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-   -   XL2 too old? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl-gl-series-dv-camcorders/467555-xl2-too-old.html)

David Grinnell November 11th, 2009 04:53 PM

XL2 too old?
My question is... I want to get a camera, but I dont want to just get a handheld camera that you get from walmart or best-buy... they just dont have the stability that Im looking for... I dont realy care all that much about HD, I just want a camera that will shoot quality video (yeah I understand its not the camera its the user :p )... The miniDV capturing is no big deal to me... From what I can see online is that after you get to know this camera you can get some nice results from it, and heck I think that in some cases it rivals some of the HD footage that I've seen...

So do you think this camera would be a wise choice?



Ryan Chaney November 11th, 2009 05:11 PM

Considering that you're asking this question on an XL2 forum, I'm sure the responses will be somewhat skewed in favor the camera. You might want to ask the question elsewhere to get a more unbiased answer.

That being said, I LOVE the XL2 and I use two of them all the time. If HD doesn't matter to you, then in the SD realm you're going to have a tough time beating the XL2. It's super flexible as you grow into it's capabilities, but to be honest it's not all that tough to use fairly well even when it's new-ish to you. Just because it has deep and customizable menus and features doesn't mean you have to use all of them right off the bat. =)

As nifty and shiny and new as all the HD cameras out there are, the reality is that very few clients are requesting HD production as yet and the XL2 can create amazing widescreen SD footage for DVDs, web distribution, etc. that just looks fantastic. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one... but of course, I'm biased. ;)

Owen Dawe November 11th, 2009 06:17 PM

The xl2 is still in production and is Canon's flagship SD camera. I've owned an XL1, XL1s and still use the XL2. If you don't need HD at all the XL2 is a great camera.

There is a thread on this forum called xl2demo reel by Ryan Mueller. He has done a uprez on XL2 footage which looks pretty amazing.

I'm retired but work part time for a tv channel. They use Sony HD, a Z7, EX1 and EX3 on field footage. They've gone off Canon SD as they say it's picture quality is a bit soft for want they want, so I'm therefore forced to use Sony and borrow theirs. The Sony is better in low light especially when out gathering news footage and doing interviews on the fly. It's smaller, and lighter than the Canon XL2. But not much smaller. I once owned two Sony cameras in the Hi 8 days back in the 90's but switched to Canon when the XL1 came out.

The main thing I don't like about the Sony is the fiddly little buttons, and you seem to be always digging deep into the menu for something. But they take nice sharp pictures.

I prefer Canon. Maybe it's just because I'm used to it. I like the larger buttons and knobs, I don't have to dive into the menu all the time as most everyday requirements are switchable on the camera body. Plus I've only ever had one problem when the Canon has had to go back for repair. The viewfinder packed up on the XL1s. Canon make a very robust, reliable camera. I really should change to HD but am waiting to see if a new Canon HD is on the market soon. In the meantime if anybody wants me to shoot HD, they'll have to hire me one.

Gabor Heeres November 11th, 2009 06:55 PM

What about a secondhand light used Sony DSR-250? Is that an option or do you need the abillity to change lenses? Anyway I would choose the DSR-250 above the XL2 with standard lens. Also because it's a fullsize shoulder camcorder which the XL2 is not.

David Grinnell November 11th, 2009 07:26 PM

Never looked at the Sony DSR-250... Now that I do, as stupid as it may be, I dont realy like that form factor..

Jeff Anselmo November 11th, 2009 10:39 PM

Camera for what purpose
Hi David,

In your post you mentioned that you wanted a camera that "will shoot quality video", but you didn't say what you intended to do with the camera.

As others have mentioned the XL2 shoots georgeous SD footage; and as Owen mentioned, the XL2's 24p footage can be uprezzed to HD (using software).

But most XL2 owners use their cams for their business, whether for weddings, live events, commercials, training DVDs, and/or promotional DVDs. In short, to make money with the XL2. There are also owners who use the XL2 for hobby purposes, like shooting wildlife, etc.

When we bought our XL2 (almost 4 years ago?), the Canon XHA1 had just come out, and some people advised to go the HD(V) route, cause that's the way the future will go. But it would've meant upgrading our computers, and various other equipment that we couldn't afford at the time. At present, we've shot and produced various promo DVDs, training DVDs, commercials, webisodes, and the occasional wedding (for family :); we've invested and profitted from our XL2 many times over!

Buying the XL2 will give really good SD footage. And tweaking the picture profiles will really give you some amazing looking footage.


David Grinnell November 11th, 2009 11:37 PM


I would like to use this camera to expand my portfolio, and gain the experience… I have shot a few weddings (friends and what not) and wouldn’t mind doing one for friends every now and then as needed… there is also the creative ministry group at my church that I would use this camera for… and I have a few people that pay me to edit their hunting videos, and would pay me more to come and shoot with them so.. It’s a mixed bag. I have never owned a camera like this, I have rented one but not owned...

Marco Leavitt November 12th, 2009 01:41 PM

This is a question I ask myself practically every day. So far the XL2 is making me money. Clients have never asked me for Blueray. It's still a DVD and Web video world. In that context, the XL2 is going strong. Still though, there are an increasing number of day-for-hire jobs I can't apply for because they demand HDV. It's not a lot, certainly not enough to justify the investment for me right now, but in a couple of years I would expect it to flip. Of course, I was saying that a couple of years ago, and who knows, maybe I'll still be saying it in a couple of years yet. Used XL2s are a great bargain right now considering the durability and functionality of the camera. I do think it's a great camera to learn on, as it forces you to really understand the craft to get a decent picture out of it.

Paul Cuoco November 12th, 2009 05:38 PM


You mentioned you didn't like the form factor of the Sony DSR-250, which begs the question do you like the form factor of the XL2, and do you need the ability to change lenses?

If you prefer the chainsaw ergonomics, and need to change lenses the XL2 is an excellent camera. I still use mine often, and I've had it for 4 years, and an XL1 before that. I've uprezzed footage to HD shot with my XL2 and it holds up really well.

That being said if you don't need interchangeable lenses you might consider the Canon XHA1s as an alternative. It has a smaller more standard form factor for a non-shoulder mount, It's the same price as an XL2 (at B&H), has many of the same features. It still shoots 24fps and can shoot excellent SD as well as HD footage. This gives you the option to start in SD and you'll get HD as a bonus if you need it.

Something to consider based on what you truly need in a camera.

Martyn Hull November 14th, 2009 04:25 AM

Pretty sure in years to come most clients will regret having SD, I went HD for my personal use 4 years ago and i sure am glad.

Jeff Anselmo November 16th, 2009 01:28 AM

Hi David,

It sounds like you have many things going on that you could use the XL2 for (or any camera for that matter :)

For what you would be doing, and for the extent and variety of things you want a camera to do, I think any semi-pro/pro camera would do.

The XL2 has been used for all of the things you mentioned--weddings, church events, and using the optional extender with long lenses, to capture wildlife up close. It is a very versatile camera, and quoting Marco, a durable one as well.

With that said, it does seem like the business of video is heading toward HD. More and more smaller consumer cams are using tapeless media. (How long is miniDV sticking around is anyones guess) And unfortunately, the crux of any business is to change with the times. Like Marco, all of our clients have NOT asked for HD, but SOME of our clients are at least beginning to ask if we have the capability to shoot in HD (and we tell them not yet :)

There are alot of things to consider when buying a camera. But if I was starting my business today, I'd strongly consider buying an HD camera.


Marco Leavitt November 16th, 2009 08:34 AM

I do agree with Jeff. It depends on what type of business you are starting. If it's corporate video, SD is dead, and has been for a couple of years. In fact, HDV isn't sellable either. You have to shoot uncompressed full-on HD. But that's also not the sort of market you can just jump into anyway. It's too competitive, and you really need to know what you are doing, not to mention having the right contacts.

For weddings, I still think the XL2 is a great camera. In fact, I can't imagine shooting something like that on a non-shoulder mounted camera, at least the way we do them. We're also starting to get into shooting band performances and so on, the kind of thing which will be seen more or less exclusively on the Web. I also shoot baseball training videos and dance recitals and stuff like that. In that market, it's still 4:3! Some people even want it transferred to VHS.

I would say that most people probably shouldn't worry about staying on the cutting of edge of technology when they are starting out. The $6,000 camera you buy today won't get you the high-end jobs anymore in three years. The way technology moves, I would recommend holding off on the high-end cam until you're sure you can make the jump. Then it's going to be a new camera every two to three years, but you should have enough billings to handle that by then.

I always think it's smart to concentrate your investments on high quality stuff that lasts more or less forever -- tripod, audio equipment, lights, etc. Don't skimp there, ever, even if it means buying a used, less sexy camera.

David Grinnell November 16th, 2009 05:27 PM


The price difference for HD vs SD is really killing me... if it wasn’t so huge a gap... pluss if Im going to buy a camera that can cost that much, I want to be sure that I can pay for it with work.... HD is nice but I don’t know that the market around here is that big... I really like the HD cameras and what not, but I feel like I can get a cheaper HD camera that is still nice, or I can get a nicer SD camera that has allot of features that I can grow into... Am I way off base here??

Like I said before I have a few handheld HD cameras, I want the shoulder cam for the increased stability and with that more options that these cams usually come with... :)


Richard Hunter November 17th, 2009 04:31 AM


Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt (Post 1448038)
I do agree with Jeff. It depends on what type of business you are starting. If it's corporate video, SD is dead, and has been for a couple of years. In fact, HDV isn't sellable either. You have to shoot uncompressed full-on HD.

Uncompressed HD? I don't think so, not in my world at least. What gear are these people using to provide that?


Marco Leavitt November 21st, 2009 12:20 PM

Okay, by uncompressed HD I mean shooting on P2 cards and so on. Yeah maybe the codec does have some type of compression I guess but you know what I mean. It's nowhere near as destructive as HDV.

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