Why should I buy an XL2 instead of a Sony Z1U? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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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 May 4th, 2005, 12:47 PM   #16
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All good points. I sold my XL1s and really kind of sorry I did,,but I had too. So right now thinking about a new camera is driving me nuts with the choice coming up. The Panasonic HVX200 sounds good. The XL2 with the 16:9 and 24p, 4:3, etc sounds good. If the DVX100a had true 16:9 I'd probably own one now.

Hi-def will be nice but at the moment the cost will be pretty high. It might take a while for it all the problems to shake out.

Maybe a GL3 soon. 16:9 and 24p would be nice on one.

But I've turned down another job because no camera, so waiting 6months might not be a good choice. I'm getting tired of sitting on the fence. Plus when you get calls and people ask "can you do this" and "how much?" it only makes it worse.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 01:28 PM   #17
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One interesting thing to ponder... Since its introduction the XL-2 has price has dropped 16% (from $5,000 to $4,200) but the Z-1 is still selling at the intro price of $4,900. Draw your own conclusions (if any) from this with regard to how well each of these models is doing on the open market.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 01:36 PM   #18
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Boyd,

Had an XL2 in my shopping cart at D*ll two weeks ago, with 20x lens for $3593. Just couldn't pull the trigger and now all the coupons are expired and their price is $4k+.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 02:24 PM   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
One interesting thing to ponder... Since its introduction the XL-2 has price has dropped 16% (from $5,000 to $4,200) but the Z-1 is still selling at the intro price of $4,900. Draw your own conclusions (if any) from this with regard to how well each of these models is doing on the open market.
Boyd, that's not a fair comparison. The XL2 has been available longer than the Z-1. Even if it weren't, the HDV is "new technology" which will have a impact, valid or not, on the pricing. You're comparing apples to oranges.

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Old May 13th, 2005, 06:26 AM   #20
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These comparisons remind me of the long-running Canon-vs-Nikon debates that have raged among still photographers for decades. I've been a still photographer and Nikon shooter for most of the past 40 years but switched to Canon equipment last year because the high-meagapixel, low-noise EOS 1D and 1Ds Mark IIs proved to be better tools for our work.

When we added video to our menu of services a few years back, we bought an XL1 and later replaced it with an XL1S and a GL-2 for backup and cutaways. Earlier this year, we upgraded to an XL2, keeping the XL1S as a backup. Again, the XL series proved to be the best tools for our expanding video and documentary work.

Last week, we added a Sony Z1 and its companion video deck to our gear. Not to replace the XL series cameras that provide the backbone of our video work but to enhance our offerings to clients who have expressed an interest in HD and to shoot a new documentary on the Blue Ridge Parkway where high-definition will be an asset.

In 40 years of shooting, I've yet to find a camera that fits all our needs for every job. Two months ago, I dug my old Speed Graphic 4x5 out of the closet, loaded it with Plus-X sheet film and shot landscapes for a client who needed wall-sized black and white images for a display. It's fitting the tool to the job.

We often get the question: "What should I buy?" Our answer is always another question: "What are your needs?" Different needs, different tools. Different goals, different cameras. Canon and Sony make good cameras that serve specific needs. Neither, unfortunately, makes one that does it all.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #21
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Thanks for this very informative thread.

I too have been "on the edge" for the past couple weeks on which camera to purchase, with all the ones discussed in this thread a contender at some point (XL2, DVX100A and FX1/Z1U). I was almost ready to pull the plug on an XL2 this week until I spend some time with a semi-successful indie filmmaker friend of mine on Saturday.

He recently completed a documentary which screened at the Toronto Film Fest, Rotterdam, and SXSW. He was explaining to me the intricacies of distribution, getting his film shown in theatres, and festival submissions. His general comment to me was that the original format he shot on (which was DV on an XL1) didn't seem to matter all that much because he had to do an online edit and eventually export to digi-beta for festivals, screens and networks.

If that is the case (and my primary intended use), doesn't that sort of curb many of the HDV compatibility issues in this sense (again with intent of an indie use or network distribution)? It would seem to me one approach is to simply focus on getting the highest resolution possible, and fix/convert everything else in post (including 24p). Now I seem to be leaning more towards a FX1/Z1U, although in my research and testing I agree the XL2 is the best all around SD-DV camera out there right now.

Thanks in advance.

- Stevan
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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:48 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevan Arychuk
I was almost ready to pull the plug on an XL2 this week until I spend some time with a semi-successful indie filmmaker friend of mine on Saturday. His general comment to me was that the original format he shot on (which was DV on an XL1) didn't seem to matter all that much because he had to do an online edit and eventually export to digi-beta for festivals, screens and networks. If that is the case (and my primary intended use), doesn't that sort of curb many of the HDV compatibility issues in this sense (again with intent of an indie use or network distribution)? It would seem to me one approach is to simply focus on getting the highest resolution possible, and fix/convert everything else in post (including 24p). Now I seem to be leaning more towards a FX1/Z1U, although in my research and testing I agree the XL2 is the best all around SD-DV camera out there right now.

Stevan:

If resolution is the only criteria, then shooting in HDV on a Z1 and downsizing to SD or DVCAM would be a consideration. We used the Z1 to shoot some sports footage in HDV over the weekend for a TV news client, loaded it into FCP as DVCAM and then output to BetaCam for delivery to the station. They had no problem with the footage and, in fact, complimented us on the sharpness. We have another TV client who uses DVCAM and we've delivered Z1 footage to them.

However, resolution is only part of the package. For some jobs we need extreme wide angle or longer telephoto capability and the interchangable lens feature of the XL series cameras pays off.

You should evaluate all your needs (resolution, lens availability, low light capability, cine vs. non-cini looks, etc.) and then find the camera that provides, on balance, the best feature set for those needs.

If I could only afford one camera at this point, I'd probably opt for the XL2. Fortunately, I'm not limited to that decision.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 05:13 PM   #23
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You mean MiniDV. It's pretty much a tie between the XL2 and the DVX100a. They're both great cameras. SD DV refers to Digital Video in general which is referring to all of the DV formats. I think we're mainly addressing MiniDV.

There's a lot more than resolution. Color space, work flows, what is your final product and distribution? There are a lot of things that need to be worked out. Ask your filmmaker friend.

If you can, rent a Panasonic SDX900 and shoot DVCPRO50, it's a much better format and is probably the best SD camera for EFP. It's worth the extra money to shoot on a better format if you are going to film out. Or go S16 if you can. There are a lot of different workflows and maybe you can get some deals if you work in film, or video, talk to people, negotiate. Do your homework when the time comes to do your project.

I don't think Sony really hit one out of the park with their two HDV cameras. The faux 24p of the Z1U isn't very good from what I've heard. I'm betting Panasonic's HVX200 will be better. You're just going to have to wait a bit for it's release. HDV is still pretty new, it'll be a year or three before things get settled.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 02:43 PM   #24
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Great responses. The folks on this board always provide input to make me look at things differently which is much appreciated.

I realize resolution is only one component/requirement, but it's easy to get wrapped up in it with some of the recent things I've read regarding image quality and film transfers from FX1/Z1U cameras. I've been spending more time with a group of cinematographers lately and seem near obsessed lately with image quality. I know that "image quality" is subjective in regards to film look, resolution, movement, 16x9, etc.. but what I can't get over is that the FX1/Z1U captures interlaced frames. I keep hearing good things about DVfilm maker and other FX1->24p options in post, and I also have to wonder how capturing in 50i then going 50p-24p on the Z1U would work as this problem/solution has been around in PAL-land for some time right?

My primary requirement is image quality - specifically color, native 16x9, resolution, and progressive frames. Can anyone provide input on the resolution difference between a XL2 capturing at 24p vs. a FX1 captured at 60i then fixed in post with AE or DVfilm maker? I'm trying to understand what the actual delta is in resolution when everything is said and done, and how 24p in post from an FX1 compares to native 24p from a XL2.

I guess part of my hesitation with the XL2 comes around cost. To get an XL2 outfitted the way I need with an external LCD, possibly a 3x lense (which seems to have mixed reviews regarding clarity), cases, etc.. it's getting above $5k pretty quick. I work in technology and know there is never a "good time" to buy, but right now seems very chaotic in the HDV/DV pro-sumer market. Unfortunately waiting another 6-9 months isn't an option for me either.

And yeah, I meant MiniDV ;)

- Stevan
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Old May 16th, 2005, 11:06 PM   #25
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HDV is so new that it's hard to find anything that can edit it, and even when it can, it's not completely functional. Take the FX1 and the PPro 1.5.1 update that Adobe put out for HDV. Wow, it was awesome to get a free upgrade so that I could natively edit in PPro. I was so happy!! Then I go to export to After Effects... and that's when the sh*t hit the fan. Ooopps.. sorry. HDV is too new and the codec that PPro supplied can't export to AE. I would have had to purchase the Cineform Aspect HD (somewhere around $500) in order to be able to export into AE.

Also, my main editing system Avid, doesn't even support HDV yet. I know that in a year or two these things will seem like small problems of the past, but at the moment, it's pretty tough to have this neat new technology and not be able to use it to it's full potential.

Also the fact that I want to make films and the FX1 that I owned didn't shoot progressive made me sell it.

I own a XL2 now. I was so happy to hit that order button on the XL2 because I can use any editing system I choose, PPro, Avid, whatever.. and it will go into any product Boris, AE, etc... I love it.

The FX1 shot some great stuff, but it wasn't for me. You really need to put your requirements down on paper, then take the cams that you are thinking about getting, and basically make a score card. Like what pretty much everyone above has said, it's what you need that makes the purchase. I needed film look, not HDV, so I sold the FX1 and bought the XL2. And that's the best thing I could have done for what I need.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 02:18 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Rench
HDV is so new that it's hard to find anything that can edit it, and even when it can, it's not completely functional.
Adam:

I think it's unfair to use the FX1 as an example. It's a consumer version of the Z1. The Z1 offers multiple formats (HDV, DV and DVCAM) as well as both NTSC and PAL. I find the Z1 useful when shooting in HDV and then down converting to DVCAM for editing. I get a sharper picture and the ability to edit in FCP and then output to DVCAM, DVD or ProBeta. FCP 5 s supposed to offer native HDV editing and the ability to output to DVD. As for the cost of Cineform, maybe I've been in this business too long and remember the days of $35,000 editing systems and $25,000 cameras. In that context, $500 seems like a bargain.

That said, I'm not about to sell either of my XL cameras. They still pay the bills around here.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 08:04 AM   #27
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yeah. hehe. you got me on that one. the Z1 does have a few really nice features over the FX1. HDV itself still stands though as being difficult to work with at this time however.

I agree though about the downconverting. That is a nice feature.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 09:35 AM   #28
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Well, here's an update: I bought the Z1. The jury is still out as to whether I made the right choice. While I love the camera's design, functionality, ability... the thing is a HUGE step back in terms of low light performance. My very first wedding with it was shot under very dim light and I almost had a heart attack! When zooming in past the half-way point, the image gets significantly darker. So much so, in fact, that I had to shoot the wedding at a wider setting than I would have liked just to keep the iris open. So I'm not sure whether to keep the unit, try to return it (at a return penalty fee) or sell it. Such are the foibles of jumping on the new tech bandwagon. Bummer.
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