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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.


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Old April 2nd, 2008, 04:40 PM   #1
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GL 2 in the cold

Has anyone had any experience using the GL2 in the cold? I film skiing during the winter and my GL2 has been acting funny lately. It used to be fine no matter how cold it got. But now, it has been acting like the heads are dirty or not recording at all. I get no warning for either of these occurrences. The camera appears to be operating correctly and then I go to watch the tape later and there are sometimes lines across the screen or no footage at all. When I notice the problem during use, I can warm the camera up for a little while and it goes back to working normally. The problem seems to happen when it is windy but not really all that cold(around 20 F). This does not happen all the time, but it is becoming a real hassle when it does happen. Also, I have to warm the camera up before watching most of the footage. It doesnt show up until the camera is warm. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 09:05 PM   #2
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In response to your last issue, be aware that cold metal exposed to warm, moist air is guaranteed to produce condensation on that surface. Tape heads do not function very well when wet :)

So, your solution is to let your camera sit inside for a while before trying to use it. Not just time to warm up...but time to dry as well!

As to the windy problem...Some people have found solace in encasing everything up to the lens in a plastic bag. This prevents snow, sand, dust, etc. from forcing their way into the camera during windy conditions.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 07:53 AM   #3
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How old are your batteries? Cold effects them as well, and aging effects their performance, especially if they are several years old.

FWIW: the GL2 is rated for use at temperatures above 32 F. Satisfactory performance when the camcorder internals drop to a colder temperatures (as will happen after a while on the slopes) is not an assured thing.

Using some form of weather/environmental enclosure may help keep it warm and happy. And keep in mind the probability of condensation when you bring it in from the cold, it can take several hours to fully warm up to the point where condensation is not a problem if the indoor humidity is in a comfort range.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 07:41 PM   #4
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I have used it when the temperature was below zero last year, but recently it has been malfunctioning at temperatures that are not really all that cold.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 11:12 PM   #5
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I used my GL2 in Chicago this January and it got pretty cold (it was around 20 degrees F and slightly windy). The only problem I had with my camera was the autofocus became really sluggish and slow (but I use manual focus most of the time anyways).

I did a little research before I went and it was suggested that when you come inside from the cold, it is good to leave your camera in the camera bag so it warms up gradually. I guess this helps prevent/reduce condensation. They suggested that you do the same when you go outside so it cools down slower as well.

Hope this helps.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 01:37 AM   #6
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I bought a used GL2 recently that was used on a trip to Argentina and Antarctica. He never had any problems, and neither have I since buying it from him. Here is a pic of him using the camera there.
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GL 2 in the cold-r_20071230180732_004.jpg  
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Old April 6th, 2008, 01:45 AM   #7
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Hi Travis.............

You've answered your own question.

You've used the camera in colder conditions with no problems.

Sounds like something is dieing internally.

Time for a trip to the camera surgeon I think.


CS
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Old April 6th, 2008, 07:21 AM   #8
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One thing to remember is that just because a camera has functioned under certain circumstances doesn't mean it was designed or intended to do so. It may well be that using it under these confitions actually causes minor damage which manifests itself more easily now.

About a million years ago I worked at a shop that had a (then) brand new Canon digital color photocopier. The instruction manual clearly said it was designed to do single-sided copies. My boss tried to make double-sided copies on it, and it appeared to do so without difficulty, so he began offering the service. I showed him the warning in the manual, but he thought he had really discovered something.

Well, after a few months of this seemingly innocent behavior the machine suddenly crashed. Hard. Guess what the cause was? And because of the nature of the damage it was not covered by warranty or our service contract. About a week and $2000 later we were back in business. Bye-bye profits!

I find it is always beneficial to follow manufacturer's recommendations, even when experimentation indicates that it works to do otherwise.

Just food for thought.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 10:43 PM   #9
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Travis,

I live in Saskatchewan Canada where winter colds can get very raw, in the -30 to -50, particularly if you count the wind chill. I use the camera all winter long on at least a weekly basis. I commonly use it in - 20 and colder. it is on its 4th winter.

I always put the camera back in a well padded camera case, close it up and then bring it back in the house!!! I have never had condensation issues with the camera. Just give the camera time to slowly warm up before taking it out of the insulated case.

I use bp 945 batteries and I can still get a good hour or two of shooting. Keep a spare battery in an inside pocket to keep it warm in case you need it.
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Old April 7th, 2008, 02:07 AM   #10
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I use the exact same model, (I'm sure it is from the picture?), the Portabrace:RS-GL2. If I shoot in anything less than room temp; the calmest of days - low pollen and low dust; dry weather and away from a "beach", I slip on this snug waistcoat.

Good to see it has been authenticated by those Penguins too!! Don;t you just hate it when the "talent" gets all uppity with kit-envy?

Excellent.

Grazie
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Old April 10th, 2008, 07:34 PM   #11
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You could always get a porta brace polar mitten.

http://www.portabrace.com/productB-POL-M2

Graham,
I've got a couple porta brace hard cases and I've been waiting out side in snowstorms and
torrential downpours with both my GL-2 and my audio equipment case. I even just recently shipped
my GL-2 to the canon factory (received it today) in my PB-2400. These cases are great and I'm going
to be filming a documentary on an Island in a few months and its really rainy there, how does the RS-GL2
perform in rainy conditions? Ever experienced any leakage or anything? Porta brace has been fantastic thus
far, and I won't hesitate when I go to buy it, Id just love to hear some user input.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 12:08 AM   #12
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I have to agree that it's probably not the cold that is the primary culprit here. Sounds like regular wear and tear catching up. I've used my GL2's in below zero weather and not had problems. However, I've had the exact problems you're describing in perfectly normal weather.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 01:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Ouellette View Post
These cases are great and I'm going
to be filming a documentary on an Island in a few months and its really rainy there, how does the RS-GL2
perform in rainy conditions? Ever experienced any leakage or anything?
Adam, I was answering the initial question on "cold". It has served my needs quite nicely. Personally I wouldn't use the RS I have in "downpours". I got my RS sometime back - 4 years, maybe? Is the RS in the picture a "one-piece" cover? Mine has many useful flaps and entry/access points. It is a soft fabric, not plastic. This was ALSO a requirement for me, as I didn't want any creaking and rustling coming to the mic.

Grazie
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Old April 11th, 2008, 11:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Ouellette View Post
You could always get a porta brace polar mitten.

http://www.portabrace.com/productB-POL-M2
I can recommend that one myself. I use the Polar Mitten for my XM2.
Even when it has been around -25C, the temperature inside the Polar Mitten has been around +8 to 10C.

The only "negative" with this one, is that the access to the audio controls on the XM/GL2 is somewhat limited. You will have to open the Polar Mitten back where the battery is, but it is only a minor detal. Never been a major problem.

A good thing: When using the Polar Mitten and recording audio with the on board mic of the XM2, I find the Polar Mitten to limit the wind noise.
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