XL2 vs. DVX100A 24p 16:9 Cinegamma footage posted at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 29th, 2004, 04:44 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 92
XL2 vs. DVX100A 24p 16:9 Cinegamma footage posted

Was gonna post this at my usual hangout, DVXUser, but Jarred's site is down. So here 'tis:

So I got out at lunchtime today and shot some footage with the XL2 and the DVX100A, Cinegamma, Cinematrix, 16:9, 24pA (2:3:3:2).

Settings:

DVX: F6 (custom), 24PA, 16:9 Squeeze
Gamma: Cinelike
Matrix: Cinelike
Master Ped: -5
Detail: -2
Knee: Auto
WB: 56k preset
Shutter: 1/48

XL2: Custom_C (custom), 24P 2:3:3:2, 16:9
Gamme: Cine
Matrix: Cine
Knee: Middle
Black: Press
Color Gain: +4
Setup Level: -2
Master Ped: -5
WB: 56k preset
Shutter: 1/48

Digitized in Premiere Pro 1.5 using Panasonic 24p 16:9 preset.

Now here's the problem: I setup the XL2 in my office, looking through the viewfinder. I tried to get the most "filmlike," or "dvxlike," or "smooth" look. After I shot this footage and looked at it on the broadcast monitor I realized that the LCD on the XL2 ships quite a bit brighter and desaturated then reality. So the XL2 footage is oversaturated and the blacks are pressed. Still, I didn't want to color-correct anything, so here it is (please "save as" so you don't kill the server):

http://www.hyphencreative.com/video/...vx100a_24p.wmv

Notes:

--XL2 sharpness needs to be turned down... the resolution is insanely great, but the regular setting shows a lot of aliasing. Shoulda turned it down for this test.
--XL2 resolution is insanely great, did I mention that. It's not fair to the DVX to do 16:9 without the anamorphic, but we're talking a big jump in resolution...
--Because of this the XL2 had gotta be a no-brainer if you're making the next 28 Days Later/Open Water/Full Frontal/The Idiots/etc. On a 50-foot screen, we're talking a big difference.
--DVX footage still has that altered reality, hyper-real colors and smoothness that the XL2 does not.
--Given that anything you're doing seriously is going to have some form of color-correction, the loss in initial "wow" factor of the DVX's colors are pretty easily overcome by the increase in the XL2's image fidelity.
--Highlight handling on both is good, XL2 may be even better than DVX (didn't mess too much with knee control though).
--XL2 defaults to 1/24 shutter speed, once set to 1/48, motion rendering is same as DVX.
--XL2 viewfinder does flicker, only noticed it in 16:9 mode on the black bars. It's not annoying to me.
--What is annoying is the viewfinder itself, I think it just needs a lot of tweaking, but it's stock setup is a) too bright, b) too desaturated, and c) too hard to focus with. Peaking is necessary.
--What is also annoying is the shutter/iris control, which is the lamest damn thing I've seen since the... XL1. It's not actually a wheel, it's the same as it is on my MOM'S Optura Xi, which costs less than a grand. This is where Canon's consumer roots show up in a bad way. This wouldn't be so bad if the transitions were smooth, but they're not. The granularity of the DVX's wheel is fine enough to do smooth adjustments, which I've always thought was a tremendous improvement over cameras like the PD150. Two steps forward, one step back.
--Why did I press the blacks on the XL2? Idiot! It's hard to compare w/ the blacks pressed. Moron.
--Due to price, size, 4:3, and incredible “out of the box” look, I’d still use the DVX to shoot a reality TV show.
--If I wanted to look legit, and/or increase my chance of getting laid, I’d get the XL2. The damn thing makes the DVX look and feel like a toy. Even more so than the Sony DSR-500 I use all the time—Betacam-sized cameras scream “videographer,” while the XL2 screams “filmmaker,” or at least “pornographer.”
--If I didn’t own either (I don’t own the XL2, it’s at work) and I was making up my mind which to buy, I’d take the XL2 in a second (if I had the flow). NOT because of the sex potential. Really.
--If I already owned a DVX (I do), I’d stick with it (I am). For now.

If I didn't have 3 editing projects ramming me from behind I'd go out and re-shoot this comparison, with better settings. Hindsight is 20/20...

Still, hope this helps until someone publishes a real comparison.

EDIT: I would like to add one thing. If the reason we all love film is that it has that instantly-transporting, elusive "feel" to it--for me it means that what you're watching looks like an interpretation of the world rather than, well, just the world, I do think Panasonic nailed it with the DVX. And Canon did not. Like I said above, the difference in gamma/smoothness/color rendition can be overcome with your choice of color-corrector. And should. I know a lot of DVX owners are going to write off the XL2 because of this, but let me suggest... don't. The great 16:9 resolution and lens options of the XL2 just give you more FLEXIBILITY with your footage, and that's what we all want.
Ryan Koo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 29th, 2004, 05:06 PM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 1,719
Thanks for the footage and the great humor.
Thomas Smet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 29th, 2004, 05:59 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 175
Ryan,

Great footage & review!

Does your company have a video projector? If so when you have time could you do a test of dvx vs xl2. Maybe if you could take a still photo of the 2 comparison projecting we could see the resolution on a big screen.

Jed Williamson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 29th, 2004, 06:31 PM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Blacksburg Virginia
Posts: 50
--If I wanted to look legit, and/or increase my chance of getting laid, I’d get the XL2. The damn thing makes the DVX look and feel like a toy. Even more so than the Sony DSR-500 I use all the time—Betacam-sized cameras scream “videographer,” while the XL2 screams “filmmaker,” or at least “pornographer.”


HILARIOUS statement!
Brack Craver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 29th, 2004, 07:28 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Oceanside Harbor, CA
Posts: 446
Jenna's here now would you like to speak with her?
Michael Best is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 08:45 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: New York City, NY
Posts: 316
<<<-- Originally posted by Michael Best : Jenna's here now would you like to speak with her? -->>>

Oh, baby! A few months ago I saw the DVX100 used in some of her films up for sale!

On topic: Great review. The XL2 is definitely sharper than the DVX in your footage. Otherwise, they look really similar. If you have a chance, post some more tests; maybe zoom speeds, wide angle ability, etc. Thanks a lot.
Jaime Valles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 09:20 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Oceanside Harbor, CA
Posts: 446
Seems one of the most common statements now is that the XL2's
24p does not look as 'filmic' as the DVX's. Hmmm...
Michael Best is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 10:00 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Posts: 570
Yes, and I really don't know where this is coming from. Filmic implies 24fps acquired in a progressive manner, usually at 1/48th of a second shutter speed, with good dynamic range, widescreen, and sharp images. Maybe a case could be made for grain as well, which can be added in post, but degrades the overall image. The XL2 does all of those things, much more so than the DVX from what I saw. The only thing truly missing (for both cams) is a shallower DOF, which can be overcomed with the Mini35.

I think people confuse filmic with film stock. There's various kinds of films out there which vary from highly contrasty to low contrast and from brilliant oversaturated Disney like colors to desaturated ones. This can be tweaked in the XL2 menu or in post.

There's no logical explanation for the XL2 being less "filmic" than the DVX100, and I certainly don't agree with that statement from what I saw to date. I've never seen anybody stating it was less film like back it up with facts and arguments.
David Lach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 10:16 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Oceanside Harbor, CA
Posts: 446
I agree and believe most of it comes from the DVX camp, the comments don't seem to consider facts, only that their eyes are
seeing the footage as excellent 'video'. It's all a matter of patience really, so much of the footage that has been posted
has been 'I really didn't have time to adjust.....' I believe some
really good, thorough footage will pop up and show us more
once people get some more time and experience with the camera.
Michael Best is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 10:19 AM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Köln, NRW, Germany
Posts: 70
I'm not a spezialist - but i found the Xl-2 images much better.

Clearly sharper, with better green and a wonderful black.


regards
Daniel
Daniel von Euw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 10:36 AM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 92
I can't back it up with fact, but I can back it up with... actually using both cameras and seeing my footage on a Sony HR broadcast monitor.

I think what it comes down to is color rendition, and the gamma curve. I'd like to see someone publish a graph of the XL2's gamma curve because I DON'T think it's perfectly flat like the DVX's is. This flatness is one of the contributing factors that make the DVX's footage look so smooth--and people interpret this smoothness as being very "filmlike." Yes, there are plenty of film stocks/post processing/digital intermediate looks out there, but the XL2, without any post-processing, does look like very sharp, very good video, whereas the DVX looks like something distinct.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the gamma curve of the XL2 is NOT, even on Cine, flat like the DVX's (http://www.adamwilt.com/24p/index.html#GammaSettings). Video gets its contrasty, punchy look through a curved gamma that boosts the midtones, and the DVX does not boost the midtones AT ALL on its 'Cinelike' setting. I think the XL2 does. Time will tell and maybe I will put my foot in my mouth, it wouldn't be the first, in fact it wouldn't be the hundredth, time.

So yeah, 24fps is one part of the film "look," but not all. The XL2 got that part right out of the box; for me, it did NOT get the gamma "right." It may be that the curve is indeed flat and that the DVX just has different settings/color matrices that look more pleasing for someone going for a film look. Either way, for someone who likes the look of film, I like the unprocessed DVX images more than the XL2's, in terms of color. Like I said above, I'd rather have an XL2 and I'm convinced it's the better camera, so don't put me in the 'DVX camp.' But in terms of gamma/color, I still like my DVX better. For resolution, 16:9, lenses, and a dozen other reasons, I like the XL2. Your mileage may vary.
Ryan Koo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 10:53 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Alexander, NC
Posts: 188
<<<-- Originally posted by Ryan Bilsborrow-Koo : I can't back it up with fact, but I can back it up with... actually using both cameras and seeing my footage on a Sony HR broadcast monitor.

I think what it comes down to is color rendition, and the gamma curve. ... >>>

Hmmm.... that brings up an interesting thought. Since the XL2 is programable and Canon is (or will be) offering a developer's kit, someone offering software that would cause the XL2 to reproduce the DVX's "film look" might do rather well. ;-)

Whether this would be good or not, I suppose, would depend on the eye of the beholder (or at least, the camera holder).

--Ralph
__________________
--Ralph Roberts, CEO
1VIDeo / aBOOKS / Creativity, Inc.
Ralph Roberts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 01:03 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 92
Absolutely Ralph, I think we'll see some *great* technicolor, color-reversal, bleach bypass, etc. looks coming out if Canon's dev kit really lets you get into the nitty-gritty. Not that some of these looks wouldn't be better achieved in post, but let's be honest... not everything we shoot is going to get the loving attention it deserves in post.

ALSO: forgot to note originally, all the XL2 footage I shot above is at -3dB of gain--again, was trying to go for the "smoothest" look, which I then negated by pressing the blacks. FWIW.
Ryan Koo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 01:04 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 587
>> I'd like to see someone publish a graph of the XL2's gamma curve because I DON'T think it's perfectly flat like the DVX's is.<<

Ok, this I honestly don't get. Why would you WANT a flat gamma curve?

If I understand correctly (I certainly may not!) much of the "video look" is precisely that - a flat curve while Film has an S shaped curve.....

Am I missing something or have people become so indoctrinated with the idea that "the DVX looks just like film" that they have now associated *flat* gamma with film?
Aaron Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 01:48 PM   #15
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 92
The tops and bottoms of film's gamma curve are rounded, yes, which gets you nice higlight retention, etc. But the middle is flat. What I'm saying is, video generally has a curve in the middle to make it pop. You can see this at Adam Wilt's site, which I alread posted a link to--regular video is the green line. The DVX's is flat all the way up to its knee, which is more "natural." "Filmlike" (most overused word these days) or not, this more natural look is what DVX users love. No one's been indoctrinated, the DVX was a revolutionary camera that Canon is now capitalizing on; credit where credit's due.

Basically it's the MIDDLE of the gamma curver we're talking about. Both the XL2 and DVX(A) have a knee at the top so the camera doesn't blow out into electronic white.
Ryan Koo is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:58 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network