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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 October 13th, 2004, 01:21 AM   #1
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The Must Have's

I've read a lot of threads on the accessories one could buy with the XL2...right from Lenses to filters to tripods to cases...etc.
So was wondering if we could or rather one of you'll could bring it all together under one thread as the Must Have's with the damages.
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Old October 13th, 2004, 07:49 AM   #2
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I wrote an article on this topic awhile back... see "Five Essential Items for the XL2" and replace the VL-3 video light with the TA-100 tripod adapter.
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Old October 13th, 2004, 01:15 PM   #3
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An external ND filter, that will force open the iris and reduce DOF, and several white balancing cards. Super useful to increase tonality on the scenes.
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Old October 14th, 2004, 05:20 AM   #4
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Chris,
Thanks for that. I have already read that. I'm about to place my order for the XL2 and have a list made out of the items I'm planning to get...will post the list on here...so would like your opinion on it.

Alfredo....I've been told that the Canon ND filters are not applicable on the XL2
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Old October 14th, 2004, 08:50 AM   #5
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Zohar,

The ND filters do not have to be Canon, they can be from other brands as long as they are photographic 72mm.

Mine are working fine.
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Old October 14th, 2004, 09:42 AM   #6
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Must haves.

Tripod $600- 1000+ (if you think about it spending money here isn't a bad investment if only because having a cheapo tripod break and drop your camera will easily cause 600-1000 in damage, why not spend that on a tripod)

Tapes $300-600+ A whole lot of tape stock and a cleaning cassette. Why not go ahead and purchase a lot of tape, that way you won't have to worry about changing things out in the middle of a shoot and suddenly having your camera lock up on you. Grab the cleaning cassette because it's not a bad idea to go ahead and run a cleaning casssette through before you run in other cassettes.

TA-100 $(?)Depending on the tripod you purchased the TA-100 is also (I assume) a good investment. (comes with camera?)

Pola $75-200+ If you shoot out side ever a Polarizer isn't a bad idea and will really help the quality of your shoots.

Case $125-400+Finally depending on how much traveling you do a case that will suit your needs.

After this it really depends on what you shoot, or more, how you shoot.

If you're running around out in the field far away from everything, or if you own a mini 35 and would rather not keep chaning batteries out, it might eb a good idea to invest in an Anton Bauer Powering system with some Dionic batteries, they'll power your camera (and accessories) forever and a 90 ways about as much as 2 canon batteries.

If you're shooting for a news crew (ENG style) adding a frezzi mini fill light or an AB ultra daylight wouldn't be a bad idea.

Then there's mattboxes (for filters) Mic's Light's MIni 35 adapters, primes, jibs, cranes, monitors, laptops etc.
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Old October 14th, 2004, 09:47 AM   #7
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Good suggestions there, Nick --

I propose that a tripod for a $5,000 camera should be budgeted around the $1,500 range.

Instead of spending $600 on a lot of tape stock (which by the way is some great advice), why not bypass tape completely and record to a portable FireWire hard drive that writes edit-ready files, such as the FireStore FS 4, QuickStream DV 2 or nNovia A2D.
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Old October 14th, 2004, 09:59 AM   #8
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Glad you brought that up, Chris. Is there a good rundown on the pros and cons of these portable hard drives somewhere? I'm thinking compression issues, run time, weight, battery requirements, drive space, storage, etc.

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Old October 14th, 2004, 10:44 AM   #9
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As has often been noted, the XL2's 20x lens is on the long side. I ponied up for a 3x wide angle lens and immediately decided that'll be the lens that sits on the camera by default! So obviously I recommend it unless you're sure you won't need any shots wider than about 42mm in 16:9 (35mm equiv).

One issue with the 3x, though: at least on my lens, the autofocus doesn't really effectively function while zooming. As soon as you're done zooming, it'll focus, but not during the zoom.

For those shots where I "cheat" and use the autofocus, I work around this limitation by fingering the manual focus ring while zooming, and then letting the autofocus take over when the zoom stops. But otherwise I've been very happy with the lens so far.
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Old October 14th, 2004, 09:21 PM   #10
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I defer to mr. Hurd's suggestion. I think that if it were my money I'd agree that 1500 is a worthwhile investment in a tripod (maybe closer to 2k), but I believe a decent tripod for a camera that much can be found in the 600-1000 range.

Chris also has a good point about the recordable media device. The only issue I have with it is there are times (when I was working on one of Mr. Papert's shoots for one) that the firestor just freaked out and didn't record anything accept mosaic noise, fortunately we were running a redundant tape and so we could (er he could) get those takes back. I don't know if someone knocked the cable loose or what but I sure was glad we were running tape.
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Old October 14th, 2004, 10:33 PM   #11
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Hmm, well there's a definite downside right there I guess! Rolling a "confidence tape" is always a good idea.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 10:18 AM   #12
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The main advantage that I see in using tapes is archival. Yes, tapes deteriorate faster than CDs or DVDs, but they're really much more convenient for archiving footage because one MiniDV tape can hold about 15 times as much DV video as a CD and about 2.2 times as much DV video as a DVD-R. So shooting on tape gives you the advantage of a physical copy that can be easily archived right off the bat.

I realize that a great many people don't work this way, but my preference is toward saving every single bit of footage that I take. Having the original footage gives you the freedom to go back and re-edit anything, should a reason come up. Plus, you never know when 5 seconds of a piece of video you shot two years ago could be perfect filler for a short cutaway, and save you the effort of completely reshooting a scene. And frankly, at about $3.50 per 1 hour tape (in bulk), MiniDV tapes are plenty cheap enough.

Even if (or more probably when) I get a straight-to-disk recording system, I'll almost certainly keep a tape rolling for every shot anyway.

Just my $0.02.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 10:53 AM   #13
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I would also add to a list, outdoors protection for your cam & assesories. Rain protection, and, if it applies, snow, sand, or what ever you think you will taste in weather. Even an umbrella is usefull.

I concur on the $1500-$2000 for a TP. The security you feel, after using those cheep pieces of junk, foisted off as "PROFESSIONAL", is more than worth the price.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 06:38 PM   #14
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Nick,

"TA-100 $(?)Depending on the tripod you purchased the TA-100 is also (I assume) a good investment. (comes with camera?)"

- Pardon my ignorance but I did not get that....TA???
Also, you mentioned Matte Boxes for Filters.....now I've read a few threads on here and DVX user abt Matte boxes. Some one mentioned that screw on filters are better and cheaper like those by Tiffen. But then I met someone today who was of the opinion that screw on filters aren't so good and their weakness shows at the edges.....can someone tell me whats the truth here. Because I thought of those Tiffen Filters ....a lot cheaper than investing in a Matte Box....


- Tripod - any recomendation for a Tripod?...My ultimate goal is Filmmaking- Fully Loaded. But I'd like to keep it under 1000$. Honestly was actually hoping for 600$....but then again I don't want to risk my XL2

Sand Protection??? Please enlighten... I live in Mumbai....and plan to shoot on the beach a lot. or would atleast like to.... and the salty air and sand has been bothering me.

Once again Thank you so much guys. You'll are a great help
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Old October 15th, 2004, 08:39 PM   #15
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Sony has this universal mount called a VCT-U16 which is a quick release plate so that you can uh.. quickly release... your camera from a tripod. I believe I read somewhere that it was included with the camera (on sony camera's it's referred to as the toe plate) the Quickerelease part is usually around 100 bucks or so but you then attach that to your wedge plate on a tripod (starting to get confusing I know) and it makes for much smother transition. The bottom line is that supposedly a TA-100 with a U16 (or V16) will keep your camera well attached to your tripod but at a moments notice allow you to release it. If anyone can give a less convoluted answer I emplore them to do so.

I think that an even better investment though then the TA-100 (because that typically will be used with more expensive tripods) would be a rain cover (which would protect against sand and rain etc.) I don't know how I missed that (well I do, I live in L.A. and we get rain maybe 10 times a year here). Anyhow, if you're shooting on the sand PLEASE get something to protect your camera from the corrosive saltwater and sand, you will be SO glad you did, or more accurately SO upset that you didn't.

As far as Matteboxes go, if you're looking to do honest to goodness film making (not run and gun ENG) I think that a mattebox is a good choice. It has been my experience that 1) screw on filters suck optics wise. 2) screw on filters vinette (you see black around the corners) and 3) become quickly obsolete if you decide to use another camera, or a different mm lens.

The actual mattebox is usually a steep investment at first but it becomes more valuable the longer you shoot.

For example a 72mm polarizing tiffen filter will cost around 80 bucks a 4x4 filter of the same type costs about 3x as much (however it's an Ultra pol vs a regular pol) anyhow the 72 is great until you go and try and shoot with a mini 35 or a different sized lens via an EF adapter or something. Not too mention good luck putting 2 or 3 filters on there.

But then again let's do a reality check. Most people who own this camera won't use multiple filters, heck most PEOPLE don't use multiple filters that's what post is for. (he he) and I believe most people will not be putting a mini 35 in front of their camera, and if you can afford a mini 35 you can probably afford a mattebox and drop in filters. So it's up to you. The only immediate "legitamate" thing I can say about a mattebox is that it makes you look really professional (even if you don't know what you're doing) and tends to impress people (especially those of the opposite sex). But anyhow a mattebox is not an essential until you are at that level (you'll know when your each "that level" because you'll get a letter in the mail from canon congratulating you on achieving mattebox level along with a signed seal of approval from the president of canon... no really you will... am I the only one who's gotten one of these?!) None the less I don't know why anyone would say screw on filters (except for polarizers and clears-which is just a lens protection/sky diffusion reason) are better then drop in's, but they are definitely cheaper.

I hope some of that made since.
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