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-   -   Canon 3x wide angle lens questions (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl1s-xl1-watchdog/31641-canon-3x-wide-angle-lens-questions.html)

Chris Ferrer May 16th, 2003 06:26 AM

Sharpness of the 3x wide angle lens
I just got a new canon 3x wide angle lens in and didnt have much time to play around with it before my shoot. On the day of the shoot I was having trouble focusing the wide angle lens and put it off on the color view finder of the XL1s... (I could not get the names on the street signs in my shots to appear sharp) So as sunny as it was, I shot at F16 hoping that this would remedy any slight focusing issues I was haivng... Well, when I got home to check out the footage, the names on the street signs were not even readable! So thinking something was wrong with the lens, I ran outside to do some quick tests with it. I used both my standard 16x lens and the 3x to shoot similar footage of some wordage on my gas grill from about 6 feet away. You can tell a slight difference in the shaprness of the two lenses but overall, it wasnt that drastic. But what I did notice was, it seems so much more difficult to obtain sharp focus on the wide angle than it does on the standard 16x, does this make sense or is anyone else experiencing similar issues with theirs???? Is it a combination of the wide field of view of the 3x and the crummy color viewfinder???


Tom Turney May 16th, 2003 07:08 AM

Sharpness of the 3x wide angle lens
Read Chris's thread dated 5-16-03on the sharpness of the 3xwide angle lens.
I too, have the problem of getting a sharp focus with this $1,000 lens....What goes with the lens....could it be operator error or defective lens?? Anyone have any suggestions....
Tom Turney<><

John Threat May 16th, 2003 10:43 AM

I got some things to say about this, but I think im gonna put some shots together to show. I don't like the focus on the 3x at all, I wish it was more like the 16x manual lens than the 16x auto lens. I really hate that unmarked spinning infinity eletronic focus ring. It really does contribute to the arbitrary focus.

That being said, you can achieve focus on the lens. The color viewfinder probably threw you off a bit, but I'm going see if I can acertain the limits of this lens.

Nigel Moore May 16th, 2003 11:46 AM

Has anyone tried focus using the FU1000 B&W viewfinder or an LCD monitor, rather than the relatively poor colour viewfinder?

I'm interested in this lens myself!

Jeff Donald May 16th, 2003 06:01 PM

I think what most of you are encountering in your use of the 3X WA lens is a limitation of the resolution in video. Also by stopping the lens down to F16 you are causing diffraction which decreases sharpness. I suggest you set the lens to about F4 or F5.6 at the most and control exposure with ND filters. The WA lens has an extreme amount of Depth of Field and focus probably isn't an issue, except up close.

Video is a close up medium and does not look good with wide shots covering subjects at medium to far distances. The subjects will not appear as sharp. But the WA is a very sharp lens, shoot something very close at F4 and you'll see what I mean. Video is a close up medium.

Ken Tanaka May 16th, 2003 06:14 PM

Yes, my experiences with my 3x coincide with Jeff's remarks. Video, by it's resolution nature, just does not do as well on wide panoramic shots as film. The standard color lcd viewfinder exacerbates the apparent problem while shooting, since it's a rather coarse display. Opening the lens, even if you have to use an ND filter, really will help most wide shots.

Also, as Nigel observed, using a higher-resolution viewfinder or production monitor will also greatly help your focus judgement while shooting.

I think that it's a common misconception that wide lenses are best applied to shots covering large expanses. In fact, they are equally well-suited, some would say better-suited, for close shots.

Jacques Mersereau May 17th, 2003 10:53 AM

My personal belief is that Canon video glass (16X & 3X) does not resolve
more than 250 lines. I say this because when you hook an XL1(s)
up to either Canon 35mm glass or film lens via the PS Technik adapter,
the image appears almost twice as sharp to my eye on a Sony HR monitor.
If I plug the camera's output into a regular/low res sony monitor
that resolves only 250 lines, the image is back to being as blurred as
if I had put video glass back on the camera.

But both Jeff and Ken are right. Closing the iris doesn't help the cause
and NTSC is a old and dated format with severely limited resolution when it
comes to fine detail in wide shots.

Don Libby May 20th, 2003 06:55 AM

While I was down in AZ I figured the next item on the "must have" list was a wide angle. The stock lens did a good enough job of capturing the wide expanses of AZ however I felt that a wider angle lens would do that much more. Now after reading this thread I find myself concerned that after I pony up well over a grand for a lens I'll find that I made a BIG MISTAKE!

Will the wide angle do the job? Will I be able to capture the landscape better than the stock lens? Will I be able to use it lens in a closer envirorment (such as recoding the inside of our home?). Will it be sharp?

Is there a better solution out there? Or, am I just nuts this morning......

Ken Tanaka May 20th, 2003 10:49 AM

Hi Don!

How's retirement treating you? (Or, how are you treating retirement?)

In my opinion the relative value of the 3x wide-angle lens depends largely on what type of material you shoot. If you shoot principally nature and wildlife such a lens may not be very useful since you often have a greater need for a long zoom than a wide shot.

On the other hand, if you shoot a great deal of dramatic or people-based documentary work where flexibility of frame coverage, often in tight spaces, is your greatest need then the 3x can quickly become your primary lens. This is also true if you shoot more hand-held than mounted. Wide-angles are far more forgiving of camera shake than longer lenses.

I really like my 3x and often have a hard time justifying not using it. It shoots every bit as good of a frame as the 16x's and has an internal ND and manual focus switch.

The less-expensive alternative, of course, is to get a good w-a adapter for your 16x lens. This makes sense if your budget is tight and/or your shooting only occasionally calls for a wide angle shot. But every time you add glass to a lens something's bound to degrade in the additional refraction. (Not to mention the additional weight that adapters hang on the camera's front.) Since the XL1s offers interchangable lenses I really advocate that folks consider getting the 3x lens if they need wide angle capabilities, rather than an adapter.

Jeff Donald May 20th, 2003 11:17 AM

I wouldn't trade mine for the world. But I also accept that the images will not be as sharp as the long lenses, or EOS lenses that I use. But it is sharper than the other lenses with a wide adapter (like the Century adapters).

Nigel Moore May 20th, 2003 12:47 PM


Jim MacAlister's article leaves no doubt that the 3x is a fine close-up lens. From what you're saying, it's not so hot for distant objects, which makes sense.

But from Don's message, I gather that he's interested in panoramic views of wide-open vistas, rather than zoomed shots of distant objects. This would be a useful attribute for me here in the beautiful Alps.

So what do you think of the 3x's capabilities in 'big country' shots?

Ken Tanaka May 20th, 2003 02:57 PM

I think it does a fine job on panoramics within the confines of the camera's platform. But I don't believe that today's standard-definition video technology does as good of a job with panoramics as film (or, perhaps, as HD -- although I've not seen enough of HD to have a firm opinion of it). This is one area where DV's lower resolution and limited contrast latitude really hurts the results. Since shooters cannot control lighting in such scenes we have to take what we can get. Good scenic panoramas rely on an extremely rich palette of hues and subtle contrasts to convey depth and scale. DV just has a hard time conveying such subtleties.

So, by all means, shoot scenics with the 3x. It's the best tool available to XL1s shooters for the job!

Nigel Moore May 20th, 2003 03:09 PM

So, DV is not great for panoramas, but the 3x is as good as it gets for the XL1s.

Since I'm not looking to buy into film at all, or into HD for the foreseeable future, I'll just have to live the confines of SD DV.

My glass is half full! :-)

Don Libby May 21st, 2003 06:41 AM

Ken - thanks for the reply. I'm still working for Uncle Sam at least until Oct 3rd after that itís recess without the bell!

My thoughts from my trip to AZ were that what I was able to capture was good (bordering on great). I shot most of the time in wide angle doing some reverse zoom. I want to be able to capture as much of the scenic beauty as possible.

I think I understand that the 3x will do an adequate job for what Iím expecting Ė better than the standard lens yet not as good as someone with deep pockets (film studios). I thought about an adapter, however dismissed it almost as soon as I thought about it.

Nigelís statement seems to be on the mark ďthe 3x is as good as it gets for the XL1sĒ.

Thanks guys, once again you helped me out. Yes, I will be getting the 3x sometime soon.

Andrew Petrie May 21st, 2003 08:01 AM

More on wide adapters
<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Donald : I wouldn't trade mine for the world. But I also accept that the images will not be as sharp as the long lenses, or EOS lenses that I use. But it is sharper than the other lenses with a wide adapter (like the Century adapters). -->>>

Is the picture sharpness / quality very noitceable? My plan was to get the 16x servo, and slap on the Century .7x zoom-through wideangle. I've been told the .7x has artifacts when totally wide, but zooming in just a tad corrects it. I thought the quality of the servo lens, and the versatility of the adapter would be a good combination. But I'm having doubts now! :)

<<<-- Originally posted by Don Libby : I thought about an adapter, however dismissed it almost as soon as I thought about it. -->>>

Please cover your reasons for dismissing the idea, because it's an idea I'm pondering over right now. I don't want to make a pricey mistake.

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