XL2, DVX100a or Sony HDV...what would you do? at DVinfo.net

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Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant
The 4K DVX200 plus previous Panasonic Pro Line cams: DVX100A, DVC60, DVC30.


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Old September 18th, 2004, 06:24 PM   #1
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XL2, DVX100a or Sony HDV...what would you do?

I realize this all depends on requirements and various shooting styles...but...I have a mint, and I mean new condition XL1. I think it is time to replace this camera which was hardly used. [I mostly edit]. I feel the longer I wait the less I will be able to get for the XL1.

I plan to start shooting more now that I have more time. Anyway, The one thing that I want with no exception is native 16x9. [the DVX100a is not?] I should be able to get around 2 grand for the XL1. I know that this forum is for the DVX, and I apologize if this post should not be here.

I will be shooting mostly shorts for business promos and web streaming. Some stuff might eventually wind up on DVD if necessary. XL2 DVX100a Sony HDV....

Anyone care to offer any opinions?

thanks.

-paul.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 09:04 PM   #2
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The DVX100A is not "native" 16:9.

The XL2 is, and so is the new Sony.

If you want your footage to look "filmlike", the XL2 has the edge. If you want it to be high-def, the Sony has the edge.

As far as how the overall image looks, we won't really know that until the Sony hits the store shelves.

The XL2 is going to cost about $1300 more than the Sony, but provides for 24P, interchangeable lenses, and XLR audio input.

But the Sony's HD.

So, pick what's important to you: low cost? Sony. 24P? Canon. Interchangeable lenses? Canon. High-def footage? Sony.
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Old September 19th, 2004, 06:23 AM   #3
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Thanks...I heard that the Sony will also be available in a 'Pro' version with 24P...is this true? If so this would have to be a serious consideration...

I am still not giving up on the DVX...any chance of a native 16x9 model in the near future?

I really want to purchase a new camera soon and I feel that now more than ever it is important to make the right choice since I hope to keep this camera for a while.

-paul.
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Old September 19th, 2004, 10:07 AM   #4
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The old adage about buying when you NEED it still holds.

IF you need the camera now, and can make money with it now... buy it. You can always trade up later, with the money you made off it helping to offset the resale price. If you don't need a camera, (computer, software, etc.) now.... wait. Two things are sure to happen. The newer ,better version will come out eventually, and the version you want now will be cheaper by comparison.

Only you can decide if you NEED something now.
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Old September 19th, 2004, 10:13 AM   #5
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for less than what youd get an XL2 and a HDV Sony for, you can get a DVX100a and an anamorphic adapter.

in all honesty, the DVX will give a sharper image for a number of reasons..

This is using PAL spec..

1) the DVX CCD is 570k pixels, with 540k effective
With the XL2, even though it has an 800k CCD, only has 410k effective pixles.. thats NOTICABLY less (on a big screen you WILL notice this.. )

2) The DVX anamorphic adapter is using the same pixel range as as it would when using 4:3 (540k effective).
The XL2, is oversampling the area, then reprocessing or "downsampling" the footage to 16:9. Giving an effective range of 550k, which is not that noticable (10k pixels isnt really all that much compared to over 130k pixels.

With the anamorphic adapter, the camera doesnt have to include this resampling step, so theoretially, the image should be Truer to the original recording. Some people say it wont be noticable, but pixel shifting plays a major part in this.... therefore it means theres more processing involved..
Im a purist though so the less i have to proces my image teh happier i am.

3) Cost.. yes, it might be cheaper and older, but its also tried and true. Not to say the XL2 is crap, far from it.. but i still dont think the current RRP is worth it. The 20x Zoom is great and so is the interchangable lense if u have some spare cash left over.. about 3 grand for a decent lense..

4) HDV vs DVX100.. well at the moment its pretty useless considering there are no HD DVD Authoring tools available (for most of us). On top of that, Consumer DVD players are not HD compatible, so in the end, youll stil be downsampling to SD.
Canopus will be bringin outa realtime HD card but in the end, to get HD in an edit, youll be resampling an already compressed format, therefore there WILL be loss in resolution, regardless of how u set it up.
Like throwing an MPG2 and editing it, thats what youll be doing.. then it will resample and recompress it which is all done in a lossey format.
SO what are u left with.. ??
HDV IS good and its the way of the future, but until HD becomes available to the public (ie Joe Bloggs, purchasing a compatible player that runs a 1020i HD MPG2 with an 6 channel AC3 file without pooing itself due to bandwidth issues) theres no point.
DVD cant handle the bandwidth at this time..
Then theres the editing and authoring.. Vegas already does HD editing natively, and there are afew others jumping the wagon like canopus, but theres really point in wasting time as the output for HD will STILL not be made availble to the consumer.. not for a while..

on top of that, u can always upsample SD footage to HD if you need to.. its really not that hard and it actually looks quite incredible.. oh one other thing.. PAL HD is a ttally different kettle of fish.. so until they work out what theyre doing with that, there wont be much activity..

Id say wait before diving into HD... one way to see the SOny FX1, is to consider it a VX2100 with HD innards.. it IS a consumer cam.. it doesnt have the fetaures of the XL or the DVX, but it DOES give a nice picture..

I liek the XL2.. i like its concepts, but here in Oz, it really doesnt justify comapred to the DVX.. i sell these for a living and theres nothing the XL can do that the DVX cant... even with an anamorphic lense the DVX is still MUCH cheaper (about 2 grand cheaper) and offers the same, if not better results..

Id love to change lenses, but realistically, i nevr would coz i cant afford it.. Id love to mount my DVX to my shoulder, but i cant.. so i use a $200 mount which is actaully more comfortable the the XL..

Oh one other thing, the DVX is slightly cleaner than the XL in low light.. i think its coz of the resolution as the CCD PIxels have a smaller surface area than the DVX due to its actual CCD being 800k compared to the DVX 570k.. threfore they have a smaler surface area to catch the light, and as the effective pixels are less than the DVX, what u see are less pixels not gettin as much light into the CCD.
Some people might argue this, but ive seen them both in action and im happier with the DVX as an allround solution.

See, as its been mentioned, theres alot of thought to go into it..
Think about whats practical, cost effective and workable for you....
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Old September 19th, 2004, 10:31 AM   #6
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You make some good points, but just consider that anamorphic adaptors have a number of issues when compared to native 16:9. In fact, Barry thinks you need to buy his user guide just to learn how to work around all the gotcha's ;-)

It completely true that we have no way of comparing the Sony FX-1 with other cameras until people get them in their hands. However you don't have to shoot in HDV mode with this camera. It also shoots SD DV in both 4:3 and 16:9 and records in DV SP and DV LP modes. The pro model is supposed to shoot DVCAM as well.
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Old September 19th, 2004, 10:33 AM   #7
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Peter,

Awesome post...thanks...The XL2 is selling for 5k...you are stating that the DVX is 2 grand less with the anamorphic adapter? Where can I get one for this price [NTSC]. I'm ready to put my XL1 up on ebay.

thanks.

-paul.
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Old September 19th, 2004, 10:46 AM   #8
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At B&H Photo the DVX-100a sells for $3,500 http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=305960&is=REG and the anamorphic adaptor is $850 http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=282865&is=REG

Getting these both for $3,000 from a reputable dealer might be a challenge. I think Peter was talking about prices in Australia. At the beginning of his post he says that the DVX-100a with adaptor is cheaper than either the XL-2 or the FX-1. This does seem to be the case with the XL-2, but I don't know if that's true with the FX-1 based on the prices above.
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Old September 19th, 2004, 10:50 AM   #9
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"You make some good points, but just consider that anamorphic adaptors have a number of issues when compared to native 16:9. In fact, Barry thinks you need to buy his user guide just to learn how to work around all the gotcha's ;-)

It completely true that we have no way of comparing the Sony FX-1 with other cameras until people get them in their hands. However you don't have to shoot in HDV mode with this camera. It also shoots SD DV in both 4:3 and 16:9 and records in DV SP and DV LP modes. The pro model is supposed to shoot DVCAM as well. "

No doubt it wil also have unbalanced XLR inputs, gamma, curves and scene files (hopefully thru Memory cards as oppsed to the DVX and XL2 fixed scene files)
Dunno bout progressive.. considering the amount of processing involved in current formats i dont see that happening for a while..

Most likely we'll see a PD170 equivalent in HD, as well as a DSR570 Equivalent for Pro use.. mind u the DSR is already a kick ass cam.. lol

As for the Gotchas, theres alot one can learn by taking the unit out and experimenting with it.
Of course it has to be calibrated but on a side note, have u ever SEEN one of these lenses on a DVX?? It make the lil bugger look like a Panavision Box without the huge film reel.. lol
I get teh STRANGEST looks with this.. but the image quality jsut cannot be beat.. its so damn clean its sickening..

as for the HD format cams, i honestly believe they will be the way of teh future as theyre capturing HD and SD in standard formats, however your still editing in a compressed format for HD.. mind u htese cams are runnign constant bitrate mpg2 routines, so it should be OK to resample these, but not too often..
JVC's 3ccd HD cam is comin out soon, but canopus have already been to bed with Sony, so we should see Canopus's offerings at teh same time as Sonys release..

As for price, here in oz, teh XL2 will most like be about 9 grand.. the DVX is 7grand.. for another grand u can add an anamorphic lense.. saving about 1 grand.. not 2.. but still, theres alot u can get for $1000 (lights, tripod, wireless mic kit etc etc etc

(my mths was shot in the initial post
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Old September 19th, 2004, 05:12 PM   #10
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You shoot in mpeg, or dv. They are both compressed. You can edit in lossless in both by uncompressing.

You shoot with mpeg, uncompress<lossless now>, color correct if needed, denoise if needed, do your editing/effects, downsample to SD and it is going to be nicer than starting out SD DV.

Business promos is one area where I could see HD being used right now. Sure HD will mean a slightly diffrent workflow at first, but you might land one or two jobs that require HD and pay for a few more hard disks.

But if you wanted to stick with SD, doesn't the new sony shoot in native 16x9 SD dv?

I'd wait till the cam gets to the stores in a few months and read the user feedbacks of the new cam; unless, as stated, you need it now; still, I would rent a cam- and wait. Cause this might be a great cam and HDTV is the near future, in a year there should be at least 15 HD cams and most all editing software will be mpeg oriented. The DV codec will be residing at VHS' house. Have fun with whatever you get!
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Old September 19th, 2004, 11:11 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Peter Jefferson :
1) the DVX CCD is 570k pixels, with 540k effective
With the XL2, even though it has an 800k CCD, only has 410k effective pixles.. thats NOTICABLY less (on a big screen you WILL notice this.. ) -->>>

The Pal DVX only has 480,000 pixels with 450,000 effective. The Pal Xl2 has 800,000 pixels with 550,000 pixels effective(16:9) and 410,000 pixels(4:3).
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Old September 20th, 2004, 03:41 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Peter Jefferson :

Oh one other thing, the DVX is slightly cleaner than the XL in low light..>>>

After having used an XL1 for years and moved over to a DVX100a for my past four or five shoots, I actually feel quite the opposite about this. The DVX is an amazing camera in many regards, and I do believe that without the high standard it introduced, the XL2 would not have as many features to be able to compete. However, I feel that the DVX is a noticeably noisy camera, especially in an underexposed environment. My contention is that the default "no gain" setting is already at a fairly gained-up level internally, and that the processing involved is quite noisy compared to other cameras at this level. I consider the XL1 to be smoother overall, and although I haven't had the chance to use the XL2 yet, I see no reason to assume that it is at least as good.

I should indicate that I shoot with the DVX in 24p mode, and Cinegamma. I tried the Cinegamma D mode and was unhappy with the resulting heightened noise.

I'm looking forward to testing the DVX against the XL2, concentrating on this issue with varying levels of underexposure and contrast.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 05:17 AM   #13
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Mark youre right, sorry guys, my stat sheet was from the pre production model

I also agree that the there is a considerable amount of noise on the DVX when at 18+ gain.. i constantly use it at 12+ with no noticable noice.. i dunno if its my Detail Coring or what...

either way theyre both good cameras, but i really dont think the DVX is what will be up against the XL2 in the longrun.. in all honesty, the Sony FX1 will be more of a challenge to it than the DVX

the DVX is future proof for the next 3 years or so(when they shut down the analogue 4:3 system here in oz, it will most likely die) the XL 2 even longer than that due to its 16:9 and the FX1 even longer, but although it offers HD, i still dont see it lasting considering th way sony handle their HW.. most likely we'll see hybrids of it...

who knows.. but either way were given great opportunites to creat some spectacualr imagery, so we may as well take advantage of whats on offer.. :)

Im still dreaming of a Sony DSR570 with a free Canon Lense or a Pana AJ-D610WBPS1. but i cant affod 24k right now.. :(
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Old September 20th, 2004, 08:37 AM   #14
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<<<--i sell these for a living and theres nothing the XL can do that the DVX cant....>>>

Peter how much you reckon a DVX witht the 16x9 adapter should set you back he in aus?

Cheers,
Ben Gurvich
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Old September 20th, 2004, 10:39 AM   #15
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<<I also agree that the there is a considerable amount of noise on the DVX when at 18+ gain.. i constantly use it at 12+ with no noticable noice.. i dunno if its my Detail Coring or what... >>

Never used the gain up function at all. I'm talking straight-up no gain, aka 0 db (although as I said, I believe that this is a misnomer as gain circuitry is still in effect). And I have seen a considerable amount of noise present in certain types of shots that the coring wasn't able to help with. I'm even able to spot the DVX in use on other people's films just from the noise pattern. I'll be posting some examples when I get the XL2, running comparison scenes and duplicating the environments that the exacerbate the problem.
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