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


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Old July 30th, 2003, 01:18 AM   #1
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Wanting to buy new camcorder.

Hi there. As you can see by my counter, I am new :-).

Since my message is about mostly the VX-2000 versus the GL-2, I am not sure where to post it, if here or at the VX-2000 forum or both. I will start by posting it here because probably it is not allowed to cross post.

While desperately searching information and reviews about camcorders, because I think I want to buy a new one, I found out this forum and I am going to tell my history so you experts or just smart users of good camcorders can try to help me to decide which one to buy, if any.

First of all, I am a complete amateur as regarding video. When my first daughter were born, in 1999, I decided that it was time to buy a video camera to record her development and growth. So, since then, I have been a happy owner of a Sony DCR-TRV110 camcorder. This is, I believe, a first generation Digital8 camcorder, entry level, that was not sold here in the US (I think). I am Brazilian and I bought this camera in Brazil. It's roughly the equivalent to the current DCR-TRV350 without mpeg, USB, built-in light and memory stick but with accessory shoe, 16:9 capability and end search. The image quality must be just the same because the CCD has the same specs.

In 2002, my wife and I (and our two daughters) came to live for two years here in the USA so here we are now. Here, I had the opportunity to buy the ATI AIW 8500DV graphics card and now I have been "producing" my family movies. It's just wonderful to be able to edit my boring shootage and turn them into something pleasant to watch, with a background music, sometimes synchronized to the image, captions, titles, some nice transitions, etc...

I have been using Vegas Video 4 for editing and I just love this software. No Matrox US1,000+ real-time card, no Pentium 4, no pro equipment, just my TRV110, Vegas Video and my Pentium III 733, with a lot of HDs (almost 400 GB of space :-).

Well, I was happy with my camera and actually I sort of still am (except when shooting at night, it just sucks bit time). But then, reading some reviews of better cameras, taking a look at some snapshots of footage made with 3 CCD cameras, I started wanting to have one, because now, when I look at my footage, I see it could be a lot better (the image quality).

Also, since I live in Brazil and I am temporarily living here in the US, I have this one chance to buy a very good camera for a reasonable price. Let me explain this a little more. In my country, electronic equipment is extremely expensive. Just to give you an idea, usually anything that costs in the US "x" dollars, will cost, in Brazil, something between "2x" to "3x" dollars, I mean, twice or three times the price here. So, it's almost impossible, for me, to buy a very good camera in Brazil and this is my opportunity. According to Brazilian laws, once I have lived outside my country for more than a year, I can bring to Brazil whatever I want, regarding personal electronic equipment, and pay absolutely no import tax and fees. FYI, for my current TRV110 camcorder, back in 1999, I paid approximately US$ 1,500.
So now I think I can spend another US1,500, maybe a little more, to have a much better camcorder, paying a real price and not a Brazilian absolutely distorted price.

I started looking at the best one CCD Sony cameras. Then, I shifted to the 3 CCD cameras because I have seen the screenshots and the difference in image quality is huge. After some more research, the camera of my dream would be a camera with most of the features of the Canon GL-2 (the 20x zoom capability, for instance), the dependability and low-light capability of a Sony VX-2000 and the shape and weight of a Sony TRV950 !!

Unfortunately, there is no such a camera. Since I am an amateur, although I want the manual controls, to learn, I will mostly point and shoot until I get comfortable with adjusting the controls to the situation. I also don't care about Bluetooth technology, still photo capability and a lot of other fancy stuff that some Sony camera have, like the TRV950. What I really really want is the best image possible for my budget combined with portability because I take the camera to my trips, with my family, and I am already used to my TRV110 that has a weight of around one kilogram, compared to a GL-2 that has a weight of 1.25 kilograms.

But the size of the GL2 or of the VX-2000 let me wondering if they are suitable cameras for carrying in a necklace, around my neck. I don't think so.

I was almost decided to buy the DCR-TRV 950, but then I saw this site, http://www4.big.or.jp/~a_haru/0208_3CCD.html, and then I discarded it because its performance under low light seems to be disappointing.

I ended up with two options: the rather old VX-2000 or the not so old GL-2. Based on reviews and that page, I really prefer the footage from the VX-2000, it seems superior to the GL-2 in all aspects - I have also read Barry Goyette's review - but the VX-2000 is sort of old and lacks some features that I really would like to have like a big zoom, since I am used to have a 20x zoom (my current camcorder has a 20x zoom) and I use it a lot.

I intend to buy just the camera, no accessories, no wide angle lens, no telephoto lens, no nothing, because I won't have the money to add features to it, that's why I am looking for a camera that already has built-in the features I like most.

Despite the fact that the VX-2000 is older and has less features than the GL-2, the former is more expensive than the latter, specially now that Canon has introduced a $250 rebate. The VX-2000 is a little higher priced than what I would like to spend but I believe that I can try to go that high. But more than the price of a VX-2000, around $2,400, I will not spend, in anyway. This is already too much for me. A GL-2 can safely be bought for around $1,850, after rebate.

My problem is: I can wait some more time for a new release of the VX-3000 (just guessing), for instance, because I will live here in the US for one year more, but certainly when and if a VX-3000 be released, I won't have the money to buy it, because it will be more expensive than the VX-2000. So, the VX-2000 is the best I can afford. I doubt that Sony is going to add a 20x zoom to the next iteration of the VX, so, the 2000 seems just fine, without fancy stuff and the best image available for the price.

But the canon GL-2 is also a winner, the second of my list. The only major problem that makes me totally afraid of buying it is that I have read a lot of bad reviews on its dependability. It seems that it breaks too often and I can't afford a camera that'll give me trouble because once back to my country, if I have any problem with the camera, I am totally screwed. US warranty won't be good in my country at all and sending and receiving it to and from US would be a real pain, custom problems would arise, etc.

I have had this Sony TRV110 for four years and never had any problem. I don't even use a case for it.

This is my history. I want a very good camera, meaning the best my budget can afford because I think I will love to have very beautiful images, not the ones I get now with my one-CCD 270k pixels current 4-year old camcorder. I am not a pro, I will not make money out of the camera, it's just for my (expensive) hobby. I want a camera that'll last, that'll give me no trouble. I want low-light capability because I like to shoot under this situation. I'd love to keep having a 20x zoom. I don't need fancy stuff like transitions, bluetooth, bla bla, I will edit my footage in the computer and I am happy with this approach. So, is VX-2000 the one for me or is GL-2 ? Or there are other options?

I am amazed with the low-light samples from that link provided above (that I found in this forum, btw), from the VX-2000. They make me really sacrifice all the extra features from the GL-2 for the VX-2000. After all, it's all about image.

Thanks for your time.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 01:35 AM   #2
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Search for vx-2000 and GL-2. A few days ago, people were tossing around some comparisons.

While I was shopping around and deciding between the vx-2000 and the GL-2, one review stated that the GL-2 20x zoom was much less than 20x.

I ended up choosing the vx-2000 for its low light reputation.
I do a lot of indoor videotaping and often have little control over the lighting.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 08:24 AM   #3
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Andre,

First of all, welcome, I think you are the first Brazillian we have. A friend of mine is Brazillian and one of the nicest people I have ever met.

One to the cameras. As Gints said if you do a search on either the VX or GL you will find quite a lot of information on them. For a quick summary though you will not be dissapointed with either camera they are both more than adaquate for what you want to do and can also be used to make money if you decide to go that way later do the line.

The VX is considered to be the better in low light. This is mainly due to it's larger CCDs, 1/3 compared to the GL's 1/4. It has been out for a while and if you look around reputable stores you could find yourself some good deals.

The GLs strong points are it's 20x L series lens, it's audio control and of course 'frame mode'. It's a strong performer in low light but considered to come a close second to the VX.

The best thing you could do is to head to a local video store that stocks both camera and have a play, see which feels the best in your hand.

One other theing the GL has going for it at the moment is a $250 rebate from Canon that could either be put in your pocket of towards an on camera light.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 09:10 AM   #4
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What part of Brazil are you from?? That's a great country! Beautiful scenery and great people!

V
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Old July 30th, 2003, 10:06 AM   #5
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As told, I have already made a thorough search on the subject and the main reason I posted this message is because even after reading a lot about both cameras, I still don't know which one to consider buying.

About the VX2000:
Big pro: image quality, specially for low light situation;
Con: pricey (for me), old, heavy (for my situation);

About the GL-2:
Big pro: 20x zoom and probably the 30fps for frame mode that I actually never saw in action but since I dislike a lot watching in the computer interlaced footage and deinterlacing them makes them sort of blurred, I think this feature must be great; price is $ 500 less the VX.
Cons: it's a Canon and not a Sony. I do trust Sony a lot more. It seems it is almost as heavy as the VX2000; Sony's specs about the VX are not clear enough for a better comparison;

This is a quick summing up of what I think about both, for my specific situation.

Vince: I am originally from Sao Paulo state (not Sao Paulo city), but I am living in Brasilia, the capital city, since 1995. The scenery may be great but accessing it is difficult :-( Our roads are horrible, when there is a road.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 10:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Cons: it's a Canon and not a Sony. I do trust Sony a lot more.
That may be a big factor in your decision but you can be rest assured that both cameras are of the same build quality and reliability. In fact, Canon makes the optics for Sony's prosumer cameras.

The bottom line is you really can't choose any camera based on a spec sheet, try to get some hands on if you can.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 11:06 AM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Adrian Douglas : That may be a big factor in your decision but you can be rest assured that both cameras are of the same build quality and reliability. In fact, Canon makes the optics for Sony's prosumer cameras.

The bottom line is you really can't choose any camera based on a spec sheet, try to get some hands on if you can. -->>>

Good point, Adrian. I think many of us new to dv looked at specs until our eyes began to fail without actually trying out the cameras. I research things to death (part of my academic training, I guess) before I make a move. Owning Sony camcorders and Canon SLRs put me in the middle but once I tried the two best options I made my decision fairly quickly.

Sandy
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Old July 30th, 2003, 11:31 AM   #8
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Here in Boston area, there is no physical store that carry the models in a fair price. I don't feel comfortable entering a store, trying the models and then saying "Thanks, but I am not going to buy it here, I am going to buy it online" (of course I wouldn't say that to the guy from the store but I wouldn't buy any of them, anyway). The difference in price between the online stores and the real stores here are huge, I can't afford paying it. So, I have to buy based only in reviews, opinions, screenshots, etc. I know it's a lot of money for a blind buying, but I really don't feel comfortable using a physical store like that.

Alexander: were you between GL-2 and VX2000 also? If so, which one did you buy (just curious)? I also trust Canon for still cameras, but prefer Sony for camcorder. That's because I have this old and cheap Sony camcorder (that's not good at all compared to a GL-2 or VX2000 but it is the one I have, so it's good for me now :-) and it never failed. My wife has a Canon EOS-30 and it seems to be good also.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 12:35 PM   #9
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If you are going to buy online do a search on "Broadway Photo" and "Grey Market Dealers" and read some of those threads.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 01:48 PM   #10
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Ask yourself a few questions

Andre, you've come to the inevitable situation that all of us have faced: GL or VX?

To help yourself, you may want to ask yourself a few questions...

How often will I be shooting in low light situations? This occurs most often when you're forced to shoot in a place that doesn't allow bright lighting, i.e. a wedding ceremony.

Next question, how powerful of a zoom do I need? In my opinion, the degree of zooms separates the amateur from the expert. I've seen too many home videos that have hundreds of zooms. I'd say keep the zooming to a minimum.

I agree with Alexander that the best way to choose between the two is to actually get a real feel for the cameras in the store (if you can find them). You shouldn't feel uncomfortable or pressured doing this. These cameras are a big purchase and the salesmen will understand what you're doing. I found a GL2 at an Apple store - I'm sure you have one nearby. My work uses VX's, so I had a chance to compare both. I chose the GL2 mainly on its ergonomics - it was the most comfortable to hold.

Good luck in whatever you choose. I'm actually traveling to Rio in 3 weeks and am thinking of bringing my little Canon ZR70 - will post footage when I return.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 02:06 PM   #11
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Hey try the new Panasonic GS 100K - 3CCD camcorder

its Just $1200, with almost all of the capabilities u want.

U can save a lot of bucks ...
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Old July 30th, 2003, 02:31 PM   #12
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Samuel, I ran a search on that Panasonic model but came up with nothing.

What I did find may be helpful to Andre. Panasomic has a few 3 chip consumer models, around the same shape and weight that you're looking for. As for the quality of the image, I have no idea. Check 'em out though: PV-DV953 & PV-GS70. They're priced around a thousand dollars.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 03:08 PM   #13
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>Here in Boston area, there is no physical store that carry the >models in a fair price. I don't feel comfortable entering a store, >trying the models and then saying "Thanks, but I am not going >to buy it here, I am going to buy it online"

Well, you can freely use Web store prices for negotiation.
Although I did buy my vx-2000 on-line, I was able to talk the $2999 store price down to $2300. Of course, one must compare
sales tax to shipping and warranty service. For on-line purchases,
you're in for ride on service.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 03:20 PM   #14
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I'm aware that many of the online sellers are scum, but I believe that many are not and they do provide better prices than the stores near here, where I live, that seem to work with the list price (around $ 3,000 for the VX). I can't pay that much.
From the sponsors of this forum, I learn that:
- pro-tape doesn't carry VX-2000 and shows no price for the GL-2
- skycrane offers almost no info online
- varizoom has no info on both, nothing that I could find
- zgc doesn't show the price for the GL-2 (call us, it says, but I don't like talking at the telephone, I am no native american and understanding English through a phone line is horrible), and I didn't see any Sony to sell
- zotz also has "call for pricing" for everything.
- B&H that is not a sponsor but mentioned all over these threads has the list price for the VX ($2,995) and a link to "give me a better price" that I found silly. For the GL-2 it has a rather good price, $2,250, with free shipping. To pay the list price, I'd buy directly from Sony!
So, absolutely no price for both cameras from the sponsors.
Are we in the Internet era or not?
I have seen some interesting offers for the VX, for instance, around $2,200, but I believe I can't say the names of the online stores here, right? because it seems to be the policy here. For the GL-2, the best "probably-safe price" that I found was around $2,050, but there is still the $250 rebate making it even a better price.

Matt - I am aware of the PV-DV953 but I believe it is a match for the DCR-TRV950, and not for a VX2000 or a GL-2. I am going to take a look at this GS-70 that's new to me. Also, this GS-100k is new to me. I have focused my researches on Sony and Canon mostly because there are so many other brand models that's easy to get lost. My preferred brand is Sony, second by Canon. Don't ask me why, it's just a personal preference, based on some small evidences (some already mentioned in my previous posts).
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Old July 30th, 2003, 04:30 PM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Andre Viol : Here in Boston area, there is no physical store that carry the models in a fair price. I don't feel comfortable entering a store, trying the models and then saying "Thanks, but I am not going to buy it here, I am going to buy it online" (of course I wouldn't say that to the guy from the store but I wouldn't buy any of them, anyway). The difference in price between the online stores and the real stores here are huge, I can't afford paying it. So, I have to buy based only in reviews, opinions, screenshots, etc. I know it's a lot of money for a blind buying, but I really don't feel comfortable using a physical store like that.

Alexander: were you between GL-2 and VX2000 also? If so, which one did you buy (just curious)? I also trust Canon for still cameras, but prefer Sony for camcorder. That's because I have this old and cheap Sony camcorder (that's not good at all compared to a GL-2 or VX2000 but it is the one I have, so it's good for me now :-) and it never failed. My wife has a Canon EOS-30 and it seems to be good also. -->>>

Yes, along with the 950. The 950 is more unobtrusive, which is good for travel but in my opinion a lesser camera than the other two. For what its worth, I went with the GL2. In the end, the 20x lens was the difference, given what I usually use it for. It is the first Canon camcorder for me.
Sandy
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