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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old May 30th, 2008, 08:38 AM   #1
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Which camcorder better for SD recording?

Hi!
Which camcorder would be better to shoot in progressive 16x9 SD? XL2 or XH-A1?
I am asking about picture quality, sharpness, noise, manual control ...
How they compare in shooting in low light?
Thanks!
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Old May 30th, 2008, 09:10 AM   #2
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My guess would be either. If you were going to buy one I think the advice today will always be to buy an HD camera. XL-2 has interchangeable lenses which may or may not be a big issue?
Steve
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Old May 30th, 2008, 10:06 AM   #3
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I don't know about the XH-A1, but the XL2 is well-known for not being the best in low light conditions. Trust me on that one.

Jonathan
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Old May 30th, 2008, 10:43 AM   #4
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Hi Krystian,

Not sure what application you'd use the SD progressive cam for, cause the XL2 and the XHA1 are certainly both great cams for several different things.

As Jonathan said, the XL2 isn't known for great low-light capabilities. (Can't speak for the A1, as I only own the XL2) But it is decent, with a few minor tweaks (i.e., shooting in 60i, turning up gain slightly, lower shutter speed, crushing blacks, etc.).

And like Steve said, interchangeable lenses for the XL2 is a great plus for some people. (We use the 3x wide lens for about 75% of our shooting.)

Best,
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Old May 30th, 2008, 11:03 AM   #5
 
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It depends on how "low" the "low light" is.

I've always gotten fantastic results with the XL2 in "low light". Like Jeff said, the strength of the XL2 is its adjustments. Use them!
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:02 PM   #6
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I've also had great results in low light...that's the big positive in the XL2 - it can be "tweaked" and adjusted to your own requirements and filming goals. And the fact that different lenses and even my favourite Nikkors can used on the XL2 body makes it a huge bonus.

One of the biggest problems I've found with the XL2 is not having true "locks" on some of the external knobs, such as the 4:3 to 16:9 knob and the +- metering adjuster - both of these should be able to be locked...as I've often knocked off the 16:9 widescreen button by mistake when inside an underwater housing, and then not realised that it was still on 4:3 after I'd taken it back out for normal shooting! I've seriously thought about super-gluing the 16:9/4:3 adjuster!
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Old May 30th, 2008, 02:02 PM   #7
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I wouldn't say that the XL2 is great in low light. But you can certainly tweak it to do pretty good. I think the noise reduction filter works great, so you can gain up pretty high with barely any noise. Works best with the cinema setting for some reason though. Tony, you really have a problem with the aspect ratio knob getting bumped? It's never happened to me. In fact, I can't imagine a scenario where it would. Sure you didn't, ahem, maybe, possibly, forget to change it? :) Hey, I forgot to switch to daylight balance on a really important shoot yesterday. It happens.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 07:36 PM   #8
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No, I never forget to change it because I ALWAYS work with the camera on 16:9.

The fact that the aspect ratio switch doesn't have a lock on it is a big pain during some of my unpredictable workload (There are locks on other important switches, such as the top-handle zoom switch, so why not the aspect ratio switch?). It has become so much a problem that I now tape it into a locked position. Occasionally I might bang the switch by mistake when I'm really in a rush to get the shot before it's gone and not notice that I've actually done it until partly through thre sequence or after the short sequence.

This is especially true when I'm concentraiting so hard on the framing during a short sequence and haven't noticed the format change within the small viewfinder (Yes I KNOW that it's easy to see the difference when you look for it, but sometimes my break-neck gun-n-run sequences make it easier to miss).

When I'm running around shooting different subjects both topside and subsurface is the main problem, as the switch can be accidently knocked when it is fitted inside the underwater protective housing, and then spotting the difference in the viewfinder during a few second sequence can be easy to miss.

During predictable slower-paced normal shooting on a tripod, where I've got more time to to do all the minor adjustments and continual spot-checks during filming sequences the problem doesn't arise.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 10:24 PM   #9
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Wow, Tony, you really put your XL2 through its paces!

The most I've ever gone through was sit in the back of an ATV, carrying the XL2, trying to cover it from the wind, dust, and mud (I cleaned most of the gunk off, but I need to send it in to Canon for a proper clean up). But the incident with the ATV was more than six months ago, and the XL2 works fine!

So aside for the low light issue, ruggedness and dependability are other factors as well.

Best,
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