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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old May 2nd, 2004, 11:16 PM   #1
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Canon XL1S vs. Sony PD-170...

Hello guys... I'm thinking of getting XL1S but several different sources here told me to better get Sony PD170.
I've work with Sony PD150 before and the PICTURE and COLOR quality is awesome. But I've never work with XL1S before and I don't know in term of the color quality produced by this camera. What I do hear is Canon XL1 has an autofocus problem. What do you guys think?

Thanks.
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 09:10 AM   #2
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That is a loaded question.

I have both cameras (just got my PD 170). I really like both.

I dont really like the servo focus/zoom lens. I am used to more pro cameras so the XL1 gives me that fill. It is a little bigger and the lens can be changed out for the manual lense which I love. The PD 170 can record DVCAM if that is an interest to you. Both cameras are great and it would be hard to say which is better. I perfer the XL1s but I think it is because I have had it longer. This is a question more to preference than performance. What are you using it for and which one works best for you. The XL1s is a lot bigger. The PD 170 came with a nice case, rain slicker and wide angle lense. That was cool. For both cameras you will need to invest in more batteries b/c the ones that come with them are nothing. When I am comparing the picture quality of the two I think the PD 170 is better but that may be because I just got it and love to play with my new toys.

I would suggest going out and tring both if you can. After I break my PD 170 in a little I can give a better comparison. For the record I love my XL1s.
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 01:16 PM   #3
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I agree it is a very loaded question too. This subject always invites flames.

The 170 has the advantage of the latest technology. That's the advantage of arriving later on the scene.

The 170 is, of course, an excellent camera or else Sony wouldn't be selling so many of them.

The XL-1S is a very nice cam with 4-track audio and interchangable lenses. A heck of an advatage if you shoot that way.

The XL-1S is, of course, an excellent camera or else Canon wouldn't be selling so many of them.

That's the short answer

I recommend doing a search and you will find piles of info on this website and much of it is good.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 01:08 PM   #4
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Thanks for the opinions guys. Up to this point I'm still not sure which camera I should get. Perhaps I'm leading more towards XL1S for the interchangeable lense. But I have other consideration regarding this matter. The lense for XL1S alone cost a lot. I was thinking perhaps I should just get the Canon adapter to allow me to use Canon EOS/EF lenses will that do any good? Let say instead of buying the XL Wide Angle Lense, I'll just buy a Canon EF wide angle lense with the adapter. What do you guys think?

Thanks again...
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Old May 4th, 2004, 01:46 PM   #5
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When you use 35 mm still lens on an XL1 with an adaptor, you get a 7.2x manification effect (due to the difference in size of the 35 mm film vs the 1/3 inche CCD). So even the widest EF lens will become extremelly telephoto on your XL1s.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 02:01 PM   #6
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As someone else already pointed out, this is more an issue of preference, and that all depends on what you are doing.

What will you be shooting with this camera?
What features are important to you?
How long do you plan on keeping this camera?

Without keeping in mind the context of how a camera will be used, you're just throwing specs into a void.

Low light capability is better on the PD170, but if you don't plan on shooting in low light situations...then that doesn't really matter, does it?

So, tell us a little about what you plan on doing, that may help other people give you better advice.

If not, you're just getting opinions on which camera worked better on other peoples projects, which may be different from your own.

-Luis
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Old May 4th, 2004, 02:06 PM   #7
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When I was buying my camera, I had four cameras on my comparison list: Sony DSR-PD170, Canon XL1, Panasonic AG-DVC80, and Panasonic AG-DVC200.

I ruled out the DVC200 pretty fast because I couldn't afford it, really. I could, (Still could, probably. If I stretched it mighty thin), but it would mean no camera for a while longer.

I also ruled out the DVC80 for some reason I don't remember (I think because it was going to be discontinued). Leaving the PD170 and the XL1.

I liked the flexibility of the XL1s modularity, but I quickly realized that I

1.)Didn't want to wait a really long time to build my ideal camera, and

2.)Couldn't really afford to.

Heck, the XL1 decked out with what I wanted was about $5,700. In my mind, I'd rather spend $5,700 on a DVC200 (Or a DSR-390, but I'm realistic :) ). In the end, I decided on the 170 because of the features it gave at its base price compared to the other cameras in that price range. More money for fun video accessories. YMMV. Hope this helps.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 03:26 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies...

Luis.
I'm planning to use this camera for wedding. And I'm planning to keep this camera as long as I can. As for the feature, I think whichever produce better picture and color quality. I have a Canon GL1, and feel this camera tends to produce greenish color eventhough I already whitebalance it.

Jean.
That's very interesting. I'll do more researh on it. So if we need a telephoto lens we can just use EF lens. And just buy the XL Wide Angle lens.

In term of lens, basically what I'm trying to get is a shallower depth of field. Should I use the wide angle lens and zoom all the way in (but the camera will be shaky). Or use a Telephoto lens and just zoom a little bit, and move the camera farther back?
Can't afford Mini35 P+S Technik though :-(


Thanks...
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Old May 4th, 2004, 06:37 PM   #9
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Well, if that is the case, then you should get the PD170. The image quality between the GL1/2 and the XL1S is the same, except for the occasional color difference (depends on if you get a funky camera or not, for example, I've never seen any of the mentioned color issues on my GL1 =P). Plus, the PD170 has newer features and a much better/sharper image, I'd go for that for wedding stuff.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 07:10 PM   #10
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There are articles galore about lens options with the XL. I think there is one article specifically about the 3X wide angle lens.

One other thing, the greenish hue you have observed may be due to fluorescent lights rather than a poor white balance. For more info on that subject check on posts dealing with color temp and CRI (Color Reproduction Index). You will find flourescent lights can create all kinds of squirrelly effects.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 11:44 AM   #11
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First, let me say that I've shot a lot of weddings myself, and I've used the Sony camera's to do most of them (VX2000, PD100, PD150, PD170)... along with some others, but I have never shot a wedding with an XL1s. So, I may be a bit biased. That said, here's my opinion:


If you're using it for wedding work, I would definitley suggest the PD170.

Top reason is low light performance. You just can't beat those Sony's for low light.

Second reason is battery power. Sony makes a battery that is the same size as the 4 hour batteries I have for my GL1 that lasts 10-11 hours. I don't know how Sony is so far ahead of the game on BATTERIES of all things, but they are. There are few things nicer than not worrying about your battery power while shooting.

Third reason is built in XLR inputs. The fewer things you have to hook together, the fewer things go wrong. The PD170 has everything you need on it already, no added accessories.

Fourth reason, it is smaller, and less flashy looking. Although we may think the XL1s looks cool, I've never thought it was the ideal camera to shoot weddings with for that very reason. You don't want people to notice you. With a PD170, you stick out much less than you do with an XL1s sitting on your shoulder.

Quite honestly, for wedding work I would say it is no contest.
I'd take the PD170. It will last you for years, and will pay for itself after the first year probably.

-Luis
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Old May 5th, 2004, 11:47 AM   #12
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"In term of lens, basically what I'm trying to get is a shallower depth of field"


The only way you will get a shallower depth of field is either increase the chip size of the camera you are going to buy, or increase the focal length.

I think you're pretty much stuck with what you have if you can't afford a 1/2" or 2/3" camera.

You can only get so far from a bride when you're shooting in a church.

-Luis
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:03 PM   #13
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This may not be an issue for a lot of wedding shooters (or customers), and is probably only a minor point in comparison to what is being talked about, but a lot of people may argue that when shooting a wedding you have to look 'the part'.

I know a lot of very good cameramen that film Asian weddings - the majority of whom charge £1000 + and they would say that if they turned up to film a wedding with a 'Handycam' such as the PD-170, despite its astounding qualities, they would be doubted by the customer.

Even if the end result is a very good film, they say that the customer wouldn't have confidence in them on the day.

So if looking 'the part' is an issue then go for the Canon XL1s, but if it's not, then look at what is an issue.

I have an XL1s and there has not been one occasion where people haven't wanted ask endless questions about it!

I am not doubting the capabilities of the Sony PD-170 and recognise it as the brilliant camera that it is, but the Canon XL1s will make you feel like a proper cameraman (in my opinion)
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Old May 10th, 2004, 01:23 PM   #14
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Sunny,

You bring up a valid point in terms of the perceived value.
But, I assume that clients will have seen a sample of work at that point, and will know what the camera, and the cameraman, is capable of.

Also, although looking the part is incredibly important in commercial work, I've found that most of the people I've shot weddings for prefer that we be able to blend into the background.

Granted, clients are all different. But, as a general rule, you don't want people coming up and asking you about your camera while shooting a wedding. In an ideal scenario, people hopefully won't even notice that you were there.

In fact, I think you can use the small size and "handycam" look of the PD170 as a selling point to the clients, telling them that you will be unobtrusive and not draw attention to yourself.

The last thing a bride wants is someone else taking the spotlight away from her, even for a minute.

-Luis
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