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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old January 3rd, 2003, 11:37 AM   #1
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Final deciding factors

Sorry to bring up such a boring subject but I've read almost everything here on the subject (especially Barry Goyettes's reviews) and still can't decide between the XM-2 and the XL1s. I was on the verge of purchasing the XL1s but am now re-considering...

Am I right in concluding that the main advantages of the XL1s are the interchangeable lens option and the superior onboard microphone. If these are really the main differences then would I be wise to save the 695 and go for the XM-2 - I can put a portion of the saved money into a better mic and still have plenty of change?

Am I missing any other glaring factors?
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Old January 3rd, 2003, 12:39 PM   #2
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Justin,

It really comes down to what you will be using the camera for. If having the ability to change lens is important to you, than the XL1s would be the perfect choice.
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Old January 3rd, 2003, 01:56 PM   #3
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Funny you should ask this question today. Several hours ago I got off the phone with a producer in Canada that is needing a crew for 1 or 2 days of shooting in a couple of weeks. He pointed out that he normally uses Betacam SP, but is considering DV because of time and cost constraints. It is the way that he asked about my equipment that is interesting. The producer says, "You do have an XL1, right?" Implying that anything less would probably not qualify for the job. I have a dozen calls like that a year. There are only a handful of mini DV cameras that get that respect. Most notably the Canon XL1, Sony PD150 and possibly the new Panasonic DVX100 have that kind of recognition.

Other factors to consider in your decision are the cost of the support equipment. Tripods, audio, filters, cases etc. will all probably cost more (not to mention additional lenses). There are several threads that discuss this in length.

Examine your needs (do your clients demand an XL1?) and your budget and let us know your thoughts.

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Old January 3rd, 2003, 04:03 PM   #4
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Awhile ago I was faced with a similar choice... although I ended up getting a VX-2000. But one other factor you might consider is that the XL-1 doesn't have an LCD screen.
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Old January 5th, 2003, 04:55 AM   #5
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But you can get a cheap LCD screen from ebay at very decent cost. If you only need the LCD for handheld work you can do with a very cheap one, that's easily mounted on the hot shoe.

If you need it to adjust focus, the LCD on the VX2000 and PD150 are no use either, and you'd have to spend a a few hundred dollars to get a decent one.

But for me the LCD screen was a non-issue.

I chose the XL-1s for it's upgradeability (accessories and possibilities), and the mechanical manual lens :-)

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Old January 5th, 2003, 06:06 AM   #6
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Justin, they're both good cams. But bigger CCDs usually give you a cleaner picture. Now having said this, I'll repeat what the other member said: buy the cam which best suits your needs. Going for a glenbox and a good mic for the XM2 might suit your needs. Personally, I like smaller cams, but smaller cams suit me. Both these Canons are very good cams. I also think the DVX100 is a very good cam---they should be available, or available soon in PAL land. Hopefully, the DVX won't be overpriced.
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Old January 5th, 2003, 10:30 AM   #7
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I agree with all of the above--one of the reasons I didn't pick the Canon is that ergonimically, I found that hand holding a Pd-150 was much more comfortable. Having said that, they are both wonderful cameras and you can't go wrong with either. Go play with both of them.
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Old January 5th, 2003, 11:14 AM   #8
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I purchased an XL-1 3 years ago. It is still in perfect condition. I send it to Canon in LA for cleaning every October.

Six months ago I purchased 3 XL-1S bodies w/o viewfinders. I have the 16X Manual Lenses and love them. I am looking into the Nebtek 5" monitors for each of the three cameras.

My cameras have never been used as a "deck". I use the JVC BR-DV600UA and love it too! I like watching it FF & RW my new tapes for me before I shoot with them.

In a couple months I am adding the BR-S800U Deck. I hear that it is good. Is there anyone that knows about it?
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Old January 5th, 2003, 11:45 AM   #9
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viewfinder

First post here, so the chance I am missing some important fact is out there.

Barend Onneweer

''If you need it to adjust focus, the LCD on the VX2000 and PD150 are no use either, and you'd have to spend a a few hundred dollars to get a decent one.''

I have a pd150 and would have to agree that manual focus isn't the greatest when using the LCD. However because this seems to be a comparison between the pd150 and xl1, and the xl1 doesn't ahve an LCD, the viewfinder should be considered. In which case the 150 has a b/w viewfinder making it very easy to use the manual focus, the XL1 has a colour viewfinder which is a bit more difficult to focus with. Both viewfinders offer 180,000 dots which make them equal when it comes to quality.
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Old January 5th, 2003, 04:04 PM   #10
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>> If you need it to adjust focus, the LCD on the VX2000 and PD150 are no use
>> either, and you'd have to spend a a few hundred dollars to get a decent one.

I see this from time to time and perhaps there's some truth to it, however my experience is quite the opposite. The VX-2000 LCD has a 200,640 pixels (according to the manual) while I understand that the XL-1's viewfinder has more like 180,000. They are both color.

I've never used an XL-1 or XL-1s, so maybe there are other factors. But on the VX-2000 I far prefer using the screen to the viewfinder which is has 180,000 pixel and really doesn't look very sharp to me. I haven't used the PD-150 so I can't comment on its BW viewfinder, although I believe it's also 180,000 pixels. Outdoors the LCD can be a problem (although a hood would help), but I shoot much of my stuff indoors at live performances in a dark room, so I'm very happy with the LCD.

I'm sure that all of these are poor substitutes for professional BW viewfinders which cost in the $1000-$2000 range. I'm not really trying to change anybody's mind, just saying what works for me. Make you own judgements based on personal preference...
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Old January 5th, 2003, 04:41 PM   #11
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I don't think that the viewfinder of the XL1 to the LCD of the VX2000 is a fair comparison.

PD150

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Professiona...sp=11&id=57126

VX2000

http://www.sonystyle.ca/webapp/comme...=2#detailsTabs


GL2
http://www.canondv.com/gl2/s.html

XL1S
http://www.canondv.com/xl1s/s.html

The GL2, XL1S, VX2000, and PD150 all have a 180,000 pixel. So they are all on the same playing field when it comes to viewfinders.

So the real question to ask your self when deciding is do you need the interchangeable lens, and if so are you willing to give up the LCD.
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Old January 5th, 2003, 07:54 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Neil Fisher : I don't think that the viewfinder of the XL1 to the LCD of the VX2000 is a fair comparison.

So the real question to ask your self when deciding is do you need the interchangeable lens, and if so are you willing to give up the LCD. -->>>

I agree. The only reason I mentioned the LCD screen was that this thread began with the question "Am I right in concluding that the main advantages of the XL1s are the interchangeable lens option and the superior onboard microphone?". The GL2 has an LCD... whether that makes any difference to you is a matter of personal choice.
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Old January 5th, 2003, 09:16 PM   #13
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I bought a 7" widescreen monitor to try with my glidecam and PD150.

Even though the monitor is relatively high res. (over 300K pixels) it's totally useless for focus. OK for framing, but the res is still not high enough.

The LCD on the PD150 is actually pretty sharp, and with the LCD magnifier sun shade I bought for it... it works really well.

You gotta think about what you're going to need the camera for. I almost bought an xl1s, but for me... I realized it wasn't the right one... and I'm glad I didn't get it.

It is a wicked little camera to look at, that's for sure...
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Old January 5th, 2003, 10:21 PM   #14
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Doug,

How's that Glidecam working out for you? I am looking at getting one for the PD-150 but didn't know which to get, the 2000 or 4000 or a full rig. Any thought's would be nice.

On topic though, unless you think you would take advantage of the interchangable lens feature, bigger chips is the only real advantage I can see for the XL1s over the GL2. It would cost as much to really make the XL1s nice as it would to just buy a better camera with better chips.(figuring for a good B/W viewfinder, XLR input, lenses or adapters and decent battery power and a good microphone)

I like the camera, I just liked the PD-150 more. It's smaller, sharper image, better batteries, LCD, 2 built in XLR's. But I am also a Mac user. They are just tools, some people like different tools.
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Old January 5th, 2003, 11:11 PM   #15
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I have been using my GL2

(XM2) for a couple of months now, and although I don't have the option to change lenses, I don't miss it if that makes any sense. The GL-2 has a very sharp, dare I say, much sharper image than the XL1(s) and after years of still photography I LOVE sharp. If it's too sharp it's easy to soften in post, easier than sharpening a soft image. I guess it also depends what you want to use it for, the XL1(s) is built like a tank, the GL-2 is lot of plastic. If you are going to be booking your rig out and want the "client" factor to be high you'll probably get the XL1s, if like me you want to do a little of everything, and can afford take a little more care of your rig the GL-2 (XM2) is a fantastic camera. The LCD is something I'd find it hard to live without, the GL2's screen is small but you can get nice high or low shots very easily, and still see everything you are framing. One final note, I had the pleasure of doing a live shoot with Paul Sedillo & Jash Bass, both using XL1s's with shoulder mounts, and if you asked them how much they liked carrying them around for a couple of hours, they'll tell you they get very heavy very fast. Mind you my GL was on a tripod :) But it does take a lot longer for it to wear you down for hand held gun and run style shooting, or just lugging it around.
my 2 cents
p.s. 695 quid goes a long way for DV gear these days, you could even book a flight with it to somewhere nice to try it out (Texas maybe? :)
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