Canon Xl-1 vs XL-1s at

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Old March 18th, 2010, 07:19 AM   #1
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Canon Xl-1 vs XL-1s

Hi All,
I'm looking to get my aspiring film maker son his first "decent" video camera and was looking at the Canon XL-1 and XL-1s on eBay. Since the XL-1 is slightly cheaper, would I really be sacrificing much by not ging with the XL-1s? I realize they will not do HD. I'm looking to spend around $1000 plus or minus and would appreciate any commentary.

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Old March 18th, 2010, 08:30 AM   #2
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Alan, If I were you I would look at a used Canon XL-2. it is a big step up in quaility from either the XL-1 or XL-1s. Many people on this web page will testify that they are still using it as a professional tool. I have owned both the XL-1 and the XL-1s and now shoot with the XL-2. Big difference, the XL-2 fantastic. If he is shooting for DVD or web distribution that is one of the best he can get. Go down to the Canon XL-2 thread and read the one called Is the XL-2 too old. You will see how many professionals are still using it. Bob
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Old March 18th, 2010, 08:49 AM   #3
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That link is

Really, really *cannot* recommend an XL1 / XL1S at all. These models are simply far too old. Personally I think you should look at the GL2 instead, which is probably closer to your budget than the XL2. And in my opinion, any current consumer HD camcorder would be the best choice of all.

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Old March 20th, 2010, 09:06 AM   #4
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Thanks guys

I think I'll hold off and do a little more homework, maybe try to swing the XL-2. I noticed a nice XL-1 package sell the other day for $400 though and it was tempting.
I've looked at the GL2 and although you may be right, I just like the style of the XL's, not that makes them any better.
The Xl-1 and -1S are certainly old and that alone should give me reson to pause. I guess there are plenty of them out there, I'm not in a hurry.
I also had in the back of my mind that my wife and I could get an underwater housing for it and use it occasionally. I guess for longevity of use, the XL-2 may be worth the extra money.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 09:50 AM   #5
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The major problem on top of all that others have pointed out is that the XL-1 and XL-1s are 4:3 native format, where the XL-2 is 16:9. That means that you can make widescreen SD DVDs from XL-2 material that will suffer little if any compared to that from HD cameras, but the older cameras really take a hit if you try to crop or otherwise convert their image to 16:19. I know the XL-1s can do a form of widescreen, but it is basically unusable for top quality material. I did not upgrade from the XL-1s to the XL-2 at the time and am now sorry that I did not as had I shot the material on an XL-2 I could have worked it into 16:19 SD productions much more handily.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 08:33 AM   #6
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Hi Alan,

Just read your post and wanted to let you know that I currently own an XL2. We've had it now for 3 years and used it for our business extensively and successfully. It has been great, and get compliments everywhere we shoot (on how it looks so "professional").

Initially, there were a few quirks that I had to get through when handling the XL2. Size and weight was an issue, especially if I had the 20x lens mounted on there. (We also have the 3x wide angle lens, which made it less heavy, and easier to handle.) The presets were a bit confusing, but learned to work with them, and found that shooting "neutral", then color grading in post was the best workflow for me. (We don't shoot with the XL2 much recently, as we've been using production equipment provided by the university that we work for.)

Anyway, the XL2 is still a very good SD camera. But like Chris said don't overlook the slew of HD cameras that are out now.

You've probably done so, but check out the XL2 footage that other users (and mine :) have uploaded.

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Old March 27th, 2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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During our shoot early last year we were using an XL-1s and GL2, in low the light the XL-1s did a little bit better, but side by side in a well light area the GL2 actually looked better in 16:9 Frame Mode. Shortly after wrapping up that production we got an XL-2, night and day between both prior cameras, the 16:9 24pA on it is beautiful.
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