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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.

Kat Dalton February 6th, 2002 04:20 PM

Thanks Ken, Chris, Adam, and Joe for your help.


Peter Koller February 20th, 2002 09:52 AM

Image: 16x manual vs 3x wideangle
Does anybody use both, the new 16x manual lens and the 3x wideangle lens?

Can you tell a difference in the image? The auto-lenses (16x, 3x)are both a little soft. How about the manul lens?

Vic Owen February 20th, 2002 09:47 PM


Read the string titled 16X Manual lens started by donbarzini a few days ago-- it might answer your questions. There was mention of both lenses in the string.

Danielisok March 11th, 2002 05:04 AM

Canon 3X wide angle lens...need info!
I'm new to working with the Canon XL1s camera and equipment so, I'm in the learning stage. My question: I could purchase a used wide angle lens and save money, or get a new one. Would rather save $$$ and get everything used. Any difference at all in the lens. Thanks!!!

John Locke March 11th, 2002 05:56 AM

Hi Daniel,

If I understand you correctly, you're wondering if there have been significant changes in the Canon 3X lens in recent years? Not to my knowledge. As far as I know, it's been the same lens from day one...but I can't say for 100% certain. Hopefully, one of the others will jump in here and confirm whether that's correct.

As far as buying used equipment goes, the best thing to do is pop a tape in and try it out. Even better, hook it up to a television, if possible, since that will give you a much clearer image to judge. And be sure to try out everything you possibly can...audio inputs, gain, the works. And as far as the 3X lens is concerned, if everything feels snug, and there are no scratches on the front or rear lenses, and the image is fine...go for it.

Danielisok March 11th, 2002 05:54 PM

John, thanks for your imput. Your information confirms what I was feeling. Hopefully I'll be able to get more of a confirmation by someone else reading my questions. Hey...have a good move, and thanks again.

Jacques Mersereau March 17th, 2002 10:45 AM

If you need a wide angle, everyone who has purchased a 3X loves it. Me TOO!

Q) Why would someone sell a used 3X?
A) Either they dumped their whole XL1 rig or it is damaged.

I'd go with new unless you can carefully examine and try it out first.

Ken Tanaka March 17th, 2002 11:44 PM

I'd be inclined to agree with Jacques. Since there is no substitute for the 3x wide lens the only situation under which I could imagine finding a used lens is if someone was liquidating their whole kit. (You could only pry mine from my cold, dead hand <g>.)

I certainly understand wanting to save money but unless you know the seller and the lens I'd just get a new one and get the full warranty period from Canon.

Ozzie Alfonso March 18th, 2002 04:20 PM

We've been using the 3x in tandem with the 16x for the last week. Compared to the 16x, the 3x is MUCH sharper and brighter. Yesterday we were able to borrow a second 16x from a friend for the duration of the shoot. We found the discrepancy in the sharpness and brightness of the two lenses to be too great.

The 3x is a great lens. My only picky gripe is I wish it were a little longer, say a 4x or 5x. The 3x can't be beat as a wide angle but it's too limited to get a closeup unless you're practically on top of your subject in which case, if it's a person, any forward movement tends to distort. It would be great to be able to zoom from a wide 3 shot to a tight closeup. With the 3x, if you're on a 3 shot and try to zoom in for the close up the best you can expect is an MCU.

Peter Koller April 26th, 2002 07:40 AM

Push me!
Okay, guys!

Convince me. I am almost ready to spend the $1200 for the wide-angle-lens.

Just need a few punches and pushes to really DO it. I wanna buy it.
Tell me how good it is! Tell me it is all I ever needed!

Make me believe there is no better way to spend all that money!

the consume-hungry Peter :-))

Adrian Douglas April 26th, 2002 08:55 AM

OK Peter, here goes.

If you find yourself back inthe snow shooting some snowboarding, the 3x lens is fantastic for getting close to all the big air and halfpipe action.

For me that all the pushing I'd need, it's definately on my list.

Chris Hurd April 26th, 2002 09:10 AM

When shooting close-up interviews, the 3x lens will improve your audio. You can get closer to your subject with this lens, which gets the on-board mic closer, improving your audio.

Adam Wakely April 28th, 2002 12:02 PM

I do weddings and switch back and forth all day between the 3x & 16x lens. The 3x is excellent for landscape shots to a small room with no where to move. The other great thing is that it is a working zoom lens so there is room to zoom in and out a bit! (not like an attatchment wide angle which you can't zoom through).

Get it! You won't be sorry!

Don Palomaki April 29th, 2002 04:05 PM

One plus with a zoom-thorugh close-up adapter you spend less time swapping lenses between the 3x and 16x because you effectively get a 16x range that just wider (not as telephoto).

Peter Koller April 30th, 2002 03:33 AM

I did it. I did it. Itīs on the way to me. Oh, my god how am I gonna live until it arrives.....? :-)))

Thanks for the pushing, guys!


Vic Owen April 30th, 2002 06:22 PM

You're gonna hate it -- it is really a 'piece'! (And, I'd be willing to take it off your hands for, say, $600.00 up front! :) )


John Locke April 30th, 2002 08:42 PM

Peter, let us know what you think about your new 3X after you've had a chance to play with it.

I've been using the 3X more than the 16X lately...in fact, it stays on the camera all the time and then sometimes I replace it with the 16.

Back in my college days I had an "old school" photo professor who shot practically everything with a short focal length lens and absolutely hated zoom lenses. His reasoning was that as long as you have legs, you don't need a zoom lens or telephoto lens. I'm not that extreme...and of course there are other considerations in video that don't come into play with photography...but there's something to be said for remembering to just walk up to things sometimes.

Speaking of "zoom"...I've been wondering what the consensus is among you guys about whether you like the technique that's so popular now...in those "jittery cam" TV shows and movies...where you start a shot with a really fast zoom in. What do you think? Cool? Or overdone?

ja135321 May 2nd, 2002 01:49 AM

I got this lens a few weeks ago and shot an infomercial about wine. If I didnt have this lens I dont think I would have been able to do it. Besides getting a small room, it gets a great perspective with big areas such as vineyards. Although, I did have to switch back to the 16x to try to achieve a macro shot of the vines and leaves.

Peter Koller May 2nd, 2002 02:29 AM


I trust in your wise opinion and will immediately forward the lens to your address when I get it.
$600? No way. I cannot charge you so much money for such a lousy piece of junk. I donīt want to rip you off! Is it okay for you if I ask $20 for it? (just to cover shipping expenses)

Cheers, Peter


Dylan Couper June 14th, 2002 07:37 PM

got my 3x lens today
After debating between a wide angle converter, or the 3x lens, I chose the lens. If for nothing else, it's got a great re-sale value on Ebay. :)

I purchsed a used one locally in mint condition. I might have been able to get one off Ebay cheaper, but I'd rather pay a bit more and get to inspect it before buying.

It's in mint shape, but there is one thing (always is). There is a tiny piece of lint on the inside of the glass of the camera side of the lens. I demo'd it and it does not show up on tape or monitor, but I'd really like it gone.

Taking the lens apart myself is probably the mother of all bad ideas, so who would be qualified to do so? A local camera repair place? Or would it have to go back to Canon?

Apart from that, all you guys who praised this lens are right. It's excellent, and probably worth the money over a zoom through converter if you can get one for less than $1000. IMHO, a bit more zoom would be appreciated.

Jeff Donald June 14th, 2002 10:46 PM

Try shooting towards a light source and check for flare or ghost images from the lint. I doubt you'll see anything. If it were my lens I would leave it alone because it is not effecting the performance. Call Canon and ask what the charge will be. I suspect between $150 and $200.


Ken Tanaka June 14th, 2002 10:59 PM

Congratulations. I think you'll find it to be a very handy lens to have, especially when shooting in tight space.

I wouldn't even hallucinate over letting anyone except Canon disassemble and clean the lens. Take Jeff's advice: if it ain't too broke, don't fix it. (I'm paraphrasing, Jeff <g>.)

Chris Hurd June 15th, 2002 04:09 PM

Ditto, ditto, ditto! Do *not* attempt to dis-assemble that lens yourself... sounds like it's not worth worrying about. Congrats on your new lens! I want a cigar.

Dylan Couper June 15th, 2002 11:39 PM

What if I had a couple shots of vodka to steady my nerves before taking it apart?
Kidding of course! :)

Thanks for the congradulations, I feel like a proud father.

I used it to tape a friend of mine playing Celtic music at a party last night and was instantly glad I got it. The whole scene would have felt confined using the 16x lens.

I think overall (for me), it's a much more usable lens than the 16x, and if it was maybe a 5x instead of 3x, might have been a better choice to ship with the camera.

I tested it outside in bright sunlight with no traces of images from the lint, but it still bugs me knowing its there. Oh well. It can stay I guess.

Don Parrish July 19th, 2002 08:46 PM

Now that you have had this lens for a while, how is it working for you? I thought about your shot with a 200 to 972 mm lens of a friend playing music at a party . One would think the lens would be limited to close-ups and really close-ups. Also, how is the IS stab system working? Any problems with dust or dirt while changing lenses? Do you find yourself going back to the 16X II lens for some shots?

(sorry, some of these questions were for the 28-135 canon thread)


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