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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 February 10th, 2005, 06:29 PM   #1
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Gobsmacked

I want an XL2. I so I thought I did.

In the past two or so years I have worked with the Xl1, Panasonic DVCPro cameras, an Arri SR2 16 mil camera, Sony's PD 150, DSR300 and DSR570, and tomorrow I get to play with Panasonic's uber cool DVC30 (a nice compact camera).

I have been sound operator using a classic Nagra 4.2 for film and on my course we use an SQN mixer hooked up with a trusty K6 ME66 mic, feeding into all of our cams with line ins.

I have convinced myself that the XL2 is the ideal camera to buy as my final year projects beckon at university. The 16:9 chip sets it apart from the rest of the crowd, whilst the Canon optics in my opinion make it the best camera of its league. Sound however has always been a problem with the XL series, and to just find out (literally an hour ago) that the XL2 is lacking line in is quite frankly a stunning fact that I feel should be made more vividly on sites that review this camera.

The PD150, which even after 8 or so years still holds up extremely well to the DVX100 and the XL1/2, has TWO XLR inputs, which can either be adjusted to MIC or LINE IN. For the XL2 to not have this option is not a minor flaw, it is a major flaw, and I have no doubt a number of people will be miffed when they go out on a shoot under the assumption that their $5000 camera is lacking this feature.

Sure there are solutions, but surely one of the supposed improvements over the XL1 was the incorporation of XLR inputs into the actual body, but now that something else needs to be added to rectify this problem renders it a pain in the ass.

Now I know this issue has been subject to a long running thread on this MB but I just wanted to bring it up again and ask a few questions. Has Canon actually given any reason as to why there are no line in inputs? Assuming you have sound operator giving a line out to your camera what is the simplest solution that costs the least amount of money/and is the most compact to convert that signal into a mic in for the XL2?

As to whether this is a high end consumer camera or low end pro camera, I think there is no doubt about it. The XL1 was used on 28 Days Later. With interchangeable lenses you can pretty much achieve some of the most glorious images on the mini dv format. It is constantly used in the UK for national TV as a second camera or indeed for documentaries. The BBC offer both the XL1 and PD150 (now PD170) to documentary crews, and thus legitimising the use of these cameras for national broadcast. To think a family will buy this camera for their summer holidays is absurd. It is a professional camera, but without a line in, well, it's a bleeding joke! Between Sony's PD170, Panasonic's DVX1000 and the XL2 I would go for Canon, but it would be with my fist in my mouth knowing I am lacking such a critical option, especially as it is by far the most expensive of the three.

Also, there do not seem to be many review of this camera on the net. Apart from SimplyDV I can't find a comprehensive review. If anyone could help it would be much appreciated.

I have read here that there is downloadable XL2 footage, but I can't seem to find the link. Could anyone point me in the right direction?

Thanks once again, and I do apologise for starting a new thread, but damnit, if there is a subject that needs repeating it is definitely this.
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Old February 10th, 2005, 07:20 PM   #2
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Re: Gobsmacked

<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Jothi :The 16:9 chip sets it apart from the rest of the crowd, whilst the Canon optics in my opinion make it the best camera of its league. -->>>


Actually.... the XL2 uses 4:3 chips, but only uses a 16:9 section of the chip, and the 4:3 mode is cropped down even more from that 16:9 crop. Just to clarify.
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Old February 10th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #3
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Got it.
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Old February 10th, 2005, 08:37 PM   #4
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<< Has Canon actually given any reason as to why there are no line in inputs? >>

Actually though, there are line-level inputs on the XL2.

All four RCA jacks (both stereo pairs) are line-level inputs.
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Old February 11th, 2005, 02:01 AM   #5
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Re: Re: Gobsmacked

Quote:
Actually.... the XL2 uses 4:3 chips, but only uses a 16:9 section of the chip, and the 4:3 mode is cropped down even more from that 16:9 crop. Just to clarify.
Indeed that is true.

However -- does it matter?

Thought it would be interesting to see how the two "native 16:9" cameras hold up compared to each other, on a resolution chart. So I put the XL2/16:9/24P/Norm detail up against the FX1, both in HDV-downrezzed-to-DV-by-firewire, and in native DV mode. And, for the heck of it, threw in the DVX100A in "squeeze" mode, to see how it holds up.

Some surprising results.

http://www.icexpo.com/4-cameras-vert-res.JPG

The FX1 uses a full-surface 1/3" 16:9 CCD, but because it needs to be resampled to get to DV resolution, and because it's interlaced (so suffering from field-blending, the Kell factor, etc., all of which lower vertical resolution), the XL2 thoroughly spanks it for standard-def imaging. In fact, the DVX100A, with its 4:3 chips and "squeeze mode", exhibits about the same resolution as the "native 16:9" of the FX1. (FX1 has 16x9 chips, which gain vertical resolution, but is interlaced, which lowers resolution. DVX is progressive, which gains resolution, but uses squeeze mode, which lowers resolution... net result is they're about the same in 16:9 performance, when considering an SD release and shooting progressive on the DVX). For HD there's no question, but this comparison was to see what would produce the highest resolution on a standard-def image, such as would be distributed on broadcast or DVD release.

So even though the XL2 uses a subset of its 4:3 chip, the results are pretty darn sharp, the highest-res 16:9 of any prosumer camera. You can clearly make out the "4" and the "6" (which represent markings for 400 lines and 600 lines on the res chart) where the other cameras have only vague blobs. And the XL2 looks like it's resolving about 540 lines, the theoretical limit of DV resolution, whereas the FX1 in HDV (downsampled by firewire to DV) is down around 350, the FX1 in DV mode looks about 370, and the DVX in squeeze mode looks like it's about 340.
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Old February 11th, 2005, 03:14 AM   #6
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Nice comparison Barry! However, I was under the impression that the theoretical limit of DV resolution was up around 570 lines. And, I am pretty sure that the original 16x auto on the XL-1 is rated at just over 600 lines of resolution capability.

That would be in line with your chart showing that the XL-2 can get up in the '6' range. And to think that the 14x manual is even sharper by most folks eyes.

Thanks again,

-gb-
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Old February 11th, 2005, 05:00 AM   #7
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No, it doesn't matter since the 16:9 mode on the XL2 is "true",
which is all that matters.

Regarding the line level issue. I just can't see how so many people
have a problem with this.

How many of you actually need this? If you need this, how many
need this to be XLR? (you don't need phantom power, and you
could just as well use the other inputs which are just as secure).

In one of the other threads someone mentioned a little device that
would rectify this problem for somewhere around $30 or so.

Canon choose to incorporate line level, just not on the XLR
connectors since they are mainly used for MICROPHONES, which
don't need mic level. If you need mic level connect it to one of
the other connectors, simple.
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Old February 11th, 2005, 09:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
I was under the impression that the theoretical limit of DV resolution was up around 570 lines.
No, it's 540...
Quote:
And, I am pretty sure that the original 16x auto on the XL-1 is rated at just over 600 lines of resolution capability.
The lens may be able to resolve more, sure... but the format can't record it, so you won't see higher resolution on the tape. The most you'll ever see recorded on a DV tape is 540 lines because that's all the format can resolve.
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Old February 12th, 2005, 05:21 AM   #9
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There's a real simple solution if you want to go line in from xlr connection ( mix board, etc.). Buy yourself two barrel connectors( Psc) which act as line to mic pads. They're available all over, and I got mine from Trew Audio for about $50 for the pair. And as Rob Lohman mentioned, you can go direct line in via the rca inputs.
I've gotten some great sound playing live through my mackie directly into the xl2...I a/b'd it with Steinberg Nuendo, and the sound holds up well.
Bruce Yarock
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Old February 12th, 2005, 06:13 AM   #10
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Are you talking about this product?

http://www.trewaudio.com/catalog/items/item153.htm

Thanks, Chris
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Old February 12th, 2005, 07:01 AM   #11
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Chris,
looks like the same thing. The ones I bought were PSC ( Professional Sound Corp.) line to mic adaptors. Simple solution.Call Trew to be sure.I dealt with "Skyler".
Bruce Yarock
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