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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old March 7th, 2002, 02:11 AM   #16
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Wouldn't this just add to their market instead of retract from
it? I mean, most people stay with their brand. Even if only
to combine footage. I think it will not hurt that departments
sales, but I could be wrong ofcourse.

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Old March 7th, 2002, 07:16 AM   #17
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : Wouldn't this just add to their market instead of retract from
it? I mean, most people stay with their brand. Even if only
to combine footage. I think it will not hurt that departments
sales, but I could be wrong ofcourse. -->>>

The way I see it is that the XL-1 is a funny camera that tries to strattle the gap between two dicvisions - the pro and the consumer. It's success among serious amateurs and professionals is what has made it such a oddity. Ideally the XL-1 would be able to record at DVCAM speeds and borrow a few items from the SOny PD-150. Maybe that's what an XL-2 might have instore. The high end amateur and professional markets have grown so much that it's worth it for the manuafacturer to move up the camera a notch or two. After all the "pro" market is moving up as well.

Just a quick blurb while I gulp down my morning coffee.
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Old March 11th, 2002, 08:29 PM   #18
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The ideal XL-2

I personally would like to see a 1/2" mount for the camera, but that will not come to pass. Those lenses are the province of "professional" cameras and manufactures...for whom Canon is the lens supplier. If Canon suddenly starts competing with them expect that the other manufacturers will just as suddenly start using Fujinon lenses, a far bigger loss to Canon than the gain of a few camcorder sales.

So...leaving aside that very desirable feature what might be the next move ?

Well, to address the 1/2" lens thing...maybe Canon could provide an adaptor, plus a way to remove the built in zoom controller.

The Xl-2 should feature a larger and higher resolution color LCD viewfinder. Ideally it should display a full 720x486 pixels of information. Displaying ALL pixels of an NTSC (or PAL) image is crucial, and really the only way to ensure that you can get perfectly accurate focusing with a color image.

You should have easily accessible picture controls. The viewfinder should display guidelines for not only 16:9(1.77:1), but other popular cinematic AR's like 2.35:1 and 1.85:1.

All the guides should be displayable in either 16:9 or standard 4:3 modes.

The microphone need a serious updating. I strongly recommend a stereo shotgun microphone, as opposed to the OMNI mic currently included. Further, the mic needs far better isolation right out of the box. It should be virtually impossible for the camera mounted mic to pick up lens noises or handling sounds. You shouldn't pay extra for this feature, it should be absolutely standard.

That leads to the next improvement: XLR microphone adapters should be included. 2 XLR and 2 RCA connectors would be fabulous, and allow the XL2 to straddle the PRO and consumer realms. The standard mic should continue to use the current connector.

You should be able to "steer" audio output to the RCA or XLR connectors as necessary. This allows maximum flexibility for i/o.

The MA-100 adapter, or something like it, should remain an option for those of us who need 4 XLR inputs.

Canon might also consider implementing a 4 channel 16bit 48KHz audio system. This would clearly not be compatible with standard DV format...then again Canon has diverged from this in the past to get more time on tape. (Optura).

Well, now on to video...

There are routine calls for 24P, 30P and 60i modes. Great, but those things are useless without appropiate shutter control. The new XL2 should include these modes, but they must also include more shutter control. Without the appropiate shutter control you will get very "choppy" camera motion, as you have probably seen with the XL-1 FRAME MOVIE mode.

I would recommend that the folowing shutter modes be enabled directly from the shutter control...which should be a DIAL not a switch or buttons. They should require no menu settings, and there should be enough DSP power in the camera so that using them does not require any compromises in the cameras other capabilities. Nice eh. Here are the choices:

1/8, 1/12, 1/15, 1/24, 1/30, 1/45, 1/48, 1/60, 1/72, 1/90 and then the rest as standard. The clearscan modes of the XL-1S should remain an option.

Shifting between settings is a bit sudden in current consumer cameras. For example as I move through f-stops or shutters there is a noticeable step or jump in exposure. On a pro manual lens as you move the aperture it changes exposure smoothly...no jumps. Canon should work on a way to accomplish this

What about the CCD's ? Frankly I would like more pixels of resolution. Each CCD should contain 720x486 picture sensing elements, they should be fast, and capable of true 24p PROGRESSIVE photography as well as the current FRAME MOVIE mode and the interlace photography.

Traditonally I'd be touting 3 CCD's...but lets just say that the Foveon CCD technology is VERY interesting.

The other CCD element I would really like to see is a 16:9 CCD. 1/3" of course, but I don't think this is economical or likely. It *might* be possible if they could use a single Foveon CCD to accomplish their goals. 16:9 production is becoming more and more important as HD looms larger on the horizon.

What about still photography with the XL cameras ? I think it is pointless to date because of the low SNR ratio and resolution. If Canon can lift the XL into the megapixel range it would remain useful. If it remains video resolution, then it would be a more than fair trade off to eliminate the feature for 24p.

Lastly...the camera should be available as a body kit only...at a FAIR price. Such that adding EITHER the standard or 16X manual lens gets you a ready to run camera at the same price of the current XL-1S/PD-150. Currently the basic kit with everything but the lens runs you ~$50 less than the entire XL-1 kit with the standard lens. That makes absolutely NO sense. As I am sure you have already observed.

To help with this Canon should market the camera through its traditional venues...photography stores. Not computer stores...not electronics stores...just photography stores. Photography stores are already accustomed to selling body kits and lenses as separate items, and they'll understand the value of the different features. At least from a photographic standpoint.

They should set an MSRP and minimum advertised price scheme that sets the XL-2 as a successor to the XL-1 cameras, and is very competitive with the PD-150, JVC DV500, and AG-DVC15 cameras.

The last "option" to consider...a camera body identical to the one I mentioned above, but with full size DV recording. As an option, the body could record directly onto a generic IDE disk in a special ruggedized mounting rack.

Oh, yeah one last BIG issue. The camera should support IEEE 1394B. Note the B. This would allow faster than realtime transfer of data to/from the camera.

Now...looking PAST the XL-2 for a minute. Canon should be examining a DV50 4:2:2 version of the XL camera, and a DV100 based HD model. The HD model should also look to include 24bit 96KHz audio on 2 channels, or 4 24 bit 48KHz audio channels.

Well...that's what I think. As some soul pointed out though I am not in charge of these companies...they aren't very likely to do what their customers want...instead going for what their marketing department suggests is interesting...like they know what we want. <sigh>
Alexander Ibrahim

Last edited by Alexander Ibrahim; March 12th, 2002 at 04:34 AM.
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Old March 12th, 2002, 12:36 AM   #19
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No, you don't understand. The primary task of marketing is to TELL people what they want. Anybody can SELL people what they (think they) want. Sheesh.

Alexander, your lengthy and thoughtful wish list suggests that this has been a pea under your mattress for some time, no? ;-)
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Old March 12th, 2002, 03:30 AM   #20
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Alexander's post looks like the makings of a new XL2 wishlist article for the Watchdog.

Y'all watch it with these marketing comments, now... I've been more or less fully self-employed for several comfortable years as a guerilla marketer myself. Of course there is a huge difference when compared to a convential marketer; the primary difference being that I know what I'm talking about.


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Old March 12th, 2002, 04:16 AM   #21
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If you want the futurist article you can always call me, I am full of it.

(interpretation left to you gentle reader)

Just leave it up here for a few days before making it into a real article OK, so I can change my mind or do some editing.

I already see some minor tweaks I want to make...like for example I left my thought about photography stores unfinished. A couple of typos...

Awww, heck, I'll fix it NOW.
Alexander Ibrahim
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