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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old July 13th, 2004, 01:32 PM   #1
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the new XL2

For those that haven't noticed, Canon have announced the new XL2 and already there's a message board set up for it on this site. Any thoughts anyone? Will it pull sales from the 170? Does a 20x zoom not grab you?

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Old July 13th, 2004, 03:57 PM   #2
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They have thought of most issues assuming it works as advertised.

Poor low light performance, though . . . won't replace my 150's for weddings and stage performances.

Should make the DVX-100A guys want to swap.
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Old July 13th, 2004, 04:47 PM   #3
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It looks really nice in many ways. However remember, it's significantly more expensive than either the DVX-100a or PD-170. Not that it isn't worth it of course. Guess we need to see actual street price also.
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Old July 14th, 2004, 08:14 AM   #4
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Like many other people who come to DV Info, I have been intently absorbing the extensive information that has been posted here about the Canon XL2 for the past day. The Canon specs on it claim that it has greatly improved performance in low-light and is rated at 5.5 lux at 1/60-sec. shutter. However, the CCD sensing area in the 4:3 aspect ratio mode is only about 71% as large as that in the VX2100 group. I doubt it will equal the VX2100 in limited light. It does have horizontal pixel offset, which can increase resolution, that is not used with the VX2100, however. The 30p progressive scan of the XL2 is a big advantage for those who wish to capture still pictures from moving subjects and still use the footage for motion video.
The large lens power, which can go up very high with two extenders, one under the lens and one on its outer end, will be a big boon for sports and wildlife videomakers.

I'm still glad I got my VX2100 and despite the XL2 having all these features and a whirlwind of promotion and excitement about it now, I'd still bet the VX2100 would win in an all-around shoot-out. The XL2 still looks like a video chainsaw and you couldn't take it unnoticed in places the more ordinary-looking VX2100 would gather little attention. Its weight is also close to twice that of the VX2100 and you know that its battery consumption must be quite a bit higher.

Expect that the DV Info Net will be quite focused on the XL2 for the next few months, before things shift back to normal.

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Old July 14th, 2004, 11:46 PM   #5
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Hmmm, we don't know yet much about the sensitivity to light. Different companies seem to have different standards for 'minimum' light, heck even Sony publishes different low light ratings for the same cameras in different markets. You also have to take into account that the '5.5 lux' rating might be with the standard lens, and you might be able to attach a lens with a wider f/stop. Also, if you use 30p or 24p the camera may become 6dB more sensitive to light or more, as I believe the DVX100 does.

Also, you can't really compare the VX2100 to the XL2 in terms of price, because the XL2 has real pro audio connectors, phantom power and the special kind of warranty you get when you buy pro equipment. The closest comparison, considering interchangeable lenses and 16:9 from Sony is the DSR-570... it only costs about $20k. Of course it's a 2/3" CCD... oh but I don't know if it does any form of progressive scan, though. I think Sony will have to come up with something better than the PDX10 and less expensive than the 570 to compete. Fast.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 01:31 AM   #6
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I'm still happy with my VX2K and if i want to look into a canon i'll trot over to the proper forum. it would seem that the site is breaking it own cardinal rule of the right info in the proper forum.

The same people that would normally move a post in a heartbeat are cross posting the Canon info on every forum.

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Old July 15th, 2004, 02:00 AM   #7
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XL2 CCD Size Even Smaller

I erred in my statement about the XL2 CCD
4:3 mode sensing area, when I said it was only 71% the size of the VX2100 CCDs. In fact, although their 4:3 area is just 71% as wide as it is on the VX2100, due to their lesser height, their active size is only 51% as large overall and obviously their pixels are just half the size.

If other factors were equal, this significant CCD size difference would give an advantage in low light to the VX2100.

However, this doesn't mean that the XL2 couldn't do well enough in all aspects of picture quality and in limited light, to satisfy most people. An example to consider, is my Sony TRV730, a MegaPixel Digital8 camcorder. It has a video-active sensing area on its single CCD, that is only about .21-inch and 690,000 pixels are packed into it. Its video performance is excellent, especially considering it has only one CCD and its relatively low price. It also does well in low light in video mode. Due to its very fast mechanical "progressive" shutter, that is used when it captures J-PEG still pictures, it doesn't do so well with limited light in that mode. Most criticisms of its low-light capabilities have been from people who didn't understand the difference between its video and still picture systems.

So, if the TRV730 can do that well with only one CCD, that has a sensing area even smaller than that of each of the three XL2 CCDs and pixels only half as large as those of the XL2, it's apparent
that the new and advanced CCDs can deliver great performance, despite their tiny sizes. We'll have to wait for field tests on the XL2, to know how well it will do and the size comparisons will mean little, if it produces top quality.

Regarding pro-type audio features, if you want or need XLR inputs on a great camcorder, a Sony PD170 can provide them, at a current price of around U.S. $3,200.

If the XL2 turns out to have some serious glitches, such as the viewfinder burn-out
and loss of focus during zoom, that plagued the XL1, the currently skyrocketing enthusiasm about it will be somewhat moderated. Like its older relative, the Canon L-1 Hi-8 model, the peak of its popularity could be in the period between its announcement and the time when people actually start buying and using them. I've had an L-1 for 11 years and although it has outstanding features and its development was a breakthrough event in semipro video, its picture quality was a disappointment. I've had little use for it, preferring a Sony model, until I acquired digital equipment.

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Old July 15th, 2004, 02:15 AM   #8
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Comparisons are On Topic

Most of the postings on this thread about the Canon XL2 have been based on comparisons with the VX2100 and PD170 and their predecessors. I believe this keeps them on topic.

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Old July 15th, 2004, 09:45 AM   #9
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To continue my ramblings on low light and Sony vs. Canon, I would like to share an experience, a few months ago I connected an XL1S and a PD150 to a monitor. The XL1S had the clunky expensive manual zoom lens, the one with no stabilizer, don't remember it's model name. At least in it's default automatic configuration, the Canon held up better in low light then the Sony. It was not a scientific test and I don't know if the Canon was using gain-up or not, but the noise was acceptable and the image, at a certain level of room lighting, looked darker and grainer on the Sony than on the Canon. This surprised us all, even the Canon's owner.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 11:01 AM   #10
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At the lowest levels of light for the Sony, I have a hard time believing the Canon will deliver much of a picture at all.

The numbers Canon and Sony publish for minimum Lux levels have some basis in reality and do reasonably reflect their capabilities. Sony claims 1 lux on the latest cameras, Canon seems to believe that their cameras require quite a bit more.

The issue for many of us who shoot weddings is not how good the picture looks at an elevated light level, but how low can the light level go and still bring home a picture.
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