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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 May 13th, 2005, 07:14 AM   #1
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"Shadetree Video Performance" XL1 or DVC30

I'm by no means a videographer, but have an appreciation for high quality electronics. I'm a "shade tree" videographer with my focus on wildlife. I do this for my own enjoyment. I edit, and create DVD's for personal viewing and don't sell anything.

A year ago, a buddy and I came across a great deal on a Canon XL1. We bought it. I have many items that came with the camera I don't use for filming. XLR Adapter, etc.

When we purchased this camera, it replaced a consumer level Sony Digital 8 (TRV 103) camcorder. We had purchased an Optura 40 to replace it originally, but were REALLY disappointed in that camera. It could hardly film indoors without TONS of light, and offered terrible low light performance for us. The picture was OK, but not what I had expected getting nearly 5 years of newer technology compared to my old Sony.

At the time, we also considered a GL2, but opted for the XL1 as we were told by a technician at Canon, it would be better in low light due to the lens and larger CCD's, and we got a good price, plus, we just had to see what all the fuss was about.

Surprisingly, we were disappointed with the low light capabilities of the XL1 compared to the Sony - and yes, I've tried all the gain adjustments and slow shutter effects. We also found, with much surprise, that we actually missed the "Night Shot" mode, even thought the picture quality sucked, it often got us footage we wanted, that we cannot get with the XL1 (lights aren't really an option for us). However, daytime footage made me smile everytime I watched it. Amazing picture from this camera and I love it.

So, now I'm to the point where we don't really use many of the the features offered by the XL1 that "pro-sumers" use, but don't want to lose the image quality. I feel the camera would be better off in someones hands that would appreciate it, and the size is becoming somewhat of a burdon for every day use.

My question is, would it be worth it, given the above application, to sell this camera, and "upgrade" to either the DVC30, or GL2? My main considerations are zoom (16X is adequate, thats what the XL1 has), and low light performance. From what I've read, it seems the DVC30 outperforms the GL2, and also has the night shot feature, which we miss - the first I've seen on a camcorder of this quality.

I've also seen a lot of "mechanical" problems mentioned with the GL2, and the DVC30 sounds to be a bit more robust. How pleased would I be with the image quality compared to the XL1? Low light performance (with nightshot off). Out of the Panasonic and the GL2, which one is more ergonomic? Due to the wildlife settings, many time full auto is used, so the limitation of the Panasonic's lack of control of various settings at the same time isn't really a handicap for me.

Any input on what the best thing to do in my situation would be appreciated.

In addition, what is a reasonable price for a Canon XL1 with XLR Adapter, 3 or 4 6000mah batteries, 1.6X Lens "doubler", Porta Brace Soft Bag and Rainslicker, and extra viewfinder/eyepiece would be?

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Old May 16th, 2005, 05:59 AM   #2
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40+ views and....

No opinions?

Is this a really silly question or something?
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Old May 16th, 2005, 05:16 PM   #3
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I plan on buying the DVC30 within the next few months. I personally feel that you should go with the Panasonic, at least from what I've read. I can't give an honest opinon, but everytime I go back to Canon I think of the tape mechanism problem. The GL2 would be great, because of the zoom - and now I don't know enough about these cameras yet to give my full honest opinon. Personally, I'd go with the DVC30 and buy a zoom lense to get that extra distance you want.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 02:10 AM   #4
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The DVC30 is pretty good in low-light for a 1/4 inch CCD camera.

I have shot inside dark churches and dark caves buy using slower shutter speeds of 1/15 and 1/30. Even shooting at 12 DB gain, still produces a clean picture with very little noticable grain.

In those places, the only way I could take photos with a 35mm camera would be with a flash and sometimes, flashes are prohibited so I used the DVC30 and was pleased with the results.

About my only complaint with the DVC30 in very low-light places is that sometimes, it can be difficult to get an accurate white balance (trying automatic and also trying manual-set). Maybe somebody knows how I can do this better.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 05:39 AM   #5
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I would suggest you the DVC-30 over the GL2... it seems to be more robust, and especially is equipped with the nighshot, which in your case would be important.

I felt, that the OIS of the Canon seems a little more stable... so there you are again...

I would go with the DVC-30 or decide to get a Sony VX2100 which would be pretty much the Standard for low-light conditions... You could also get an optional IR light to come with the Panasonic..

Hope to have helped (or cofused) you a bit...

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Old May 18th, 2005, 05:56 PM   #6
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Believe or not, low light performance of the DVC30 (or GL2) is better than that of the XL1s/XL2.
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