Sunday, 20 July 2014

Canon TV Zoom Lens V6x17 17-102 mm 1:2.0 [C-mount]

Canon TV Zoom Lens V6x17 17-102/2.0 was the first C-mount zoom I've ever got. First of all, it was smaller than I suspected. It makes the lens perfect for multi-purpose use. It's 16x zoom with very fast aperture of 2.0.
Secondary, I've read somewhere that it's supposed to be parfocal, that is - focused on the narrower length (102 mm) will stay in focus throughout the whole zoom range. It was really pity, that mine wasn't. What's more - it didn't focus at 17-20 mm at all! Luckily - there was a simple trick and now everything's superb!

All in all, it became my favourite lens for shooting squares and filming.

Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 mounted on Lumix G2 Micro Four Thirds (M4/3, MFT) camera.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 mounted on Lumix G2 Micro Four Thirds camera.

Parfocal trick - where digital meets analogue

As I mentioned, my lens was only meant to be parfocal. Didn't work that way at all. For a few months I was thinking that it's just a defective unit and didn't do anything about it (zooms are very difficult to repair). When I got my second V6x17, the issue recurred. So - either the problem wasn't in the lens or I was the world's greatest unlucky.
I started looking for perfect focal distance and found it just a 1/8 full turn on C-mount adapter before it locks. [I use cheapest $2 Chinese C-mount-MFT adapter available.] It developed the need for very tiny pads. With multiple attempts I determined thickness at 0.15-0.20 mm and made those pads from... analogue film with emulsion scrapped off. Really! That emulsion thickness was too much.
Now it works perfectly and you can't even see DIY pads.


I wanted to post some photos of how it looks, but lens is tightened and I don't want to mess the construction. I hope the description is enough. In case of problems - I'll help. Just post a comment. 

Sensor coverage

Canon V6x17 doesn't cover full M4/3 sensor, but works perfectly with Super16 or 1" (and smaller) sensors like BMPCC, Nikon 1 or Pentax Q. However, I've realised that it could be used well on MFT camera, when shooting in 1:1 aspect ratio. On some focal lengths you'll get black corners, but other than that - it's absolutely fine.

Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 17mm @2.0 - BMPCC (BlackMagic Cinema Pocket Camera), GH4 UltraHD sensor coverage.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 17mm @2.0 - BMPCC, GH4 UltraHD sensor coverage.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 30mm @2.0 - BMPCC (BlackMagic Cinema Pocket Camera), GH4 UltraHD sensor coverage.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 30mm @2.0 - BMPCC, GH4 UltraHD sensor coverage.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @2.0 - BMPCC (BlackMagic Cinema Pocket Camera), GH4 UltraHD sensor coverage.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @2.0 - BMPCC, GH4 UltraHD sensor coverage.

Bokeh

I really like how the bokeh works in this lens. Although it doesn't cover the whole MFT sensor, the background tends to "hide" dark corners in an organic manner. I've never seen that effect before and I really, really enjoy it.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @2.8 - close-up.
Canon V6x17 offers a typical for TV zooms bokeh "circles". Those "dents" are caused by lens construction - these are internal rails for zooming and focusing units.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @2.0 - irregular circle bokeh.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @2.0 - irregular circle bokeh.
However, @f8.0 Canon charms with six-pointed star-shaped bokeh.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @8.0 - six-pointed star-shaped bokeh.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @8.0 - six-pointed star-shaped bokeh.

Ergonomics

Canon 17-102/2.0 is rather long lens without any tripod mount. That's a bit of disadvantage for using it stable, but there's always an opportunity to mount it on lens supports for rigs. However, it's not so heavy so it could damage your camera. Zoom ring has a little detachable lever that is comfortable for zooming, when filming.
It's really comfortable using handheld. I hold camera with my right hand, left hand supporting the lens. Aperture is "clicky", so you definitely feel when something changes. I've found this solution really convenient. In fact, I like it much better than those "pump" zooms.

Samples and image quality

I decided to shoot 4:3 aspect ratio to show how sensor coverage works all the way. It's a bit "soapy" or "glowing" in the middle @2.0, but from 2.8 it becomes very sharp.
So let's begin zooming the entire range.

Camera: Lumix G2
Aperture: according to the description
Mount: C-mount > Micro Four Thirds
Edit: PS CS6 50% scaling



Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 17mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 17mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 17mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 17mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 17mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 17mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 20mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 20mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 20mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 20mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 20mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 20mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 30mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 30mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 30mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 30mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 30mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 30mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 50mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 50mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 50mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 50mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 50mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 50mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 75mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 75mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 75mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 75mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 75mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 75mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @5.6
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @5.6
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @8.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @8.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @11
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @11
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @16
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @16
Phew... that was a lot!
I tried hard to show some flaring and ghosting that occurs against the light. First example was a "lucky" shot. It wasn't that easy to achieve that effect. Although it's massively affecting image, it's the only situation I've ever got it.
 Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @2.0 Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @2.0 - very heavy lensflare and ghosting.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @2.0 - very heavy lensflare and ghosting (no lens hood used!).
In most cases light will cause only some minor effects. Personally, I find that "romantic" look really appealing for some situations.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 C-mount - 102mm @4.0 - some flaring and ghosting visible.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 102mm @4.0 - some flaring and ghosting visible.
Few more samples...

Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 75mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 75mm @2.8
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 75mm @2.8 - close-up.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 75mm @2.8 - close-up.
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 30mm @4.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0 - 30mm @4.0

Conclusion

As I mentioned before, I mostly use this lens for 1:1 aspect ratio. I liked squares when I used middle format, but couldn't find an excuse to use it on digital. Now it feels right.
It's a really universal lens, with slightly "cinematic" blurriness @2.0. Fast, useful and not too expensive. One of my personal favourites!


Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0

Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0
Canon V6x17 17-102/2.0

5 comments:

  1. Nice post! Thanks for showing the GH4 UHD crop. I've already adapted a few 35mm film lenses to my GH4, but many other interesting options (like this one) have smaller image circles. So, it's really helpful to see real world results. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can you provide step-by-step instructions on how to make the V6x17 parfocal? Also, what kind of c-mount to mft adapter did you use? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Is there any solution to have focus on 17mm?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi there
    Please let me know
    I am a bmpcc user
    And is this lens perfect fit to c mount adapter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It fit's C-mount adapter without any problems. The only issue is adjusting focus, but this is very common among zoom lenses.

      Delete