Anyone got any info on GL2's depth of field? at DVinfo.net

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


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Old July 25th, 2002, 03:13 PM   #1
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Anyone got any info on GL2's depth of field?

Hey all. I've asked a similar question a while ago just as the GL2's were released, but noone on here had one yet so I'll ask it again, now that a few people have them.

How are they for shrinking the depth of field down? I know the CCD's are 1/4" and I'm worried that in order to get a shallow depth of field I'm going to have a real hard time. I want to use my camera for many things, but I will be doing quite a few short films and probably features at some point and wil want to use shallow depth of field in some shots. Anyone played around with this?

Is the XL1 (or s) much better at the shallow DoF than the Gl2?

I'm guess an old XL1 and a new Gl2 will be similar prices here in New Zealand when we finally get the GL2 (XM2) so it's a toss up at the moment between what to get and I'm leaning heavily to the old Xl1 at the moment...
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Old July 25th, 2002, 03:52 PM   #2
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Aaron

I have done some comparisons shots with the gl1, gl2 and xl1s, and there isn't a huge difference between them. At the same aperture, yes the xl1s does have noticeably less depth of field, however a couple of other issues bring the gl2 into a similar range. The gl2 MIGHT have slighly less depth of field than the gl1.

1. the gl2 is about 1 1/2 stops less sensitive than the xl1s...therefore the gl2 will be shooting typically at a somewhat wider aperture than the xl1s given the same lighting situation.

2. At larger apertures, I think the gl2's lens is superior to the xl1s. The xl1s lens is essentially unusable below f2.8 in my opinion. The gl2's lens looks great all the way to f1.6.

With 1/3 and 1/4 inch cameras, depth of field control is nearly impossible except at the most zoomed out or close-up applications. There are some very expensive (several times the cost of the camera) add on devices that will give you a more traditional film DoF look. But, seriously, I'd be looking for a larger chip camera before I went that direction.

As for buying an older xl1 as compared to the gl2?...Well, in my couple of days using it, I like the image quality of the gl2 better than the xl1s...and most people say the xl1s is a noticeable improvement over the xl1. Image quality isn't everything...and I am already formulating in my mind which shots I will do with the xl1s and which I will do with the gl2. Any thing hand held or using the zoom, I would probably use the xl1s, the gl2 on the steadicam and tripod. Wide angle shots...gl2. Low light...I'm not sure yet.

If you haven't checked it out, I've made a few preliminary observations in the "Gl2 resolution" thread.

Barry
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Old July 25th, 2002, 06:48 PM   #3
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Thanks barry. Hey, do you have somne test footage shot with the different cameras under the same conditions (Adjusting for light sensitivity) so that we can see the difference in image quality?
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Old July 25th, 2002, 07:12 PM   #4
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I suggest going to a cam shop and doing these tests yourself. One person's low light is another's grain. The depth of field of the GL2 should be versatile, considering its 20X zoom.
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Old July 25th, 2002, 11:10 PM   #5
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Aaron

I'm hope to put a few stills together soon showing comparisons,which I believe chris may put up on the "Son of Watchdog". The tests I've done so far are resolution specific, and they are only moderately conclusive.. I hope to spend a little more time with the camera this weekend, so hopefully I'll have more for you early next week.

The primary points of difference between the gl2 and gl1 / xl1s based on my observations are:

1. The gl2 is less sensitive. (1 to 1 1/2 stops)

2. It has significantly less contrast, and deals with highlights and shadows more delicately. (I think this is the most important improvement in the camera).

3. Using any of the auto modes on the gl2 will cause noticeable noise (grain) in moderate to low levels of light, which can be subdued by lowering the sharpness. By setting the camera to manual I was able to get some impressive results in some very low light, by lowering the shutter speed, setting the gain at 0 or +6, and opening the lens to its maximum: much sharper than anything I could get in a similar situation with the xl1s or gl1.

4. It is slightly sharper than the other two cameras, which when combined with the lower contrast and less apparent "sharpening" gives a look that looks a little less digital and --perhaps-- a little more like film (don't tell Ozzie I said this).

5. The Voice setting does a moderately good job of subduing background noise. (but doesn't replace a well placed shotgun mic).


----#3 seems to be the biggest drawback about the gl2, especially for the casual user, who wants to set the camera on automatic and go. I noticed the noise/grain immediately and found it unacceptable. Because the camera is less sensitive the AGC kicks in earlier than it might on the other cameras, and I've found when shooting under some pretty bright skylights in my studio that the camera on auto was kicking the gain up to +18 in all but the brightest area of the set.

I think it is an excellent camera, albeit one that requires a little more attention than the gl1 did, and almost as much as the xl1s does.

Cheers

Barry
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Old July 26th, 2002, 12:27 AM   #6
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Barry,
Thanks very much for such detailed observations. You know, we eat this stuff up with a big spoon around here.

Do you have any feeling for how the GL2 compares to the Sony VX2000 or the PD150?
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Old July 26th, 2002, 10:00 AM   #7
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I don't have any experience with those cameras. I have a friend with a pd150, which I'll try to get him to bring over when I do the next comparison shots.

Barry
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Old July 26th, 2002, 03:46 PM   #8
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And please only have GL2 is better comments please. :-) Just kidding... I just had my GL2 delivered and I decided on it over the PD150 and I'd rather not have buyers remorse.

Have a great weekend.
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Old July 26th, 2002, 07:21 PM   #9
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Isn't the PD150 severl thousand dollars more than the GL2 anyway, which would have to be taken into account with any future purchase based comparison I guess.
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Old July 27th, 2002, 12:46 PM   #10
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No, the PD150 is around $1000 USD more than the GL2. Or less than that depending on who you buy it from.
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