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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 April 24th, 2006, 01:12 AM   #1
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XL2 vs DVX100 questions

Hello everyone this is my second post. These are the questions I have been dying to ask. I hope this is in the right catergory. The reason I placed it here is because I am favoring the XL2.

Question 1. The XL2 has native 16:9, do any of the dvx models have it, such as dvx100a 100b?

Question 2. If none of the dvx models have the native 16:9 mode, is there a way to get the wide screen look with the camera with out stretching the image, that would have good enough resolution for tv, dvd, or big screen?

Question 3: Which camera does better in low light situations? (By low light I mean one candle).

Question 4: Which camera would produce a better cinema quality for dvd? I was going to ask which camera is better; however, that is a loaded question.

I am planing to get one of these cameras, If I can afford it I will probably end up getting the jvc hd100.

Question 5. When using something like redrock MR2 or Micro35, do you need the standard lense? From the pictures it appears it has to mount onto a lense, then you put a 35mm lense on top of the Micro. The reason I ask is because it would mean I would need to buy the XL2 with the lense.

If none of these cameras can film okay in low light, that is one or a few candles, which one can?

Sorry had a few more questions. with a mirco adapter I suppose I could use standard canon 35mm lenses that range from $30-$200?

Also to use a wide angle lense, can this be put on top of another lense, or do you need a wide angle lense for each size you plan to use, 50mm 100mm etc?

Thanks in advance, I look forward to your answers
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Old April 24th, 2006, 01:19 AM   #2
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Question 1: Nope
Question 2: Yes, buy an expensive 16x9 adapter.
Question 3: DVX is slightly better, although I own an XL2 and am very happy with its low light performance. Never tried a candle test though.
Question 4: Doesn't matter. Worry about your cinematography, its all in the cinematography!.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 01:43 AM   #3
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Thanks for you answers.

I am not sure about the it does not matter which is better for getting footage on dvd. Considering I will be using it to make a documentary, and other film projects. I want a camera that will produce good quality to play in the dvd player.

I am thinking the xl2 because of the native 16:9, and I like that look.

The MR2 question is also important to me if anyone knows the answer. You guys/gals rock btw.

side note, I am 28 years old.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 07:36 AM   #4
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Question 5:
the P+S and the Letus35XL are the only two adapters using a relay lens = they directly attach to the XL body...
For all the other adapters youŽll need an XL lens inbetween.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 05:52 PM   #5
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Ah, nice, so I can save like $1000 getting the xl2 body and the letus35, instead of getting the standard xl2 lense.

Does the letus let me use normal 35mm camera lenses or will I have to use video lenses. I ask because camera lenses can get an interesting look. The redrock can use both.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 12:50 AM   #6
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Neil, I've tested the DVX100 series in a major production I did last summer. We used it to shoot a documentary about a children's theatre program, and we put the camera through its paces. We filmed in room-light, daylight, stage lights, and night time. It did very well in all circumstances. The color reproduction was very good. The controls were idiot-proof.

All in all, the DVX100 was a good camera for the shoot.

But I ended up purchasing the XL2, for various and quite logical reasons.

First of all, the XL2 lens system is quite frankly the best in the market. No other manufacturer will give you a 20X zoom lens; even the previous XL1 series (XL1 and XL1S) had this advantage with their 16X lenses. Other manufacturers, like JVC, bundle either a 12X or 16X lens. Although this really shouldn't be a big problem, you'll come to see why it proves to be a major selling point once I complete my reasons.

Second, interchangability of lenses is a MAJOR plus for any filmmaker. And although Canon only provides either the 20X or 3X wide angle lenses native to the XL2, their EF lenses are all compatible with the camcorder, via an expensively priced $600.00 adapter. But those $600.00 (price varies drastically among 3rd party sellers, of course) are well spent for the plethora of EF options then open to you. You can get a vast sea of optical options with EF lenses.

Third, Canon's stability is well known. It has been in this business for a very long time. It is far more experienced than Sony and Panasonic. You see, Panasonic and JVC never produced film or digital cameras, never gained that knowledge with optics through decades of research and improvements. Of course, that doesn't mean Panasonic or JVC don't have good products.

Fourth, the XL2 is an extremely easy and versatile camcorder. Put it in any condition and it will make you happy. I performed several indoor tests once I received my XL2, and was very happy with the results. Outdoor shots were even more impressive. Color reproduction is astounding, even better than the Panasonic DVX100 series', and rivals the JVC's HD100U.

Finally, the price is very competative. For all the features you get with the XL2, you can easily find a 3rd party selling it for around $4000.00 (I got mine from B&H Photo online). Now, yes, $4000 is quite a lot of money, but so is paying $3500 for a DVX100B or $2800 for DVX100A. In any case, you got a more robust camcorder for the price, and for only $500 more than a DVX100B.

I should also point out I've tested the JVC HD100U. It is a fine camera. Its HD capability is impressive, as is its normal DV format. It has a lot of options, as well. Not only does it support lens interchangability, but also offers a direct-to-edit hard drive compatibility (which, I assume, is not related to the Firestore series). Obviously, it is HD ready for the next leap in shooting format. It is slightly smaller than the XL2 put together. It has an interesting shooting option that depicts all focused objects blue in the viewfinder. This is very handy, and when used in conjuction with the zebra pattern option, can be a very forgiving machine.

So, if you do plan to save up enough money for a JVC HD100U, I suggest you do. It will not let you down.

But, as far as I'm concerned, my XL2 is an extremely good camcorder and I'd be happy to pit it against the JVC or Panasonic or (cough) Sony products.

You must realize, of course, that regardless of which camcorder you do end up buying, your lighting and shooting techniques will say a lot more than what your camcorder will. The correct use of lighting can make your shoot look professional, even though might only be using a simple $1000 Sony camcorder.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 07:36 PM   #7
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I agree with pretty much everything said. I've personally used both the XL2 and the DVX100 and I just like the XL2 more. The things I like about it are the lens options, native 16:9, and I just find the menus/controls to suit me a lot more than those on the DVX do - may not necessarily be the same for you, so try them out. I also find the stabilizer on the XL2 to be much better than the one on the DVX and the XL2 has a longer lens which I can't live without, so if those are important to you, go with the XL2.
In terms of the HD100 from JVC, I've never used it but would like to in the near future.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 07:46 PM   #8
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No doubt many of the technical advantages listed are good ones.

But for what it's worth, I just plain like the pictures the DVX delivers better than the ones the XL2 does. Better color, better gamma, and overall, when all is said and done, and both are put to their best use, just a more film-like feel.

But that's entirely subjective. Try them both and see if it's the same -- or not -- for you.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 08:09 PM   #9
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I guess how "film-like" the images are is something really subjective. I must admit that I have spent a lot more timeusing the XL2 (I don't own either) so I know the camera a lot more intimately and I can pretty much tweak anything I need to without any thinking. That may be why I like the images from the XL2 more (again, totally subjective), simply because I know the camera more so I can get the look I want more easily. But in all honesty, I think overall, the images from both cameras look extremely similar - if you shot in 4:3 with both cameras at their default settings, I seriously doubt anyone would be able to tell the two apart - they do look almost identical. In terms of colour and stuff like that, both cameras allow you to adjust/tweak/fine tune all those parameters so if you're not happy with the default ones, just tweak them to your taste.

In general, I think the XL series from Canon has a lot more potential that Canon just aren't seeing. One thing that I question is why the number of lenses for it are as limited as they are - I'd love to see some XL manual primes, an ultra-wide angle lens and some others that aren't possible with EF lenses. I also wonder why Canon doesn't allow it to use their really nice higher end broadcast lenses on it - if they made the hand grip detachable so it wouldn't get in the way of the one on the lenses, it would be pretty cool and Canon does not make higher end cameras, so it's not like it would compete with any of their products. Anyway, my wishes for the XL series are a whole other topic.

However, if I had to nitpick things I dislike about the XL2, it would really have to be the iris dial - I really liked the wheel in the original XL2 and wish they would have stuck with that. Also, as many others have realized, it is front heavy, but this can be eliminated by putting dual batteries on the back of the camera which I do, the balance doesn't really bother me any more. With the DVX100, I honestly love the design and I really think Panasonic listens to their customers a lot considering all the things they've put into this camera, but (personally) I'm really bothered by how short the lens is because I just really like long lenses for the work I do. I also don't think the menus are as easy to figure out as they are on the XL2, but I do think certain aspects of them are a lot more professional than the XL2 (ie using actual numbers instead of a line and pointer to show certain settings)
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Old April 26th, 2006, 02:31 AM   #10
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Depends on your definition of "film-like" if it is "Man on Fire" then yes... the DVX. If it is Kodachrome WYSIWYG, then XL2 all the way. The 24p motion is IDENTICAL in both cameras.

Both cameras are fabulous, the DVX is MUCH easier to use and most every single person that complains about the XL2 is not using it properly. It has a great deal of manipulation possibilities and NO built-in looks as does the DVX.

If you are a moderate to experienced shooter who plans on getting the 3X or 16m manual lens, then I would say go for the XL2. If you are a novice to moderate shooter who wants to stick to the basic unit, I would go for the DVX.

ash =o)
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Old April 26th, 2006, 03:07 AM   #11
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Thanks guys/gals you have been a great help. I guess it really come down to the fact I want to film in native 16:9 and if the person is correct, then I can buy the xl2 body and save over a grand on the lense, buy the low priced letus35 and use 35mm lenses.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 03:20 AM   #12
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At the moment sales offers for the XL2+20X lens are not very much higher than buying the body alone. It would be a better deal to buy the XL2 + lens package, and then sell the 20X lens - this would provide you with an even cheaper XL2 body with some money left over for the 16X or 14X manual or 3 X lens.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 05:46 AM   #13
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tony great advice thanks, got to love ebay!

When I say 35mm lenses, I am actually asking about using normal photo camera lenses. I think the redrock MR2 adapter lets you use normal camera lenses for film. Not sure if the letus35 has this option.

If you were to attach the letus35 or MR2, which ever one lets you attach right to the camera and not to a lense, and then attach a 35mm lense to it would you get a standard look as you would with a 35mm camera and 35mm lense?

Or would you need to attach a 23mm lense to get the same look?

Last edited by Neil Fontaine; April 26th, 2006 at 07:11 AM.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 08:49 AM   #14
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when you use a 35mm adapter, a 50mm will give you a 50mm field of view on the groundglass or wax or whatever is used for the trick.
Through step down rings, macros or achromats you then adjust your camera to record the framesize your cameras ccds are capable of.
idealy thereŽll be no vignetting and an even light distribution over the frame.
so, no calculations needed like with digital SLRs and non digi lenses...
BTW, the letus works with photo lenses...

- chris
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Old April 26th, 2006, 10:40 AM   #15
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just a quick note - in your first post, you mentioned getting still lenses for around 200 dollars. Don't. Still lenses that cheap, for the most part, will not give you excellent image quality and will simply feel and look like garbage unless you stop them down which you probably don't want to or will be unable to do. If you are buying still lenses from Canon which seems like the route you're planning to take, buy their "L-series" professional lenses which are better built and perform a lot better than the plasticy consumer ones. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, stay away from cheap lenses or you may be disappointed.
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