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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)

vuduproman November 28th, 2001 06:44 PM

Canon 3x wide angle lens questions
3x Wide Angle Lens - Necessary?

I just bought an XL1s a few days ago and I'm new to DV - Why would I need to use a wide angle lens? What would be the most important purpose?

I'm interested in doing documentaries in the Caribbean and possible an indie film. Any info. would be appreciated.

Chris Hurd November 29th, 2001 12:05 AM

Why you would need to use a wide angle lens...

-- to increase your angle of view. A wide angle lens sees more than a medium angle or telephoto lens.

-- to avoid that "tunnel vision" look. Images shot with wide angle lenses give a more open feel, an airy comfortable quality instead of a claustrophic, closed-in look.

-- to shoot in tight spaces, such as the interior of a car or a small room.

-- to provide smoother hand-held shots. Wide-angle lenses are much more forgiving in hand-held work. They don't even need image stabilization; they're already stable.

-- to get closer to your actors. It's a much more intimate feel. Plus it's a completely different look than doing a close-up from across the room... try it and you'll see what I mean.

-- my favorite: to get the onboard mic closer to the subject. I do a lot of running and gunning; I don't have time to move a lavilier mic from one person to another. With a wide-angle lens, I can get closer to my subject and get better audio from him or her because the mic is that much closer... makes a huge difference when you're forced to mic from the camera.

Anybody else? Hope this helps,

Bill Ravens November 29th, 2001 08:13 AM

I shoot a lot of outdoor scenes in spectacular but VERY narrow canyons of the SW United States. A wide angle lens is the only way I can capture a sense of the environment I'm in....not to mention capturing awesome perspectives of height.

vuduproman November 29th, 2001 08:44 AM

Thanks for all of the info!

Kevin Kirchner November 29th, 2001 04:51 PM

I believe that another wide angle plus is that generally depth of field is better with a wide angle lens everything else being equal.

Don Palomaki November 29th, 2001 05:21 PM

For event work, a wide angle is great for that dance on a postage-stamp size dance floor. For home/hobby, the birthdqay party in the tiny town house.

Do you need the Canon 3x? A great lens, but you can find wide angle adapters/converters that attach to the 16x lenses. Century Optics offers a couple model that are excellent, and cost substantially less than the Canon 3x.

Joe Redifer November 29th, 2001 07:35 PM

Like Bugman said, it gives you greater depth of field, etc. In fact, I usually hate to zoom too much because it flattens out all nearly all perspective. Sometimes you just have to zoom in or use a telephoto lens. But normally I try to live with just the 3x wide angle lens.

Kat Dalton February 3rd, 2002 11:52 AM

3X lens/focus/camera balance
How is the manual focus on the 3x lens? Is it as hard to use as the manual focus on the old 16x? I'm considering buying the XL1S with the 3x, have only used an XL1 briefly with the 16x but read about focussing issues.

I hear the 3x doesn't really help with the front-heaviness problem. Anyone have different opinion? Does using an MA-100 with the dual battery charger on it help?

I would also be getting the b&w viewfinder which will add to weight.


Ken Tanaka February 3rd, 2002 01:43 PM

The 3x wide lens for the XL1/s is a bit shorter than the other lenses and, while it might move the center a bit closer to your shoulder, it will not significantly change the camera's balance in any meaningful way. Nor will the dual-battery holder. The b&w viewfinder is slightly heavier than the color vf but I don't think it will be a noticeable additional strain on your right arm.

The fact is that the XL1/s' design features a very low-mass, short body. Short of rather extreme measures, such as one of the 3rd party shoulder mounts that places a counter-weight behind your shoulder, the cam will always be rather front-heavy.

Still I highly recommend the 3x lens, particularly if you expect to shoot in tighter settings. I've never had any trouble with its auto-focus and rarely use it with manual focus. The b&w viewfinder is very nice to have, particularly when shooting with the 14x manual lens (or the newer 16x manual). If your budget can swing it, go for it.

Chris Hurd February 3rd, 2002 01:44 PM


The 3x should be purchased for its wide-angle properties and nothing more. Do not consider buying that lens as an alternative for the 16x as it serves a completely different function. The 3x is not a replacement for the 16x but rather an entirely separate application. If you are considering the XL1S, you will be most happy with the newly re-engineered 16x IS II lens... it's a huge improvement over the old 16x lens. Hope this helps,

Kat Dalton February 3rd, 2002 03:30 PM

Hi Chris,

Maybe my post was misleading. I _would_ be buying the 3x because it's a wide-angle lens. I always shoot wide-angle, close to subjects. If I could get a wide-angle prime lens that would work on an XL1S, I'd get one.

My question was whether manual focussing is just as difficult with the 3x as with the old 16x. I suspect it is since it's the same type of lens, not a manual one, but I haven't heard complaints like I have against the old 16x.


Kat Dalton February 3rd, 2002 03:55 PM

Hi Ken,

Thanks for your input. Interesting that you rarely use manual focus with the 3x. Makes me think the auto focus is much better than on my current camera (EZ1).

Do you have the 14x manual? Do you ever use it handheld? I see it's about 7 ounces heavier and an inch-and-a-quarter longer than the 3x. A fully manual lens definitely has its appeals.


Ken Tanaka February 3rd, 2002 07:25 PM

Yes, I have the 14x manual lens but very rarely use it hand-held. It's a fine lens but has no OIS. I -do- occasionally use the 3x hand-held.

Honestly, for most of my hand-held shots I generally use my GL1. It has a very good lens with the same OIS as the XL1's 16x lens, has basically the same CCD's (footage is generally easy to mate with the XL1's) and, of course, is much smaller and easier to hand-hold than the XL1/s. I use the XL1/s and the GL1 as a mated team.

Adam Wakely February 4th, 2002 12:11 AM

I use the 16x and 3x all the time. There isn't that much need for alot of focusing with the 3x as most use it in it's wide mode. I alway leave the auto focus on and I never seem to notice it focusing as it's always clear. I do alot of weddings and change lenses quite often throughout the day. I would say the focusing and zoom are better than the 16x but only because there isn't much distance to use and because of the wide angle. I love the 3x and it works great.

As for the weight distribution of the camera, a bracket support is needed and there is a few out there. It is not the most comfortable camera on the shoulder for a long period of time. But is any? A massage is helpful after any shoot!

Joe Redifer February 4th, 2002 12:40 AM

I have both the 16x and 3x and let me tell you... once I put that 3x on and used it I never wanted to use the 16x again! Of course some shots require that I get in a little closer with zoom so I am forced to use it. The 3x has a really good depth of field, but it can still have focus issues just panning the camera around. If you are shooting in anamorphic it is even harder to focus for some reason. I usually leave it in manual focus.

The main problem with the Canon lenses is that the focus is driven by a motor, so that when you turn the focus ring it takes a microsecond for the focus to start shifting and when you stop moving the ring the focus keeps changing for yet another microsecond. Horrible design. You do have to get used to it and learn to make manual focus adjustments very slowly. I've never really liked the auto focus on any lens because it always seems to go WAY out of focus really quick before it captures the correct focus. I think artificial intelligence would be needed for a good autofocus.

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