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-   Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl-gl-series-dv-camcorders/)
-   -   My subjective first impressions of the XL2 (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl-gl-series-dv-camcorders/33886-my-subjective-first-impressions-xl2.html)

Frederic Segard October 23rd, 2004 01:36 PM

My subjective first impressions of the XL2
 
I tried the XL2 this morning. I went to the store really excited., and came out somewhat disappointed. It's not a bad camera, but itís not the be- all of all camcorders of its class either. The following thoughts are by no means a review, nor an in-depth analysis. Only subjective first impressions, based on 2 hours of handling.

Pros:
- Nice looking camera with a nice pro-look
- Native 16x9 is awesome
- 24p looks good at 1/24 and 1/48
- Access to controls, buttons, and I/O are adequate
- Interchangeable lens option is nice to have, plus the wide range of the 20x is good enough for my use
- Lens hood is deep enough, and usable as-is for most situations

Cons:
- Auto focus, even in 60i, is poor; it's taking too long to adjust to changes. I understand that it's auto assist in progressive, but at 60i?
- Focusing manually with the viewfinder is difficult
- Free (infinite) zoom and focus rings are not smooth, accurate, and constant
- Zoom control with the rocker switch is a tad erratic
- Iris control, as Jarred put it, is retarded; and the stepping is quite noticeable
- Out of the box, holding it shoulder mount is somewhat awkward, and tiring to the arm
- Not well balanced in shoulder mount position, but good feel and very stable when cradled on the forearm at mid-chest level

At first, I thought the XL2, from the specs, and the feedback from forums, was the camera for me. But after trying it, it did not feel right. As the saying goes, ďWhat works for you, may not work for meĒ, or something like that; and it is definitely the case with the XL2.

Native 16x9 is important to me, and the XL2 is the only one that fits the bill it itís category for the moment. But after checking it out for myself, I think Iíll stick to my PD170 until other 16x9 contenders come along. The FX1 perhaps? Or even better, a DVX200 :-) Come on, letís face it, the DVX100A is only missing native widescreen to be THE perfect camcorder.

Marty Hudzik October 23rd, 2004 01:56 PM

"Come on, letís face it, the DVX100A is only missing native widescreen to be THE perfect camcorder."

That could be true for some but what about other issues?

Interchangeable lens system is a huge plus for the XL2 in addition to the native 16x9. And if that doesn't float your boat then you have to at least consider the stock lens with the Xl2 has a 20x zoom. If you really need telephoto for your projects then the DVX is definitely "NOT" the perfect camera.

Now I love the DVX. I had it for 2 years. And it still has some advantage over the XL2. But the perfect camera is going to be different for everyone.

Here is how it stacks up for me.

The DVX would be perfect if it has a longer zoom, 16x9 native and intechangable lens ability.

The XL2 would be perfect if it had a DVX-like color curve, a DVX like focus ring (numbers), and a little wider lens.

So no matter which you choose there is a tradeoff.

Frederic Segard October 23rd, 2004 02:27 PM

Hi Marty,

Good points, and Iím sorry for not putting things a tad more in perspective. I don't do movies, but I do make corporate videos and event videography. So my needs are not necessarily those of an indie producer. My expressed point of view is geared accordingly.

Of course there are no real perfect cameras. The search for the Holy Grail of camcorders continues. :-) But in the sub $5000 range, the DVX is as close to perfect as it can be. (Widescreen not withstanding) Now, if we talk perfect for arguments sake, the CineAlta or the Varicam are probably what most would be looking for. But it's just not in my price range. The closest would be the Pany SDX900, but still out of my price range. Too bad! lol

It's not a perfect world, and I settle for much less then othersÖ and more then some. Like I said, it's subjective. "What works for one, may not work for others". In my humble opinion, to bring the XL2 closest to itís full potential, it would need some modifications (an XL2 advantage, itís customizability). But adding the price of the XL2, to a 16x manual lens, and a FU-1000 viewfinder, it comes out more expensive then a JVC DV5000, or a Panasonic DVC200. Go figure! I think, when all else is said and done, I would definitely compromise true 16x9 for 1/2" and full size DV tapes.

Again, my subjective point of viewÖ based on my needs, and perceptions of perfection. :-)

David Lach October 23rd, 2004 04:08 PM

To me, the XL2 IS the perfect camcorder. BUT, I just needed to shell a lot of extra cash to get to the point where I can say it's perfect (for me).

XL2 body with 24p, true 16:9 and fully customizable RGB balance, knee and blacks.

+ 20x lens for shots that need a long telephoto and/or IS

+ FU-1000 viewfinder for precise and easy focusing

+ 14x manual lens for shots needing full iris control and/or full manual focus control.

+ Century Optics .6x WA adapter for wider focal lengths on the 14x

+ 2x viewfinder magnifier to be able to focus in difficult positions

With all that, it is perfect, but I'm broke!


BTW I mainly do fictional work.

Frederic Segard October 23rd, 2004 04:24 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by David Lach :
With all that, it is perfect, but I'm broke!
-->>>

LOL!!!

Joel Guy October 23rd, 2004 04:38 PM

David,

With the .6x WA Adaptor on the 14x lens, are you able to zoom at all? Thanks.

David Lach October 23rd, 2004 04:47 PM

Joel, I cannot say yet. I just bought the adapter from Greg Boston here at DVInfo, who might be able to answer your question if he stumbles on this thread. But the adapter has not arrived yet.

I asked a salesman from Century Optics and he told me I was going to be able to zoom about 8x before it goes out of focus. Don't know how accurate it is, I guess I'll find out pretty soon, but zooming live isn't one of my priorities with the 14x, so I must say I didn't do a lot of research on this before buying. I just want a wider focal length, which I usually do not change during a take.

Greg Boston October 23rd, 2004 05:24 PM

This is true. The .6 is not a full zoom through adapter. You can do partial zoom with it.

=gb=

Alain Aguilar October 23rd, 2004 05:35 PM

<<<+ 20x lens for shots that need a long telephoto and/or IS

+ FU-1000 viewfinder for precise and easy focusing

+ 14x manual lens for shots needing full iris control and/or full manual focus control.

+ Century Optics .6x WA adapter for wider focal lengths on the 14x

+ 2x viewfinder magnifier to be able to focus in difficult positions>>>

David, could you put an approximate price (from the top of your head) on these items?

I wonder if i'm broke too...lol

Marty Hudzik October 23rd, 2004 05:38 PM

David,
Can you give me some specifics on the 2x magnifier for the EVF? Is that for the BW only or is there on that will work on the Default color on too?

Thanks,
Marty

David Lach October 23rd, 2004 07:38 PM

Alain, think roughly of $8000 US for the whole setup, the camera with 20x lens (NTSC version) being $5000, the viewfinder $1500, the 14x lens $900 and the other items around $300 each. Of course you can find deals to reduce the overall cost. I bought the XL2 from L.L. Lozeau here in Montreal for about $4500 US. The 14x lens I got a great deal on from a friend of a friend. Greg, like I mentioned earlier, sold me his Century adapter at a very good price.

Marty, follow this link to find more info on the magnifier. To my knowledge it will not work with the EVF. This one is designed for Ikegami cameras (the CRT viewfinder is an Ikegami) and there's an other one for Sony cameras, so I don't think it will work with the Canon LCD viewfinder as well. As soon as I get it, I'll either confirm or deny. I bought it from B&H 2 weeks ago and it should arrive in the mail any day now.

Roger Moore October 23rd, 2004 08:07 PM

Daivd, for 4500 USD did you buy the XL body only?

David Lach October 23rd, 2004 08:15 PM

No, the whole shebang! :)

It was actually $5700 CND which converts to roughly $4500 USD.

XL2 body, 20x lens and all accessories.

Well it kind of got close to $5000 US anyway since I took an extended 3 year warranty with it (to make it 4 years). You're never too careful with this highly priced gear, plus it will help keep a high resale value if I'm to sell it in a couple of years.

Roger Moore October 23rd, 2004 08:54 PM

That's a great deal. Did you pay that after some negotiating or is that what they are tagging it at?

Here in Toronto Vistek.ca is selling the lens + body for $6500, and body for $5300. Too bad LLL doesn't have a store in TO.

David Lach October 23rd, 2004 09:05 PM

No negotiating involved. I actually checked three times with the girl I bought it from to make sure there wasn't a mistake in their quote (thinking they might have given me a price for the XL1S or something like that).

I really don't understand how come they sell it so cheap, especially considering their price for the CRT viewfinder and 16x manual lens were quite high. But hey I'm not complaining, more money to buy extra accessories.

Frederic Segard October 23rd, 2004 09:33 PM

That's correct! LL Lozeau sells it at $5700 CDN (4600 US), regular price. You can't really haggle at that store. This is the store went to this morning to check the XL2 out. The accessories are not cheap though: the FU-1000 at $2500 CDN ($2000 US), and the manual lens at $2300 CDN ($1850 US). I don't remember exactly, but I think the body only kit was around $4450 CDN ($3600 US).

(Canadian dollar roughly $0.80 US)

David Lach October 23rd, 2004 09:46 PM

Yeah they have a great price on the XL2, not so much on accessories. So I bought the XL2 there and will buy the rest of my accessories elsewhere.

Kenneth Irvine October 26th, 2004 08:43 AM

I just picked up an xl2 for $5700 Can as well. Mind you that's with a $1000 tripod purchase and an extended 2 year warranty. I bought it from Henry's. Great service so far! I'll keep you posted.

Roger Moore October 27th, 2004 03:30 AM

Ah, yes Henry's.

The XL body only:

http://www.henrys.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ItemsDisplay?itemID=132305&storeId=10001&catalogId=10101&departmentId=10410&categoryId=10731&order=A SC&sortKey=shortdescription

Is that even a canon camcorder they show on that page?

Jean-Philippe Archibald October 27th, 2004 07:01 AM

Humm... funny. It's a GL2 on that page...

Kenneth Irvine October 27th, 2004 11:38 AM

Yes, they have the wrong photo on the body kit page.

That's $5700 with the 20X lens included. Believe me, I shopped around and they are very competitive. They also have a demo Xl2 in the store here which I can have as a replacement if/when I need servicing.

David Lach October 27th, 2004 03:56 PM

Seems this camera is cheaper in Canada. Weird.

Frederic Segard October 28th, 2004 05:32 AM

Hey, at least for ONCE we can say it's cheaper NOT to buy south of the border; even with the favorable exchange rate. How many times does THAT happen? ;-)

David Lach November 4th, 2004 12:03 AM

<<<-- Originally posted by Marty Hudzik : David,
Can you give me some specifics on the 2x magnifier for the EVF? Is that for the BW only or is there on that will work on the Default color on too?

Thanks,
Marty -->>>

Just received the magnifier for the FU-1000 today and as I expected, it is not compatible with the Canon EVF on the XL2.

BUT, that being said, it is in perfect focus when you place it in front of the LCD with the eyepiece flipped open, and it more or less doubles the 2" diameter, so I'm awfully tempted to try and make a custom adapter to be able to fix it on the EVF too. It really doesn't look that complicated.

More on that later.

Marty Hudzik November 4th, 2004 08:29 AM

<<<--
Just received the magnifier for the FU-1000 today and as I expected, it is not compatible with the Canon EVF on the XL2.

BUT, that being said, it is in perfect focus when you place it in front of the LCD with the eyepiece flipped open, and it more or less doubles the 2" diameter, so I'm awfully tempted to try and make a custom adapter to be able to fix it on the EVF too. It really doesn't look that complicated.

More on that later. -->>>

Keep me posted on this. When you place the magnifier in fron of the color LCD does it make it easier to tell if you are in focus? That is my main concern. In a few cases where a subject was about 5-6 feet in front of me with a brick wall 2-3 feet behind them, I ended up focusing on the brick wall! The subject was just a "tad" out of focus but it drives me nuts. This doesn't happen often but it occassionally happens. NEver had this issue on the DVX so I am assuming that it is just the physical size of the LCD that is causing it.

And just for the record, in my mind I was in perfect focus in the viewfinder. NEver had a doubt. But when I watch the final footage it is obvious I wasn't. UNless this is a case of me focusing, then barely bumping the focus ring and then not noticing because once I focused I am concentrating on composing the shot.

Oh well! Let me know about the adapter. Can you post an image or point me to a website that has a review or images?

Thanks
Marty

Patrick Moreau November 5th, 2004 09:06 PM

Any idea if there is a website or maybe you could give us a phone number for this location in Montreal. I'm also in the GTA and compared to vistek, it would be worth it to drive down there and pick it up. Was your pricing with the extended warranty included?

Thanks

Andrew Petrie November 9th, 2004 02:48 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Roger Moore : That's a great deal. Did you pay that after some negotiating or is that what they are tagging it at?

Here in Toronto Vistek.ca is selling the lens + body for $6500, and body for $5300. Too bad LLL doesn't have a store in TO. -->>>

No stores in Ontario are well-priced (well, none that I am aware of), I always shop out-of-province for the higher tagged items. I bought my XL1S out of Calgary for $5500 CDN at the time, and that was just as much of a steal as LLL out of Quebec right now.

I'm sure LLL will ship out to you, even with next day delivery, you'd be laughing at the much cheaper price (and lower tax rate)

Andrew Petrie November 9th, 2004 02:53 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Kenneth Irvine : Yes, they have the wrong photo on the body kit page.

That's $5700 with the 20X lens included. Believe me, I shopped around and they are very competitive. They also have a demo Xl2 in the store here which I can have as a replacement if/when I need servicing. -->>>

Wow, are you serious? Henrys has never been well priced aorund here, always sticking to the MSRP. Do you know someone at Henrys that gave you cheaper? Regular $6499 there, $700 in savings, I'm very curious to hear what your secret is :)

David Lach November 9th, 2004 03:21 PM

Keep me posted on this. When you place the magnifier in fron of the color LCD does it make it easier to tell if you are in focus?

Yes and no. It somewhat makes it easier, because the screen and every object in it become bigger. So it is easier to see the pixels that are being affected while focusing. However, by magnifying the EVF, you also magnify the pixels, so you're not gaining any valuable resolution.

I'll wait to try it in a real life situation. Right now all I did was to duct tape the magnifier and focus around the living room. I'll try it soon in a real shooting situation to determine if it's worth the bother.

But I can tell you right now, the cost is probably not justified if you plan to only use it with the EVF. I bought it because I'll be using the FU-1000 viewfinder as well, for which it was designed. I would not pay $300 to magnify the EVF.

If you want an easy way to tell what kind of result you get by putting this adapter in front of the EVF, just take a big magnifying glass and look at the flipped open LCD screen through it. It will pretty much give more or less the same result.

Oh well! Let me know about the adapter. Can you post an image or point me to a website that has a review or images?

If you're talking about an image of the Ikegami magnifier, here it is

Roger Moore November 9th, 2004 04:45 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Andrew Petrie : Do you know someone at Henrys that gave you cheaper? Regular $6499 there, $700 in savings, I'm very curious to hear what your secret is :) -->>>

Me too! I'm minutes from the downtown Henry's and I'd buy it tonight if they were willing to pull the price that far below what they're advertisiing...

I'm somewhat wary about buying it out of province, not sure why I feel this way though, because if I ever had technical problems Canon canada is in mississauga not montreal. I'll wait another week before deciding. Did someone say they were going to montreal to buy from LLL, maybe a bunch of us can get a discount purchase? :)

Patrick Moreau November 9th, 2004 04:54 PM

I was thinking about heading down to Montreal to pick one up. It seems like it would be a fun trip and definitely worth it considering Henry's and vistek. Maybe somebody local to Montreal can see if they ship, possible have a website or get us a phone number. I wonder how many people would be interested at $5700?

David Lach November 9th, 2004 07:12 PM

Here's their Web Site: L.L. Lozeau

All the contact info is on there.

Patrick Moreau November 9th, 2004 07:23 PM

I found that site with osme searching, wasn't sure if it was the right one, and i tried to contact them but no luck via email. Maybe the phone will work.

David Lach November 9th, 2004 07:32 PM

Never asked anything via their Email, but they do answer to that number on their Site. You might stumble on someone who speaks french and not a whole lot of english though (which would be surprising). If that happens, just ask for an english speaking person to answer your question.

If they ship (which I don't know if they do), it might be an even bigger discount, since I'm guessing you'd only have to pay federal taxes. Not sure about that though, so don't quote me on this, but when I buy out of Quebec this is usually what happens. I have to say I don't care much about taxes since I get them fully refunded, but if it's not your case, this extra $4-500 could be sweet. Don't want to get your hopes up before you actually talk to someone there though ;-)

Roger Moore November 9th, 2004 08:51 PM

commercial@lozeau.com

I just emailed them about the PST matter. But I didn't ask them about the group purchase because I'm not really a good organizer and I'm not certain how it'd be done (who would collect and send the money? would they ship everything to my house and then you would come over and pick it up? etc.)

Andrew Petrie November 10th, 2004 03:11 PM

I bought my XL1S out-of-province. I only paid GST on it from Alberta, buying from Quebec should be no different. Just don't buy from the Maritimes, 15% regardless of where you shop from (crazy tax system out there)

Anyone from Toronto should consider the following however: The price of gas (at least 1 full tank) plus the hours of driving to get it may not appeal to you once you discover overnight shipping should be around $60. Personally, I'd go for shipping, I just came back from a 2-day drive from the South Eastern USA anyway :)

Patrick Moreau November 11th, 2004 03:30 PM

I have spoken with them and they came up with $6100 with GST included shipped here. There price i $5700 before tax and out of provine is not subject to PST so total is only $6100 and they said they would give me shipping included.

Roger Moore November 11th, 2004 03:44 PM

love it. gonna get it.

Patrick Moreau November 11th, 2004 03:51 PM

Roger

Where are you located, maybe we can purchase a pair and get a discount? It would we worth inquiring.


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