New Owner's First Impressions:
Jon Bushey from August, 2001
Other Items of Interest
There is one issue with the camera that I realized as soon as I started to work with it. The tape transport is MUCH noisier. I hope that is an indication that the new model has a more robust transport. We have had problems with the transport on our old models.
Canon in their sales literature points out that the XL1S uses less power than the old model. I was also excited about this because we do use the cameras on battery a fair amount of the time. It may be strange to hear that from me -- the guy who takes forever to set up -- why not just plug the camera into power? You might be thinking: "Why does Jon run off the battery?" Because: it is easier and faster to use the battery.
Let me explain what happens on a setup. First, a location is selected. The location manager and the director will find a suitable building, park, street, etc. Then the director and cinephotographer walk around trying to decide where the camera should go for the various setups. Of course, where the camera is placed is the most important issue. You cannot place the lights until the camera location has been established. Of course, the camera location also sets the framing. So camera placement is very important. If you see a Hollywood movie being made, the director or cinematographer walks around with a director's viewfinder. It is a device that can mount the 35mm camera lenses and has a viewfinder. This device allows the director to see what the shot will look like without moving their big heavy camera all over the place. In our productions, we want to do the same thing but we don't have a big heavy camera.
So here is what we do. We just power up the Canon XL1 on battery carrying it around the location. To see what we are getting we may attach a long video cable hooked to a monitor, or we have a wireless transmitter for the XL1 so we can walk around and still see the image on a monitor. Then we pick a camera location because we know exactly what we are going to get. OK that's enough side-story. The point is the battery life. Of course, you can buy bigger batteries but if the camera uses less power -- that's a good thing. However, I was disappointed in the specs. I compared the power requirements between the old and new models to find that the new model used 8% less power. Eight percent is not much. I did try various tests with an old and new camera, using the same battery to make it fair. The good news is that I got about 12% longer record time on the XL1S. Still not much better than the printed specs, but that's close to 15 additional minutes on the standard battery. I must say that's pretty good given all the extra stuff the new model has.
Go back to Part One of Jon Bushey's XL1S Review
Go back to Part Two of Jon Bushey's XL1S Review
Go back to Part Three of Jon Bushey's XL1S Review
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Written by Jon B. Bushey
Thrown together by Chris Hurd