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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 13th, 2005, 07:33 PM   #1
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New camera in a few weeks, XL2 users, why did you choose the XL2

In a few weeks, I'm getting a new camera to replace my PD170. My mind is set on 2 models. I don't need HD right now, and I want 24p, so my choice is between the XL2 and the DVX100B.

My question to all you XL2 users and gurus: Aside from 16x9 and the 20x zoom lens, what made you go with the XL2?
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Old November 13th, 2005, 07:35 PM   #2
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The night footage shot in Vienna, Austria. And, the fact that my XL1 batteries and stuff would be usable with the XL-2.

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Old November 13th, 2005, 08:43 PM   #3
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Well for me it was stemming from liking what i saw when renting the XL1 & XL1s. Little did I know that my expectations were underestimated as I get to know the XL2 more and more. Because I'm becoming quite blown away by the picture quality, in 60I and more so 24pn. Haven't really dealth with 30p yet. Just got done with the first weekend shoot of a 5 min piece where I'm Camera A operator. I'm using 24pn for this project with no intention to go to film. The scene took place in a restaurant/ bar location. After coming up with a certain setting of preset, but setting it up not under any real light set up situation since I don't own any lighting currently, I was hoping for the best. Well, seeing the raw footage so far, I was excited by the end result. The XL2 ROCKS!!! And I feel like it's only the tip of the iceberg. This was the first time I had the opportunity of using the XL2 on a set with light set-ups, gels, etc... The lighting person did a real nice job. And the XL2 handled it all suppurbely :) Literaly no video noise with the gain set to - 0 - db and framerate at 48. And the image was the sharpest I've seen thusfar and yet filmic looking at the same time. I've had the camera for less than a year, and had inconsistant results just under normal shooting condition amd doing some shooting of a few live music events, mainly due to me trying to still learn the purpose of the different settings in the pre-sets. I defintely saved last nights shoot settings since we'll be going back to the location in a couplle of weeks for pick-ups.
I'm definetly learning that one really doesn't do justice to the camera untill you start tweeking and experimenting with how you can get different looks out of the footage. and I love how it handles blacks whether pressed or streched. I have no doubts that I made a great choice in cameras, so far it's been the best 4300.00 I've spent :)
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Old November 13th, 2005, 09:59 PM   #4
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I'm a current XL2 user and like the camera quite a bit, BUT have recently thought about getting a DVX100B (in addition to the XL2, not to replace it) because of the small size. With the XL2 you get interchangable lenses and better 16x9 specs. With the DVX100B you get the small size. Those were the main differences that I saw and aside from those, each camera is packed full of similar great features. I've seen some nice footage in this forum shot with both and think that with either cam, you'll win.

If you have the opportunity, you may want to try to rent each one over a weekend to really see what fits you best. Good luck!

Last edited by Guest; November 14th, 2005 at 06:29 AM.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 02:07 AM   #5
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I owned the DVX100 & 100a before switching to the XL2, principally because we need 16:9 for a feature that is currently going into production.

I do miss the form factor of the DVX and, more than anything, the flip out LCD display. I really wish the XL2 had a built in LCD as it is difficult to work with on a tripod with the supplied finder. However, there are work arounds... I now have a 7" TFT mounted at the back of the camera. I also miss the focus markings (0-99) displayed in the DVX finder, and the zoom ring that doesn't spin infinitely. Also, the DVX retains colour information better in low light (colour really falls away on the XL2 in dim light, but of course if you light properly this is not an issue).

That said, these are minor issues and I'd buy the XL2 again over the DVX100B. It's a little more difficult to operate than the DVX for the above reasons, plus the fact that it's front heavy. However, apart from the 16:9, there are other big payoffs in image quality for the extra work:

* much cleaner images (noise in shadow areas with the DVX really bugged me - apparently this has been addressed to some extent with the B model, but the XL2 is still cleaner).
* more detailed images, even in 4:3 imo, perhaps due to the beautiful canon optics
* more natural colours (okay, this one's contentious, but personally I'm not a fan of the poppy, over-saturated DVX look which can be achieved in post anyway if the job demands it).
* very nice image stabilisation
* telephoto end on the lens to create tight DOF shots (okay, you know about this already but I didn't realise how much I'd be using this feature until I got my hands on the XL2)
* shoulder mount ability (even though it's front heavy, still better than having to use the DVX handheld imo, and for short takes is very useful)
* wide lens option (although I'm going with the century 0.6x adaptor, bear in mind you WILL need a wide angle capabilty - the stock lens is not wide enough for every situation)

Personally I think the DVX wins for user-friendliness, but the XL2 for image quality.

Before I bought my XL2, I read all the warnings about how difficult it is to focus the camera, how hard it is to balance, and how it just couldn't get that DVX film look. Such warnings almost scared me off. However, I'm glad I listened to the likes of Ash on this site, because while the DVX is more foolproof (a better first camera methinks), the XL2 has greater potential. Quite simply it can do things the DVX can't do. It isn't so adept at the poppy, oversaturated look that comes with the DVX out of the box, but I'm no fan of that anyway. The XL2 look is cleaner, more detailed, with better DOF control, and imo more film-like if anything.

I guess you realise it already, but moving from the PD170 into the world of DVX/XL2 24p, you're really going to notice a big drop in low light performance. Hope you've got a good lighting kit in your budget.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 05:06 AM   #6
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I got the XL2 for most of the reasons already stated, backwards compatibility for batteries/accessories, lens options, 16:9, and image quality. I have been really pleased thus far. I like the form factor and I find it easy to use. With the bluebarn presets manager and the presets on this site I have now started delving into the deeper settings. What a difference these make. I was doing some shots outside (It's Autumn here in the UK) and the colours were mind blowing. Switch to a different preset and they were ordinary. The presets are key to getting the most out of the XL2 (apart from the obvious, good lighting, and camera handling!) and there is so much tweakability, if you want/need to.

I do agree that the viewfinder lets the XL2 down, but I got the mono viewfinder and that's the dog gonads! Having said that, taking a little time to "get to know" the camera and the viewfinder pays off when you need to really use it.

And of course, with the XL2, you get this great forum!!
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Old November 14th, 2005, 06:28 AM   #7
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Declan's right. That free BlueBarn XL2 Settings software is great. You can store limitless settings in your PC. And those settings DO make a huge difference.

The settings software is PC only for now, as I have not heard of any software for the mac yet :( - but it's great stuff.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 08:29 AM   #8
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i did *not* buy the XL2 for the interchangeable lens feature, and now i'm finding that is the best thing about it. the images you can get with a 35mm telephoto far outstrip anything you can obtain with any other camera in its class. i'm addicted to using this camera for outdoors shots. the textures and colors are amazing, in some situations, even better than what i can get with my HDV camera. this is a complex camera. it takes time to learn its nuances. it was frustrating to me initially, because i had developed some mastery of my GL2 and was getting better images out of my GL2 than the XL2 and didn't want to spend a lot of time learning again. i wanted to be shooting my projects, not camera testing! but i think it was ash greyson who said that this camera is like learning a fine musical instrument, and it's a perfect analogy. you have to get synched up with its features to get good footage. you have to spend some energy on this camera, but it pays off in quantum leaps in the quality of footage possible. and you have to spend some $$ on good supplemental equipment. bigger, heavier tripod especially....
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Old November 14th, 2005, 11:46 PM   #9
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I just got a DVX100b and I love it as 2nd camera, it cuts even better with the XL2 than the "A" The one thing that you cannot dispute if you have used both cameras is the superior detail in 16:9 images. If you plan on 16:9, the XL2 is really the best choice as a primary camera.

ash =o)
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Old November 15th, 2005, 07:02 PM   #10
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we just got em xl2's like 4 weeks ago... it rox.

prior to the xl2's, i used xl1/ xm-1 or gl-1 (ntsc version) & xm=2 (gl-2 ntsc version). i've also used the sony fx-1 & z1.

i cant really compare hdv to dv, cuz honestly, hdv is on a totally different scale.

but as far as xl2's concerned... i really like it, i just got back from sri-lanka - galle// used over 20 tapes // i personally went for the xl-1 and let my friend hold the xl-2.

1- im heavy, im 310lbs, i had to walk and run on hills all day - i do that 10 days every month.. but i eat like hell too. So i chose the xl-1 because its Much Lighter.

2- I've compared all my twenty tapes to the 14 xl1 tapes and ive found that the xl-1 gives better contrast and less grain. However the person who was using my xl-2 wasn't very familiar with the xl series, so he had it all on auto at the very beginning, over the days i got him used to the iris and the exposure.. and the images started to look crispier.

Y xl-2?

1. i can use my old accessories.
2. You CAN change the evf to an LCD monitor in the XL2, all you have to do is flip the hood open and voila! you got a tilting lcd. thats something that wasnt there in the previous versions.
3. i'm really into the new constant zooming thing. i used to mess up alot while doing the analogue zooming and tilting at the same time on the xl-1.. now all i have to do is set up the speed and hit the zoom button all the way and it would go as slow or as fast as i set it to be.. of course i can turn it back to the analogue way.
4. Atleast you've got more lens options. i dont consider the xl's series of lenses real lenses, i hardly have many options. I want more. & More is buying a damn $10k p+s adptr. an Adaptor that costs more than my xl-2 itself. It pisses me off. Aaaaand i have to get lenses too.. darn.. just darn. and the so called cooke lenses that they've made a big fuss about cost like $25-69k :|. I mean who on earth would get a jvc-100u and an adaptor and a film lens that all in all cost $110K. drives me nuts. letus 35... letus.. reminds me of letucce. no offence. =p jk.
5. the frame rates.. the 16:9.. dazzling and fancy, its really what makes the xl-2 stand out of it's league.

all camera's have got thier ups and downs.. but the xl-2 is the best sd camera money can buy. too expensive for its class... but the best in the mini dv culture.

This is for all the guys out there who'd think that, darn 9k.. why get that peice of crap when i can wait and get the xl h1 for almost the same price. well sweetheart, for the 10k ure gonna spend on an h1 you might as well spend a 20k to decently edit with what you get out of the xl-h1. production time = money. stay sd for the while... cuz i bet thats what 99.99% of the ppl with tv's out there have. unless u're like me; got alotta dough that you dont know where to spend or a feature film maker wannabe.. then get an hdv camera. =D as for everything else there's mastercard =Pp
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Old November 15th, 2005, 07:15 PM   #11
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I just ordred my XL2 today from B&H, and I will get it on Thursday. I'm very excited about the prospect.

My reasons are most of the same already posted. I have two xl1s's and will be selling one of them. I have so many accessories for them, that it is hard to pass on another canon. In addition to extra batteries, I have an adapter to mount my many Nikon lenses, and Canon XL 1.6 extender, 14X manual lens, 3X wide angle and an extra 20X lens, and more if I could remember it.

Plus, I have heard almost nothing but good things about the camera and the posted clips look great. The price was right, the 24p and the native 16x9. I will have this camera forever probably. New camera, one year factory warranty, and a 4 year Mack warranty, and I feel very satisfied indeed.

Now, is there anyone close to me who can show me how to work this thing?

Chapter one, line one. The BH.
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Old November 24th, 2005, 06:37 PM   #12
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Well how did you like it?
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Old November 24th, 2005, 07:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bob Zimmerman
Well how did you like it?

I love it so far. Have not had much time with it, because of being sick and Thanksgiving. Shot a few things at different settings and ready to burn to DVD and see how it looks on my TV.

It is front heavy, but man it feels cool! I have two XL1s's and there is a very different feel to the XL2. Not just the weight but the doors and tape transport and all just seem to be more robust and solid. It just feels more prefessional maybe.

The only thing I have noticed so far that does not seem right, is that the lens seems to take longer to focus. I will have to play with it and see if it is just me, or maybe it needs to break-in. I have another 20X lens and I'll put that on too and see if it is faster. I know, I should be in manual anyway, and I will be much of the time. Just want to see that the lens does not have a problem.

Really glad I got it! I'm going to have fun.

Chapter one, line one. The BH.
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Old November 24th, 2005, 11:25 PM   #14
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Why get an XL2?........Have you looked at the Sony DSR-400/450ws?

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Old November 25th, 2005, 12:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by John DeLuca
Why get an XL2?........Have you looked at the Sony DSR-400/450ws?


Because he wants 24p. Plus this camera costs twice as much as the XL2. If he had money to burn, needed DVCAM rez and was doing strictly news gathering/sports/weddings, etc, then maybe. Barely maybe, actually.
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