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Old November 10th, 2003, 09:32 PM   #1
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Advice needed to choose digi cam(GS100k vs GL2)

Hi all,

I have been reading this forum for quite a while and known that GS100k is a fabulous camcorder with rich features and decent low-light capability. But it is Japanese menu and with Japanese waranty. If you know, there is a currently promotion on Canon's GL2. With 250 USD MIR, it can bring down the price to ~$1700. I have been to local stores and test with GL2. It is also a great cam and good on low-light. Since I can't put GS100k and GL2 as side by side comparison, I would like to ask if some GS100k owners can give me a pros and cons for both GS100k and GL2.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 10:50 PM   #2
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I own neither but agree with you that both are great low-end prosumer cams. Both have some features and strengths that the other one doesn't have. What is more important for you? If the Japanese menus scare you, stay away. However, you can download the English MX500 or English PV-DV953 manual which will help you get used to the GS100. The GS100 is also cheaper, and has higher resolution both in 4:3 and 16:9 modes. The GL2 has the manual slow shutter settings plus more zoom...ones small, and one's BIG. Contact Allan if you want a GS100; for the GL2, contact one of the board's sponsors.

My pick? Both of them, but I do like the smaller size of the GS100---and of course, I'd get the black one. :)
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Old November 10th, 2003, 11:24 PM   #3
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Frank, thank you very much for your suggestion. I know you are a very helpful person on this board. My primary concern for camcorder would be something balanced among feature sets, such as 16:9, frame modes, quality (image and sound) and durability. I think Japanese language stuff may not be a huge concern. Here are some of questions that I can think of for the comparison.

1. You mentioned that GS100k has better image quality? I wonder how good it is comparing to GL2. It is more like a personal preference issue. It seems pana's camcorders are good at color saturation. But Canon has a fantastic DC line, I wonder if Canon's leverage can help here.

2. GL2 uses Canon flourite lens, and GS100k uses latest Leica lens. I woud say they are both great. But is there any pros and cons regarding to lens?

3. Canon is very good at OIS. This is a legacy from their long standing camera line. How's OIS of Canon comparing to Pana's MOIS?

4. I have seen comparison of low light performance. GL2 can compare with Vx2000. While MX5000, the predecent of GS100k, is far worse than GL2. Of course GS100k makes some improvements, but how good it can perform?

5. I noticed that both of them have 16:9 and frame modes. It seems GS100k takes lead in this. I read some complaints that the 30p for GL2 doesn't work quite well. But given video quality, how's GS100k comparing to GL2.

6. It seems the sound capability of GL2 wins out GS100k by a significant lead. But how good GS100k? Any opinion is welcomed.

7. How's building quality of both cams? I read some info and saw that GL2 seemed to have rewind problem. How's GS100k. Also how about LCD, Viewfinder and CCD quality.

8. I know for the included battery, both suck. How easy to find backup battery and its availability and prices? I know some of Canon's DC shares the same battery type with cam.

9. Like that MX5000 ads, I want to buy a cam with a value, which will not diminish next year. How about that for both?

Oh... sorry for my so many questions. Thank everyone who helps.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 01:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
My primary concern for camcorder would be something balanced among feature sets, such as 16:9, frame modes, quality (image and sound) and durability.
PV-DV953 (NV-MX500/0) and NV-GS100 (new crystal engine)
Quote:
1. You mentioned that GS100k has better image quality? I wonder how good it is comparing to GL2. It is more like a personal preference issue. It seems pana's camcorders are good at color saturation. But Canon has a fantastic DC line, I wonder if Canon's leverage can help here.
The much higher CCD video effective pixel count will certainly give you higher capture and playback resolution, but this is no biggie in 4:3 because I assume the GL2's playback is around 500 lines. In 16:9, the Pana wins hands down. This Pana also has good color saturation but probably requires a bit more LUX. Don't know what you mean by DC line. Digital SLRs? Well, Pana's got SLRs as well with Leica lenses for the consumer market, as does Canon, with also a pro line.
Quote:
2. GL2 uses Canon fluorite lens, and GS100k uses latest Leica lens. I would say they are both great. But is there any pros and cons regarding to lens?
I think it's fair to say that both these lens brands are very good.
Quote:
3. Canon is very good at OIS. This is a legacy from their long standing camera line. How's OIS of Canon comparing to Pana's OIS?
I think, just a guess, that Canon's is slightly better. Or so I have heard from some users. The OIS on my older MX300 is very good, but not as good as the one on Sony's TRVs and VX2000/PD.
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4. I have seen comparison of low light performance. GL2 can compare with Vx2000. While MX5000, the predecent of GS100k, is far worse than GL2. Of course GS100k makes some improvements, but how good it can perform?
Hmmm. I would say that the VX2000's LUX requirement is lower than the GL2's; and the GL2's is lower than the GS100's: 1/3" CCD verses 1/4" CCD verses 1/6" CCD. Plus the GS100 has more/smaller pixels.
Quote:
5. I noticed that both of them have 16:9 and frame modes. it seems GS100k takes lead in this. I read some complaints that the 30p for GL2 doesn't work quite well. But given video quality, how's GS100k comparing to GL2.
Pana's frame mode is slightly different than Canon's. I think it's better from what I've read and heard, but once again, this isn't a biggie.
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6. It seems the sound capability of GL2 wins out GS100k by a significant lead. But how good GS100k? Any opinion is welcomed.
Although the audio is very good with the GL2, I wouldn't think it's that much better than the GS100's audio. For audio improvement with both cams, going with a higher end external mic will definitely improve it.
Quote:
7. How's building quality of both cams? I read some info and saw that GL2 seemed to have rewind problem. How's GS100k. Also how about LCD, Viewfinder and CCD quality.
Build quality is very good in both these cams, though the ergonomic design is better with the GL2, in my opinion---and I like the solidness and ergonomics of the PV-DV953 best. I have held a GS100 yet. I'm going with Allan's test comments. No rewind problems reported yet with the GS100, as far as I know. The viewfinder sucks with the GS100 but it has a better LCD.
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8. I know for the included battery, both suck. How easy to find backup battery and its availability and prices? I know some of Canon's DC shares the same battery type with cam.
Batteries are easy to get for the GS100. Even B&H sells them - see other thread about GS100 battery from B&H.
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9. Like that MX5000 ads, I want to buy a cam with a value, which will not diminish next year. How about that for both?
Camcorders are electronics. Electronics don't hold their value. I would say all 3 cams are good value for the money, though. That's why I'd rather have a MX5000 today, than spend a year's salary on something that'll be obsolete tomorrow. See ad: http://www.dvfreak.com/mx5000ad.jpg
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Old November 11th, 2003, 09:47 AM   #5
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Thanks Frank. I wonder if there are some magazine or website have done a side by side comparison of these 2 cams. Allan, do you see any article in Japan about this?
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Old November 11th, 2003, 04:51 PM   #6
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Just want to ask you what are you going to do with the cam? This will be the deciding point for you.

GS100 (and even MX5000) is fantastic little cam and outperforms (with moderate sharpness setting) even the bigger brothers VX2000 or GL2 but just in good light.

GS100 is marginally better in low light than MX5000 (read - it's almost the same). GL2 is worse than VX2000 but again slightly. However lowlight performance of GS100 is much closer to MX than to GL2 not to speak about VX2K.

Add that you don't have separate mic and LANC on the GS and you can make your decisions. Picture quality is not everything always.

I would rate GS100 as high-end consumer, and GL2 as prosumer cam - you have also separate volume controls plus a 20x zoom. Oh, and the OIS on GS100 sucks, don't know about GL2.

Go and read the thread about the first wedding shot with GS100 Ė the owner is selling his cam now. In the same time other member is very happy with his MX500 shooting weddings but he also owns DVX100.

Hope that helps. Sorry to buddy owners of GS100 but I think we have to be fair with what our cam is capable of.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 05:40 PM   #7
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...but I think we have to be fair with what our cam is capable of.
I agree. Also, note that the VX costs more than the GL2, and the GL2 costs more than the GS100/MX5/PV-DV953. The best deal from these 3 would depend on what you'll be a using a cam for, as Bogdan mentions.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 07:13 PM   #8
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Thank you both, Frank and Bogdan. I am a newbie of DV. My major use of this cam is for traveling and scenary shooting as now. I would really like to learn video shooting with this cam and treat it as a hobby. Of course I will also use this cam to shoot my new baby in the future. I want the cam have some spaces so that when I gain more experience, it can give me the advantage to improve. The major trigger for choice of GL2 is because of the on-going promotion from Canon. I have studied both for quite a while, and still feel hesitate. I know they both have pros and cons. That's why I need some suggestions from other aspects to help me get it clearer.

Thank you both again.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 07:56 PM   #9
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The major trigger for choice of GL2 is because of the on-going promotion from Canon.
That's a good reason to buy this cam. Also, consider the PV-DV953. It's going for somewhere around $1200 or less. Consider http://www.bhphotovideo.com for a 953. If you want the latest Pana 3-chip handheld, talk to Allan. If you want good 16:9, consider these Pana models; for better "low light" go with the GL2. The Panas are a lot smaller though---good to take along for travelling. Personally, I'd be very happy with any of these 3 cams. But for weddings and funerals, I'd to go with the one that performs better in lower light. For other stuff, I'd go with either Pana.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 09:06 PM   #10
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The only concern I'd have on the GL2 is whether you're willing to lug around a 1.5 kg poker cam everywhere you go. If you can live with that and have the extra dollars to spend, go ahead and get the GL2. GS100 is better on 16:9 mode though.

Let me just rephrase what I've posted before...my personal tests and some Jap mag reviews show that the GS100 is better in low light than the following:

MX5K
TRV80
PC330
Optura Xi

Recent reviews in US sites on the PC330 and Optura Xi seem to confirm the weakness of these cams on low-light despite having bigger CCDs than the GS100K. Unfortunately, there is no US review yet of the GS100K.

BUT, the GS100K will not compare in low-light with a GL2 or a VX2000. If you want to push the GS100K's low-light capability, use a tripod and switch to Smooth Colored Night Mode and hopefully, you're subject will not be fast moving entities..it will get the job done especially in medium lighting where the shutter speed will be relatively faster..as you go darker, video will just get jerkier...I believe owners of the MX5K find Gain Up (digital effect) useful especially in low-light. Smooth colored night mode basically does a similar job, although it's more flexible.

I played with the GS100K and MX5K during last weekend's party. This is not an official figure but I noticed that even if you jack up the gain of the GS100 to 18db, it is still noticeably cleaner than that of MX5k at 15db.
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Old November 12th, 2003, 03:28 AM   #11
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I agree with both (Frank and Allan) in everything.

Just to add that in my opinion despite the GL2 price campaign GS100 is better suited to hobby shooter.

As Allan noted GS100 is cleaner than MX5000 in low light. The brightness levels are comparable though. At auto mode GS100 limits the gain to 12dB which helps to keep the noise almost not existent. At 18dB itís acceptable. If you enter Low Light mode from the menu the gain is set automatically to 18dB but brightness is also increased somehow (compared to manual mode and 18dB gain). The grain is also much more visible so personally I donít enter Low Light mode. I prefer darker image and GS100 produces very nice colors even at moderately low light. Iíve shot even in the evenings out at dark Ė itís fairly accurate but the image is dark compared to GL2 or VX2000.

If you use the Special Low shutter low light mode (the first setting) the shutter will be 1/8 but in lighter places it goes up to 1/15 which makes you able to shoot slow moving objects. You have to experiment with that but I donít use it (prefer manual mode and 12 to 18dB gain). For sleeping baby though itís perfect as youíll be sneaking in dim light often. The ďturned panel as a lightĒ mode is giving you perfect close up of the babyís face Ė you have to be within 1m.
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Old November 12th, 2003, 08:24 AM   #12
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Thank you all for those valuable information. Just one more question. How about the sound recording of GS100k?
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Old November 12th, 2003, 11:28 PM   #13
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Not bad on GS100 - presence is very good for my liking. You can also monitor and adjust the level. You can do that easier on GL2 (mechanical turn wheels separately for L & R) and the mic is potentially better.

The final result should be simillar unles you use some additional gear to improve. That includes optional mics (XLR preferable), mixers, boxes, etc.

However the DV format audio suffers from some problems - I read a comparason made by Jay Rosse in his book - after all the sound recorded in MD was better than that recorded on prosumer DV cam. Hardly to be heard audibly though in my opinion especially if you are shooting just for hobby.
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