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“… being new to this side of things, is there any reason the hoods
that i have for my other lenses will not work? What are rails? I have
an old Manfrotto tripod rated to something daft that should be ok,
although a new head might be needed. Is there any reason it should not
do the job? whatsafocus puller?, i thought it was an assistant of
some kind. And UV glass.. are you talking about a filter? If so,
again why would the filters i have not work? Of course some new
software will be needed, not sure my photoshop would be quite up to the
job, but i know there are video equivalents out there.”
Here’s the low down on what your trying to set up. Yes, the Xl2 will work with your EOS lenses but only if you get a 35mm lens adapter. The cheapest way is to get a Canon EF Adapter (see the link and scroll down once you get the page open) for $600 US at the Canon Store (check B&H Photovideo under pro camera accessories to see if they have it cheaper.)
The problems you’ll have with this setup as is are;
1. Upside down image due to lens parallax. Video camera lenses automatically correct for lens parallax since CCD’s only receive the image as right side up. That’s why you can turn an SLR sideways and reframe the image, but a video camera will turn the image on its side. The only two ways to physically correct for parallax is get a camera (or an adapter) to flip the image or shoot with the camera mounted upside down (that’s just silly.) With an upside down image you’d have to render all your usable footage first in order to get started editing (good luck trying to edit upside down.)
2. With your EF adapter and a 35mm lens on front focusing will be ‘challenging’. The XL2 isn’t the greatest shoulder mountable camera as it is front heavy. 35mm lenses would cut the weight on the front depending on what size you use. Video and still photography though born of the same parents are two different animals. The freedom you have focusing with an SLR will evaporate when you put an SLR lens on a video camera. You won’t be able to use your EOS autofocus capabilities and using full manual focus for video is an acquired skill. I rarely work with any auto capabilities on any of the video camera lenses I use and can consistently get non-jarring imagery. But that took time to learn how to do. I can do it to a certain degree (no way you’ll get rock steady images) with a camera with shoulder mount rails and a cine kit. Without rails and a good tripod upside down ‘earthquake cam’ is in your future. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, get your hands on any small handheld video cam and turn off the autofocus and image stabilization. Then try to shoot a scene handheld wide, medium and tight. Don’t forget to try an focus/set exposure all while trying to keep the image level and steady. Have fun.
3. Using your 35mm lenses on a video camera, your going to need rails, a mattebox, follow focus and a bunch of other stuff. You can see what a good kit looks like at Redrock Micro. They also show the ‘flip’ adapter you’ll need and they have a cine kit for SLR video cameras in case you change your mind.
The rails will support your lens (particularly the longer heavier ones) and your mattebox as well. The mattebox is superior to a lens hood for keeping out stray light and it can hold multiple filters (ground glass or other types) and can be changed out quickly versus the potential ordeal of dismantling your mattebox / lens hood then unthreading your filter just to change it.
Really the whole purpose of using 35mm lenses and their requisite support gear is to get ‘the film look’ in video. The lens adapter helps preserve the shallow depth of field capabilities possessed by the SLR lenses. The cine kit helps make adjustments like, focusing, exposure and keeping the image steady easier. Truthfully, I think you’d be much better off starting out with the lens that comes with the XL2 which can be used with full stablization, autofocus and auto exposure or fully manual. When you get the hang of that then move up to a 14x or 16x manual (which I use implicitly) to get full control over focus and exposure (no stabilization, which is for weenies unless you’re shooting aerials, on a moving platform or run and gun footage.) Later, when your funds justify it, get the 3x. I’d save all of those wonderful lenses for a Mark 5D. The video from those are phenomenal and the price is unbelievably cheap compared to it’s comp (RED Scarlet.)