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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 June 25th, 2007, 12:39 PM   #16
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I would go for an XL2.
I shot with both XL1s and XL2, and I've only read about the XH A1.
I think the XL2 is an amazing camera, but it's not worth it's price anymore (well, the european price, that is, here the camera still costs around 4000 euros or more :-S), but the XH A1 is a great bang for the buck - maybe the best out there at this moment.
To be honest, I didn't think there was SUCH a big difference between the XL1s and the XL2.
I've heard similar comments from someone who also had bought an XL1s AND an XL2.
The XL2 is without a doubt the better cam, but if you are going to invest in a new camera, go for an XH a1.

I DO love the manual controls and ergonomics of the XL cameras, but I never use the interchangible lens system.
XH A1 has a great HD picture, can shoot SD too, has all the controls the XL has (but in another form, more clunky), XLR (XL2 has that too of course), more image adjustements, iris ring, great lens,...
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Old June 25th, 2007, 01:21 PM   #17
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Something to keep in mind also is the shot stability. I have been coming across more and more threads about the shakiness of shots when shooting with the A-1. So if you do decide to go for the A-1 you should probably be prepared to invest in a descent steadi-cam unit as well, depending on what type of shooting you do.

The XL2 on the other hand has the excellent OPTICAL image stabilization and the ability to carry the unit on your shoulder enabling you to shoot amazingly smooth footage handheld, excluding extreme zoom shots.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 04:01 PM   #18
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xl2 or xh-a1

I just got up and running with my XL2. I, too, was long (4 months) debating whether to purchase this xl2 or the XH-A1, and for many reasons, I ended up going with the XL2.

My reasons for the XL2:

1. It is a top of the line, tried and tested SD cam, with outstanding manual controls.

2. newness of HD dissuaded me, as well as learning curve necessary for HD non-linear editing. additionally, for what I am going to shoot (art shorts and documentaries), the learning curve for SD is much more approachable for me.

3. price-the xl2 is slightly cheaper; editing system would cost me the same anyways.

4. interchangeable lens. the 3x wide lens for the XL series seems a much nicer option than using a screw-on wide angle adapter.

5. personal taste. for my artistic work, I do not want HD. There are situations even with the XL2 where I want to reduce sharpness or use a diffusion filter. HD, and many people will echo this, entails other issues if you are shooting people, specifically the *frightening* (in some cases) amount of detail! My image-conscious wife seconded my SD decision for this reason! A close-up in HD reveals every pore.

In the end, you have to decide what is best for what you are shooting. My advice would be that if you really do not absolutely need HD, go for the XL2. It is an utter beauty of a camera that will deliver you stunning images. It is definitely a camera that can help just about any filmmaker realize her or his creative vision.

Last edited by Eduardo Ramos; June 25th, 2007 at 04:03 PM. Reason: more info added
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Old June 25th, 2007, 04:45 PM   #19
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are you kidding, what kind of question is that

If you didn't get the XHA1 and went with the XL2 I'd slap you. Are you kidding? Why in the world would you go with SD when it's a fact that HD is the future, the NEAR future! I have an XL2 and an XHA1 and the XHA1 kicks the XL2's ass, and HDV is a breeze to edit in Final Cut, it's just like editing standard def. The XHA1 has a better picture, smaller size, more picture controls, a pop out LCD not that stupid eye piece setup that the XL2 has, and a slew of other bomb features. You'd be straight up crazy to go with the XL2 over the XHA1.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 05:28 PM   #20
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I have not used the XHA1, but I have the XL2, and if you're deciding between only these two, I'd go with the XL2.

1. the XHA1 is HDV, kinda like the lowest form of HD there is. It shoots compressed HD...who wants that? There's a multitude of threads (especially on Apple's FCP discussion forum) about the problems with HDV. If you want to buy a camera that is going to have a format that is professionally accepted in the broadcast and film world in the future, I think it's HD, not HDV. It's up to you to look into the future and find out if your clients (or your audience) will need HD in the next couple years. If not, you could do enough SD stuff right now to pay for a nice HD camera in 3-5 years (with the XL2 as a backup...it is possible to put SD content into an HD project).

2. To Josh Green: I'd probably slap you for giving that answer. I think you don't know what you are talking about for two reasons. First, the pop out LCD takes up a lot of battery. Second, and most important, the reason the XL2 has an eyepiece is becuase it is SHOULDER-MOUNTED like most big-time professional cameras. The only non-shoulder-mounted camera I'd get is the Panasonic HVX-200 (which is HD, not HDV by the way), but that's another thread. The problem with the non-shoulder-mounted cameras IMHO is that it's tougher to keep a steady shot for more than 20 seconds without a tripod. Try doing an 2-minute interview without a tripod and see how steady your shots are. Think before you call something stupid. Do you see any news organizations looking through a tiny LCD? No. Because their $30,000-$150,000 camera is a heck of a lot more professional and uses an eyepiece.

3. I like the XL2 for its diversity and manual controls (which has already been talked about).

In all, I'd say go with the XL2 for now, and as I mentioned above, do a lot of projects so you can purchase an HD camera when the need arises.

Jonathan
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Old June 25th, 2007, 05:33 PM   #21
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I just want to jump back in real quick and say thanks for all of the input. I'm definitely taking all of your thoughts into consideration. I have not yet made up my mind but all of your posts have certainly been helpful so far. Keep 'em coming!

Josh
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Old June 25th, 2007, 07:10 PM   #22
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You got a lot of posts and good advice. But don't get lost.

Questions for you:

Do you need to invest so much for a camera for school?

If the answer is yes because you will then use this camera to get paying jobs, who will be paying you?

Who you expect to be working for will determine which camera you want.

If you are doing weddings, local commercials, promotional video and stuff like that, an XL2 is a great choice. Not only is it a good overall camera, but it really impresses clients when they see it.

If you are determined to see your stuff on National Geographics or Discovery, go with the way of the future, HD. But is this really where you expect to be right out of college? And yes! You can do it, but it may take dedication and travel.

FYI: I own and XL2 and I want to get into HD yesterday. But I am waiting because I can't afford the computer and the camera I would need. And my clients don't want HD. But I expect to move into the documentary arena in the next 1 to 2 years. In in 2008 I will be shopping. And here's another point, it would seem that the prices on the HD cameras and Macpros would drop a lot. So is it better to wait? It all depends on what you truly expect to be doing the first 1 to 2 years out of college.

How that made sense.

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Old June 25th, 2007, 07:53 PM   #23
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It does make sense.

I'm not buying the camera for school. The school has XL1s cameras I can use, but I can't use them to make money. They're just for school projects.

I'd like to start putting a reel together and getting some work. This requires me to get my own camera. If felt like I could wait a year or two I would. It seems like HD will have made a little more progress by then. But I'll graduate next year and I'd like to have a little bit of work under my belt by then.

My interest is in shooting more cinematic style work - shorts and such. Maybe documentary, but that's not my main focus.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 07:04 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Green View Post
If you didn't get the XHA1 and went with the XL2 I'd slap you. Are you kidding? Why in the world would you go with SD when it's a fact that HD is the future, the NEAR future!
You're kidding, right? HD is not the future, is the PRESENT! The future belongs to something even better. Maybe UHD?
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Old June 26th, 2007, 09:13 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
The future belongs to something even better. Maybe UHD?
Sounds to me like a good reason not to buy a HDV camera. HD technology is developing so quickly that it may be prudent to let the 1st generation of HD cameras pass and wait for the second generation.

I think Panasonic has the right idea with its P2 system, and I wouldn't be surprised if other manufacturers followed suit. It will be interesting to see what the HD market looks like in 3-4 years.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Keffer View Post
I think Panasonic has the right idea with its P2 system, and I wouldn't be surprised if other manufacturers followed suit. It will be interesting to see what the HD market looks like in 3-4 years.
Definitely! See http://www.engadget.com/2007/04/16/s...mer-camcorder/
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Old June 26th, 2007, 10:06 AM   #27
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sd or hd again

Another consideration I made is the fact that I expect HD recording to go in the direction of 100% non-linear; that is, that hard-drive type recording systems will ultimately replace dv tapes. I guess I would rather wait a few years, when I can sell my XL2 (which has extraordinary value retention on the used camera market, just check out ebay and you'll see what I mean) and go HD, tapelessly.

In the end, the choice is yours. No matter what anyone tells you, neither is better, you just have to decide what will work for you and what you prefer.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 10:10 AM   #28
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Wow, Ervin, thanks for the link. It is definitely exciting to see SanDisk getting in on this developing technology. The reason P2 and other proprietary tapeless systems are not feasible for most of us is the ridiculous price tags that memory has. It really is about time that dv catches up to, for example, digital photography, in terms of economic benefits (cheap, big memory and storage solutions) and time savings (no playback needed).
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Old June 26th, 2007, 10:18 AM   #29
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... and P2 is much better than hard drive (no moving parts). Prices will drop like rocks - a 64 MB memory stick five years ago cost me as much as a 4 GB today.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 10:36 AM   #30
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Ask yourself what your 'need' is. What is it you NEED to accomplish?

Getting some footage for a demo reel? Why not rent a camera? If you plan your projects carefully, create a few 'spec' shots - then renting the best camera you can afford for a weekend or two will help you accomplish your need, with a much lower outlay of funds. With the added bonus of allowing you to rack up 'saddle time' with whatever brand(s) of cameras you chose to rent.

Bingo - your need for good footage for a reel is accomplished.


If you NEED a camera to shoot projects that will make you money/reputation RIGHT NOW... ask yourself what that project/client requires? SD or some flavor of HD? Will the income from these projects, offset the depreciation that will occur, the moment 'you drive the camera off the lot' IE open the box? IF yes, then ask yourself what those IMMEDIATE projects require, HD or SD? If SD, then buy the XL2. IF HD, the buy an HDV camera.

All this talk of 'future proofing' is nice. But the future holds a lot of interesting twists and turns in it. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if - say by 2009 when HD is 'supposedly' implemented across the broadcast spectrum,(congress has a way of dropping demands if the industry wants them... see 'mileage' and autos) and some flavor of HD has won the "Disc format wars" - That HDV winds up being an amusing 'interim' format that is obsolete. By then, thanks to the likes of RED and cheap storage solutions, we'll all be shooting variable frame rates, HD with RAW data. No 'long form GOP' at all.

Just my thoughts on the future, and why I continue to make money and get jobs with my XL2.
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