Help: GL2 or VX-2000? at

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

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Old July 23rd, 2003, 05:07 AM   #1
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Help: GL2 or VX-2000?

Hi, I'm about to buy my first 3 chip camcorder, and I can't decide which
model to buy. Trying both models first is NOT an option, as no local
retailer carries them. So I'm hoping you guys can help me decide...

I'm leaning toward the VX-2000 due to it's lowlight performance, but I
prefer almost everything else about the GL2. Actually, I've had some bad
experiences with Sony products in the past, and would prefer not to give
them over $2000 of my hard earned cash. However, I'm going to be taping
weddings in rather dark chapels and I'm afraid the GL2 might not cut it
(extra lighting not an option).

So, how good is GL2's lowlight performance, really? I know it's not as good as the VX-2000, but how does it compare with the Sony VX-1000? I have used this camera, and found it's lowlight performance to be adequate, but certaintly not great. If the GL2 is an
improvement over the VX-1000, I'd probably be happy. I can deal with
slightly underexposed footage (can always brighten during editing), but I
have low tolerance for grain.

Which camera has the best auto-focus in lowlight? Here, I found the VX-1000
to be unacceptable, and quickly had to switch to manual focus. I would
prefer to use auto focus when possible, as my aging eyes have difficulty judging manual focus on theLCD and viewfinder.

And how do these cameras handle condensation? I've had real problems with Sony's cheapo digicams when moving between air conditioned environments and the hot outdoors... in some cases, the camcorder would have to be shutdown for over an hour... this would prove disastrous during any sort of event videography. I don't know if this is something that some camcorders handle better than others, but if so, it would definately be a real issue for me.

And is it true that the GL2 doesn't tell you how much time is left on the
battery? One of my favorite things about Sony cams is they tell you exactly how much time is left. And Sony makes a 15 hour battery for the VX series; does Canon make a comparable battery for the GL2?

The VX reportedly has had a lot of audio problems (hissing, audio drop
outs), how superior is the GL2? Is the built-in mic acceptable, or do you
have to buy a shotgun mic?

Basically, it comes down to me buying the GL2, a sexy new toy that I'm
really exciting about, or spending $300 more on the VX-2000, a tool that I'm
not excited about at all, but one that I know will get the job done.

Thanks in advance for any help...
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Old July 24th, 2003, 06:03 AM   #2
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up to you

Obviously it's up to you, but I have been very happy with the GL2's low light performance, and, it's performance over-all compared to the Sony. I did a VERY low light wedding party with the additional lighting...existing light only (additional lighting was NOT an option here) and the client was so happy with the final DVD, that he wanted to order 15 more copies. As for the on-board mic on the GL2, I think it's fine if you're goal is to pick up ambient noise, but otherwise, I would reccomend using an external shotgun mic (which is what I did here). And, the external audio level meters and manual audio level control on the GL2 is a sweet feature.

And as for color rendition and clarity, frankly, I don't care what anyone says, that is purely opinion, and everyone will see things differently. I love the image quality and color produced by the GL2, and love frame mode. Everyone who sees the footage shot on it is blown away, including family/friends and clients. It would be best if you could see footage from both to decide on which you like better.
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Old July 24th, 2003, 09:06 AM   #3
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Low Light: This was my number one concern when deciding between the GL2 and the VX2000. The VX2000 is definitely better, but in situations where I know a Sony camcorder would have done better, I have not been unhappy with the GL2's footage.

Battery Indicator: Sony camcorders offer a time estimate. The GL2 has an indicator in the display that shows full, 75%, 50%, 25%, and "0%." Once you have some experience with your batteries, those indicators will be enough. This is definitely not a reason to choose one over the other.

Microphone: For casual shooting, the on-cam mic is fine. It's omni-directional, so if you need to isolate sound in front you will need a different mic. As I recall, the hissing in the VX2000 was attributed to faulty electronics. You might want to get opinions in the VS2000 section here for details. Repaired or replaced units did not seem to have the problem. With either cam, you will need microphones to meet your particular requirements if the on-cam mic proves inadequate. Again, I don't think the mic is enough to push the decision one way or the other, but as David mentioned the GL2's audio controls are very good.

Zoom: I did not think the long reach of the GL2's 20x optical zoom would make much difference to me, but I have come to use it a lot. For example, I can be much further away from a subject and still get a closeup, handy if I want the subject to be unaware that they are on camera at that moment. The downside is that being further away limits the ability to get sound from the subject with a cam-mounted mic, but I've learned to deal with that.

Color: I've been using Sony camcorders for a long time and I do prefer their color rendition. I've had particular trouble with violets and purples with the GL2. However, manual settings can do much to get the warmer settings I prefer in situations where there might be a problem.

Condensation: Just this past weekend I was doing exactly that, cold inside to very hot outside on a humid day. No problem. However, I also did the opposite in Vermont this winter. I don't yet own a snow or rain suit for the GL2, so I wrapped it in a plastic garbage bag and shot that way until I was done. When I came back inside, I left it in the bag until it was up to the temperature in the garage, then brought it inside, took the garbage bag off, took out the tape, opened the camera, and let it sit for 30 minutes. May have been overkill, but I did not have any condensation.

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Old July 24th, 2003, 04:17 PM   #4
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The GL2 will have noticeably better low light than the VX1000.

Long life batteries. Canon batteries are generally not as exotic as Sony, but you can buy batteries that give several hours shooting time. Key is that you get a battery that will last until time to change tape. Not a problem.

Auto focus, VX2000 probably does better but nothing does well in poor light.

Audio for weddings - better to use a wireless mic. Onboard mics are only resonable for ambient sound and if the speaker is within a few feet of the mic. Same applies to shotgun mics, although they can reach a bit further thanks to better isolation from sound from the sides and back.

Canon image tends to be warmer than Sony image. VX2000 colors tend very much to blues in low light.

Condensation - likely to be a problem with any and all camcorders. If the Canon uses a bit more power than the Sony, there will tend to be a bit less of an issue with condensation - but it may not be significant.
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Old July 25th, 2003, 05:08 AM   #5
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What exactly is frame mode? I've heard about it, and assumed it was just a widescreen mode, but from what little info I can find it looks like it is a 30 fps progressive mode.

I grab a lot of stills from video, so this might be a really nice feature to have.

Couple of questions though... can inexpenisve editing solutions like iMovie and Final Cut Express even handle progressive video? And if I burn the footage to DVD, will it still work okay on non-progressive players?

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Old July 26th, 2003, 05:53 AM   #6
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There now is a $250 rebate on the GL2, which should sweeten the deal a bit. Details at

Frame mode is a bit like progressive scan, but is not progressive scan. It amounts to both fields of the interlaced video image being captures at the same instant, and then stored/played in interlaced mode. It has slightly lower vertical spatial.resolution than standard video, does not have the inter field motion blur, and looks a bit more film-like. Most people for most conventional video purposes will not use frame mode - but soem folks do like it.

It can produce better frame grabs.
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Old July 27th, 2003, 07:11 AM   #7
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I have had 2 GL2s and one VX2000. Both the GL2s have had problems and needed to be returned to the store. The low light performance of the GL2 is considerably worse than the VX2000 (which is amazing). If you think you'll be filming anything in low light strongly consider the sony.

The sony is used by broadcasters world wide for all kinds of situations. The GL2 will never be in the same league as the VX2000. If you want a camera that can handle anything you throw its way, you'll never regret buying the VX2000.
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Old July 28th, 2003, 03:39 PM   #8
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Thanks for the help guys, I just ordered the GL2.

I found a site that had a rather extensive video/still collection taken from the GL2, and I thought the footage looked wonderful... even the indoor, lowlight footage.

The VX-2000 may be better in lowlight, but I think the GL2 will be good enough for my needs. And really, the "lux factor" was the only reason I was considering the Sony. The longer Zoom, smaller form factor, and superior optics had me wanting the GL2 all along (not to mention features like Frame mode and Clearscan, which sound really interesting). Best of all, with the rebate, the GL2 was about $350 less!

Thanks again, and be prepared for a lot of stupid newbie questions in the coming weeks...
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Old July 28th, 2003, 04:43 PM   #9
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and then stored/played in interlaced mode.
Don, isn't it stored in progressive, and when outputted via firewire, it stays progressive? When you output via AV-out and S-video-out, the cam will convert to fields, does it not?
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