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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old January 31st, 2003, 11:48 PM   #1
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I just can't choose

1) I need help. I have found so much information from this site. I am getting ready to buy a new camera to start a small business. My chocies are XL1s, GL-2, PD150. Honestly money isn't that much of an issue. So my first question is that.
2) I need a good Lavier Mic and a Boom Mic. I will probably want to mix these.

My uses since thats what most ppl ask first is primarily wedding recording. So in buildings, with fairly low-light. People say this makes a difference, but I don't mind using a small on board video light, but one that won't blind people.

Thanks for all your help.
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Old February 1st, 2003, 12:09 AM   #2
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Go to the store and look at them yourself.

No-one can make that decision for you and you will spend the next 6 months in here listening to everybody argue over the pluses and minuses of different cameras and still not have made up your mind.

Rule number one for the BUSINESS OWNER:
Learn how to make a decision on your own.

You will need this skill every day of your career. Cameras are replaceable and if money isn't an object go rent them for a while and try them all until you decide what you want.

From the 3 you list I would drop the GL2, it isn't in the same league as the other two 1/3" chippers.
For cameras, microphones and such, do a search in these forums. Everything you asked for is already in here a bunch of times. You are just a different person asking the same questions.
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Old February 1st, 2003, 02:43 AM   #3
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The VX2000/PD150 are good wedding cams - good low light, lots of the right kind of controls, and easy to carry around. My second choice would be the GL2 - just as good for weddings but it requires a bit more light for lower light stuff (wedding reception). If you want to spend as much as the PD150, I'd also strongly consider the DVX100. But..., both the GL2 and DVX100 are easy to hold for hand shooting, the VX2000/PD150 requires stronger wrists and shoulders. This is my opinion anyway.

PS: for the money, go with the VX2000 or GL2. Keep in mind that bigger CCDs are generally better; the GL2 has smaller CCDs than these other cams I mentioned. Oh, one more thing. The JVC DV500 is also a great wedding cam, and it has even bigger CCDs, and it's easy to shoot with from your shoulder. If money is not that big of an issue, this cam would be ideal, in my opinion. Furthermore, the DV500 has been replaced, so you might be able to get a good deal these days. Check with the dealers who keep this site alive. That's probably your best bet for buying anyone of these great cams!
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Old February 1st, 2003, 02:58 PM   #4
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i was in a similar decision-making situation, and i back rhett's call to rent all the cameras first. i rented the XL1s, the GL2, the PD150, and a TRV900.

what i found surprised me. i previously was leaning towards the XL1s but ended up getting the PD150. try them out, shoot how you want to shoot, and see which one lets you take the pictures you want to take easier. i shoot a lot of action and i had thought the Canon's would be best. but after using them, i found the auto-focus to be distasteful. i also was really impressed with the sony's lowlight situation. but as anyone will tell you, this stuff is a matter of personal taste.

good luck.
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Old February 1st, 2003, 03:18 PM   #5
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The quality differences between these cameras are despite what you might read minimal.

Having said that as much as I am a fan of the XL1s I would have to agree that it is the least suitable for weddings. It is a camera that rewards bags with careful manual setup and is less happy in the sort of run and gun situation of a wedding shoot. Autofocus is unreliable and even with the shoulder mount and wide angle lens it is cumbersome when handholding at times - not heavy of course, just cumbersome. It's controls are fiddly when you have to access them quickly and with the lack of lcd screen you can never be sure that you are bang on (this can be remedied though of course).

Normally I shoot commercials, promos and documentaries and my clients have loved the results so far from the XL1s and I could not wish for any better, more controllable and flexible camera for the money. But just recently I shot a wedding as a favour to a friend - it was hard going to say the least with this camera.

So as much as it pains me I have to say that you would be much better off with the PD150 - a very fine camera.

Regards.
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Old February 1st, 2003, 06:37 PM   #6
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I have not used an XL1s yet, still awaiting to get one, but I have used the PD150 in many different situations and it is one hell of a camera. Its a great little point and shooter, so good for weddings, TV field use, etc. Its got 2 XLR ports, where as the XL1s/VX2000 needs extra bits. The on board mic is ok for general stuff, but like any other cam, another non-standard mic can give you greater results. Like mentioned its great in low light, I dont know what the XL1s compares to, but the PD150 is good. The auto white balance is actually pretty good and I found that in situations when u have mixed light source and cannot rectify them that it handles very good at meeting at a very good compromise point in the middle of the two. Its not too bad to handhold either, can get a bit heavy after a while with the largest battery on, but any camera after a while makes ur arm ache. Its not ideally suited for us people with small hands, or those with weak wrists, but it not too bad. I guess Japanese must have large hands!

Its pretty good at handling 'knocks', nothing like dropping it from a great height, but from the bumps and knocks from shipping it around and crowds in the way, it actually took it well. So the university did good to have a fleet of these, as most students are stilll got hang overs or stoned when they use them. haha.

Its DVCAM not just regular DV so it has that going for it.

I would love to go out and get one of these, but here in the UK from sites I have seen the PD-150 is about £1000 ($1500) dearer that the XL1s, so I'm going for one for that, and like the option of interchangeable lenses, so for the £1000 i would save is like and XL1s with manu lens, when i get around to affording it.

But the PD150 is a nice camera and if you have the money you cannot go far wrong with this great little camera. I have used it for documentaries and some shows have used them for documentaries as well as its a great little camera. I've seen then used on Jackass and The crocodile hunter on occasions, and other BBC documentaries into far regions like jungles and polar regions. So they are nice for field or on-location use, so I would assume the same goes for wedding films. How the camera relates to the XL1s I dont know, but hopefully this time next week I should be able to say.

Have fun!
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Old February 1st, 2003, 08:22 PM   #7
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"My uses since thats what most ppl ask first is primarily wedding recording."

Here is a great site for wedding/event videography:

http://www.videouniversity.com
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 12:28 PM   #8
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But when you show up at the wedding a get out your XL1, people notice that.
It's alittle heavy but not that bad. If you can find a store that has both and try them out.
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 03:34 PM   #9
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As an editor, the difference I noticed between the XL1 and PD150 is that the f-stop clicks are less noticable with the XL1.

When a shooter makes an exposure adjustment with a PD150 there's a noticable and abrupt change in brightness. Looks like it goes in 1/2-stop clicks.

The XL1 goes in 1/3-stop clicks and the changes are more gradual.

I've shot a wide range of material with an XL1, from commercials to weddings to news events. Even have video of the huge explosion that was set up for the movie "Pearl Harbor". I used to shoot with an industrial Sony so when I got the XL1 I turned off all the automatic features and work it as a fully manual camera.

I also have a wide angle adapter (Century 0.7) and keep it as a permanent fixture on the front end. I prefer shooting wide when close-in and it'll be a feature that will you'll find essential if you're doing weddings.

Here's some of the online videos I put together for our newspaper's web edition. Most of it's shot with an XL1 with some supplementary material shot with a Canon Elura. It's all run-and-gun and the XL1 performed very nicely. The key is knowing where the controls are on the camera and having the operation become second nature.

The filming of "Pearl Harbor" (the big blast)
http://starbulletin.com/2000/04/14/news/story2.html

The Pearl City High marching band specatular
http://starbulletin.com/2000/11/18/news/story4.html

The USS Abraham Lincoln
http://starbulletin.com/2000/07/03/news/story3.html

Marines landing at Bellows Beach
http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/21/news/story5.html

Haleiwa Obon celebration
http://starbulletin.com/2000/08/18/news/story5.html

Kakaako bike race
http://starbulletin.com/2000/05/01/sports/story1.html

Dean Sensui
Base Two Productions
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 05:33 PM   #10
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Nice work Dean! Great coverage.

Quote:
Dean: "The key is knowing where the controls are on the camera and having the operation become second nature."
That's a very important remark that Dean made. It takes quite a number of shooting and review hours to become familiar enough with any camera, particularly the XL1s, for its proper usage to become second nature. I suspect that relatively few owners ever reach such a point. But in-depth knowledge of/familiarity with this tool is an important distinction between the amatuer and professional.

So whichever camera you ultimately select allow yourself a liberal time and tape budget to master its usage and feel.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 04:55 AM   #11
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MarzPak

I have noticed in this thread, and many others, that the XL1 is considered cumbersome and front heavy. Other camcorders are also mentioned beeing cumbersome or heavy, used handheld for longer periods.

For my self I have found a perfect solution which I can recommend: the MarzPak. I have tried other supports, but when it comes to handheld shooting this is simply the best. It is very flexible but still gives excellent support in almost any situation, and it is no problems doing long handheld shots. There is no more problems with balance nor weight, in fact sometimes it would be a benefit adding weight. That is why MarzTech have made an option with weight attachment.

I know some think this kind of equipment looks strange or even funny, but I would rather say it looks professional. I have even noticed that an encreasing number cameracrews, at least here in Europe, are using this kind of equipment. (Specially when shooting sportevents.)

When I purchased my MarzPak I had the pleasure beeing in contact with Christi Vedejs, the President of Marztech, Inc. She was a very nice person and gave excellent service, so based on this experience I will give them my warmest recommendation.

If you want to know more about this, check this out:

http://www.dvinfo.net/articles/camsupport/marzpak.php

and MarzTech“s own site:

http://www.marztech.com/

Ivan
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 11:40 AM   #12
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Just to add fuel to the fire, I saw this on Apple's Final Cut Pro discussion list. I was not aware of these problems with Canon (I have a Sony :-), and suspect that others may take issue with Jerry's comments...

=============================
Jerry Hofmann
(Helper) RE: Can anyone recommend miniDV cam?
(msg # 2.: Posted Feb 3, 03 7:22 am) *


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It's real simple. Spend the most you can on a Sony camera. Canon cameras shoot picutures many like, but as source machines feeding video to FCP they plain stink with the latest software.

I hate them... It's not only that they aren't reliable feeders, the tapes they shoot aren't reliable either... Just search this forum on Sync, Timecode breaks, and Canon.

Then search this forum on Sony. End of story...

Jerry
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 11:49 AM   #13
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Jerry is apparently a happy Sony customer but a badly informed technician.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 12:26 PM   #14
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Agree with Ken.

With regard to camera choice, all of these DV camcorders are used for broadcast on a regular basis. The right one for you is the one which feels best in your hands, and whose image best pleases you on a professional monitor.

They have far more in common than any real differences. Ergonomics, feature sets and flavor-of-image should be your guide. In the proper hands, any one of them will deliver superb DV suitable for broadcast and/or professional applications.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 03:26 PM   #15
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Thanks for all for help. I went ahead and ordered the PD150 from bhphoto. It sounds like they are reliable. I got camera, extra battery, and 4yr Mack warranty.

So now i will search forum for mic's and a good hard case to carry EVERYTHING, camera, access, mics, charger, etc.

Again, thaks for all your help, we'll be in touch!!!
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