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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old May 1st, 2008, 10:39 AM   #1
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Head life on XL1

I am going to buy a preowned XL1 or XL1s and I was wondering what the head life is for those two camera.

Also Anything else I should look out for when buying a used camera?
Its driving me crazy that there is no way to find out how many hours on a cannon, any way to go around this or do you have to really trust the person?

Is 1k a XL1 in good condition and 300 hours?
What about a XL1s for 1400 in mint condition and 12 hrs?
can i really believe these hours to be true?

Its just a lot of money for me to make a mistake. I am really nervous about this. Please, any suggestions welcomed!
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Old May 1st, 2008, 12:08 PM   #2
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How many hours heads are good for will depend on a number of issues including the type of tape used and how often they were cleaned.

You can get a very general idea of likely usage from knowing that the previous owners (there may have been more than one, the XL1 came out 10+ years ago) did - was it a hobby or were they working professional videographers.

Also it might help if you can obtain a maintenance history - how often had it been back to Canon for service.

Some things to consider: Canon may no longer provide maintenance/repair support for the original XL1 - it was discontinued more than 7 years ago, and the XL1s may only have ~3 years of assured factory support left. You might have to find service support from third parties.

Check auctions and used gear outlets such as E-Bay for recent sales to get a feel for what the market prices are.

So is it a good deal? Only you can decide in light of your budget, planned use, need for SD, 16x9, or HD, and tolerance for risk.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 08:48 PM   #3
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If you get real worried about head life, you gould get firewire recorder for the XL-1 and bypass the tape system. Its a great idea too since it will speed editing on your NLE.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 09:50 PM   #4
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Well, those hrs might be too good to be true, as there is no hours meter on them.

That being said, I would think the guy claiming to only have 300 hours, really is just guessing. The guy with 12, might actually only have 12, since 12 hours on a camera is much easier to keep track of than 300....I'd say for the extra $400, I'd go with the XL-1s.

I have an XL-1 and it still works great, I've owned it since 2000 and have had the heads cleaned on it probably 5 times...it's been really good to me. I upgraded to an XLH1 this year, but I'm still going to use the XL1 on some shoots.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 08:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Palomaki View Post
...Also it might help if you can obtain a maintenance history - how often had it been back to Canon for service...You might have to find service support from third parties...
I would be careful about buying 3rd party service. First off, it might not be cheap enough. If the price is too high, you just might do better buying an extra or just keep track of used ones, in case you ever need one.

I also agree look at the XL-1S. Its a great cam and will serve you well once you learn how to use it.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 04:23 PM   #6
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You might want to ask them how they arrived at the hours of head usage. Remember 300 hours is 12.5 days of continuous recording...
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Old May 5th, 2008, 08:28 AM   #7
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Also, keep in mind that head usage include record, playback, and time spent in PAUSE (heads spinning on the tape).
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Old May 6th, 2008, 07:12 PM   #8
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Regarding price, check this out. Local for me. A friend of mine also purchased an XL1 for $500 5 months ago.

http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/pho/646020632.html

XL2s still have high resale values. But the 1s are going down fast.
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