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


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Old July 29th, 2002, 12:29 AM   #1
monicard
 
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GL2 Digital Stills

After having my previous DV camcorder accidently kicked off a pier into the Pacific Ocean I am now in the market for a new one. I thought as long as I was looking, that it would sure be nice to use it for high quality stills as well as video. Is it possible to use the GL2 for high quality digital stills; I notice that it has a higher pixel count than any of the other digital camcorders? How do the still really compare against digital still cameras? Your experience and advice is appreciated. Gary C
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Old July 29th, 2002, 10:24 AM   #2
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The still image resolution of the GL2 is 1488x1128, or roughly a 5x7 print size. I've seen print samples from the GL2 and I think they look fine at 4x6. Any larger than 4x6 and you might be disappointed. The primary advantage of the GL2's media card is the "mix to tape" feature anyway, which allows you to key an image from the card, such as a company logo, over live video going to tape.

For high-quality digital still photos, a 2-megapixel camera is all you need. This gives you an 8x10 print size (at 1600x1200 resolution). A 3-megapixel camera will give you an image you can crop a bit down to an 8x10 print size without losing quality. 4 megapixels gives you an 11x17 print, and 5 megapixels or more is expensive overkill in my opinion.

My favorite digicam right now is the Canon Powershot S200 or S330, they are both 2-megapixels and highly portable, under $400. Hope this helps,
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Old July 31st, 2002, 12:00 AM   #3
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Chris I hate to disagree with you on my first post but I have to on this one. A 2-megapixel camera is fine for small prints but if you are looking for high quality professional images capable of going to a printing press you need at least a 6-megapixel camera for an 8x11. If you are talking about prints from an inkjet printer you can get by with less.

I just finished testing my GL2 's still images against my images from my Kodak DCS 760 and my point and shoot Olympus 3040 camera. I must say the GL2 produces respectable images but they don't compare to either camera, nor should they at almost half the resolution.

Mark Daughn
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 12:51 PM   #4
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No disagreement here, Mark... indeed I was referring only to consumer or home-office applications, with inkjet prints from say a sub-$400 Canon S900 printer. A two-megapixel 8x10 print from a Powershot S200 looks fine in a photo album or hanging on a wall. I would never suggest it for professional double-truck magazine layouts, though... that's what the Canon EOS D60 is for. Thanks, nice to see an Austinite here!
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Old August 7th, 2002, 12:11 PM   #5
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I disagree with your disagree

mark, i think that is the same as saying if you need a car other than to go to the store, you'll need a volvo.
the 6 megapixel barrier has hardly been broken. until about a month ago people were getting by just fine in the professional world with 3 to 4 megapixel slr style cameras and i don't think its fair to make people think they need the best digital camera to date.
but its a moot point because that wasn't really the question, as mr hurd pointed out.
-bagalamadingdong.
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Old August 8th, 2002, 01:15 AM   #6
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Jason,

I was not trying to say that you had to have a six mega pixel camera, but the original post said high quality stills. Chris is correct if what you are looking for is a print from a inkjet. I guess the real question is that considered "high quality stills".

Having tested the GL2 still images and making comparison prints on a low end Epson C60 printer the GL2 is fine up to a 5x7 after that in a comparison, most of todays $400 point and shoots will produce a better print.

If you are considering anything on a high quality printing press printing at 300 line screen or better you need a 6 mega pixels image to produce a high quality 8 x 10 or larger image.

It is all about the final use for your image.

I am not knocking the GL2 it is a great product (at least so far for me) but if I'm going to shoot stills it would not be my camera of choice.

Mark
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Old August 8th, 2002, 08:10 AM   #7
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Mark is absolutely right in all respects. And it does boil down to how one defines high quality. Having seen the GL2 stills, I think they're acceptable at a 5x7 size and that's about it. The primary advantage of the MMC/SD card on the GL2 is the "mix to tape" function. I wouldn't use the GL2 still feature if I wanted high-quality images.
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Old August 8th, 2002, 10:15 AM   #8
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dirty texans. . .

okay, I'll take that. gl2 doesn't do high quality stills.
I am used to using the stills from my gl1 in video applications
(since it has no bloody media card grumble grumble)
and for a 720X480 image they look almost good enough for my standards (but you should see some of the women i've dated.)
I figure that with its fancy new chips (and the addition of the media card-darn it all.) the gl2 will do high quality stills for video
(like higher than XGA resolution).
and i agree that Mark's assessment of "going to a printing press you need at least a 6-megapixel camera for an 8x11..."
but i don't think that monicard would be asking about stills with a prosumer if his business was a professional photographer producing 8 by 11s.
Chris' thoughts on x megapixel vs. print size are more realistic and less likely to deter monicard from purchasing the gl2 and becoming assimilated by us.
no disrespect intended, except for the fact that i'm at ou and you are at ut.
say, did you see the new SI?
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Old August 13th, 2002, 03:18 AM   #9
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Don't overlook the high-powered
zoom lens of the GL2, as it contributes to the ability to capture good still images. A 6-MegaPixel digital camera may do very well for close-in subjects, but having this great magnification will allow you capture images from much further out. I have an Olympus still camera with just 2.1 MegaPixel
capacity, but it has a 10X zoom and with a 1.7X extender, I can get many pictures that are far more useful than those from a 3 to 6-MegaPixel
model that has only 3 to 5X zoom capability. With a Century Optics 2X telextender, the 40X zoom would let you grab digital stills on the GL2, that are extraordinary, from long range. There would be little loss of optical clarity, using this excellent telextender.

Another aspect of still picture capture, is those you can extract from real-time videotape on the GL2. Even though they are limited to 640 X 480 in pixel-size, the number of frames from which you can choose and the likelyhood that one will be framed, focused and exposed just right, is far better than the chances of getting one just right in the still mode. This is especially true of shots with moving subjects, such as birds, planes and incoming artillery rounds. I have captured about 6,000 still pictures onto digital disks, using those from still cameras and camcorders. I save only the best ones and in fact, 90% of them come from videotape. In spite of my efforts to snap good shots with my still cameras and still camcorder mode, the best mostly are found hiding in tape footage. With the Frame mode of the GL2, the chances of finding good and unblurred frames of moving subjects for still capture are increased.

Steve McDonald
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Old August 25th, 2002, 09:54 AM   #10
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Still = 1488x1128 and Frame Mode Still = 640x480?

I just want to make sure I understand what I've just read.

Using the Still Capture on the GL2 my highest resolution is 1488x1128.

When grabing shots from video, shot in Frame Mode, my resoloution is 640x480?

Thanks,
--Steve
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Old August 25th, 2002, 10:55 AM   #11
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To Steve GL2: Yes, since the tape has its recorded image made in the DV CoDec, it's maximum transferable
pixel-size for a still-frame is 640 X 480. Since the J-PEG still-capture onto the memory card comes directly from the CCDs and doesn't get compressed down to the video pixel-size, it can maintain that higher size and resolution. Whether or not the GL2 can really derive the equivalent of 1.7 MegaPixels from it's pixel-offset CCDs and make the image look as sharp as one from a digital camera with that many actual pixels on its single CCD, remains to be seen.
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Old August 26th, 2002, 06:19 PM   #12
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Hi,
sorry to jump this thread (I'm new here), but I was just wondering: if the maximum transferable size of a still picture from video is 640x480, does that mean that 640x480 is the maximum video size on the gl2 ?

I know this is a dumb question because I assume all Pal DV is 720x576 and why should the GL2 be any different, but hey, I'm very close to buying one and I like to be sure ;)

Thanks
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Old August 27th, 2002, 07:36 AM   #13
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Alex,

The total number of horizontal scanning lines for NTSC video is 525 and PAL has 625. But, only about 481 of them are visible onscreen with NTSC and about 576 with PAL and SECAM. The other hidden lines are used to carry picture control information, timecode and other data. Only the visible lines are usable for a still J-PEG picture, so that's all you get when you transfer an image from tape to a memory card.

I should know if a J-PEG captured from a PAL videotape gives more than 480 pixels measured vertically, but I'm not sure about that. I assume that since the J-PEG picture format is universal and intended more for use on computer screens than for viewing on a TV, that the standard 640 X 480 pixel-size would be one also used by the PAL and SECAM models for their J-PEGs. There's another factor regarding the 720 encoded pixels measured horizontally, as opposed to the 640 you see, that's due to square pixels being converted to rectangular ones, that take up more screen space and therefore having a lower total number.
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