A few questions regarding the XL2 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 8th, 2005, 06:26 AM   #1
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A few questions regarding the XL2

Hello there everybody!

I am entering the world of digital video and I am still considering what camcorder to buy, and at what camera-level I should enter.

Regarding the XL2 I have a few questions that I hope you can help me with.

How much noise does the XL2 have compared to the DVX100A and the low-light master PD170?

Those of you who use the XL2, do you miss a flipout LCD screen for composing shots without having to use the viewfinder? I am aware that third party LCD-screens can be attached to the accessory shoe, but the good ones seem to be a bit pricey.

And a little query: the standard kit does not seem to include a battery charger only an AC adapter. So the charger is sold as an accessory?

Anything else you have learned after you got your XL2 that you think is important to take into consideration? I know it's heavy, but I like a solid quality build.


Greetings from Denmark,

Halfdan J. Damskier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2005, 06:55 AM   #2
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I can't speak to the comparitive low light capabilities, but many people have on this forum, so a search would be in order.

The cam comes with a battery charger in the basic kit.

The color LCD viewfinder flips open, to give you a small lcd screen if you need to shoot away from the eye. I don't ever use this function, in fact, I shoot with the FU-1000 monochrome viewfinder instead. It's just a matter of choice.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 07:19 AM   #3
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Welcome to DVinfo, Halfdan,

I've never used the other two cameras, so can't personally compare the low light performance. My impression from reading posts by others who have used them is that the XL2 isn't as good at low light shooting at default settings, but has a pretty clean video gain function. There's generally no problem using +6 or sometimes even +12 gain. Presumably, the end result is that the XL2 does ok in low light. I can say that I've been very pleased with video I shot in poor lighting, having used wide apertures and some gain. This includes my brother's wedding, which was in a very dim chapel.

The color viewfinder is a bit small and not ideal for difficult focusing situations, but I've managed alright. The eyepiece easily flips up so that the viewfinder can be used as a small LCD screen. I don't know about 3rd party viewfinders, but there is also a fairly expensive (about $1500 US) black and white CRT-style Canon FU-1000 viewfinder that is said to be much better for easier focusing.

The charging system that ships with the camera has two parts: a battery charger, and an adapter for connecting the camera to the charger in place of the battery. So you can either charge the battery on the charger, or run the camera without battery from wall electricty via the charger/adapter.

Here is a link to the Canon Europe web site, which will have plenty of information:


and the instruction manual, which you can download (from the US site, since I didn't see the European version on a quick look at that site):


Probably the more important question is whether the XL2 is the right camera for you -- and of course ultimately only you can answer that. If you've never had a video camera before and just want to shoot your kids' birthday parties, the XL2 might be a bit large and expensive. But if you're experienced with video, it is a wonderful camera. Then again, various High Definition cameras are etiher on the market or about to be...make sure to read all about them here on DVinfo!
Pete Bauer
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein
Trying to solve a DV mystery? You may find the answer behind the SEARCH function ... or be able to join a discussion already in progress!
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Old May 8th, 2005, 07:47 AM   #4
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XL2 Watch Dog

You might want to go to the "source" for XL2 information and read what is said here:

Probably more information than you want, but when you're finished, you'll be making an informed decision!

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Old May 8th, 2005, 04:22 PM   #5
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Thanks for your feedback!

Thanks to all of you for your replies and the welcome!

I have already read quite a bit about the XL2. To Richard and Pete, I knew about the LCD screen in the viewfinder, but was wondering whether it's small size wasn't limiting. I found these LCD's in another thread in here: http://www.nebtek.com/ They do cost a bit though.

Regarding the low light issue I would probably have to look for someone who has compared all three cameras side by side. Thanks also for your feedback on that issue Pete, it sounds like the XL2 does ok.

To Jay, whenever I consider a major purchase, I like all the information I can get - thanks for the link. I've been there.

I was a bit confused about whether there was a real out of camera charger with the XL2. Sounds like there is; so you can charge one battery in the charger at the same time you are using the camcorder with an extra battery.

Thanks for the links!

Yes, I am new to digital video and the XL2 may not be for me for the next couple of years. I love quality so I've also looked into the more expensive cameras like the XL2. I know of the emerging HD cameras, but most new technology usually takes quite a while to mature.

I've introduced myself and my considerations regarding entering the DV-world in the following post. Have a look if you like:


Bye for now,

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Old May 8th, 2005, 04:26 PM   #6
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I, personally, love my XL2. As far as low light goes, raw footage is, as Peter said, okay. But a little bit of tweaking in the computer and ur good to go. I've heard that the XL2 has far less noise in lowlight than the DVX100, and in general. I've never even seen a DVX in person so i couldn't really give my own opinion.

As others have said, the standard view finder is a little tricky to focus with, rather frustrating in the first couple weeks that i had it, but after i used it for a while i started to get used to it, and its been a very long time since ive seen a soft shot in post.

As far as the LCD is concerned, i find myself using the flip-up viewfinder all the time. I know that most people say its useless, but i find it rather nifty. Another nifty thing, is the fact the lens (Standard 20x) can save different focal lengths and what not for later use.

Another thing to take into consideration, is how customizable the XL2 is. The color preset menues are very in depth and you can get just about any look u want, even before you run it throught the computer, which really cuts down on the rendering time.

But, as always, its ur choice.

]:-( --->

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Old May 8th, 2005, 06:42 PM   #7
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Hi Halfdan. I have an XL2 and a Sony VX2000 (similar to PD170 in terms of low light performance). I love the XL2's picture quality, and use it in preference to the VX2000 EXCEPT where I have a lot of low light shooting to do. The VX2000 is so much better in low light, so if you expect to do a lot of low light shooting, I recommend you try out both XL2 and PD170 before deciding. Yes you can get reasonable results with the XL2, but it takes a lot more effort and time to do it.

The viewfinder on the XL2 is fine in 4:3 mode, but it gets a bit small and indistinct in 16:9. It is manageable though, once you get used to it. The flip-open feature is great for low level handheld shots, except for outside in sunlight where the image becomes pretty invisible.

One obvious consideration that I think is very important is the form factor of the cameras. If you need to shoot without tripod, the XL2 is definitely the best choice as it is shoulder mounted. If you are using tripod all the time, it is less clear-cut, because a flip out LCD panel does give great flexibility compared to the XL2 EVF.

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Old May 8th, 2005, 10:13 PM   #8
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The XL2 comes with a charger and A/C cable as standard equipment.

The color EVF is okay, but I only used that while I was waiting for the FU-1000 B&W viewfinder to arrive from ZGC. I prefer the monochrome finder because it's more accurate for focus and gives you a little bit of overscan, so you can see a little bit more around the frame. I will eventually get a color on-board monitor, but most of the time I am plugged into a Sony color production monitor so I can see what the color and exposure looks like. A small handheld monitor is good if you don't need serious production style gear.

The best thing is to get your hands on the cameras that you are interested in and get a feel for them. That's the best way to determine, after you have narrowed down your choices.

Good luck and good shooting.
Mark Sasahara
Director of Photography
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Old May 14th, 2005, 04:48 AM   #9
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Thanks again!

Jon, Richard and Mark - thanks for your input! Yes, it seems the XL2 really has some strong points when it comes to customization and footage free of camera-shake when shooting off tripod. I also like that it has 24/25p and seemingly endless image tweaks, so you can “dial up” almost any look you want and even save it for later use. Thanks for the notes on the noise and especially the low light comparison between the VX2000 and the XL2. Low light might be an issue for me, so I really appreciate the comparison. Also thanks for the comments on the viewfinder – it sounds like you have either learned to work with it, or found ways to work around it.

If I decide to go top-shelf, the XL2 will definitely be one of the cameras I will be looking into.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 08:53 AM   #10
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for Jon Laing

"As far as low light goes ... a little bit of tweaking in the computer and ur good to go."

What kind of tweaking do you do? For what kids of shots (exposure etc)? What NLE or other post-software? Please elaborate.
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