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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old July 15th, 2004, 05:59 AM   #1
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Canon and shoulder mount design?

Can someone please explain what this company has against designing a camera that can be comfortably put on a shoulder without the addition of a complex counter weighting system? Honestly, after the complaints about the XL1 you'd have thought that they'd straighten out the canted body and allow you the room to balance the camera. Do they think that adding counterweights to a camera so that you increase its length and weight is sexy? Or the addition of a pad makes all OK? Are they just concerned about their position in the museum of modern design?

I'm asking a serious question here. What gives with these people who seem like competent designers in most other respects. What are they thinking? Or are they just suffering from some weird virus that effects a localized area of the brain.

David
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Old July 15th, 2004, 06:45 AM   #2
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I never had a problem with the XL1 or XL1s because I used the optional MA-200 shoulder mount. The XL1 is the smallest camera I have ever used, coming from a Beta SP background. I have never had an issue with the camera being front heavy after batteries and wireless receiver are mounted. I also use the Lightwave isolator to give me a little added room with the viewfinder. The XL1 isn't perfect, but I don't expect the XL2 to be either. Every person is built different and most camera operators have to make modifications to their cameras to get it to fit in the most comfortable manner.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 06:53 AM   #3
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Well, I tend to agree with you David. I just hope that like my XL-1s, that it can be removed.

Jeff, do you, or anyone else, know what the 30? shutter speeds are on the XL-2? Also, how small of an f stop is available on the 20x? Maybe, f 32?
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Old July 15th, 2004, 06:56 AM   #4
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Sorry, Jeff, while you disgree, you fall into the category of those who have made the adjustment with add ons. In fact a whole addons industry has developed to work around the camera's lack of a proper shoulder mount design. And while no camera is perfect, this design flaw seems more glaring than most. Many shooters I know would never buy it precisely for this reason. But my question is this. they could have straghtened out the canted body and corrected the flaw. Why didn't they?
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Old July 15th, 2004, 07:19 AM   #5
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David, sorry that you can't recognize that the human body comes in many shapes and sizes and that one camera can't custom fit each user. I've had to modify every camera I've owned to be comfortable on long shoots. I'm sure the XL2 won't be any different. If modifying a camera is unthinkable to you, there are other cameras in this price range that may prove to be more suitable.

Robert, you may want to post your questions as separate topics so you can get comment. I doubt f/32 because of diffraction limits.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 07:33 AM   #6
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Jeff, if you can't do more than state the obvious, don't bother responding to my posts I'm only inerested in whether someone can shed some light on Canon's design philosphy.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 07:53 AM   #7
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Look here for clues on their design philosophy. Canon is pretty tight lipped about design philosophy etc. like most Japanese companies.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 08:13 AM   #8
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I looked at the site suggested by Jeff which is a Canon Museum.

There is a picture of the design center - a super-modern building sitting all by itself in the middle of a large field - that probably tells more of a story than its face value. It says that this is a company where designers live in a world apart, where distictiveness of design can take precedence over functionality - not everywhere in their line-up, of course but probably most of all in their video division. I remember their odd hi-8 cameras which resembled still cameras with dozens of buttons.

Some people like this, others, I suspect the majority, just find it kind of eccentric. But when it hinders the camera's functionality I think it's kind of a mistake.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 08:47 AM   #9
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You need to dig a little deeper than just an artist sketch (by the way, the sketch is only an artists conception) to find the information you desire, David. I would post a link but much of the museum is flash. They have quotes from the chief camera designer and early design concepts etc. for the XL1. The XL2 is too new for the museum, but it's lineage is obvious.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 08:57 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Donald : You need to dig a little deeper than just an artist sketch (by the way, the sketch is only an artists conception) -->>>\


Looks like a photo to me!

http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/design/process/camera_design/index.html


You're obviously refering to someting else. But thanks for the links.


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Old July 15th, 2004, 09:42 AM   #11
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Sorry, I thought you were referring to the sketch on the first page. Look in the Design Hall and then the Design Room. At the bottom of page is info on the XL1.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 09:55 AM   #12
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Jeff

Thanks for the link to the design museum...nice site with some interesting info. I think it pretty much spells out the answers to david' question as well.

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Old July 15th, 2004, 11:56 AM   #13
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This is actually one of the few discussions on the XL2 that interests me, probably because it doesn't revolve around pure speculation. My personal take is that until I get the chance to test the XL2, especially against the competition (DVX100a, since I plan to use the 24p and 30p modes) under the right conditions, I'm not going to celebrate or condemn anything about the picture quality based on specs or rumors.

The ergonomics are another issue; it's easy to see that the XL2 is virtually the same form factor as the XL1/XL1s. I am somewhat disappointed with this as I too believe that if the chassis was to be redesigned, a more ergonomic layout could have been implemented. I'm especially disappointed that the connectors continue to exit from the back of the camera, necessitating an air gap between them and any additional hardware that may be mounted. The new mounting bracket looks good and solid, it's nice to see that it attaches to the camera via several points.

As far as releasing a camera that does not balance on the shoulder out of the box, I do agree that this is a frustration. However one must remember that none of the competition, perhaps with the exception of the JVC DV5000 which adopts a Betacam-style design, even rests on the shoulder at all. I would have been more impressed if Canon had created a modular system that allowed for a quick-release back end with mounting points for additional hardware (wireless receivers, Anton Baeur or standard battery, etc.) that essentially snapped into place, creating a seamless appearance of a longer camera as well as a centered balance on the shoulder. This way the camera can quickly convert from a stripped-down "event" package to a full-fledged production camera as needed.

It is my belief that good handheld operating is a result of a balanced camera on the shoulder. I don't believe in supports that cantilever down to belly plates and all that. Any time your hand is supporting excessive weight, it will ultimately affect the frame. It's a common issue with all small size camcorders, and the extra weight of the XL1/2 makes it even more awkward in this regard.

Doesn't mean I'm not going to get an XL2--it just means I have to figure out more customized stuff to make it work for me (never satisfactorily finished doing that with the XL1!)
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Old July 16th, 2004, 01:30 PM   #14
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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. Is it the best camcorder I have ever held? No, the $25,000 Sony probably beat the Canon. But, I do not have $25,000. Oh, let us go back to 1998 and remember what we paid for th eoriginal XL-1 when it hit the streets. I bought my first from a TOP camera store in Atlanta and it was almost $4,500.00 at that time. Bob
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Old July 16th, 2004, 01:55 PM   #15
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That is a nice website, thanks for the link. I'm curious as to why they stuck with the same color scheme. Would anyone have objected to an all-black finish?
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