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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old December 16th, 2004, 08:20 PM   #1
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What are your favorite features of the XL2 ?

Just wanted to get a round of opinions of what people's favorite features of the XL2 are. Please include how it pertains to what you shoot. This is a bit weird i know but I just wanted to see how different people shooting styles vary depending on what they shoot.

Thanks for any replys
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Old December 16th, 2004, 11:52 PM   #2
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In order:

1. Interchangeability of lenses, viewfinders &c, which gives me control options no other cam at this price offers.

2. Canon's 16:9 CCD scheme, which allows me to work in this aspect ratio without losing any more resolution than "usual" DV already cost me.

3. Canon's variety of image control (e.g., "frame-rate," shutter speed, detail resolution, gamma, knee, black stretch, coring &c) which is roughly paralleled on some other cams at this price, but without #s 1 & 2.

For me, that's the triple whammy.

I had about $1500 invested in accessories (matte box, filters, rods, mounting plates, follow-focus &c) but would have sold it all & started from scratch if the DVX100a had #1. Then I learned about #2 and Canon had me. For this combination of features, what I paid for the body-only kit was a no-brainer.

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Old December 17th, 2004, 08:32 AM   #3
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Little usability details...

I haven't been working with it for long, and haven't done a lot of elaborate intimate setups. I've only been doing runngun also which encounters more (or less) problems then a nailed-down production setup. But coming from a GL2, here is what I noticed:

Button layout. The exposure lock button just appears when I need it, and I can blindly fumble the top of the camera and pop zebra in and out, or stop the tape deck. Switches on the lens lend themselves to blind troupleshooting (forward-af and stabil, back-manual and fixed).

Battery life. I put two PWR2K BP945's into a CH910 and that will last more then a day of on/off shooting (maybe three or four hours continuous)

RIDGID CONTROLS. this is a biggie for people like me just getting into system cams. being able see what gain you can get away with or toy whitebalance at a touch is the best.

Zoom-focus rings / 16X manual lense: more drool fodder for n00bs. being able to quickly wrench the camera out of telephoto when something happens at your feet, too useful

4ch audio: (do any other $5k cams even have this?) If you are making a movie, then skip it but for solo operators who have to do they're own sound, it's is the best. Take that MA300 from the GL2 box and put it to work.

Transport. XL2's silky tape drive makes the poor Gl2's drive sound so labored. I just love handholding the camera with a stopped deck, pressing record on that fresh new tape, and hearing the deck slide effortlessly into motion.

Bars button instead of flipping through effects, great for monitor setup and starting tapes.

No speaker. Whenever I load a new tape, I check sound and picture before really rolling. Now I have to use headphones, and miss the beeps the GL2 gave when not/recording

Short EVF cable hampers aftermarket mods.

Blinking Tally. All three canons I own do this. In some ways it could be a plus, but it just seems to distract people.

Aspect/progressive controls. The two biggest, easiest to fumble buttons are also the most important ones. This was obviously a marketing decision. When do you change frame rate during a shoot, really? Make those a menu option and move the hidden headphone volume there, or at least foolproof them like the gain/wb.
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Old December 17th, 2004, 08:48 AM   #4
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BTW, the blinking tally can be turned off in the menu if you need to.
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Old December 17th, 2004, 09:04 AM   #5
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True, but then it's just off. If it could be on solid I'd use it more, for now I leave it off...
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Old December 17th, 2004, 10:23 AM   #6
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Regarding the external switches for frame rate and aspect ratio, I run into an even number of people who feel each way about this. Half the people I talk to love those switches, and the other half don't like 'em at all. Strictly a personal preference, I guess.

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Old December 17th, 2004, 06:46 PM   #7
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My favorite aspect of the XL-2 is the speed of the tape load/unload mechanism. It leaves every other mini-dv cam I've encountered in the dust.

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Old December 18th, 2004, 11:23 PM   #8
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Hmm, I've only had my XL2 for a couple days, but here goes:

-Love having XLR audio built in with no expander necessary.
-VERY nice 20x lense. I hate the servo, but I'll live with it. Has a great picture.
-I love the ND's on the lense.
-Personally, I can't stand going into the menu's, so I like the 16 x 9 & 24p stuff on the camera. I never thought about it, but you're point is good: rarely will you switch mid-shoot. But for experimenting it sure is fun.
-Love the programmable custom switches. Nice.

-I still can't stand the unbalanced body weight. It's just silly that we are suppossed to ADD weight to balance it. I got the C-910 w 2 big batteries and that helps, but it's still SO front heavy and the shoulder rest is still not good. Such terrible design, imo, for a camera that does so much right.
-Servo in lense is pretty loud. I cringe seeing the audio displays for the on camera mic every time I zoom.

Not much else to complain about this one. Canon did nearly everything right on the XL2.
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