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


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Old December 16th, 2003, 08:52 AM   #1
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GL2 or PD170

We've been using our GL2s for weddings and have been very happy with every feature. In my opinion, the GL2 delivers the most bang for the buck. But, I can't help but be intrigued with the 1 lux rating on the new PD 170. We're always looking to improve our product and before making any changes, I was hoping to get some objective opinions. Is the PD170 worth the extra investment? I'm asking this mostly because I can't see a GL3? with similiar low-light capability in the near future. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Bob
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 09:14 AM   #2
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Are you in the possability to rent a unit or test one? If so, I'd
check it out personally to make sure you like everything on it
and can test the low-light quality yourself. Nothing beats the
handson approach. What works for someone else might not
work for you at all!
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 09:54 AM   #3
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The GL2 and PD-170 are really in two different leagues. The GL2 is more prosumer, while the PD-170 is more of a low-end professional model. The PD-170 gives you built-in XLR audio, larger CCDs, better resolution and low-light, and DVCAM tape format. The PD-170 is also substantially more money.

You might consider looking at the VX-2100, which is more of a comparable model to the GL2. You lose the audio and DVCAM features, but the CCDs and optics are the same, and you save some money in the process.
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 10:50 AM   #4
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I agree with Rick that the GL2 and the 170 are miles apart, although they look superficially the same. The big plus on the 170 is the low-light capability - not only does it have bigger chips but the lens is half a stop faster at tele, there's a proper zoom ring, the XLRs are a boon and the two NDs are often needed. It also comes with info lithiums. I'd even put the VX2100 in a different class from the GL2.

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Old December 23rd, 2003, 12:21 PM   #5
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have you thought

of just getting a pd-150, a little cheaper right now...and from what Ive seen theres no huge difference between that and the 170. (at least not one that would have me rushing to get one). You still get a much improved low light over the canon and a tested model without the new problems people have been reporting with the 170. Maybe its just time to step up to a better cam than the gl2 (just three items for a start, phantom power, low light, much longer battery life) rather than just getting the newest model. You might even consider a vx2000.

although I would play with the color adjustment on either the pd150 or 70, I just like canons color better :)

M
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 01:46 PM   #6
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The GL2 still has a very good low light performance, while not as good as a few of the sonys, its still up there, when you compare the DVX100, the VX2000, the TRV950, and the GL2, and one more (sorry forgot the review URL) The Vx2000 was on top, with the GL2 in second, and the rest falling badly behind...

Although its not the best, its one of the best amoung simular camcorders:)
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 10:59 PM   #7
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not to disagree

but the vx2000 is the same cam as the 150 minus a few features, in terms of those size camcorders they are heads and tail above the gl2. I shoot on xl1's, so Im not a sony nazi but having used pd150s and vx2000's extensively also and having used a gl2 there is no comparision. One good example look at who is buying them networks and large shops, every beta operater I know has a backup cam, its either a pd100 or a pd150 some are considering the panasonic but no one is using the GL2, Ive only seen one GL2 ever used in a broadcast enviroment...of course I dont see any of them thinking of using the pd170 at this time as they dont see any good reason to step up from the 150 as well as some likely format changes within the next few years.

yeah the GL2 is a good cam but the sony will give you versatility, much better low light, built in xlrs, more sturdy camera just to name a few. And why get a 170 when you can get it all with a 150 at a lower price...or you could just wait to see if anything better comes out at NAB :) The caveat to all this is with the money Ive spent getting my XL1s into the shape I want (better mic, xlr. anton bauer system, 16x manual lens, mic isolater, etc) I should have just gotten a jvc dv500 or 5000 by the time I get all the add ons I could have had the better camera for the same price. If thats the size camera you want the pd150 is going to give you all of it at one price and you probably already have a wide angle you can transfer across....

my .03 cents
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Old December 24th, 2003, 06:45 AM   #8
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I think the VX2000/pd150/170 are more "news style" cams, they have the pure quality...

The GL2, at least, in my experience, is a much more popular cam for independed film makers, you just have to look at the films made with the gl2/xl1/xl1s and compare it to the amount of films made using the sony vx2000/pd150, and so on...

It of course depends what you wan't it for, for me the XM2(GL2) is perfect, it outdoes the vx2000/pd150/170 for film makers because of its frame mode, and the quality is simular at least between the GL2 and the VX2000 (if it was between those and you have even some interest in film making, i would go for the GL2)

I havn't had any experience with the pd150/170, but by the look of the price, it seems its a slightly different breed althogether, and probably not fair to compare the two, as rick said.

My view is: GL2 over the VX2000, but if you have the money, pd150/170, or DVX100(for the film look).
But as i said, i don't have much experience with the new sonys (however i have used the DVX100, VX1000.)

See here for a low light chart listing a few of the top models:

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/bhshootoff_3chip_group.htm
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Old December 24th, 2003, 07:52 AM   #9
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As I usually say itīs all on your need...

1. - Are you doing A LOT of weddings (make a living out of this)?then go for the VX-2000.
- Do you do a lot of live shooting in "rough" condition?
The main difference between them (XLR and DVCAM options) on the PD-150/170 are overpriced In my opinion... In wedding you donīt need DVCAM.. and the mic is often on top of the cam... so you donīt really need balanced XLR Inputs. ANd the VX-2000 is as sturdy as the PDīs.

2. - Do you work for a network or do a lot of live shooting in "rough" condition?
do you REALLY need the DVCAM?
Do you make a living out of whatever it is you do with the above?
.. go for the PD-150/170/10

3. - Do you do fiction, videoclips... or work mostly on "controlled enviroments"?
You donīt have an extra $1000 or $2000 to get the DVX-100 or the XL1-S (note the S at the end)...
Go for the XM2 / GL2...
Itīs a great camera... often underrated... and more often misused... itīs "price-return value" relation is the best out there...

Iīve used the PD-150 for more than a year... and the XM2 for about 6 months now... and for what I do.. (point 3) the Sony is just overpriced and not worth the difference in price between this and the XM-2. Not even the VX2000 (itīs more than 1000 Euros more expensive than XM2 around here).. And I love the Frame Mode.

If you are doing fiction and think the XM2 / GL2 is not enough... either you donīt know what you are doing... or is time to rent a REAL PRO, HD or DigiBetacam or go for FILM...

But then again read the signature...
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Old December 24th, 2003, 11:12 AM   #10
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You also might consider the Panasonic DVC80- it's excellent in low light and is arguably the best of the 60i cams out there......it has large CCD's and produces outstanding video resolution. You really should look into this model beofre you make a purchase......it's overshadowed by it's big brother the DVX100 but every bit as stunning and priced with the GL2!
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Old December 24th, 2003, 11:12 AM   #11
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Thanks for the input folks. As I originally posted, my primary focus is producing weddings (full-time) with an eye to corporate later. But it's mostly run and gun for us and that's one reason why I like the compact GL2, VX2000, PDx, etc. I lean towards that PDx because of the XLRs and seemingly higher reliability compared to the GL2. I'm using a BeachTek now and wouldn't like adding more weight to the VX2000.

As you know, weddings often mean low light conditions. I usually need to shoot indoor day time ceremonies at 6 dB and full exposure. Evening receptions, never more than 12dB with a 20W light.

Since it's not easy to do a hands on comparison, your input is very helpful. Bottom line, would the PDx with 1/3 chips, 1 lux rating cause a jaw-dropping difference in resolution and low-light from the GL2? Just trying to justify the cost I guess.

One other thing...have any of you put GL2 and PDx or VX2k video on a timeline together or is there a huge difference?

Oh, Federico...I know what I'm doing by the way.

Bob
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Old December 24th, 2003, 11:34 AM   #12
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About low light performance...

If you havn't already, check out the link below, it compares the VX2000, GL2, XL1s, and a few more in low light and in normal light.

Not sure if the low light on the PD150/170 is very different from the VX2000 though.

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/bhshootoff_3chip_group.htm
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Old December 24th, 2003, 11:41 AM   #13
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I was just reading that thread, if I have the one you mentioned. Haven't finished readin but controversal for sure, especially for the Panasonic folks.
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Old December 24th, 2003, 11:53 AM   #14
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<<<-- Originally I posted:
If you are doing fiction and think the XM2 / GL2 is not enough... either you donīt know what you are doing... or is time to rent a REAL PRO, HD or DigiBetacam or go for FILM...
-->>>

<<<-- Then Bob posted:
Oh, Federico...I know what I'm doing by the way. -->>>

Now I post...

Iīm sorry if that sounded bad... I should have not said... "IF YOU".. instead I should have said.. "IF SOMEONE"... as it was never intended to a specific person... nor to insult or anything...

Also if you read my whole post... that last statement says "If you are doing Fiction"... Which you are not, or at least is not your main concern in this thread...
I recognize the lacks and virtues of the cameras Iīve worked with.. and with my last statement I wanted to underline the Virtues of the Gl2, and defend itīs reputation.. since Iīve read and heard in person and many forums how people underrate and put down this camera... but of course anyone who has used it, is not hearing anything new..

But the DOING FICTION is key here, I recognize (read point 1 and 2 of my last post) that If I was doing more than fiction.. If I was making a living out of weddings or other live events... I would go without much thoughts for the Sonys... They have proven their value and reliability more than enough to trust my business to them.
(Iīd also check on the PanaDVC-80.. It looks pretty good too).

So sorry if anyone felt offended... Happy holidays...
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Old December 24th, 2003, 12:05 PM   #15
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Also worth adding that the GL2 also offers good footage if you are making a living out of it:) but probably not as good as the $2000 more pd150's-170s, if your happy with good low light performance the gl2 will be fine, however, the sonys will give you great low light performance, at the cost of a few other features of the canons... (mainly the frame mode)

No cam is "better" in my view, its all about preference really...
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