GL2 v PanaMX500 v low light. Answers anyone? 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 December 23rd, 2002, 08:26 PM   #1
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GL2 v PanaMX500 v low light. Answers anyone?

First off I've found this forum very useful. Definitely one to visit regularly. Thanks to those who post here and those who administer it.

I hope this post isn't too long winded, or asking questions already answered elsewhere on this excellent forum. I'm really searching for some final validation for making a already well-informed purchase.

I'm guessing in a GL2 area the answer is going to be... GL2 hands down? right?

Well down here in Aus, with our weakened dollar a;

Panasonic MX500 = ~ $3400 (aud+GST)

Canon GL2 (XM2) = ~ $5500 (aud+GST)

Sony VX2000 = ~ $5400 (aud+GST)

Yes, not cheap, considering most x-mas shoppers pick up 'happy snap' (1ccd 1.5megapix) miniDV cam for around $1000aud.

As a uni student (studying film and new media) my bank account is understandably, modest, yet for this I am willing to lay down the extra pennies.

I'm looking towards creating short films and experimental work (in a domain that I plan/hope will lead to a career). I figure it is probably worth spending a little more to buy a cam with the near-professional quality and features (ie GL2) that won't limit me and will allow room for improvement... ultimately producing a decent final product and furthering my skills and knowledge during the process.

I really want to like the GL2 (xm2), and am won over by what it offers, despite a long showdown between it and the low light king, Sony's VX2000.

So anyhow, here are some questions I'll throw into the void as I inch closer towards a purchase.

2) The price;

Donít get me wrong, Iím happy to pay the extra for the GL2. But understandably expect it to be well justified. The Panasonic MX500 boasts 3mega pixel STILL images, which doesnít interest me. Iím concerned with the MOTION DV quality, and I understand a fraction of this resolution (closer to GL2s effective pixels) is used for DV footage. Does anyone have a decisive opinion/answer that rules out the MX500, and validates the extra cost of the GL2.


1) Low light shots;

I've seen posts on the net from the GL2 under low light conditions (or any camera bar the VX2000 for that matter) which are plagued by excessive darkness. Whilst the GL2 comes out better then most, it still appears unacceptably dark with indoor shots with no extra lighting.

For example the shots on Barry's site and at http://homepage.mac.com/bhardy3/PhotoAlbum8.html appear very dark under normal conditions. I'm somewhat aware that shots appear lighter when displayed on a TV as opposed to a Monitor, but seeing as I will be doing NLE editing on a monitor this doesnít provide much consolation. Any comments on low light capabilities of the GL2 (compared to VX2000 perhaps)?

3)
I decided to go for the GL2 over the VX2000, for its Frame mode (which i imagine will be my primary mode of recording), superior zoom and due to the 'recording noise' buzz that plagued the VX2000. Does anyone else relate to this decision?

4)
I plan on also getting a wide-angle adaptor (ie WD-58H), and using 16:9 aspect extensively. I've heard this combined with frame mode and AE plugins such as digieffects filmlook produces a very delicate film-like image. Remember PAL is 25fps, closer to film's 24fps :)

Does anyone know if you can use the WC-DC58 (made for still canon cameras like the G2) on the GL2/XM2 instead of the WD-58H?

Thanks for your time and responses,
and thanks for everyone's contribution to other threads on this forum which has helped me greatly.

Hilary Cam,
Happy X-mas and a happy new year.
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Old December 23rd, 2002, 08:41 PM   #2
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GL2 (XM2) - wider lens + larger CCDs + less CCD pixels = better low light than the MX500.

MX500 - Leica lens + more CCD video pixels = higher resolution.

Color saturation? Both good.

More zoom? GL2.

Which cam? They're both good. If you want a small cam and higher resolution, go with the MX500. If you want better lux, and like the GL2 size, go with the GL2 (XM2).

Which cam is better? They're both top notch, just different.

Which one should you buy? How much do you want to spend? Here's a great Australian dealer with great pricing and service:

[IMG]www.cameraaction.com.au[/IMG]

This is where I bought mine. And I'll probably end up with a MX500 from them too. (Maybe I'll get my NTSC version first, from Tim. All I need now is more money.) Hmmm, maybe that'll will answer that question. Honestly, with either cam, you won't go wrong.
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Old December 23rd, 2002, 10:47 PM   #3
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PanaMX500 or GL2? decisive or like comparing apples?

<<<-- Originally posted by Frank Granovski : GL2 (XM2) - wider lens + larger CCDs + less CCD pixels = better low light than the MX500.

MX500 - Leica lens + more CCD video pixels = higher resolution.
-->>>

Does this 'higher resolution of the MX500' equate to a better picture then the GL2? or does the canons lens/pixel-shift/ccd-size counter this?

Ive seen cameras marketed with higher specs produce worse images then those more modestly marketed but with superior build and components.
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Old December 23rd, 2002, 11:31 PM   #4
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Hello Hilary,
There's no such thing as a definitive answer to your query. Frank did a good job of summarizing the key attributes of the main players.

Honestly, you can type your fingers to their stumps but there's no substitute for putting each camera in your hand for a while and getting the feel of their operation and performance first hand. Find a way to do that. Personally I'm a GL2 owner and think it produces an outstanding image, better in some respects than my XL1s. But I'm sure that I would also be satisfied with a Sony VX2000 or PD150. SInce I've been a Canon shooter for many years I saw no compelling reason to switch for this class of camera. (BTW, image "darkness" is not the issue with respect to low-light sensitivity. The issue is the amount of additional signal gain, and associated noise (grain) introduced by that effect. Barry's clips were intentionally shot at very flat settings.)

In the end, the camera you use has far less impact on your results than your vision, your mastery of that camera and the quality of story you want to tell. You can achieve good results with any of those cameras.

"I figure it is probably worth spending a little more to buy a cam with the near-professional quality and features (ie GL2) that won't limit me and will allow room for improvement... ultimately producing a decent final product and furthering my skills and knowledge during the process."

That's a conceptually correct but practically fallacious statement. The functional latitude of these camera's is pretty close. (I'm not as familiar with the MX500's features.) Selecting the one that feels best to your hand, your eye and your pocket is the most rational approach. Will spending more for the GL2 really enable you to do work not possible with the MX500? Also, being a student on a modest budget you might want to spend less on the camera and budget more for other essentials such as sound and light. These facilities can easily cost as much, if not much more, than the camera and are just as essential to your end product.

Of course most folks bring such "which one should I buy" queries here with a selection already hard-wired; they're just looking for friendly strangers to push them over the edge. Your language suggests that the GL2 is already your choice, eh?

Whatever you choose just have fun with it!
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Old December 24th, 2002, 12:00 AM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ken Tanaka : Hello Hilary,

Of course most folks bring such "which one should I buy" queries here with a selection already hard-wired;

Whatever you choose just have fun with it! -->>>

Thanks for both of your replies. Yes Ken, the GL2 is well out infront as my #1 choice, and I was in search of some words of reassurance (allbeit well founded and subjective) in my choice.

It was only recently (today) I saw the Panasonic and the price tag difference gave me pause for thought. I agree completely that the camera is but one of many important components (not all tangible) in creating a great shoot, yet its one that I really want to get right.

Thanks again, I guess I was hopeful that someone could give me a quick easy answer and save me the tourment of weighing up the pros and cons all over again. ;)

My all says GL2, my wallet says Panasonic. I'll be sure to let u know which eventually wins this epic battle.

Cheers,
Hilary
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Old December 24th, 2002, 02:10 AM   #6
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Hilary, it's small verses larger, in this case. Also both the XM2 and MX500 use pixel shift, and they both have frame mode. The technology is more advanced in the MX500, and gives you higher resolution (540 horizontal lines at playback), and better 16:9 (higher resolution). However, the XM2 is a bit more solid, probably about 500 lines, better lux, and more zoom. Both cams have good audio, from what I can tell. Regarding telling you which one to get, in my books they are equal overall. The MX is better this way, the XM2 is better that way. I like small. I bought 2 MX300s. One I gave to my wife's older sister. But I find the GL2 (XM2) easy to hold and use. They're both great. The thing you should do is see which one has most of the most important features for you. The important features for me are going to be different than what's important for you, in a cam.

I've also always liked the VX2000, but I would never buy one because I find it too heavy and difficult to hold as a hand-held. The new DVX100 is great to hold---I was surprised, considering its size.

One more thing, I always found the GL1 easy to operate. I also found the GL2 easy to operate. The MX300 is a bit more difficult---more complex with all those buttons. From what I've read, the MX500 is even more difficult (with manual controls). Auto? No problem with either the MX500 or XM2.
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