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


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Old December 2nd, 2004, 11:10 AM   #1
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GL2 - A Winner or Loser

Thinking of picking up one of these for the family camcorder. I like it's fairly small size. From what I have been reading, it seems a lot of people are having technical problems with these cams. Are they reliable or should I look at another product in the price range - DVC30 or VX2100
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 11:27 AM   #2
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I haven't got a GL2, only the XL1S, but I think your worries are a little bit wrong.
If you mean people have lots of technical problems, if you visite other site I think you'll surely read other people's problems with other cameras.
No camcorder is perfect, and you always will have a problem with one (Okay maybe that sounds too pessimestic :-p) but I think the GL2 is a great camcorder, although I haven't played with the DVC30 and the VX2100.
I think actually all three of them are good cams, but they all have their own qualities and 'looks' in the picture.
I can't say anything of the DVC30, but I think you read a lot about the difference in colors between Canon and Sony. Offcourse lightning has to do with it, but Canon has more a reputation of warmer colors, going more to the red, and Sony more a reputation of cooler colors, more to the blue.
Although it's better to not quote me on that, I offcourse don't know sure, but I read these boards a lot, and that's what I make from it.

Good luck with choosing!
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 11:50 AM   #3
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Hello Ed,
Just adding onto Mathieu's remarks here.

If you're really looking for a "family camera" -- meaning a camera that most members of your family can and will use -- the first matter you should consider is size and operability. The GL2 seems like a small camera to those of us accustomed to using cameras its size, and larger models as well. But it's an intimidating honker to the general public's eye. So if your wife and children will also be using the camera you should consider their comfort with such a model, even at the expense of pure image quality. Also to be considered is how comfortable you'll be packing the GL2 along on family trips. It does take some packing.

Regarding the GL2's durability, Mathieu's point is a good one. I don't recall anyone posting a new thread to remark, "My GL2 is two years old now...and it still works fine", although you'll see some replies to that effect. People post complaints and problems on boards like this. The GL2 is no less, or more, durable and reliable than any other camera in its price class. It's a very good camera that would certainly serve family video needs for a long time.

In the final analysis a camera that is actually used is far more valuable than a camera that stays home in the closet, irrespective of price or technical characteristics.

Have fun!
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 04:50 PM   #4
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I own 6 GL2s. 3 have failed in 2 years. 1 twice. Most common issue is the rewind mechanism, followed by the zoom controller either failing or acting up...finally 1 lost the CCD. I'd say we have 6000 hours on them. For the typical consumer the MTBF is probably acceptable.
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 05:18 PM   #5
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The GL2 is marketed as a higher end consumer camcorder - but many people use it professionally and commercially.

It is is very durable as consumer caomcorders go. But loak any consumer electronics, it is not intended to be dropped, etc.

It is an excellent camcorder for the price point. As noted, probably a bit of overkill for most home users - but not for high-end home users who are into home theater, serious editing, etc.

The VX2100 is probably a bit better camcorder overall, and a bit heavier and more expensive, but individual preferences also come into play as well.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 10:43 AM   #6
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Choices - opinoins - choices - opinions...

Ed,
If your wife and kids are going to use the camera, then also look at a camera that performs to your liking in full-auto point-and-shoot mode. I used the GL-2 and found it's auto mode to be quite good. My objection to the GL-2 was that it would likely stay in the bag more than get used due to its bulk. I discounted the VX2100 for the same reason - bulk. Also the GL-2 seemed a bit susceptable to recording handling noise. It picked up my wedding ring touching the plastic body quite easily. Also I had a tendency to have to hunt for the buttons due to their small size and styling - adding the chance for more handling noise.

Thw DVC30 is surely less bulky but I have heard that it offers the best performance in manual mode. So check out the quality for acceptability to your purposes. Keep in mind that the best camera, left in the bag, will not record memories as well as the worst camera in-hand, recording!

Personally I am considering the DVC30 as a nice compromise camera. The configurability allows for a full-blown "pro" setup while the stripped version can be my "vacation" camera. My tastes and expertise allow me to accept the results in full-auto mode for when I hand the camera to my wife and friends.

Good luck in your search; I know it can get arduous at times.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 11:53 AM   #7
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I used a pair of GL2s for 2 years professionally and they performed very well. No major problems and very reliable. I'm a believer in using a tape rewinder to extend the life and reliability of these cameras.

My only complaint with the GL2 has always been low-light performance and that might not be an issue for you. However, I bought an Elura matchbook type camera 3 years ago for family events and vacations and it was ideal. Loved the size and easy portability but it doesn't have GL2 features like OIS and 20x. Did some slot canyon hikes a while back and was tempted to bring a GL2 but the Elura proved to be just right. I'm sure the Opturas are much better today.
Bob
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 02:38 PM   #8
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Ed,

You can take this for what is worth. This is my personal experience and is not intended to get other Canon owners upset. I owned a GL-1 for two years and it eventually fell apart. I also recently sold a GL-2 I had for 3 months and although I have always liked the image quality on both they were always requiring trips to the shop for head realignment and other odds and ends. Also, I never liked thier build quality.

Now I have had a DVC30 for 4 months, have run about 50 hours of tape and believe it is one sweet cam. Great build quality and no failures so far.

Hope this helps,

Mark
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 06:11 PM   #9
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I think that the XM2 could be overkill for what you want, it is a fine cam but i think for more pro use.

I had one for a while and swapped it for a sony pd170 i do weddings and wildlife films and found it better in low light, and the build quality more robust.

You might look at at a cheaper model that will do you well

good luck.
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Old December 4th, 2004, 06:48 PM   #10
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Much Appreciated

Thank you all that took the time to respond. I pulled the trigger on a DVC30 and can't wait to get it. Hopefully Canon's next gen of GL's will have much better reliablity. 3 CCD HDV cam about the same size as the GL2. That Sony FX1 is just a monster. Thanks again!
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Old December 4th, 2004, 08:27 PM   #11
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Ed,

Good luck with your new DVC30. If you are looking for a good cheap bag you might want to try this

http://www.duluthtrading.com/items/92542+BLK.asp

It is actually an insulated lunch bag extremely well made and heavy duty. The bottom part is insulated and fits the DVC perfectly. In the top put a cheap plastic divider box from Home Depot and you can seperate your tapes, battery etc. Zippered compartments on the side for filters.

Good shooting....

Mark
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Old December 23rd, 2004, 06:35 AM   #12
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Do not buy this camera for just your family.
Its maybe not so heavy BUT when your in disneyland and you have to walk alot and all that it will be pretty tough using this camcorder and very expensive if something happens to it.

Its much more fun having a "small" cheap camcorder with "ok" picture quality but instead you dont have to worry about it it and just have fun.

I think your a man who wants to use all the cool equipment and the pro stuff and show the people how much you know about filmaking.

First i got a panasonic heavy and large camera(not digital) and you know what the picture quality was amazing!!!!
First i was proud of my camera but after a while my friends startet to make fun of my camera so the next camera i bought was the CANON XM-2 brilliant camcorder and now i got the best camera in town :)

First i didnt know shit about i didnt even think about what i was going to do with it but now im recording events fro paying customers...nice extra money for doing what you think is fun.
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