Getting an XM2 (GL2), but I saw the VX2100 at DVinfo.net

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Old February 21st, 2006, 08:09 AM   #1
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Getting an XM2 (GL2), but I saw the VX2100

G'day Forum goers,

I just saved up enough cash to grab myself an XM2, but then someone pointed me at the VX2100. Now, I've seen the 2000, but I never knew (belive me, I never knew) that there was an upgraded cousin.

The VX2100 is cheaper than the XM2 where I'm at, and i've seen the specs, and its not really something that I'm all blushing about. But it does have a few things over the XM2 that are in fact quite desireable.

I'd like to know what other people think before I make a descision. I've read commentary on the VX2100 on this forum and it seems like an ok DV camera, something good enough to use for Weddings, 21st's etc for the next several years.

Basically all I'm really looking for is something that can shoot good 16:9, has a lot of manual controls. I've seen and used the XM2, and I'm really moved to get it. But, the VX2100 looks too good to pass up. Thoughts?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 08:30 AM   #2
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Hi Leo,

It's best to do a search on this topic, because there really really have been lots of XM2 vs VX2100 topics... I'm sure you'll find everything you need.

Best regards,
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Old February 21st, 2006, 08:49 AM   #3
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that's not a 16:9 camera is it?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 08:58 AM   #4
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You might want to look at the Sony PD170. It has a rebate and the price drops to $2700. I think you can get a DVX100b for around $3,000 with rebate. I just looked at the B&H price and a VX2100 is around $2100. I would save alittle more.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 09:43 AM   #5
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Leo - the VX2100 is dearer than the XM2 in all markets I've looked at, and for several good reasons - not least of all that it's a stripped down PD170, with the same body, lens and chip block assembly. Seen any war footage out of Iraq? It sure isn't taken on an XM2.

If the VX is cheaper than the XM2 where you live then there's simply no question about it, and if it's weddings you're aiming at then the VX is very noticeably better in the gloom than the Canon. Sony clain 1 lux and Canon claim 0.37 lux, but get thenm side by side and see who's lying.

The one and only reason to go for the Canon is for safaris, where you have good light and can't get closer or you'll get eaten. The 20x zoom is pretty good under these conditions.

Neither camera was designed for true 16:9, but that's because they're getting on. But at least the Sony doesn't show you a distorted picture in the widescreen mode - the Canon is laughable in that respect.

So get the VX. Zoom ring, info-lithiums, faster lens, better low light, two ND filters. You'll need an XLR box for both if you want proper mics.

tom.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 10:35 AM   #6
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Canon has reported to have a better widescreen mode then the sonys...

But I agree: for weddings, choose the VX, without a doubt.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 11:02 AM   #7
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If you want good widescreen footage, either buy the Sony FX1 or get the VX2000 with an anamorphic lens adapter. The XM2 is a nice enough camera but not as good as the Sonys for wedding & event work, and neither it nor the VX2000 will produce widescreen footage that looks as good as from the FX1 on a decent HDTV display.

I'm currently using two FX1s for weddings and they're great in any decent amount of light; in dim lighting they require ~20-40 watts of diffused halgogen light to get a decent exposure. It's tough picking a camera right now as we make the transition from SD to HD and 4x3 to 16x9 video: I compared ten cameras last week and didn't see any which I'd say are ideal for handling this transition.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 11:15 AM   #8
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I've been using a VX2000 for the past weekend and you can't argue about the low light capability - it's there and works great. I think the VX series would be awesome if they improved the controls - some of them, in my opinion, are really bad like the iris wheel location and the fact that you need to dial in shutter speed and white balance in that order and can't change one without resetting the others. Little things like that get really annoying, so make sure you try out both cameras and figure out which one you're most comfortable with - the VX will be better in low light because the CCDs are larger, but on the other hand, the Canon has the longer lens which I personally find very useful, espcially if you're after a shallow depth of field.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 11:54 AM   #9
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Andrew - you have to select a shutter speed before you can select an aperture of gain level, but the white balance button can be activated at any time. The exposure wheel puts nasty 'bumps' ito your footage if you move the dial while you're filming, and the PD170 doesn't do this.

The next point is the Sony uses 1/3" chips whereas the Canon has 1/4" chips, so the depth of field control will always be better on the Sony.

tom.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 11:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Pepingco
G'day Forum goers,

I just saved up enough cash to grab myself an XM2, but then someone pointed me at the VX2100. Now, I've seen the 2000, but I never knew (belive me, I never knew) that there was an upgraded cousin.

The VX2100 is cheaper than the XM2 where I'm at, and i've seen the specs, and its not really something that I'm all blushing about. But it does have a few things over the XM2 that are in fact quite desireable.

I'd like to know what other people think before I make a descision. I've read commentary on the VX2100 on this forum and it seems like an ok DV camera, something good enough to use for Weddings, 21st's etc for the next several years.

Basically all I'm really looking for is something that can shoot good 16:9, has a lot of manual controls. I've seen and used the XM2, and I'm really moved to get it. But, the VX2100 looks too good to pass up. Thoughts?

VX2100 is great, but it is not native 16:9. See this thread for discussion. It covers various solutions to 16:9 in this series of cameras.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=60598
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Old February 21st, 2006, 12:28 PM   #11
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Tom, that's exactly my point - I should be able to set anything at any time - why should I have to set the shutter speed and then adjust other settings - if I try to adjust shutter speed after my wb is set, I need to push the wb button causing it to go into auto, adjust the shutter and then go back and readjust wb. I just think the controls on the GL2 are much better, and it may be important especially when conditions change.

1/3 inch will give shallower depth of field, but a longer lens is also responsible for it. At the same focal length, the Sony will have a shallower DOF, but when you increase the lens length it also decreases the DOF, possibly making them equal - I haven't tried them out side by side, but I'm thinking they won't be very far apart if you take into account the increased focal length, but I've never tried it, so it's just a guess.

Don't get me wrong, I love the VX for low light work and I'm not saying it's a bad camera - the image quality is awesome and for the work you mention, I think it's the best choice. Only reason I mention the controls is to give another angle to the discussion.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 01:53 PM   #12
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Andrew, Sony have made the camera a shutter priority automatic for very good reason. If you've ever used a camcorder in the aperture priority mode (I have - the PDX10) you won't be doing it a second time once you've seen the footage.

So as a good videographer you'll
1) select a shutter speed.
2) leave the aperture and gain to auto or lock in the auto-selected reading.
3) shoot and be happy.

You're wrong about the WB. Go try it and see. You want to set a new shutter speed with the WB set? Then simply push the shutter speed button and twiddle that dial. Simple. WB stays put.

Lets talk dof. You frame a head tightly with the VX and use 72 mm at f/2.4. Lovely soft background. You turn on your XM2 and zoom to 84 mm - a small fraction more, but because of the smaller chips you've lost the eyebrows and the lower lip. You're also shooting at f/2.8, half a stop smaller. If you step back to frame the face as you did with the VX, you immediately lose the differential focus you'd gained. Shallow dof with these tiny chips requires you to be up close, as you know.

Believe me, shallow dof is much more dependant on image size than it is on focal length.

tom.
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