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Old December 20th, 2005, 03:47 PM   #1
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Hype XL1s

I have had the XL1s for about 3 years now. I am ready to sell it. I think out of all the footage I have shot, only about 1/4 of it is worth anything. I have tried everything and just can't get this camera to perform the way "it should" manual or auto. It is completely worthless in low light and a huge pain to get a decent, crisp picture. I have read for many hours and tried millions of settings. I feel like a complete boob as this is the ONLY peice of hardware I have yet to tame. I don't feel this camera is worth anywhere near what I paid for it as my $200 8mm takes better shots in some cases... The only good shots I get from the XL1s is on a bright sunny day. Indoors, crap. Low light, crap. Even medium light, crap!!! What the heck!!! I am not stupid, I know how to adjust the camera for these different scenarios, but it doesn't seem to make a big difference....


Has anyone else had this issue? and what was done to solve it?
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Old December 20th, 2005, 04:19 PM   #2
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Hi Marco,

It sounds like maybe your taste and what the XL1s produces are just worlds apart. That word "crisp" kind of gives the problem away, in my opinion.

I used to have similar thoughts about mine until I figured out something very important: Lighting is everything. If I find or set up just the right lighting I can get images that please me very much. After almost four years of frustration I'm finally happy with *some* of what I shoot.

In your case is it simply a mismatch? Probably. I hope you get a good price for it!!! :)
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Old December 20th, 2005, 04:50 PM   #3
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Observations: VX2000 v. XL1

My brother bough an XL1, and flaunted it around quite a bit. When I decided to get into this a little deeper about 3 years ago, I researched pretty heavy XL1 against VX2000( or even PD150) at that time. Ultimately, I felt VX or PD Sony were more forgiving and usable in a wider variety of situations. Since I got the VX 2000, I have shot head to head with brothers on various shoots. We shot at weddings, we shot at cafes concerts, and in broad daylight concerts. I noted that the Sony seemed to provide a generally crisper, though colder image-- not a problem for me. The XL1 offten had to be put away in available light. The XL1 seemed less crisp, and to have redder tones. With respect to auto focus ( I know it is is a no no for professionals), the XL1 seemed to not be able to track as well-- which could be a function of the lower light capability of the Sony. I also liked the fact the Sony felt more portable, could be hand held easier, had a display, and seemed easier to control.

Ultimately, I think the XL1 and its prodigy are meant more for tripod and setup shooting where the operator has a lot of control of the situation and lighting. The Sonys- even the FX1 which I have just started using and which suffers somewhat in the light gathering category, seem to be more of a run and shoot set up. The XL1 appears to be able to take a lot more accessories made for it, though the Sony can also be outfitted with a bit more enginuity.

I have to say that the XLs were sexier looking :)
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Old December 20th, 2005, 06:07 PM   #4
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Yeah I wish I could have played around with the XL1s before I bought it. I still don't understand why it is so bad in lower light, you'd think for that much money it would outperform the cameras that are a 10th of the price. Any recommendations for another camera that performs well in most scenarios?
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Old December 20th, 2005, 06:08 PM   #5
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>>I have tried everything and just can't get this camera to perform the way "it should" manual or auto. <<

Make that read - the way you wanted it to perform. You probably would have been way ahead if you had sold it (or returned it) 3 years ago when the resale value was higher and you first noted it did not meet your expectations.

Many others find that the XL series meets their requirements/needs/expectations very nicely. Sorry to hear that it did not meet yours, but then, that is why there are many different camcorders on the market with different features, strengths, and limitations.
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Old December 20th, 2005, 06:11 PM   #6
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You're right on that part. While it has shot some pretty wonderful images over the last few years, it hasn't performed how I would expect it. Before I dump it, I am going to send it to Canon for a tune-up/overhaul, maybe that will help some.
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Old December 20th, 2005, 06:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Wagner
You're right on that part. While it has shot some pretty wonderful images over the last few years, it hasn't performed how I would expect it. Before I dump it, I am going to send it to Canon for a tune-up/overhaul, maybe that will help some.
There should be others in your area that know much about the Canon XL series. Before you send it off, you might want to check with someone else to see that there is some problem with it. Sending it off will cost you even if there is nothing wrong with it. The resale value of the XL1s has gone down some with the intro of the XL2. Don't spend more than you have to. You could even post some bad footage for others to look at, and evaluate.

Mike
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Old December 20th, 2005, 06:20 PM   #8
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Sounds like a plan. You can see the bad footage at http://www.timelakefilms.com then go to productions, then UoP Football. Horrible footage.
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Old December 20th, 2005, 07:04 PM   #9
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Suggest you Look at Z1 or FX1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Wagner
Yeah I wish I could have played around with the XL1s before I bought it. I still don't understand why it is so bad in lower light, you'd think for that much money it would outperform the cameras that are a 10th of the price. Any recommendations for another camera that performs well in most scenarios?
For Shooting on the fly like you are doing with your Football video, I'd go with the Sony VX2100 or PD 170 (pro level) if you can still get it, or in Hi Def, the Sony FX1 or Z1. Of course, in Hi Def, the new Canon H1 is out, and every one is gaga over that. Then there is the JVC, the Panosonic... o man.

My other brother has a saying, having, bought Sony products for years... Sony means no baloney. They don't seem to put a lot "junk" on their stuff but their stuff is pretty solid. People complain about lack of "film like setting" 24p, etc., but it seems to me the real problem with video not looking like film is depth of field, not frame rate. Enter the mini35 adapters..
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Old December 20th, 2005, 07:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Wagner
Sounds like a plan. You can see the bad footage at http://www.timelakefilms.com then go to productions, then UoP Football. Horrible footage.
The clip did not work right, but looked like more of a encoding problem than from bad footage to begin with. The site is cool!

Want a good run and gun camera, that has some future, get a Z1. I have a friend who shoots nothing but easy or auto mode and the footage is great, and downressed too! I would not mind having one myself. Do have a JVC-JYDH10U, anyone want to trade?

Good Luck----Mike
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Old December 20th, 2005, 07:43 PM   #11
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Looking at the footage from the football game I would say it is the operator not the equipment. Most the shots are overexposed and the lens is kept short for much of the time. In all honesty, you are not using the XL1s in a way that can showcase its abilities.

You say you know all about the settings/etc. but what was your white balance, shutter, etc. etc. on the football shoot? I would have done a warm white balance, used the ND filter (NOT the aperature) to crush the light, shot in 30p, set the gain to -3db, bumped the shutter to 1/250+, turned the set-up level down a couple notches, bumped the color gain a notch and moved the color phase one notch toward green. Then I would have used the lens long and used the great DOF I created with the above settings to control the focus by racking.

The XL series cams are not point and shoot... a DVX or PD170 out of the box will give you a better look. A skilled operator can make the XL cams do things no other cam in the class can replicated. In general, the Canon XL1s was soft and warm while the Sony stuff is cool and sharp.

Having shot a feature doc (brief mention and quote from me in this weeks Entertainment Weekly) in all natural light with an XL1s I can tell you that it performs just fine with low light, just requires some tweaking and creativity.



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Old December 20th, 2005, 08:52 PM   #12
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Thanks for the feedback I sincerely appreciate it. I did have the gain at that level but it would look way too grainy, I don't know how to tweak out the grain-e-ness. I don't have much experience in lower light. In natural light I can get it to look great. I did have an ND filter on it. I shot in frame mode, so if I zoomed in too close and then tried to follow the ball it would get too blurred or choppy. The next game I filmed I didn't have frame mode on and shot at 30i 1.8 1/100 I believe also with the ND filter.
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Old December 20th, 2005, 10:19 PM   #13
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Grainy at -3db??? Hrrmmm... do you have the color saturation way up? You can turn the sharpness down a couple notches to combat grain and you can crush the blacks by turning down the setup level. If you can control the DOF it will help negate the choppiness you talk of. 30P is GREAT for sports! Another low light tip, use a 1/30th shutter in 60i mode...



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Old December 21st, 2005, 09:25 AM   #14
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Thanks a bunch, I shall try some of these suggestions.
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Old December 25th, 2005, 12:04 AM   #15
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want to sell your xl1s?

andrew_m_todd @ hotmail.com
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