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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 January 13th, 2006, 04:46 PM   #1
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Well, I've taken the plunge!

After selling nearly all my old video gear, and some other photo stuff that has been lurking in dusty corners for umpteen years, I've taken the plunge into XL-2 country.

Yes, that rapid depressuring of my account means there'll be frost on the monthly statements for some time to come. But I buzzed the buzzer and set the wheels of industry in motion to deliver me my new XL-2 outfit by next week. It took three vendors (one a DV Info Net sponsor) to do it, but all have answered the call, more or less.

So, here it is, my XL-2 outfit in all it's naked specification:

- Canon XL-2. (duh!)
- Canon TA-100 tripod adapter.
- Cavision 4x4 bellows matte box with two filter stages, french flag and rail support.
- Hitech 4x5 graduated hard-edge ND filters (0.6, 0.9, and 1.2).
- Varizoom VZ-Rock Lanc controller.
- IDX AE2XL1 Endura battery adapter mount.*
- B+W 72mm 486 filter (permanent protection for 20x lens).
- Sony PHDVM63DM Digital Master 63' tapes (case of 10).

Other things I kept or have on hand:

- Bogen-Manfrotto 3192 tripod.**
- Bogen-Manfrotto 503 fluid head.***
- Tiffen 4x4 linear polarizer.***
- Rycote WS-4 windshield kit.**
- Audio-Technica AT-825 stereo mic.**
- IDX VL-2 Plus Endura battery charger.**
- Two generic 95 Watt-hour V-mount batteries.**
- Sony DSR-25 DVCAM VCR.**
- Various Sony large-sized DVCAM tapes (for archiving, now).**

*the IDX adapter is back-ordered, dammit.
** these I kept.
*** these I acquired recently off eBay.

Looking at the list it seems kind of short for the money. Yeah, I'm pumped up, stoked, wired and why don't they advertise some new designer drug on TV for buyer's remorse (BR)?! They have something for jumpy legs, for Pete's sake.

I'm going to very slowly, with the brakes on, explore this machine, taking notes and recording tests. I think I'll start full manual and go from there. While clearing out my closets of old photo junk, I discovered my set of Kodak gray cards. I'd like to try those with the XL-2. Well, I think I'll download that preset software now, then I'll read more of the XL-2 manual in PDF.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 06:48 PM   #2
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Congratulations Doug! You will enjoy it. Have fun.

Mike
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Old January 19th, 2006, 11:37 PM   #3
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Finally here!

Well, no thanks to the ineptitude of "Brown" (UPS) --"yer doin' a heckuva job, Brownie!" -- as Dubya would say, I finally got 95% of my XL-2 setup.

It was too late in the day to test the camera out beyond a couple of things. Mainly, I was busy putting the accessories and such together. Here is where I had some heartburn:

It's not mentioned, unless you dig down into Varizoom's site, that the VZ-ROCK LANC controller has some limitations with the XL-2. They say the focus controls don't work, but they do, sort of. Obviously, the "A" button for autofocus on/off doesn't work, due to the nature of the lens design. But put the lens in manual, and the manual focus rocker only works on the forward position, not the back. So, yeah, it's kaput. No biggy. I don't know who uses autofocus in pro work anyway, except as a setup expedient. The zoom rocker is very nice. Record and standby buttons work as advertised. Haven't checked the frame advance/retard buttons yet.

The other item was the Cavision 4x4 bellows mattebox and rail kit. This is documented for a DVX-100, but fits the XL-2 as is. Here's the first problem: I also got the Canon TA-100 tripod adapter. There is no way to attach this to the Cavision rail mounting plate. Right now I have the Cavision attached to the tripod plate of my Manfrotto 503 head. Balance is very good, at least forward. Back it's too heavy. And it works, after a fashion, as a quick-release system.

Here's the solution: Tomorrow I'll get an M3 tap and drill and modify the Cavision plate to accept the Canon adapter. This will allow me to use the TA-100 quick-release unit and put the camera far enough forward on the head to achieve (hopefully) balance.

The other thing was the two filter trays that came with the matte box. Nicely made of machined aluminum, and fit a 4" x 4" filter to a tee. Unfortunately, I have three graduated 4" x 5" filters, too. Cavision doesn't make a holder for these. I think I'll make my own dedicated holders out of plastic. They won't need the quick-release feature of the factory design. Anyway, my glass Tiffen polarizer is in there to stay.

I'll do a write-up with photos on these projects and perhaps contribute them to the Watchdog site.

Other than that, the XL-2 really has an air of quality about it. I don't have the IDX battery adapter yet, but it looks like the V-mount batteries would only extend a fraction of an inch beyond the rearmost part of the adapter holder.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 07:28 AM   #4
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Doug, I thought the Sony PHDVM63DM Digital Master 63' tapes were 'wet type" and therefore not good for the XL-2.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 06:12 PM   #5
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Well, I've never heard of that. They are what I've used in my old DSR-1 and the DSR-25, so I'm not changing. The XL-2 hasn't seen anything else, either.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 08:05 PM   #6
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Doug, Cavision does make a 4'x5' holder... I have one! it's called a 16:9 filter tray.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 08:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Bicker
Doug, I thought the Sony PHDVM63DM Digital Master 63' tapes were 'wet type" and therefore not good for the XL-2.
Please note: I am not an authority on this matter - and it gets tossed around alot on these threads with alot of people taking sides and many others being indifferent. I do know that the XL2 manual suggests that you do not use wet type tapes (I think it specifies 'cleaning tapes' but I might assume it means wet type tapes in general) For my own 2 cents, the one time I mixed tapes between Panasonic and Sony, I immediately required a cleaning on the heads to get the muck off.

This is from a product description on the referenced tape (Sony PHDVM63DM)
'A newly developed lubricant system to reduce friction for optimum stability under a wide range of operating conditions.'

Doug mentioned he has used these on his DSR's with no problem, however to state that the Sony tapes work well in the Sony machines does little to illuminate the potential for problems with a different brand of camera.

If the Sony tapes work, cool, just keep using them. I would guess the real problem would come about in switching tapes. Going from a wet type tape to a dry type tape would "presumably" result in mixing oil and powder - creating cement on the heads - I would think it better to just stick with what you got.
-Jon
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Old January 21st, 2006, 04:09 AM   #8
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From the XL-2 manual:

Page 110, under "Video Heads", item four: "Do not use wet type cleaning cassettes as this may damage the camcorder."

Tape's tape. Use pro, not consumer, and stick to one brand for simplicity and reliability. I get mine from TapeResources.com, great folks. I'm a little surprised that the XL-2 did not come with a cleaning cassette, but I have a Sony mini-DV cleaning cassette (DVM-4CLD) that came with the DSR-25. It's also the only tape I have with a memory chip.
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Old January 21st, 2006, 04:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Nayman
Doug, Cavision does make a 4'x5' holder... I have one! it's called a 16:9 filter tray.
I can't find it on B&H and it's not in the Cavision price list. There is a 4x5.65 tray, but does it hold a 4x5 filter? If the clamp is the same as on the 4x4 trays, it won't reach far enough. I think I have enough material on hand to whip up at least one test tray out of plastic.
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Old January 21st, 2006, 03:09 PM   #10
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It should hold it. Came with my matte box and rods.
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 01:27 AM   #11
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I don't see how. 0.650" is an infinite gap for that clamp to overcome. I'm sure I can place a 4" x 5" filter in it, but what's to hold it? How about a cheater-piece, at least 5/8" or .625" wide, inserted above or below the filter? That'll work, too, just rather poorly. The Cavision docs only list 4"x4" metal and ABS plastic trays, and a 4" x 5.65" tray (elsewhere known as Panavision size). I'll have to make my own. Either that or spend a great heap of moolah on the Cavision 4" x 5.65" trays plus mega-moolah on Tiffen glass filters in Panavision size. Aye-eye-eye-eye!!!

Hey, Doug, why doncha use 4"x4" grads? you ask. Because I am utterly unfamiliar with them. I don't know that they will allow the freedom of positioning I require. I do know I can make something to fit. In fact, I could make two trays fit the space of one, for unique over-and-under graduate results.
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 11:08 AM   #12
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I am still sure that a 4x5 fits in the tray I have. Let me pull it out and a take a pic for you.
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