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


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Old August 31st, 2005, 03:03 PM   #1
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Canon camcorders and non-Canon decks - is there a final answer?

I have been reading old threads off and on all day trying to find an answer to the dropped frame problem I've been having with our GL1s (we have five of them), and I can't find a definitive answer. I can shoot a tape with any of our cameras and play it back on any of the other cameras with no problems. On the rare occasions that I do have a dropped frame, it's one that's clearly on the source tape and not merely a playback issue. But when I capture with our JVC dual format MiniDV/SVHS deck, I get dropped frames like crazy, and I know they are not on the source tape because they don't appear when I shuttle frame-by-frame and they don't appear in the same places if I recapture footage with identical ins and outs.

This drives me insane and requires me to waste time recapturing on our long projects, but this week I started to wonder whether it's a general Canon compatibility issue when I did a DVD authoring job for someone who gave me source tapes made with an XL1. I then realized that a month ago I edited a project shot on an XL1s and captured with a DSR-11 and had the same type of errors. I ended up capturing from the camera because I got inconsistent dropped frames capturing from the Sony deck. This also happened to me two years ago or thereabouts with XL1 tapes and a DSR-25.

So what I'm wondering is: do Canon camcorders have compatibility issues with certain (or all) decks? Are there decks that are proven to work with Canon camcorders?

In case you're a regular on this forum let me assure you that I have read dozens of past posts about head realignment and using head cleaners, which I do. I also use only one brand of tapes (Sony Premium), and as I said, 99% of these dropped frames are not on the tape. I don't see how it could be a head alignment issue because we have five cameras and, as I said, the tapes shot on one of the cameras will play back perfectly on any of the other four. I would also have to have terrible luck with Canon cameras to have had this issue every time I've captured footage shot on a XL1 or GL1. If anyone can give me a definitive answer to this Canon-deck compatibility issue I would appreciate it. If there is no definitive answer then I would also like to know that so I can start trying the head realignment-type solutions I've found in the old threads.

Last edited by Zach Mull; August 31st, 2005 at 05:23 PM.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 03:22 PM   #2
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Sorry, but I've been using a Panasonic mini-DV deck for years with a GL1 and XL2 and had zero problems. Absolutely never.

JVC, eh? Hmm...that's all I have to say. Hmm... :-)

Kevin
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Old August 31st, 2005, 04:28 PM   #3
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Kevin,
I'm quite aware that the JVC deck is a piece of junk, but it doesn't get dropped frames with Sony tapes shot on Sony cameras. I've also had the same problem with XL1/GL1 footage on Sony decks, and I think the DSR-25 at least is a good piece of gear. There are also loads of old threads on here about other people having the same problems. My problems only happen with Canon camcorders and never with other camcorders, and the problem is consistent across the different decks. I have never used a Panasonic deck so maybe that is the solution.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 04:54 PM   #4
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I mostly capture my XL1s tapes with a Panasonic GS200 (little 3ccd 1/6 camcorder) and before with a 4 year old 1ccd jvc cam... again, no problems, accept for some rare cases, a dropout, as is usual with minidv.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 05:44 PM   #5
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My guess is the heads are slightly out of alignment on the GL1s. Have you ever sent them in?
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Old August 31st, 2005, 06:05 PM   #6
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I capture xl1 and xl2 tapes on my DSR 11 all day long. Nary a dropped frame. Ever. Period.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 08:24 PM   #7
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Marco,
I read old posts about head alignment, and those made it sound like head alignment was specific to each camera. I got this impression because on at least two threads, someone wrote about sending in a GL1 or GL2 for head realignment and then not being able to play the tapes shot with the misaligned heads. I can change my tapes between cameras with no playback problems. Is it possible that they're all misaligned to the same degree? That seemed unlikely to me.

Richard,
I assume you are telling me that there are definintely no known compatibility issues between Canon camcorders (or at least the XLs) and Sony decks. Is this correct? I just want to know whether there is a known issue or whether I just have terrible luck. I had identical problems with the XL1s/DSR-11, XL1/DSR-25 and GL1/cheap JVC deck combinations. Before I captured footage from a Canon camera I didn't even know what a dropped frame looked like. I would believe that I have bad luck with them. All the cameras I've used are more than a year old, and not all of them had been serviced in their lifetimes. Should I assume that the problem is with my gear (i.e. all 5 of our cameras) and absolutely not with general compatibility issues?
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Old August 31st, 2005, 09:04 PM   #8
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It would be weird wouldn't it, if all five GL1s were out of alignment to the same degree as to be compatible with each other, but not with decks made by other manufacturers. It is a known problem with that camera though. We experienced it ourselves. There may have been a manufacturing quirk with the GL1 that can explain this. The model number seems to be the only common link with your problem. I can't help but wonder if it isn't related somehow.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 09:18 PM   #9
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I think (not sure) there is always much more chance on a dropout if you don't use the camera with which you filmed, then if you do, but I personally haven't yet got any problems.
It's still the best to use a cheap minidvcamcorder or a deck to capture, I suppose.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 11:45 PM   #10
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Marco, it is hard to argue with your logic. I suppose I should call Canon service and see if I can get a bulk rate for head realignments. Thanks to all of you for the replies.
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Old September 1st, 2005, 05:42 AM   #11
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I regularly capture XL1 and GL1 tapes from a Sony DHR-1000 and a Sony GV-D300 without problem. I mainly use Panasonic tape.

If all five behave the same, it is not likely a GL1 head alignment issue. But there are a couple possible issues at play.

As I recall, Canon's maybe optimized for Panasonic tape, that is the brand of the sample tapes furnished with my camcordrs. Does Panasonic brand tape give the same issues? (I assume you are using SP speed, not LP, which will be a problem)

Systems built mainly for DVCam might not work as reliably with MiniDV (DVC) format tapes due to the narrower track pitch of DVC.
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Old September 1st, 2005, 10:46 AM   #12
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Don, I do use SP speed, but I have never tried Panasonic tape with our gear. We stick to the Sony Premiums. How likely is it that switching to Panasonic tape would help? Richard, Mathieu or Kevin, if you are still reading this thread, what brand of tape do you use? You all have success with capturing Canon footage with non-Canon decks, and if you all use Panasonic (or at least not Sony) tapes then that could be the solution.
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Old September 1st, 2005, 11:20 AM   #13
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Hey Zach,
I just took a break from capturing some XL1s with my cheap panasonic nv-DS60 and as always didn't have any problems.
The only time I had problems was when I visited my parents and used my dad's dazzle connected to the s-video and out through usb to capture on a slower laptop. I normally go direct thru firewire. So I am wondering if its not the deck but the connection. Try recording back from the deck to your GL1 and see if it drops frams that way. I suppose you could even try both digital and analog and see if the same results happen. It might help you target the problem or eliminate possibilites.
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Old September 1st, 2005, 12:14 PM   #14
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Chris,
Good suggestion - thanks for that. But the connection is fine. Even the low-class JVC deck does not drop frames when I feed it Sony tapes shot on a PD-170 or even a cheap consumer camcorder. This problem happens only when I feed it source tapes made with a Canon camcorder.
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Old September 1st, 2005, 06:39 PM   #15
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Only way to determine if changing tape brand will address your issue is to try it. Maybe clean heads and then try a tape in one camcorder, and if that works, then try it in others.
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