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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 03:27 AM   #1
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Going with the Canon - $6,000 in hand! Need advice...

Hey everyone. My company has decided to purchase a Canon Xl1s camera and the essential accessories. We're going to be producing a series of short films and commercials, and I need to beef up my equipment list.

I've done a fair amount of reading of all the threads here and have a pretty good idea of what I need. I just need some more thoughts from some of you who have used this equipment for awhile.

I'm going to tell you what I already have, and then perhaps some of you can give me some suggestions on how to spend this $6,000. Note: (this money is just for equipment, not food for actors and other costs associated with filmmaking).


I have:
--------------
1 Sienheisser ME/66 Shotgun Mic with gitza pole.
1 Beachtek XLR adapter
I Sony VX2000
2 tota lights
--------------

SO, I plan on getting the XL1s, with the color viewfinder and the regular lens. I will probably sell my beloved VX2000. Most places price this the Canon with the viewfinder and lens at around $3,500, which leaves me with $2,500 IF I get the Canon with the regular zoom lens. Quick question, is it better to forgo the standard lens and get the 16x Manual Servo lens instead? Notice how I don't have a tripod, can anyone recommend a decent fluidhead? Anything else you would spend the cash on? Certain filters, adapters, lenses, chargers, lights etc. Would you purchase a sound mixer? An extra mic, or a wireless mic set? I know it all depends on what I'm doing, (mostly short, dramatic films) I'm just looking for some advice on what items and accessories you have all found essential to your shooting experience. Hopefully this can guide my purchase because I really don't have time to test this stuff out extensively before I buy.

Any advice is appreciated as always.
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 11:37 AM   #2
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Brad

Regarding a tripod for you, be sure to browse the weath of information in our Support Your Local Camera forum. There are several threads which discuss tripod options for the XL1S.

The stock lens that comes with the camera is great for hand-held "running and gunning." If you're working mostly from a tripod, you might appreciate the 16x manual lens instead. It all depends on what you're doing.
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 02:14 PM   #3
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thanks Chris. Didn't even notice that forum. Wow this place has grown this past year. Good work!

Yes, I think I will get the standard lens for now, and then get the manual down the road.
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 03:39 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Brad Simmons :
Yes, I think I will get the standard lens for now, and then get the manual down the road. -->>>

Everyone else I've noticed making this same decision, regretted not getting the manual from the very beginning! :)
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Old April 24th, 2003, 12:54 AM   #5
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>>>Everyone else I've noticed making this same decision, regretted not getting the manual from the very beginning!<<<

Me too! If your shooting style permits, I would suggest the manual lens also. Since I got my "M16X", I've only used the auto 16x once or twice. The auto 3X has been my favorite though. I just wish Canon made a manual version of it. The focus rings on both auto lenses really stink.

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Old April 24th, 2003, 12:58 AM   #6
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#1) tripod.
Best value for the buck may be the Manfrotto 501 or 503 head.

#2) 3x wide angle lens.


If you are doing non-tripod, hand-held stuff, than I'd stick with the stock lens due to it's image stabilization. If you are doing all tirpod shooting, and have to the option of taking the manual lens, instead of the stock one, I'd go do it.
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Old April 24th, 2003, 02:00 AM   #7
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Well, let me just say that the main purpose of this Canon will be to shoot short films and commercials. So, I don't think I will be using a tripod all the time, I do enjoy shooting handheld. From what I've read in the reviews, I see that it's hard to maintain stabilty with the manual, which is why you mention the tripod? Yet I also hear that most people never go back to the auto lens one they get the manual lens. What I'm thinking is that I will just get both lenses, just in case I need the auto lens, as Chris said.

Here is my budget breakdown so far, ie what I think I will purchase.

1. Canon XL-1S Base blus 16x Standard Lens and Color Viewfinder
$3,550.00
2. 16 Manual Servo Zoom Lens
$1, 350.00
3. Canon MA-200 Dual XLR Adaper and Shoulder Pad
$360.00
4. CH-910 Dual Battery Power Adapter
$150.00
5. 2 BP-930 Batteries
$160 (80$ each)
6. Film Look DV Filter Kit from zgc.
$194 .00
7. SI-XL1 System Isolator
$100.00


Am I off base here?

The total of this equals $5,864 if bought by B&H. I think I will eventually get this from www.zgc.com though.

I like the shoulder mount aspect of the MA 200, even though I don't think I need 4 xlr inputs, supposedly it provides a better shoulder rest right?
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Old April 24th, 2003, 02:13 AM   #8
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Brad,
If you're still shopping, consider getting BP-945 (or equivalent) batteries. Much longer-lasting. Power 2000 and Lenmar both make excellent BP-945 equivalents for just a small amount more than you list for the BP-930's.

The 16x auto lens is better for most handheld shots. It's markedly lighter and features the image stabilizer. Yes, some folks claim they can shoot handheld just as well with the 16x manual. OK. The 16x manual servo is good for mounted or externally stabilized precision work.

The MA-200 is larger than the MA-100 and does provide a better shoulder mount. But the XL1s is really not comfortable for long-term shoulder shooting; most of the camera's weight lands on your right arm anyway. I've found that one of the best features of the MA-200 is it's BNC video-out connector, very handy when using a professional field monitor.

Have fun!
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Old April 24th, 2003, 02:32 AM   #9
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thanks for the advise Ken, especially about the batteries. I thought I could save money by getting the the mid range, but I should probably get the longest lasting kind. I do have a lithium battery charger for my old Sony VX2000, (don't know if it's cross compatible) but I think I'll just sell it and get the CH-910 to mount on the MA200.

Do you know if it's possible to mount a wireless receiver as well as the battery adapter on the MA-200?

You mention a field monitor as well. Can you recommend one of those?
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Old April 24th, 2003, 02:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Do you know if it's possible to mount a wireless receiver as well as the battery adapter on the MA-200?
Challenging but possible. The 910 mounts to a pre-determined location on an extendable bracket at the back of the MA-200. It's possible to mount the receiver, with velcro, to the 910.
Quote:
You mention a field monitor as well. Can you recommend one of those?
I most often use a Panasonic 7" LCD high-res monitor mounted to the XL1s' handle shoe. Lightweight, full-frame display (unlike the viewfinder), 4:3 and 16:9 display modes. These are sold by Nebtek which can adapt them to use BP-series batteries, a very handy conversion well worth the addditional cost. (The alternative is to use a/c or 12v batteries.) They have a few other models of good, bright monitors, also. It beats schlepping my 12 lb 8" Sony PVM8042Q CRT monitor, which would be my alternative.
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Old April 24th, 2003, 03:11 AM   #11
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thanks Ken, checking that out right now...
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Old April 24th, 2003, 05:11 AM   #12
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MA-100 works well, provides a good shoulder pad, and 2 channel support. And RCA-BNC adapters cost cost a lot less (around $2) than the $180 difference in price vs. the MA-200. Three foot BNC-RCA cables start at $6.39 at Markertek.

Tryp hands on with both if you can to see which is more comfortable/convenient for you.
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Old April 24th, 2003, 08:24 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ken Tanaka : Challenging but possible. The 910
I most often use a Panasonic 7" LCD high-res monitor mounted to the XL1s' handle shoe. Lightweight, full-frame display (unlike the viewfinder), 4:3 and 16:9 display modes. These are sold by www.nebtek.com]>>>


Hey Ken,

I've always wanted to get an LCD for my XL1, but I am worried that all these
LCDs seem like they have a low pixel count. How well does this one do when
trying to find focus in very low light situations and how well does it perform
outside on a bright day?

Do you have to use a sun shade or just keep it out of direct sunlight?

How long does the battery last?

Thanks
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Old April 24th, 2003, 08:56 AM   #14
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LCD Display

Your in good hands Brad. The homework will pay-off.

Regarding the LCD display. In bright light my LCD is terrible and unreadable. Indoors or night it works quite well. I use it predominantly to compose a frame at a seminar.

When filmmaking/DV making I prefer the eyepiece and a monitor if applicable.

Good Journey!
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Old April 24th, 2003, 10:41 AM   #15
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Jaques,
I had the same experience as Derrick relayed with my first cheapo lcd's. Dim, coarse displays of little practical use.

Then I found this Panasonic. It's a whole different animal. Go to the Nebtek site and compare the resolution and brightness (in NITS). Personally, I find it the equivalent of a Sony 8" CRT. (Hoodman also makes an excellent hood for it.) A BP-930 will last at least 2 hrs (I've never run one completely down on the monitor yet, so I really don't know.)

The Panasonic's pricey, weighing-in at nearly what a Sony 8" will cost. But you really do get equivalent value. Be sure to get the shoe mount with it.
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