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HockeyFan12

18-135mm Nano USM and PZ-E1 question

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I'm sure that optically this lens isn't the best. But I would love an EF mount power zoom. And I would also love to spend as little as possible.

My question is this:

When I use my 70-200mm f2.8 II IS L zoom and zoom in, the aperture stays consistent. When I use my 55-250mm STM zoom, even if I set the lens to f5.6 when I'm at the wide end, I can see the aperture changing in this weird way when zooming in. Sort of a flickering or a correction throughout the zoom range, even if the camera displays a steady f5.6. So... if I use the new 18-135mm Canon USM and PZ-E1 and set the lens to f5.6 on the wide end and zoom in with the PZ-E1, will I notice any similar weird issues with the aperture shifting when zooming in, or will the exposure look clean and consistent, as with a constant aperture zoom? Canon's online demos seem to indicate the latter! Which is cool!

But I've learned not to totally trust them.

I know the image quality won't be ideal but sometimes you want a power zoom and sometimes you're cheap. In the digital era, f5.6 is not that slower either. :)

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1 hour ago, HockeyFan12 said:

I'm sure that optically this lens isn't the best. But I would love an EF mount power zoom. And I would also love to spend as little as possible.

My question is this:

When I use my 70-200mm f2.8 II IS L zoom and zoom in, the aperture stays consistent. When I use my 55-250mm STM zoom, even if I set the lens to f5.6 when I'm at the wide end, I can see the aperture changing in this weird way when zooming in. Sort of a flickering or a correction throughout the zoom range, even if the camera displays a steady f5.6. So... if I use the new 18-135mm Canon USM and PZ-E1 and set the lens to f5.6 on the wide end and zoom in with the PZ-E1, will I notice any similar weird issues with the aperture shifting when zooming in, or will the exposure look clean and consistent, as with a constant aperture zoom? Canon's online demos seem to indicate the latter! Which is cool!

But I've learned not to totally trust them.

I know the image quality won't be ideal but sometimes you want a power zoom and sometimes you're cheap. In the digital era, f5.6 is not that slower either. :)

Such a coincidence that you mention this combo as I was only looking at it yesterday as I had no idea that that little adapter even existed. It looks like a great little product but I was curious about why it only supports one lens.

From the B&H reviews that I looked at there were a couple that mentioned flicker but it doesnt make it clear in either whether it was because it really was changing aperture as they hadn't locked it at 5.6. They did say that the auto ISO counteracted it so maybe that's what Canon use in the demo video and sneakily smooth it out even if it is locked at 5.6 as they know where the transition points are coming? It would make sense if they did but wouldnt solve it for me as I want to put it on a non-Canon body! 

 

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I'm looking to put it on an old C100, not sure it has auto ISO though. I certainly wouldn't want to use it if it did. Would like to lock it at f5.6 which is fine given the camera's good low light performance. 

I'd actually be okay with aperture ramping. We had that in the old dvx100 days anyway. Not with flicker though. :( 

If you get to try one, let me know how it works out for you.

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3 hours ago, HockeyFan12 said:

I'm looking to put it on an old C100, not sure it has auto ISO though. I certainly wouldn't want to use it if it did. Would like to lock it at f5.6 which is fine given the camera's good low light performance. 

I'd actually be okay with aperture ramping. We had that in the old dvx100 days anyway. Not with flicker though. :( 

If you get to try one, let me know how it works out for you.

My speculation is that they would manipulate the ISO (secretly ;) ) briefly at the crossover points to smooth it out rather than you needing it be enabled but its just a guess as to how they could do it.

But I'm basing that on how bad the phenomenon is on Fuji's wide zooms (and to a far less extent their tele ones) but perhaps its just fundamentally better on this Canon lens.

If I come across one in a shop I'll let you know.

 

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EDIT

However they're achieving it, its working pretty well on this video.

I'd seen a few others where it was very noticeable but I suspect that what they were exhibiting was it not being set to f5.6 so it was stepping through its maximum apertures for each part of the range.

It may make a bit of mechanical noise though from other comments I've read.

 

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Thanks! That looks not too bad. 

I've never understood the worry over mechanical noise. Wireless FF units can be loud, too, and no one has a problem using them. It's not like the camera is usually anywhere near the mic anyway.

If I set another cheap variable aperture lens to f5.6 and zoom with it there's tons of flickering. Whatever this is doing is basically working to hide almost all of it. I wonder if it interfaces well with the c series, too, or is designed mostly for the 80D, etc. Given the cheap price of the 18-135mm on the gray market, I might have to get one of these.

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This video I thought showed it quite badly but who knows what his settings were so its difficult to tell.

 

But having said that, the first video you see on YouTube when you search for the lens and adapter is Canon themselves demonstrating it at the broadcast show on a C100 so they don't seem to be shy about pushing it for the C100 so its definitely worth a demo of it as a combo to see if there maybe is some sorcery going on.

 

 

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Ooh yeah that is bad. Not as bad as I get by doing a crash zoom with a similar lens but really ugly.

You can see someone using it on a C100 mk II here but the aperture racks when he zooms. That said.... no flicker.

I wasn't considering this but given the cheap gray market availability of the lens and second hand market (since it's a kit lens for so many cameras) I might have to sell the old hvx and pick one up. :)

18-135mm is also the most useful range for video IMO and outdoors I don't need anything faster than f5.6 whereas my prime kit is really heavy.

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On 6/16/2017 at 9:50 AM, Kubrickian said:

I'd love if this had an even slower mode for more cinematic zooms. 

It's appropriate that a Kubrick fan would want this. I really suspect that this product isn't going to be very good, but there are times when I want a smooth zoom, too.

Another option is doing it the old school way and putting a lens gear on your zoom ring and using a wireless FF. A friend tried this with my 70-200mm and my DJI focus.

Mixed results. :/ Felt slightly granular and rough but only slight... it kind of worked. Definitely felt like a motorized zoom. Actually pretty darned good and obviously no aperture racking there.

For super great results, renting one of the Canon or Fujinon zooms might be the right way to go. But I'm not after the right way, just the cheap way and the easy way and the portable way.

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On ‎6‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 7:35 AM, HockeyFan12 said:

Guess what I just bought. :grimace:

Yes, both the lens and zoom rocker. 

If nothing else I have a new travel lens for stills.

Have you got it already?

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Well, it isn't quite what I was looking for. I don't think either of you are the target audience. I wonder if anyone really is? It feels consumer-oriented.

I've only tried the lens indoors with poor light so maybe it gets better outside. But it seems to flicker exactly like in the videos above (less than some lenses, more than you want) unless you zoom in wide open, in which case the aperture racks just over a stop between 18mm and 135mm.

It doesn't seem like that much, though. This is pretty acceptable.

At a consistent f5.6, it flickers noticeably but subtly. Both On my SL1 and C100.

Even in auto ISO. I think? Auto ISO pulses for some reason or another. And the C100 doesn't have it.

Even if the flicker weren't a problem, the ramp acceleration takes a long time to begin and is difficult to control in both fast and slow speeds. Inadequate to follow action or fast-moving events. It's not all the smooth either. The rocker feels great but doesn't seem analogue but instead very granular. The rocker might have a total of five steps on it. It might have just three (zoom in, don't zoom, zoom out). Slow zoom looks cool, though.

Programming a zoom into a wireless FF seems the better option. By far.

For the 80D crowd it's nice, though. Great balance, good ergonomics. Weird rocker placement makes sense for C series and dSLRs given the grip placement. Image quality seems okay. Great zoom range and light weight. And despite the adapter's flaws, it approximates the job closely enough to be functional and fun to use. Non-picky consumers will like it. Creative people willing to fix problems in post or who need to shoot a fake newscast or something will have fun with it. I might sell my hvx still! But this thing is a lot of $$$ for a toy/consumer-grade (not that controllable so not professional-level, but intuitive and workable enough to be fun, at least, so not garbage) product.

To me it just seems like an immature consumer product. Not particularly good at anything. But not an embarrassment, either, and a cute novelty. But... not very good. :( 

What's really crazy... REALLY crazy is that it seems the contacts are only for power and they don't do anything to zoom or focus. They're also exposed all the time unless you attach the adapter and ate kind of unsightly. Strange for such a ubiquitous kit lens to behave that way... The zoom mechanism actually seems to be similar to a wireless FF where a lens gear on a motor catches the gear on the mechanical helical zoom/focus mechanism. It's not internally controlled at all, it's controlled by a gear in the zoom mechanism. The finely notched grip on the zoom ring on the lens catches a fine gear in the PZ-E1, and so that physical might account for the slow acceleration and slightly inconsistent zoom speed and feel. Really weird!

So it's not very good. But it sits well on the C100 in terms of size and feel. And if you need that slow Kubrick zoom for the absolute bare bones price, this will be able to communicate that intent. Horribly awkwardly and inartistically and not even consistently, sure, but it does function. That might sound like a dismissal, and I think for most people who want a real zoom rocker a camcorder is the better choice, but it's why I'm keeping it despite not recommending it to anyone.

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14 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

Well, it isn't quite what I was looking for.

I've only tried the lens indoors with poor light so maybe it gets better outside. But it seems to flicker exactly like in the videos above (less than some lenses, more than you want) unless you zoom in wide open, in which case the aperture racks just over a stop between 18mm and 135mm.

It doesn't seem like that much, though. This is pretty acceptable.

At a consistent f5.6, it flickers noticeably but subtly. Both On my SL1 and C100.

Even in auto ISO. I think? Auto ISO pulses for some reason or another. And the C100 doesn't have it.

Even if the flicker weren't a problem, the ramp acceleration takes a long time to begin and is difficult to control in both fast and slow speeds. Inadequate to follow action or fast-moving events. It's not all the smooth either. The rocker feels great but doesn't seem analogue but instead very granular. The rocker might have a total of five steps on it. It might have just three (zoom in, don't zoom, zoom out). Slow zoom looks cool, though.

Programming a zoom into a wireless FF seems the better option. By far.

For the 80D crowd it's nice, though. Great balance, good ergonomics. Weird rocker placement makes sense for C series and dSLRs given the grip placement. Image quality seems okay. Great zoom range and light weight. And despite the adapter's flaws, it approximates the job closely enough to be functional and fun to use. Non-picky consumers will like it. Creative people willing to fix problems in post or who need to shoot a fake newscast or something will have fun with it. And I might sell my hvx still. But it's a lot of $$$ for just fun. 

To me it just seems like an immature consumer product. Not particularly good at anything. But not an embarrassment, either.

What's really crazy... REALLY crazy is that it seems the contacts are only for power and they don't do anything to zoom or focus. They're also exposed all the time and kind of unsightly. Strange for such a ubiquitous kit lens... The mechanism actually seems to be similar to a wireless FF where a lens gear catches the gear on the zoom/focus mechanism. It's not internally controlled. The finely notched grip on the zoom ring catches a fine gear for the PZ-E1, and so that might account for the slow acceleration and slightly inconsistent speed with the inconsistent give on the zoom ring as you zoom in. Really weird!

Not very good. But it sits well on the C100 in terms of size and feel.

A bit of a mixed bag then to say the least.

I wonder if there is any additional jiggery pokery going on when its on an 80D.

Whats piqued my interest here though is the PZ-E1 and the contacts part. I suspect that there some of those pins are for comms though as it is drivable from their smart phone app so the camera has to tell the lens to tell the PZ-E1 to move the zoom position but its how it operates (or not) standalone that intrigues me.

I know its battery powered but does it turn the gear without being attached to the lens? 

If it does, it strikes me as there may be some mileage in a modification for it to work with other lenses.

It has the right form factor, ergonomics and price to be an interesting add on for a lot more people than just users of one specific lens I think.

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The other solution for a C100 type camera is a 18-80CN-E with the additional zoom rocker, for the sum of nearly 7000euros.

I would say that the 18-135 with the small PZ box is a bargain for the price. Of course I haven't used it yet, but the 18-135 offers the greatest value lens to pair with a C100 for most low budget jobs, and works great with Canon's DP AF. If you can do a few things with this PZ, then it is a win win situation.

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