In focus

No camera is complete without a good lens and other accessories. We bring you a roundup of some of the latest products to hit the market.
In focus
By Administrator
Sat 24 Nov 2007 02:07 PM

No camera is complete without a good lens and other accessories. We bring you a roundup of some of the latest products to hit the market.

Canon

Canon's new high-definition long-field zoom lenses with auto-focus capabilities - DIGISUPER 100AF(XJ100x9.3AF) and DIGISUPER 86AF(XJ86x9.3AF) - offer the cameraman the opportunity to compose and hold great long distance shots without worrying about losing focus on the move.

The tremendous picture detail contained in HDTV makes anything less than perfect focus immediately obvious. So shooting fast-moving action in close-up on HD poses new challenges, says Canon, which is why it developed its DIGISUPER 100AF and DIGISUPER 86AF lenses.

These lenses enable camera operators to pull exact focus with the push of a button should they wish.

The lenses allow three modes of operation:  Part-time, which activates the auto-focus system for as long as the control button is depressed;

• Full-time, which provides continuous focus on selected moving objects such as racing cars (which might be speeding toward the camera position), or for shooting situations entailing full-servo robotic operation; and

• Off allows for normal, unassisted lens focus.

The lenses' auto-focus capabilities utilise Canon's TTL-Secondary Registration Phase-detection System, originally developed for single-lens reflex still cameras, in order to ensure both high accuracy and a high tracking capability for broadcast HDTV.

This is vital for object differentiation - if another object comes quickly into shot - to prevent loss of focus.

They also feature Canon's built-in Optical Image Stabiliser, or "Shift-IS" system, for rock-solid images even at telephoto distances.

Auto-Focus technology, however, is still not fully accepted by broadcasters. Many operators believe it dilutes their professional standards or should be used as more of an aid rather than a solution. It enables the cameraman to capture and hold shots that were previously virtually impossible. He can then concentrate his skills on the vital area of selecting and framing the shots themselves, knowing that the technicality of focus is being looked after. On long shoots, also, the function reduces tiredness among camera operators.

Cavision

The Cavision VFM-11X is a director's viewfinder which allows a portable means of framing shots over various cinema standards, including 35mm or 16mm film, as well as video standards such as 1/3", 2/3" and 1/2". This model has an 11x zoom capability making it ideal for a wide range of focal lengths.

Features for this economical and compact viewfinder include a durable strip hanger, an eye piece lock ring, click stops for aspect ratio ring and a 37mm standard filter thread. This supports most film and TV formats and comes with all standard aspect ratios including 16:9.

Specifications:

Materials:Aluminum, four element coated optics.

Action:Telescopic with click stops on focal length.

Formats:1" (S16), 2/3", 1/2" & 1/3" TV; Anamorphic, 35 & S16 film.

Aspect ratios:Academy, TV, 1.66, 1.77(16:9), 1.85, 2.35, 2.55; friction adjustment on rotating ring.

Rear eyepiece:Adjustable.

Weight:4.4Oz./125g.

Dimensions:2.2"/56mm long extends to 3.3"/ 84mm.

Diameter:1.62"/ 42mm.

• Includes screw-in metal front cap, soft vinyl pouch.

Accessories:Wide angle converter, rubber eye cup.

16x9 Inc

16x9 Inc has added a Compact Super Fisheye to its EX Collection of high-end lens accessories. A smaller, lighter version of the extremely wide-angle EX Super Fisheye, this new single-element fisheye adapter is custom crafted to meet the higher demands of the new higher resolution, compact HD camcorders. Adding 0.4X magnification, it expands the view of the original lens, for a wide-eyed perspective that draws the eye closer to the center of the action. Images take on a convex appearance with exaggerated angles and extreme barrel distortion.

With its concise shape and front diameter of 90mm, the Compact Super Fisheye is tailored to fit beautifully on smaller-size cameras like the Canon XH-A1. Mounted to the front of the XHA1 lens, it delivers a 116° horizontal field of view. At only 6.6 oz. (187g), this ultralight adapter is an excellent optical tool for handheld work. Plus, the unit's compact size and weight make it less susceptible to damage than larger, heavier accessories.

The EX Compact Super Fisheye comes equipped with a 72:62mm step-down ring for mounting to the Sony HVR-V1U and HDR-FX7. Secured by a single set screw, the ring is anchored to the back of the adapter. With the ring removed, the unit features a convenient 72mm screw-in rear thread that attaches neatly to the front of most popular HD camcorder lenses.

Engineered and built in Japan for optimum optical performance, 16x9 Inc.'s HD-quality EX lens add-ons feature a technically advanced design.
Carl Zeiss DigiDiopters

The Carl Zeiss DigiDiopters from Band Pro Film & Digital is optimised to work in conjunction with ZEISS and will also work well with other high-quality 2/3" HD lenses. Ideal for extreme close ups or wide angle shots with a shallow depth of field, Carl Zeiss DigiDiopters attach easily to the front of the lens to provide increased close-focus range and magnification capability.

DigiDiopters employ an achromatic dual-lens assembly to minimise colour fringing and spherical aberration - common problems with traditional single lens diopters. The ZEISS design ensures a high resolution, high contrast image with consistent precision anywhere in the frame. Carefully selected optical glass elements and the Zeiss proprietary T anti-reflective coating reduce light loss and flare while improving transmission for crisp images with saturated colors and accurate blacks. DigiDiopters are designed to optically match the DigiPrime, and DigiZoom's color balance, contrast, and overall image quality.

Weighing about 285g each, Zeiss DigiDiopters can be attached to the camera lens - or to each other - via a single thumbscrew. A self-centering clamping mechanism maintains a proper distance between diopter and lens and keeps them parallel to each other, ensuring optimal image quality. This mounting system puts the least amount of stress on the lens itself, while keeping the DigiDiopters securely in place. It also allows stacking a +1 and +2 diopter together on the front of the lens for a +3 magnification.

The ZEISS DigiDiopters are manufactured at the Carl Zeiss Optics factory in Oberkochen, Germany and marketed worldwide exclusively by Band Pro Film & Digital.

Fujinon

Fujinon's XA88x8.8BESM telephoto lens offers 88x magnification with the widest focal length of 8.8mm available in comparable telephoto lenses on the market. This lens is designed for the latest generation of HD broadcasting cameras. The XA88x8.8BESM is designed for big sports events by either capturing wide-angle shots or close-ups in 16:9 as well as 4:3 HD or SD. The lens completes the range of Fujinon's line of HD telephoto lenses, with a focal length range of 8.8 to 777mm (x1) and 17.6 to 1554mm (x2).

To achieve the extreme focal range from 8.8mm wide angle to 777mm tele side, the XA88x8.8BESM combines Fujinon's advanced lens technologies with the advantages of the GO technology.

The focus and zoom groups of the 88x are achromatic lenses themselves. The lens elements with low refractive index and small dispersion are combined with special glass with high refractive index to minimise the chromatic aberration. HD lenses require single crystals with flat spectral transmission. Therefore, a special glass manufacturing process has been used to make extreme large single crystals for the front lens groups. Newly developed EBC coating combination reduces ghost and flare and immediately increases the transmission to higher values.

The XA88x8.8BESM incorporates multiple aspherical lens elements leading to an overall image quality with field curvature and distortion. Three zoom groups enable optimised optical quality over entire zoom range.

In addition, Fujinon's advanced back focus technology enables remote control of macro and focus fade on wide shots - a feature, unique to Fujinon in this category of lenses.

The XA88x8.8BESM includes Fujinon's exclusive built-in OS-TECH optical stabilisation system as well as the its precision focus assist system.

The overall size of the lens has also been reduced. The total length is now 19mm shorter than its predecessor XA87x9.3BESM.

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