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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 March 9th, 2006, 07:26 AM   #1
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Purchasing a camera

Hello all. Major cudos on a great site! I stumbled on the XL2 WATCHDOG thanks to Google, and that led me here. Compared to most of what I've read on this site, I'm pretty much a novice by comparison. I used to shoot weddings (not many, and not all that sophisticated) back when the gazillion pound camera was tethered to the gazillion pound recording unit that hung like a huge purse on your shoulder, and crash editing was the norm. Well, I taped my step-daughters' wedding recently and had such a great time editing it, I am considering doing it again. I'm sure there are umpteen reasons to go with any good camera out there, but I keep coming back to the Canon series. I like what I read about the XL2, but would CONSIDER anything in the HD area, if that's where everything is headed. I like that I can get a pretty complete camera for around $4000 but know that HD is much more.
Thanks for reading, and commenting.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 07:41 AM   #2
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Jerry, if you do a search, you'll find this topic covered a bunch. In theory, figuring out what equipment to buy has a lot to do with your level of investment, long term goals, your business strategy etc, what you're going to use the camera for, i.e. is it enough, is it overkill.

Another strategy for finding out what camera you need is research. Since I live in an area that doesn't carry anything professional video wise, I do a lot of reading, this board included to see what users actually say about the camera over all. There are many xl2 users here who can give you opinions about how this camera differes over other and visa versa.

God speed in your endeavors.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 10:22 AM   #3
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I've been using the XL2 for around a year now and I think it's an awesome camera lacking very little considering the price. In terms of HD, there are currently many cameras including the Hd version of the XL2 (XL-H1) which is a lot more expensive, but if you like the XL2 and want HD, it's the next logical step. In terms of other HD cameras, there's the Panasonic HVX200, JVC HD100 and several others. Some are a little bit more, and some are almost double what the XL2 costs.
As previously mentioned, the best thing to do is decide what features you want and look at all the different cameras available - manufacturers sites have a lot of information and pictures of the cameras. If you have questions or want opinions about, feel free to ask them - that's what having such a great forum allows you to do.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 10:52 AM   #4
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There are a lot of good cameras out there and more on the way. I'm trying to decided to buy now or wait alittle longer. It's a tough choice and big one.

I used to own a Canon XL1s. Great camera but in my opinion it wasn't good for weddings if thats your plan. For me it was to heavy to carry around a church all day. I was told by more than one person here to get the Sony PD-170. I wish I would have listen to them.

If my main reason today was was wedding I would go with the Sony FX1 or even the Sony A1U.

Maybe the XL2 is better to carry around than the older models. Someone here should know. The XL2 is still high on my list for what I want a camera for, 16:9, 24p. If Canon came out with a good rebatee I might get one myself.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 11:08 AM   #5
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Hey Bob,
The XL2 is actually heavier than the XL1(s). However, it's something you get used to. I shoot for hours handheld sometimes and while I do notice the weight, it's something I have learned to live with and if I had to, I would say the weight is its only significant disadvantage.
The PD170 vs. XL2 issue is something you will also need to decide on. The PD170 is smaller and people say it offers better low light performance, but I've never been able to compare the two side by side and in my experience, it's not a huge difference. In my opinion, I find the image from the Canon a lot more pleasing for some reason - I don't really know exactly how to describe it, but I personally like it better and think it's much better for weddings. I've also used the Panasonic DVX100A and like the Canon, I like the way it handles colour a lot more. Just to add to the confusion, if the DVX100B had real 16:9 and a longer lens, I'd probably go for it instead of the XL2 because it's much lighter/smaller.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 11:21 AM   #6
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I'm not saying PD-170 v XL2. I was saying 2 or 3 years ago it was PD-170 or XL1s.

I would not buy a PD-170 now. You might as well get a Z1 or FX1.

The XL2 is something I would buy and still might. Maybe the XL2 rest on your shoulder better than than the XL1s did.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 11:28 AM   #7
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I agree (sorry, missed that part of your post). The FX1 and Z1 are good in that price range and I think Sony did a great job with them. I've never used either though, but from what people around here say, they're great cameras. I'd personally go with the Z1 since it has XLR audio inputs and a few other things that make it a better camera. Whether those things are worth the extra money is up to you.
The only issue with the shoulder mount on the XL2 is that most of the camera's weight is in its lens and therefore, most of the weight is really on your right hand than on your shoulder. Adding the CH910 with dual battery packs solves that issue for me, but does make a heavy camera even heavier.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 11:28 AM   #8
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I agree with you about the DVX100 too. I want 16:9 and 24p. It would be ok to have HD/HDV but I don't have to have it right now. But I really want the smaller size. The Z1 is bad either, but no 24p.

At some point I well have to drop something I want. Probably living with the extra weight (XL2) is what I would do. Still hoping for a GL3.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 11:36 AM   #9
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yeah, I think anyone considering buying any camera will soon realize that there's no such thing as the perfect camera - there's always some sort of a compromise and choosing a camera is really about choosing one that meets as many of your needs as possible.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 03:55 PM   #10
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I bought a new XL2 about a month a go to do weddings
The main thing that stopped me from getting a HD camera (not the XL-H1 too expensive) was the lack of 20x zoom.
None of the cheaper HD cameras have 20x which I now cant do without.
Also I dont think HD is really necessary yet as everyone that came to view my wedding samples thought the XM2 looked fantatstic (even on a 32" Bravia)
XL2 was the next logical sep for me at the moment.
It's a bit heavier than my Xm2 and i use tripod 100% of the time so its quite heavy to carry around all day, but I'll get used to it :)
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Old March 9th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #11
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I agree - the 20x lens on the XL2 is another thing that's really great about it and it would be nice to see other HD cameras (or other cameras in general) have long lenses as well. I shoot a summer camp during the summer and a long lens is a necessity.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 06:23 AM   #12
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Great insight from those who have experienced several other makes of camera. I expect to use a dolly for much of an actual wedding ceremony, then handheld for most everything else. And while I'm sure most of the other cams mentioned in this discussion have plenty of weight, I don't want one that is TOO light. I'm just not that steady, so (slightly) heavier is better.
And ya know, doggone it...the XL2 is just a FINE looking camera. And in the words of Fernando Lamas..."it's better to LOOK good, than to FEEL good."
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Old March 10th, 2006, 06:30 AM   #13
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...and one more thing. I've decided against HD for the immediate future. My local supplier (New York Camera/Video in Southampton, PA) mentioned the extensive/expensive editing that HD takes. I just got the hang of Premiere Pro 1.5. I'm not ready for another major learning curve.
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