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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PXW-Z280, Z190, X180 etc. (going back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.

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Old July 6th, 2012, 09:07 AM   #16
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Location: Washoe Valley, NV
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Re: Wide angle lens adaptor for EX1

I have no experience with the 16:9 adapter, so I cannot speak to that, but I have used several Century Optics adapters with great success, and can wholly endorse the .6 as an inexpensive and reliable option. You have to accept some barrel distortion on something this wide, (goes with the territory) but what keeps surprising me is the repeated comment that the adapter is 'non zoom through'. While this is technically correct, you CAN zoom through it a considerable amount. This makes it much more versatile, and also reduces barrel distortion as you zoom in. The key is to set the camera for auto focus and macro 'on', and let the camera focus. Then you can turn auto focus 'off', and manually focus if you prefer, as well as zoom to your desired focal length. Once you zoom past the macro range, you immediately lose focus, but zooming back into macro range will bring it right back. (this also can be used for effect) I did some comparisons of different Century Optics adapters a couple of years ago:
You can see the range of zoom on the .6 and fisheye. (I have both) If you truly want a fully zoom through wide, the .75 is a good option (but much bigger and heavier) or if you have an EX3 the Fuji wide lens available is pretty decent for the price. (I also use one of these) For the EX1, you have no choice but to use an adapter.
A bigger question to me is, how can you shoot fireworks with an EX? I would think the flash banding would be a problem on the really bright ones!
Derek Reich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2012, 11:50 AM   #17
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Re: Wide angle lens adaptor for EX1

Flash banding is a problem for people whose fireworks are too small (e.g. 1.4G
or consumer fireworks) or people who like to record electric flash tubes at weddings.

Big display fireworks that are worth recording emit lots of energy have slow rise
and fall times in brightness compared to a flash tube. You don't get a hard edge
in general because it takes a long time for the chemical reaction to spool up and
spool down, even for the salutes. It usually is a slow fade that is about 1/3 to 1/4
the screen height _if_ you can perceive it. As long as your are doing 59.95 fields
or frames per second, the flash banding is less annoying than other problems like
near-IR pollution, white balance and wide angle adapter aberrations.

Back on the main problem, Markus, you might want to find a brick wall
and test your EX1's lens without an adapter on it. The wide angle adapters
are just going to make the performance worse from there. You want to
face the EX1 straight at the wall and run around f/2.0 with no ND filters in
place. You should see all of the bricks in decent focus with maybe the
extreme corners looking a little unclear. You should be able to have
the left middle and the right middle of the frame is decent focus at the
same time. You should try this at Z0 and Z10. I find that my EX1's
are a little soft everywhere at Z0 but by Z10 or so its good across the whole
image. Zoom lenses are precarious things so you can' expect them
to be perfect at the extremes.

As for the B&H comments on the century, those comments can be divided
into "it isn't zoom through", "it shows dust" and "it has barrel distortion" which
are all things one should expect from a non-zoom through wide angle adapter.

It seems, that the 16x9 is "sharp" (=same focus) from Z0 upto Z50! From Z53/54 it totally loses focus.
Past Z53, the EX1 can't focus close enough given how long the focal length has
become. The focus is really close to the front of the lens to begin with
since you started out in macro mode. Eventually you turn the zoom so far
that the moving parts in the EX1's zoom lens runs up against something and the
EX1 can't maintain the backfocus anymore and blam, everything is blurry.

You won't have this effect with the zoom-through adapters _BUT_ the zoom through
adapters are limited to a narrower range of wide angles. They have twice the
lens elements which can mean twice or three times the lens flare. Fireworks are
not friendly to lenses that are prone to flaring. Even the basic EX1 lens at f/1.9 is
close to flaring. I have not tested the sony zoom through though, it is not wide enough
for me.
Dustin Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2012, 01:29 PM   #18
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Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 169
Re: Wide angle lens adaptor for EX1

@Dustin and Derek
Thank you so much for your comments. All the small hints and explanations, related to my specific questions, make it more and more clearer to me.

I have an old sampler on Vimeo with some fireworks from Germany, Italy, Malta and Shanghai from 2009-2010, which shows how good the EX1 is for fireworks. All the footage was shot with EX1 or EX1R with the same VCL-EX0877 0.8x WA at Z0:
In the meantime I filmed much wider displays where I would have needed a 0.6x ore more...

Thank you, I will do the brick wall test tomorrow but from my experience with the camera I would assume that I will not notice significant softness with the normal lense of EX1R in the edges. So, if I do not see a real "problem", I do not have to expect a defect at my EX1R and all softness is caused by the adapters?

Of course I know your comparison and now I am somehow angry on myself, that I hoped on and decided for the 16x9 instead of the century. I am very, very close to order the century too and keep the better and sell the worse...
Markus Klatt is offline   Reply

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