The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old April 29th, 2012, 04:49 PM   #1
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The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

It now seems obvious that Canon has let the XL ground breaking video camera die. The official reason I never heard. Canon let it's loyal customers, it's third party accessory manufactures down in a big way. No thank you or announcement from Canon. The XL was abandoned, it's users left hanging as the XL withered and died.

So what have got to replace it?

There is nothing that has filled the place of the XL line of cameras.

Sure it had it's short comings. Working in low light probably it's worst. High energy consumption on battery power another.

However. What camera has the dual ability to be quickly removed from a tripod then quickly used shoulder mounted? What camera has interchangeable lens, with both manual and automatic lens available plus the EF range via an adapter? What camera is large enough to enable it to have decent size knobs and buttons that can be felt for, audio and picture control manipulated quickly whilst shooting without having to look for the correct control? What camera was able to have it's major control features on the body, not somewhere down in a menu. What other camera was also able to take a thrashing in the field, be dropped, roll around in the back of a car and still work?

For its price range it took alot of beating and could be used on a day long shoot with effort and ease.

So why did Canon really kill it off? Did they listen to the few who reckoned they couldn't focus it?
The odd one who said the viewfinder wasn't big enough?

I may be a lone voice crying from the wilderness and living at the ends of the earth. But.... and a big BUT.
For the price it was a darned good all round camera, very easy to use, well designed supporting many features both simple and complex.

So back to my question. What do we replace it with? Well quite frankly there is nothing.

Surely with Canon's vast experience and expertise they could adapt and channel their knowledge into a prosumer all round camera as they already had.

I've started this thread to see and guage opinion to present to Canon that there is a need for the XL video camera. Please bring it back.
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Old April 29th, 2012, 07:07 PM   #2
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

I would have upgraded from the XL-H1A 2 years ago, but have not found a suitable replacement, even for $10,000. It's a matter of ergonomic preference, and interchangeable lenses that I am still hanging on to this camera. I have the 6x HD lens and the EF-XL adapter which I mostly use with the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens. I've had it for 4 years and have added the SmallHD DP6 to address the shortcomings of the viewfinder.

Just yesterday I was handling the XF305 and the C300. Though not a perfect replacement, if nothing better comes along I'll be getting the XF300 by this time next year. The only special features I'd like to see added are 120fps @SD quality with no time limit, and a full range of built-in time lapse selections. Obviously it would be tapeless. Nothing against tape, but it's getting rarer and rarer that I see a laptop with firewire, and for those important shoots, it's awkward to have a portable HDV recorder strapped to the camera for a backup tape copy, though it does help balance out the camera.

Were the XL series not big enough sellers for Canon?

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Old April 29th, 2012, 08:07 PM   #3
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

I don't think it'll go back into production, all the manaufacturers are hell bent on outselling their competition with their new cameras.

So I'd look around for another new H1A they should be cheaper now. The only thing would be Canon will eventually announce they no longer support it,
but that could be some time yet.

Cheers.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 07:31 AM   #4
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
I've had it for 4 years and have added the SmallHD DP6 to address the shortcomings of the viewfinder.

Mark
Mark,
Any chance you could post an image of your rig with the DP6? I have been considering the DP4 with the viewfinder but would want to mount it in a way that it acts as a viewfinder, perhaps in addition to the existing one or replacing it. Haven't ordered one yet since I am not sure how I'd mount it. I still do a lot of run and gun shooting so I don't have a large set of rails to mount equipment to, so need to mount to the camera itself.

Sorry to go off-topic somewhat. I've just been looking for feddbacl on the SmallHD products with the XLh1 and this is the first I've seen.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 12:28 PM   #5
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

Quote:
So why did Canon really kill it off?
No doubt rendered to the bygone era by the new Cinema EOS line. When everyone is offering an interchangeable lens camcorder, the XL line (and HDV) became far less unique or attrractive for "serious" (meaning a real budget) work.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 01:37 PM   #6
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

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Originally Posted by Don Palomaki View Post
When everyone is offering an interchangeable lens camcorder, the XL line (and HDV) became far less unique or attrractive for "serious" (meaning a real budget) work.
I don't think people are surprised that Canon is phasing out tape based HDV cameras. I think the question is why they didn't replace it with something like the Sony EX3, JVC HM710 or Panasonic HPX370. What happened to the interchangeable lens brother of the FX300? Maybe this loss has more to do with earthquakes than strategy.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 04:43 PM   #7
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

i had almost pulled the trigger on buying a seconhand Canon XL H1A but after carefully comparing to other manufacturers it just didn't really come close, i own a good few L Canon lens but opted in the end for a Sony camcorder.
i agree i think Canon is allowing this to die off dont think they have much interest in it.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 07:42 PM   #8
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

Does this mean that Canon will no longer do repairs on the XLs?

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Old April 30th, 2012, 10:04 PM   #9
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

Sony and JVC have had cameras in the same form factor for over 3 years. Better cameras. By only looking at Canon, you've been missing out.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 12:52 AM   #10
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

I hear what you are saying Les.

I guess some of us go on personal experience. I had a good run with Canon film cameras. Then when digital video came in switched to Sony with two Hi8 cameras, tape deck plus a 34in monitor. Great pictures for their day but totally unreliable. Forever breaking down, then in the end didn't see the Hi8 era out resulting in me having to ditch the whole lot. Trouble with condensors as I recall. The Sony audio amp still works from that same era.

Then to Canon XL series having used five cameras from their line up. Basically trouble free. One developed trouble with the viewfinder. Apart from that over ten years trouble free. Some of us also over that time have collected quite a few accessories and extras so have a reasonable investment.

I have been well aware of the JVC as I have worked with a couple of people who own them and speak well of them.

That leaves Sony which I have worked with over a few recent years as well but not having owned one since the Hi8 days.

Having had a trouble free run with Canon I like many had prefered to stay with it. Canon's new line up since the demise of the XL has no interest to me as I'm not interested in making movies or work for global networks such as the BBC.

So it's either JVC or Sony. I still have a few troublesome memories from my Sony era.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 05:57 AM   #11
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

I had a similar experience. Market leaders ebb and flow. Canon just didn't produce the followon products to HDV after years of waiting. Sony did so I moved on. I only wish I'd done it sooner.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 07:18 AM   #12
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

Well Les I take your point.

I appreciate it when people and organisations are loyal to me so I try to be loyal to others in return.

However. Having said that it is now rather obvious Canon don't give as much as a rat's bottom to many of it's loyal customers so maybe it's time for me to reconsider my stance.

I've been rather keen on the Sony EX3 so it is probably an option. I have worked with JVC gear for a few years and must say it's very reliable as well.

To say what's a good camera is can be rather objective. I want something that can be removed from a tripod and braced easily on ones shoulder at eye height quickly, has changeable lens, and most important is reliable. Picture quality is important but not the B end all. After all, the average 'Joe Blow' doesn't care. Even the most ardent fussy camera buff I've found is unable to flick through the channels and identify the make of camera.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 08:31 AM   #13
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

Having used XL series since 1998 I can relate to the feeling of being abandoned. However, I am still using my XLh1 and getting great footage from it. I did employ a Samurai recorder via SDI and the footage is stunning. I am still limited by the cameras sensitivity and noisiness when gained up, so I cannot go shooting in practically dark rooms like the Fs100 or C300 but I work around it by lighting when I can.

In my line of work, it would be a waste of money to go to the XF300 or 305 since my XLh1 gets footage that is perfectly acceptable with the Samurai. It might not be quite as sharp as the XF series but it's close. Since they are the same size sensors they deliver similar style of images.

I am actually looking towards adding another camera to the toolkit with totally different operating parameters to compliment the XLh1. So different tools for different jobs. I am looking for a 35mm style camera for this purpose. If I were to sell my XLh1 and shell out the extra cash for the XF series, I would probably regret it, since the type of images I'd be getting would be similar....cleaner and perhaps a little sharper but similar. I'd also be sacrificing the form factor.

Me personally, I want something different. I can't give up on the XLh1 since a lot of my bread and butter shooting is ideal for this style of camera and a shallow DOF cam would not work. BUt adding a camera....that is where it is at. It would have been nice if it was a Canon though.

Last edited by Marty Hudzik; May 1st, 2012 at 09:48 AM.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 08:47 AM   #14
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

The main capability I miss from the XL series is the 4-channel recording.
Interchangeable lenses are nice, but I never used them in any meaningful way even back to the old L2 days.

Moving from the XL1 the XH A1 provided all I needed for normal use, and a Century adapter gave what little ultra wide I needed.

Today,the XF/XA series provided great video for most uses. And tapeless is great, if you have reliable memory cards.
The C300 gives the interchangeable lense capability and shallow DOF for those who really want/need it. (They seem to go hand-in-hand.)

Canon is not known for having a wide ranging line of very similar products or rfrequent model changes in their not-consumer line. Sony on the other hand has many overlapping products - it fits their business model. (Toss a bunch of stuff against the wall, some will stick and make a lot of money, the rest will sell to Sony collectors.)

In the end it is not the gear, it is the talent of the shooter and editor that counts. The gear is maybe 10% of the equation at best. [But gear does feed the ego for some hobbiests. An associate takes photos at youth events, he carries about $20K in Nikon gear to do this - but the photos he takes are boring.]
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Old May 1st, 2012, 09:06 AM   #15
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Re: The Great Canon XL Series Revival Thread

On my XL1s, I ground down an elevator bolt (1/4-20) to fit in my hot shoe and added wingnuts and washers to hold it in place on the top of the camera...

http://www.yafiunderground.com/Video/bog-bts.mov
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