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


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Old September 14th, 2006, 08:49 AM   #1
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GL-2 or ???

Although this is my first post I've been lurking for a few months (even before I registered) doing a lot of reading.

I've been using a Sony TRV-80 for a few years while I have been working on my editting skills. They are good enough that I've done a wedding and a few corpororate promo videos for people I know. I guess they were good because the promo videos have resulted in a lot of new sales for those companies.

There's a local horticulturist who wants me to record a series of seminars she is giving and turn them into a DVD series she can sell, but I don't feel comfortable doing this with my Sony.

Anyway, I've long ago reached the creative limits of my Sony. The lack of true manual controls has become a continual frustration. Twenty years ago I did a lot of photography (before my wife took over "still" duties), exclusively using manual mode on my SLRs for the creative freedom it gave me.

These days I'm shooting exclusively anamorphic widescreen, which the Sony does quite well. Any camera that replaces it must also excel at that. I'm not yet ready to move to HD; the prices are still too high because the technology is still so new and I'm not prepared at this time to completely redo my video editting station and software as well as getting a new camera.

A local high-end and pro video business suggested I consider the GL-2. I must admit that everything I've read sounds like it could be a good match for what I'm looking for.

However, currently being on the outside of the prosumer camera arena means that I'm just guessing, and I'm not even sure what questions I should be asking or what features I should be looking for. I'm also not sure what other cameras I should consider.

I know that my budget for a camera plus necessary accessories (wide angle, shotgun and wireless mics, etc.) is under $3K which doesn't give me a whole lot to work with unless I'm willing to shop eBay.

Is the GL-2 the camera I should be looking at? It seems to be, but maybe there is something else I should also consider.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 10:51 AM   #2
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One thing to know is, the GL2 doesn't have real anamorphic widescreen, it crops to get that image.
But it's still a nice camera with good manual controls.

Ps: if that 3k budget must cover the camera AND the mic's AND shotgun AND a wide angle, I think it will be near impossible to find a camera with real anamorphic widescreen and good manual controls...
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Old September 15th, 2006, 10:18 AM   #3
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Let's see if I can clarify what I'm trying to accomplish and where I'm coming from in hopes of getting more responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathieu Ghekiere
One thing to know is, the GL2 doesn't have real anamorphic widescreen, it crops to get that image.
That is something I need to consider. I don't know if my existing Sony Handycam does "real" anamorphic widescreen but one of the reasons I chose it back then was that it did have a big CCD sensor and used a larger portion of the sensor for its anamorphic widescreen, rather than cropping (then stretching?) the 4:3 pixels.

Quote:
But it's still a nice camera with good manual controls.
And that's what I'm looking for. I want to find a camera at the "sweet spot" between high-end consumer and low-end pro -- the elusive pro-sumer -- that will fit my needs. Yes, I know I'm a bit vague about my needs, but part of that is because I'm not entirely sure what my needs are.

The projects I've done to date have been done as favors for friends, not for pay. In fact, in this country I'm not allowed to do things like that for pay (I'm a Canadian on a work visa, not a Green Card).

What I want to expand my boundaries and consider a possible future career change. Think of me as someone who is about to become a video student and you'll get a good idea of where I'm at.

Quote:
Ps: if that 3k budget must cover the camera AND the mic's AND shotgun AND a wide angle, I think it will be near impossible to find a camera with real anamorphic widescreen and good manual controls...
Yeah, that could be a problem.

In an ideal world I'd buy an HD camera with good manual controls, upgrade my video editting station and software, and do downconversion in software until such time as my target audiences are ready for HD.

But HD cameras with GL2-like capabilities are totally out of my price range it seems. Until I learned more, I briefly considered the Sony HVR-A1U as being at the right price, but not having the manual control I'm looking for.

I can afford something like a GL-2 plus wide angle and the mics for under $3K if I choose the mics carefully, keeping in mind I'm doing this to learn to shoot really good quality amateur video, and not trying to make a living at it.

I don't want to lose any capabilities I already have (primarily the adequate anamorphic widescreen) while adding flexibility and a level of control that I don't currently have.

Does this help?
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Old September 15th, 2006, 11:51 AM   #4
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Have you ever thought of this? if you film anything in standard 4:3 then in post convert it to anamorphic widescreen. i know i can do this in final cut express and i dont lose any quiality what so ever. it also dosn't crop it either
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Old September 15th, 2006, 10:35 PM   #5
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Bill,

Given your priorities (16x9, manual control), and your good experience with Sony, I disagree & I think the Sony HVR-A1U would be an excellent choice.

I shot with a GL2 for 2 years, and it is nice and bright but is still "prosumer". The 16:9 is faux-widescreen- like most of the >$3K SD cameras- losing the top and bottom part of the image; so you're wasting precious pixels. Shooting in SD with small 1/4" CCDs...I wouldn't do it.

I have seen footage from the Sony HVR-A1U and it is ridiculously good for a camera that small, and offers all the same pseudo-manual features as the GL2 plus XLRs and phantom power, making it much more suitable for professional work. And if you were happy with the TRV you then are familiar with the Sony workmanship; I've always noticed that Canons felt very cheap and plastic-y compared to Sonys.

That's just another opinion for you. Happy shopping
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Old September 16th, 2006, 03:48 PM   #6
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Nathaniel,
Whether the camera is cropping to get widescreen, or whether it is done in post, you are still using fewer pixels of data and then "stretching" (mathematically interpolating) to create data that never existed.

For a living, I design and write realtime image analysis software for my company -- ICS INEX Inspection Systems -- so I know a little bit about the subject. In fact, I'm VP of R&D there.

However, the fact that a GL2 starts with a better image obtained from a 3CCD setup instead of the Bayer grid of a single CCD (with its interpolated pixels) should help.

Benjamin,
That's an interesting alternative viewpoint. From my initial reading the Sony HVR-A1U seemed to have limited manual controls. I'll research it further.

If my goal is to educate myself then maybe I'm putting too much emphasis on widescreen for now. Perhaps what I want is a good basic pro-like SD camera that I can learn with while the marketplace shakes out from the HD revolution that is really just getting underway.

Honestly, I can see myself buying something like the Canon XH A1 in 2-3 years. What I need for now is something to do some simple projects with and to learn with, anticipating that I'm going to need to go beyond it in only a few years.

I wonder if I should broaden my search to the Panasonic AG-DVC60?

I think I should also look to find a school where I take some courses. I'm not sure how to go about finding one. I haven't been in school in 20 years!
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Old September 16th, 2006, 04:00 PM   #7
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Well it's too bad that Sony discontinued the PDX-10 because it would seem to meet most of your needs, including price. It does very nice anamorphic 16:9 (which is why I bought one), has XLR's and DVCAM recording. It was selling for about $1,700 when it was discontinued last winter. Perhaps you can still find a new one somewhere?.. See our forum for more info on this camera:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=43
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Old September 16th, 2006, 04:24 PM   #8
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Thanks Boyd, I'll check it out.

A used camera is a very real possibility for me.
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