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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old February 13th, 2002, 03:43 PM   #1
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Why should I get the XL1S over the Sony vx2000?

Hey guys. New to this forum here. I have a basic question. I am torn between the canon xls1 and the sony vx2000.


Things I dont like about the Canon are the price and no LCD screen. But I do like the fact that the camera is very expandable.

The thing I dont like about the Sony is that you cant have interchangable lenses, but then again, I dont know if I need that now.

I can get a Sony for around 2500, but the Canon is almost 4,000.

Now my quesiton is...as far as image quality, which is better? They both have 3 CDD's which I want. Yet i noticed that the sony has more megapixels. The guy at the camera store today was telling me that the Sony will produce more vibrant colors, but then again I dont know if I can trust him because they only sell sony products.

Am I missing out if I dont get the Canon?

Thanks guys.

I want to ask the same thing to the Sony guys in the other forum so I get both opinions. :D
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Old February 13th, 2002, 04:21 PM   #2
 
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FWIW....

I bought a Sony VX1000 a few years ago, then recently bought an XL1s. A VX1000 falls short of the VX2000 in a few areas, but, in retrospect, I wish I had gone straight to the XL1s for all the pro's you listed.
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Old February 13th, 2002, 04:31 PM   #3
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that's a loaded question considering you're asking that on an XL forum.

I just got my XL1S and considered the VX as well- the XL won me over by virtue of it's interchangeable lenses- I believe the general consensus is that the VX shoots sharper images out of the box but doesn't actually out perform the XL because of Canon's excellent color accuracy (the VX has a supposed slight color shift) and the XL's very "film-like" video when using "frame" mode...something the VX cannot do.......if you search around you'll get tons of opinions on which is better (just ask camera pros which is better- Canon or Nikon- you'll never get a definitive answer)....I can honestly say i'm not too impressed with the softness in focus but I know that's a characteristic of the OEM lens (other lenses are reputedly very sharp- anyone care to verify this???)..if you shoot alot of manual video- opt for the manual lens and order it from ZGC- you'll get sharp images.

Also if you want to shoot telephoto video- this is your only bet- a Canon 500mm lens (with EF adapter) will have a focal length of 3600mm- enough to shoot lions in the savanah's....a VX can't do it.

The XL also looks like the $4000+ camera that it is- the VX isn't as impressive looking- not a big point but will be when you try to sell it and get something new down the line.
Another well documented pro to owning the XL is Canon's excellent repair service- in most cases they can fix just about any XL ailment in under a week- I would hate to think how long super-giant Sony would take to fix a VX problem (maybe someone here can elaborate on this??)

Anyway the XL is the forum sweetheart- not perfect but serious enough to get and make work- if professional film-makers use them and produce outstanding footage- i'm sure anyone can make it work for their purposes.

Good luck.
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Old February 13th, 2002, 04:33 PM   #4
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I have a VX2000 about 1 foot away from me right now that I am borrowing from a friend and also my own XL1. I much prefer the XL1. For one, the XL1 has "frame mode" which makes the frame rate look more like film and less like everyone else's camcorder. As far as the colors are concerned, they are both about equal I'd say. But on the Sony if you drop your shutter speed below 1/60 you get deinterlacing, which looks bad bad bad. The Sony has progressive scan, but that only runs at 15 frames per second, much too slow. It is incredibly sharp, in fact I'd say it was "too sharp" for an NTSC monitor... the shimmering is immense. But it's great for stills. The Sony has lots of "frills" built in like "Old movie mode" and "Sepia tone" and all the stuff you don't need.

The VX2000 is a bit easier to focus, but definitely harder to white balance. Also the microphone (built-in) on the Sony seems inferior to the one that comes with the XL1 and XL1s.
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Old February 13th, 2002, 05:34 PM   #5
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Why should you get the XL1S ... because you know that is what you really want.
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Old February 13th, 2002, 05:57 PM   #6
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I can add little to what Joe, Steve and Bill have already noted. The XL1 / XL1s system is tremendously flexible on both the video and the audio front. It's true technical competitor is the Sony PD150 rather than the VX2000 (which is more of a GL1 competitor). Rather than rant its praises (which I could do) I have two suggestions for you.

1. Go to the Canon DV site (www.canondv.com), download the XL1s manual (Acrobat PDF file) and read through it to get familiar with the standard cam's basic functions. Do the same for the VX2000 if you can.

2. Make your decision based predominantly on (a) the type of shoots and environments you expect to make and (b) a realistic assessment of your budget. If you're planning to shoot while shinnying up rock walls the VX2000 (or GL1) might be a more practical 1-handed-shooting form factor for you.

Remember that as much fun as the tools can be they're not really the critical part of good visual storytelling. Skill and imagination are the only two elements for which there are no substitute.

Interesting sideline: Steven Soderbergh is currently shooting his upcoming film "Full Frontal" predominantly with the XL1s. You may find the film's site of some interest:

http://www.fullfrontal.com/index2.html

Have fun with the shopping and your camera!
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Old February 13th, 2002, 08:43 PM   #7
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I just got my XL1s a couple weeks ago and have done a wedding and two events since then - I edit with Canopus and deliver on DVDs - so far, the camera has been great. I will definately be getting the 16x manual lens and 3x Wide lens in the next few weeks. Which is the one advantage that stands out (at least for me) the camera can GROW as your needs change.
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Old February 13th, 2002, 08:44 PM   #8
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Wow awesome feedback guys!! That puts a lot of things in perpective. All the details and spec info is appreciated.

Two things especially caught my eye.

Quote:
"Why should you get the XL1S? ... because you know that is what you really want. "

True. Deep down I really do really want the XL1S. Technically I can afford it, but if I were realistic with my budget, I would get the Sony Vx2000, and then buy some lights and a good mic. Then again, I am really interested in the progressive scan that the Canon offers - at 30 frames per second instead of 15. This would be better for me because I plan on putting my content on the web- and I would have less problems with deinterlacing.

Also Ken said

"Remember that as much fun as the tools can be they're not really the critical part of good visual storytelling. Skill and imagination are the only two elements for which there are no substitute"

Which it very true and makes me want to go out and get the Sony instead.

Anyways, thanks for the info guys. It helps. I'll let you know what I get.
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Old February 13th, 2002, 11:28 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by KenTanaka : It's true technical competitor is the Sony PD150 rather than the VX2000 (which is more of a GL1 competitor). Rather than rant its praises (which I could do) I have two suggestions for you. -->>>

You've leveled the playing field Ken. It's all a matter of what you really need. For me the PD150 has two things, and only two things, I need - programmable SMPTE time code and a faster writing speed (DVPro). I doubt either of these two features would be of much use to Visionary but to me they are what the XL-1 lacks - at least the time code. Someone is bound to develop a way to record programmable time code on the XL-1s and then it'll be very near perfect.

To Visionary I would add that, if money is a real factor (and to whom isn't it?) take a look at the TRV900. It's not as "professional" looking but it has 3 chips, and with a Beachtek XLR adapter, it can deliver excellent results at a much lower price. As Ken said, "...as much fun as the tools can be they're not really the critical part of good visual storytelling". I find it interesting that Soderbergh is using the XL-1 "out of the box" with no assessories added.
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Old February 14th, 2002, 01:37 AM   #10
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The key is getting the right tool for the job.

Both are absolutely great. If you like to point and shoot, go Sony, hands down.

If you like to fiddle around, the Canon will get my nod. I like multiple white balance registers. You can get all your presets in one swoop and then you can adjust while shooting. There are just some nice-itys on the Canon like, adjustable zebra levels, ability of tossing a 35mm lens on it and shooting very long tele-shots.

Either will be just fine. Sony is a bit sharper and a little bit better in low light.

If cost means something and you can live without some of the gizmos on the canon, so be it. Your arms will thank you. (canon's stabilizer is great, but why use it... tripod's a must!)
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Old February 14th, 2002, 12:39 PM   #11
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XL-1 vs VX-2000

Well this is not the sort of question you should be asking on this thread, but since you asked.

I have owned both a VX-2000 I purchased New from Camera World and most recently a Used (low time XL-1) purchased on e-bay. The look and feel of the XL-1 from the very start speaks: "I'm a Real Pro-camera".

In my opinion when choosing a DV camera, this is entirely a personal choice based upon the wishes of the operator. More Control of the input of Audio / Video = more $$$$ you must spend.

The MSRP Retail of a VX-2000 is $2999.00 (Approx)
The MSRP Retail of a XL-1 is 4999.00 (Approx)
We all know you can do better on the Internet.

The Sony takes a fantastic picture, but does not do Frame movie mode to my knowledge.

The XL-1 and XL-1S both have the ability to control multiple sources of audio (4 Ch) to be exact.

Len's options are fantastic on the XL-1, VX-2000 has but one.

I don't know about you but I would buy an additional XL-1 long before any other Camera.

Good Luck
Dennis
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Old February 15th, 2002, 05:36 AM   #12
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Ozzie,

What do you mean exactly when you are saying
"programmable SMTPE time code"?

Thanks!
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Old February 15th, 2002, 12:27 PM   #13
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Howdy from Texas,

Rob Lohman: Ozzie means by "programmable SMPTE time code" that you can set the time code numbers yourself, like assigning reel numbers for certain tapes, etc. This is a benefit of the DVCAM format and is found on the PD150 & DSR250 but not on the VX2000.

Choosing between VX2000 and XL1S:

Step One: Pick the one which feels the best in your hands. If you ain't comfortable holding it, you're not going to shoot much with it.

Step Two: View the video output from each on a professional NTSC video monitor. Canon and Sony produce different flavors of video, like different flavors of ice cream. Choose the flavor you like best. Sony tends to be cooler, sharper, more towards the blue. Canon tends to be warmer, softer, more towards the red. And on these camcorders you can always tweak those image settings. Try them before you buy them, that's really the best way.
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Old February 15th, 2002, 02:05 PM   #14
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hey thanks everyone for the good feedback. I like this place!

These are all good suggestions. I think Im going to take a test drive on both cameras this weekend.

cheers
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Old February 16th, 2002, 12:12 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : Ozzie, What do you mean exactly when you are saying "programmable SMTPE time code"? Thanks! -->>>

Chris already answered your question. There are two ways of "programming" time code - you either assign it or you use time of day. Assigning the code you can use the hour digits to act as the reel numbers (00 to 24). When logging and editing this comes in very handy. The time of day is what it implies. It is mainly used as a way of synchronizing cameras that are otherwise not connected in any way or deriving their time code from a common source.

With both methods you have the option use use "drop frame" or "non-drop frame" code. Since NTSC isn't really 30 fps but 29.97 fps that .03 of a second accumulates so that at the end of a 60 minute program you can be off by 12 seconds or more. Because of this, drop frame code is used when time is critical such as in broadcasting. There is no reason to use it for any other reason. Mixing the two can cause problems when editing since often the machine is looking for a frame that doesn't exist.

Another long-winded explanation but I hope it's of help.
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