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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old May 11th, 2004, 02:57 PM   #1
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canon vs. panasonic

My deadline to buy is coming up. I love the feel of the variable frame rates of the panasonic, the picture it creates, the size of the camera, XLRs, and the general feel of the unit. But now I have doubts to whether it will fit the job I want it to do.
(I've searched the posts for this topic already)
I shoot, primarily science, nature, adventure type of work where a very wide and a very tele lens is paramount. Obviously, the panny's 45mm lens with only a .6 tele converter is definitely lacking here. I also do a lot of work on mountain tops and other extreme terrain so the bulk and weight of the XL1 hurts.

Here are other things that are important for my work (and I'm looking for something that best meets these in the panny's price range).

---the best optics I can afford

---resolution (and quality of the CCD chips)

---lens adaptibility (wide, tele, macro)

---dynamic range

---color rendition (something that gives rich, saturated colors, echoing of fujichrome velvia in stills)

---size and weight

---XLR inputs

---variable frame rates (progressive option as well)

---matte box campatible

---adjustable zebra settings, adjustable LCD screen, minimum illumination, manual white balance, manual audio control

Obviously I know that nothing meets all of these standards in this price range, otherwise my decision would be easy. By knowing my needs and what I'm looking for. Does anyone have any advice?
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Old May 11th, 2004, 03:16 PM   #2
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I'm not sure where your variable framerate comes from. To the
best of my knowledge no pro-sumer camera supports them. Not
even the panasonic (whichever model you are referring to).
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Old May 11th, 2004, 03:33 PM   #3
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The Panasonic DVX100A features variable frame rates. 60i, 30p and 24p.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 03:38 PM   #4
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Okay, that's not what I call variable framerate. 60i is still 30
full frames per second. It just isn't progressive. You have 60 fields
or 60 half-frames per second. So the only difference is 30 frames
and 24p. In my mind variable framerate offers more options than
those two. But I guess the word is valid in this case.

To rephrase my answer: " the DVX100A is the only "variable"
framerate camera I know of "
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Old May 11th, 2004, 03:56 PM   #5
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I meant that the options of shooting in 24p 30p 60i etc. are an appealing attribute. Any comments on how these cameras will fit my goals in shooting. I'm excited to try them out this week. Any advice for how to conduct a thorough test.

Thanks,

Michael
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Old May 11th, 2004, 06:41 PM   #6
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I'm assuming that you're planning to "try them out" in a store. While there are extensive gymnastics you could put a camera through as part of a "test", the fact is that a store environment is perhaps the worst place to "test" a camera (besides the restroom on a Greyhound bus). You won't learn much of a camera's real character in a store.

I suggest just getting the feel of the cameras. Pay attention to how the cameras' controls are accessed. How do the menus work? How does the camera feel while shooting handheld?

Each of these cameras has properties and capabilities that will take you some time to discover and to master. Each has distinctive qualities. Select the one you feel best with.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 01:50 PM   #7
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Most, if not all, 3-chippers are pretty darn good. It is hard to make a bad pick.

All the cams have virtues and failings. The best way to determine this is to try before you buy.

Also check with the people you are shooting with. Getting a camera like theirs may be a real plus. Further, it gives you a chance to try out the machine in the real environment (Ken's right, a store is a lousy place to test any cam).

The other trick is not buy more or less cam than you need ( a neat trick too). If you will never switch to a manual lens maybe the XL-1S isn't for you. If 24p isn't something you will be using very often, maybe the Panny isn't the choice.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 02:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice. Actually I will not be testing the cameras in the store. I know some videograpehrs in the area who have each of the cameras where I live. I'm going to test each camera face to face in different light conditions and then compare what I see on mini-dv. Any advice for conducting a proper shoot test?
Also, I forgot to even mention the PD-170. I shot a year long production with the PD-150 and I liked the set up of it, but I don't know how the quality of the glass compares to Canon or the Leica of panasonic.
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Old May 14th, 2004, 01:45 PM   #9
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I have both an XL-1s and a Panasonic PV-GS200 3 CCD mini cam with the leica lense. The XL-1s still shoots cleaner video but the DV image on the Panasonic isn't bad.

I shot a bunch of underwater and under/over footage yesterday with the panasonic in an EWA-marine water housing bag and the images came out great!

The best advantage I can see with the Panasonic 3 CCD camera I have is it's size and weight. It's ultra small and I bet it weighs less than 2 lbs.. However, you don't have the fine tuning controls on it that you would with the Canon XL-1s for arpeture controls, full frame filming (not half frame) and multiple audio tracks.

In fact, the only reason we got the Panasonic was because of how frigging heavy shooting handheld for any length of time is with the XL-1s. Also, there are times when the Canon attracts more attention than you want. People get shy around big cameras sometimes.
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