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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.

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Old September 22nd, 2004, 07:46 AM   #1
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GL2 vs XL2

I own 4 - GL2s and a GL1. We use them for every aspect of our television station. A known issue for these cameras was the 'softness' of the image when the full zoom was used. I purchased an XL2 to hopefully correct this anomoly. The first step was to place both cameras on s-video snakes, place them in full auto and compare pictures. The first item noticed under full sunlight was the reduction in color gain between the XL2 and the GL2. The phase or 'tint' was identical. But, alas, at full zoom the sharpness improvement was not noticeable. We shoot tape frequently, do commercial production and all the other aspects you'd expect for TV so I'm hoping this product enhances those tasks, but my suggestion for those considering field production would be to stay with GL2s.
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 08:38 AM   #2
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The final image is only as good as the weakest link in the chain. The use of S-Video is the start of your "weak link." If you want to see better quality, keep it digital until the last possible moment before broadcast. I realize that with your budget at the station this may not be possible. The XL2 may not be much of an improvement in your rather limited situation. However, if the XL2's signal is handled properly, it far exceeds what a GL2 can produce. I'm also on record here, at DV Info, as being "under whelmed" by the XL2. But your comparison is a fairly limited application and the defense of the XL2 is not from some zealot.
Jeff Donald
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 10:42 AM   #3
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There are literally hundreds of PEG and leased channel stations using CANON GLs for remote production as well as studio work. My intent was to state that the XL2 did not meet my expectations. Or perhaps the GL2 was a much better than 'I should have expected' camera. I understand that most folks on this board are filmmakers or NLE-types. S video, in our application, using separate Y and C coaxes with Kramer compenstation amplifiers produces a fine image. It's the lower budget solution no doubt, but still broadcast quality. However, I have been able to match the XL2 using Custom Presets to our GL2s which is a nice feature.
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 11:17 AM   #4
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Borrow or rent a manual lens for the XL2 and try that. Even on an old XL1 the manual lens is sharper.
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 11:51 AM   #5
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Hi Hank,

I'm an amateur, so take my comments in that light. I guessing / assuming that you're shooting exclusively 4:3?

I've owned a GL2 for almost two years and added the XL2 for better 16:9. For 16:9, the XL2 beats the pants off the GL2. I haven't shot a single frame in 4:3 on the XL2, but from what I've read about the way the CCD is used in 4:3 mode there's no reason to think that the image sharpness is going to be a bunch better than a GL2 or similar good 4:3 camera. The XL2 has a bigger, more complex lens to be sure, but they're both high quality 20x Fluorite glass...can't really say definitively whether it is observably better in inherent detail than the GL2's. In any case, I suspect that the CCDs, plus miniDV resolution and artifacts have more impact on overall image quality than which camera's 20x lens the light passes through.

I'm sure you're using a quality S-cable solution, but I have to agree with Jeff that if your signal is leaving the camera as analog -- and then traverses long cables -- there's going to be an unavoidable degradation of signal that has nothing to do with the equipment or talents on either end of the cable. You're converting to analog at the camera and that'll never quite be as good as the miniDV signal that leaves the 1394 port ... and then the best you can do is lose a little more signal along the analog path. That *MIGHT* well be enough to mask minor differences in camera imaging quality.

Maybe somebody else who shoots in 4:3 with the XL2 will shed some new light. Still, the main point is that there's little technical reason to think that 4:3 with the XL2 should be appreciably better than a GL2.

I suppose all of that won't help you much, but I will be interested to see if it spurs anyone else who has done some direct 4:3 comparisons to comment.

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