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Old March 8th, 2002, 12:07 AM   #1
GWPGearWorx
 
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Canon Vs Sony

Ok I am going MAD here as I am being told that the Canon XLS1 is good but the Sony DSR PD-150.

I got this e-mail today from a guy that is helping me decide.... Please let me know what you think about what he says, is there any truth to it ?

.................................................................................................... ...
My friend--there are no audio features on the XL1S--You will have to purchase an accessory box to take an
XLR connection---the Pd-150 has it built in. Other then that, the image quality of the two cameras is different. The Sony is sharper, and much better in low light--the XL-1S according so some has a more film-like look ( I dont see it) The Sony plays both DV Cam and Pro Cam tapes---not a big issue---For me, the big issue was ergonomics---I find the XL1S to be impossible to hand hold due to it's bizzare shape.

I have owned both cameras and what I have found is that they are both very good-----what is important are the following:

1. A good fluid head tripod---because these prosumer cameras are difficult to hold steady
2. An ability to light--meaning a decent location lighting kit.
3 A professional Mic--I use Senheiser lavillers and their ME66
.................................................................................................... ....

Also I am leaning towards the Sony DSR PD-150 due to the amazing 7 hour record time on one battery (Sony's lagest battery)

Please what are you thoughts
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Old March 8th, 2002, 12:42 AM   #2
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The Sony PD-150 and Canon XL1S are so ergonomically different from each other that you really can't compare them. The PD150 is a compact all-in-one camcorder with a flip-out LCD, while the XL1S is a larger, fully modular system with many interchangeable components.

Do you need a compact all-in-one or do you need the open architecture and expandibility. That's the real question.

The one that feels right in your hands is the right one for you. Try before you buy.

Also that person misinformed you about the XL1S audio features. It has a built-in 4-channel audio mixer and has more audio capabilities than most camcorders in its class.

The fact that you'll need an XLR audio adapter is a *tired argument* which is really pretty dumb. So *what* if you have to buy a $180 adapter... since when are you ever through spending money on production gear. Spending money on gear is a never-ending process, my friend, and a person who is afraid to spend the $180 on an XLR adapter is looking at a level of equipment way over their head with either the XL1S or the PD150. Don't forget you'll need a decent tripod, a zoom controller, several cases of DV tape, external mics, etc. etc. no matter which camera they're looking at.

In closing, don't make the mistake of letting someone talk you into one camera or another -- you need to do the research *yourself* and get your hands on these things *yourself* and choose the one which feels the best in your hands.

Hope this helps,
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Old March 8th, 2002, 01:41 AM   #3
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As a user of the XL1 and the XL1s I second Chris' remarks and would just add a few other points.

First, Sony makes fine cameras and the PD150 is no exceptionand. Their imaging technology is just different enough to lend footage a subtly different -default-look. Generally people feel that the Sony's have a crisper or edgier look than Canons, also a bit heavier in the blue/green giving it a cooler image. Canon's frame-mode combined with its smoother and warmer characteristics tend to give footage a bit less of a video look than Sony's. But you should note that the XL1s features quite a bit of control over image characteristics such as sharpness. So if you like your footage with sharp edges you can easily accomplish this with this cam.

Second, as Chris noted, you really should take the form-factor of the cameras into consideration. A fully-equipped XL1s has a very different balance and feel (and size) than a PD150, something to consider if you intend to shoot alot of run-and-gun handheld work. (Personally, I use the GL1 for such work.)

Third, the modular nature of the XL1 system should be a very strong consideration if you intend to do any serious professional work with the camera. The ability to get just what you need when you need it for the XL1s is a very strong attribute. If you need a manual lens for greater control Canon has a very good and affordable 16x. If you need a good wide-angle lens (rather than a screw-on adapter) Canon's 3x is also very good and affordable. If you want to shoot with prime lenses adapters are available. The PD150 offers none of this; if it didn't come in the box you can't have it.

Fourth, contrary to your friend's remarks the XL1s' audio capabilities are substantial and excellent. Yes, you'll need an MA-100 or MA-200 to get XLR connections. But the channels are clean, hiss-free and reliable. Also, look closely at where the XLR's come into the PD150 -vs- where they hit the XL1s.

But, whatever you do, don't make your decision from message boards, emails or vendor notes. This is an expensive decision that will determine your capabilities. Get your face behind both cameras. Shoot some clips and look at the footage. -Listen- to the footage with headphones. Keep your perspective on your goals for this investment; don't get swept-up in the consumerism. Are you really best served with an XL1s or PD150 or would you be better positioned if you selected a Canon GL1, Sony VX2000 or Sony TRV900 and use the cost difference for a tripod, lighting, etc.?

Pick the camera best for YOU and have fun!

Good luck.
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Old March 8th, 2002, 04:17 AM   #4
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I thank you guys for your input and you have been very helpful. I do want to have the choice to upgrade and to add features at a later date. The XLR feature is one I really need as I will need the wireless mics for my show and weddings.

There is one bad thing however and that is I can not view the cameras (XL1S / PD-150) in ANY store here as they are classed prosumer and are to costly to have in the store. Meaning I am stuck gathering information from people that have used the product.

I am wanting to achieve the following:

#1) TV / NET Show production
#2) Film Production
#3) Weddings / Family Video

So I am certain that all the features of the XL1S are what I need an am looking for.....

One concern I have is battery life.... On the XL1S how long would the largest canon battery last ? (Continuious Recording)

Also whats the best WIRELESS MIC KIT, and whats the BEST BOOM MIC I can get ? Something thats give the best quality but does not cost and arm and a leg.

Thanks again.
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Old March 8th, 2002, 07:41 AM   #5
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Where are you located exactly? You did not fill out the "location" section of your user profile, therefore it isn't possible to point you in the right direction to see the cameras yourself. Get to the next major tradeshow; you can play with both of 'em to your heart's content.

A single high-capacity BP-945 should deliver at least 2.5 hours of recording time; however Canon offers a dual-battery holder that attaches to your belt or directly to the XL1S via the Canon XLR audio adapter/accessory mount, doubling the run time to 5 hours. Of course you can always use a third-party battery solution such as a Bescor shoulder or belt pack for up to 12 hours of continuous recording.

If I were you, I wouldn't base my purchase decision around the battery capacity. As I just pointed out, third-party battery solutions can power *any* camcorder for half a day or longer. Ken mentions above that the video images from Sony and Canon camcorders are different -- above all other considerations you need to be making your purchase decision on 1.) how the camera feels in your hands and 2.) do you like how the video looks.

Wireless mic kits are a whole different ball game; you can spend hundreds or you can spend thousands, your choice. The "best" include Lectrosonics, Sennheiser and Sony for a couple thousand bucks (but clearly the "best" since they're so expensive). Under one thousand dollars, look at Sennheiser's lower end. I'm thinking hard about a $700 Audio-Technica package myself. Get ahold of a B&H catalog, big as a New York City phone book, and compare all the dozens of mics you'll find inside.

A boom mic is any mic on a boom. Once again, explore the B&H catalog. Most mics on booms are shotgun mics. Sennheiser has some excellent shotguns for under $1000. Some booms are cheap and some are expensive... audio gear is a *whole 'nother world* -- again you'll want to research and try out in advance if possible.
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Last edited by Chris Hurd; March 8th, 2002 at 07:51 AM.
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Old March 12th, 2002, 12:12 AM   #6
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Never being someone who does things the easy way, I have shy'd away from auto anything.

In Manual white balance, the Canon comes out pretty neutral and flat enough to nearly match Sonys, IMO.

But on Auto WB, the Canon will offer you the "signature" warm rendition that the most pale of people will think you have made them look human once again. Yeah, it's fake warmth, but I think for weddings, it's a winner.

But if you're shooting Goths, the sony or the Canon in manual white bal., will keep them cool.

If my understanding of the green color containing more sharpness detail is correct, I think that might add to the sony's sharpness/blueness factor. Yeah, I know the Canon double samples, in essence, the greens.

My ultimate thought is that the sony's coolness may be in part to shooting asian skin tones. The Canon on the other hand may be geared more to shooting the white/black skin tones. Just a thought.

I also have read and seen that the Canon (at least) keeps lines pretty darn straight, without seeing the line go jagged when it's not level. It just looks like a straight line (off balance).
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Old March 13th, 2002, 12:29 AM   #7
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I shoot the PD-150 on a daily basis. I first was pushing my company to buy the XL-1 but it wasn't my call in the end. I am happy with the decision and I will tell you why.
SONY has flip out screen if I want to check color balance quickly.
SONY has hi-res B/W viewfinder (500 lines)
SONY has 2 XLR inputs and is capable of laying down 4 tracks just like the Cannon.
SONY has decent manual control (not as nice as I would like)
SONY has a beautiful sharp picture (it does get a little blue sometimes) sharp and blue is easily corrected with a 1/2-warm/soft filter. How do you fix fuzzy green?
SONY has DVCAM, I like the insurance the extra track pitch gives and the locked audio and SMPTE time code.

Now the XL-1 is no slouch (it was my 1st choice) but look at who uses these things professionally (read CINEMA). I see more big screen productions done on SONY and web or DVD done on Cannon by guys with more money than GOD. The "Frame Mode" looks nice as long as you NEVER try to take that image to film. Just leave it digital.
By the time you outfit an XL-1 to a level of professional movie-making (B/W viewfinder, manual lenses, adaptors for manual lenses of higher quality, XLR audio, etc) you have spent enough to buy a much nicer camera with bigger CCD's and therefore a better picture.
I think the target market for Cannon XL-1 users should be photographers who currently shoot Cannon and want to dive into DV, because for the amount it takes to get a great setup with an XL-1 you are sitting at the edge of 2/3 inch CCD's if not at least DVCPro or the SONY DSR-300 DVCAM.
I think it is trendy for bigger studios to play with DV cameras but they have been doing it with MUCH more money than I have. Have you priced the adaptor for the XL-1 to fit popular cinema lenses? It is around $7000.00+! For an adaptor to attach a $15K-50K lens to a camera that will NEVER record more than 500 lines of 4:1:1 digital video. Get real.
Buy the tools you need, when you need them. When you need more quality buy the approriate format.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Thanks,
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Old March 13th, 2002, 07:31 AM   #8
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XL-1s color

Isn't the XL-1s's color sampling rate 4:2:2?

It wasn't mentioned in the specifications listed on the Canon site, so I asked them via email and was told 4:2:2...but ...?

Does anyone know for sure?
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Old March 13th, 2002, 09:34 AM   #9
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No, it is 4:1:1 all NTSC DV is 4:1:1, some PAL DV is 4:2:0 (most I think). You don't get to 4:2:2 until you hit DVCPro50 which actually means a whole lot of nothing. The SONY DSR300 is DVCAM 4:1:1 but it is a 10 bit signal and so finishes out better than a lot of 4:2:2 recorded in 8 bit.
I have read (in SONY literature) that cameras like the SONY PD100a are 10 bit but I don't belive them just as I don't believe the XL-1 is a 4:2:2. The tape format (10 micron DV) can't handle it.
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Old March 13th, 2002, 04:08 PM   #10
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I was told today by a guy at Matrix Studios (a local Prosumer dealer) that he suggests that I just get a Sony DSR PD-150 instead of a XL1S... Not only is it $1000 cheaper he said that the picture quality of the DSR is better in some respects not to mention that the DSR comes with 2 built in XLR jacks which I NEED as the XL1S you need to buy the 100 or 200 series to gain 2 and 4 XLR jacks which are $300 MORE !) Realitically I will NEVER change lenses.... Not when they cost $4000 + plus I say that the $1000 extra can purchase the Long Life Batteries as well as a carrying case and a tripod.... So in reality what the HELL SHOULD I DO ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG hahahaha sorry but I am ripping myself left and right over what one to get. Also he mentioned that the XL1S is geared toward the digital photographer more than the prosumer... Also the DSR supports MINI DV as well as DVCAM where as the XL1S is only Mini DV aslo he said the view finder in the sony is 10000000 times better and much higher resolution and that the DSR has a color LCD if I wanted to film that way.

I know in my heart I should get the Sony DSR PD-150 over the XL1S..... What do you think ?
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Old March 13th, 2002, 04:19 PM   #11
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Oh, no you don't. We're not going to make your decision for you. We had to go through this process...so you have to go through it, too. <g>. I have just two points of rebuttal.

1. Lenses for the XL1s do not cost $4000.
2. The salesman was reciting the Sony Sales Scriptures, some honest and some not completely forthright or whole-brained.

Nevertheless, get the camera you really want. Regardless of nit and nat features you won't be happy unless you do. You can't really go wrong with either.
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Old March 13th, 2002, 04:29 PM   #12
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I was faced with the same senario and have used both cameras. I am getting ready to purchase a SONY DSR-PD150P (Pal version) and a Century Optics 16:9 adapter with the 4x4 sunshade/filter holder. As much as I love the XL-1s, I really enjoy the PD-150's I currently use at work, It has such clean pictures and the sound is really nice. When you monitor the sound with headphones from the camera you can hear a lot of noise but it doesn't go to the tape (the headphone jack is just monitor quality).
If I want to use cinema lenses in the future I can use the same attachment that the XL-1 uses but like I posted before (in another thread) that rig is over $7000.00! Just for the adapter! It is about $1500.00 a day to rent! Don't guess I am gonna do it soon.
Best of luck to you!
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Old March 13th, 2002, 05:12 PM   #13
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Hahahahaha I do not want you to decide for me. I just like to hear everyones VIEWS on what they think then I compare notes with the info I have gathered.

The guy was talking from personal use of both cams Matrix Studios is a studio equipment suppy shop and is in no way affiliated with Sony so I am sure he would not pull that on me lol not to mention I have enough money for the XL1S plus som add-ons and he still said what I posted earlier.... Realistically don't you think he would try to upsell me on the XL1S instead of selling me a cheaper camera ? I think so. The questions I tossed his way I already knew the answers and he was truthful on all of em :)

I mean why should I pay 300 $ more on the MA-200 XLR adapter when the Sony has 2 XLR jacks built in.....Proper Timecode, 500 line viewfinder (B&W), Flip out LCD - are a few pluses over the XL1S

Each camera has it's strong and weak points but the cost on the XL1S add-ons are crazy. The lenses are around 4 grand mind you thats Canadian price lol. And like I said I am not looking at buyin lenses any time soon and if I need them then I can cross that when I come to it. As I can always buy a new camera again at a later date and keep this one as a back up ;)

PRICES:

CANON XL1S: $6050.00
SONY DSR PD-150: $4090.00

OH One problem I have heard is the sound quality on the PD 150 is lacking (Supplied mic) something to do with a loud hiss noise .... is there any truth to this and if so would a new STERO hehe shotgun mic fix this or is it and internal problem?
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Old March 13th, 2002, 05:53 PM   #14
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I have heard about the hiss problem but I don't have it and haven't seen it. I think it was fixed. I do know that the microphone it comes with is TRASH! Chunk it and get something nice. I have 2 Sennheiser shotguns, a ME66K6 and a ME67K6 (for boom work) as well as 2 Sennheiser hand helds and 4 SHURE wireless lav's. The sound they deliver is very decent. I will reitterate that when you hook a pair of headphones to the PD-150 there is so much noise it is frightening. But that noise never goes on tape, it is from the quality of the headphone jack. (or lack of it) It does take some getting used to but if you listen to the recorded quality it is excellent. I like to run the mic's through a mixer when I can and check the sound there. Actually I don't really like to but when we have a full set going and half a dozen mic's out there, you kinda HAVE TOO. I don't want that much hanging off the camera if I can get away with it.
Whatever you do pick up a nice mic, I think most will agree with me that you can't go wrong with a Sennheiser ME66K6 (get the one with phantom and battery power) and outfit it with a Lightwave windscreen.
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Old March 13th, 2002, 06:34 PM   #15
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It's important to understand that the XLR thing is a non-issue. Forget about the MA200, you can get a Beachtek XLR adapter for well under $200. It's a little thing. At the prices for these cameras, you shouldn't concern yourself over $200. You're *always* going to be spending money on more gear, DV tapes, etc. The XLR adapter is no big deal, believe me. If it is, then you're in the wrong market.

The DSR250 does have a proper B&W CRT viewfinder however the PD150 has a B&W LCD viewfinder, which is not really any better or worse than the color LCD.

Lenses for the XL1 should cost no more than $1800.

DVCAM is important only if the rest of your gear is DVCAM. There is no quality difference between DV and DVCAM. There is no real advantage of the timecode unless you're editing the old fashioned way, linear, deck to deck.

Again, you need to try each before you buy and look at the video on a pro monitor. Pick the one that feels best in your hands. Pick the one whose video you like better. These should be the only considerations... the rest of this stuff is trivial in comparison and it's not how you should be shopping for a camera. DVCAM, timecode, XLR, all that is meaningless if you don't like how it feels in your hands and if you're not comfortable with it. Again, try before you buy. Nothing else matters nearly as much,
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