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


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Old March 25th, 2003, 10:27 AM   #1
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Location: Manchester, NH
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Awesome Low Light!

So before I discovered my GL2's dead pixel last night, I decided to test out it's low light capabilities.


I turned off all the lights on the first floor, except for my dining
room's dimmer. I dimmed the lights as far down as I could
while still being able to see my wife's face. I don't think I've ever been to a reception hall with the lights as dim as they were in my dining room.

Turned on the GL2
Set it to manual
18 db
1/60 Shutter
Iris open all the way (careful, it closes some when you zoom in too far)

Picture looked great.

Decided to white balance manually and everything
looked nicer color wise but the image got darker.

Set custom preset to
+2 Setup
-2 Sharp
+2 color gain

It helped a little.

Then I put the white balance in indoor mode....

WOW!!!!!!!

Even on my WEGA the image is crystal clear and
very bright. This is significant because I have
set my TV to be quite dark after running one of
those calibration DVDs through it.

Here's the best part. I can't find *any* noise!
None!

I'm almost afraid to get my GL2 replaced
(dealer said he'd replace my GL2 because
of the dead pixel). What if this is some
fluke? I don't have a VX2000 to compare it
to but I don't think it can get much better!

I will try to post a clip later tonight so you can
see it.

Thanks to all of you that reassured me of the
GL2's low light abilities.

Again, *no* noise! Am I extremely lucky?
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Old March 25th, 2003, 11:26 AM   #2
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I may check that out when I get of from work if I am not too busy drueling over my new 17" Powerbook. You might also try your GL2 under the same conditions but in spotlight mode and tell me what you think.
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Old March 25th, 2003, 01:07 PM   #3
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You say you set a gain up of +18dB Cesar and you could see no grain? *no* noise! Are you extremely lucky? I'm smiling as I write this, but are you extremely blind? Try this. Shoot at +18dB and turn all the room lights up and shoot the same scene at 0dB, same aperture. Now compare the two shots in the man-bites-dog A/B test.

Now you see the degredation, right? You see the colour loss and the electronic noise in the amplification circuits struggling to give you a watchable picture.

I've compared the VX2000 and the XM2 (your GL2) alongside each other on an indoor shoot. At all times the Sony was working at one stop smaller except when both cameras were on full telephoto. At those times the Sony was 1.5 stops more sensitive. In practical terms this means the Sony is at max aperture and 0dB gain whereas the XM2 is at max aperture and +9dB gain. No contest, but then the Sony costs 25% more.

tom.
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Old March 25th, 2003, 01:23 PM   #4
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Tom,

When at full zoom, wouldn't you expect the Canon to be slightly less sensitive since it's zooming further (20x vs. 12x) ?
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Old March 25th, 2003, 01:40 PM   #5
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The fact that it has a longer zoom doesn't automatically mean that it has a smaller maximum aperture, but design constrains have made Canon limit the aperture to f2.9 The Sony is f2.4, or half a stop wider.

tom.
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Old March 25th, 2003, 01:57 PM   #6
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I do wear glasses

It is entirely possible that my vision is failing me.

It is also possible that I hit the shutter down
to 1/30 by mistake (still looking smooth).


All I know is that I could not see any grain.
I'm sure that doing an A/B comparison
of footage taken at 0db, with full lights,
on will show that the low lit scene doesn't
look as good.

However, my first impression is that
the low lit scene looked great
and I could not see any noise.

Maybe my camera is more messed up
than I thought and is not really going up
to 18db.

I will repeat the test tonight and post
pics and/or clips of the different settings.

My dark WEGA settings may also be masking
the noise.

That or I need to go in for a new prescription.
Cesar Ruiz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2003, 08:08 PM   #7
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I guess I was blind last night?

OK, so I'm either shooting in less light
or Tom was right and I am blind (or was
last night).

I can't get the results I got last night.
I must have been using more light.

Anyway, tonight, same settings
gave me a nice but dark picture.
Using the indoor white balance
setting proved disastrous. I had
to white balance manually while
the shutter was on 1/30. White
balancing on 1/60 doesn't
seem to do it right. Once it was
white balanced, I switched to 1/60.
Like I said, at this point the picture
was nice but dark.

Setting the shutter to 1/30 gave
me noticeable grain. Maybe I was
just comparing it to my Digital 8's
grain, because the grain I saw tonight
though noticeable is not "as bad."
The image at this point was quite
usable in my opinion, though probably
not as good as the VX2000.

Forgive me for my premature conclusions.
I wish I had a light meter. I still think
the GL2 does a great job in low light.

-Cesar
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Old March 26th, 2003, 09:58 AM   #8
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spotlight mode

Bill,

I did try spotlight mode and the image was
way too dark. I couldn't make out any
detail at all.

The subject looked silouetted.

What settings do you and others use
when shooting low lit scenes?

Is manual mode not the mode to go into?

Thanks,
-Cesar
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