DVX100 for wildlife? 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 July 3rd, 2007, 11:34 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 373
DVX100 for wildlife?

Hey everyone.

Any of you use a DVX100/A/B for your wildlife shoots? My only issue with it is the lack of zoom. For any of you that use one, what lens attachments and brands do you use to compensate.

I was thinking of getting a Telephoto attachment, but if I only have $100 to spend - what brand would you recommend? I have purchased the cheap stuff, resulting in cheap shots. In a pinch, better than nothing (barely), but definitely not useful for professional quality.
Lisa Shofner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3rd, 2007, 09:59 AM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Larsnes, Norway
Posts: 1,211
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa Shofner View Post
Hey everyone.

Any of you use a DVX100/A/B for your wildlife shoots? My only issue with it is the lack of zoom. For any of you that use one, what lens attachments and brands do you use to compensate.

I was thinking of getting a Telephoto attachment, but if I only have $100 to spend - what brand would you recommend? I have purchased the cheap stuff, resulting in cheap shots. In a pinch, better than nothing (barely), but definitely not useful for professional quality.
Hi Lisa.
I've got two cameras, Panasonic DVX100B and Canon XLH1.
My last uwol#4-film was almost entirely shot with my DVX-camera. Just the 3 last clips with my XLH1. For wildlife filming I would have chosen Canon instead of the DVX, because you can change lenses :) You can pick either XL1, XL2 or XLH1 and I reckon you can find some cheap XL1 or XL2, the XLH1 is a bit more expensive.
In my uwol4 film I've used the Wide Conversion Lens AG-LW7208. And I do have a 1.6X Tele-Converter.

Shooting wildlife it's a matter of get as close as you can to the animals you're filming, that's where the changing of lenses come in. I often use my 70-300mm Sigma lens when I shot sea otter for instance. I use the same lens with my Canon stil camera.
I think, in the long run, you will thank yourself for chosing the Canon XL1 or 2.
At least that's my opinion.

Good luck :)

Geir Inge
__________________
Geir Inge B. Brekke
Visit me at: www.gibbfilm.no
Geir Inge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3rd, 2007, 10:15 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 373
Thank you for the info Geir. That's pretty much what I thought, that an XL series would be much more useful out there in the wild.

I definitely have my eye on getting an XL1s or XL2 used - but I've been told by my husband that I have to sell something else first. He seems to think that 4 cameras is too many. :-)

I'll keep my eye out for a good deal on an XL though. Seems whenever I see one I just don't have the cash at the moment. Maybe that means I should wait for an XL-H1 - hahaha.

Can the Simga lenses that are used on the Canon 5d be used on the Canon XL1s?
Lisa Shofner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3rd, 2007, 12:08 PM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Larsnes, Norway
Posts: 1,211
I think so, and this goes for all EOS camera lenses, I think.
For my XLH1 I have to use an adapter for my Canon and Sigma lenses, så check out before buying.
Maybe Per Johan knows a bit more about this, as he's been using XL1 for a while, before he get his XLH1. I've got a EOS 350D and have no problems with using the lenses on my XLH1. Cheaper lenses needs more light though, so I use my cheaper lenses in daylight. If you go higher then 300mm you have to use a steady tripod, as for 400mm and up, they'll be sensetive to shaking. Another benefit is that you can multiply, let's say my 70-300mm Sigma lens, 300mm x 7.4 = 2220 when used on XLH1. That's nice, eh?

Good luck and keep saving some money so you can buy something you will not regret.

Geir Inge
__________________
Geir Inge B. Brekke
Visit me at: www.gibbfilm.no
Geir Inge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3rd, 2007, 04:15 PM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Posts: 1,499
Lisa,

A good friend of mine who is considered one of the top wildlife still photographers in the world gets a large portion of his images with a Nikon 200-400mm zoom lens. Sure, he owns a 600mm f4 and a 800mm f5.6 but his go to lens in about any situation is his 200-400mm Nikon zoom.

Why do I bring this up? Well, the max zoom on my HVX is about 423mm. So, I have a little more reach then he does when it comes to filming.

Interchangeable lenses are great. I mean I used them all the time in my still photography days. But, there comes a point where you're shooting through so much atmosphere and at such high magnifications that you get into diminishing returns.

I've seen setups where people used two tripods, sandbags etc to try and steady their camera because they were shooting at such high magnifications. But even if you get a steady shot, you often shoot through so much atmosphere that it can degrade your image quality in some situations.

I know a guy who films wolves in Yellowstone with a XL1s. He slaps on some huge piece of glass and he can film wolves from 1/2 a mile away. But they have so much shake and are such low contrast from shooting so far away that to me, they're unusable.

I've been either photographing or filming wildlife since I was eight years old.

The most important thing is patience and knowing your subject.

While this guy is filming wolves 1/2 a mile away, I set myself up in the Lamar Valley in what I thought was a good spot on the road for a wolf encounter.

Well sure enough, the howling started on the other side of the hills and before long a lone wolf came right across the road chased by three coyotes.

Or, I've sat and watched a Yellowstone sunrise over the Yellowstone River as a coyote came up and sat next to me and we watched it together for several minutes before he trotted off and I turned my camera his way to get some footage as he turned to bid me a farewell.

So, I guess I'm saying that to do wildlife filmmaking interchangeable lenses isn't always the answer. They certainly have their place but they are no where near as important as being knowledgeable about your subject.

Sorry for rambling there but that's my two cents worth.

I've thought about getting a 2X convertor for my HVX which would take me over 800mm in 35mm still terms. But then I look at what I've been able to do with what I have and I've yet to get one. :)
__________________
--==Kevin==--
http:filmmakingnaturally.com
Kevin Railsback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 4th, 2007, 04:27 AM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Oppland, Norway
Posts: 1,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa Shofner View Post
Can the Simga lenses that are used on the Canon 5d be used on the Canon XL1s?
Any Sigma lens, at least the EX-DG serie, with Canon mounts and use of the XL ef-adapter will do. Note that Sigma lenses are not weather protected like the Canon L-serie so use them with care outdoor in rain or snow. I have had some issues where my Sigma lens started to dew which caused in ruined footage!
Also, a f2.8 lens will most often be better than a f4.0 lens.
__________________
- Per Johan
Per Johan Naesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 4th, 2007, 05:43 AM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Oppland, Norway
Posts: 1,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Railsback View Post
Lisa,

A good friend of mine who is considered one of the top wildlife still photographers in the world gets a large portion of his images with a Nikon 200-400mm zoom lens. Sure, he owns a 600mm f4 and a 800mm f5.6 but his go to lens in about any situation is his 200-400mm Nikon zoom.

Why do I bring this up? Well, the max zoom on my HVX is about 423mm. So, I have a little more reach then he does when it comes to filming.
Even if it seems like you have a longer focal lenght, still photographers often do a cut and paste on their print where they remove unwanted objects. Todays digital stillcameras give you between 10-12 megapixels, videocamcorders approx. 1.5 megapixels. Some stillcameras like my Canon 20D gives 1.6x magnification to the lens too. A 200-400mm gives me 320-640mm!

I've seen very good pictures from only one fourth of the original raw file, which mean a 4x magnification in post! If I've use the 20D example, a 200-400mm which became a 320-640mm could after some PS(PhotoShop)-tweak give amazingly 1280-2560mm!!!
This can not be done by any videofootage because of it's lack of pixels!

But I agree very much in your statement about to be as near as possible is the best in the long run and if you are collecting natural sound too, you need to be within a reasonable distance. But there are situations where you not are able to film very rare species, like my wolverine footage (http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=90799) this spring, without a huge focal lenght.
__________________
- Per Johan
Per Johan Naesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 4th, 2007, 10:30 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Posts: 1,499
Lisa,

It's out of your $100 budget range but the nest adaptors out there are from Century Optics, now called Schneider Optics.

I think a 2X for the DVX is over $400. though. But they're great quality.

Might be able to find a used one much cheaper.

Per, you have to remember that I got out of still photography before there was digital photography. :) He built his business on a Nikon 200-400mm lens and lots of Kodachrome 25 and 64. Which I still have about 4 bricks of K64 sitting in my freezer. :)
__________________
--==Kevin==--
http:filmmakingnaturally.com
Kevin Railsback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 5th, 2007, 01:23 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Larsnes, Norway
Posts: 1,211
Hi again Lisa.
You say you want to use the DVX for wildlife filming, so here's some more tips on what to think of before buying.

Selecting a camcorder, what's your intension:
Is it to record wildlife for your own interest, to show friends etc, any format would do. If you wish to put your films to the internet I think DV is the right one to pick. If you're on to something more serious and maybe to get it broadcasted, I would go for at least 3CCD chip DV, HD(V) or DVCAM.

DVX and XL are both 3 CCD DV camera.
When I said I would have picked the Canon I haven't changed my opinion on this one :) first of all because of the ability to change lenses. I think it will pay off in the long run. And this have nothing to do with how far or close to the animals you are when filming. I'm using the XLH1, and I've got different lenses, but I'm always trying to get as close to the animals as I can.

Then when you've chosen your camcorder, packed your rucksack and heading for the wilderness (take care of your back, it might be heavy to carry tripod, camera etc) :-)
You have to find some wildlife to film and I reccon you've done some research. As wildlife film makers often say; "be neither heard or seen".

I try to keep in my back head that the "soul" of the animals is to find in their eyes, this goes for people too.
What you need for a sequence is some close ups, some establishing shots and some mid-shots. Of course you can add some walking scenes, hunting scenes etc, but when you're in the the editing prosess you have to have at least the 3 first types of shots to put together as a sequence.
I'm using my changable lenses, first of all for micro and another lens for close ups if I can't get close enough to the animals.

So you have to think of what your intentions are for filming, how much weight you can carry ( I think the XL is a bit more heavy than the DVX) and of course how much money you're willing to spend on a camcorder.

It's not easy to film wildlife, but if you're addicted to animals and mother nature, you'll be having a lot of fun and experience some great moments, thats for sure :)
__________________
Geir Inge B. Brekke
Visit me at: www.gibbfilm.no

Last edited by Geir Inge; August 6th, 2007 at 10:48 AM.
Geir Inge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6th, 2007, 01:48 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 373
Thanks guys for all the info and tips.

I have cameras already - I ask about the DVX because I have one. I have had trouble getting decent shots of ducks (etc.) from a distance because of the limited zoom. I also have the Canon GL1 which has a good zoom but not as great of a sensor and can't do 30P (which I must admit I have yet to try on the DVX even).

As far as "what" I want to do - well, make money. Hahaha. Seriously though, I am hoping to get back into nature - when I was younger I was really "into" nature photography and I studied about it, learning how to keep the scent down and what to pack, etc, etc, for film cameras (I used a Minolta with a few different lenses). My cameras right now are being used for short student-type films and news-type events as well as conferences and the like. However, I'm really wanting to get back to nature. This is why I keep entering the UWOL Challenge, even though I've only completed one film for it so far.

Definitely thinking about that Century Optics attachment. I'm always keeping my eye out for a used one, but they seem to go in packages - might end up buying a new one later this year.

I think for stabilization, I'd only be able to carry a photo tripod (small and light), monopod, and my Fig Rig - my video tripods are way too heavy to hike with, its hard enough getting them from the truck to wherever i'm filming.

Seems like the XL1/2 are the favorites for filming wildlife. I'm looking into picking up an XL1s or XL2, but the deals (used) seem to come around when I don't have cash on hand - Murphy's Law, right?

Thank you all again for the tips. For now I'll need to get closer to the subject. On the good side, I'll be able to get some good sound with as close as I have to get for the video :-)
Lisa Shofner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 10th, 2007, 02:31 AM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Posts: 1,200
Hey Lisa,

Remember, there's so much more to nature than just close-ups. If you find you really love it, then wait and get the XLH1. (all things considered, it's the finest nature camera around).

Take both of your cams with you to find which works better for you. I have an H1 with a 70-200 2.8 which gives me over 1400mm of focal length... I absolutely love it, but holy crap, with that lens, trying to find anything smaller than an elephant in your evf can be difficult. Not to mention trying to get smooth pans and tilts (unless you have a VERY good head/tripod). You also lose the auto functions of your lens. Putting the stock 20x back on is such a relief sometimes.

So while telephoto lenses for vid work can be great, they are an awful lot of work. Do what you can with what you've got for starters.

For me, when I do nature work, it's all about enjoying the process. Being outdoors, in nature; waiting, waiting for that brilliantly lit, stunning shot. It can be immensely rewarding (though not necessarily financially), I wish I had more time for it.
__________________
C100, 5DMk2, FCPX
Ken Diewert 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 10:28 PM.


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