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-   -   XL2 - Shall I buy or not? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl-gl-series-dv-camcorders/36566-xl2-shall-i-buy-not.html)

Antony Quintin December 18th, 2004 05:49 AM

XL2 - Shall I buy or not?
I have been researching for months now, trying to decide whether I should buy an XL2 or not?!!

I would use it for, weddings, corporate, short dramas, music vids and docs.

Can anyone give me a personal experience of the camera, and help me decide should I or not?

thanks for yr time


Richard Alvarez December 18th, 2004 10:03 AM


Plenty of reviews and opinions already posted on this board, do a search.

As to whether or not its right for YOU, only you can decide that. I will pass on this piece of advice.

If you can make money with it NOW, buy it now, you can always sell it later and buy something newer. The money you make with it will offset the money spent.

This is true of any piece of gear.

If you can't afford to buy it, don't.

Pete Bauer December 18th, 2004 10:42 AM

Hi Antony,

Welcome! I've found DVinfo to be the friendliest and best source of honest opinions on everything DV...but before someone gives you the ol' "Do a search. The End." I'll state the obvious -- that no camera does everything equally well. I suggest deciding which use is THE most important to you and getting the camera that does that the "best." The best camera for weddings may not be the same one that's best for an indie film. Here are a couple of threads among the many here that may be helpful:



If you're starting from scratch and going to put together a serious, money-maker full-up XL2 setup, you will be dropping some big bucks. The standard XL2+20x lens kit and a 3x lens will set you back around $6100-6200. Add a lav mic, a shotgun mic or two, decent tripod, basic lighting kit, sundry accessories and you'll be up in the $8K-9K range. If your actual needs are for good 4:3, 60i, the XL2 may be overkill...you can probably spend less than that amount and have a setup with TWO superb 4:3 60i/30p cameras (GL2, VX2100, DVX, etc depending on which suites you).

Then there is the whole XL2 vs HDV debate...again, your needs and the timeframe you will be buying will slant that discussion.

Personal experience: the XL2 is a Best-of-Breed SD camera, but if you don't need 24p or the best possible SD 16:9, you can learn on something much cheaper. If you're an experienced videographer, want The Best Artistic Camera that's available right now, and can afford an XL2 setup at the risk of wishing in 6 months that you had waited a bit for HDV to mature, you'll love using it. I graduated from the GL2 mainly because of the XL2's improved 16:9 rather than the 24p. But now that I can shoot 24p, I'm intrigued and starting to play with it more and more.

You'll have to make your buying decision on what you think is THE most important feature for your use. As you've researched the XL2, what have been the things that drew you to it? And what has made you hesitant to jump in? What other cameras are you comparing/contrasting?

Antony Quintin December 19th, 2004 07:06 AM

Thank you for your input so far.

The reasons I have chosen XL2 so far:

1) the apparant good picture quality
2) XLR inputs
3) shoulder cam
4) controls over lighting
5) looks good (not important to us - but is to clients - sad I know!)
6) good frame rates
7) should have a good lifetime span

I was happy with all this up to now,BUT now I am thinking....

shall I buy a HDV - the song camera, as the picture quality can compete with other HDV which will be released....if not......will I think that I am behind the times with SD instead of HDV (I know you can never stay the latest up to date anyway tho)

the only down sides I have to the new FX1 is the fact that the bad sound problems, and it does not look as pro as the XL2.

but what is the TV lines for the XL2 compared to the FX1 in DV mode???


Mathieu Ghekiere December 19th, 2004 08:56 AM

I think, personally, that all those reasons to choose the XL2 are far more important to the use of it, then the resolution and TV lines.
But that's only my opinion offcourse.
Good luck choosing :-)!

Pete Bauer December 19th, 2004 09:27 AM

1) 3) 4) 5) and 7):
It sounds like you are ready right now to buy the best money-maker for your business? If that's true, I'd have to say that the XL2 is the way to go. There have been some opinions that -- for example -- other cameras may have slightly better low-light performance but for the mix of features you've listed, the XL2 provides the most...for the most cost.

However, the lifespan of the XL2 is an open question in my mind. Certainly, for purposes satisfied by SD shooting, it'll serve well for years to come. But if the sharpest 60i image is your highest priority, looks probable that the upcoming Sony Z1 or a similar competitor will very soon leave any SD camera in the dust. If you're buying now to make money, the XL2 will earn its keep until HDV or some variant thereof sweeps you off your feet -- which COULD happen in just a few months. I can't speak definitively on this, but there should be negligible difference in the final burned DVD image between an XL2 and a down-rezzed HDV camera image.

Here is a related thread:


And a comparison posted by Chris Hurd between the FX1 and upcoming Z1, which will have XLR inputs:


Not sure what you mean by "4) controls over lighting." If you're referring to in-camera image processing like gamma and contrast, most of the newer cameras have a pretty good range of user adjustability. So I personally wouldn't make that a major factor. True, cameras like the XL2 and embryonic Z1 have more fancy buttons than their predecessors, but my feeling is that some of it is overkill for the majority of us. Probably only a minority are experienced enough AND find it essential to precisely tweak some of those more esoteric settings prior to shooting.

Not quite sure what mean by "6) good frame rates." Choices are 60i, 30p, and 24p. Almost all of the prosumer level SD cameras do a great job of 60i and many do 30p or frame mode. A couple do 24p (including XL2 and Panasonic DVX100A). It looks like 24p is not a practical option for HDV cameras at this time -- apparently the Sony cam does a "CineForm" conversion of 60i to 30p or 24p about which most comments have been very negative. So you'd be shooting those weddings in 60i -- perfectly ok if that's what your customer wants.

Here's a thread on that:


If you read and absorb all the stuff about HDV that's on DVinfo, you'll know a buttload more than me because I haven't really dug in and studied the HDV stuff much yet...still learning all those fancy buttons on my XL2!

Antony Quintin December 19th, 2004 10:05 AM

Thank you so much for your input, I am amazed how helpful ppl are - so thanks.

I think at the present time I am swaying more to the XL2 as I think it suits my needs best at the present time.

Like you said as technology moves on the HDV format will become more developed and probably offer a great - hopefully good value camera.

how are you getting on with yr XL2 pete? any problems? what are you impressed with most?


Pete Bauer December 20th, 2004 03:04 PM

I bought my XL2 as soon as they were available and have enjoyed every minute of working with it. On the one hand, it is LARGE and there's no way to make it unobtrusive. On the other, if you want max creative flexibility, you got it. Although some complain about the (dis)comfort of the shoulder pad, I find the camera easier to handle than the much smaller GL2, although admittedly I do notice it is a little front-heavy with the 20x lens on it. Doesn't bother me, though. I guess I'm discovering that I'm a shoulder-mount kind of guy.

Being a hobbyist, I didn't have a financial incentive to buy like appears to be the case for you, but was never quite happy with the good-but-not-great 16:9 my GL2 gave me. I simply got impatient waiting for HDV to be ready for prime time, so I bought the XL2 mainly for the 16:9. I won't find myself sorry, though, even if I decide to move on to HDV within the next 6-12 months.

For a lot of folks doing commercial work, as long as it looks good enough for local broadcast, they're happy. As one who is just beginning to get serious about creatively shooting video, I want my footage to be worth archiving for unknown future uses, not "obsolete" in a year or two as may be the case for some commercial purposes. So higher rez, progressive images, and to a lesser extent better color space are all issues that would weigh in for me.

My fondest hope is that Canon will release an XL body that supports the HDV format -- or even a higher data rate variant! -- before their competitors lure me into the shadows! ;-)

Mark Sasahara December 20th, 2004 10:59 PM

For a MiniDV camera either the XL2, or the DVX100A are solid bets.

I have shot a lot with and enjoyed using the DVX and was all set to buy one, until the XL2 came out...

Now, I own an XL2 (sigh, batting of eyelashes). I like the interchangeable lenses, native 16x9, B&W finder, being able to take larger Anton Bauer batteries and many other things. Oh yeah, being able to really tweak the heck out of the picture. I can do all kinds of nifty things. The one thing that really pissed me off was that the 16x manual lens breathes. Get the 20x and the 3x and you're GTG.

My feeling is that if you are going to shoot HD, get a real camera with a 2/3" chip. Unless you're very rich and/or getting tons of work, you'll have to rent an HD camera. And the client pays for that.

Brendan Marnell January 1st, 2005 02:01 PM

Very useful discussion for a prospective XL2 or XL1s buyer.

May i butt in with a few questions, please?

What is the auto-focus restriction when using adaptors or convertors or extenders ... is there already a thread that reveals all?

What reasons would any of you give for paying so much more for XL2 than XL1s?

Would any of you think that GL2 would be adequate for large wildlife at 75 yards or would interchangeable lenses facility be essential to show some close-up detail in quality image?

Chris Hurd January 1st, 2005 02:11 PM

Hi Brendan,

Please direct your tripod question to our "Support Your Local Camera" forum. Thanks,

Brendan Marnell January 1st, 2005 03:21 PM

Thank you Chris.

I think I've sorted it.

While you're on the line may I draw your attention to something that would be most instructive for me?

Bob Safay has videod condor in flight using XL1s with stock x16 lens and 1.6 tele. You may know where similar video is available to study but I don't, so I asked Bob if he could post it onto a thread and he answered "if I knew how I would". At least I think it was to that question he applied that answer.

Is there anything I can do to help you to help Bob to educate me?


Ian Thomas January 2nd, 2005 02:57 PM

Antony, if you are doing weddings also consider the sony pd 170 it gives great images and is very good in low light, and also very portable.

Antony Quintin January 2nd, 2005 03:00 PM

thank u ian.

the one main thing y I am looking at an XL2 is also because I wud use it for shoulder mounted filming too, where te pd150s is even more of an handheld camera than the XL2s

Antony Quintin January 2nd, 2005 04:28 PM

meant pd170s! woops!!!!

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