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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 August 5th, 2005, 09:40 AM   #1
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Why did you buy your XL2?

I was showing my father my XL2 setup last night, and he was wondering why I bought my equipment, especially my camera. I answered him, but then thought I'd post this here, with a couple modifications. This is sorta like the "Show me your equipment" threads that I've enjoyed looking at.

So, here's my questions:
1: What were the key features you liked in your decision to buy your XL2, especially those that differentiated it from its competition?
2: Now that you have it, what have you discovered in addition to those features that you really like?
3: What do you wish it had, or don't like about the camera...
and finally,
4: At the end of the day, would you buy the XL2 again if you could change your mind?
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Old August 5th, 2005, 10:02 AM   #2
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I bought my camera primarily for two reasons...
First, the interchangeability of lenses was a key decision. The kinds of shoots I do...industrial and training videos, mixed with sports videos convinced me that the multiple lens function was important, which has proven true.
Secondly, I wanted 24p and "true" 16X9 (vs the cropped 16X9 available on most other camera's). Even though my business model does not demand that, the right brain wanted it, and the right side of the brain won!!!

Now that I've got the camera, I really really really enjoy the programmable presets, especially with the new software developed by Blue Barn. I did not know what could be accomplished there. I want to see more ...

I had several problems early on with the camera in the DV input and feel that it's a little sensitive to spikes which can cause huge problems with the camera. Canon needs to look at protecting the circuits thru that. I don't like the focus and zoom operation of the lens, and am constantly dialing them in the wrong direction when trying to set them up...

Would I buy it again?

Yes, but maybe with the servo lens instead of the std 20x ...
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Old August 5th, 2005, 10:12 AM   #3
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XL2 Purchase

Nice idea Bill. I've wondered the same!

1. I was back and forth for about a month over the XL2 vs. HD/HDV (Z1 or waiting for the JVC or Panasonic cam's). I decided on my XL2 about a month ago for the following reasons:

-The ease of Manual Focus and Manual Modes.
-Being able to change lenses (for some of the different looks I want)
-I'll be exporting 95% of the footage to the web - with DV, I'll start with 100% non-compressed data, which should have better results in Sorenson Squeeze when compressing for the web.
-Native 16:9 (also had that on my GL2)
-True 24p
-Ease of capturing, editing and rendering in FCP5
-Canon brand loyalty
-From seeing the re-sale and turn rate on camcorders, knowing that down the road when Canon comes out with an HDV / HD camcorder that I may want, I can always sell the XL2 and have some cash to put towards the newer purchase.
-My need for a camcorder at the time I purchased it, not some date way off in the future like October, December or whenever.
-Seeing edited footage from the XL2 within this forum.
-The DOF capabilities I've seen with the XL2.
-Accessories currently available for DV camcorders.
-Being able to get the 18x lens at the same time and saving $500 on it.
-The amount of professionals that use the XL2.
-The positive comments about the XL2 in this forum.

2. Yes, some of the cool zoom features on the 20x that it came with.

3. I don't think I've used it enough to comment on anything that I wish that it had that it does not.

4. Yes, I would buy it again in an instant. Actually I just saw the XL2 feature tour that was posted in this forum and it just "re-sold" me on the XL2 again.

Last edited by Guest; August 5th, 2005 at 01:26 PM.
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Old August 5th, 2005, 01:09 PM   #4
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I think the XL2 is THE 1/3" CCD camera for the experienced operator. I use other cameras as well but in its class the XL2...

- has the clearest picture in true 16:9 mode, even thru highlights and shadows
- has the best stock lens
- has the smallest possible DOF (due to the 20X lens)
- is the easiest to handhold on your shoulder
- has the most customizable picture
- has tha ability to attach a 3X or manual lens

That being said, I do think the XL2 is among the harder cameras to use...

ash =o)
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Old August 5th, 2005, 01:20 PM   #5
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I bought it because I am a total newb and was looking for a nice camera. Do you think I did ok?

I think I will learn this camera about the time the next really expensive camera comes out.

Regrets: None, I love learning this thing.

total newb
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Old August 5th, 2005, 02:55 PM   #6
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2 reasons I went with the XL-2.

1. The compatibility with accessories and the 16x auto lens from my XL-1.

2. The night footage shot in Vienna, Austria really wowed me. Of course, that's the work of a skilled videographer/editor.

BTW, for those that may not know it, you can stick the 20x auto lens on your XL-1 or XL1s and use the focus/zoom preset functions. You won't get the littel yellow box in the vf showing your preset position, but the function does work.

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Old August 8th, 2005, 08:55 AM   #7
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1. The things I liked the most about the XL2 were 24p, native 16:9, interchangable lenses, the look and feel of the camera, and the fact that it was a Canon product. These are the things that really made me purchase the camera. I'm very much a canon loyalist and this is a great product they've made.

2. There are several things I've noticed since I purchased the camera that I like a lot. The first thing that comes to mind is the improved viewfinder from the XL1. It's just so much bigger and clearer when you look into it. Another thing I like is the built-in XLR jacks. I didn't realize how much I would use these when I first bought the camera, and now I don't know how I could live without them. The custom presets far exceeded my expectations as well. I love them.

3. There are only a few things I wish this camera had that it doesn't. The first is a real servo zoom lens. I'm not a huge fan of how the zoom ring just spinds forever, I wish it had a zoom ring like the DVX-100a. Two other things I wish the XL2 had that the DVX has are the hours of use counter and the focus meter that gives a numeric value for how near or far you are zoomed. Those would be very useful to me and I find myself wishing I had them all the time.

4. I would definitely purchase the XL2 again. It's a fantastic camera that really suits all my needs. I trust the Canon brand and they have yet to truly disappoint me.
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Old August 11th, 2005, 02:12 PM   #8
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I've been extremely happy with my Xl1 purchase from Day 1, over 6 years ago. I recently upgraded to the XL2 and it was a no-brainer.

I went to school for photography, so I NEED a manual camera. I have the 16x manual servo lens for all of my shooting. I did get the 20x lens as well, just in case.

I love the 16:9 frame and the 24p can't be beat. I wasn't sure about the custom presets originally, but I've come to use them everytime I shoot. Very handy stuff.

Also, I like the viewfinder. It seems much sharper than my Xl1 finder. I thought about the monochrome finder, but I don't like seeing in black and white.... i know it's silly, but I like to see the colors I'm getting. In the studio it's not an issue, as I can hook up a broadcast monitor... but in the field there's no choice... and I shoot ALOT outside and underwater.

Oh, and the addition of phantom power to the XLR inputs was a great decision by Canon! Thanks! no more carrying around that stupid power box for the mics!

I bought the Chrosziel matte box, side wings and follow focus system for my XL2 and couldn't be happier!
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Old August 24th, 2005, 08:51 PM   #9
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When I bought my XL2, my alternative was a secondhand 2/3" 3CCD model. The difference in price between the EF 100-400L plus EF/XL adapter versus any lens of comparable ability for a 2/3" camera was decisive. I could not afford the larger setup.

Later I was glad of this. It would have been imposible to go everywhere I've been with the XL2 if I had a larger camera. It is an advantage that you can persuade people that an XL2 is "not" a professional camera. (Whilst it realy can produce a professional result.)

Suprisingly it can be concealed in a hiking jacket if you break it down. (Obviously this requires some care.)

Native 16:9, and XLR jacks have been vital. The low light ability has enabled some important shots, and the adjustability in manual mode has been a blessing.

The accessories I'd most like to add to it are either micro35 or guerrilla 35 (when I've had the chance to compare them), and Andromeda RAW output to a firestore drive.

It is interesting to see JVC now producing a direct competitor.
Nick Hockings
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Old August 24th, 2005, 10:12 PM   #10
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After mounths of deliberation and looking at the latest Hi Definition models etc,I decided the last thing I wanted to do was spend countles hours learning all the new Hi def jargon then spend $1000s more on the latest editing and computer upgrades, when there is still no international standards set in place. I bought the XL2 because It was the only true 16.9 DV camera available and most of my work will probably be for wide screen DVD production.I looked at the Panasonic DVX1000a but to get the 16.9 amaphoric adapter it was an extra $1000 .
Good points of the XL2 are:
True 16.9, lots of accessories available,Interchangable lenses,easy to use controls,XLR inputs, screen as well as veiwfinder.Because of its size,I get more respect when filming interveiws{real looking camera}When I use a small camera,no matter how good, people don't seem to take it seriously,the shoot appears more amiturish.
Bad points. Front heavy.I have big shoulders and its always alkward to hold and makes my arm ache after just a short time.Would be a problem for a smaller person to use without a rig. Because of its size and weight its hard to pack up safe to meet the carry on luggage requirments of airlines.
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Old August 25th, 2005, 12:30 AM   #11
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i bought mine for all of the reasons mentioned above, i love it and would buy it again because i have trouble accepting a JVC over a Canon, and $12,000 is a lot for a wide angle lens for a 1/3" camera.

why can't there be variable frame rates? i know video is always played at a set speed but why can't the camera change it's speed? why can't a tape run through it faster/slower? even just a few notches like 6,12,24,36,48fps all being played back at 24fps. would be a god send, that is the only reason i still prefer a 16mm camera, and no, post-production sowtware doesn't cut it.

iso settings, why use -3, to +12 gain settings instead of 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 iso settings? these silly gain numbers render a lot of expensive light meters useless.

Jon Bickford, Trepany Films
San Pedro, CA
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Old August 25th, 2005, 07:47 AM   #12
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Like many, the 24p, native 16:9 and form factor were key in my decision, as well as resolution and interchangeable lenses.

I actually bought the camera at first for filmmaking, so having a fully manual lens with a 16:9 / 24p camera was extremely important, but I also wanted to make money out of it, which I'm starting to do now, so I eventually discovered that the stabilizer was a great, make that critical feature with this camera, something I had not even thought about when I bought the camera. The OIS on the XL2 works like a charm, it'll give you smooth handheld shots everytime. Plus the AF comes in handy for lots of things when doing event videography, even though I am a purist that likes to manual focus everything. So looking back, I'm glad I opted to buy the XL2 with the stock lens in addition to the manual 14x lens. Both lenses have served me equally well so far.

Plus the fact I got a 24p 16:9 camera has allowed me to enter the world of music video making, something I had not really considered up to that point. The bulk of my income actually comes from DOP jobs on low budget Hip-Hop music videos, all this because the producer I usually work with wanted to find a videographer with a 24p camera, and he found me.

My only gripe with this camera was the stock EVF, which is not good enough for critical focusing in difficult conditions (low light or things with lots of movement). So I had to put an extra $800 for a used FU-1000, but now I'm truly in heaven.

All in all I love this camera, so much that I just recently bought a second one. It wasn't really a good deal for me to rent a 2nd XL2 at $150 / day, more on week-ends, to shoot 1-2 hour events with 2 cameras. So I forked an other $3500 US and now all I can hope is they won't go obsolete too fast. ;-) I could have waited for the HVX-200, but even though my heart wanted HD so bad, my head couldn't find a logical reason to pay more for this one, considering that my number one use of cameras is now focused on event and corporate videography.

The only thing I wish I had now is a Mini35 adapter, to make better looking music videos and short movies, but I cannot justify it yet from a business stand point, plus I'm broke. Later maybe.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 02:24 AM   #13
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Balance makes all the differance.

One thing that is a must when using the XL2 shoulder or hand held.If you can't afford to buy the duel battery set up for the rear of the camera,use some other type of weight to counterbalance it.If not,the thing puts way too much strain on your arm because of its front heavy 20x lense.On the other hand,if its ballanced correctly its a pleasure to use.
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Old September 15th, 2005, 06:45 AM   #14
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And I'd buy another one today, not impressed with Canon's HDV at all.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 06:52 AM   #15
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Since everyone here is a XL2 owner, you may be interested in a thread I started regarding the XL2 and new XL H1. It's called "So what's the Family Truckster worth?...


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