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Old March 17th, 2006, 12:08 PM   #1
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Canon FD to EF on XL2

Hi Chaps,

I've just got a FD lens to EF body adapter for my XL2. First impressions are excellent at least on stills, can't wait to try a really long prime.

Rod C
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Old April 9th, 2006, 11:38 PM   #2
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how is it going

Rodney,

I was wondering how you are making out with the new lens?? Was it worth the extra thousand bucks???
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Old April 11th, 2006, 08:53 AM   #3
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Long lens on XL2

Hi Dale

The answer is yes and no. The lens I am using actually came from James Ewen, who is a regular on the site, and it is undoubtedly an asset to my work; I have already produced several shots that I could not have got last year. There are various issues involved: The extra focal length and speed and contrast of the 400 mm f2.8 FD canon lens allows me to work with smaller subjects, such as a wren for instance, but the skill required acquiring the target is much greater than with a zoom - bearing in mind the lens is now a 3000mm lens: using a magnification factor of 7.8x400. Then there is the issue of depth of field, it is just about perfect at about f16 and the same as if the lens was in use on a stills camera and rated at merely 400mm - so only minor drawbacks. The major factor is the weight, which is enormous compared with a basic rig and I have had to fabricate a special cradle for the lens and camera from an old 10x8 monorail, which allows the rig to be mounted on my Vinten tripod using the supplied adapter plate with two, rather than one, retaining screws.

Now regards the adapter: I started out with an EF adapter and a FD to EF converter from the Far East - which cost peanuts. Some of the guys on the site persuaded me I should use a glass free adapter, which I duly obtained here in the UK at enormous cost. This device converted from FD Canon directly to Canon XL2 and here my problems started. Now, my XL2 will not reliably communicate with my 20x servo lens and I am forced to conclude it is because of the adapter I got here in the UK. Perhaps it has got some dodgy tolerances, or more likely when aligning or removing the lens, I have distorted the mount in some way. In any case it is a problem if I want to use anything apart from manual lenses.

I have to conclude that the footage I am getting is great, but my camera set up has become much more limited.

I hope I have made myself clear, if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask


Rod C
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Old April 11th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #4
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The metal Canon XL to FD or XL to Nikkor adapter made by Les Bosher is fairly cheap in UK, so I'm not sure why you mention: "at enormous cost". Sometimes they are also available secondhand via Ebay at even cheaper prices.

The adapter itself should not cause any problems whatsoever - there are no electrical linkages between the lens adapter and the XL body, so no problems should occur. It is more likely that the XL2 was left switched on while changing between 20X lens and FD lens (or, as you have mentioned, the mount has become damaged due to too much pressure/weight applied without fully supporting the XL body & lens combination while on a tripod).

Getting used to the extreme magnification (and extra weight of the big lenses) takes practice and patience (which is why I prefer to use the 300mm f/2.8 rather than the 500mm F/4 or 600mm f/4 or 800mm f/5.6 lenses on the XL series). This is where items such as the Ronsight would be of great help. This also applies to the Ronsrail lens support if you are having problems with keeping things steady.

http://www.ronsrail.com/

A good tripod and heavy pro tripod head + heavy-duty plate are a must-have in these situations (I'm sure that Rodney is using a good one for his work).
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Old April 11th, 2006, 01:04 PM   #5
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adapter cost

Hi Tony

I honestly think that anything that is made for the film industry attracts a premium in terms of cost. I worked in the engineering industry in a leading Uk company making professional photographic enlarging equipment and I know for a fact how sales costings are arrived at because I was involved in the process. Also, to echo the sentiments of some contributors elsewhere, I know first hand about the practice of testing new products on clients before the bugs have been completely ironed out. This seems the case with some of the software fixes that are currently going on with HDV, which is my biggest disincentive to the XLH1.

Incidentally, in defence of Les Bosher, who is a great chap, I did not go to him for the adapter because he did not have an off the shelf item, but I don't call 150 cheap for a bit of machined Dural. I did however manage to save myself the small fortune in additional costs by fabricating my own support rail from a 10x8 Horseman monorail, so I have some satisfaction from the venture.

The camera is working again after the procedure I outlined to you on the XL2 watchdog, i.e; attaching the lens while the camera was on, then re-attaching it.

I am not carping, I am merely recounting experience and giving my reactions.

Rod C
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Old April 11th, 2006, 02:02 PM   #6
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I realise that you're not carping, Rod, but I'm just letting others know that the adapter itself does not cause problems with the XL cameras and that your post "... Now, my XL2 will not reliably communicate with my 20x servo lens and I am forced to conclude it is because of the adapter I got here in the UK..." may lead others into thinking that they should not use one for fear of the same thing happening.

I bought my new mount from Les for less than 100. I've seen used mint ones selling on Ebay for less than 50. Granted, the 150 that you paid for your different model may seem steep for a quality glassless metal adapter, but this is peanuts compared to the combined price of the XL2 body and 400mm F/2.8 ED lens - and a small price to pay to enable both to be used to create outstanding footage, that would be impossible to obtain without that adapter. It would be difficult to make such an adapter for less than 150 even if you made it yourself (unless you intended to make a thousand units and sell them on).
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Old April 11th, 2006, 06:21 PM   #7
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Hi Tony

Yes, thanks Tony, I agree with you in everything you say; equally though, I think we need to point out the possible pitfalls involved in using third party kit. Above all, I am fairly sure that it invalidates any warranty one might have with the camera to use non Canon adapters, however well or superior they may be to the stock EF adapter, (which I also have).

One point that I have not made, which is worth noting on the positive side of this whole equation, is the relative cheapness of many of the available second- hand manual telephoto lenses on the market. For our purposes they are perfect, and like you Tony, I am now amassing an arsenal of long fast telephotos, from 200mm upward.

Rod C
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Old April 11th, 2006, 06:41 PM   #8
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rod, can you describe differences in the images? or post grabs from both set-ups? i think you are the only one with both adapter set-ups, and comparison shots would be great!

is it substantially better? is it worth the $$ to switch if you already have the EF set-up, in your opinion?

very curious....
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Old April 12th, 2006, 02:05 AM   #9
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I don't think that you need to change if you only have Canon AF lenses and already own the EF-XL adapter, (which only works in manual on the XL anyway) but the main advantage (other than having no extra glass elements to contend with) is the fact that the FD adapter allows you to use the older - but still superb - MF FD range of lenses, which tend to sell at far cheaper prices than equivalent AF EF lenses.

I prefer to use Nikkor lenses on the XL2, but I doubt that many people would spot the difference between footage taken on an XL2 + Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 EDIF or a Canon FD 300mm f2.8 ED or a Canon EF 300mm.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 04:35 AM   #10
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Meryem Hi

I think the FD set-up is better, I shot some footage on the 70-210 EF 2.8 - (with the Canon XL2 adapter), last year and I honestly can't tell it apart from some of the other stuff I shot on the 20x servo. If anything it is flatter, which really says nothing about sharpness because it is going to be adjusted in post anyway. The really interesting thing is that my headline footage, (of the owl you saw as a still), was shot on a Sigma 135-400 zoom (as was the still), and it does demonstrate fringing; however, so does the 20x servo lens at full zoom in certain adverse conditions such as against the light shooting. One of the reasons I switched to the expensive Dural (glassless) adapter, was because when I tried the FD 400mm f2.8 with a glass adapter on my 20D Canon stills camera it demonstrated minor colour fringing.

However, anyone with an EF adapter and some good long Ef lenses would obviously be wasting money to switch, (which is Tony's view as well, I think). The main advantage is that the Canon FD and AIS Nikkors are much cheaper than their AF counterparts.

One footnote, the FD to EF glass adapter for my stills camera cost 30 and is a well engineered bit of kit and I am quite prepared to use it for my stills work in conjunction with the long FD lenses that I have. One trick that I discovered thirty years ago, is that if you remove the optics from these adapters, you are left with a short extension tube and an adapter all in one; which just happens to be an ideal combination for small birds shot at up to 80 ft with a 400mm lens - (no infinity of course and on a tripod).

Similarly there is another super slim converter that I got to convert EF body to AIS Nikkor lenses, which a UK manufacturer quoted me 60 for. It in fact cost me new on ebay, in a nice box, just 8.

Rod C
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Old April 12th, 2006, 07:39 AM   #11
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I've found (as long as I use correct technique and an extremely sturdy tripod + heavy Pro tripod head) that my footage taken with the Nikkor Ais 300mm f2.8 EDIF-N is sharper and has less colour fringing than any footage taken with the Canon autofocus 20X or 16X Manual Servo zoom lenses. My 300mm & 600mm Nikkors are used only for extreme telephoto subjects at a fixed range of course, but the Canon XL zoom lenses do allow a much wider range of options (and slow-crawl zooming etc) for footage in the 50mm-800mm (35mm equiv) ranges.

It is just a major pity that the XL-Nikkor & XL-FD adapters cannot be used for wide angles subjects...because the Nikkor 15mm, 24mm and 28mm primes and Nikkor 17-35mm zoom would be my dream lenses for the XL2...if there was no magnification factor involved.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 08:43 AM   #12
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thanks for the info, guys... it sounds as if a bit of CA is inevitable, regardless of the set-up, at the long end of the XL2's telephoto range--and, from what i gather, even more so with the H1.

it is the single most frustrating aspect of shooting with long lenses, getting this great reach and then capturing the footage, only to find that the lighting or the angle or some other factor has resulted in the annoying purple fringing.

very interesting....there's a lot of nuanced detail, from wrestling with camera shake to worrying about CA (to simply transporting the dang things...) that goes into shooting with these beastly set-ups...
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Old April 12th, 2006, 04:34 PM   #13
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I have a setup similiar to Tony, a 300mm T2.8 FD Canon lens and a Les Bosher mount and adaptor plate. In my opinion the quality of this setup is superior to the 20x lenses.

Using a good study tripod (in my case a Satchler 7+7 studio tripod) the shots I am able to get on the XL2 of migratory birds is equal to the shots using the same lens on a SP Betacam 600 camera. In my case the Canon 300 FD has an Optex universal mount so with the apropriate mount I am able to go from Betacam (B4 mount), Ariflex 16SR2 ( Arri bayonet mount), Arri 35 BL (Arri PL Mount) and Canon XL2 (Les Bosher mount).

I have found that the best quality is to stop the lenses down to between T5.6 and T8. Depth of field is not a problem as you have a lens with a magnification equivalent to aprox 3000mm but depth of field the same as a 300 mm lens
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 10:33 PM   #14
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adapters

Per johan,

Thanks for looking but it is not the thread. the adapter I got was a fd to xlr adapter.


thanks again.
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