Extreme telephoto: shooting with the Canon XL H1S
Canon are a major player in the world of video acquisition. For many years high-end Canon lenses have been used on broadcast cameras for everything from ENG to sports production. Canon lenses and cameras are legendary in the world of still acquisition, regarded by many as being the best that money can buy. When it comes to affordable HD acquisition Canon has a selection of models offering high-end features which make their video cameras versatile and capable.
The XL H1S is Canon's flagship HDV camcorder. This model features interchangeable lenses and SDI output, meaning one can bypass the HDV recording altogether and record the uncompressed signal to another recording device. The XL H1S also features timecode and genlock, making it ideal for multi-camera shoots. Furthermore, the model is shoulder mounted, featuring full manual control, and, with an adapter, can be used with the full range of EOS lenses, designed for Canon still SLR cameras.
For the filmmaker the last point is particularly appealing. The Canon EOS lenses can be used for dramatic effect in video production. The magnification factor of 7x applies to the focal length of the EOS lens when used with the XL H1S, meaning that it is possible to shoot at extreme telephoto. When attaching a 400mm EOS photographic lens the equivalent focal length on the XL H1S is over 2800mm in 35mm terms; add a 1.6x adapter and this brings the focal length beyond 4000mm.
The results are nothing short of spectacular.
However, extreme close-up can also be achieved by adding close-up lenses, or wide angle by using the short 6x Canon wide designed for the XL H1S.
The flexibility of interchangeable lenses in combination with the fact that EOS lenses can also be used, with adapter, make the XL H1S one of the most versatile cameras on the market.