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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old May 28th, 2003, 06:49 PM   #1
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Why a xl1s over a pd150?

I'm torn (as a lot of people seem to be on these threads) between an xl1se and a pd150p. I'm hearing a lot that the Canon has trouble with low light situations compared to the PD150. As I'm planning to get a feature going by next summer and my friend (who's getting most of the money) has convinced me to go DV I want to buy one of these two cameras so I can familiarize myself know it in and out and try different things with it then rent another of the same for actual shooting. I don't plan on shooting without sufficient light anyway but the Canon website states that the xl1s is superb in low-light and everyone is saying it isn't. Is there something that these people are missing?

Also the pd150 seems to have higher resolution CCD's then the xl1s (going by their websites) is this obvious by their pictures in anyone's opinion who has seen them both?

Is the capability to use so many lenses on the Canon it's single biggest attraction? I ask because it seems out of the box the pd150 is a better deal with a good B/W viewfinder and built in XLR inputs. I'm not recording sound through the camera anyway but I'm curious. In a B&H catalog the 500 line B/W viewfinder for the xl1s (the FU-1000) is $1,579!! Is this the only one out there? The manual 16x is an additional $1,300+. I did see a kit online that offered the body, b/w viewfinder and manual 16x for close to $6,000. That seems like a good deal. Any thoughts?

I'm new to shooting DV, as you can tell. As a side note, I wouldn't mind any opinions on a good monitor either:-)
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Old May 28th, 2003, 07:12 PM   #2
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Re: Why a xl1s over a pd150?

<<<-- Originally posted by Ian Poirier : As I'm planning to get a feature going by next summer -->>>

When you say "next summer" does that mean summer 2004? If so, then you might seriously consider waiting another 6 to 9 months before purchasing something expensive. Both Canon and Sony should finally have updated models out somewhere within that window. Both of these choices are good cameras and you can't go too wrong either way, however they're very much in need of updates.

If you're really not going to start shooting for another year, you just might kick yourself when the new models come out with nice features like 24p, 16:9 or even HD. There is no assurance that accessories (like Canon lenses) will even work with new models either. And if you still like the XL1s and PD150 you can be sure there will be steep price cuts when the new models are announced, plus plenty of used models coming on the market as people update.

If you really need something this summer to 'get your feet wet' you might consider something used, or less expensive like a GL-2 or VX-2000, they could play well with the XL-1s and PD-150 if needed. Just something else to consider in the mix...
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Old May 28th, 2003, 07:23 PM   #3
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Thanks Boyd,
I am talking about summer 2004 so you make a very good point. Another thing I've seen quite a bit in these forums is advice against buying first generation stuff but I would gladly take the chance if comparably priced hardware came out with 16:9 native CCD's. That's my biggest headache right now, getting a good looking widescreen result. Any rumors on upcoming releases from either company for sure?
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Old May 28th, 2003, 08:08 PM   #4
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No credible rumors IMO. You might also check out the Sony PDX-10 if 16:9 is important to you. I got one recently just for this reason and have been really pleased. It's a smaller camera with smaller chips, but the same pro features as the PD-150. The big advantage is higher res chips that expand the field of view in 16:9 mode and give you the full 480 vertical lines of resolution, unlike the PD-150 or XL-1s that crop the image down to 360 lines.

Check out the PDX-10 forum here at dvinfo.net for extensive discussion of this, or do a search for pdx-10 for discussions comparing it to other cameras in various forums. The price on this camera is about $2,000.
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Old May 28th, 2003, 08:20 PM   #5
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I'm going to check into the PDX10. It sounds like a good cam to at least start some test shooting with so I can do some experimenting w/o breaking the bank. Thanks again for the info/advice.
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Old May 29th, 2003, 01:42 AM   #6
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Ian

The XL1S is a modular camera system; not only interchangeable lenses but also mics, shoulder supports, viewfinders, etc. You can configure it in any way you need, and then change it to something else. The PD150 is a superb, compact, highly mobile camcorder. The worst thing you can do is get hung up on numbers and specs and "one certain feature" above everything else. Choose the one that feels right in your hands. If you need modularity, it's the XL1S. If you don't, it's the PD150, VX2000 or GL2.
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Old May 29th, 2003, 04:34 AM   #7
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Chris,
Don't you like the PDX10 ?
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Old May 29th, 2003, 01:24 PM   #8
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Thanks Chris,
I actually might have gotten lucky. I'm going to find out today after work. I was talking to my mother who works for COX communications and she mentioned that they're constantly upgrading their cameras and donating their old ones to colleges and such. She said she maybe able to wrangle me one up for real cheap or even free. These are broadcast cameras that they use to film sports events so I'm assuming they must be pretty decent. She would have mentioned this a long time ago but I was adamant about working with film for so long she didn't think I'd want a DV camera. Wish me luck. If it doesn't work out I'm going to head down to a dealer and see if I can't try some cameras out in the store.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 06:14 PM   #9
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I don't know much about the PD-150, but what I do know is that when I was researching which camera to purchase I was intrigued by the "film-like" look of the images created by the Canon XL1.

It is the one camera that when people see the footage they remark on how little it looks like video and how much it actually looks like film.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 10:39 PM   #10
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Jan, yes, the PD-X10, my oversight, sorry. A good choice for a very compact 3-chip camcorder.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 07:40 AM   #11
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Ian...

Just a suggestion: consider getting the camera a few months in advance of the time you'll need it.

It'll give you time to get the feel of it and become proficient. And in case something's not working right it'll allow you enough time to get the problem ironed out through warranty repairs.

By the way, I've edited material shot with both cameras. The only problems I saw with the PD-150 is that the aperature adjustment went in half stops and the changes were abrupt. The other problem was the lack of shadow detail, but I think that one is easily solved by adjusting the pedestal level in one of the menu selections.

The XL1 aperature is adjusted in 1/3 stops and seems smoother than the PD-150. And the XL1s aperature adjustments are even smoother than the XL1, although still in 1/3 stops.

The XL1 loses sharpness in 16:9 mode, as well as in frame mode. I still shoot in 4:3 60i and prefer to crop to 16:9 should I need it.

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Old May 31st, 2003, 08:07 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dean Sensui I think that one is easily solved by adjusting the pedestal level in one of the menu selections -->>>

AFAIK there is no menu selection to adjust the pedestal level on the PD-150
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Old May 31st, 2003, 09:56 AM   #13
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If I can't get a camera from the tech guy at COX (I won't hear from him till this monday) I'm going to get a xl1s in a couple months. Even if Canon comes out with a native 16:9 next year it can't hurt to have the xl1s and I can't be sure I could afford it right away anyhow. There, decision made.
Thanks everyone.

Does anyone know how Soderberg went about getting 16:9 on Full Frontal (did he crop it, ananmorphic, etc...) or how Boyle did it on his new movie coming out? I know there's a thread out there that discusses the new Danny Boyle movie pretty in depth but I don't remember if that was mentioned.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 10:33 AM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ian Poirier: Does anyone know how Soderberg went about getting 16:9 on Full Frontal -->>>

I guess this has been beaten to death in other forums, but whatever his methods, Soderberg managed to make the XL-1s look like a cheap hi-8 camera in that film. I realize this must have been intentional, but obviously his goal was not to make DV look like film and I wouldn't think you'd want to copy his technique.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 10:51 AM   #15
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No, I'm not trying to duplicate his look. I was just curious about that one aspect of it. I would think he went through effort in post to make it look the way he did. If not he just didn't have a good grasp of what he could've done.
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