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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old July 26th, 2006, 09:57 PM   #1
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GL2 or XL2?

Hey everyone. I'm looking to get a new video camera soon. Right now I'm filming with old 8mm analog cameras, and I need to upgrade. I'm new to digital filming, but I've been looking around and I have my heart set on the Canon XL2. At the same time ( and for $$ reasons ) I'm also looking at the GL2. Can anyone give me any user feedback from using both of these cameras? How big is the quality difference between them? I need to get two cameras, so its either two of the GL2 or of the XL2. I've been browsing the "Show your work" forum here and looking at clips from both the XL2 and GL2. Whats hard about that is most of the clips have been scaled down to .wmv. Sorry for the lengthy post, but I just need to get some feedback before I put this much money down. Thanks in advance :)
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Old July 26th, 2006, 10:15 PM   #2
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Right now, choosing a new camera is very hard right now, especially with the onslaught of new HD cameras.

I am an owner of the Canon XL2 and the camera is everything I could have hoped for in a camera...except for the fact that it shoots DV25. Once the HD versions of the XL series come down in price (and are no longer using the HDV format), I'll be switching. But that's beside the point.

What it really comes down to is what your need is. What exactly are you filming? Are you a filmmaker? Event videographer? Into broadcasting? Are you a hobbyist? I can't tell you what camera to get, but I could help you if you define your anticipated use of the camera.

I've worked with a few prosumer/semi-pro cameras over the last 3 years: the Canon XL1S, Canon GL1&GL2, Canon XL2, Sony PD150, HDR-FX1 (I got to touch a Sony XDCAM - ooooh! lol) and the Panasonic DVX100 (not sure whether it was the "A" or "B" version) and AG-HVX200. Personally, I love the design and technology packed into the Canon cameras. If I had the money myself, I'd definitely go with HVX200, but that's out of the question because of the price. The GL2 isn't a bad camera, but it's almost dead technology. I'd invest in something that's going to last you awhile.

If I were you, I'd save my money and this fall purchase the XH-A1 -- it's only about $500-600 more than the XL2, but gives you so much more for your money. As of right now, it's looking to be the best HD camera for the money in terms of features packed into a $4k camera. I wouldn't be surprised if Canon starts phasing out the GL2 and XL2 because of their push with HD technology.

Just my two cents.
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Old July 26th, 2006, 10:25 PM   #3
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Interesting. Thanks for your input.

What we're filming mostly right now is Car ( automobile ) related events. Not only events, but a lot of private road filming as well, so we're up close with the cars as well as shooting at track events. Filming short movies ( 5-7 min ) skits with the cars as well is included in what we film, and a total of everything is released on a DVD when we're done with it. Broadcast quality is not out of the question though, since some of our material will see TV. I believe the XL2 would be the best of the two to do that. From what I've researched, the quality is better than the GL2. Is there a major image quality difference between these two cameras? Also, I like how the XL2 has 30p and 24p, whereas the GL2 is just 30p I believe?
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Old July 26th, 2006, 10:40 PM   #4
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i don't believe the GL 2 is real "30p" - i think the GL2 is 30fps frame mode which is progressive like but it only has approx 60% of the resolution of a real progressive frame ... where as the XL2 has real progressive at 24p & 30p
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Old July 26th, 2006, 10:49 PM   #5
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excellent..thats what I wanted to hear really...i saw vids from both cameras and the xl2 really looked a lot better to me. I still had that home video camera feel to the GL2 ( not to down it at all ). What programs do you guys typically use to capture the footage? Firewire through Premier?
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Old July 26th, 2006, 11:32 PM   #6
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Yep, Premiere Pro 2.0 is a great tool. I ended up purchasing the Adobe Production Bundle at student prices just so I could get the latest versions of some of the Adobe products I make much use out of. Thank God for student discounts!

As for capturing the footage, if at all possible, invest in the cheapest MiniDV camcorder you can find to go along with the XL2, and use the cheap camcorder as a tape deck. You won't lose any resolution, picture quality, or sound quality when doing so because once you record to tape, the data is already on the tape, so it's just a matter of transferring it via the tape heads. Which leads me to my next point -- the reason it would be a good idea to capture your video with a cheap camcorder is because a.) you prevent wear on the XL2 heads, and b.) you minimize the risk of blowing a fuse in your XL2.

The GL2 makes a great second camera, however, the XL2 > GL2 anyday. Better lens (awesome glass, zoom, fluourite lens, OIS, etc.), more ability to tweak the image in camera using presets, better manual control, etc. I've used the GL2 before, and it creates really nice video right out of the box -- better than the XL2, in fact. However, once you begin learning how to use your camera better, you'll create stunning results. It's simply a matter of gaining experience through trial and error with using the camera.

I think you might as well satisfy your craving for the XL2 because you won't regret it. The XL2 will serve you better than the GL2 in the longrun.

Hope I've been helpful!
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Old July 27th, 2006, 06:15 AM   #7
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Thanks guys, you've been most helpful. Zack, I never really thought of that before. I'll start looking for a cheap miniDV cam to capture the footage from :)
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Old July 27th, 2006, 06:43 AM   #8
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I'll second everything that Zack and Don said. The GL2 30p frame mode will not hold a candle to the XL2. On the other hand, the XL2 is much larger so more difficult to handle in tight spots and to travel with. And if you need wide shots (eg car interiors), you'll be obligated to spend another $1000-1200 for the 3x wide angle lens.

But if you've got the budget to consider the XL2 and can wait until Oct/Nov, the upcoming GH A1 for $4000 looks to be an awesome camera. Small form factor and wider 20x Fluorite lens like the GL2, HDV like the XL H1, and massively greater number and quality of features/tweakability as compared to GL2 or XL2. I have two XL H1's and will still probably get at least one XH A1 or XH G1 for more mobile work and the improved feature set (even over the H1!).

However, if you do decide to go "all the way" and shoot HDV (but remember you can still shoot miniDV on all the new HDV cameras), you will need a FAST new computer so editing and rendering doesn't drive you nuts.
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Old July 27th, 2006, 06:57 AM   #9
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Right now we have two 3.0 ghz w\ 1 gig of ram. our budget isn't too crazy. My brother and I are both going in on it, so the expenses are split down the middle. Hopefully we'll get this stuff to pay off in the future :)
About image quality though, I think the XL2 will do more than fine for what we'll get out of filming a lot of fast actiong car videos. Although I wouldn't mind seeing it in HD...:)
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Old July 27th, 2006, 08:28 AM   #10
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Well, I forget what the requirements are to work with HDV, but I know it would definitely be very workable with a CPU that's .5ghz faster, and at least one more stick of 1GB RAM. The fact of the matter is that HDV takes up as much or less storage data than MiniDV. MiniDV tape holds about 13GB worth of data - and since you record to MiniDV when shooting the HDV format, the same holds true. How is this possible? It has to do with the data rate of both format - they're identical. The only necessary upgrade that you'll need when it comes to HDV is the processing power to actually process the information (however, a cheap camcorder won't be able to transfer the HDV signal...or so I've been told).

Pete just brought up a great point about the ability to use the 3x lens with the camera. If you decide to go with the XL2, you have many options with lenses. If you think you're going to be shooting a lot from a tripod, only buy the XL2 body and go out and purchase the 16x zoom manual servo lens -- it has better glass and a 'sharper look' than the 20x stock lens. However, if you plan on doing a lot of handheld work, stick with the 20x zoom.

Also, I've always felt that the 3x zoom is too expensive for my own budget just so I can get a wide angle shot. Instead, it would be best to look at two other options. 1.) A Century Optics .6 wide angle adapter, or 2.) a 35mm depth of field adapter. The Century Optics adapter is meant to fit 72mm threads (the same as the XL series lenses), and screws onto the end of your lens much like a filter. It allows for a wide shot -- even though it won't be as sharp as the 3x Canon lens, it's a heck of a lot cheaper and serves its purpose. A 35mm adapter (look into the 'LetusXL Enhanced' or 'Redrock M2' on this forum) allow you to place a 35mm adapter onto your camera which allows you to use SLR lenses to simulate the same depth of field as a 35mm film camera, give you a more 'cinematic look.' What's nice is that the SLR lenses are cheap, so you could get a 28mm wide angle lens for less than $30 on eBay. There are many, many options out there.
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