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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old October 26th, 2001, 04:57 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Unbiased XL1s reviews

Does anyone know of an unbiased review of this camera might be. Everything I have found on the net seems too favourable to be believed - especially after reading some of the comments in this forum.

I'm looking at trading my XL1 for an XL1s and paying a pretty steep price for it as well....just want to know if this is the right decision.

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Old October 26th, 2001, 05:12 PM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
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Two things...

First of all, I do not consider any of the reviews I have seen so far to be "biased." They all seem genuine to me. Unfortunately I have not received nearly the number of first-hand reports that were submitted when the XL1 first came out (see the User Reports section on the Watchdog). If I had any detailed reports to post, I would put them online, regardless of whether they were favorable or not. All I require is that they go into detail and are fairly well written. So far that has not happened to the same degree as when the XL1 first came out. I don't know why that is.

Second, ask yourself, *why* do you want or need to change up from the XL1 to XL1S. For someone who does not already have a DV camcorder, or wants to move up from a GL1 or lesser camera, the XL1S is a wise choice. However I don't know why you would want to sell a perfectly good XL1 just to have the latest model unless there is some XL1S feature you just can't bear to be without.

I'm an XL1 owner and I have no intention of moving up to the XL1S. For one thing, I see no real reason to, especially with prices on a used XL1 as low as they are... if I sold it, I could not get the amount of money that the camera is worth to me. Additionally, with all the other equipment purchases I've made this year, I can't justify the expense of changing cameras. My XL1 works just fine, so why should I spend a couple thousand on a new one, not to mention the hassle of selling the old one.

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Old October 26th, 2001, 05:18 PM   #3
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good points. I think I'm just caught up in the "marketing" hype and just a little frustrated by reviews such as the one in our local video magazine that seems to give everything a 9 or 10 out of 10...
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Old October 27th, 2001, 10:45 AM   #4
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Location: New England
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I agree with Chris. The bottom line is that I can get professional results from my XL-1. There's no reason for me to change...
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Old November 1st, 2001, 11:58 AM   #5
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Some thoughts on the xl1s

I recently purchased an xl1s, having owned a Gl1 for the last two years.
As I (and others) have reported elsewhere on this site, I was a bit surprised to discover that the image quality appeared poorer--specifically relative to sharpness--than my gl1 with its smaller chips and older technology. I too had read a lot of glowing reviews, especially from xl1 owners, saying the camera was much improved. After a trip to B&H photo in NYC this past weekend, (a great place to try out everything from a $17,000 sony on down to the xl1 and xl1s, all displayed on 800 line monitors) I have come to a few conclusions.

1. the xl1s is greatly improved from the xl1... in sharpness, color saturation, and the functionality of the new auto lens...The Gl1, when used in frame mode, appears sharper than the xl1s in frame mode. In normal mode its a toss-up.

2. The xl1s loses a significant portion of its sharpness when shifting to "frame mode", compared to the gl1 which does lose some sharpness, but not nearly as much. The older xl1 didn't appear to lose any sharpness when switching to frame, but overall the normal mode on the xl1 appeared about as sharp (or as fuzzy) as the frame mode on the xl1s.

3. Why upgrade from the gl1 to the xl1s? Several things really..First, the zoom control is incredibly more responsive on the xl1s, you can do everything from a super slow crawl to a wicked rack focus with great precision, something my gl1 could never do. Second, while sharpness has been mentioned above, the xl1s does produce an image with a much smoother tonal ramp..a fact that probably contributes to the appearance of less sharpness. Essentially the image is just less contrasty, with a greater subtlety in rendering tones. I think its probably possible to duplicate the look of the gl1 by using adjusting the sharpness and contrast controls of the xl1s, but the fact that the camera is capable of capturing essentially a lot more of the tonal range is huge. Also I like the heft of the larger cousin, it is just a lot easier to get good hand held stuff with a camera of greater mass.

4. Sound...I'm no expert on this, but I've always liked the mic on my gl-1, which is great for getting omnidirectional sound with great stereo separation. The xl1s has a much more directional microphone, which is great for getting interviews, or sound that is occurring in front of the lens, but it doesn't have the same bright dynamic of the gl1. I do like that when I'm interviewing, hand held, that my voice doesn't overpower like it does with the mic on the Gl1.

Relative to someone who is looking to upgrade from an xl1...Personally, I have yet to learn much about all of the new controls that the xl1s has to offer...so I don't know whether it makes sense upgrading from an xl1 for this reason--or not. But the image quality is definitely a notch up as far as I've seen, and depending on how important that is to you, it might be worth the expense.

One more thing...had I visited B&H prior to making my decision, I would seriously have considered a sony camera. Considering resolution alone, every sony camera in the lineup, from bottom to the top appeared superior to the xl1s.

I know...Sharpness isn't everything...
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