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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 27th, 2006, 03:02 PM   #1
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XL2 - Couple Questions for Owners

I am in the looking to get a new camera, and I am in the XL2 vs. DVX100b boat at the moment. I am leaning towards the XL2, mostly because of the 16x9 chips. I am primarily buying the camera for a documentary I am filming in Nepal and India in a few months. I am going to want to shoot in 24p. I have a couple questions for owners. Unfortunately, I am having trouble finding one to play around with.

1) I have heard that the servo-controlled 20x lens is hard to focus, especially without any form of peaking or numerical distance meter. This is by far my biggest concern. What are your thoughts on it, is it something that just needs time to get used to. I don't want to get back after a shoot to find that half my work is out of focus. How is the viewfinder quality? (I know there is the 16x manual lens, but even just getting body only and that lens adds another $1000 to the price of the camera that is already $500 above the dvx100, plus it loses stabilization)

2) Is there macro on the camera with the 20x? I know there is no switch or anything on the lens. Some sources are saying 20mm, others are saying there is no macro.

3) Is the automatic rack focus usable at all, or is it pretty jerky?

4) How long does the included battery usually last?

5) Is the camera pretty sturdy. I will be backpacking around Nepal with It (with a specialized camera backpack). And dust problems?

6) And for those that have used the DVX100, does the 16x9 on that camera compare to the XL2?

7) Found a Bag and Tripod on B&H. Kata 502 and Libec TH-M20 Tripod. Any thoughts or experiences with these?

Thanks,
Brandon
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Old November 27th, 2006, 03:39 PM   #2
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Hmm...tough thing to answer those questions for me. I was in the same boat as you on the DVX vs. XL2 thing. One thing that might be a little weird for you if your not used to it is the form factor of the XL2 vs. DVX. The XL2 will be alot weirder to use at first if you've never used one like it such as the XL1 or something of the sort. The DVX is more "out of the box" because its built like any other camcorder. Its more solid and sturdy in the hand for run and gunning.

Dust will be an issue with any camera and can cause alot of damage. XL2 seems like it would easier to be damaged by dust than the DVX because of the form factor, more spots for it to get into like around the lens attachment (fixes for that though)

The 16x9 on the XL2 far exceeds the DVX "squeeze mode" and was a key factor in my XL2 purchase. The image it produces is absolutely awesome.

The automatic focus works great IMO and the lens altogether is a really great piece of hardware. Its DOF is great and can get pretty close to things so the macro thing im not sure about. It doesnt have a Macro function persay but it does have the ability to get close to objects and focus in.

The backpacking thing is your decision. The form factor will require a bigger device for storage plus batteries, UV lens or any other filters, Mic, etc.

The hard to focus issue, hmm. You get used to it I think, there are always ways to improve but if your doing alot of outdoors stuff and walking around with the camera alot I think any camera would drive you nuts if you have to manual focus the whole time. I use the auto focus almost all the time when doing a wedding where there is lots of people around, and the XL2 has the function to change to manual focus as soon as you hit he ring which is nice if you need to quickly adjust. The viewfinder with your eye to the eyepiece isn't half bad, I like using it that way instead of the flipped up eyepiece and looking straight at the viewfinder.

The battery lasts for about 1-2hrs (not sure I might be completely wrong). But you'll definetly want a couple of them if your going out on the road with ur stuff obviously.

One last thing is the weight of the XL2. If your not used to it its going to make your arms absolutely exausted after one day of shooting. The tripod obviously will be in use but even using the Xl2 on yoru shoulder for a short amount of time if your new to the camera can be grueling. I suggest the Tiffen Steadystick (100 bucks ;) ) if your looking for something allowing you to walk around with it for many many hours with no fatigue.

My Overall Take: The DVX would be great if your doing alot of run and gun, walking amongst crowds, things like that. Its smaller more compact, lighter, and easier for quick stuff as well as many others. Its 16x9 however compared to the XL2 is mediocre. The XL2 I think is a overall better investment than the DVX because of its lens, image overall (16x9 is much better), and its other tiny features. However from the sounds of your situation, the areas you'll be in, the dust, the burden of backpacking, I think the DVX would be better but tahts just me.

Idk thats my take on your questions, I hope I didn't forget anything.

-Kyle
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Old November 27th, 2006, 04:58 PM   #3
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Reading 'between the lines' of your questions, I concur with Kyle. I consider the XL2 to be a better camera in many ways, including 16X9 image. BUT the DVX form factor is going to be better for a 'backpack run and gun' sort of experience. Easier to carry and pack, lighter, less chance of getting dust in the camera mount.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 11:06 PM   #4
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I think backpaking around with it would be cumbersome. I'd go with the DVX between the two choices.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 02:20 AM   #5
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In a backpack the small form factor will be a huge benefit.

As for your number one concern, ease of focus, the XL2 is excellent. Simply tape over the auto focus button so the cam is always in manual focus. It is never required and can cause incorrect results. The Push A/F button is also easy to reach for but can cause incorrect results. Full tight zoom , focus, pull back, done. Every shot. Very crisp.

Regarding rack focussing with the preset zoom buttons, forget it. This is a production tool for industrial shoots or perhaps a sporting event where you quickly require to re-shoot the same location from a locked down position ... like a goal net for example.

As for the absolute statement above regarding auto-focus, I suppose I should never say never. If you are going to hand your camera to a first time user without explaining how it works, then A/F would be ok for that kind of experimentation.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 12:39 PM   #6
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Actually, Im not really worried about the size. I like using a heavier camera, i can keep it steadier. The extra weight is not a big issue. Supposedly the Kata 502 fits it pretty well.

I plan on almost never using the autofocus. I am used to using Sony DVCAMs, so the zoom in-out is second nature. Unfortunately, the manual lens is above my budget at the moment.

I really like the idea of the downloadable custom presets, especially switching back and forth between a mode that makes precise focusing easier. (high contrast b&w)

Here is my plan
XL2 (Buydig, $2265)
Kata 502 Backpack ($250 B&H)
Tiffen Provista with FM18 ($199 B&H)
+5 945 Knock off Batteries from Ebay ($8 each)
+cleaning kit (any suggestions?)

Any other suggestions? Any thoughts on the Tiffen Provista tripods?

Thanks,
Brandon
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Old November 28th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #7
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Tape.

Lots and lots of tape.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 07:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Katcher
Here is my plan
XL2 (Buydig, $2265)
Err, I'd make VERY sure that at that price it includes the LENS. I am very suspicious...that's way below their cost for a new XL2 with the 20x lens.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 07:57 PM   #9
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Steve's got a point. That's a suspicioulsy low price for a complete XL2 NIB.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 10:47 PM   #10
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brandan,

I have the exact same list of equipment you have decided upon.

the tripod is actually pretty decent for the price. It took me a bit to get used to it however, if you have it a tad to tight it does not start smoothly. If I am going to hick or such I would get a lighter smaller tripod.

Knock off batteries, can't imagine paying that price unless they are well over their two years none deterioration time frame!!
email me the source, I would be interested.

The camera price is dog cheap, buyer beware. Is it some one you can trust to send off a couple grand and know you will actually get it??

I use a gl2 and an xl2. It doesn't take long to learn how to run and gun with an xl2!! It has the greatest flexability of any camcorder. Plus you have the 20x lens!!
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Old November 29th, 2006, 01:04 AM   #11
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Sorry, I meant $3265.
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Old November 29th, 2006, 01:06 AM   #12
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You can get the 945 batteries off ebay.


http://cgi.ebay.com/BP-945-BATTERY-F...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old November 29th, 2006, 04:08 AM   #13
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Get the Xl2 u will not regret it. The 20X lens will work very well.
The dust issue - after getting a bag, just make sure u get a UV filter and a lens cleaning kit.
For a tripod, u should get the Bogen 3011BN Tripod Leg w/3433 (501) Pro Video Head(about $230 at B&H). I owned the tiffen tripod but after shooting with the bogen 3011bn w/501 head(borrowed from a friend), I was very impress and it was better than the tiffen and it doesn't take a lot of room.
I'm currently looking at upgrading to a better tripod. 24P requires a very steady hand and a very good sturdy tripod w/a good head for smooth paning therefor I'm looking at this tripod
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation
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Old November 29th, 2006, 06:51 AM   #14
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You mentioned the dusty enviroment so I would suggest you find at least one large plastic bag to put the camera in when not in use. For cleaning I would recommend that you get a brush-air-bulb combo to use for the start of cleaning. You need to get the big chunks off before using any type of lens cloths. I would also take many wet cleaning cloths like the Zeiss ones I have. I think I got them at Walmart. Pre-moistened, single use packs.

Sounds like a fun trip! Oh, love my XL2!

Mike
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Old November 29th, 2006, 02:08 PM   #15
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Hi hope iam not cross posting but as this is for XL2 owners iam in a bit of a tiss

I have been working on a wildlife project over the last 4years which as been shot on the XL1, XL1s and now the XL2 and hope it will be completed next summer, the main aim is to get it broadcast on local telly,

But now that HD is taking off in a big way now in the UK and i have heard whispers that tv stations will now favour HD i just wondered if i was wasting my time

the shots i have got will be hard to capture again even if i could afford the XLH1 HD and comming back to this forum you people are still buying the XL2 in boat loads! are you all hobbyists or are you hoping to get your footage on tv

What to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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