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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 December 7th, 2004, 08:00 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Chico, California
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XL2 or beef up the GL2

I'm faced with a dilemma. I have a GL2 and drool over the XL2. I can certainly see the benefits of interchangeable lenses down the road but am still not sure whether to -

1) Bite the bullet and upgrade to an XL2


2) Upgrade parts of the GL2 to better 'mimic' the XL2. By that I am specifically looking at adding some sort of shoulder mount (dvrig?) and selling my Sony 1.6x tele and getting the Century Optics 2x teleconverter. I've already upgraded to a Sennheiser for sound and that will go with either camera.

As nice as it is to use a tripod for stability it isn't always possible, especially when filming small birds. It would be nice to have some additional support by gettiing the camera on my shoulder.

My wife's concern is that the XL2 may be too big. I have only had a limited opportunity to play with an XL1 so I don't know how well the shoulder mount works to brace the camera. I travel quite a bit (car and plane, including international) so I share some concerns about size.

I'm visiting B&H this weekend so am hoping to be able to try out both the XL-2 and some of the shoulder rigs.

So, I'm looking for opinions here amongst those who have used both the GL series and the XL2. Spend the small bucks to make the smaller camera more useful or the bigger bucks on the bigger camera?

Even if I get the XL2 I'll keep the GL2 (and sell the GL1) but if I didn't end up making the XL2 the primary camera I'd be in big trouble...

Jeff Price
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Old December 7th, 2004, 10:22 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Eagle River, AK
Posts: 4,100
Hi Jeff,

Since the size of the XL2 is a real concern, I think you are wise to "put hands on" before deciding. I had (and still have) a GL2 and got an XL2 when it first hit the street -- now the GL2 looks and feels like a toy next to the XL2. I love the XL2 and since I almost always shoot 16:9, practically never use the GL2 anymore. The XL2 definitely is BIG and attention-grabbing, but as a shoulder-mount camera I find it easier to shoot with than the GL2. I haven't really traveled with it yet, but I would think you could find a case small enough for most overhead bins but big enough to hold the high dollar bits.

BTW, you mentioned that tripods often aren't practical for your work; how about a monopod? Just a thought.

All that said, the GL2 is still a fine camera. Honestly, although the XL2 certainly does have other "film-maker" sort of features, it is the 16:9 image and for some folks the 24p that are the big deals with this camera. If you shoot 4:3, don't care about 24p, and have a checkbook that says $5000 is a lot of scratch, I'd have a hard time recommending that you spend that much for the XL2 plus more for accessories. If 16:9 and/or 24p mean a lot to you, the XL2 shines.

The accessories are another possible cost factor. If you're needing a 2x teleconverter for the GL2, I'm guessing you'll want that much reach with the XL2 as well. Although leaning toward being a "long" lens, it won't go that much further than the GL2, which of course also has a 20x lens (albeit a bit wider than the XL2's stock 20x). Conversely, IF you need really WIDE shots with the XL2, you'll be looking at getting a $1200 3x lens in addition to the stock 20x. Teleconverter and 3x plus the XL2 stock setup will be some big $$$ altogether!

The other aspect (that has been beat to death on numerous posts, so let's not elaborate on it here) is whether it is worth sticking with the GL2 until the HDV situation shakes itself out.

As far as the international travel, I guess that depends on where you go. With the right carry-on case and you'll be good to go for any "first world" country. Elsewhere, who knows? I got my GL2 into and out of Russia and Kazakhstan without any more than needing to reassure them that it was my personal camera for my hobby and not a pro camera (in other words, needing a media permit with attendant paperwork and most importantly, fees paid to the right people). Then again, I carried an Official Travel passport and a Russian interpreter. Don't know what might have happened if I had been toting an XL2 and associated goodies.

I guess it boils down to whether or not you're really able to do what you want to do with the GL2. It'll be the more economical way to go, especially if you consider it an interim solution pending HDV. Then again, you could use the XL2 90% of the time and the GL2 just in "high risk" situations.
Pete Bauer
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