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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old January 20th, 2005, 01:11 AM   #1
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XL1s or XL2

I am a surveillance investigator and I am thinking of buying an XL but I can not work out wich one to get Xl1s or XL2. Does anyone have any experience or ideas about filming at this sort of distance. I will be using the camera to shoot over distances from 400mtrs to 1km.

Would the digital image stabiliser on the XL1s still work when using a 700mm lens and is the digital zoom function on the Xl1s useable or does it just break up at 32x.

What I am mainly asking is wheather the digital fuctions on the XL1s would make it a better option for the job I need it to do or should I just go with the better picture quality etc of the XL2.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 01:45 AM   #2
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Re: XL1s or XL2

Unfortunately, on the XL series cameras, the image stabilization is a function of the XL lenses themselves, not the camera. If you are going to be using your own lenses, count on using a tripod of some sort, becase nobody has hands steady enough to make handheld use while zoomed in that far even remotely good.

There is only a 2x digital zoom present on the XL1s and no digital zoom on the XL2. You're going to need a really powerful lens to be able to film up to 1km away.

The XL camcorders seem like serious overkill for what you are trying to do. Unfortunately, I don't know of any cheaper cameras that offer interchangable lenses (I don't think there are any), so you may have to go with one of these. In such a case, I would definitely go with the XL1s, and maybe even a plain old XL1 to save you some money for that high-end lens and lens adapter you're going to need.

Good luck.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 02:15 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info.

The canon australia site indicates a built in 32x digital zoom on the XL1s is this not the case?
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Old January 20th, 2005, 02:24 AM   #4
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Well I did a little more research on the digital zoom. It seems that different sites say different things. On the Canon USA site, it says the XL1s has 2x digital zoom (http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/con...delid=7471#f11), however several online dealers list a 32x digital zoom in their specs for both PAL and NTSC versions of this camera. So I'm a bit at a loss.

Anyone own an XL1s and could clear up this discrepancy?
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Old January 20th, 2005, 02:56 AM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Peter Wilkes : Thanks for the info.

The canon australia site indicates a built in 32x digital zoom on the XL1s is this not the case? -->>>

I expect this is the 16x lens with 2x digital magnification/zoom giving 32x overall.

Richard
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Old January 20th, 2005, 03:11 AM   #6
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Thanks that makes sense. I have used my canon 700mm on an XL1 at the distance. If I put a 1.6 adaptor in front of the af adaptor would it still give a clear picture. and would the XL2 give a better picture again. Money is not a problem I just want the best quality possible at the distance.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 03:36 AM   #7
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If you're looking for absolute best quality and money is not an issue, then yes the XL2 is the best choice. You can get an almost equally good image with the XL1s however, as long as you don't use the digital zoom.

Digital zoom is infamous for making otherwise good shots look like crap. It's simply a pixel enlargement, and you could probably do a much better job in post with some decent software if you really wanted to be zoomed in that much further.

But like I said, if money isn't the issue, then go for the XL2. It's a great camera.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 03:42 AM   #8
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If quality is more important than money then stay away from digital zoom of any kind.

If you are planning to fit the EF adaptor and use standard Canon lenses, there is an immediate magnification effect because of the small CCD size relative to the 35mm image that most lenses are designed for. Check out Chris Hurd's watchdog page for some more info on this (bottom of page at link below).

I think getting enough zoom and magnificaton are not going to be your main difficulty, it is going to be keeping it all steady that is the problem.

Richard

http://www.dvinfo.net/canonxl2/articles/article04.php
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Old January 20th, 2005, 01:43 PM   #9
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I think it is important to note that your 700mm lens on the XL** will not have the same field of view as on your SLR. I think the magnification in field of view is something like 7x, so your 700mm lens would then become the equivalent field of view as a 4900mm lens. I don't know about 1k, but at 400m that should get you pretty darn close.


oops, sorry, missed your post there richard
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Old January 20th, 2005, 02:20 PM   #10
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Thanks guys, I think I will go with the qaulity in the XL2 and forget about the digital zoom.

Just one last thing I have been told that the picture recorded on the tape will be much clearer than it looks in the standard XL2 viewfinder. A B&W viewfinder would be much clearer and would provide a sharper picture through the viewfinder that is closer to the actual recorded picture, which should be a big help at the distance I will be working. Does anyone know if this is true.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 02:26 PM   #11
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Peter,

I'm an investigator here in the states. The nice thing about the XL series is the ability to connect an EOS lens. With the EOS adapter you get tremendous magnification. I've captured a plate (clear) from a city block away and this was using an eos adapter with an L-1 (hi-8), which was state of the art at the time!

Matt
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Old January 20th, 2005, 02:31 PM   #12
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Mat

Do you ever use the digital zoom bit or is it of no use in our sort of work.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #13
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Truthfully, digital zoom will not give you any better a result as if you did it in post. You could even use a program like photozoom pro to get the most out of your shots. Photoshop also has some good uprezzing techniques. All digital zoom is doing is making your pixels "larger", so why not do it later and have complete control over it?
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Old January 20th, 2005, 06:13 PM   #14
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Peter: You may get some ideas from my website; www.ronsrail.com
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Old January 20th, 2005, 06:22 PM   #15
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Digital manipulation of surveillance footage, post acquisition, is a no no, at least here.

Peter, yeah we found it useful, but once we got the eos adapter and a long lens the point quickly became moot... The real challenge, regardless of how you get your reach, is keeping the camera steady. I had my L-1 tied into a spotting scope at one point that had a 35mm equivalent of a 1,000mm lens, and that was prior to accounting for the increased magnification brought on by the eos adapter and format. It was very difficult to use, even on a tripod. It was really only useful if you wanted to watch, say a loading dock, and you weren't going to be moving the camera at all. With a long EOS lens (of normal size) you can use the camera fine, but a portable tripod or monopod is still required for extended shooting.

For others reading this, you don't really need great looking video, it may help to sell a jury or a judge/commissioner, but you don't need it. For example, your subject is out on disability and you follow him around all day taking clean video of him, then all of a sudden he pulls into a worksite that you can't get close to but you can still id him, you zoom way in and get him carrying roofing tiles up a ladder. You then zoom in digitally to really get him. Is the footage clear? Depends how much you zoom, but no, not really. But you've already established that this is the subject and, more important than the video, is your (the investigators) sworn testimony.
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