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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
Can't find it on the XL1 Watchdog site? Discuss it here.

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Old July 30th, 2003, 06:29 PM   #1
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Hello all. I never fell asleep in front of my PC before. But since I bumped into this forum, I've fallen asleep on numerous occasions reading away. Awesome Forum!

After many years of fantasizing and drooling over the L1, L2, XL1 and XL2, my wife surprised the bleep out of me when UPS showed up at my door with a bulky package from B&H on my birthday. Yes indeed, there was an XL1S with the standard 16x lens inside of this bulky package! Pretty nice huh? Yeah I know I deserve it right? Right.
I'm not in the biz yet but I think I better break in quick or else, know what I mean?
Anyway, I now have this pimped out piece of equipment and I can't decide what to buy next to get the biz rolling.
Oh by the way, what biz? The only business I can think of where money could be made is in wedding videography.
I know there are lots of other things I could get into but I'm a realist or am I? Maybe not. I want to do it all but there aren't enough hours in the day.
Any specific suggestions on what to buy next? A decent tripod, a wireless mic system, an EF adapter? By the way I'd love to get the adapter off the bat so I could use my EOS lenses but I'm not so sure that this should be my 1st purchase.
Also, where else is there money to be made?
Oh before I forget, what do I get my wife to make up for this amazing gift? I know, she's the best.

I have Premiere 6.5, and fairly fast PC w/ DVD burner.
Bernard Diaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 31st, 2003, 02:13 AM   #2
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Congratulations on joining the XL-1s club! I will try to help you get an idea of what type of accessories I considered getting first.

When I first got my XL, I also began thinking about what accessories were most important for me. The following list gives a run-off of what you should probably consider getting.

1. A good case. Immediatly after getting my camera I got a nice softcase from Porta Brace. A case is extremely important if you plan to travel with your camera, and is instrumental in keeping your investment safe. A hard case is preffered by some, although for run-and-gun I prefer a "quickdraw" style softcase.

2. A GOOD tripod. A tripod will be the single most important thing in improving the video that you shoot. Although you will find that the OIS is excellent on the stock lens, nothing beats a nice tripod. Also, shoulder shooting with the XL, is a bit demanding, although I've managed to shoot for 45 minutes at a time with good results (My pre-tripod days). Consider getting a tripod from Vinten. They make excellent quality tripods featuring fluid heads, at an extremely affordable price. I recently got their Pro-5 model, and I actually like it more than the Broadcast Sachtler which I had the chance to try out.

2a. If you do get a tripod, a zoom controller is a must. These plug into your LANC port and will enable you to do zoom/pan combos much easier when attached to your tripod. There are reviews on the Watchdog, which will help you in your selection of a suitable zoom controller.

3. If you are going to skip the tripod, and prefer to shoulder shoot, go for a MA-100 mic adaptor. Some will say that the stock shoulder pad is good enough, but I got the MA-100 and never went back. For most stuff, the MA-200 is massive overkill, and the price is not exactly richt. If you are going to be doing multi track recording (with all four inputs) most people recommend recording your audio on some type of pro level off camera recording device anyway. As an added bonus, the MA-100 also lets you use XLR mics.

Before you get this major stuff, consider getting some must-have-to-shoot accessories for your camera.

1. Get batteries. I prefer sticking with the big BP-945 battery packs. They provide more than enough battery life for most of your shooting situations. I have had good luck with non-Canon batterys too. In any case, an extra battery or two can't hurt.

2. Quality MiniDV media is another must. Do not go cheap (unless you have to) when purchasing media. I know a lot of people choose Fuji (and swear by it) so you can't go wrong there. I use TDK with excellent results. One of the Watchdog's sponsors offers tapes at a good price.

What I've just suggested, is enough to get you on your way. With the above mentioned accessories, you can get quite a bit done. You will have to tailor your kit to your exact needs, and when you decide what direction you are going to go into, you can start worrying about more elaborate equipment to help you along. As far as lenses are concerned, you can get a lot done with the stock IS lens, no need to immediatly upgrade to 14X or 16X manual. The 3X wide lens, in my opinion, is the lens you should aim for if you are looking into getting another lens.

An external shotgun mic kit is important, but again, you have to decide which direction you will be going into. The onboard camera mic included with your XL is excellent, unlike those found on other camcorders. It is however not extremely directional. If you get the MA-100 or 200, you can use any XLR based professional microphone. I personally would recommend the Audio Technica AT835b shotgun mic, because of its quality and price. You have a lot of options.

The XL-1 series camera is the most expandable and modular Prosumer camera on the market, so there is much to choose from. Good luck with what you choose to do, and remember, have fun!
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Old July 31st, 2003, 02:17 AM   #3
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Excellent reply, Josh -- many thanks,

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Old July 31st, 2003, 03:12 AM   #4
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Bernard, you may want to consider protecting that valuable glass with a filter. There's been plenty of discussion as to what is good and what is not (search the site for more info...there's plenty of it), but after much research I bought a B&W UV. It wasn't cheap, but is a damn sight cheaper than replacing that Canon glass!

Good luck, and enjoy your birthday present.
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Old July 31st, 2003, 05:49 AM   #5
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Congratulations with your new XL1s Bernard, and with a wonderful wife as well. I guess she must be worth her wight in gold and diamonds?

Should not be much to add on Joshes reply, so have fun with your new "toy".
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Old July 31st, 2003, 07:45 PM   #6
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Thanx guys. Especially you Josh for such insightfull suggestions.
You're right. A case must be my 1st order of business.
I inquired at B&H Photo about the Kata bag displayed on the Canon Accessory pamphlet, but they did not carry it back in June. I like this style of bag and it looks like something that I can take anywhere quickly and comfortably. I'll keep looking.
I'll check out the Vinten as well.
One thing worries me and that is the JVC Mini DVs my wife purchased with the XL1S. I don't remember who wrote a thread about their nightmarish experience with JVC MDVs and thier XL1. This person's XL1 was eating his JVC MDVs. He send his XL1 to Canon and after the repairs to his XL1 he put another JVC MDV in the XL1 and the camera ate the tape again. This sounds like something I would do. I think I lost sleep for a few days after reading this. Does anyone think that this was a one in a million chance and that this guy had to take one for the team, or are there known problems with JVC Mini DVs.
I've shot about one and a half hours on my XL1S with JVC MDVs
Should I clean the heads and switch to another brand or stick with the JVC's.
Hey Nigel, I have a Tiffen UV protector. This will hold me up for now.
Diamonds and Gold are good hints Ivan. How about either or for the Mrs.
Thanx again guys!
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Old August 1st, 2003, 12:47 AM   #7
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Glad I could help. Now then... I think the incident with the JVC MiniDVs is most likely a one-in-a-million type thing. If these DV tapes from a known and reputable company would have serious design problems, they would have been pulled off the market a long time ago. As for cleaning the heads... Im not such a fan of cleaning them, because of the effect that a cleaning tape has. I would probably just switch tape brands to what you are going to tape with in the future. I find it HIGHLY unlikely that you will have problems with your heads or "gunk" them up since as you said, you have shot very little. If it were me personally, I would just go ahead and switch. I haven't heard anything about JVCs begin bad, so you could stick with them, or switch to another brand. Like I wrote earlier, people love Fuji tapes. OK. Good luck with your camera, and keep us posted.
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