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Old October 7th, 2004, 02:14 AM   #1
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DVX100a or XL2

okay, before you guys come with pitchforks and torches, let me just say i've done quite a bit of looking around for this critical decision (3-5 grand isn't a trivial investment!).

Okay let me just tell you my story first. Back 2 months ago I started hunting around for a camcorder that's great and i will be happy with. something that will last me a while. I set my eyes on the XL2.

Okay so I saved, and as the date for release on the XL2 got closer, I start seeing people flaming this camcorder and suggesting the dvx100. I brush these people off as just being loyal to a brand name.

the XL2 gets released. more flames shot up against that camcorder. now i'm having doubts. now people are suggesting the dvx100a! What on earth? and from time to time, i see people saying "i would buy the dvx100a even if it were $1k more than the XL2". is the dvx100a really that much better?

my friend and somewhat amatuer (he doesn't devote his life to this, he's a software dev but does "film" for fun) said that i should get the XL2 anyway, since it is a big camera and therefore will be able to hold a steadier shot than any palmcorders, which the dvx100a pretty much is. yes, it does have true 16:9, no squeezing. but really, is it worth that $1.5k more?

My instructor at pittsburgh filmmakers just shakes his head and say "the best way for you to decide on 1 is to take both on a field test". Yeah, that's a pretty obvious panacea to the problem, but where on earth am i going to find both around pgh, let alone borrow and test them side by side?

so basically this is to those who have used both the XL2 and the dvx100a. what do you think?

thank you for any information. I hope you guys don't see me as a freak, posting so much!
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Old October 7th, 2004, 07:54 AM   #2
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like any new ca, ther will be disbleievers.. but follow ur senseis advice ;)
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Old October 7th, 2004, 10:40 AM   #3
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Sorry Peter, but that sentence makes no sense at all. What are
you saying?

Jay: your instructor is correct. Better is such a relative term and
totally depends on a lot of other things. Best would be to try it
out. I can't imagine you do not have a pro video shop somewhere
around your area where you at "least" hold the two camera's
(when the XL2 becomes available). There formfactor is SO
different that even this is an important thing to do and see.

A good shop should have no issues with you trying the camera
out in the store.

But the best thing you can do if you really can't physically get to
a camera is make lists. Make lists of what you want, need or
don't want/need.

Let's begin with a short question list:

1. what will you be using the camera for? (filmmaking, documentary, commercial wedding work, tv broadcast etc.)

2. do you want/need to be able to swap lenses

3. is true 16:9 important

Some questions might be more easy to answer by you than
others. Other questions are:

1. how much money do you have

2. do you need to buy more than just a camera (think lights, audio equipment, support equipment, editing system etc.)

3. could you get buy with a second hand or lesser camera

4. how much experience do you have

Sorting out what you have done, what you want to do, what you
need to get and how much money you have might steer you in
the right direction.

Although new camera's are great, a lot of the "older" camera's
like XL1s, GL2/1, VX2000 etc. are fine camera's as well.

The newest and greatest is not always what is best for
everybody! In my mind people should help you guide your way
to a camera and not say "the XL2 is crap", or "go with the DVX".

That are un-informed personal (brand) opinions. They say and
mean nothing. It is your hard earned cash you are putting on the
line. And you want a camera that works for you, not something
somebody else wants for themselves or "thinks" is the better
brand for example.

Also keep in mind that the XL2 is a new camera. Not a lot of
people have it yet and less people have actually produced
something with it! Each camera has its own weaknesses,
strengths, look and particular way to get the best from the
camera. This holds true for the XL2 as well. We need to learn
to get the best image from this camera as well.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 11:37 AM   #4
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There are plenty of aftermarket devices that will turn a "palmcorder"into a shoulder-mounted, stable setup. The XL2 is not truly a shoulder-mounted camera either. My definition of of an ideal handheld camera is one that sits on the shoulder and is so well balanced that you can virtually let go of it without it tipping one way or the other. That means not only balanced front-to-back (the XL2 is pretty nose heavy) but with the center of gravity as low as possible also.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 01:07 PM   #5
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Rob
Peter means that when a new camera comes out, the people that just bought the old camera will flame it for a few months regardless of how good it is. He also suggests that Jay take the advice of his instructor and try both out.

I agree 100% with Peter, however the choice of camera is also dependent on what you plan on shooting with it. The DVX100 is a bad choice compared the the XL2 for sports shooting, but might have a slight edge for indie filmmaking.

Having used both the XL series and the DVX camera, ergonomicaly, the XL's are much more suited to my taste in what a camera should feel like in my hands, so that's my current choice.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 01:47 PM   #6
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Charles,

I felt the same way, until a few days ago when I installed an Anton/Bauer Dionic 90 Battery system on the back of the camera. It's heaven. Not only can I shoot all day, but the camera is now balanced.

Matt
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Old October 7th, 2004, 02:07 PM   #7
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In terms of experience using varous cameras... I've used the DVC80, the GL1, GL2, VX2000, PD150... and yeah I believe that's it (aside from the cheap consumer cameras). In terms of experience doing filming, let's just say i haven't taken real classes, except for the one i'm taking now. I treat this largely as a hobby, but a more serious than trivial hobby nonetheless.

If I get one of these 2 mentioned cameras, I would probably want to do some "filmmaking", basically just narratives or indies. I've never really done full-length narratives before, the current project for the class i'm taking now is a documentary shot with a PD150.

I think I've located a photo shop nearby... I could probably call em up and ask them if they carry both models and try them out.

about the XL1/2, do you people find it somewhat awkward that you're forced to use a viewfinder and no LCD screen? I was thinking about the tripod mount, and how you'd have to lean forward see any image at all. okay well I understand that the XL2 offers a flip up for the 2 inch LCD.... so this question is more relevant to the XL1, but is 2 inches for an LCD big enough for most?
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Old October 7th, 2004, 02:37 PM   #8
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I don't think 2" is very big for an LCD, but I'm a viewfinder type guy so I don't care much either way that the XL2 doesn't have a big flipout LCD like the DVX100.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 03:19 PM   #9
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I actually like the viewfinder and find the two inch screen plenty in flip up mode. I only wish you could disconnect the eyepiece all together that way.

Right now I'm shopping for a small production monitor to hook the camera to, and much prefer that to any flip out LCD.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 10:27 PM   #10
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The right one for you is the one that feels best in your hands.

Period.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 11:00 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Hurd : The right one for you is the one that feels best in your hands.

Period. -->>>

(cough)and it doesn't hurt if it is white with red trim(cough)
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Old October 7th, 2004, 11:02 PM   #12
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white with red trim? what?
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Old October 8th, 2004, 02:01 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jay Lim : white with red trim? what? -->>>

Just a little joke on my part, as the Canon XL series are white, with red bits. I'm just kidding though.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 02:05 AM   #14
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The XL2....it's white....with red trim.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 04:30 AM   #15
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I worked with an XL1s, PD 150 and PD 170.

Finally got a look at a DVX 100 for a few minutes the other day.

The one feature that I really like is that the aperature control is completely proportional -- no stepping like the Sony or Canon. If subtle aperature control is important to you, then the Panasonic is the answer.

Now if Sony or Canon can just get rid of those dang steps in their aperature controls!

Dean Sensui
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