I have finally used an XL2 - here are my impressions: at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 8th, 2004, 11:29 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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I have finally used an XL2 - here are my impressions:

Hi everyone,

Today I was fortunate enough to get my hands on two XL2's - one that was set up on a tripod with Matte Box, rails and a shade as well as a rear-mount hard disk recorder/IDX battery setup and the other that I shot with hand-held without any add-ons. Here are my first impressions of the XL2 after an hour with it at the dealer: - please remeber I am used to a Sony DSR300 DVCAM camcorder...

1) Visually - WOW! What a great looking piece of kit. Mind you, the one on the tripod did look somewhat over the top (and quite sexy) with a Matte Box, rails and shade on the front as well as a huge hard drive recorder on the rear plus an IDX battery mounted on top of that all via a n IDX V-mount on the supplied XL2 rear bracket! I do think all the extra add-ons (especially the Matte Box and Shade) made the camera much more impressive and imposing (perhaps more professional) to look at.

2) Ease of use - Very good although the camera was mainly in auto mode for my trials and the manual settings are going to take some getting used to, especially the unusual (for a pro user) iris control (don't know how that is going to affect the shooting experience in a rushed situation as it seems way too fiddly). I feel I would have to operate with Exposure lock "on" all the time to get used to it. 20x lens not wide enough so I will have to go for the 3x Wide as well, which I expected.

3) Focus - easier than I expected although the infinite focus ring sucks. I had no problem focussing using the viewfinder, quite sharp for a colour vf of this level, but it lacked saturation - maybe that is adjustable or just common for a low-end colour lcd vf. The focussing of distant objects - even on a wide shot - was easy. I found some distant objects in the shop I tested in could actually be put out of focus on a wide shot by turning the focus ring too far. I remember how on the old DSR 300 I used to shoot on, the viewfinder didn't give a very good indication of distant objects being in focus on a wide-shot but I used to know they would be in focus (or pretty close to it) because the focus ring would be at "infinity". I honestly do not think I will need the black and whit CRT viewfinder after this test.

4) Comfort - bloody awful. To me the Sony DSR300 wasn't too comfortable either, but this is terrible. The shoulder pad is hopeless and whoever designed it must have had a weird-shaped shoulder. To fit my shoulder correctly I had to tilt the top of the camera toward my head more - that is how the pad is moulded. Also, my left arm was sore after about 5 minutes of the test - maybe that is because I have not shot for a while, though. Front-heavy. I didn't try the tripod-mounted example on my shoulder and my thoughts are that the IDX battery setup on the back of the camera would have solved the balance issue.

5) Picture quality - Excellent on "all auto" mode. I did notice the auto iris being fooled by someone walking infront of a window, though - making the shot look unprofessional. Exposure lock would solve this of course! I have just downloaded the vision into FCP and am going to have a fiddle. 25p looks a bit weird so far. I don't think it will be of much use.

All-in-all, I think this would be an excellent kit for the price. I expect I am going to be up for somewhere betwenn $15,000 and $20,000 total, depending upon how I option it up, which is more than I expected it would be. Because it is around the $20k mark, all I have to do is work out whether I should go for a DSR570 kit for an extra $13,000 instead and if that extra amount is justified. Looking at the pcitures, I would have to say "probably not"....now only if the XL2 was more comfortable....

Cheers!

David Cleverly
Australia
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Old November 9th, 2004, 06:22 AM   #2
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I'm sure you know this trick, but just to point it out to people
who might not know. One of the tricks if you want a certain
point to be in focus on a wide shot is to zoom in on that shot,
set focus and then zoom back out. Ofcourse depending on
your iris setting this might shift the depth of field around a bit
as well (ie, your changing the focussing point).
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Old September 17th, 2006, 09:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Lohman
I'm sure you know this trick, but just to point it out to people
who might not know. One of the tricks if you want a certain
point to be in focus on a wide shot is to zoom in on that shot,
set focus and then zoom back out. Ofcourse depending on
your iris setting this might shift the depth of field around a bit
as well (ie, your changing the focussing point).
I'll just add. Focus on the eyes (or if you can't) the lips...if you are focusing on a face that is. If you look at some of the ol' Cinéma vérité films, you'll notice them zooming in on the eyes, focusing and zooming out again (if you are observant)...if you don't know Cinéma vérité films don't edit much so you get to see all the "rough" stuff (basically put).

Ahh film school compulsary film theory/history class, gotta love it.
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