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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old September 14th, 2004, 03:06 PM   #76
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A couple of points here. First, about not using a camera for 10 years. I bought a BVW300 Betacam SP camcorder at the end of 1988 and used it until the end of 2000. The only reason I retired it for the DSR500 is that the mechanical components were getting so old that it was ready for way too much in maintenance costs, and I could see that Betacam's days were numbered.
The DSR500 we bought at that time is close to 4 years old, and I'd guess we'll still be using it for another 3 years or more. I think it's ridiculous to change your video format as quickly as people do computer upgrades, and most people who have to make a living in the business couldn't survive for long if they had to upgrade every two or three years. Eventually, of course, DVCAM will start looking substandard, and at that time I'll be ready to move to whatever the new established format may be. However, I'll never be the first to jump into a new one. I've been around too long to have not learned from past history. Type B 1" was the newest, coolest thing out at one time, but guess what--the world went with the inferior type C, and type B died almost overnight, along with the production house that went with B. Then there was another group that bought into JVC's MII format--the Betacam killer--and they died along with the format almost overnight. I think it's prudent to join a movement only after it's been established. I first saw the DSR500 in early 1999 but didn't buy until late 2000. In fact, the one we got was the /L1 model, already an upgrade. So it was really second generation. By that time I knew the camera was reliable and that the format was acceptable in the industry.

When I got into DVCAM, at first I thought HD would be upon us by now, but it's not. I considered DV an interim format, meaning I'd be happy if it lasted about 5 years. Now I consider it its own established format and hope that it'll keep me going until the whole HD thing shakes out. I'm pretty sure I won't get a good 11 or 12 years out of it as I did with Betacam. Those days are gone. But 7 or 8 years seem very reasonable, especially since the cost of the camera was about half that of the old BVW300.

DV/DVCAM/DVCPRO have pretty much successfully replaced Betacam SP in my part of the world. The higher end houses that went to a better format rather than making a lateral move in order to ease into digital, went mostly with Digibeta. They are now still shooting Digibeta but also shooting HD, some with the Sony version and some with the Varicam. Those of us on a lower level are mostly doing DVCAM with 2/3" chip cameras. I really don't hear much about the DV50 formats around here, though they are cheaper and almost as good as Digibeta. With HD prices going down, I'd bet that Digibeta and DV50 will die a reasonably slow death in the next few years.

However, that doesn't mean people shooting those formats are in any danger at this time. It's going to take awhile, and the way many of us have to look at things is to ask this question: If I upgrade to a more expensive format, can I charge my clients more or can I get more business? Or, in a couple of years or so, the question will be: If I DON'T upgrade soon, will I lose business?

Secondly, I would argue with the comment about DV not capable of utilizing the better sharpness of good lenses. There is a serious difference in image quality with a camera like the DSR500 with a $15,000 lens and the same camera with a $3000 lens. And with the XL1, people who have used the better quality manual lenses report sharper pictures. It's too bad Canon sells the cheaper lenses for that camera, but I'm sure their marketing gurus tell them they have to stay within certain price points. Also, since they're the only 1/3" chip camera with interchangeable lenses, it's not really a big market for higher quality lenses, I guess.

I don't know if HDV is going to be a short term, interim format designed by the manufacturers to bolster their profit margins until they can come up with the Next Big New Thing to Take Our Money or if it will turn out to be the low-end HD for people who can't afford to play with the big kid toys. If I had a big project coming up that required a new camera purchase of the 1/3" chip type by the end of the year, I would not go with the new Sony HDV camera because it's too new. I'd go with an SD camera, probably either the XL2 or the DVX100a. But if the project started about the middle of next year after the second generation of the Sony is out (ie., the pro version allegedly scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2005), then I might seriously consider that...IF...they also had a reasonable priced tape deck available, and IF Avid supports the format without a hugh price upgrade.

However, even then, I'd have to ask, what do I get by shooting this new format? Is the quality going to be significantly better than shooting the same thing with a decent quality SD camera? Is the camera itself worth a damn or would I be paying for the new format and an inferior camera? Would I be better off with a bigger chip SD camera?
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Old September 14th, 2004, 03:29 PM   #77
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bill Ravens : hmmmm..

yes, they are different formats, but, in the end, what is it we, as videographers, want? I want the nicest images(re: highest resolution, color balance, etc.) I can get, regardless of the format. I think the customer expects this. I don't much care how I get to that product, DV, MPEG, or whatever. Provided the customer can use the format he's getting, on the hardware he's got. Also, you may be asking the wrong question. perhaps it should be, If the Xl2 performs as well as the FX1 in SD, why not provide better glass?
Well, obviously, because the DV format won't support the image quality.

I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that this XL2 may be a dead horse without entering the starting gate. This Fx1 is looking too good to ignore. -->>>

I agree. I have zero clients clamoring for HD. That is not to say that a few wouldn't be impressed by anything with the words "high definition" in them. They simlpy want the best image quality at their respective price point. For those on the high end of the scale, I can and will continue to rent high end equipment. But for the rest, I want to ensure my investment results in the most bang for the buck. Even if I never output HDV with the FX1 and it ends up producing prettier pictures than the XL-2 or DVX, I will be very happy, not to mention $1300 ahead.

Dead horse, indeed.
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Old September 14th, 2004, 03:41 PM   #78
 
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I'm pretty deeply invested in Canon still image photography and equipment. I'd LOVE to see a Canon HDV cam that uses Canon L-glass, 35mm lenses. Does a lens get any better than this? I assume these lenses will cover any CCD block size up to 35mm. I guess there's an issue of magnification that would have to be dealt with. That could reduce the efficiency of these lenses, by putting a reducer element between the lens and CCD block.
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Old September 14th, 2004, 04:14 PM   #79
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> I'd LOVE to see a Canon HDV cam that uses Canon L-glass,
> 35mm lenses. Does a lens get any better than this? I assume
> these lenses will cover any CCD block size up to 35mm.

Many of us have dreamt with such a cam. Being things as they are, there actually are HD video cameras that use 35mm lenses. They are very very expensive, and I guess there is a reason for this. Sure, part of the reason is market segmentation, why sell us a really good camera expensive to make when they can sell us a not so good one and we will buy it anyway? Leave the large format sensors to the guys who really have the bucks. I am sure there is some of that. But also, big sensors and big glass really are expensive themselves. The most expensive parts of a camera, I think.
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Old September 14th, 2004, 05:06 PM   #80
 
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no, I'm suggesting that we use these lenses on small CCD blocks, 1/3 inch or whatever. The problem then becomes one of magnification factors to use the 35mm lenses. And the optical adapters or image plane spacing needed to get the magnification factor back close to 1:1.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 11:39 AM   #81
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bill Ravens : no, I'm suggesting that we use these lenses on small CCD blocks, 1/3 inch or whatever. The problem then becomes one of magnification factors to use the 35mm lenses. And the optical adapters or image plane spacing needed to get the magnification factor back close to 1:1. -->>>

That's certainly a big issue. You can already use 35mm still glass on the XL2 with the EF adapter, but your image magnifies 7.2 times. The focal length remains the same, but you'd have to get 7.2 times farther away from your subject to cover the same field of view, which is useless unless you're shooting wildlife.

The only practical way to use 35mm glass on such tiny CCDs right now is the Mini35 adapter which costs around $8000. Of course if Canon could come up with a converter of their own that resolves the magnification issue, simpler and therefore less expensive than the Mini35, that'd be great, but I'm not counting on such a miracle to happen.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 11:51 AM   #82
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> Of course if Canon could come up with a converter of their
> own that resolves the magnification issue, simpler and
> therefore less expensive than the Mini35, that'd be great,
> but I'm not counting on such a miracle to happen.

Or, they could include a simple lens and ground grass right in front of the CCD, so you just plug your EOS photo lens straight into the camara.

The problem is, if they did that, nobody would buy those expensive pro video lenses any more. And since that is the market where Canon makes most of it's money... well, I wouldn't count on that miracle happening either.

Still, this would be a great way for Canon to regain it's leadership in the DV world. If such a wonder could also do HDV encoding, well that could be a Sony FX1 killer, something Canon really needs right now.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 03:24 PM   #83
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Yeah it seems that most people, despite all the "missing" bits from the FX-1 are more interested in that than the Xl2...It's hard to say, as I don't have much faith in Canon's desire to be any sort of leader in the DV world, but I'd almost expect their next cam to come out a LOT sooner than the normal few years between releases. They can't be that stuid can they?....That or do drop out of this market altogether - and sell their designes/patents etc to Panasonic... Wow, wouldn't that stir things up a bit - Canons cool design and Panasonics vision all wrapped together.

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Old September 15th, 2004, 03:29 PM   #84
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> Canons cool design and Panasonics vision

Not to mention Pana's DVCPRO50, DVCPROHD and solid state media...
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Old September 15th, 2004, 03:41 PM   #85
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Now you're just being a tease! :)

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