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Old October 3rd, 2007, 12:59 PM   #1
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Which to purchase? GL2 or XH A-1?

I'm a bit on the fence here about which of these two cams to get and would appreciate input. I plan to buy one of these two Canon video cams. I have researched other video cams/brands extensively and will only buy one of these two videocams.

My use of the camera would be:

(1) Short promo videos for local businesses. I'll generate a little $$$ from the camera but mostly the video cam will be for my own personal use.

(2) Nature and wildlife video.

(3) Grampa cam for my five grand daughters.

I expect to be producing SD video for the next year or so and then gradually plan to move to high def over the period of a couple of years as funds become available.

What I'm debating:

Upside of GL2. Cheaper, and good video.

Downside of GL2. No high def for long term. Actually fairly pricey for old technology by today's standards. What will it be worth in two years if I trade up?

Upside of XH A1 - high def for when I switch - a year or two down the road. Nice manual controls...this is a good deal. Better(I hear anyway) low light performance.

Downside of A1 - how does it do in SD? This is the format I'll be using for a while. Almost twice the cost of the GL2. It appears from what I read here and on other forums that downconverting high def to SD is only so...so. I may be interpreting that wrong.

Other considerations.

(1) I like the fact that both cameras use CCD technology.

(2) I do need an automatic setting for when my wife may run the camera...once in a great while.

(3) 20x optical zoom is very important.

(4) Low light performance would be nice but not absolutely necessary for what I do.

(5) The A1 is at the high end of my budget but I would make that move if I could justify it. The GL2 seems like it should sell for more like $1,500 new for such old technology. But maybe I'm just not understanding the marketing mentality of the GL2.

I have read statements by folks on this and other forums that GL2's are out there for $1,500 used, but I haven't seen them. And, I would think that with all the moving parts of a GL2, one would not want to invest $1,500 in a used GL2 unless it was in mint condition.

(6) I do embrace new technology and enjoy working/learning with it.

I have learned a lot from reading all your comments and would appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks all for taking your time to read this and to respond

:)
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Old October 3rd, 2007, 01:23 PM   #2
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I have owned a GL2 and sold it when I bought my A1. I would say that if you can swing it get the A1 hands down. The A1 looks great when shooting even in SD plus it has what I consider the added bonous of having native 16:9 chips where the GL2 just has 4:3 (The A1 can do 4:3 just fine if you need it). Also, depending on on how you are working with the footage you can still film in HD now, and downconvert in camera when playing back or capturing or down convert in post. Either way, leaving you with HD memories from the get go. As far as they go I think both preform well in Low light situations. Neither can see in the dark but with the right settings both can be acceptable.

Overall the extra controls of the A1 will serve you well if you can take the time to read the manual and learn to use it.
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Old October 3rd, 2007, 04:29 PM   #3
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A1 is better. GL2 is cheaper.

You get what you pay for, and in the long run, it would be worth it.

However, two things--
If you can't afford the A1 or you aren't sure about this as a field yet, then the GL2 is not a bad camera.
If you might end up purchasing a better camera in a year or two anyway, then the GL2 might make more sense as a starter camera. The A1 will last longer [format/quality], unless you're going to replace it anyway (when better HD cameras are cheaper).

From my experience, downsizing HD to SD looks good (think of putting a 35mm image onto a DVD, though there are other factors as well). So that shouldn't be a problem, either digitally or in camera as you shoot.
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Old October 3rd, 2007, 05:25 PM   #4
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I also have an A1 and GL2. I love them both but the A1 is much better. I had a 2-camera shoot recently and burned to a regular SD DVD. The A1 had a better "look" on the DVD even though everything was set manually on the 2 cameras at the same settings. In fact, the only time I ever use my GL2 anymore is when I need 2 cameras. Everything else (kids, vacations, etc.) I always take my A1.

Do keep in mind, though, that if you are holding the A1 for any length of time (like with grandkids), it does get heavy after awhile.

If I have any extra money in the near future, I would probably get the HV20 to have for a lightweight HDV camera for fun, hand-held use and continue to use the A1 for tripod/professional uses.

But if it is in your budget, go with the A1.
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Old October 3rd, 2007, 08:43 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input.

Your info and thoughts are very helpful.

Thanks for taking your time guys.

Rog Lee
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Old October 4th, 2007, 04:31 AM   #6
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Daniel had a very good point about getting started in the field. It is easier to swallow a $2000 purchase over a $3500 one if you decide not to use the camera too much. It is important to think about that in regards to how often you will be using the camera. If you can get your hands on both cameras be sure to do so. As Paul said the A1 is a bit bigger and heavier so it might really be hard to use for the long hand held shots that come with most home videos.
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Old October 4th, 2007, 06:54 AM   #7
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Josh,

Again, good point.

And thanks to you all. This is pretty helpful.

Rog Lee
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Old October 4th, 2007, 06:04 PM   #8
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I'm going with the XH-A1.

Thanks to all of you for your input and help.

I'll explain about my decision more so if you would like me too do that.

Thanks for all your help.

Rog Lee
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Old October 4th, 2007, 08:23 PM   #9
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Congrats.

I don't think there's much to explain... we all agree with that (if you've got the money available).
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Old October 5th, 2007, 04:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Lee View Post
I'm going with the XH-A1.

Thanks to all of you for your input and help.

I'll explain about my decision more so if you would like me too do that.

Thanks for all your help.

Rog Lee
At least be sure let us know what you think when you get a chance to play with it a bit :) See you around in the A1/G1 forum :)
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Old October 5th, 2007, 12:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Chesarek View Post
At least be sure let us know what you think when you get a chance to play with it a bit :) See you around in the A1/G1 forum :)
I'll let you know what I think...or perhaps more accurately, what I don't know how to do...after I've had a chance to work with the A-1 for a while.

I might still be a month or two out from purchasing it....we'll see. It looks like Canon is offering a rebate again the on the camera.

Thanks again to all of you that helped out.

The A-1 is more money but it came down to investing in future technology rather than past.

Thanks again all.

Rog Lee
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Old October 5th, 2007, 02:16 PM   #12
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GL2 -- old technology, XH A1 -- new technology -- 'nuff said.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 02:30 PM   #13
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I do not see how there is even a question, XHA1 and HD is so superior to SD thats it is not even a fair comparison. The only downside is increased time rendering, that can be negated or automated if you actually stick to a dv workflow, and are not concerned about having hd edits ready from footage you shoot now, just convert down and edit, or else edit hd save a hd master and convert to an SD master for current use, or use proxy files to work on dv and than swap and render hd and or just render the proxy files for sd delivery.
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