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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old October 19th, 2004, 12:44 AM   #1
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Canon Xl2 vs Sony Pd170?

I have the choice of shooting on a PD170 or an XL2.

I've searched around for a comparison and so far have only been able to come up with PD170 vs XL1S in which the PD170 comes out top over all.

I want a film look to my short film. I've got all the lighting and sound equipment ready I just need to decide on which camera to shoot on.

Has anyone worked with both these cameras?
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Old October 19th, 2004, 01:41 AM   #2
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Re: Canon Xl2 vs Sony Pd170?

<<<-- Originally posted by Muhammad Saeed : I have the choice of shooting on a PD170 or an XL2.

I've searched around for a comparison and so far have only been able to come up with PD170 vs XL1S in which the PD170 comes out top over all.

I want a film look to my short film. I've got all the lighting and sound equipment ready I just need to decide on which camera to shoot on.

Has anyone worked with both these cameras? -->>>

Well... Would a Pd150 vs an XL2 work for you?

The difference here is going to be the true wide screen vs 4:3 and ofcourse you can use different frame rate and interlace formats.

I think the XL2 has more of a film look.

DBK
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Old October 19th, 2004, 04:41 AM   #3
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No question, XL2 all the way.

The PD170 is an excellent video camera, but it only creates video that looks like "video".

The XL2 can create video that looks like "video", but it can also shoot at 30P and (most importantly) at 24P, which will give you a much more film-looking project.
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Old October 19th, 2004, 05:40 AM   #4
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I have used both the PD170 and xl1s extensively, here is my quick rundown on the 2 cameras (I know, I know, I'll get to the XL2 in a bit)

The PD170 is great for shooting run and gun style stuff as compared to the xl1s. It has better autofocus, is less unweildy and basically you can pretty much leave it on auto and it will take care of itself without you having to really worry. Also the big(ish) screen really does help this. It is in my opinion a better camera (no, actually more SUITABLE) for things like weddings, documentaries etc

Now the xl1s is less suitlable in my opinion for run and gun, it has a small screen, that is only really effective when placing your eye to the eyecup, it's auto focus is not reliable, and it is bigger, and slightly more awkward. But it makes up for it in image quality.

Now the problems with the xl1s noted above do not really effect film making. You are after image quality. You are mainly on a tripod, you have time to focus and you are rarely handheld. I would therefore say that the xl1s is a better film making camera. If you take your time with it, your image will look better.

Now, what does this have to do with the XL2 I hear you scream. Well from the blurb above it should be clear that the xl1s would be more suitable for you than the PD150/170

Now the XL2 is a vast improvement over the xl1s. You only need to browse this forum to find that out.

It has better colour, is higher resolution, has a proper 16:9 mode, a better viewfinder etc.

It really is a good camera, and I would use it to make a film any day over the PD170. I have taken the plunge, and have bought one to do exactly that (among other things). It is such an improvement, that it is also great for shooting run and gun stuff too. The PD170 doesn't really do anything that the XL2 can't do.

I really think as far as standard definition MiniDV goes, Canon have squeezed as much as you can do out of the MiniDV format - they have pushed the boundaries to the limit. I think it can only be topped when things like 2/3" CCD MiniDV cams come out, or if the MiniDV codec is radically changed to something like 4:2:2 (currently it's 4:1:1 for NTSC) or HD MiniDV miraculously improves the image quality (which is contraversial, as by basicaly increasing the resolution, you have to reduce the quality to keep it in the same bandwidth of MiniDV tape) And more megapixels is not necessarily better.

Anyway, the XL2 is the best camera out there at the moment to make a short film on. So don't talk about it oo long, get out there and shoot it!

However, my final point from a creative POV, if your story is good, your acting good and your directing ability is good, it doesn't really matter what camera you use. The XL2 will not turn a poorly conceived film into a good one by being the best MiniDV camera out there!

Hope this helps
Lawrence

Re The film look - Video is video, not film. Your best bet is to accept that and use post production to mess around with the colouring of the image. Things like Magic Bullet etc have the power to modify you image more than any camera can. And also as it is a post effect, you can try many different styles/effects that are all non-permanent!
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Old October 19th, 2004, 02:53 PM   #5
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We have 2 XL1S's and 1 PD170 available for our projects, and from the 3 people who use constantly this cameras, I can tell you that the one who comes late, gets the 170. It is an awsome camera for video, but the XL1s has more options to look more film, more resources online, more accesories, at the end it makes the trick.

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Old October 19th, 2004, 04:59 PM   #6
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I currently have a PD170 (well, it's being repaired right now, but that's beside the point), and although I love the quality of the images, and the solidly built construction; I find is a bit too restrictive in terms of shooting options.

For one, I use and want 16:9. I keep faking the look in post with letterbox, and that's annoying. Too much resolution lost. Another thing I want to use is 24p and 30p as I keep getting projects that would be perfectly suited for progressive.

20x is another advantage, but at the same time, it's a disadvantage; meaning I will have to fork out some cash for the 3x wide-angle lens. I do shoot wide a lot. Also, the customization potential of the XL series is tremendous. Can you guess what my next purchase is?

A minor point, and a very shallow one at that; some potential clients are really thrown off by the PD170 (VX, and DVX for that matter), and consider those as over sized consumer camcorder. One shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but most do; and although not a full size shoulder mount, the XL2 (and XL1) “look” professional. And that can land some contracts in certain situations (especially in the corporate market). I know this reason is completely shallow.... but I really don't want to go into arguments with clients (that’s if I even get the chance) over what is good or not. It's not my place to educate them on the technical side of videography.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 12:57 PM   #7
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Thanks!

Thanks every one for helping me...
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Old February 24th, 2006, 12:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frederic Segard
One shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but most do; and although not a full size shoulder mount, the XL2 (and XL1) “look” professional. And that can land some contracts in certain situations (especially in the corporate market).
I can agree on the fact that the XL2 looks professional. And it attracts attention :) When I first got the camera, I was out by a mariner area testing the camera. A police officer started walking over to me. My first instinctive reaction was that he was going to ask me if I had a permit. But it was quite the contrary. He was so impressed by what I was shooting with, he said he had to come over and tell me that. And of course his curiosity got the best of him, so he began asking me all kinds of questions about the camera. Due to the fact that I just got the camera, I tried doing justice to the XL2 to the best of my ability.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 10:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence Stevens
However, my final point from a creative POV, if your story is good, your acting good and your directing ability is good, it doesn't really matter what camera you use. The XL2 will not turn a poorly conceived film into a good one by being the best MiniDV camera out there!

Hope this helps
Lawrence

Re The film look - Video is video, not film. Your best bet is to accept that and use post production to mess around with the colouring of the image. Things like Magic Bullet etc have the power to modify you image more than any camera can. And also as it is a post effect, you can try many different styles/effects that are all non-permanent!
I agree. I have shot something on a cheap old canon camera (I can't remember the name, just a good non-3CDD one - or is that a contradiction in terms?). Anway, I shot a film with really good lighting, acting, mise-en-scene etc. and it was a finalist in a national competition (back in Australia). I shot another music video for a band in Malaysia on an XL1s. Unfortunately the editing was...suspect (I didn't edit it)...and it wasn't well received at all.

And like is suggested in the above quote. Shoot clear, colourful, sharp footage and you get much more options in post. Shoot it "artistic" and you may just be stuck with what you have. That's what I say anyway.

One last thing. I think the PD170 is too much like the VX2100 to warrant the increased price (their images are basically the same). The advantages of the PD170 is DVCAM, but not many people worry about that. BTW I know the VX2100 doesn't have XLR inputs, but buy a Sounddevices Mixpre and plug it in and you'll have better sound anyway.

The Sony is good for news gathering though.
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