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Old May 30th, 2006, 04:43 PM   #1
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DVX-100B or XL2... What do you think?

Hi there, my name is Sindri Svan and me and my friend, Trausti, have been looking into buying a camcorder. We are from Iceland and the amateur film-making scene isn’t big here but rising. From our research it seems as if the DVX-100B and the XL2 are best money can buy for in that prize range. What we are seeking is the “film-look” and wide angles. So we ask you, boys and girls; which one would you recommend and more importantly... why?
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Old May 30th, 2006, 04:59 PM   #2
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the film look isn't dependent on the camera you're using. Not in this case at least because both cameras are extremely good.

As for wide angle lenses, the XL2 gives you interchangeable lenses so you have the freedom to choose what you want there, but it's also pricier.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 05:32 PM   #3
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Yeah, realised that for a bit more money we could buy the XL2 allowing us to change lenses. But an additional lens costs around 1200$ right?
But basically, when it comes to quality, these cameras are pretty equal, right? Since we are on a pretty tight budget, wouldn't it then be better just to buy a DVX-100B and the 0.6x lens adapter?
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Old May 30th, 2006, 06:06 PM   #4
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well i'm not completely sure, but just from the footage i saw plus the comments from users on this forum, the DVX's image is significantly more noisy, even under normal lighting.

I'd wait to hear from some DVX users before making a decision. I ALMOST bought a DVX when i suddenly jumped over to buying the XL2. I think they're both incredible cameras, so you probably can't go wrong. If price is an issue, then i'd say go for the DVX. Still, wait to hear from some actual DVX users :)
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Old May 30th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #5
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Yeah

I've been saving for the last year; during this time, I researched, reaserached, and researched which camera to buy--the XL2 or the DVX-100. People who've went with the DVX and never used an XL2 will whole-heartedly insist that the DVX is the best camera. It's the same with the XL2 users. I only pay attention to the people who say they OWN both. I say OWN, because many will simply TRY the XL2 for a day and say that it is inferior to the DVX; the interface is so different that a day is not enough time to make that decision. People who own both of them (a very small group might I say) will have used both cameras extensively, and these people will more often than not tell you that the XL2 is the best camera. While it's true many, many more people own DVX's than XL2's, it is because the DVX hit the market first and had a better marketing campaign. They were put in the hands of the cinematographers first, and they fell in love with them. Why change a good thing? After all, 5 grand isn't cheap to also buy an XL2, if they virtually do the same things. You asked a popular question, one which I asked myself at one time. I chose the XL2 because of the following:

1.) Lense, lense, lense! How can you get good depth of field shots with a DVX if it only has a 10X zoom. The XL2 has 20X zoom.
2.) More pixels per CCD
3.) It looks bad a$$: Many people don't consider this very important, but for certain types of work it can be invaluable. Although they virtually shoot the same quality pictures, you'll LOOK like a pro wherever you take that thing.

Many DVX users gripe that the XL2 doesn't have an LCD monitor. Give me a break! I work at a TV channel and none of our $20,000 Sony's has an LCD. Professionals use the viewfinder or an external monitor--bottom line. Other than that, I really haven't heard another complaint that can't be discredited.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 07:56 PM   #6
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I just rented an XL2 over the weekend, and have used a DVX on a documentary. Here's the deal:

They're kinda the same, kinda different.

The XL2 does real widescreen--when you shoot 16:9 with the XL2, you're shooting 960x480, and when you shoot 4:3, it's cropping to 720x480. So for widescreen, it wins hands down.

The possible zoom range on the XL2 is higher/longer than the DVX, 16x vs. 10 (right?)

Now, here's where people get all crazy. Both cameras have somewhat complex menus allowing you to manipulate the image to fairly high degree. For the XL2, you have to activate a custom preset to do this, on the DVX, you can just ttweak it on any of it's scene files. Kinda the same idea, but it's less obvious on the XL2.

It seems to me that regarding menu tweakage, the XL2 makes more subtle, less extreme adjustments. You can't take it as far (that I know of) as you can take the DVX. If you wanted to, with the DVX, you can do something sorta like your "Man on Fire"/"Domino" film look, your "Underworld" look, any of that crazy, contrasty, insane lookin' stuff. The XL2 won't let you push the settings that far. Even when maxed out, you'll still get a fairly "normal" looking image with the XL2. This whole thing is the biggest difference, to me.

The DVX has really nice audio quality. The XL2 ain't bad, but lacks a line in for the XLR inputs (but you can do line in through the RCA jacks, right? Still unclear on this). That means using the XLR inputs, you can only get a mic level signal.

That's my two cents. There were always a few things about the DVX that bothered me, being, currently, an XL1s owner, and having thought about switching over---the lack of zoom range is one, another big one is that with the XL1s, you can make 16;9 guides appear as you shoot 4:3, so you can frame your shots for later masking in post. With the DVX, you don't have that, so you have to make your viewfinder/LCD guides, unless you want to use the anaorphic mode in camera, or use the in camera letterbox (literally just blacks out the top and bottom of the image).
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Old May 30th, 2006, 11:26 PM   #7
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The XL2 will always cheat for resolution and broadcast legality. The DVX is easier to use. The XL2 has a MUCH longer lens (20X vs 10X) and therefore you can get a much smaller DOF. The DVX has a wider lens and does not require a wide adapter in many cases. The DVX has poppy saturated color, at the expense of noise. The XL2 is a much sharper/cleaner picture at the expense of a flatter image. The XL2 can only do line in thru RCA, not XLR. I could go on and on... bottom line. Are you a fairly skilled user? If not, DVX all the way. Do you plan on shooting 16:9? If not, again the DVX... but for a skilled user and someone who needs true 16:9 the XL2 will simply give a much sharper image and give you footage the DVX cannot replicate.



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Old May 31st, 2006, 12:28 AM   #8
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Damn. My bad. I keep forgetting that I use the 16x manual lens with everything, while most will use the stock lens.

Also, you CAN get a certain amount of saturation with the XL2, if you push the R/G/B gains up all the way, as well as color gain, but it's still not DVX-style crazy.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 03:16 PM   #9
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I bought the XL2 instead of the DVX for the following reasons, many already stated:

1. Longer lens
2. true 16:9
3. I personally find the DVX more tiring to use because I can't rest it on my shoulder, but that's a personal thing since I used both extensively for a year before buying.
4. While the XL2's lens isn't as wide, I can always change it to suit my needs. I also own a few ef lenses and I can use those if I ever want to as well

In general, I do know that the DVX's settings can be pushed further than the XL2, but I question whether many people will want to do something so dramatic to their shots instead of just doing it in post.

The XL2 does take some skill to get the best image possible, more so than other cameras, but in the end, you'll pick it up and it will be worth it.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 04:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri Svan
What we are seeking is the “film-look” and wide angles. So we ask you, boys and girls; which one would you recommend and more importantly... why?
The "wide angles" aspect of your question I believe answers the question for you. The DVX has a wider stock lens. While you could swap out the 20x or 16x manual lens for the 3x wide, the 3x wide isn't long enough to be useful as a general purpose lens - which means you have to own both the wide and one of the long lenses. And in the end, the 3x isn't that much wider than the DVX standard lens.

I'm with Andrew about not pushing the image in camera so much - I like to shoot a clean image and they can do what they will in post. It's just how I roll - nothing wrong with doing things in camera.

The other rationale that makes the DVX a better choice for Sindri is the LCD viewfinder. As previously indicated, the ideal scenario is an external or onboard monitor. But Sindri is just starting out and I'm assuming not a shooter primarily but rather a filmmaker. Under these circumstances, a camera with a larger LCD viewfinder is better than the XL2's little eyepiece LCD. Also, the 100B has a much improved LCD that can pass as an external monitor in a pinch.

Much has been made about pixels and true 16x9 versus 4x3 squeeze/letterbox. In the end I don't think it matters that much. I've seen footage from both cameras projected and the difference isn't appreciable IMHO.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 04:20 PM   #11
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Good point about the LCD viewfinder vs the eyepiece. This goes hand in hand with the body style.

If you're shooting at eye level, a shoulder camera and eyepiece are fine. If you want to do high and low shots, the eyepiece just doesn't cut it.

You can mount a handheld camera on a steady tracker or some other rudimentary stabilizer. This gives you the freedom to creatively position and move the camera. It gets a lot more complex if you have an eyepiece and no monitor.

It's not a problem for main-on-the-street interviews, but from the "film-look" comment, Sindri might want more creative freedom.

One thing to remember: no one will A/B your film between the two cameras. As long as the film looks good, nobody in the audience will think, "but the resolution would have been so much better with camera XYZ". Well, nobody in a normal audience anyway. ;)
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Old May 31st, 2006, 05:04 PM   #12
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I own and use both cameras almost daily so I feel pretty comfortable comparing them. First, the 3X lens is much wider than the stock DVX lens. The XL2 viewfinder is average at best, it is the only thing on the XL2 that I just hate. Also, in 16:9 mode the XL2 is much sharper, the DVX which is already softer than the XL2 to begin with, takes a very obvious hit when the pixels are stretched. You are geting 33% more rez with the XL2 which, as stated, was sharper to begin with. If you were to cut from color matched similar length shots on a decent sized TV, anyone with decent vision could tell the footage apart.

That being said... you CAN cut DVX and XL2 together, just takes some planning. People do great looking things with the DVX but it is just not as sharp as the XL2 in any mode and certainly not in 16:9 mode...sharpness isnt everything though.




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Old May 31st, 2006, 06:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri Svan
Hi there, my name is Sindri Svan and me and my friend, Trausti, have been looking into buying a camcorder. We are from Iceland and the amateur film-making scene isn’t big here but rising. From our research it seems as if the DVX-100B and the XL2 are best money can buy for in that prize range. What we are seeking is the “film-look” and wide angles. So we ask you, boys and girls; which one would you recommend and more importantly... why?
If it were I who was faced with this dilemma I would end up buying the DVX100b and getting an M2 adaptor from http://www.micro35.com in order to be able to use affordable 35mm still camera lenses like Nikon or Canon. That way you'd get all sorts of depth of field. Remember that HDV camera lenses don't give you the 35mm cinema style depth of field that is used in professional hollywood movies. With the M2 adaptor from http://www.micro35.com you would get that. Also, I'm not quite sure the XL2 actually shoots 24p. If your final product is to be "film-like" and not videoy or 16mm-ish, then get the camera with the best specs for a filmic look. Go to this Website and read on it:http://redrockmicro.com/film_look4.html
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Old May 31st, 2006, 07:19 PM   #14
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the xl2 does indeed shoot true 24p. and doesn't eat tapes. and it's fuses don't blow. unfortunately, these are all things i read on other boards unmentioned as common xl2 problems.

i don't think creative freedom is determined by a camera's form factor. but i will agree that the xl2 would probably be all-around more work than the dvx. i would think that native 16:9 and ability to swap lenses, and go from a good telephoto to a good wide, would be huge for indie filmmakers, no?

price might be a big consideration. an xl2 with loaded options could cost a small fortune. the dvx is cheaper. and some money could go into getting some decent lights and sound gear.

also, there are other ways to get shallow dof onto tape, however impractical they sometimes may be. if you're set on getting a 35mm adapter and can't afford a mini35 (i raise my hand), the lack of a xl relay lens on most of these home kits would make the dvx a more practical choice, strictly from a "holy cow, how am i going to carry all this crap" perspective. that said, the m2 is a really nice little kit.

personally, i'd go for the xl2.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 07:31 PM   #15
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> "i don't think creative freedom is determined by a camera's form factor"

Agreed - unless the camera lacks an LCD viewfinder, and you don't have an external monitor. In that case you would be flying blind for some camera angles.
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