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Old November 22nd, 2005, 09:55 AM   #1
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2100 vs. GL2

I am looking to buy a new camera, I have had a lot of intrest in the GL2 (more specifically canon's line of digital) but since this site I have been liking the 2100's features more.

I would like to purchase this camera to shoot films, shorts, etc., but I would also like the camera to be used for professional use, for video taping events etc. So given these restraints what camera do you think would be best for me?

Is there any site where I can select the two cameras and do a side-by-side comparison?

I would prefer to shoot in 16:9 which is another reason why I tend to look to the 2100 over the GL2.

Any input is greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Max
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 10:48 AM   #2
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This question has been asked a lot around here, no need to go to another site!

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=12919
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=45531
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=41758
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=18419
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=47230
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=38673
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=18164

What makes you think the VX-2100 is better at 16:9? I have a VX-2000 and can tell you that the 16:9 is pretty poor. From what I've read, the GL-2 might be slightly better at this, but neither of those cameras will give you high quality 16:9. Unfortunately their CCD's don't have the resolution to provide the full 480 scan lines in 16:9 mode. They both create 16:9 by cropping the 4:3 image into the correct proportion, then they stretch it vertically to meet the anamorphic spec. The result is an image created from only 360 vertical lines which translates into a 25% loss of vertical resolution.

If 16:9 is important to you then you should be looking at a camera which has high enough resolution CCD's to do real widescreen. These include the panasonic GS-400, Sony HC-1000, Sony PDX-10 and Canon XL-2. Or you could use one of the new HDV cameras in either SD or HD mode. These would be the Sony HC-1, Sony A-1, Sony FX-1 or Sony Z-1.

But if you just want to work in standard definition DV you might take a closer look at the Sony PDX-10. It should be less expensive than either the GL-2 or VX-2100, does very nice 16:9, has XLR inputs and a shotgun mike, BW viewfinder and DVCAM recording. See our forum for more info:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=43
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 11:32 AM   #3
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Pdx-10

I was looking at the PDX10 but all the prices I looked at were in the $2500 range, where the GL2 is about 14-1500 and the 2100 is in the 16-1700 range.

Do you know of a better place to look for this camera?

As for HD, I am thinking about staying with SD for now, I have been reading up and it seems for the most part the HD cameras that are out seem to be more 'paid-for beta testing.' I am a college student, who is going to minor in film (and major in Marketing, I am trying to get into comercial work etc.). So SD is right for me, I think.

I didnt have the time to check the links, I will later, but I have to run to class. I will probably be able to respond in about 3 hours.

BTW, sorry I should have done a search first, didn't think of that I just had this question I wanted input on.

**EDIT**
How does the PDX10 do in low light situations?

**EDIT #2**
I think I see why I strayed away from the PDX10... the touch screen... I would prefer to have all onboard... controls... rather than having that "feature." Is there anything similar that is what I am looking for without a lot of added cost.

Off topic, but is anyone on this board from Milwaukee, WI?

Thanks for your help,
Max Liptack
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 11:55 AM   #4
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For shorts (keeping a 16/9 -although by cropping-image, filmic, warm colours, short DOF via zoom) the GL2 would be the better choice.
For events the VX would be better, because it's much better in low light.
But you also have the panasonic GS400 or maybe the DVC30 or how is it called?

Anyhow, I think Boyd already gave you much reading work with those threads. Good luck choosing!
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 12:03 PM   #5
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Max: first, click on the "controls" link in the title bar above then go to your profile and add your city and state. It gives us a helpful frame of reference when answering your questions. Then you can go to our "neighborhood" forum and start a thread about videographers in Milwaukee if you like:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=14

The only vendors we discuss at DVinfo are our sponsors. You'll find a full list here: http://www.dvinfo.net/sponsors/

B&H photo sells the PDX-10 for $1,700 after rebate:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

This is pretty much the same as their price on the GL-2 which is $1,750 after rebate. They list the VX-2100 for $2,300. Their prices are very competitive and they were also chosen as a sponsor for their service. If you're finding prices that low for the VX-2100 and GL-2 then I would be careful to be sure the vendor is reputable and not selling gray market stuff.

The PDX-10 has a touch screen which can be used for a few things; the spot focus and exposure functions are interesting. However it also has pretty much the exact same physical manual controls as the VX-2100 (I own both a PDX-10 and a VX-2000). Think of the touch screen as a bonus; you don't ever need to use it at all for the primary functions when shooting in manual mode. Sony's newer inexpensive cameras (like the HC-1000) have moved primary controls to the touchscreen.

Don't discount the fact that the PDX-10 comes from Sony's pro division which entitles you to a much higher level of service than a consumer camera.

Sure, it is not for everyone. In low light it's about 2.5 f-stops slower than my VX-2000. The gap narrows a bit through because it has 14-bit DSP which produces a very clean gain boost. I suspect it isn't a whole lot worse in low light than the GL-2. I shoot archive video of our operas, some of which are REALLY dark and generally the PDX-10 has done a great job.

I think you may need to define your needs a little better. You said 16:9 was important to you; in my opinion you should scratch both the VX-2100 and GL-2 off the list if that's the case. You will need to spend a lot more money to get both 16:9 AND better low light performance than the PDX-10. The FX-1 is a little better - maybe 1 f-stop at best (I also have a Z1 and this is based on personal experience). I haven't used an XL-2 but I suspect it will also be better in low light. Of course now we're talking about cameras that cost twice as much (or more) than the PDX-10 :-)
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 12:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathieu Ghekiere
But you also have the panasonic GS400 or maybe the DVC30 or how is it called?
The DVC30 might certainly be worth a closer look. However it doesn't do "real" 16:9 either if that's what you're going for...
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 02:48 PM   #7
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Hc1

If I was in your situation, I would go for the Sony HDR-HC1, it can be had for around US$1500. It is true 16:9, Can shoot DV when wanted and you are ready for HDV when ever you like. It's relativly good in lowlight but it doesn't have XLR. For the money, I think it is impossible to beat. You should go and test the cameras out before you buy as it will be 'your' camera.

Ainslie Davies - www.duality-productions.com
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 03:44 PM   #8
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Yeah, Real 16:9 vs. fake 16:9 thats the question, my panasonic now can do decent 4:3 and 'ok' 16:9, I am not necessarily a fan of it, although for the price, the camera works fine, or rather as it is intended to.

The main reasons why I would prefer a bigger/better camera, is;

1) I have big hands, the panasonic is too small, and fumbly.

2) There is just no substitute to having a larger camera in your hands, people give you some authority.

3) I like quality, I would much rather have something that can give me a better capture of 'life'

4) The weight is a big issue, I would prefer to have something heavier than the PV-GS14 that I have now, just because of stability reasons. I hate using a camera that has almost no- to completely no- stability. Also, with the upgrade I will probably buy a decent microphone kit, or put one together myself. Currently the microphone in my PV-GS14 picks up everything... I cant stand it.

16:9 ratio is icing on the cake in my opinion, its just I like the look of that specific aspect ratio. Granting the fact that you are cutting out horisontal lines, it gives the panoramic feel to it, which is what I enjoy about it.

IDK about the HDR-HC1 this is going towards consumer HD, I would like the prosumer side of things here preferably (In retrospect IDK if a GL-2 classifies as prosumer, but I think I have dismissed that camera as an option). But more so, its getting smaller again which goes against my point #4 above. I will have to find a place in town that carries these cameras, and try them out (the only one I have used is a GL-2).

Sorry if I seem picky, but like Ainslie said "it will be 'your' camera" I just want to make sure I get something I like and am comfortable with.

Thanks for you input so far... any other suggestions?

-Max
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 04:00 PM   #9
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What is your budget? It can certainly be argued that neither the VX-2100 or GL-2 are "large" cameras. If size matters then you would probably like the XL2. Panasonic has repackaged the DVC30 as the DVC60 in a shoulder-cam form factor. Sony also repackaged the PD-150 as the big DSR-250. Neither of these give any better quality than their small cousins, but they might satisfy your desire for size.

The FX1 is also significantly larger than a VX-2100, it shoots high quality 16:9 when used in DV mode, it has far better manual controls and a lot more image tweaks than the VX-2100 offers via its picture profiles. I would take a closer look at that camera, provided you can afford it. But if audio is important then the Z1 is even better, but also much more expensive.

Nothing wrong with being picky - it's good to understand what you want and need. But of course you will have to eventually get realistic about how much you can spend to acheive these goals. I realize it's a long trip for you, but it would be very much worth your while to make the pilgrimage to B&H Photo in New York. This is one of the few places where they have a "shooting gallery" setup where you can play with all the cameras to your heart's content without anyone breathing down your neck. Maybe you can fit it into your vacation plans? Just be sure to check their unusual holiday schedule first: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/

I doubt you will find a comparable place in Milwaukee... maybe in Chicago?
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 07:29 PM   #10
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Yeah the XL2, FX1 and Z1 are a bit out of my price range, however the XL series is a nice size (although it can get on the heavy side after lugging it around... I have experience with the XL-1).

So large to me (As of now ;) ) is bigger than my super mini panasonic. Generally speaking, its something that a documentary would be filmed with (I guess that is opinionated too, but in my eyes, its what a documentary film would be shot with).

I would prefer something that is capable of 24p. So doesn't this also rule out a lot of HD? I mean granted I would love to have an HD camera... but I don't love to have the HD camera price tag associated with it, I mean hey... I wont love to have the price tag associated with the GL2... or XL2 or similar... but quality isnt something that I can overlook, however quality SD or quality HD... that's just options (to me...).

I would like to have XLR inputs on the camera, this would make my life easier... I would also like to have headphone outs, but this (I would assume) is standard.

So I am looking at the PD170 I think this may be the best for what I am looking for. But I still would be ripping guts out of my wallet. hmmmm... the decisions...

Any other input?
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 07:39 PM   #11
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Hmm, with each post your feature list expands... so we now have:

1. 16:9
2. low light ability
3. XLR's
4. not too small
5. 24p

Maybe a DVX-100? It doesn't have native 16:9 but the progressive scan somewhat compensates for that.

The PD-170 doesn't do good 16:9 and no 24p. Cost is close to the FX1 and DVX-100.

I still think the PDX-10 would suit you pretty well and cost is low enough to leave money for other gear. It's smaller than the PD-170 but probably still much larger than your current camera.

Like I said, make the pilgrimage to B&H and play with all these cameras...
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 07:55 PM   #12
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oops PDX10 is what I meant not the PD-170.

Hmmm, but thats another thing... (there just has to be so many options...) it doesnt take Mini-dv... hmmm time to keep looking.

Thanks for the help this far, this forum is great. It nice to be immersed in a society of people who know what they are doing.

BTW, I really need to go to new york, but I cant afford that right now... I think Full Compass sells a lot of these items, and I will be going to middleton WI a week from this friday for business. I will try to stop by there and look at what they have to offer.

Thanks,
max
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 07:59 PM   #13
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Well actually before I dismiss the PDX10, what type of quality differences will I see with DV rather than MiniDV? Is DV better than its Mini counterpart?
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 08:08 PM   #14
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Max, actually, what the PDX10 records is DVCAM, an offspring of DV. No quality increase, just much more substantial tapes, which are quite hard to break. You can also use MiniDV tapes in it too, and I believe that it can record in regular MiniDV for compatibility (correct me if I'm wrong here). I've used the PDX10 and it is wonderful, and so is the DVC30 (what I'm buying myself soon). The DVC30 is lacking the XLR, but it's picture is quite pleasing, and it shoots a pseudo-30p in "Cine" mode, with a very nice color curve. If you want 16x9 though, go with the PDX.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 08:14 PM   #15
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Think you're a little confused here. Mini DV really just refers to the form factor of the tapes, and these are what the PDX-10 uses just like all the other cameras you've mentioned. The PDX-10 (and PD-170, HVR-A1 and HVR-Z1) can shoot in DVCAM format however. But this is just an option which you can turn on and off in the menus. There is no quality difference between DVCAM and DV SP (which is what I think you meant when you said MiniDV). But with DVCAM the data is written to tape in a format which Sony claims is more robust and less likely to have dropouts. I don't think there's much hard evidence to back this up really, but with important footage it can't hurt to record in the most reliable format. But the 1's and 0's which are written to the tape are exactly the same as they would be with DV SP.

The downside is that since the tape runs faster you will only get 40 minutes recording time in DVCAM as opposed to 60 minutes in DV SP mode. The PDX-10 will not shoot in DV LP mode either, like most consumer cameras will. However most people avoid DV LP as it's more prone to dropouts (but again uses the same 1's and 0's).

So there isn't really an issue with DVCAM vs those other cameras. It's there if you want to use it, but you can just turn it off otherwise. BTW, just about all of Sony's cameras can play back DVCAM tapes, even if they can't record in that format.
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