Canon XL1s/XL2 vs. Sony PD170 from my point of view. at DVinfo.net

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Old April 16th, 2005, 03:36 PM   #1
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Canon XL1s/XL2 vs. Sony PD170 from my point of view.

This may not be news to most of the DVinfo family, but it may help someone who is trying to decide which of these two cameras to buy.

I recently landed my dream job and shoot wildlife hunting video for promotional DVDs, commercials and broadcast TV. Picking what camera I needed cost me a lot of lost sleep but I finally choose the Sony over the Canon after getting some great advise from several here on this forum. Better low light performance, smaller size and slightly lower overall cost top the reasons I went with the Sony.

Because 95% of our shooting is run and gun with little or no time to setup a tripod, I added an Anton Bauer STASIS shoulder support in an effort to steady up my video. The results are good and I was pleased with the setup on my first assignment in Africa over the last couple of weeks. I shot some fantastic video.

Then one afternoon I grabbed one of the Canon XL1s cameras we had along on this shoot and saw the light. The natural feel of the shoulder mounted Canon floored me. I was more steady and on target faster and could hold the camera longer with less fatigue. The video I shot with the Canon is clearly better. I made the decision this morning that I maybe should have went with the Canon after all. In addition to the steady video the Canon is easier to pack through the woods and brush than the Sony with the STASIS attached, something I never considered until my real world experience schooled me.

Now, I'm not saying the Sony isn't a great camera, it is. But, for my use it is just not what I needed and I wish I would have spent some time shooting both before dropping the dough. If my shooting style and conditions were different and more of my shots were in a controlled environment I would never look back on the Sony purchase, but the video does not lie so I listed it in the classifieds today.

Just my two cents. Hope it helps someone.
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Old April 16th, 2005, 07:03 PM   #2
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I shoot with both cameras for our show, Hawaii Goes Fishing.

As you mentioned, the XL1 design is a much more natural pointer than the PD-170. I can hold a steady shot even without any stabilizer since my 16x manual lens doesn't have that feature.

The 170's advantage is its smaller size. Makes a difference when hoisting it around on boats. While the LCD screen can be convenient I prefer to shoot with the eyepiece. I'm far-sighted and don't like having to work with reading glasses. Sharpness also much more apparent when focusing with an eyepiece than the LCD.

The 170's monochromatic viewfinder is much sharper than the Canon XL1. I wish the XL1 improved on that without having to spend more than a thousand on a new viewfinder.

The XL1's controls are much easier to get at. I don't care for the way the 170 is laid out. I often have to turn the camera toward me to see which button to press to lock the focus or to get at the ND filter. Could be my lack of familiarity with the camera, but the XL1's controls seem easier to detect by touch.

Overall, there are tradeoffs both ways. For me, the main difference is that the XL1 is easier to work with. The 170 is more compact.
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Old April 16th, 2005, 07:32 PM   #3
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Tyge,

Sorry, I tried to warn you. Just kidding. Anyway, my offer still stands if you want to shoot with my XL-2, I'm just up the road from you.

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Old April 17th, 2005, 07:48 AM   #4
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Oh well, you learn from all of life's little struggles, right?

I wish I would have taken you up on that offer, Greg, before I made the leap. I'm going to give you a call before I order an XL2.
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