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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 18th, 2005, 04:39 PM   #106
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Thanks a lot so far for the responses. Now for the final question before I give my credit card number to the evil photo/video dealer in NY:

Would I be sorry going with a GL2 instead of the XL2? I know you'll have lots of questions as to my use and experience level, but really what you're looking at in me is a 1-series Canon user who wants performance but is not sure if the weight of the XL2 is going to bug me.

Perhaps what I really should be looking at is getting the XL2 and a more pocketable DV recorder.

I'd love to hear anyone's thought process in deciding to go with the XL2 versus, say, another Canon model or even, in this day and age, the latest Sony high-def model. I mean, if someone's going to want me to shoot their wedding in high def, then I'm out of that job, right?

Love to hear your thoughts. Thanks again.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 06:06 PM   #107
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Hi George;
It really depends on what your shooting. If its wildlife or a requirement for interchangable lenses, there's not much choice. However, there are those using the GL2 for wildlife. If its weddings, you may need two cameras. The GL2 would be a good choice there. If Hi Def is what your customers request, then your choice is narrowed. One question to your customers, - how do they play Hi Def?
You won't be sorry with either camera.
Check with ZGC.com for cameras. Talk with Chris.

Best;

Ron
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Old March 18th, 2005, 10:45 PM   #108
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I tried the GL2 today and it really felt and looked like a toy. I understand it takes nice videos, but if Canon is going to put out a really nice cam, why house it in such plasticky junk?

Perhaps I'm too used to the quality feel of the 1-series film and digital bodies. But even in still cameras, the 20D feels like a quality instrument. Not the GL2, IMO.

Amazes me to read all the glowing reviews about the GL2. Maybe people have just gotten used to feeling plastic in their hands and pushing tiny buttons and scrolling through silly menus to adjust parameters.

Reminded me of the old days when using a Coolpix camera.

I think I'm headed for the XL2. That's a real camera, right?
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Old March 18th, 2005, 11:53 PM   #109
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Hi George;
It's part of the mental thing I talked about. The XL2 is more professional, however is still considered a prosumer camera. We are used to professional 35mm cameras. As you go up in price for DV cameras , the mechanical quality gets better; But the picture quality remains much the same in 3 chip DV.

You would probably feel more professional with the XL2 and have more flexability with the added controls and the available accessories.

Again, it kind of depends on which subject area you are in.

Best;

Ron
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Old March 19th, 2005, 05:41 AM   #110
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ron Armstrong :1: The EOS lenses are all going to be manual everything. No autofocus, no auto aperture, no auto zoom. -->>>

Ron, The EF-adapter does allow auto aperture. Just turn the small switch on the adapter to the other position. Still, I'm not saying it is that useful.

> George: Which EOS lenses do you prefer using and why?

The EF 70-200mm/f2.8 USM produces very sharp images, as well as the 300mm/f.28, 400mm/f2.8, 600mm/4.0. Then zooms with a wide range, such as 35-350mm, 100-400mm etc., are not that good. The difference is noticiable.

> Georger: Canon's lower-end DVs have selectable focus points, as I'm used to with still cams, but the XL2 apparently does not. Why is this and what am I missing?

I suspect that this almost endless discussion with the focusing of the 20x and 3x lenses has to do with two things:

1. The viewfinder is quite not able to give a feeling that the image is in focus although it is. There are simple too small number of pizels. At least, it happens to me all the time and after seven years with the Xl1 and Xl2 I still find myself struggling with the same question: While taking the footage I'm concerned of the focus, but then when I view the footage on a proper monitor everything is just perfect.

2. It's difficult to get used to the idea that setting the focus depends on how quickly one turns the ring. Comibing the effects of the viewfinder and the servo control imply, one has to turn the focus ring slowly back and forth and seek for the best point of the images appearing bit out of focus.

I think such a system is bit poor for human beings. For, when ever our muscles in the hands and the visual perception work together --such as when reaching some object from the shelf-- the visual perception "guides" the mechanical control. When the viewfinder blurs the visual control and this is combined with the sliding focus position, we simply find the situation akward. Conversely, this perhaps explains why the XL12 is easier to focus with the EF lenses. (The focus point does not drift.)

Finaly, I'm not sure selectable focus points in a video camera were such a good idea as in the EOS-bodies. In fact, in my experience, the autofocus is not that useful for serious video production, for the system may loose or change the focus when you did not want that to happen at the first place.

It's difficult to follow moving objects, and the question is, whether you want to have things somewhat in focus all the footage, or to have them precisely in focus and then loose that the next moment. Not so clear, which is better for the audience. But you see my point, in still photography it's all very different. (If you take a sequence of still photos, you may always throw away the frame which is out of focus and still have many good frames. In a footage, one short moment focus point shifting back and forth may ruin the whole thing.)
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Old March 19th, 2005, 06:38 AM   #111
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Thanks Ron and others. I appreciate your patience and responses.

Ron, are you saying that while the XL2 offers much better manual controls and a better overall feel, the picture quality over the GL2 will not be that stunning.

I talked to a Canon rep yesterday who said the XL2's picture was markedly better than that of the GL2; he referred to intangible qualities that made me think kthe XL2 was much more than just better handling and control.
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Old March 19th, 2005, 06:42 AM   #112
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Lauri,

I checked out your web site and am impressed. You and I have similar interests, namely, wildlife and photography. I own the Canon 600mm and 500mm lenses and have been shooting (still) wildlife for the past 10 years.

I *never* considered until recently adding video, mainly because I didn't think the quality would approach what I'm getting with still.

Question: so will the XL2 equipped with a 500mm f/4 IS lens deliver the kind of sharpness I expect from a wildlife photo? I would be amazed.
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Old March 19th, 2005, 07:18 AM   #113
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<<<-- Originally posted by Georg Herbet : Question: so will the XL2 equipped with a 500mm f/4 IS lens deliver the kind of sharpness I expect from a wildlife photo? I would be amazed. -->>>

The Canon 500mm f/4.0 is a wonderful lens. It creates as sharp images as you ever can expect to get with a video camera. Of course, any video frame is not comparable to a still photo, but in the class of video footages the combination of XL2 + 500mm f/4.0 is on the top.
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Old March 19th, 2005, 07:40 AM   #114
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Thanks, Lauri.

I use a Wimberley head for my long lenses. The camera body, of course, dangles from the mounted lens. How does one mount a long lens with a presumably very heavy body such as the XL2? The same way?
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Old March 19th, 2005, 09:56 AM   #115
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Hi Georg;
Lauri has done a good job of explaining the advantages of EOS lenses. Sorry Lauri, forgot the switch.
I have seen the XL1 mounted on a Wimberely head. Seemed a little awkward to me; But I have seen others use fluid heads for their 35 mm cameras with success.
To support your XL2, start with a good fluid head mounted on a sturdy tripod built for video cameras. Naturally, you should use my RONSRAIL to support and balance the lens - camera combo. The interface between the lens, adapters, and camera are the week point in the system. Cameras hanging off the back of a long lens are an invitation to disaster. I've seen many instances of major damage. When we do wildlife, we subject our equipment to adverse conditions, we need all the support we can get. The majority of of wildlife videographers I come in contact with use a lens - camera support.

Use a RONSIGHT to find the subject in your limted field of view.

Tripods made by Sachtler, Vinten Mitchel, Cartoni, Miller are all used in the industry. Bogen is a less expensive option. Get the best you can afford.

If you haven't had the chance, check my website for the various setups.


Best;

Ron
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Old March 19th, 2005, 10:57 AM   #116
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Georg;
Forgot to mention the Gitzo tripods. You may have one. If it has a removable top plate, there is available, a half ball adapter that will allow the use of a video fluid head. My 400 series Gitzo tripod does have a removable top plate. Gitzo has the adapter,however, I don't have access to the stock number.

Could save having to buy a new tripod.

Ron
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Old March 19th, 2005, 11:54 AM   #117
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<<<-- Originally posted by Georg Herbet : How does one mount a long lens with a presumably very heavy body such as the XL2? The same way? -->>>

I'm afraid the Wimberley head is not that useful, but instead you needed a fluid head. I tried the Wimberley head (which is marvellous taking still photos of birds) at some point, for the head would have been rather practical in a hide, but was not satisfied with it.

I have Manfrotto tripod and fluid head and have used Vinten 5 as well. I attach the plate to the lens using both the 1/4" and 3/8"screws. Then by sliding the plate on the fluid head it's easy to find the balance. The weight of XL2 is no problem. So, my experience supports what Ron said about fluid heads. Yes, Ron has also a point that since the XL2 extends by 7.4x the focal length of EOS lenses, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the subject one wants to film. Notice also that on warm days the huge magnification together with the moving air may blur the image. In winter time I haven't had problems, but once when filming an eagle nest about 100m away, the whole tree appeared like a piece of rubber wiggling in the wind.
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Old March 19th, 2005, 12:41 PM   #118
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I was fortunate enough this winter to video a mountain lion about mile away. I didn' feel the conditions were right with heat waves and the distance involved, so I didn't take much footage. I used a 600mm f4 lens, opened up all the way and on reviewing the pictures wished I had taken more footage. The cat had two full grown kittens with her that I wish I had taken!!! The video was taken with the temp somwhere between 0 and 10 deg. f., late afternoon and in snow.
Wouldn't have been able to find the subject without the RONSIGHT.

Ron
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Old March 19th, 2005, 01:29 PM   #119
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Very, very interesting.

I'm thinking a lot about the XL2, nature photography, and the other topics mentioned here today.

You know, to make the investment, I'd need to know whether/how you folks sell videos of wildlife. I know how to do it with stills: I use galleries.

I'm not sure, though, that I want to delve into this, with this much expense over my already expensive still equipment, and not be able to recoup the costs. In other words, for my own pleasure I can't justify this.

Perhaps I will hold my nose and use a GL2 for lightweight videos, non-nature. I can't see giving up still, and I surely can't see lugging both rigs with me in the field.
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Old March 20th, 2005, 05:38 AM   #120
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<<<-- Originally posted by Georg Herbet : You know, to make the investment, I'd need to know whether/how you folks sell videos of wildlife. -->>>

Yes, I do sell the wildlife videos. My customers are broadcasting companies, advertising agencies etc. Still, I have no wisdom, how to do it. The best comment/advice I've ever heard was given by a manager of a broadcasting company, who said, they seek for professionalism. At that very moment I realized there must be a lot of people who are not able to make their point aptly and efficiently, but instead, they steel time from the already busy people.

So, in the end of the day, everything seems to boil down to private relations which have to be built with time. Second, every chance is unique, and thus, should be taken accordingly. I often say to myself: "It's now or never, are you willing to do simply your very best."

Finally, Ron has definitely a point with the RONSIGHT. Some equippment is often needed to find the target one wants to film. For the same reason, one needs a suspended fluid head. If the suspension is based on friction (as in the Wimberley head), it becomes rather difficult to control the movement of the camera.
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