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Hank Parker

Canon xl1s with 16/14x manual lens or dvx100a?

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If I can buy a canon xl1s body only camera, and purchase along with it a 16x or 14x fully manual XL lens, would it be better for the money it costs than to buy a panasonic dvx100a? I've heard great things about the panasonic, except that it has a bad focus ring and a not so good lens overall. I've heard that the standard 16x automatic lens for the xl1s is not so good either. Would it be worth it to buy a cheap, new body only canon xl1s and the manual lens, or should i just go for the panasonic? I can get a body only new canon xl1s for under 1000 USD, and can probably get the lens for relatively cheap, too. What do you all think?

 

Thanks for any input at all.

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Hank,

 

It totally depends on what you want to shoot. I have the XL1S with the 14x manual focus lens. If you are shooting NTSC or PAL, and if you can use a tripod for what you are doing, then I would highly recommend that set up over the DVX100A. The 14x Manual Focus lens is the highest quality lens ever made for a prosumer camera, because it was not made for a prosumer camera.

 

When the XL1 first came out, Canon did not offer a manual focus lens for it. Many pro shooters were picking up the camera because it was so light and portable, but could be shoulder shot like their big broadcast cameras. But these pro shooters were very disappointed in the stock lens. Optex realized that there was a market for a pro quality lens for the camera, so they teamed up with Fujinon and took one of Fujinon's pro lenses and made an adapter so it would fit the XL1.

 

Well Canon was humiliated that these pro shooters were taking their camera and putting a Fujinon lens on it(since Canon made their own line of pro lenses). But Canon did not have time to design and develop a whole new lens for the camera. So they took a lens from their pro line and converted the lens mount so it would fit the XL1, and so the 14x Manual Focus lens was born.

 

The 16x manual focus lens is supposed to be pretty nice too, but my experience says it is not quite as good as the 14x.

 

The two drawbacks with the 14x lens is that it does not have Electronic Image Stabilization and for some odd reason, it is not as sharp when using the in-camera electronic 16:9 setting. So when shooting 16:9, I shoot 4:3 and use the 16:9 viewfinder guides for framing, then letterbox the footage in post. I have also spent quite a bit of time getting steadier with the camera since the EIS does not work with the 14x lens. But to be honest, I usually shoot with it on a tripod.

 

Hope that answers some of your questions.

-Tim Carroll

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Hi,

 

I looked at the manual lens/XL1 combo as a possible alternative to what I have now. Frankly that lens is just about the cheapest, nastiest ENG style zoom they could possibly have found - but it is still gigantically better than the auto XL lenses.

 

The thing is, by the time you've bought an XL1 and the manual lens, mono CRT viewfinder, PAG battery adaptors, batteries and charger, a big enough tripod to carry all this junk - you still have a 500 line miniDV camera with rather minimal DSP electronics, unbalanced sound inputs, etc, etc - and you've spent nearly enough to buy a much better camera, such as the JVC GY-DV5000 or a Panasonic AG-DVC200. This is the point I came to and I bought the DVC200, and I'm in no doubt that what I have is much better technically and more usable than a medusa XL1/2.

 

Upgrading XL cameras is fine, I think, if you bought the camera and gradually decided you wanted more out of it. However, if you know for a fact you need to buy all these addons, I'd definitely reccomend that you consider buying a "real" camera to begin with. It's only slightly more expensive, andHi,

 

I looked at the manual lens/XL1 combo as a possible alternative to what I have now. Frankly that lens is just about the cheapest, nastiest ENG style zoom they could possibly have found - but it is still gigantically better than the auto XL lenses.

 

The thing is, by the time you've bought an XL1 and the manual lens, PAG battery adaptors, a big enough tripod to carry all this junk - you still have a 500 line miniDV camera with rather minimal DSP electronics, unbalanced sound inputs, etc, etc - and you've spent nearly enough to buy a much better camera, such as the JVC GY-DV5000 or a Panasonic AG-DVC200. This is the point I came to and I bought the DVC200, and I'm in no doubt that what I have is much better technically and more usable than a medusa XL1/2.

 

Upgrading XL cameras is fine, I think, if you bought the camera and gradually decided you wanted more out of it. However, if you know for a fact you need to buy all these addons, I'd definitely reccomend that you consider buying a "real" camera to begin with. It's only slightly more expensive, and very much better in lots of ways.

 

Phil

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I agree with you to a point Phil, but only to a point. We have the camera, the 14x lens, a Beachtek for the XLRs and a good tripod. I don't feel you need those other add ons to get good quality work out of the XL1S. We do use an old Sony Production monitor when we are not shooting run and gun, so we have not found the need for the B/W viewfinder or the extra battery set up you refer to.

 

And Hank is trying to decide between the XL1S and a DVX100, so I do not believe he is in the price range of the cameras you refer to. And XL1S bodies are going for a good price these days, so you could probably put together the package we now use for under $4000, without the production monitor.

 

-Tim

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Guest Jon Armstrong

I have been using an XL1 since they became available in PAL format. The arguement about lenses bepends to a great extent on whether you are a TV or Film person. Both have very specific demands.

 

People who have grown their entire life with TV have no interest in depth of field and even less in depth of focus. Film people do.

 

The 16X manual lens has one of the most amazing optical constructions that I have ever come accross. It has virtually no depth of focus and holds it sharpness outh full apeture of f1.6. The upshot of this is that you can effectively throw the BG out of focus and do pull focus opps. As a professional lens it has far better colimetric properties than the 16X that came standard with the XL1s.

 

If you are a TV guy/gal then you would not be interested in this and annoyed by the fact that you cannot just point and shoot. The lack of stabilisation would not be a plus either.

 

For film type work or doco the manual lens is superb however it needs a tripod and ideally the monochrome viewfinder.

 

The last XL1s that I bought was as body only. The only lens was the WA and the 16X

 

regards Jon

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