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Old September 9th, 2003, 12:35 PM   #1
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DVX100 or XL1s ? ? ?

I hope I'm posting this in the right forum...

I need expert advice from the masses. Panasonics DVX100 or Canons XL1s? Which one is the best for:

Short films, feature films, indi films, music videos.

I will use whichever camera I buy to 'learn' the craft of filmmaking and doing it right with lighting, composition, etc. I want to achive the most cinematic appearance I can.

I need your advice on all the pro's and con's. From Production to Post production. I want the camera that is most closely going to raise the question:

"Was that shot on film?"

So, all of you working experts, please, guide me. I kow alot of deatils about both and I am now torn. my budget is $4000.00 ish.
I am not to film, but new to DV.

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Old September 9th, 2003, 01:25 PM   #2
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The DVX100 is the most filmlike camera on the market right now. If you want to make film-looking video, it's the camera of choice.
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Old September 9th, 2003, 04:12 PM   #3
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DVX100
Basically what Barry said.
The XL1 can be more diverse than the DVX100, but the extras are going to cost you double.
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Old September 10th, 2003, 10:52 AM   #4
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2 replies? That's it? People! I need the expert advice!
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Old September 10th, 2003, 11:10 AM   #5
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All I've got is my XL1S, I've never seen the DVX100 so I can't compare it

Few people get to experiment with both of those cameras, so you'll only get a couple of insightful replies :D Dang rich folk!
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Old September 10th, 2003, 11:36 AM   #6
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Sometimes in a thread where you only get one reply, no one else replies because they all know the first reply is right.
Also, this topic has been covered at least 3 times in the last month, do a search for DVX100 XL1 and you'll find the threads easy enough. Or just look in the XL1 section, they are there.
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Old September 10th, 2003, 01:14 PM   #7
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Thank you.
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Old September 10th, 2003, 04:13 PM   #8
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I made my decision after all. After extensive research and questioning the masses, I will be purchasing the DVX100.

One of the selling points was going through the ladyx website and comparing the images of those films (some shot with XL1s, some shot with DVX100) and in my opinion, the DVX100 films looked far better.

Also, a website called zerobudgetfilms has images and clips shot with the dvx100 and they are amazing.

If I had the budget for the XL1s I might reconsider. And that is a "might". I think the DVX100 will fit my needs.

Thank you to all who have helped me in this (not just the persons that responded, but the entire community of threads have been an invalubale resource. I hope to 'see' everyone on the community; my ETA for purchase is middle of november.

I already found a great deal, that is local for me, (hour drive actually) for 3199.00 OTD (plus sales tax of course).
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Old September 14th, 2003, 10:19 AM   #9
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Also just to solidify your conifidence in the dvx; I've spent the last 3 weeks shooting an indie project with two friends.

Them : XL1s.
Me: dvx.

The benefits of the dvx became more and more obvious as the days went on... finally I reached a point that I can't believe ANYBODY would get an xl1s over a dvx.

Dvx features that XL1s lacks:

LCD monitor... big 3.5" one... AND big eyepiece.
XLR inputs... AND switchable onboard mic PLUS phantom to xlrs.
Top mount zoom at fixed speed... AND side mount rocker.
Fully adjustable tweakable COLOR TEMP, SKIN DETAIL, SHADOW DETAIL, COLOR SHIFT, PICTURE DETAIL. The picture is adjustable and changeable in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY.
Superior white balance tracking (rare quality in any cam).
Lighter and more ergonomic in use.

Now take ALL THAT and add the fact that it looks like a film cam on output vs. the total video look of the xl1...

The ONLY thing I like about the xl1s is that it's the bitchest looking dv cam ever made and people gravitate to it like a hollywood set... but as for the use and results, it isn't even close.
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Old September 14th, 2003, 02:16 PM   #10
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John,
Congratulations on making a decision. I know you'll be very happy with the DVX100 as, by nearly all reports, it's a fine camera that offers you many imaging options.

I feel compelled, mainly for the benefit of many silent onlookers, to offer a few remarks in rebuttal to those of others'. First, while it may be the only practical comparative avenue available to some buyers, comparing episodes from our Lady X Films series is a slippery slope. The truth is that you're not really comparing cameras; you're comparing the talents, experience and abilities of the episodes' producers/photographers. The best of the series' producers could create excellent products using cameras that most of us wouldn't even use to hammer nails. Having a good eye for composition, pacing, scene coverage, editing, exposure, mastery of the camera's abilities, etc. are the attributes that really distinguish the visual characteristics of the Lady X episodes.

Second, comparing footage that's been highly compressed for streaming, and sometimes heavily post-processed, is also an unreliable meter. You're viewing psuedo-video, not video.

If anyone needs proof of this thesis here it is. On Monday (Sept 15, 2003) take a look at Barry Goyette's excellent Episode 15. Barry is a professional photographer but is relatively new to dramatic filmmaking. He shot much of his episode with a DVX100. But he also used a GL2 and even a GL1. Which shots came from which camera? Speaking as the person that prepared his episode for the site, and looked at the raw DV footage many times, I sure don't know. What does ring through loud and clear is Barry's eye for, and experience with, photography.

Yes, the DVX100 represents an evolutionary feature set in the DV world that all of us hope will extend to other camera manufacturers. But the fact of the matter, which some may vehemently deny, is that it has far more core attributes in common with the XL1s and GL2 than it has in distinction.

Enjoy your new camera. But most importantly, whichever camera you have, take the time required to really learn to use it well. That's an effort that I've noticed relatively few people making.
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Old September 17th, 2003, 04:22 PM   #11
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Both of you bring up valid points. I second the comment on "learning the craft; lighting, composition. etc". I could not agree any less. That is my overall goal to do it right, and not just run out with a camera and put together some slop.

One of my 'hobbies/loves' is Oil Painting, and I always strive for the proper technique and the use of light in my paintings. Film (dv) is no different for me; It is more important to me, to do it right. I wish more people would heed your advice. Well, I take that back, the ones who do not try to do it right are easily separated from those who do.
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Old October 15th, 2003, 03:12 PM   #12
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Hi John,
I can't really answer your question 100% simply because I haven't played around with the Panasonic DVX100. But I guess I was where you are right now only a little over a year ago.

I went out and bought a Canon XL1S PAL (I'm from Europe and may return some day) because I wanted to make movies. I spend a lot of money on the camera, MA200, Sennheizer mike, shock mount, tripod, matte box etc.

Would I have done things differently if I had the opportunity to do it over again? Yes. One of the most important lessons to me has to do with my own ambition level. What do I want to achieve. Do I want to get a camera to play around, make small funny shorts about my friends, small documentary films, simply learn how to light and become a DP or to make the best possible movies with a prosumer camera.

I wasn't 100% clear what my ambition was. I wanted it all. Now, I am going towards a producer role which means that I am not going to play around with the camera to learn how to light etc. I will only use my camera when I have a project-film that needs to be shot. So I would probably not have bought my camera and all the equipment and saved the money to rent cameras instead.

When you look at the prices at rental houses for a XL1S or even a DVX100 the day rate can be a little intimidating, but you can always make a very good deal with them. For $4,000 you can rent a camera a lot of weeks!!!!!!

I just wrapped a film where I used my camera together with the Mini35 adapter and 5 Carl Zeiss lenses. With a very talented crew we achieved to make absolutly beautiful pictures that can be compared to the top notch camera models. I will post stills shortly.

What you should keep in mind is you can use only the camera and some small add-ons if you are just making a documentary, but if you are going to make a short film or a feature, you will need plenty of equipment such as lights, grip, dolly etc. These things are not really mandatory for making a short, but they do help to make the film not look like the news on TV.

Conclusively, I am happy that I bought a camera that gives me options to fool around and learn and still enables me to make a top notch films. But if I would do it over again, I would probably rent a couple of different cameras before I made the purchase, or just rented a camera every time I would make a film. But again, it is totally up to your ambition level. But making the film we just wrapped is just nothing that you do each month which means your camera would just sit on a shelf.
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Old October 15th, 2003, 05:15 PM   #13
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Thanks for the response (albiet late).

I am literally days away from the DVX purchase. MY ambition level is high. I am no stranger to the craft of filmaking; Unfortunatley it was 'everyone else's films' I worked on.

It's my time now. :)

My goal is to make shorts; at the highest possible quality. One day, I will ramp up to make a 'feature'. I do not want to rent; I want 24/7 access.

Anyway, thanks for the repsonse!
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Old October 15th, 2003, 05:52 PM   #14
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There are many solid reasons to buy a DVX100. Wanting a complete, ready-to-make movies setup for $4000 is the best one I can think of (the next purchase might be the Century follow-focus adaptor with a follow focus setup; it's a should-have for filmmaking purposes).

However, I do contest the "better in every way" comparison when it comes to picture. Resolution is not a slam-dunk, in fact one of the reasons that the XL1 looks so good as far as I am concerned is the slight softness one gets with Frame mode. When it comes to skin tone rendition, I pick the XL1 over all others. Most cameras, the DVX100 included, will have a tendency to gray out skin tones, especially with underexposure. The XL1 manages to avoid this for the most part.

I have a very high-end project coming up which I'll be sharing details on when it happens (it just pushed a week). For various reasons it is being shot on DV although the production is otherwise top-end, and the DP told me that he only wants to work with XL1's with the Mini35. I showed him some of the footage I've done with that setup and he was even more convinced.

Not to dissuade you from your purchase, John. This is just a rebuttal on behalf of the XL1. For myself, I could go buy a DVX100 tomorrow, but I continue to invest in my XL1 until a TRULY superior camera comes out with enough of the features I want to make it worthwhile.
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Old October 15th, 2003, 06:20 PM   #15
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You always have solid takes. The Xl1s is a bitchin' camera but my budget is pretty thin. Re: greyed out skin tones...

I'll fix it in post! :)
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