XL2 or HD <>HDV at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders

Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 18th, 2006, 11:33 PM   #1
Old Boot
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 3,464
XL2 or HD <>HDV

Now, without wanting/wishing to get into a comparison thread on SD<>HD, why is the market for this camera still so buoyant?

I'm still with my XM2 and have been "waiting" for a Pope-like sign of smoke arising from the Vatican, about ANY news on ANY impending Canon HD offering at my end of the market.

Making a decision on the Xl2 as an option to get hold of a now reasonably priced Xl2, this to get hold of native true 16:9 and better reso - I would like to gauge the reasoning of people here as to why they went with the Canon XL2 SD - still - and not with an HD offering.


Graham Bernard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2006, 12:04 AM   #2
Regular Crew
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 60
My reasoning to go with my xl2 over the xlh1 was

A: Most people I share my video with will be shown on a standard def T.V or on the web

B: Cost

C: HD file size makes alot of footage difficult to manage.

D: I upgraded from a canon zr60 so the upgrade in image quality from that camera to the xl2 was more than enough for me
Kelly Harmsworth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2006, 09:20 AM   #3
Major Player
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Las Vegas, NV United States
Posts: 360
For my exhibition purposes and delivery (mostly DVD), the XL2 had the all encompassing quality, economics, camera control answers i was looking for...

I too will be looking at entry level HD, but am personally waiting for next generations (such as JVC just did with their HDV), or to see where other formats may end up... for the record, i was a pessimist about HDV, but have withnessed what these cameras can do in the right hands... still unsure of HDV's future and where HD deliverables will take us, and i'd like to see a little bigger stronger brother of the HVX200 show it's beautiful head too...

also with all these price dips and steals on digibeta, dvcpro50 - all these are great tried and true pieces of hardware that will serve my Indie Filmmaker purposes well, for a long while...

Lonnie Bell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2006, 11:30 AM   #4
Regular Crew
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 74
I bought my Canon XL2 back in March of this year. I had the most difficult time deciding on this camera, because there are so many more options now that the first wave of prosumer/consumer HD cameras have hit.

It wasn't an easy choice, but there were a few reasons I chose this camera over the many other SD & HD cameras out there.

Reasons of Purchase
Top of the line technology.
The price of this camera has come down dramatically because of the recent pushes of prosumer HD technology. After doing endless comparisions of cameras and testing them out in person, the Canon XL2 is unmatched in quality for the price. I wasn't too sure I'd be happy with a camera that shoots the DV25 format, but I'm actually very satisfied with the results (plus, it's affordable -- whose complaining?).

SD vs. HD
High definition is definitely the future , and I wouldn't quite call the XL2 'future proof.' I've found HD cameras to be especially tempting lately (the HVX200 *drool*), but, I decided against HD cameras for the following reasons.

1. Too new.
Prosumer HD cameras are very new in many ways; except for JVC (there may be others), prosumer HD cameras are only in their first generation. There are many, many updates and changes needed until prosumer HD, in my opinion, becomes viable. There are many imperfections in the camcorders and formats, too, which brings me to my next point.

2. Format issues.
The only *true* affordable HD cameras are currently shooting HDV, which *IS* real HD, but, it's a highly compressed format. Take a look at any sample footage from an HDV camera that tilts/pans/etc. -- there is tons of motion artifacting. Then, to make things more confusing, there are different HDV types - a type 1 and type 2, each which has a different GOPs and what not.

There are so many new and upcoming HD formats that choosing "the best" and the one that will be most 'future proof' is such a loaded question that it has no obvious answer at this time.

In my opinion, the best HD camera for the money is the Panasonic AG-HVX200, simply because it's format flexibility. I've had the privelage to use it once on a shoot, and let me tell you, this is where digital is going - tapeless recording. However, even the HVX200 would be a tough buy for me because P2 is still extremely expensive, and also, there are HD cameras that are coming out that will be shooting on much more affordable SD cards. With SD cards expanding in capacity and decreasing in price, Panasonic is going to have a tough time competing.

3. Workflow.
In many cases, a pure HD workflow is not yet affordable because of the decks, computer horsepower, and rendering software needed for being efficient in editing video.

3. Delivery Medium.
Blu-Ray, HD-DVDs ... format wars (sounds a lot like Beta vs. VHS). Not only is this technology currently super expensive, but it's still developing. I don't know the statistic offhand, but I know that even for the next few years, many people will still be without an HD television, let a lone HD-capable DVD players. Other than possibly capturing the footage in HD, then downconverting to SD with a slightly higher colorspace, HD has no absolute use unless you plan on transferring your footage to film.

4. No HD camera with good 'overall features.'
Any HD camera under $10,000 right now is lacking a feature that the other one has. For example:

- JVC (+) interchangable lenses, shoots 24p (-) known for hardware failure, bad artifacting

- Canon (+) interchangable lenses, shoots 24CF at 1080, great optics (-) non-existent HD lenses [minus the stock lens], highly compressed audio, most expensive HDV camera to date

- Sony (+) great for most shooting conditions, well-balanced features, intuitive design, fairly affordable (-) only shoots 1080/60i, fixed lenses

- Panasonic (+) variable framerates, shoots 3 formats, excellent color sampling, featured tapeless recording option (-) price of P2 cards

If you're set on getting an HD camera, I'd keep a close eye on Panasonic and Canon. If Panasonic comes out with an HVX200A/B camera and lowers P2 prices, the camera could be an indie's dream. If Canon comes out with a tapeless HD camcorder that shoots DVCproHD like the Panasonic, that may possibly be the ultimate camcorder for years to come - but I'm not holding my breath.

XL2 vs. DVX100B.
The only other SD camera that I found tempting was the DVX100 series. First off, it a whole $1k cheaper than the XL2. Secondly, from footage I've seen online, you can get some amazing cinematic results out of the camera -- even more so with a 35mm DOF adapter. The camera's gamma curve + 24p technology was tempting.

A tough choice to be sure; however, there were a few reasons I went with the XL2 over the DVX. The XL2 has native 16:9 CCD's - the DVX does not. The XL2 has many more in-camera customizable settings - the DVX is simpler to use, but limited in regards to a wide array of in-camera tweaks. The XL2 produces a sharper image - the DVX shoots more noise.

Some argue that the softness in the DVX produces a more 'filmic' look, while I agree, I think that it's better to capture the footage in the best quality possible, and tweak and edit towards the look you were after in post (but that's just a personal opinion). The XL2 does in fact shoot 'legal broadcast colors,' where the DVX100 does not. The poppy, saturated look that many want to emulate is better replicated by the DVX - but at the dispense of detail loss. The XL2 can produce similar vibrant colors with some preset know-how and white balancing to a warming card, but while maintaining sharpness and detail definition. Like I said earlier, I find it better to obtain a specific look in post, which the XL2 would be better for.

The HVX200 -- if the budget allows.
If I had the money back in March, I would have gone with the HXV200 over the XL2. P2 is rediculously expensive when considering that the camera is clearly aimed at the semi-pro market. However, as a temporary solution, the camera can shoot SD on a MiniDV tape a native 16:9 format. The SD image quality (from my own experience with using the camera) is in fact sharper than the DVX100. With that in my, the HVX is a superior SD camcorder to the DVX, and allows for you to grow to HD when the time is right.

Unless Canon makes a breathrough within the next few years, I think I may be going with Panasonic for my next camcorder.

What it always comes down to is your budget; the XL2 was the best camcorder I could get for the money, and it should last me for a long time - up until HD is more mainstream, anyways.

This is my sole reasoning for getting the XL2 over any other HD camcorder.
Zack Vohaska is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 21st, 2006, 10:23 AM   #5
Old Boot
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 3,464
Kelly, Lonnie and Zack, thank you, thank you very much.

Zack, wow! You put a lot of thought into that. You kinda spelt out ideas I had not truly worked out. I especially appreciated your thoughts on the DVX100V. Ans yes , it is the native 16:9 that is swaying me. And yes, my clients so far will not be using my work for anything greater than presentations and then web streams.

I've been seeing Canon refurbed machines coming far too close to my CCard budgets to be ignored now.

So, there are many reasons why this is still buoyant.
Graham Bernard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 25th, 2006, 09:43 PM   #6
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pawtucket, RI
Posts: 4
I just wonder why everyone says HDV footage takes so much drive space?

1080i HDV is actually slightly LESS bitrate then DV with 16b audio. 720p is able equal. I mean, we're spinning the same tapes in HDV cameras and we still get 60 minutes per tape.

So, are you creating uncompressed frames out of all your footage or something crazy like that?

Even if HDV did somehow use more disk space, it's very cheap. You can easily build cheap high-performance SATA RAIDs (real ones, with LSI or 3Ware controllers or the like.) Seagate has 750GB disks, and they're fast.

HDV does have it's share of issues. I wouldn't make a motion picture with an HDR-FX1. However, I wouldn't make one with an XL2 either. You can get really awesome video from this new breed of pro-consumer camera and the quality of most of them surpasses most DV by a good margin.

DV is still good, and high quality DV cameras will always be high quality SD cameras. If you don't use HD, and don't plan to, then I think your investment is better spent with a top of the line SD camera. But, if you think you might use HD video soon, HDV is a great trade-off for quality and cost.

When I watch HDTV programs, particularly Discovery, I see a lot of HDV being used. They use FX-1's for a lot of in-car type stuff, or anytime when they don't want to put a $60,000 HD camcorder in jeopardy. You can *usually* tell the difference (but not always) in video quality, but it's damned good enough for most video.

There's valid arguments either way. I mean, you can debate formats all day long, but tapeless recording is still something that won't be viable for a long time. The media is too expensive and heavy. This might change, but that doesn't mean your tapes of today stop working. HDV is here to stay, whether or not some new "ultra high quality consumer HD" media/format becomes available. I don't see this happening anytime soon.

You can argue about "future proof" - but let me tell you, nothing is future proof. The best you can hope for is something that is fairly well supported and won't be completely useless in a few years. It does not appear that this will be the way of HDV.

HDV is more compressed then DV, but the compression schemes are much newer and higher quality then the old "MJPEG-like" DV spec. If you could apply the MPEG2 compression of HDV to SD, you'd get some damned amazing video quality. It makes the job more difficult for editing software, but computers are pretty quick these days..

I guess I'm not "Indie" enough. I don't have dreams of my videos reaching the silver screen. I shoot some weddings, local events, etc. Getting some experience and making some money on the side. I'm not producing movies. I feel as though HDV quality is good enough for most stuff!

I chose HDV (FX-1) for my next camcorder, and I really love working with it. I am not dissapointed in the video. I think the Canon HD camcorder is probably nicer in most ways, but for the cost of the FX-1 and the rich feature set I still can't quite believe it. I don't mind the 60i mode, since there's some awesome software for resampling to progressive frame rates if I need it. Which, in most cases, I don't. I believe the FX-1 has GOOD overall qualities. What Zack seems to be looking for is PERFECT overall qualities.

Anyways, that's my 2.
Joseph Jamieson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 16th, 2007, 08:50 AM   #7
Regular Crew
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Pasadena CA
Posts: 59
wow thank you

thank you your advice helped me chose
Chris Sinista is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 16th, 2007, 10:44 PM   #8
Major Player
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Ransomville NY
Posts: 239
I chose the A1 over the XL2. I sold my XL2 just recently to get the A1 because I love the clarity of HD, even after the SD downconvert its stunning. I didn't like the XL2 formfactor for all purpose shooting and for the price of the A1, it was the only smart choice for me. I loved the XL2's picture, manual control, etc. but the form factor and the A1's price, plethera of manual control OVER the XL2, and its image simply sold me. At $3500 new for an A1, its hard for me to imagine getting an SD ONLY camera right now since the A1 can do SD and HD. So get the A1 and dont go HD just yet, shoot in SD for now.

- Kyle
Online Portfolio | Feature Film on XHA1
Kyle Prohaska is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 18th, 2007, 11:14 AM   #9
Regular Crew
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 41
I think I will be getting an A1 too. From all of the weeks of research I've done, it seems the only thing the XL2 has over the A1 is the interchangeable lens feature. I'm only going to be shooting SD too, but the fact I can switch to HD when I need to and the fact that all of the XL2's features are on the A1 and more have made my decision.

I hope I don't regret it :(
Giles Buchanan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 18th, 2007, 10:23 PM   #10
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Lipa City Batangas, Philippines
Posts: 1,110
I'm actually a bit disappointed that the results from my A1 are not as good as those from my XL2, after conversion to SD DVD. The image does not seem so solid somehow, and there is a wavering quality sometimes when the A1 is moving or zooming that I never see with the XL2. Don't know if it is a data rate limitation of the HDV compression or what, but it is there too often for comfort.

Richard Hunter is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

Omega Broadcast
(512) 251-7778
Austin, TX

(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

(800) 238-8480
Glendale, CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:27 PM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2015 The Digital Video Information Network