View Full Version : Canon XM2 Pro Camcorder..Good?Bad? Help Needed

Marcus Wright
May 24th, 2011, 11:11 AM
Canon XM2 Professional Camcorder on eBay (end time 24-May-11 20:25:43 BST) (

This eBay listing is classed as a 'TV Broadcast Quality Camera' and as many of you may know recently within a 1000 budget Ive been looking for a professional camera to do just this for music videos and short films.

I wanted to know, the pros and cons of this camera. As after reading many reviews I'm really confused! Half the people say it's a good camera..half the people say it's bad?

I looked at Test footage on the internet and the footage doesn't look that amazing for what the camera is purchased at new right now or even second hand. And it looks like my panasonic hdc-sd700 has more sharpness and resolution better if I use this as comparison for the test footage on the net!!

So guys..any opinions on this would be dearly appreciated.


Adam Gold
May 24th, 2011, 11:18 AM
Maybe the Panny looks better because it's HD and the Canon isn't.

Marcus Wright
May 24th, 2011, 11:58 AM
That maybe so. But Ive heard people ridicule me on here saying oh panasonic hdc-sd700 is a joke blah blah. But for a 600 camera which on some sites is 950, I found it was better than the sony z1 is video resolution and playback. I made a music video on the z1 i hired and tv companies said the video was pixelated and poor quality. I did one on the hdc-sd700 and they said it was fine i just had to change gamma lumma and make sure it was within their legal limit. The quality and overall look was better too. The only thing with the panasonic sdc-hd700 is that it doesnt have that film look even if u apply it, its too crisp and sharp in ways.

Adam Gold
May 24th, 2011, 12:17 PM
"Film Look" and "Broadcast Quality" are two completely different and frequently opposing things, and neither has a universally accepted standard definition (no pun intended). It all depends upon who you are talking to and what your needs are.

And never believe anything in an eBay listing.

Marcus Wright
May 24th, 2011, 12:19 PM
True a suppose. In honestly I have a 1000 budget and am looking for a camera which gives a film look for music videos and short films..basically summed up!! Aha lol

Adam Gold
May 24th, 2011, 12:22 PM
You might consider a DSLR. Check out the DSLR and Film Look forums for some great reading.

Marcus Wright
May 24th, 2011, 12:29 PM

The thing is with DSLRs from what I've understood theyre not primarily for video. And obviously the accessories are expensive which is why alot of ppl have told me to go for a video camera as primarily its function is video..although for DSLRs in my price range i was most interested in the canon rebel t3i and panaosnic gumix g2 (think those r right ones) yeah..its just hard to find the 'perfect' camera for you..when you are shopping with a high budget as you want value for money!!

Chris Soucy
May 24th, 2011, 04:43 PM
Hi, Marcus.............

"Film Look" and "Broadcast Quality" are two completely different and frequently opposing things, and neither has a universally accepted standard definition (no pun intended). It all depends upon who you are talking to and what your needs are.................

Adam has, as usual, hit the nail on the head.

To prevent everybody going around in ever decreasing circles here, maybe YOU can give us YOUR definition of the two terms you keep bandying about, 'cos I haven't got a clue.

By "Film Look" do you mean shooting at a frame rate that is so slow anything faster than a paraplegic snail visibly jumps from one frame to the next?

By "Broadcast Quality" are you refering to BBC Broadcast quality? Al Jazeera? Nigerian State Television?

Without your definitions we're going nowhere.


Marcus Wright
May 24th, 2011, 05:12 PM
i want it to look like music videos do on TV? That kind of film look lol

John Wiley
May 24th, 2011, 06:52 PM
Marcus, I'd not recommend the XM2 in this day and age. It's almost 10 years since it was first introduced, and that's a very long time in the electronic goods world.

It was a very capable camcorder in it's time, but it only shoots 4:3 SD video and these days the footage would look very tired.

The Sony FX7 would be the closest thing to a modern day equivelant (20x zoom, 3x 1/4" chips) and you could easily find one of those used for under 1000 pounds.

For music videos, DSLR is actually a very good option. You don't really need that many extra accessories to use them effectively, particularly if you are not worried about live audio. There are certainly some things that are helpful (follow focus, monitor, matte box) but they are not essential.The the only "must have" is a good tripod which you'd need for any other camera anyway.

Chris Harding
May 24th, 2011, 07:14 PM
Hi Marcus

You seem to be impressed with your current SD700's performance so why not just keep it??? for under 1000 pounds you are not really going to find anything that will give you a better image and looking at SD 4:3 camcorders is really going backwards as you will never be happy comparing an SD and HD image.

Either upgrade to a TM900 to stay in your budget or grab yourself a GH2 and shoot DSLR as John suggests. Professional cameras tend to start a lot higher than 1000 pounds, even used. You will pick up a new GH2 quite easily within your budget if you look around....grab an adapter ring and then look for some faster vintage lenses on eBay and you will have a nice setup...however be prepared to work in manual mode!! The GH2 isn't that great as a point 'n shoot and runs a lot better manually..with older lenses you will have to manual focus anyway!!!


Marcus Wright
May 25th, 2011, 01:33 AM
yeah the thing is i kn ow nothing about lenses and like ppl say dslr is for photo..not video so i dont know..and not haviong autofocus is somthing i wud like for holidays n stuff yano

Mike Beckett
May 25th, 2011, 02:18 AM
I'm with Chris here.

That Panasonic is going to totally outshine any 10-year-old DV camera. It's solid state, no messing round with tapes.

You don't have the budget for "broadcast quality". You already have a "great quality" camera in your hands.

- If you want to shoot for TV, you need a lot more money.
- If you want to shoot for fun/hobby, stick with your already good camera, or get another similar to it but a bit newer, or a DSLR.
- If you want better audio than your current camera, buy a standalone audio recorder like a Zoom H1. (The XM2 doesn't have XLR)
- If you only want a bigger, more pro-looking camera so you are taken more seriously, then you're upgrading for the wrong reasons.

You just can't get a decent "pro" video camera for your budget, even second hand, you have to compromise somewhere along the line. You can't get BBC quality from a tiny budget.

The best bang for the buck in terms of image quality for video is a DSLR. Learn the lenses, learn how to use them. Don't worry about them being "not designed for video". Someone tell that to Philip Bloom and all the other people making great films on them. You're not shooting a 3-hour cinema epic.

But really, really don't buy a decade old, 4:3, tape-based SD camera if you can help it.

Honestly, looking at the smattering of posts you are making, my advice is:
- Slow down
- Take a deep breath, think
- Look at your budget
- Listen to people here, we've been there, we've wasted money, so you don't have to!
- Don't rush into this, you need to get the right camera for you

The right camera isn't necessarily the one you dream of (otherwise I would have a shoulder-mount XD Cam instead of a tiny camcorder).

Marcus Wright
May 25th, 2011, 02:38 AM
Haha. Sorry the take a breath part made me laugh.
Yeah thanks mate I understand what your saying, And I've learnt theres no 'perfect' camera for anyone.
And yeah maybe im deluded because I use to think oh I could get a Z1 for 1000 its HDV and apparently what ITV use, thats all the budget you need.
The thing that put me off DSLRs is they have no autofocus..although I really like the Canon Rebel T3I camera..the panasonic gumix gl2 seems to have more features for video..but I had the same worry as what youve said with really youve saved me the heartache so thanks.

But between the Canon Rebel T3i and the Panaosonic Gumix G2, do either have video focus and which would you recommend to me? I want one that is nearest to broadcast quality and for music videos.

Although, I disagree with you on the fact you said I won't get a 'Broadcast' quality camera for 1000. Ive been to plenty of networking events and theyve said they made the films on 800 my panasonic i have ive just had a music video pass quality checks for TV on it..the problem I face with the camera I have now is the images are TOO crisp..and too sharp..

Marcus Wright
May 25th, 2011, 02:41 AM
PS: Everyone thinks their camera is 'broadcast' quality its so confusing

Well my choices from what people have said are down to:

Canon Rebel T3I
Panasonic Gumix G2
or Sony FX7 (recommened by John)

guys pros and cons of each? im wanting to shoot broadcast quality music videos remember..

Gary Nattrass
May 25th, 2011, 02:54 AM
Most Z1's for broadcast use are actually being used in std definition mode and not high definition and they are also now around 10 years old so tend not to be used any more as there are better small camera's such as the canon XF305 that are fully approved for HD shooting. I also agree that you should not be buying a 10 year old camera just because it says broadcast or pro spec as the world has changed and there are now far better options available. HDV is also an old video codec and not the best these days as AVCHD can shoot full 1920x1080 HD at around the same bit rates so I agree with you that an AVCHD camera can look better than an older HDV Z1.

To get the closest camera to "broadcast" at around 1,000 you are better off getting a solid state prosumer camera such as the panasonic, canon or sony camera's.

There are two levels a small handycam style or the larger shoulder mount camera and most of them tend to use AVCHD as their video recording format so you need to make sure your edit system is able to handle it.

You can get very good results with small prosumer camera's and I personally have a canon HF11 which does full 1920x1080 HD in AVCHD at 24mbs, the picture quality is very good and it has mic inputs and several manual features that allow me to set it up for decent shooting, it also has very good full auto modes and can be a useful camera for some projects. The panasonic TM900 is also a very good small camera that can get very good results and seems to be the model that everyone is raving about.
Here is a video I shot with the canon HF11 and it makes some very nice pictures: YouTube - ‪British Beef Jerky Shoot 7-8-09‬‏ (

The larger shoulder mount prosumer cameras tend to be just versions of the smaller models but in a larger form factor but can also be very good at what they do. DSLR's are liked by some people and they can do good filmic results such as shallow depth of field but have certain problems and can be a handful to operate if you are new to shooting, they also have flexibility in lens choice but make sure you are happy operating one and have the workflow sorted to deal with the content and be aware of any problems that can be caused by them being stills camera's and not specifically designed for video use.

Personally If I was buying now I would go for a TM900 as the HF11 is no longer made, I have heard very good things about it and it makes some very nice pictures that are very close to broadcast standard straight from the camera, OK the AVCHD codec is limited and not broadcast approved but if handled correctly can produce some very good results that could be up to broadcast levels.

Bear in mind that the shooting aspect is not the only consideration in full broadcast production and whilst you may have heard that people have shot broadcast on X or Y camera it is how the total workflow is handled from shooting to delivery that is critical in broadcast work, so it may be Ok to shoot something on a certain camera but how the footage is then handled through to broadcast delivery via sat or freeview may be out of the scope of what you can do at home, this goes for DSLR's too and what may look OK in the comfort of your bedroom edit suite may go terribly wrong once the broadcast processes for delivery to the end viewer are applied.

Mike Beckett
May 25th, 2011, 02:57 AM

I don't know enough about the DSLRs, so can't comment. I know they're both good, but not enough detail as to why you should choose one over the other.

I used to have a Sony V1E, the "pro" version of the FX7. Basically an FX7, sprayed black, with XLR audio inputs and a few more settings in the menus. It was a great camera for "run and gun", very easy to use. It produces a nice HD image, though it is poor in lower light.

I ditched the V1 only because (a) it was tape-based and (b) I wanted something smaller for travel purposes, but still with XLR audio capabilities when I needed it. (Hence my Panasonic HMC41, now being replaced with a Sony NX70).

DSLRs generally make it easier to get a more film-like appearance, shallow depth of field (background blurred out), and are better in lower light situations.

Marcus Wright
May 25th, 2011, 03:39 AM
Well to be honest ive been thinking about it now..and looking at the canon and panasonic range of dlrs in my budget for video..i think the xm2 is too outdated for me..doesnt shoot in HD..and finally the canon and panasonic range require too many high cost accessories Ie: lens which not only do i not have the money for but expertise.
Therefore I'm now more towards getting the sony fx7, however my worry is audio ive heard the audio on its terrible..and im not sure if the sony z1 is better and theyre both around the same price..i also cant find anywhere that sells the fx7 second hand..including its pretty dificult

Gary Nattrass
May 25th, 2011, 04:29 AM
FX7 is an old camera now as is HDV and the tape they run on and they tend to be snapped up by the wedding guys as B-camera's. The audio is fine but the connectors are prosumer like the smaller camera's.

I still think you are better off going for a current model of prosumer handycam such as the TM900 as it gives far better picture quality and has just as many features as an FX7.

It's your choice but buying an old second hand camera as a first choice can be a minefield where getting the latest model will give you some warranty and far better image quality.

Marcus Wright
May 25th, 2011, 04:51 AM
Yeah I understand what your saying but the TM900 seems to have less features and MP resolution than the current HDC-SD700 i have now. I'd love to get another HDC-SD700 but as the models been discontinued and was 14,2MP its so hard to find at a reasonable price. Some digusting sites are selling it for bloody 930!! I bought mine from camerabox for 500 new!!
The other thing is the TM900 isn't broadcast quality and if am correct has less resolution for alot bigger price. In honesty I dont see or feel the difference from what ive read with the TM900 and the model i currently have..although its definetely now maybe becoming a option.

Thanks for the honesty on the FX7 the test footage for it looked good but I had no idea its tape rather not go for a tape based maybe your right and the TM900 is for me. I saw that Sony offer a few in the same price range 800-900 are they any good? From what I saw theyre MP and features seem a bit less.