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Old February 1st, 2003, 01:55 AM   #1
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XL1s quality compared to Sony DSR500 for example?

I am interested to know just what the difference in quality between these two cameras would be when used for DVD. Would there be that much of a noticeable difference? Also what about the Panasonic AJ-D610? How good would this look compared to the XL1s and the Sony? The need for w/s was why I started looking at the Sony and the Panasonic but then the Optex anamorphic adaptor was released and I heard about the Century Optics equivalent on the way and thought that maybe the XL1s would be adequate. Thanks in advance for your advice/information.
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Old February 1st, 2003, 02:50 AM   #2
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The DSR-500 is soooo far above the XL1s in quality it just sounds funny to even ask. I mean com'mon, they aren't even the same animal, barely in the same genus. For the price of a DSR-500 package you could buy maybe 6-8 XL1's.
Did you know that you can actually encode DVD at a much higher data rate than DV can even record in?

That isn't to say the XL-1 isn't a great camera, it is, but comparing one of the very best true 16:9 2/3 inch chip cameras to a 1/3" 4:3 camera doesn't seem like a fair comparison. The DSR-500 has almost twice the resolution and that is just the begining of the differences.

I am sure the XL1s would be fine if you used it properly but the DSR-500 would still give you a better image to start with.
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Old February 1st, 2003, 06:04 AM   #3
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The Sony DSR500 or any DV25 based camera is not soooo far away from a prosummer camera like the XL1s, they are not entirely different 'animals' - there is much less difference than say between Digibeta and HD. It is not a stupid question!

Of course it is a better camera with native 16:9 chips and much more professional facilities, but the nature of sharing the same medium means that if you take extreme care with any prosummer camera in terms of lighting, focus and general pro shooting, you often have to look twice to see the differences - what makes prosummer shot video look awful more than often is operator inexperience (and frequently the poor lenses - something that can be remedied on the XL1s in particular). It may have twice the resolution at the camera head but DV25 still only has a little over 500 lines resolution which ever way you cut it.

DVD is NOT capable of better quality than DV - it has a compression rate of between 20-40 to 1!

Just to show you how good footage from the XL1s can be have a look at this site http://www.thinkstockfootage.com/showreel.html - all their material was shot with a XL1s.

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Old February 1st, 2003, 06:24 AM   #4
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The quality of your DVD encoding is going to have more to do with the final quality than either of those two cameras. I've seen beautiful footage from both those cameras destroyed by bad DVD encoding. I think you have to think in terms of best product for a total budget. If you spend most of your budget on the DSR500 and have only a marginal budget for producing the DVD your in trouble.

CutandPaste's link is to some of the best XL1 footage I've seen recently. But either camera when used by professionals and lit well can produce amazing results. All that hard work and effort can so easily go down the drain. DVD encoding and authoring will be key to a great finished product.
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Old February 1st, 2003, 07:19 PM   #5
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You are correct that they are both DV cameras and thus share the same 530 line recording limit in the same color space but, the similarities stop there. It uses much better lenses, has much better audio capabilities, will deliver a much better picture (the camera is capable of over 900 lines of resolution) and is definately more desireable in studio and professional applications. (you could use it to feed a non-DV deck) It's only real downside is it's price to the consumer. (and size, if you need something small)
I also don't mean to discredit the question, it was a remark to express the vast differences. While they aren't as extreme as DV-DigiBeta there is a reason the camera is much more expensive.

As for DVD, the data on a DV tape is 25Mbs, It is entirely possible to encode MPEG-2 DVD streams at up to 12Mbs or higher, so the while I was mistaken in my quote (and do apologize) DVD is not always compressed at it's maximum.

I guess my point was all things being equal, the higher quality you start with, the better the final image you end up with.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 01:51 AM   #6
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A bit off topic, but although it's technically possible to compress DVD to higher bitrates, most all of the standalone DVD players can't push more then about 10 Mb/s, including the audio, so most of the time video is encoded with peaks at around 8 Mb/s...

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Old February 3rd, 2003, 02:41 AM   #7
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The DSR500 (and its successor, the DSR570) is certainly a superior camera to the XL1s or any other prosumer camera. As already noted, its 2/3" native 16:9 CCD is a wonderful bit of imaging technology.

The significant cost differences between prosumer cameras and their SD ENG big brothers, however, are not solely due to their superior imaging technology. As you review the features of the DSR570, for example, you quickly observe that these rigs' features are particularly designed to make news camera operators' jobs easier. Toggle-switches activate various standard color correction adjustments that these folks need to set quickly every day, for example. The cameras can also be adapted for studio use by outfitting them with studio heads and intercoms. Plus they're much more ruggedized to withstand rough handling each day. I'd estimate that perhaps two thirds of the basic cost difference between the XL1s and DSR570 is due to the additional engineering required for such features.

But any camera is only as good as its operator and the final delivery of the footage. The XL1s, in the hands of a skilled professional, will produce footage that nobody would mistake for a HandyCam. The majority of the publicly noticeable differences lie with the operator rather than the camera. Also as noted, the final delivery medium (VHS, DVD, et.al.) will present its own set of limitations which can dilute even the best of production values.

So if you've a $50,000-$70,000 budget for your camera and don't mind carrying 15lbs of camera, by all means look at the DSR570 or it's Ikegami competitor (which some consider superior). But the XL1s can do an good stand-in job if given the proper study and skill.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 04:59 AM   #8
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Another important factor in cost is the production (sales) quantity. It is generally accepted that for every 10x increase in production the cost of production cost will be cut about in half.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 05:15 AM   #9
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I don't wish to get pedantic here but a couple of points for rhet121: You may be able to feed the DS500 to a non-DV deck (though I was under the impression that was only possible with the newer 570) but you will not get a 4:2:2 DigiBeta feed say - you will still get only a DV25 signal.

I repeat again that the 900 lines rez is ONLY at the camera head: of course it is a better camera than the XL1s, but as I say in the hands of an experienced DP both cameras CAN and do produce results that you would really have to look twice to see the difference. Thereafter yes you would notice a sharper image from the DSR500, but as I say they share the same DV25 medium and so they are not totally different animals. As Ken pointed out a lot of the differences are in the sytem layout; better lenses, robustness, true 16:9 etc. Let's not get carried away here the choice between the two cameras for a broadcast application is quite clear - I was talking about the results achieveable which was the implication of Ben's post.

Now DVD: sorry rhett but your mathematics are a little out. The maximum permissable encoding for DVD is 10mbps, and this has to include sound, which means that leaves about 8mbps for picture. Added to that mpeg2 although it uses a very effecient method of VBR compression is generally considered to be less high quality than DV constant type compression. Work it out if a 4.7gb DVD disk can hold only 1 hour of programme material at the very best quality then it means that even if all things were equal then it's going to be significantly less quality than DV that needs 13gb for the same hour. What you may have been talking about is mpeg2 compression itself, which yes can go to much higher standards (like IMX which is 50mbps 4:2:2) but this has nothing to do with DVD for which the compatible standards are those outlined above.

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Old February 3rd, 2003, 09:37 AM   #10
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For rhett121 and CutandPaste:

Nothing wrong with your posts, however both of you need to contact me immediately. As of Nov 2002 we no longer allow "handles" or anonymity, and I'm in the process of getting older accounts updated to real names. I need to hear from you guys so that I can get your real names plugged in. If I don't hear from you, I'll have no choice but to suspend your accounts as a way of encouraging you to contact me. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

The Canon XL1S is analagous to a four-door one-ton dually pickup, while the DSR500 is more on the order of a ten-ton boxed van truck.

The primary differences in the 500 over the 1S are the larger CCD's, 2/3" broadcast video lenses, full-size tape transport, and DVCAM format. It is a true shoulder-mount camera system while the XL1S is a prosumer DV camcorder.

If you can afford the DSR500, it is definitely a better way to go. It is in an entirely different class than the XL1S. Hope this helps,
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 10:34 AM   #11
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Dear Chris,

Regretably I must respectfully decline your request.

Although I have had vigourous debates with people on this forum I have at all times tried to remain respectful; I can appreciate however that you wish perhaps to avoid people abusing their anonymousness, but I reserve my right to remain so because I simply want to! For one thing despite the best reassurances, I run a commercial operation, and I don't wish to receive any spam.

So although I may have to slink over to another site if I want to join in or offer and receive advice I will drop in from time to time to look at the posts - if that's still possible!

Many thanks for a very useful and informative site and best of luck!

Regards.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 11:55 AM   #12
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For CutandPaste:

First and most importantly, as stated in our FAQ:

"There's no need to worry about spam; it's impossible for spammers to harvest addresses from this board and we don't send out e-mail blasts. The only e-mail you receive from the board are the notifications you yourself choose to subscribe to. Your personal information such as your name, location and contact info will never be sold, given away or otherwise distributed to anyone... not to our sponsors; not to anybody. The only reason why we all use our real name here is to insure that all of the material posted within is up-front, honest, good natured and well intended. Anonymity would be counter-productive to this mission; therefore it's simply not allowed."

A large portion of our members and most of our moderators are also involved in commercial operations, and obviously have no reservations about using their real names. I'm convinced that we're on the right track by prohibiting anonymity, as I regularly receive compliments about that specific requirement on an almost daily basis. In fact, you're the first person to decline this invitation.

Debate within this community is always encouraged and I have always appreciated the nature and tone of all your previous posts. However, that is not the issue currently at stake: in a community such as this one where each individual member is given the highest regard, anonymity constitutes an unwillingness to engage in a very simple process of civility and mutual respect. This unwillingness is an undesirable quality here, and it isn't healthy for the rest of us. I understand that not everyone is comfortable being up-front about who they are on an online forum. In all honesty, I'm not interested in attracting these people. Instead, I'm interested in attracting people who are comfortable with putting their name to what they write (in fact, the best ones are enthusiastic about it).

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Once again, the "spam" argument is not legitimate and can't be used to circumvent our basic community rules, but if at some point in the future you decide you'd like to get into the spirit of our proceedings here, please e-mail me directly and I'll happily re-instate you. Best regards and good luck,
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 12:13 PM   #13
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"CutandPaste": Please reconsider your position. There is really no jeopardy and you have been a valued member and thoughtful contributor to out community.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 12:25 PM   #14
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Back to the XL1 vs DSR500 (or DSR570 now)...
I looked for a direct comparison of the difference in picture between the two but couldn't find one. Has anyone else seen a site comparing the XL1's picture with any high end cameras?
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 12:29 PM   #15
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Dylan:

<< Has anyone else seen a site comparing the XL1's picture with any high end cameras? >>

Mmm, no, not that I'm aware of. It wouldn't be a very fair comparison anyway. These two machines are in entirely different leagues.
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