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Old June 24th, 2003, 07:06 PM   #1
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XL1s or 24p HELP!

I'm trying to decide whether to buy a XL1s or a DVX100. I make commercials for small businesses, but also make dv projects on the side.
I would like to hear input from users who have shot with both cameras. Pros and cons would be great! Thank you.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 10:53 AM   #2
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decisions, decisions...

i am in the exact same predicament. i was actually getting ready to write a thread like this myself.

i went to new york yesterday to bhphoto. when i got there i was so overwhelmed that i'm even more confused as to what to get.

i too was looking at both of those cameras. getting to see them all first hand was quite nice. if you have the chance to go to bhphoto take the time to do it. i don't really have anything like that around me so it was pretty cool.

anyway. here's kind of where i stand.

everything i do is digital in the end. everything i've done up to this point has been for cd-roms and the occasional commercial and stuff like that. but now i'm starting to try and do some dvd projects.

so first the one i love the most. the xl1s. its obviously the coolest looking dv cam on the market. plus 1. i don't know an over abundance of technical jargen yet to really persuade me either way so... liked the way it fit in my hands and i loved the lens controls. they were very fluid and it seemed would be quite easy to get used to. (stock lens). they had everything hooked up to these pretty nice trinitron monitors. i really liked the picture coming out of the xl better. the dv area is really dark there with some spots on this little set in the middle of a ring of the coolest cameras ive ever seen. the color was fantastic and was much brighter than the others i was looking at. i don't know exactly what that means to be honest but i know what i like and what i'm looking for. i also like the amount of zoom and focusing in that lens. you could zoom in further and still be focused and zoom out further as well. again i don't know if that's extrememly necessary but i liked it.

now the downsides. obviously the size. no lcd. kinda heavy. no lcs, no lcd, NO LCD. man if this had an lcd i would have gotten it right then.

but there's a bunch of solutions to that. but then you got this somewhat awkward thing on the top of the camera that can be a pain to work with i bet.

the others like the pd150 and the panasonics were very nice too. the pictures were great. not quite as nice though (brightness and whatnot on the monitor) the controls were a bit easier to get to. xls are all like diagonal. but whatever. the size is perfect. and i don't know if the upgradability is there like in the xl? like changing lenses, but i'd imagine it is. and of course they all have lcd screens. its that stupid lcd and general size that is making this difficult for me. oh and the 24-20p thing doesn't matter to me since i don't do anything with film or really that film look and flicker and all that.

so i guess you have to ask yourself what is your final product going to be?

what functions in the camera are important to you?

your budget.

not just the final product but what type of situations will you be shooting in? like for me i think if i did weddings and stuff i wouldn't use the xl. because of its size. seems to me you'd want to be as invisible as possible at someone's wedding. will you be using a tripod a lot or not? size weight again the issue.

then when i thought i had all that figured out i went and looked at them and am in the same place i was 3 months ago when i decided it was time.

obviously im a complete novice and none of this prolly matters to you or your decision but i thought it was funny to see someone having the same issues as me. good luck with your decision.

cheers. J.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 11:06 AM   #3
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RENT FIRST.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 11:46 AM   #4
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If you like the XL1, get it. If you want an LCD screen why not just plan on buying an external LCD to mount in the shoe?

Personally I have never liked the XL1. I think the ergonomics are dreadful and the picture only OK. I love my PD150. I like the feel, the balance and most of all the image. (Don't be fooled by the image that you may have seen on the monitor. The cameras are adjustable. Sony ships them with a somewhat "flat" image preset which is easily tweeked to be as vivid as you might wish.)

That being said lots of folks love XL1s. So much is personal preference that there really is no right and wrong. All the cameras you mentioned are very good cameras. It all comes down to which you prefer.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 12:14 PM   #5
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i agree about the preference thing. and good points on the monitor issue. i was wondering the same things like style of monitors differed and whatnot.

i wish i had someplace around here where i could rent one for a day or weekend or whatever. but unfortunately i am unaware of such a place in baltimore.

think like tv stations rent equipment or anything like that? there's just no camera stores around here that seem to carry thay type of stuff.

i'd like a bit more one on one time with them before i decide.

thanks for the comments.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 09:53 PM   #6
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I'd be bias saying the DVX100 beings I own one but my partner with whom I shoot weddings with owns a XL-1s and I do all the editing. So I get to cut back and forth from XL1 and DVX all the time. The DVX, by far, is a superior cam- both in design (easier to handle than the XL1) and quality. You'd be amazed at how much better the resolution is on the DVX. Plus it comes with two phantom powered XLR inputs. If the "s" in XL-1s stands for "sound"....where were they when they decided to leave XLR inputs OUT.

However the XL-1 is far more rugged in construction compared to the DVX100. I always feel like I'm going to break it when I'm handling it- very plasticy feeling.
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Old June 27th, 2003, 10:53 AM   #7
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thanks for your reply glen.

does the dvx100 or pd150 have the option to upgrade lenses. or attach any kind of extra things such as a monitor and you said it has audio inputs.

what is it specifically that you like over the xl?

they appear to have pretty much the same features as far as adjusting the picture and whatnot, correct?

is the viewfinder on the dvx color or black and white and, i forget, is that the one that has the oversized eyepiece?

how about batteries. do you notice any difference in life on either camera. that may be a dumb question but the things i will be using it for will be all outdoors and batteries will be the sole lifeblood for the camera.

what do you use for editing. do you notice any differences there.

on the xl do you have any kind of external lcd? if so is it easy to use at least or does it bulk it up entirely too much?

i also plan on doing things that will not have the right lighting available. (mainly cause i can't afford it) so which camera do you notice does the best in that type of dark or dimly lit situation?

do you notice a difference in the sound that the external mic gets? not a big deal for me but you never know.

sorry to ask so many questions. but i don't really have the option to rent one to see for myself.

thank you for any input you can give me.
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Old June 27th, 2003, 11:46 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeremy Martin : thanks for your reply glen.

does the dvx100 or pd150 have the option to upgrade lenses. or attach any kind of extra things such as a monitor and you said it has audio inputs.
No neither the DVX or the PD150 have the ability to upgrade lenses. They both use a fixed lense- they do however offer multible wide-angle/tele and 16x9 anamorphic lens adapters (ones that thread onto the 72mm fixed lense).
As far as a monitor- you can connect an external field monitor (if that's what your implying) to any of the cameras.




what is it specifically that you like over the xl?
-I like the design of the DVX- it's smaller and easier to handle. The DVX has a built in LCD so I don't have to have the eye cup smashed against my face to monitor shots.
-24p
-Higher resolution CCDs
-Overall more tweaks on the way the image looks (ie Gamma settings, matrix settings, color temp to fine tune white balance)
-Better low light performance...maybe some will disagree but at the reception from the last wedding my DVX collected alot more than the XL-1s. I didn't even have to go over 6db of gain.
-Neutral Density filters. The XL-1S has only one- it's either on or off. The DVX offers 2 ND settings 1/8 and 1/64th.




they appear to have pretty much the same features as far as adjusting the picture and whatnot, correct?
No, see above.



is the viewfinder on the dvx color or black and white and, i forget, is that the one that has the oversized eyepiece?
Color



how about batteries. do you notice any difference in life on either camera. that may be a dumb question but the things i will be using it for will be all outdoors and batteries will be the sole lifeblood for the camera.
I really can't comment on that- I think the stock batteries on both the DVX and XL-1s are skimpy. A second, larger capacity, battery should be first on your list of accessories. I'd have to think if using the DVX100 with the LCD open and/or an external mic with phantom power (powered by the camera) it wouldn't last nearly as long as the stock XL1-s's battery.



what do you use for editing. do you notice any differences there.
Differences how? I've been a long time Adobe Premiere user but have been making the move to Vegas 4.0c. Plus Vegas supports native 24p editing.



on the xl do you have any kind of external lcd? if so is it easy to use at least or does it bulk it up entirely too much?
No, but I can imagine it becomming cumbersome depending on the type of shoot your on. If your doing a shoot in a controled environment like a short or a commercial I'm sure using an external LCD or monitor is no sweat. Though in a fast paced environment like event videography I don't see how you could make good use of an external LCD for the XL-1s...unless you have it locked down on a tripod.



i also plan on doing things that will not have the right lighting available. (mainly cause i can't afford it) so which camera do you notice does the best in that type of dark or dimly lit situation?
Again refer to the above. I don't have the facts on this but I'm just going by my experience with the two cameras. They both have 1/3" CCDs so should offer at least similar performance in that catagory. I've just noticed the DVX taking an edge in low light shooting from my experience.



do you notice a difference in the sound that the external mic gets? not a big deal for me but you never know.
Huuuuge difference. Shooting with the onboard mic and an external Sennheisser ME66 is like comparing a tricycle to a drag car! The external shotgun is quite sensitive and delivers more rich natural sound. You almost don't know what your missing until you shoot with both and compare. Once you do the onboard mic will, forever, sound tinny to you.
On a side note I think the stock mic on the XL-1s is far superior to the onbard mic of the DVX. It's designed so it's external and isn't prone to pic up camera motor noise- other than servo (auto) zooming in a quiet environment.




sorry to ask so many questions. but i don't really have the option to rent one to see for myself.
No problem man- ask away. That's why these boards are here. I've been a regular poster here for several months and it's become an invaluable resource for me. So many people know more than me or at least have been in similar situations and can offer insite to whatever problems that may arise. Good luck choosing your cam- keep us updated on which you choose and how you like it!




thank you for any input you can give me. -->>>
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Old June 27th, 2003, 02:39 PM   #9
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Thank you guys so much for your input. I'm going to go buy the DVX100. I will post a review when I can, and field as many questions as I can. :)
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Old June 27th, 2003, 04:04 PM   #10
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i have another couple of questions if anyone has the time.

the first i guess would be the widescreen options between the two. the xl1 does not have true widescreen meaning it crops, correct? what are the options on the DVX compared to the XL1s in that regard?

also the 24p and 30p difference. 24p is for film for the most part right? and since im going to dvd i shouldn't worry about that too much. are there any other differences in those settings other than the framerate? and is the DVX adjustable between the two? i know the xl is not.

are there any kind of time lapse features between the 2? not really important in what im doing but it would be cool to have that to play with.

hmm. what else is there. i have so many questions but don't know what to ask.

anything else to add to that, anyone?

thanks again for all your help. J.
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Old June 27th, 2003, 11:23 PM   #11
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LCDs are for sissies! :)

The DVX100 big selling point is 24P. Your needs don't indicate that you would be taking advantage of what Panasonic marketing touts most.

It's a viceral need to always get the latest and the greatest, but the DVX100 has some problems.

If you're only reading the good press about the DVX100, there have been several unbiased articles that note the disadvantages of the DVX100, some of which, in my opnion, were significant enough for me to not buy the camera, even though I thought it was pretty cool.

Disadvantage excerpts:

Bad High-contrast artifacting; audio knobs are located in a bad place, which are prone to inadvertently changing while shooting. Noisy zoom and autofocus mechanisms. Lack of gain adjustment and autofocus in progressive mode. Only 10X optical zoom.

Then there’s the battery…enough said. I’ve heard that the AG-DVX100 can use other long-life Panasonic batteries (intended for other Panasonic cameras) that are already on the market.

Checking focus through either the viewfinder or the LCD (which are less than sharp) can be difficult.

Two glaring omissions are: the larger (CCD) chips and “true”16x9 capture. The DXV100 comes with the smaller 1/3” chips.

For some reason when set to Manual, the iris automatically closes down when you zoom in or out. I was told that was by design. I do not know why.

I agree with the "rent it first" answer, and keep reading.
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Old June 28th, 2003, 12:15 AM   #12
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Preference is important, and so is the camera's ultimate work environment.

I shoot 100% in the field and I'm constantly on the move - while shooting. Horizontal shots, vertical shots, shots straight at the ground. Yes, the camera is relatively large and heavy, but most of my shots are hand-held, I can pivot on my shoulder and move in every direction and you'd swear I used a tripod. Try using a tripod to capture a helicopter passing directly over head at 160 mph. Most people pan just soooo far... and then let the aircraft pass out of the picture. Not because it's artsy, but because the camera's stuck on a tripod and they couldn't follow it if they wanted to.

I've tried several smaller, lighter cameras, but even with image stabilization, the picture still isn't as rock steady as the XL-1.

As far as an LCD is concerned, I would never use one. My eye is in the cup, the MA-100 is fixed to my shoulder and the camera is locked down on my body. I am essentially a living, moving, flexible tripod. Ever try to use an LCD in the field, on a sunny day, at noon, while moving in all directions. The LCD becomes a worthless wind flap - can't see a darned thing.

But then, your needs may be different than mine... :)
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Old June 28th, 2003, 03:04 AM   #13
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my opinion

I used the Xl1-s in a recent shoot that required both hand held shooting and pod shooting. While the cam was great on the pod, when used on the shoulder using the standard support the camera was very uncomfortable to use.

Ive had this argument running through my head for months also, the only difference is that mine is or was between the xl1-s and the pd-150. Having now seen both cams in action personally, im heading out to buy a pd-150. Quite simply, the xl1-s needs too much accessory spending to get the cam running at its max potential. The pd however is basically a fully equiped unit.

Hope the advice helps re the xl1-s.........im not against the cam, just could'nt justify the money....

Rich
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Old June 28th, 2003, 09:23 AM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeremy Martin : i have another couple of questions if anyone has the time.

the first i guess would be the widescreen options between the two. the xl1 does not have true widescreen meaning it crops, correct? what are the options on the DVX compared to the XL1s in that regard?
The DVX does not have true 16x9. It crops it manually to widescreen dimensions. There are anamorphic filters available that makes it true 16x9- though they are expensive.

also the 24p and 30p difference. 24p is for film for the most part right? and since im going to dvd i shouldn't worry about that too much. are there any other differences in those settings other than the framerate? and is the DVX adjustable between the two? i know the xl is not.
No, 24p is not JUST for transfering to film. You can shoot in 24p to give it a more film'like look, which if you've ever compared 60i to 24p (w/ 2-3pull-down)- there is a HUGE difference in the look of it. Canon's 30p is nice but it's faking it by doubling up on the fields. It doesn't have progressive CCDs.

are there any kind of time lapse features between the 2? not really important in what im doing but it would be cool to have that to play with.
The DVX does, indeed, have time lapse features- adjustable as to the frequency and length it shoots as well.


. -->>>
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Old June 28th, 2003, 09:42 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Eric Lian :
The DVX100 big selling point is 24P. Your needs don't indicate that you would be taking advantage of what Panasonic marketing touts most.
You can use the same argument with the XL-1s...that the ability to change lenses is "it's" main selling point. It's just as innacurate of a statement for both the cameras. Both have so much more to offer than interchangeable lenses and 24p. But minus the 24p the DVX is still a more robust camera with it's features. Also I suggested to Jeremy to check out the DVC80 which is the DVX minus 24p.




Disadvantage excerpts:

Bad High-contrast artifacting; audio knobs are located in a bad place, which are prone to inadvertently changing while shooting. Noisy zoom and autofocus mechanisms. Lack of gain adjustment and autofocus in progressive mode. Only 10X optical zoom.
-I have seen some artifacting in some posted DVX still yet I haven't seen any in my particular footage...I'll have to look.
-Audio knobs aren't in a bad place so much as the recessed design is alot harder to adjust than the push-open design of the XL-1s's (I'll give you that!). Though I've never had a problem with the audio levels changing while I'm shooting- how the heck would you have to hold it to do that?! Besides thats the exact reason it's a "recessed" design.
-Noisy zoom and autofoucs....yep- same with the XL-1s. Maybe a little bit less beings it's default microphone is mounted a bit further from the lense.
-Why tout lack of gain adjustment and autofocus in progressive modes as an inherent disadvantage. How is it a disadvantage if no other cameras offer 24p?!




Checking focus through either the viewfinder or the LCD (which are less than sharp) can be difficult.
Actually the XL-1s is BY FAR the hardest camera to check focus and exposure. Viewfinders tend to display a very innacurate image- plus they are so small it's impossible to know if your focus is locked on. The LCD on the DVX offers a much better representation of what your shooting- both in color reproduction and size. Speaking of disadvantages....the XL-1 is at a huge one with it's lack of LCD screen. What other Mini DV prosumer cams out there ONLY have a viewfinder and NO lcd?!

Two glaring omissions are: the larger (CCD) chips and “true”16x9 capture. The DXV100 comes with the smaller 1/3” chips.
I don't have the facts to back up your claim about it having smaller 1/3" ccds- but isn't that an oxymoron? I have a smaller 6" pencil than you- They are BOTH 6"!!!!! Besides even if it does have "smaller" 1/3" CCDs (even though they BOTH have 1/3" ccds) the DVX is higher resolution and performs better in low light.

For some reason when set to Manual, the iris automatically closes down when you zoom in or out. I was told that was by design. I do not know why.
I don't know why either- my still cam, Sony F717, does the same thing. Though oddly enough it's actually easier to get a narrow depth of field when zoomed in, so this factor doesn't really affect anything adversly.

I agree with the "rent it first" answer, and keep reading. -->>>
Can't go wrong with that. You can take all we say on here with a grain of salt, but if you try both and just "prefer" one over the other, then so be it. It's what you prefer. I'm just trying to compare oranges to oranges with the technical facts. Plus how many of these PRO-XL1 guys have worked extensively with BOTH cameras?
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