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


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Old December 1st, 2004, 02:43 PM   #1
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Still Photos: Anyone really use this feature?

Hey there,

I've had three MiniDV camcorders and each of them has had the "photo" button for taking still pictures and storing them to tape and/or memory cards.

The first two were sub megapixel stills... totally worthless.

So when I bought my GL2 I thought I might actually use the stills once in a while.

While they look better than my previous cameras they're still nothing compared to my digital still camera.

I'm wondering if anyone actually makes much use of this feature and if so what those uses may be.

Thanks!

Charlie
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Old December 1st, 2004, 03:06 PM   #2
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Record keeping, storyboards. Save you from going through the clip later to capture stills. Also, in some capture programs, pressing the still button is a handy way to separate out clips.
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Old December 1st, 2004, 07:53 PM   #3
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I was taping a bald eagle on a lake up in Maine this past summer. I was able to get several good still closeups with my GL2 -- the zoom on that camera is light years better than the one on my digital still camera. I also didn't need to waste time switching to another camera, which was handy because the eagle flew out of the tree only moments later. The still photo feature is a real benefit to anyone who does nature photograpy.
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 12:43 AM   #4
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. .. or excellent for inner city architectural DISTANT features too! You want better resolution than your video? All those vertical straight lines? Try doing that on miniDV? Now twist it and get those motion effects? . . Snap off a few XM2 stills, bring them back into the timeline in editing in Vegas 5 and off yah goes! I really don't need to carry around extra equip while jumping on and off public transport . .

So, you've got Nature and Inner City .. what's in between? . .Any takers?

Ho, don't yah just love that "fake" SLR audio when you take a pic?!? When I first heard it I freaked out! Great Stuff!

Grazie
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 06:08 AM   #5
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I have taken many still photos with my XM2.
Mostly nature pictures so far..., but I have also used it indoors if I don't have another camera available.

Outdoors I have been able to get some good quality pictures.
A few times (with good light conditions/sunshine), I have compared the picture quality of the XM2 with a Casio 3,2 megapixel compact still camera. And the quality of the pictures from the XM2 and the Casio camera nearly matched. But generally I can easily see the differences between them.

Pictures taken indoors, are generally of low quality.
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 10:46 AM   #6
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When I first got my XL-1 systems, I used one to take these and other production stills. The color is good and the image is not bad at a lower resolution but if they are used at the full 720x480, well take a look for yourself. Click on the ones that say enlarge (608x464). There is aliasing at all non horizontal planes plus you're only going to get an image that looks like, well, a video frame pull with DV's limited resolution. It's a good feature but mostly for convenience but not critical images. I recently got a 4 mega pixel digital camera for 150.00. Well worth it for still images done the right way.


http://community-2.webtv.net/JEFProd...CONFIGURATIONS
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 04:48 AM   #7
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I agree with Graham. Put your digital still camera on full zoom and the Canon on full zoom and just see the difference a long lens can make. I find the stills memory an amazingly useful facility, and as has been said - it lowers the number of cameras you have to lug around. A greqat facility - don't knock it.

And the cruncher is this: every camcorder is a far better still camera than any still camera is at taking movies. The camcorder has a huge, wide-aperture zoom, it has two viewfinders, one of which can twist and turn any which way (great for self portraits). It has a battery that will outlast most still cameras, it can be used as an audio recorder, comes with its own ND filter and has an amazing image stabiliser.

tom.
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Old December 12th, 2004, 09:00 PM   #8
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I made a mistake on a trip and didn't bring enough tape. Instead of wasting tape on stuff I wasn't sure if I'd use or not, I just took stills. If I saw something I liked, I'd flip a switch and turn on the tape deck.
It's nice having something that's built into the camera that can always be ready to take a photo.

The only whine is that for some reason you can't get 18dB of gain, nor use sub 1/60 shutter speeds.

**Also I made a stop motion animation with the still feature once. This is the best, you can take stills all night, and when you are done have the camera play them to tape. Then capture that to your NLE, change the speed, boom! Instant short.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 09:20 PM   #9
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I created a thread a while ago abou the power of the GL2's still photo feature, and while the resolution is by any stretch amazing, the colors and clarity REALLY pull through with the fabulous L-series lense. Since that thread, I've actually had some of my photographs published (I now shoot with the canon 10D) but I still remain loyal to the notion that the GL2 is capable of good (basic) still photography....


check them out:
http://woffester.deviantart.com/gallery

these are some of the GL2 images:
http://woffester.deviantart.com/gallery/?type=browse&offset=48
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Old December 19th, 2004, 12:29 PM   #10
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Hi, I don't own one yet, hopefully soon, but how different in quality is a frame grab compared to the photo feature?
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Old December 20th, 2004, 12:50 PM   #11
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Corey, thank you for posting the stills.

The following are questions for anyone that has some experience.

I do not have a GL2 yet but would like to know what you think about its application in the following circumstance:

Early morning and late afternoon video and stills of wildlife. Stills suitable for internet use. No interest in printing anything larger than 4X6.

Do you believe that at 40X that the quality is still good for the above?

Do stills get to apply digital zoom on top of optical? (My current camera, a Sony DCR TRV33, actually has stills less max. zoom than optical which is 10X.)

This is my first post here and I want to thank everyone that is involved since I have learned a lot just by reading the various posts.
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Old December 20th, 2004, 12:59 PM   #12
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I do a bit of wildlife and nature photography with my GL2. I find that the optical zoom is best -- any application of the digital zoom results in an image that I'm not happy with. Naturally, that's just my personal opinion . . . and of course with nature photography there are always situations where the digital zoom gives you the only opportunity to get any kind of shot at all of subjects that are secretive and far away. So I use it when necessary but try to avoid it if possible.
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 01:28 PM   #13
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Thanks Jim.

What I call "low light" will be 7:30 am and 5:30 pm in the winter. How bad is the "grain" in your opinion under those conditions? My current Sony is acceptable to me but the zoom is inadequate.

The reason I asked about 40X was that I recall someone noting not much degradation of picture from 20X.

Do stills get full use of 20X optical, and at 20X are pics OK for web use jpgs?

My current camera makes very little sound either when turning on for movies or for running and virtually no sound when taking a still. I've used a 35mm SLR for years and the shutter often frightens animals. How is the GL2 in this noise aspect since I believe it uses a shutter for stills?

Thanks in advance to anyone providing feedback, since I need to make a decision before the $250 rebate runs out.
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 02:08 PM   #14
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If you search this forum, you'll see that some users fault the GL2 for its low light capabilities in indoor settings. However, I find that it's just fine for "low light" daylight situations like you describe. I was shooting last October up in Maine during heavy overcast and was still able to get wonderful detail.

The zoom features, both optical and digital, are available to you in still mode. You can disable the "shutter" sound if you want to. You can make great JPG images with the 20X optical zoom.

The difference between 20X optical and 40X digital is quite a subjective one. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I find all digital zoom images to be "pixelated" to some degree so I try to avoid using it. You should attempt to get your hands on a GL2 at a local camera shop and check it for yourself to see what you think.

Good luck!
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 03:53 PM   #15
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Jim, thank you again for your prompt reply.

In my picture quests (primarily the white-tailed deer) I currently carry a 35mm camera with a 500 mm lens and a 2X converter, a spotting scope that is 16 - 47X and a small digicam for movies.

"If", the GL2 could replace all three of these, I'd be much better off with a lighter load and no switching of tools required. The GL2's 20X (~750mm) lens would meet 75% of my zoom application and I could digitally zoom to the equiv. of 1000mm it appears if required. My spotting scope is used at ~20 X at least 90% of the time, so perhaps the GL2 could serve for that, and of course last it would replace the small digicam with a far superior tool.

As you can see I'm asking a lot, although much of it is not related to the GL2's forte (quality filming) but it just might fit the bill for me as an all purpose tool.
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