GL2 and XM2 low light performance vs PD150 at
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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.

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Old August 31st, 2002, 08:46 PM   #1
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GL2 and XM2 low light performance vs PD150

First of all as a newbie to this site, sincere thank you to DV community I just love vBulletin too.

I am in the process of deciding between the Sony PD150 and the Canon XM2 (I come from Australia so PAL is an easier choice for me). I want to use the camera for producing travel documentaries. Hence non technical performance and form choices are also high on my priority list such as keeping a low profile (excluding XL1s etc) weight, easy of use durability etc. Think backpacking in some non camera friendly countries, then you’re in line with the special needs I am looking at.

Lux specifications for video cameras being what they are, non standard I have a couple questions that I need clarification on.

The XM2 (PAL version of the GL2) has specs which state min lux of 3 lux, whereas the GL2 specs say 6 lux.

My understanding of mechanics behind the viewfinder is somewhat limited but is the different lux rating due to the different shutter speed (Most likely TV mode 1/60 sec vs 1/50 sec between the PAL and NTSC versions). What does the difference in shutter speed between the 1/60 vs 1/50 translate to in practical terms?

As I envisage doing a lot of on the fly shooting and low light performance of the GL2/XM2 vs PD150 is of great concern for me in deciding what camera to purchase.

With the XLR adaptor for the accessory shoe how the sound quality of the PD150 vs the GL2 compare does.

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Old September 1st, 2002, 01:40 AM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
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The low-light performance of the PD150 and XM2 are actually very close... the PD150 is probably a tad bit better, but this slight difference is only a marginal advantage. So many other camcorder characteristics should be considered. For example, would you rather give up the 20x optical zoom on the Canon for a *slightly* better low light capability. That's a hefty price to pay. On the other hand, you may require a zoom ring around the lens... the Sony has it; the Canon does not. I would urge you not to focus on superlatives such as "best low light" (since *all* contemporary three-chip DV camcorders are already excellent in low light regardless) and take into consideration instead that there are a variety of other points to evaluate on both cameras. Excellently worded question, by the way. Sorry I don't have specific answers, but hope this helps.

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Old September 1st, 2002, 02:09 AM   #3
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Thanks for your Reply Chris
I did see a review with shots from the PD150 and the GL2 in low light and the difference between the two was significant and somewhat striking. However I dont know under what conditions. It was not like they had here it is in auto, manual with fixed shutter etc. Plus I am still curious as to what edge the small difference in shutter speed in TV mode makes. However I guess the PD150P would also gain the same edge in the different shutter speed.

The lack of a zoom ring on the GL2/XM2 is a factor I am taking into consideration along with many other factors, I just wanted to know more about the low light issues as I will be doing most of my shooting without lighting. DVCAM and dropped frames and time code are important factors to take into consideration.

Sound is another important factor the MA300 XLR would be a must without saying. But that aside I cant wait to some audiophile does a review of the GL2, the audio seems like it has may have the edge over the PD150 (and it's noise gate fix of the hiss). However I have not seen a indepth review which I am sure will surface soon about the GL2/XM2's audio.
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Old September 1st, 2002, 03:56 AM   #4
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I haven't yet seen the GL2, but have read a lot about it. According to Bruce Johnson (, the audio is very good, except for the mic. Of course, with a better external mic, this can be "fixed." Having said this about the GL2, the PD150 has an audio problem, which can't be fixed. With the VX2000, at least, there are a number of solutions---from the "BBC fix" to the Beachtec/Sennheiser ME66/K6

The larger the CCDs, the lower the lux, the more CCD pixels, the higher the lux, the wider and "brighter" the lens, the lower the lux --- or so it seems.

You mentioned you're in Australia. Consider buying from:

Prices are very good with A-1 professional service. I bought 2 cams from them.
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Old September 1st, 2002, 10:58 AM   #5
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at the LADV show i tried the pd150. i could shoot in the room with zero gain .. 8 ft from the pd150 was a GL2 , i had to shoot at +6 gain and it was still slightly down. based on this IMO the pd150 is still the BEST ( for hand size camera's) in low light.
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Old September 3rd, 2002, 11:54 AM   #6
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For another opinion, try
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Old September 3rd, 2002, 03:58 PM   #7
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Interesting artical Craig. Thanks


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