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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 16th, 2004, 07:19 PM   #16
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Boyd, I'm guessing they stuck with white based on their white/red scheme for the L-series lenses. I would have liked black too though, although it is kind of nice to have a camera that sticks out.

As far as I'm concerned Canon fixed the first biggest design blunder, the VU meter that you can't see while looking into the viewfinder. That's a nice fix.

Yes, I would have liked to see a full shoulder mount version, although to me, their design is still far more useable for me than the DVX100 and PD-150.
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Old July 16th, 2004, 07:41 PM   #17
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I do a fair amount of still photography and I remember once reading a tidbit about Canon's EF L lenses and why they were white. It explained that, well, it was a distinctive look, but that wasn't the reason for the design, i think they said that it was to reduce the absorption of heat by the lens (white, reflects, not absorbs). I know I probably couldn't find where I read that, but it's an idea I got from some literature somewhere.

It makes sense, but reflectivity isn't good to have when on set. Unless you're using some reflectors for that purpose.
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Old July 16th, 2004, 08:25 PM   #18
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That is correct about Canon's L series telephotos (300mm and up, and 70-200mm zoom and up). The large glass elements could heat up and that could effect focus. In fact most (all?) of these lenses focus beyond infinity in order to help compensate for thermal expansion. White XL bodies are welcome in Florida.

The white bodies might even help reduce noise in the video signal. Noise is a byproduct of heat from the CCD. Some pro cameras even use peltier elements to reduce the temperature of the CCD's.
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Old July 17th, 2004, 06:54 AM   #19
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bob Safay : Jeff, you are so right. I am 55, 6"0'' , 201 lbs and the Canon XL-1s fits me just fine, and yes, I hand hold it a lot. -->>>


Bob,

Because you can "hand hold it a lot" does not mean that most others (or if you prefer MANY others) can or will choose to do so.

Can't we all accept that by it's design the XLx cameras are going to have a smaller market share than they could have. maybe should have given the cameras other, superior features? If this is too bitter a pill to swallow for some XLx users then I suggest applying for Official Church status and at least taking advantage of the tax benefits.

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Old July 17th, 2004, 07:45 AM   #20
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Any camera will have a "smaller market share" by virtue of some of its design characteristics. There are plenty of people turned off by coffee-can camcorders.
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Old July 17th, 2004, 07:58 AM   #21
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<<<-- Originally posted by Richard Alvarez : Any camera will have a "smaller market share" by virtue of some of its design characteristics. There are plenty of people turned off by coffee-can camcorders. -->>>

Yes there are - but in this case I'm referring to ergonomic deficeincy as a result of what appears to be nothing substantially more than aesthetic considerations - the canted body. On Canon's design museum site the camera designer explains the canted body as an ergonomic positive. I can only speculate what he meant by that but I'm pretty sure he wasn't referring to resting the camera on one's shoulder.
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Old July 17th, 2004, 11:03 AM   #22
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David,

Your comment got me thinking. Is the canted body a purely aesthetic decision? Could the extremely well paid designers at canon (arguably some of the best in the world) have forgotton the the most sacred tenet of modern design...form follows function?

So I got out my xl1s...I rarely use this camera hand held, because it has the 16x manual lens permanently attached to it, but I know in the past that I always felt it was a much better handheld camera than all my other cameras (gl1, gl2, dvx100). As I write this, I don't have the removable shoulder support on the camera...just the maligned canted body...

Anyway I put my eye up to the viewfinder and noticed that the canted body allowed the camera to clear my shoulder, rather than stabbing me with a pointy corner. So if I was in the mood to hold this camera "DVX or PD150 style", then it functions quite well considering its extra length, primarily because of the canted body. (now if they made the camera 3-4 inches longer this wouldn't be an issue, but ...well...see below)

Next I tip the eyepiece upwards, thus lowering the body relative to my head. The canted body now rests snugly, and comfortably against my upper chest. I have to say that this is the most comfortable, and stable position I've ever felt with a consumer level camcorder. And it is this successful because of-- again-- the canted body design. (If I add the shoulder support, I'm allowed another option..but in this situation it doesn't really matter whether the body is canted or not, so I'll not mention it...oops...I guess I did.)

Now I go to the canon design museum that Jeff linked to a few days ago, and I start reading...all the things I just noticed are referenced as part of the design of the canted body. They even mention how a shoulder mounted design is simply not effective when you consider the xl1s relatively small size...and this is important, because its size is, and was the primary design goal for the project.

You've suggested that others have needed lots of add ons to make the camera work well...I think the opposite. I won't use my dvx100 handheld without the $400 shoulder brace I bought for it...nor my gl2. The xl1s works better for me, (and I think most of us) ergonomically, than any of these other cameras even after their add-ons.

But lets get to the xl2.. its about 3 inches longer, with a permanently mounted shoulder support attached to the back (although I wish they'd make it removable)....looks to me like all your problems are solved..because the body really doesn't cant anymore, at least functionally.

Yes, the design of the xl series is front heavy, but this is only because it is a small body, that supports a relatively large lens system. In its design, canon has produced a number of innovations that make the camera much more stable than any other camera in its market segment. Had canon wanted to enter the world of high-end professional shoulder bricks...I'm sure it would, and could have.

Barry
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Old July 17th, 2004, 11:37 AM   #23
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Barry, thanks for saving me some typing. I agree 100%.
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Old July 17th, 2004, 12:29 PM   #24
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Barry,

Well, not being an XLx owner and only having used an XL1 - briefly, because I didn't like the design, all I can say is that your experience is not mine, and that the rational that this camera can't be designed to be shoulder balanced - with a medium sized battery and a forward shifted center of gravity, I find faulty. If you think that resting the canted body against your chest is the most comfortable position for thse kinds of cameras I'm happy for you; a. that you either only shoot wide angle or b. that you've learned not to breathe for 60 minutes ( a tape load of shooting verite) at a time.

I'd like to say 'to each his own,' and in a sense that's true, but in another sense it's not. There are many people who think that the camera's design restricts its use. I happen to think that it's probably unnecessarily. My opinion does count as I vote with my feet. I'd only consider buying this camera for a shoot that's 95% off a mount.
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Old July 17th, 2004, 01:19 PM   #25
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Dave.

So, you're suggesting, while keeping the same basic size and weight...that the camera should sit atop the shoulder balanced somewhere near the lense mount?, or would you just prefer a larger camera?

Is there another camera in this market segment that you would point canon towards to say...here...do it like this....this is better? I'm not fighting you on this...I just want to know what I'm missing here.

Barry
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Old July 17th, 2004, 03:43 PM   #26
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Barry,

Looking at the pix of the XL2 when they first appeared it struck me that the shoulder pad should have been slideable forward as far as the tripod mount. (removeable and replace the tripod mount?) Note that the canted body doesn't exactly prevent this - it just increases the difficulty. It would also require the EVF to be slidable forward and the battery placed on the back where it could act as a counterbalance to the lens - designed to accomodate everything from small Canon proprietary to Anton Bauers - sort of match battery weight to lens weight.

There are no other cameras on the market that could be pointed out as examples because there are no other cameras that are attempting to do what Canon has done with the XL series. The closest - the DSR300 series - went for a larger body with .5 inch chips. Perhaps the Arri SR series of 16mm film cameras comes closest.

I still believe that if the designers had made it a priority a shoulder balanced configuration was possible and all their statements about the ergonomics of the existing body are probably just spin or self-hypnosis.

David
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Old July 17th, 2004, 04:12 PM   #27
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Looking at those preliminary designs on the website I couldn't help but wonder if perhaps the designer had an inspiration while trimming his hedge one weekend? ;-)
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Old July 17th, 2004, 04:49 PM   #28
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David

So as one slides the the shoulder support forward, and the evf forward, where would you put the hand grip and manual zoom and focus rings...seems like your grip hand would need to be right at your shoulder, and your lens hand would be tucked underneath your chin. Except you could perhaps bring the grip even further forward next to the lens, but along with the xtra forward weight from the evf, now we're extending the body forward as well...increasing its front heaviness. I'm just thinking that the way out of this problem is just to add weight to the back. Kinda like you said with the anton bauer thing...and like Jeff said a few pages back.

Now you could do this with an attachment, like the ma100/ma200canon plus batteries (antonbauer, or canon) that canon has been using for years. Or you could do it by simply making the camera bigger, heavier, and more expensive.

Look, the problem with your theory is that this is simply a small camera. The xl1s body is about 8 inches long from the lens mount to the rear of the camera. If you put it side by side with a DVX100...the bodies are exactly the same length. The only difference is that canon has engineered it..by moving many of the controls forward...so that you can actually support it against your body in a variety of ways. No other camera of this size does this. Like you said, the only camera's that do this are much larger shoulder brick designs.

Look, I'm not trying to sell you on the camera. If you don't want it because the color doesn't match your humvee, that's good enough for me. In fact, you've probably sold ME on it. And I thank you for the discussion, because its opened my eyes to how innovative and bold the xl1s design was in the first place...there is still no other camera that tries to bridge these two markets in the way that it does.

Barry
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Old July 17th, 2004, 04:53 PM   #29
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<<<-- Originally posted by Barry Goyette : David

And I thank you for the discussion, because its opened my eyes to how innovative and bold the xl1s design was in the first place...there is still no other camera that tries to bridge these two markets in the way that it does.
-->>>

Glad to be of help in any kind of spiritual conversion experience. Enjoy :)

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Old July 17th, 2004, 05:22 PM   #30
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bob Safay : I bought my first from a TOP camera store in Atlanta and it was almost $4,500.00 at that time. Bob -->>>

Wow, you should have bought mailorder. I got mine for $3800 in 1998!
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