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Old March 17th, 2005, 07:08 PM   #16
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With all respect, you are incorrect about the 20X XL and 16X XL lenses. It's pretty well known that the elements inside these two lenses are manufactured from glass. Wer'e talking Canon glass here. Not trying to cop a Sales Pitch on ya now, but it aint no secret that Canon Knows How to make glass with a lot of resolving power for the money. Also double-checked with Canon regarding this and it was again confirmed that these lenses do not utilize plastic elements. Please be mindful of this, thank you.

Just consider this: regardless of the elements inside the lens - would you really want to settle on placing a piece of plastic at the *front of the lens*? Come now. It's ever more critical at the front of the lens. There's a reason why photographers insist on using glass filters for best image quality. Even if this plastic adaptor came a mile close to performing like glass, I question how long it would perform before losing its' properties with increased useage and time. Especially with prolonged exposure to heat and light. It simply isn't the same as glass... That was my point when I commented on using plastic. I trust that you understand what I mean?

I think it would be prudent for some to re-evaluate their expectations regarding the performance of a $250 wide angle adaptor, especially one constructed out of plastic. Realistic expectations: less resolving performance from edge to edge in comparison to a well crafted piece of glass (it costs time & money to craft good glass) - the ability to resolve all colors tightly and uniformly in a rectilinear fashion from edge to edge, not just in the center as most lower grade pieces of glass (or plastic variants) do - expect to see noticeable chromatic aberrations, soft edges, inconsistencies over time and use, etc.

I'm hoping that people don't really expect to gain measurable better performance with a plastic wide adaptor over some of the other proven solutions such as Century Precision Optics glass. Heck, I'd reach for the Canon 3X XL wide lens before I would ever settle for a plastic adaptor. It seems that some people may feel "better" or "best" is defined by "cheapest cost", sadly,,, if you want to continually strive to use the cheapest solution out there, I'm not going to stop you, it's your world - enjoy. Live and learn. But,,, if you think like a photographer, then you will inevitably reach for what makes a better picture.

You are somewhat correct about the price point though, there is no perfect camcorder in the $3500 price range. You get what you pay for. I doubt that rule will ever change.

I'm sincerely hoping that you are all doing well. Now, time to get back to work.


- don
DONALD BERUBE - noisybrain. Productions, LLC
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Old March 18th, 2005, 11:56 AM   #17
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Chris and Tom,

I sent you an email pertaining to the Red Eye.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 12:13 PM   #18
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Red Eye Wide angle adpater

Hello Donald,

My name is Rene J. Collins. I'm the maker and manufacturer of the Red Eye wide angle
adapter. I'm also a cameraman and photographer by trade.

I came across your thread on DV Info net. I'm a bit concerned about your
adamant opinion of my product, one which I'm sure you're never seen let
alone tested. I'm told that this forum is widely read and quite
influential. So I'm more than a bit concerned about your statements. I can
only say that you are dead wrong in your opinions and you are basing your
opinion on a dated and false premise.

It saddens me that a cameraman of your experience is making such unfounded
statements sight unseen about my product. We use both glass and optical monomers or as you
say, "plastics" in our products. Your inference is that The Red Eye is
somehow made with stuff akin to plastic cups.

It happens that the current aspheric lenses, made of optical monomers, out performed the spherical glass ones we were using, otherwise I'd still be using the glass stock I have. They work better and last longer. Breakage is no longer a concern for the owners of a Red Eye. The risk of scratching is no worse than for our glass lenses. They're lighter, smaller, resistant to airborne environmental damage, have great sharpness and contrast and have virtually no light loss.......

......... So what's the issue?

I am always interested in the thoughts and opinions of the cameramen who use my product. Based on their feedback, I continually make adjustments and
improvements in the design to meet THEIR needs.

This is not an easy thing to do and still make the Red Eye affordable. I am always accessible and respond the questions put to me. Any new design is field tested by independent cameramen BEFORE they go to market.

FYI, I will be making a .7x and a .5x 72 mm adapters available to the folk who run the DV info board for review.

I will make this offer to you as well. Let me know the diameter of your camera lens and I will send you one for evaluation.

All I'll ask of you is that the review be fair and not based on false premise.

I've never made great claims about the abilities of The Red Eye adapter, that has been left to the cameramen that own them. My goal as a cameraman was to use my experience to produce this much needed adapter at a reasonable cost for fellow cameramen and do it to the best of my ability.

There was a time when I shot news before the Red Eye. There were many instances where I would half to run and go. I would carry the basics, camera, spare
battery and tape. My Century adapter was to big to fit anywhere and spent most of it's time in my camera van. My TV station didn't own a wide angle zoom lens. I needed something I could fit in a pocket, that would let me shoot inside cars and air plane cockpits. I developed The Red Eye. It's small and light weight and gave me 30% more field of view. I was also affordable.

The Red Eye is not likely to make me rich at the current prices. I'm still the only full time employee. I have subcontractors perform work when needed.

It's now been 11 years since The Red Eye been on the market. That it has taken on a much larger dimension in global sales and popularity has largely been due to the simple fact that it does exactly what it claims to do. A fact that most of my fellow cameramen seem to appreciate.

That many have not heard of it is not surprising since the world is a big place and word of The Red Eye has spread largely by word of mouth. Not due to hype or promotional campaigns. This should say something about my product.

It's a simple wide angle adapter, designed by and for the professional cameraman. It has found a place in the Pro-Sumer market which is where for what ever reason, most of the questions and concerns are arising from.

My objective in creating The Red Eye was to help get the much needed wide shot when needed and do it cost effectively. I've been a cameraman since 1978, I continue to work as a freelance cameraman with The Red Eye production as another aspect of my business.

If there are issues with The Red Eye, it's with the expectations that people have, not with any claims Iíve made. The rest is covered under my 1 year warrantee.

Does it do the job well? Yes . How well will depend on your needs and expectations. It may not suit the needs of some and that's fine.

Century makes a great range of products and I'm their biggest fan. They don't however make an adapter like the Red Eye that suited my needs and that of many cameramen. I can say that their product is worth every dollar. Mine does something similar, but in a cost effective and practical way.

There are well over a thousand Red Eye owners over the years who do feel that The Red Eye suits their needs. I don't expect anyone to believe this next statement, but it's true, I've only had four (4) returned to me since 1994, one because it didn't produce enough barrel distortion!

Is it cost effective? Yes
Does it do the job? Yes
Does it have anti reflective coatings? Yes
Does it have a hard coating to reduce the possibility of scratching? Yes
Does the price include a Leather pouch? Yes
Can you use it with your matt box or lens shade? Yes
Do I know the needs of cameramen? Yes
Do I have repeat clients? Yes
Do I care about the cameraman's needs and satisfaction? Yes
Do you need to spend more money on accessories to use it? NO
Is it perfect? No...... but dam close....

* Does it produce some barrel distortion?

Yes, so do many single element adapters of this type to some extent, depending on their design. To
correct the barrel distortion would require:
1) multiple elements,
2) weaken the power of the lens
3) reduce the radius of both surfaces and use of a high index substrate,
4) produce multiple aspheric surfaces.

- Apparent barrel distortion can also be subjective when you know a line to be straight. i.e. a door frame. It's not so evident in a car or plane for example.
- When a wide angle adapter of this type is used on a camera's lens, it forms part of the overall optical system. If your camera's lens is already prone to some barrel distortion, you will see more. If you start with a
good camera lenses, barrel distortion will be less evident.

* Does the use of aspheric lenses reduce overall aberration? Yes, including lateral chromatic aberration. There are five types of monochromatic aberration, as well as lateral, transverse chromatic aberration and geometric distortion (barrel and pincushion). These are present in all lenses and all lens systems. The trick with designing an optical system or lens element is to know where to make the compromise to help achieve the desired results.

It's true that we've now incorporate monomer injected aspheric lenses for the current Red Eye lenses. Even though they are more expensive to produce, there is less waists compared to glass during the manufacturing process. The reason was to keep the cost for the cameraman as low as possible while keeping up with technology and improving the optical performance of the Red Eye.

I would encourage the serious cameraman to actually research the developments in optics to help gain an appreciation to the advances that have been made as well as costs involved in lens manufacturing.

It's NOT cheap, which is the dilemma for manufacturers who's clients are always looking for the lowest price.
I can produce better expensive adapters, YES, quite easily, it's the good low cost ones that are the challenge.

There are a number of factors involved in our choice of optical substrates. Great care goes into matching the optical substrate with the anti-reflective coating material. Each of the monomer based lenses are formulated to match the anti reflective coatings used for that specific lens.

Many glass lenses do not offer as much flexibility in this regard resulting in a "best match" scenario. It's rather complex to explain but the formulation is based on the square root of the refractive index of the substrate material and that of the coating materials.

For the same money, we now actually achieve better results for optical performance with the aspheric monomer Red Eye adapters than the spherical glass ones, especially with the high index low dispersion materials.

Our glass and monomer lenses have always used multi layer anti reflective coatings for increased sharpness and contrast as well as a leather case to protect the lens. I dare say, we were one of the first to do so. That others now offer it may be in part thanks to the Red Eye.

Although admittedly not as hard as some types of glass, our monomer lenses have a hardness very close to that of glass (roughly 75% as hard) due to the hard coat
applied to each of the monomer based lenses.

Regardless of what a lens is made from, NONE will appreciate being hit by rocks, screw drivers, keys, excessive heat or dust. Treat you lenses nicely as any professional would and they will last for many years.

Bottom line is, you can likely afford to buy two Red Eye adapters for the cost of one of the others. Just make a smart choice based on your needs and your budget.

I encourage any one from this form to contact me directly by e-mail rene@collinscraft.com. I will also be at NAB this year attending the VF Gadget booth.

Best regards,

Rene J. Collins
Collinscraft Canada
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Old March 18th, 2005, 12:22 PM   #19
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I'm very glad you posted in here. I'm very curious about your product. Do you think it would work in conjunction with a Century anamorphic adapter, assuming I can find a way to mount it? I have a Canon GL1.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 12:41 PM   #20
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Red Eye Century

That's a good question. If Century's adapter mounts using the bayonet mount, then it should.

The 72 mm threads onto the lens itself and made to be used with the XL's lens shade.

You should be good with the .7x but the .5x may be to wide.

Are you thinking behind or in front of the anamorphic adapter?

To answer your question, I'm not sure. I've never tried it. But its worth testing.

I'm awaiting word from the DV Info people so that I can send them samples for them to try. I'll expect them to run it through it's paces and this would be a good test.

Most of my work is with broadcast, film and HD systems and my experience with the XL1/2's is limited.

If there was to be an issue, it might be with vignetting.

Thank you Marco and talk to you again soon.

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Old March 18th, 2005, 12:48 PM   #21
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rene, do you have any comparisons available (i.e. shots taken without, then with the adapter?). i think we'd all be interested to see some stills.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 12:51 PM   #22
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There is 1 sample shot here:

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Old March 18th, 2005, 01:01 PM   #23
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is that sample the .5x or the .7x? It is too small to really judge but barrel distortion is minimal in that shot. I am more concerned about chromatic abberation myself.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 01:40 PM   #24
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Don - we agree to differ. Canon make great play about the fluorite element used in the 20x zoom, but as you probably know, such crystalline 'grown' elements are extremely vulnerable, very soft and cannot be used in free air, they have to be sealed to glass elements to protect them.

If you consider that about 90% of all spectacle wearers look through plastic elements all day long, you'll realise that (although the refractive index can never quite match ground glass) the optical properties certainly can match glass elements. The higher refractive index simply serves to make the (negative) lenses thicker at the edges than the equivalent glass element with the same focal length. Please don't see the adjective 'plastic' as being negative.

Good to hear from you Rene, and thank you for your contribution to this very interesting thread. I've tested many wide-angle lenses in my time (and would appreciate testing one of yours too). I've used many single element injection moulded plastic aspherics made by Schneider Kreutznach and have found them to be everything they claim to be. Inexpensive, light, compact and without a hint of barrel distortion.

I use a Bolex Aspheron - glass, 0.5x, single aspherically ground element, and again it too completely removes the inherent barrel distortion found in very many camcorders produced today. It doesn't seem to matter what's engraved around the circumference of your lens - Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Zeiss or Leica - I've found that they all barrel distort to a greater or lesser degree. The new FX1 is no better than the rest.

So I'd dispute your claim that ALL single element aspherics produce barrel distortion, as I have two in my possession that are as near faultless in this department as it's possible to be. My Sony 34" TV actually produces more barrel distortion than the VX2k+Aspheron.

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Old March 18th, 2005, 01:44 PM   #25
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Red Eye pictures

I've sent an e-mail to the Cameraman in Toronto that took those shots for the web site. I'll see if he can put them on a stand alone page for you.

From our experience using the aspheric lenses, there's no noticeable chromatic aberration. I'm sure there is a residual amount with this type of adapter, we just can't see any.

Don was gracious enough to give me a call today. He has taken me up on my offer and will be conducting some test of his own with the .5x and .7x 72 mm Red Eye aspheric adapters.

Thanks Don, I greatly appreciated you call :-)

Rene J. Collins
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Old March 18th, 2005, 02:49 PM   #26
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Dear Don, and anyone else reviewing Rene's Red-Eye: don't forget to let us know the results of your tests!

May I also add that this is without doubt the best result i've had from any thread i've started! The maker of the equipment posts a reply and sends out review copies of his hardware! Do you think Spielberg will comment if i post on the 'War of the Worlds' discussion board on IMDB? And invite me to a private screening? ;-)
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Old March 18th, 2005, 03:06 PM   #27
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Yes Jon, thank you for starting the thread. When I initially read the thread I was intrigued and then put off by Tom being turned down by distributors to evaluate the product, so I emailed Rene from his website stating it may be beneficial to send out evaluation units to some of the lead members of the board. He replied immediately and offerred to send me both the .5x and .7x via Fedex for evaluation. I graciously declined due to my inexperience with wide angle adaptors and forwarded the email to Chris Hurd and Tom Hardwick. I also included the DVinfo thread in my email to Rene, so I take it that's how he came to post. I am very anxious to see what Chris, Tom, and Don find with the Red Eye.

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Old March 18th, 2005, 03:09 PM   #28
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good job, Kevin!

it's rare to get answers of this calibre, even by the high standards of dv info net!
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Old March 18th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #29
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I'm sure you could imagine my reaction when I opened up the email response from Rene stating that he'd send me evaluation pieces via Fedex...Today! This definitely goes a long way in my book in terms of credibility and the confidence he has in his product. Rene is going to be at NAB as well and stated if I was there I could return the lenses to him there or pass them along to other members for evaluation.

The anticipation is building, looking forward to some write ups and screens.

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Old March 18th, 2005, 03:29 PM   #30
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VFGadgets.com has been been working with Rene Collins and representing his Red Eye lens for just over 2 years now. We can most certainly attest to the excellence of this product and have never had a dissappointed client. I would like to invite anyone who is interested in the Red Eye and who is attending NAB this year to visit our VFGadgets booth (C2163) and see the lens for yourself and hopefully meet Rene himself.
The product page for the Red Eye is on the following webpage of our site
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