you poke around on other sections of their website, you can see that these lenses were originally designed for use on professional still cameras. I have their DCR-2020 PRO lens, which has a 260 line per mm rating and it is very sharp. They say you can use both of these on the FX1/Z1 with step-down rings. They minimize the vignetting problem that exists, in a disclaimer on this page, but it's much worse than they say. On my VX2100, the 2020 vignettes at any point below 85% full zoom. However, for those extra-long shots, when you don't need to pull back on the zoom, it's a gem for the price. On a tripod with the FX1 and the 2020, you could enjoy that 26.2X power or get 18.48X with the 1540 model. I paid just $200. for my 2020 from a New York distributor, as I was the first person to buy one, 20 months ago. They might be more expensive now. This lens is also very useful on my largest digital still camera. It's very light for its size and sturdiness.

By the way, we not only have more oxygen and higher Winter survival rates than you do in bolder Boulder, but last Jan. and Feb. in Eugene, I had as good a suntan as I did in July. Not much skiing right out the backdoor, however.
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Old January 6th, 2006, 08:36 PM   #19
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2 teleconverters at $895 apiece, which are not specifically designed for a 72mm mount does not sound like much of a deal. you can get a nice EF adapter and a 100-400mm L series telephoto lens for less for an XL2. seems like a much better option.

as for the FX-1, i'd prefer to wait for something designed specifically for the mount. of course, there are ways to jerry-rig mounts for almost anything. i did this myself over in this thread (http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...+teleconverter) with a 58mm century optics 2x on the FX-1, but i just don't find those half-baked options appealing. vignetting, image softening, chromatic aberrations, on and on it goes.

so until a really satisfying solution appears, or until i find a spare 9 bills for an H1--or until the BODY ONLY option appears--i'm pretty happy with the tools i have. they're pretty great tools to have!

no doubt, the FX-1 is great for certain animals. i shot a nice lizard with it over on this thread: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...t=fx-1+footage

and i plan to take it out for butterflies this spring, where it will no doubt outperform....

but if i had to shoot a mama bear and her cubs, gimme that 100-400 L series, hands down!

i lived in eugene for three years while i was in grad school, and i can't ever remember having a sun tan or anything remotely resembling it in january or february. but hey, that might have been a grad school thing, and not eugene thing at all!! lovely place, though, truly spectacular, but only if you don't mind a moldy neck.
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Old January 6th, 2006, 09:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
I lived in Eugene for 3 years when I was in grad school, and i can't ever remember having a sun tan or anything remotely resembling it in january or february. but hey, that might have been a grad school thing, and not eugene thing at all!! lovely place, though, truly spectacular, but only if you don't mind a moldy neck.
Actually, last Winter was unusual, as we were having a drought. Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is more common here during the off-season, than suntans. It's a good idea to apply a little anti-mold spray, after you shower. If you spent 3 years here, we'd probably recognize each other, as I've been all over that campus, since I was 4 years old. I've likely taken more video footage of the university and its events than anyone. I'm going to shoot a short piece on the wildlife of the campus, this Spring. With the river and the undeveloped parklands, this subject matter is almost unlimited. I assume you've been over to the old Condon School and seen as many as 25,000 Vaux's Swifts go down the big chimney. I just used a shot I got, showing a Sharp-shinned Hawk standing on the rim and doing a one-foot grab of one, as they came past. I was an Adaptive P.E. instructor there for several years and a career student before that.
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Old January 7th, 2006, 06:14 AM   #21
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VX2100 at Work: Long Distance Shooting

Right now, I'm watching a National Geographic show on PBS, featuring Ken Balcom, a researcher of Killer Whales. He's being shown using a VX2100 with a Sony 1.7X telextender. He's shooting off a tripod from a high point of land, a long ways from his subjects, out at sea.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #22
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Me too

Hi from England.

I have a similar history, though I guess I am older than you. We, (Cicada) got a second in 1988, or was it 1987, anyway, I was specialist program advisor and occasional cameraman on a C4 series. The bug bit me too, but fifteen years of advertising and stills studio photography kept me away from my passion, which of course is wildlife.

So, last year I set up using an XL2 with adapters and long lenses, all brand new with an editing package on a Mac using FCP. I had some advice, but came down upon the XL2 configuration as the most practical and qualitative for the money.

The switch to video from film is interesting to say the least. There are things that are quite disconcerting, but you have to get your head around the fact that you are not shooting the physical medium of film. I am still coming to terms with some of the differences - for instance, wasting really valuable subject time producing very sharp, but seriously moired images - apparently due to a wrong combination of frame rate 25p and aperture - see 'Canon Fires a Broadside', www.showreel.org/memberarea/article.php 23. The viewfinder has also come in for some stick, as has the standard lens - all of which is understandable to me, but the shortcomings don't represent a major drawback, at least not to start with. I quess 'super eight' had a similar depth of field to the 1/3 inch chips on the XL2, personally, after using stills medium format cameras, I couldn't wait to have the problem of getting everything in focus. However, the depth of field using a 400mm lens on an XL2 adapter = 2800mm on 35mm, is wonderful in isolating a subject. When I shot film I was using a 16mm Eclaire, which had a decent reflex finder, but with an aerial image. We mostly used 50mm Micro Nikkors close up - so not so much of a problem. On the XL2 I use a 100mm SLR Canon macro, (which is too long really), but Canon also do a genuine SLR macro lens for 1-1 and greater, which I would think better than any of the normal 35mm camera derived macro's. All these adapted SLR lenses have to be used carefully and I guess trial and error will inform you, as it has me, about the right apertures you need to use in combination with shutter speed adjustments. As I said earlier, I try to think what the camera is doing electronically when processing the physical image I am shooting - I almost always use manual settings and I keep the gain control off unless absolutely necessary. Watch out for the autofocus lens as well, make sure it's either on when you want it on, or off when you want it off. Sounds strange, but it can be annoying to lose focus when the subject moves in the frame. Pans have to be careful and well controlled, I use the Canon 'wired' control on the pan handle of my Vinten tripod. It works well, but the Canon accessory will not fit a fat pan handle straight from the box and has to be modified. The unwired remote control which Canon include is useful if you are working on a really remote subject, such as a bird's nest, It saves you touching the rig and therefore disturbing the setup.

Anyway, just a few reflections - I hope it all goes well cobber.

Rod Compton

UK

p.s look at the CANON XLH1
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Old January 14th, 2006, 08:28 AM   #23
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Rod - have you read the latest article on the H1 in Showreel? - Positive or negative vibes in the report?
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Old January 14th, 2006, 10:42 AM   #24
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Newsreel

Tony

Where can I find Newsreel is it on this site?

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Old January 14th, 2006, 02:50 PM   #25
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Sorry Rod...I meant to say the last edition of "Showreel magazine"!
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Old January 14th, 2006, 04:04 PM   #26
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Newsreel

Hi Tony

Thanks for that, I will try and find Newsreel on Sunday.

You seemed hesitant about HDV. I must admit to being very tempted to buy the XLH1, since it seems so compatible with what I already use, and being an ex stills man, image quality dominates my outlook. I think though that all the talk I have heard about compression bandwidth ratios on some of the other forums makes me slightly more cautious than I was when I bought the XL2, (which I admit was something of a leap of faith). At that time when I spoke to my pals about uncompressed footage they looked at me very strangely indeed as if it was not an issue. Now hearing what I have from some of the other forums, it obviously is an issue, but one that portable field equipment of the type we are talking about simply can't solve.

Incidentally, this evening QVC were demonstrating exactly the moire effect I was complaining about earlier. It is an inconsistent jagged effect on the moving edge of highlight areas. I wonder whether the program was live or recorded and had been broadcast because a retake was too expensive to run. Any ideas - I might float it on the tech forum to see if anyone else saw it.

Rod
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Old January 25th, 2006, 02:44 PM   #27
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Steve,

thank you for your link to Raynox, the zoom in on the ferris wheel looked sharp. I wonder how sharp it would have been if the wheel had been turning?

Any more to say about your VX2100 and wildlife in motion/action, please? and as I can't seem to find it, being a bit thick, I'd be glad to get a link to its specifications etc.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 07:08 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell
Steve,

thank you for your link to Raynox, the zoom in on the ferris wheel looked sharp. I wonder how sharp it would have been if the wheel had been turning?

Any more to say about your VX2100 and wildlife in motion/action, please? and as I can't seem to find it, being a bit thick, I'd be glad to get a link to its specifications etc.
Brendan, I've been out in wildlife areas the last two afternoons with my VX2100 and I've been getting the usual good results, especially when it gets near dark. On a foggy day Monday, I set my shutter at 1/500th and flying birds came through without much flickering in their wing action. Yesterday, in bright sun, I set it to 1/750th and switched on the ND1 filter for even better bird action. When it was right at official sunset, I was still catching usable footage, although at normal shutter and no ND filter, by this time.
Some Trumpeter Swans have been reported for the first time ever just west of here and tommorrow I hope to find them with this camcorder. My 1.7X and 2.2X telextenders will come in handy for this.

As usual, I clicked off a number of still shots onto the Memory Stick. These are very good for sending on the Internet and the VX2100 produces the best-looking 640 X 480 stills I've seen. I can capture very sharp and unblurred stills from its videotape, even though it's from interlaced footage, sometimes at normal shutter. I can't explain why it's able to do this so much better than any other camcorder I've had. All my previous models would produce recordings that only rarely would allow for a sharp still capture of a flying bird.

Since Sony isn't making or directly selling the VX2100 any longer, I assume they don't have it listed on their website. If you go to the websites of some of the online dealers, they may still have it for sale and show its specs. It isn't much different from the PD170, which is still sold by Sony. The PD170 has XLR audio inputs, does both DV and DVCam recording and has a few extra control features, which set it apart from the VX2100. There's probably some used VX2100s out there for sale, if you want to take a chance on one that way. If I needed one right now, I'd probably spend a bit extra for a new PD170, rather than buy a used VX2100. It's a shame that it's on the way out, as there's nothing to replace it, that has anything close to its low-light capabilities, which for me are very important. I hope that in a few years, they're producing HD camcorders that can pull in wildlife shots that are as good near dark, but I wonder if this will ever be possible.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 04:56 AM   #29
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Pd 170

Thank you Steve for that update on VX2100.

The specs for the PD170 make no mention of interchangeable lens so I'm wondering how useful you found the telextenders on the VX2100 and how much you'd miss them on a PD170? Or can telextenders be used without interchangeable lens facility?
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Old January 26th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell
Thank you Steve for that update on VX2100.

The specs for the PD170 make no mention of interchangeable lens so I'm wondering how useful you found the telextenders on the VX2100 and how much you'd miss them on a PD170? Or can telextenders be used without interchangeable lens facility?
Brendan, the two models have the same 12X, permanently-attached lens. You're stuck with this basic lens, but you can make the best of things with some good attachments. They have a 58mm outer filter thread. The exact same attachments can be used on both. I wouldn't go anywhere without my Sony 1.7X telextender and I use it most of the time. On certain occasions, I go with only the basic lens, when I need to zoom back for a wide shot. Even less frequently, I put on the Raynox 2.2X telex, for an extra-long shot. They both cause vignetting, if you pull back to wider angles, but this isn't a problem if you remember where those points are. The 1.7X starts vignetting at about 45% of full zoom and the 2.2X vignettes at any point below 85% full zoom. I use both these telexes effectively on my largest digital still camera.

The VX2100 and the PD170 can use both thread-mounted and bayonet-mounted lens accessories. The excellent lens hood that comes with them is bayonet-mounted. Some accessories can be thread mounted, while the bayonet-mounted hood is in place. The Sony 1.7X telex can be ordered with either type of mount. I chose the thread-mounted version, as this makes it usable on my other cameras. One advantage of the bayonet-mounted version, is that it can be quickly removed. The threaded model takes about twice as many turns to remove as most such telexes and this can be annoying.

I also have a solid .5X, 58mm wide-angle lens, with the brand name Telesor. It doesn't vignette at any point in the zoom range of any camera on which I've used it. It also does not cause any distortion, even at the outer margins.
I know little about this WA lens, except that it was made in Japan and the "Telesor" name is apparently one of several brand names used by a large company. I haven't been able to find any more of them or more than a few deadend references to that brand name. I've had it for 17 years and the only way anyone will get it from me, is to pry it from my cold, stiff fingers. It's about the best accessory I've ever had.

I usually wear a sturdy nylon parka that has 4 deep pockets and am always popping lenses and filters in and out of them. In warm weather, I use a large waist pack for the same purpose. It has multiple pockets and I wear it turned to the front. One pocket for each lens accessory, to avoid grinding them together. If the weather and wind in your part of Ireland is like my family's home on the Isle of Lewis, you could use such a parka. The old folks say that the cold North Wind blew so hard and steady there, that one day when the wind unexpectedly stopped for awhile, everyone fell down. Good Luck.
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