after they work out the possible bugs will there be xl2s (like xl1 to xl1s)? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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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 July 18th, 2004, 06:42 PM   #16
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<<And the XL2 is just a kinda competitive model when it 'coulda been a contender'. Even the champ. Maybe next year it will become one.>>

That's certainly one way of looking at it. But Chris' point about obsolesence being immaterial is just being realistic. The fact is money making, award winning work is being produced on gear that is 10 and 20 years old everyday. This "debate" has/will go on forever in this biz as well as the music biz. The same thing is a given fact in producing music as well.

The Canon XL1 was used in multi million dollar major releases and countless professional projects in many formats over the past few years. The idea that a next generation chip set and optics with native 16:9 and 24/30p options is somehow a let down is, no offense, silly in a real world sense...definitely from a professional stand point.

Chris mentioned that these cameras should pay for themselves within the first few months...if you're good at what you do (which is where the energy needs to go when you have tools of this caliber available to the masses), you should be able to pay for a camera like the XL2 in a single project.
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Old July 18th, 2004, 08:18 PM   #17
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jim Giberti : The fact is money making, award winning work is being produced on gear that is 10 and 20 years old everyday. -->>>

I recently saw a television program concerning a film camera known as the "Mitchell Standard". This camera was first introduced in the late 1920's as a hand-crank-only model and was later adapted for an external motor drive. The camera was apparently built like a tank and had features that were especially attractive to filmmakers doing animation work. (It was a favorite of Ray Harryhausen.) Many of the cameras remained in productive use for over 40 years.

I am not suggesting that anyone will be shooting with an XL in 2030. But I do believe that when the infancy period of video technology is behind us the XL will be regarded as one of the classics, along with Sony's PD1's and VX's.

In the final analysis, the quality of the content and the skill of the camera operator are the distinguishing attributes of the end product. I've seen too much really fine work done with the XL1, warts and all, to regard it badly.
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Old July 18th, 2004, 09:21 PM   #18
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I do agree with Chris, Ken et al, but I think we need to think about what we consider "expectations" as filmmakers and how devices that make our jobs easier mean we can concentrate on the non technical stuff. I mean, if I want to make a movie and have some $$ for a camera, am I just going to go, 'Bugger it, I'll spend $20 on some old 1980's camera that makes my job a nightmare and not worry about it'. I wouldn't do that, I'd look for a balance between money I had, and image quality/camera usability. I think, given the long wait between XL's and the current competition, Canon could have made a budget filmmakers job a lot easier by adding a few nice things like an underscan viewfinder for instance. Giving us whatever shallow DoF we could get from 4:3 mode, rather than making it even worse than the XM2's 1/4" chips. Giving us proper focus/zoom rings with barell markings, iris ring, Word Clock etc. Adding the BNC adapter, I can see is a nice touch, just more of that would have been a great thing.

It seems to me that the Xl2 (In fact all the Xl1's) must be a different class of camera than most others like the DVX. Not in quality necessarily but in "typical user" demographic. It seems you pay as much or more than other comparable image quality cameras, then to make it better than those, you need to buy more lenses, better viewfinder, better shoulder mount. Then you're getting into another league I think. More like a $10K camera to get all the goodies. Now that's fine - paying for the high end stuff is just the way it is, but with the new Xl2, we were hoping to get lots of new goodies thrown in and I expected to see a camera that was instantly recognisable as the best camera to date at a comparable price point. I mean, I can quite easily imagine within 6 months Panasonic trumping the Xl2 by another huge leap like they did with the DVX. Then it'd be another 2 years before Canon did something again... Maybe it's just a brand loyalty thing and the fact I like Canon cameras that makes this a little disappointing so far.

But, as I keep saying, "roll on all the test footage!" and I want to see a demo unit!

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Old July 18th, 2004, 11:26 PM   #19
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Some of this amazes me. If the features don't count why use an XL2? Why not a GL2? Why not an Optura? Why not an Elura? All can make images. And there are people making movies with each of them. (Actually, the one I am seeing where I wouldn't expect it is the Panasonic GX70, with 3 tiny 1/6" CCDs.)

Why? Because the image is part of what conveys the story. Because we have already addressed those other areas. For example, I have probably $10-12k of filming equipment (not counting computers and software for pre- and post-production). Of that, my camera, a JVC DV300, is just over $2k of the total. My tripod, matte box, and filters cost more than the camera. My mics cost more than the camera. My lights and grip equipment each cost nearly as much as the camera (and are way to bulky).

The features some of us want--in electronics, 24p, 16:9, CCD size (low light and DOF), usablity--are what we think is needed to go to the next step. After Canon led the way with the XL1 and GL1, we were hoping that they would leapfrog the DVX100A. The XL2 is clearly a competitor to the DVX100A worthy of consideration. But it is not clear that it is better.

And it doesn't have some features I wanted. Features I was hoping it would have. Features I expected it to have. Features that the DVX100A has had since it was announced 8 months ago. Features that would have caused me to write the $5k check to buy it.

In fact, unless I was using 24p, is their any reason to choose the XL2 over the similarly priced DVC200 1/2" CCD camera?

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Old July 18th, 2004, 11:58 PM   #20
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well well well, now we're juicing =^).

i think the biggest thing going for XL2 is truly the 24p. as i've said in another post, if you're doing creative/artistic then xl2 is a must. otherwise if you're going with documentary then xl1 is still OK. but if you already own xl1(s) and you don't mind 24p in post (along with frame mode) then stick with it.
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Old July 19th, 2004, 09:55 AM   #21
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David, I think it's true that the XL2 is almost exclusively designed for people who want to shoot 16:9. In my opinion it would be foolish to buy it unless you do want to do that.

What features of the DVX100a are you talking about that the XL2 doesn't have, except for native 4:3? My problem with all of the 1/3" chip camcorders is that they don't have underscan in the viewfinder and they have the funky iris control on a little wheel (or does the DVX have it on the lens?). Also, I discovered the other day that the lens on the PD150 only stops down to f11 (I have a DSR250 and thought the 150 was the same thing only smaller, but it's not. I don't know if the 170 upgrade is any different.)

I've only handled a DVX100 one time and never actually shot with one, but it seems to me that its advantage over the Canon would be the wider angle lens, which I consider very nice. The advantage of the Canon over the DVX is that it shoots native 16:9. Both cameras have some very nice things and some things I don't particularly like, the main one being the lack of underscan in the monitor. And, the don't provide color temperature readout either, which is dumb and annoying. Of course, all the things I don't like are true for all the 1/3" chip "handycam" type cameras, so it's not too meaningful to whine about them.

What I'd really like to see would be a serious side by side comparison of the PD170, the DVX100a and the XL2 under different lighting conditions and different frame rates, etc. One thing people always seem to do is test cameras out under low light and then outdoors. To me, the really meaningful test would be to see how they look under different contrast situations. Some will look great under flat light, while others will handle big contrast ratios better. These are the kinds of things that are more meaningful to me than the slight improvement in resolution one may have over another.

As far as the 30 frame progressive mode somebody asked about, to me that is probably the main selling point of both the Canon and Panasonic over the Sony. I know lots of people prefer the slower frame rate of 24fps, but I don't. All my stuff ends up on CD, videotape, and DVD. I haven't transferred a show to film in several years now. I think the look of 30 frame progressive would be nicer than normal interlaced video.
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Old July 19th, 2004, 10:56 AM   #22
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Bill,

The Canon and the Panasonic have virtually the same iris control, a little thumbwheel on the lower left side of the case.

Big features that are different?

-The Panasonic's electronics are 12-bit with a wider range of useful adjustments.

-The CCD is too small on the Canon to get a reasonablely short DOF. The long telephoto does allow a short DOF if you can get far from your subject. However, how often can you get that far with a clear view?

-The viewfinder has too low a resolution and no peaking. Very hard to focus. I expect XL2 users to have a lot of shots with the focus off. Panasonic has about the same resolution, however on a large 3.5" screen with peaking. The Panasonic EVF is smaller, however with 90% of the pixels and magnified, and appears about the same. However it has a B/W setting and peaking. Easier to focus with.

-Speaking of focus, who ever designed the focus ring was asleep at the switch. Hair-trigger movement loses focus. You need the hands of a watchmaker to get the focus on. The Panasonic has a nicely-weighted, appropriately slow focus ring. A ring that works with a follow focus. And the Panasonic shows you the focus (and zoom) on a 1-100 scale on the viewfinder.

-The wide angle issue is important. The Panasonic is like the Canon with a .85 WD adapter. Of course the anamorphic adapter makes the Panasonic a lot wider. The Canon seems to limited by the small CCD.

-The Panasonic is a lot lighter. The XL2 is getting close to a full-size camera.

-And talking about full-size cameras, a DVC200, with 1/2 CCDs, CRT viewfinder with peaking, full size tape, a Canon 16x7 manual lens, 10-bit electronics with tons of adjustments, is right around $5k. Even blown-up from letterbox, I believe this camera probably has a superior image. Only missing 24p. Isn't the Canon really also competing here?

So, the result is that the Panasonic comes from a lower price with maybe a better package for the film maker, and the 60i, 1/2" CCD cameras come from an ever so small higher price with a better package for the event and ENG videographer.

A note on Sony: they seem to be a little behind now. All of their cameras in the entire range: PD170, DCR250, DCR390 are a bit dated and still relatively expensive. Sony is leveraging their name, reputation, and desire to get the 'Sony look' where 4 years ago they had the edge in features.

Sony seems to think their '05 $5k HDV camera will give them the edge. Maybe it will. They already have 14-bit electronics working with a 2-megapixel video CCD in the consumer PC330. While it still only records DV, the 1/3 chip has the video resolution (still resolution is 3M pixels) to record 1080i HD (which is stored at 1440x1080, not 1920x1080).

On electronics, I can't understand why the manufacturers haven't included a vector scope, waveform analyzer, and maybe an RGB parade in their cameras. It would make many of their adjustments make more sense. Maybe this software I saw at DV Expo with help: http://www.seriousmagic.com/dvrack.cfm

David

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What keeps me out the Panasonic is not the cost of the camera and the anamorphic adapter. It is the cost of the matte box (a $1700 Chrozeil) and 4x4 filters necessary to use it!
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Old July 19th, 2004, 12:12 PM   #23
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<<And it doesn't have some features I wanted. Features I was hoping it would have. Features I expected it to have. Features that the DVX100A has had since it was announced 8 months ago. Features that would have caused me to write the $5k check to buy it.
>>

This isn't a perfect world and there isn't a perfect camera...especially not under 5k let alone under 50k. There are many things the XL2 has that are critical to people like me that the DVX doesn't have, and why I wouldn't consider it as a primary tool. If there weren't the XL line then I would step up to a higher level professional setup, like we've rented over the years from 35 mm to digibeta.

THis is why there are different companies making different cameras...it's the nature of the world. Be excited that there are tools like the XL2 and DVX available to you...you're the first generation of human to have this crative opportunity.

You'll be laughing at all of it in 5 years (technology that is). If you're a good creative however, you should be able to look back on your work with pride whether it was done on 16mm, Hi-8 or 3/4".
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Old July 19th, 2004, 12:22 PM   #24
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<<What features of the DVX100a are you talking about that the XL2 doesn't have, except for native 4:3?>>

How about a plethora of options for the most important part of any camera setup...THE GLASS. Sorry to shout but this is inherently obvious. How about the abiltiy to use the Mini35 directly projected to CCD, how about that now being projected in native 16:9, how about the abilty to add a real professional view finder...no one does critical work using the level of stock VF on either camera.

<<My problem with all of the 1/3" chip camcorders is that they don't have underscan in the viewfinder>>

Again...that's just the nature of this beast, and I don't mean to harp on this, but if you're doing pro work, and you don't have field monitoring that provides 16:9 underscan...common function of industry standard 8044Q and 8045Qs...then you need to step up to the plate and add one.

<<and they have the funky iris control on a little wheel (or does the DVX have it on the lens?). >>

You won't find that if you're shooting with a full manual lens..and again, if you're doing pro work and you're not using a full manual lens, it's not Canon's fault...in fact it's to their credit that they're the only company that provides real pro options at this level.

That is the point.
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Old July 19th, 2004, 12:57 PM   #25
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Glass is important...however the XL2 doesn't have the territory to itself here. The Panasonic is the current camera of choice for low-cost indy films. Its glass isn't bad.

And yes, the P+S Technic Mini35 may help. At least with the DOF. However that is a big jump in cost. And then you can say: am I better of renting an SDX900 or a Mini35 and a lot of 35mm primes?

And it is very nice to bring a CRT to the shoots. However every shoot in this league doesn't have the support staff to bring everything you want with you. Many times, it is what you can carry from the parking lot.

The current model is the 9L3, which costs just under $1k. An SDI board adds another $800.

And then there is cost. Add a CRT and manual lens this is a over a $6k camera. With a 1/4" CRT.

For comparision, a DVX100A with anamorphic adapter (true 16:9 with a 1/3" CCD) is around $4k. A 1/2" DVC200 with Canon 16x7 lens, 10-bit electronics, battery, case, and $100 of film is $5900. A slightly obsolete 2/3" Ikegami with a Canon 19x9, native 16x9 CCD and viewfinder, and 10-bit electronics is under $14,000.

I wanted the XL2 to be a showstopper. I wanted the E60 BMW to be a showstopper. No matter how much I want this things, they didn't happen.
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Old July 19th, 2004, 01:21 PM   #26
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Geez, if you are driving around cars like the BMW E60, why on Earth are you messing around with these lower-end $4-5K camcorders? Why torture yourself, when you obviously can afford a camera costing ten thousand dollars more with so many more of the features that you so expect?

Point is: NO camera manufacturer is ever going to offer a complete $5K cam that out-performs their higher end product lines. As long as the camera manufacturers offer cameras that cost $60-100K, the lower end $5K cameras will always be inhibited in some form or fashion. By the time they do offer it, there will be more and more features that you will inevitably drool after which will only be found in the higher-end product lines costing thousands more. But you will never get all of those features because the manufacturers will never offer it in such a low price range. They need to protect the sales margin of their higher-end flagships. And Canon will probably never offer it all because they rely on selling seriously high quality lenses to be used with all of these higher-end flagship cams.

I know that all of this will sound like such a travesty to many, but it is pretty much the reality.

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Old July 19th, 2004, 01:26 PM   #27
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<<I wanted the XL2 to be a showstopper. I wanted the E60 BMW to be a showstopper. No matter how much I want this things, they didn't happen.>>

Well, life is full of little disappointments <g>. Seriously, this isn't a blind date. Your point about the glass on the DVX not being bad is exactly right, but you asked a quesation and I gave you a real world answer. I pointed out the features that differentiate the two and that are imprtant to a lot of pros.

I don't know of any real shoots (I'm talking budgets and paychecks on the line) that go anywhere without CRTs...there not just "nice" they're a professional necessity for that level of work.

Now like everyone, we have to do run and gun and location action work all the time...without a hi-res VF like the XL allows for, I would never trust that work without it. In those cases I have a critical high res monitor on camera and use a 7" lcd for reference even on a 2 or 3 person shoot.

If you're talking low budget, student, indie, film making then you are absolutely right...and conversely so am I because I'm drawing the distinction between a great little all in one package like the DVX and the core of a professional system like the XL
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Old July 19th, 2004, 01:27 PM   #28
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David,
To put your apparently tireless disappointment into perspective, what camera(s) are -you- shooting with -today-?
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Old July 19th, 2004, 02:02 PM   #29
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Three cameras for different purposes.

1. When I am not the cameraman, such as on vacation, we use my wifes Sony PC105. Boy, I which there was a way to turn off the AGC on the audio! It fits in a small camera bag with a Sennhesier wireless, Tram TR50, and Sennheiser 835 dynamic mic. I may take a monopod. We use three batteries and usually charge in the car (which is 12v like the US). About 40-50% of my shooting is with this camera.

2. My main personal camera, as indicated elsewhere in this thread, is a JVC DV300. Never really liked that camera. However, at the time I thought the original DVX100 had incomplete software and was unsure if its lens had enough range. The lens adapters, 4x4 matte box, and 4x4 filters made that a potentially very expensive purchase. I use a 3x3 matte box and filters. And spent the money on lights and grip equipment. The CRT is an issue for me. I've tried a small TV (no underscan, tried it only once) and a LCD TV (works a lot better). Still looking for a field solution and will probably try the SeriousMagic DV Rack on a laptop. About 40-45% of my shooting with this camera. And then I am running the camera for may 50-75% of that.

3. I've rented a SDX900 when I wanted more. Even with a student deal (I am an old student), it is pricey. The rental included an HD or SD lens, filters, Sachler tripod, 8045Q, batteries, etc. The camera and my lights filled my Suburban (actually a Yukon XL) to the brim. About 5-10% of my shooting is with a rental setup, and I am virtually never the cameraman. With that much money being spent (location and other costs make the total cost above $2k), I am the full-time director.

I've always viewed the DV300 has a stop-gap, until I could get what I wanted. If the DVX100A had come with 16:9 CCDs I would have gotten that. It didn't. So I had my hopes on the XL2. Had is the key word.

My DV300 actually does audio better then either of the other cameras. 48v, high signal-to-noise level, and the best headphone interface by far. It is also the only one with spot zebras. With the matte box, and all of the mics and stuff (I have a remote with iris, focus and zoom adjustments at the end of a extended pan arm), you don't even notice that it is a JVC DV300.

Now I am waiting for either: the Sony HDV, the next version of the Panasonic DVX100 (they know it needs 16:9), the XL2S with the stuff I want fixed, or maybe a 16:9, 24p version of the Panasonic DVC200 (now that would be a camera).

Cost-wise, I believe you should budget the camera to be 20-25% of your total equipment costs. And equipment to be 35-60% of your production costs. At this level. Just my experience.

Also, after a lot of deliberation, it looks like we switched from getting another 5-series BMW to getting a MB E320 CDI diesel. Although nothing is certain until we turn over the check.
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Old July 19th, 2004, 04:18 PM   #30
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Jim's comments put things in perspective a lot, but I guess a lot of us view ourselves as a specific type of market that we hoped Canon would meet. Instead we would have to do what Jim says, buy extra viewfinder, more lenses etc which to me, puts us in a different market. We're the under 5k market and within that price range, assuming that that SHOULD NEVER CHANGE, we were hoping for some really pro goodies seeing as it's Canon's new camera and they have to compete with the DVX.

Also, while Canon can get away with the "true" 1/3 16:9 cause technically they are correct, making 4:3 < 1/4" is stupid.



Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about was the SDK. People have balked that Canon hasn't included peaking and all that stuff in the VF, nor underscan. Now I wondering what control they are going to give us over the software? If it's full programmability, to the programs they are running inside the camera, then will we be able to add peaking through software? Will we be able to scale the image to show the underscanned part within the EVF? I doubt it, but wouldn't it be nice?


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