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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old January 13th, 2006, 08:23 AM   #1
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why SHOULDN'T i get the XL-2?

so i'm pretty much set on getting the XL-2, but (and i realize you guys may be biased) are there any reasons not to get it? are there camera's that, in your experience, perform better in low light, extreme temperatures, have better resolution, etc? is there any camera that is just overall better? i'm looking to start shooting short form narrative films, and maybe one day a feature.

in short, what are the down sides to this camera?
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Old January 13th, 2006, 09:44 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Heneberry
so i'm pretty much set on getting the XL-2, but (and i realize you guys may be biased) are there any reasons not to get it? are there camera's that, in your experience, perform better in low light, extreme temperatures, have better resolution, etc? is there any camera that is just overall better? i'm looking to start shooting short form narrative films, and maybe one day a feature.

in short, what are the down sides to this camera?
I have an XL2 and love it, but I guess I can give some negative stuff!

1. You are not going to walk around in public without drawing attention to yourself! A lot of attention!

2. Some cameras, like some Sony and Pany models, are better in low light. So if very low light performance is something you need, there are better cameras.

3 It requires more sturdy support gear than say a small Sony or JVC. The tripod head will have to be beefier, and preferably have counter balance springs, like a Bogan 503, or better. It is heavier and it will wear you out if you try to lug it around a lot.

4. You will suffer a deep need, a hunger to buy additional toys to use with it, like cool lenses, lens adapters, a B&W viewfinder, and many other things. It can seriously hurt your pocketbook.

5. The camera is really good at making you feel stupid! All of those available settings!!!! A whole new world to learn and to play with! If you old and stupid like me, you get the urge to turn that dial to one of the auto modes, but you need to try and resist that.

I hope this helps somewhat. If you can, go to a store and put one in your hands. Try many cameras and get the one that suits you needs and pocketbook. Sometimes ergonomics and price are more important than resolution. Just be honest with yourself with what you really need and can afford. Maybe you will decide to spend less on a camera and more on lights and other items you need.

Have fun.

Mike
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Old January 13th, 2006, 10:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
4. You will suffer a deep need, a hunger to buy additional toys to use with it, like cool lenses, lens adapters, a B&W viewfinder, and many other things. It can seriously hurt your pocketbook.
LOL

I bought this beast november 04. Now I have the following acessories:
- 3x wide
- Miller Arrow HD head/tripod (almost the price of the XL-2 itself!)
- Kata rainjacket
- Sennheiser MK 67 shotguns (2 each)
- A good headphone
- Spare batteries BP-945 (5 each)
- Canon ef-adapter
- ef-lenses (Canon 70-200mm, Canon 300mm)
- The Ronsrail and Ronssight
- Canon 1.4 extender
- Filters, uv, polarization, grey
- Pelicase 1620 (to be able to take with me all this stuff)



So, I realise that I don't need any pocketbook anymore ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
5. The camera is really good at making you feel stupid! All of those available settings!!!! A whole new world to learn and to play with! If you old and stupid like me, you get the urge to turn that dial to one of the auto modes, but you need to try and resist that.
Have you guys been looking at this site:
http://dvestore.com/theatre/index.html

Click on the link - Watch the XL2 Feature Tour Video!
I learned a lot about XL-2 settings from that tour!


- Per Johan

Last edited by Per Johan Naesje; January 13th, 2006 at 04:51 PM.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 10:08 AM   #4
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I haven't had the camera for *too* long, but I can say you shouldn't expect good results with it unless you really learn everything about the manual settings. For example, I only just recently started shooting everthing on full manual (not aperture or shutter priority, which are also very good), and the difference between good manual shooting and full automatic shooting is MAJOR, in my opinion. It's the differnce between a crappy-video look and a look that borders on cinematic, depending on many variables.

I also have to agree that you will have to buy stuff for it... for example, I've decided I need a mini35 adapter (but can't afford it) so I started making one ~ The things this camera will drive you to! ;)

Hmm, what else... you will see many people saying the gain should be left on -3 or 0 all the time, and I have to agree (assuming you like quality). Unfortunately, it does leave the camera lacking in low light like Mike said... you will need additional lighting if you want all the quality you can get.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 10:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Johan
LOL


Have you guys been looking at this site:
http://dvestore.com/theatre/index.html

Click on the link - Watch the XL2 Feature Tour Video!
I learned a lot about XL-2 settings from that tour!


- Per Johan
Per,

Man, I would love to see the tour movie, but unfortunetly it will not play for me. I have it saved, but each time I try to play it, it says it won't play because it has a "bad public movie atom" in it. I have no idea what that means, and it really sounds silly. Just won't play. I can't put QT7 on, because it interfers with other software on my PC's.

I won't tell you how much money I have spent, as the men in the white coats may show up and take me away!!!! He he ha ha ho ho!

Have fun--Mike
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Old January 13th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #6
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I have to agree with all the points mentioned by Mike.

Undue attention? Check!

Feeling stupid and the 'poor light performance' came hand in hand during a corporate conference shoot. Afterwards I discovered how grainy the image was, fortunately the clients never commented on it!

Urge to buy more gear? Check! I think for me the thing behind this urge is that suddenly I have this professional camera, which not only is professional but looks professional, then I realised that all my other kit, is really not up to it, e.g. poor microphones (tinny and no XLR), field construction lights instead of redheads, etc etc.)

Since I bought the XL2, i've spent at least as much again on the rest of the gear to go with it, and my next purchase is a FireStore drive ( I dont even really need one! I just wanna velcro it to the back of the camera so it looks cool! My poor bank! )

Sturdier tripod and feeling stupid also went together, at the exact moment my weak little 20 tripod buckled and I nearly lost my beloved XL2 to some white water rapids!

Other than those little problems, all external to the camera, buy it, its the best money you'll ever spend and the only big purchase I haven't experienced buyers remorse on.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 03:24 PM   #7
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One of the big criticisms of the camera when it first came out relates to the fact that color reproduction is more accurate than it was in the previous (XL1s) member of this series. The XL2 was thought by several to produce pale, muted colors which, relative to the XL1s, it does. Most came to appreciate the accuracy, eventually, and those that wanted brighter colors learned to boost them by increasing the chroma gain in the camera or, preferrably, in post.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 04:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
Man, I would love to see the tour movie, but unfortunetly it will not play for me. I have it saved, but each time I try to play it, it says it won't play because it has a "bad public movie atom" in it.
Mike, QT sucks for the reasons you mentioned. Definitely anti-PC software. I got the exact same results as you. If you can find the file on your machine, then download the VLC player from Videolan. It'll play it, no problem, and no hassle from the Mac-a-bees.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 04:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Per Johan
- Kata rainjacket
- Pelicase 1620 (to be able to take with me all this stuff)
Per,

Now that my XL-2 outfit is on the way, I'll be thinking of a raincoat for it, especially as we are in our 25th consecutive day of rain! So far I see there's CamKote, Porta-Brace, Petrol, and Kata. I assume that you have their CRC-11? They say it's "custom fitted to the XL-1s" which isn't a ringing endorsement. The XL-2 is longer, and I'll have an IDX Endura battery adapter out back, too. I was curious as to your impressions about it.

I've also peered at the Pelican 1620 case (25 days of rain and that water is rising fast). I don't know if I'll need to carry the whole kitchen sink, but it looks right, given the internal length dimension.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 04:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Heneberry
so i'm pretty much set on getting the XL-2, but (and i realize you guys may be biased) are there any reasons not to get it? are there camera's that, in your experience, perform better in low light, extreme temperatures, have better resolution, etc? is there any camera that is just overall better? i'm looking to start shooting short form narrative films, and maybe one day a feature.

in short, what are the down sides to this camera?
Can't think of any reason, you should have it already, you said it yourself, you're pretty much set on getting so what's the hold up?

Enjoy the cam, you're going to love it.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 04:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Boze
I assume that you have their CRC-11? They say it's "custom fitted to the XL-1s" which isn't a ringing endorsement. The XL-2 is longer, and I'll have an IDX Endura battery adapter out back, too. I was curious as to your impressions about it.
You are right its the CRC-11, and its quite small with the 20x lense, but using smaller lenses like the 3x wide it match well. But you are not able to fit it with any battery-pack out back!!

The Pelicase 1620 is large, but you are able to get room for most of the "stuff" you need in one case!

- Per Johan
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Old January 13th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #12
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I've had mine for a little over a year, and love it. As to reasons NOT to buy one, for most people it's because it's NOT HDV.

But if you're not on the HDV bandwagon, or looking to get on soon, then I'd say it's the best DV camera out there. Different cams have their strengths and weaknesses, but all around, I'd say it's the best.

Nit picking issues I've discovered with mine.

The little 'door' that covers the RCA line ports is kinda cheezy. Tends to pop loose now and again.(At least on mine)

The eject button can sometimes be bumped by your hand while holding it by the handle, causing the cassette to rise, without opening the door.

It's HEAVY. I shoot mostly on tripod, and I shoot with a full ENG setup - that means the FU-1000 viewfinder and 16x Manual lens, with the Dual batt pack on the back.

You can FRY the main circuit board of the camera or the lens if you change the lens without powering down.

If you are not paying attention, it's easy to accidently set the 'gain' button... turning the gain to 'automatic'. In this position, NO GAIN INFORMATION will show in the viewfinder. Funny, when the gain is OFF, it reads +/-0 When it's ON -3, it shows up in the VF, when its ON +3,,9 whatever -it shows up. But if it's on AUTOMATIC you can have the gain running up and down in the course of a shot, and never know it till playback. (Admittedly this is entirely Operator error, but I'd like to see an "AUTO" reading in the viewfinder when the gain is on automatic.)

You can accidently hit 'standby' when reaching for the white balance button. Again, this is an ergonomic operator error that comes from not taking my eyes of the viewfinder while pushing buttons. Lesson learned.

But really, it's a great camera. Mine has already paid for itself in a year, so no regrets if later I want to sell it and go HD. But frankly, my choice is to sit out HDV/HD for at least another year.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 05:00 PM   #13
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hey, thanks! i didn't expect such prompt response. so it sounds like you've all pretty much confirmed my intention to get this camera. awesome.

now can anybody out there loan me five grand?
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Old January 13th, 2006, 06:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Benjamin Heneberry
hey, thanks! i didn't expect such prompt response. so it sounds like you've all pretty much confirmed my intention to get this camera. awesome.

now can anybody out there loan me five grand?
Benjamin,

Do you know what vigorish means? :)

Mike
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Old January 14th, 2006, 08:13 AM   #15
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BTW, I have the Kata CRC15, and it fights very nicely over everything, including two BP945's, 20X, lens hood and has slots for external monitors and such. Good rain cover
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