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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old June 14th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #1
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Canon XL1 or Sony VX2100

Can you tell me which Camera is better? I have the vx2100 right now and it takes great video. Is the XL1 that much better? I know it cost more, but what's the skinny on which one is better?


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Old June 14th, 2011, 01:01 PM   #2
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Re: Canon XL1 or Sony VX2100

Hi Gary,

Your question is a bit of a time-warp! The Canon XL1 has long been out of production for about a decade now and it's pretty much an antique by any of today's standards. I keep this XL1 / XL1S forum going mainly for nostalgia, and because a few folks are still using it every once in awhile.

Take the money that you would have spent on a used XL1 (since they can no longer be bought new) and spend it on any consumer-level HD camcorder -- such as any model in the Canon VIXIA product line, like a refurbished HF S200 for $500 or a refurbished HF R10 for $250, for example -- the images they produce will easily blow away the output quality of the XL1.

If you're going to step up from your VX2100, then you need to be moving up to HD. Standard definition and tape are done and over with. Hope this helps,

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Old June 14th, 2011, 02:25 PM   #3
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Re: Canon XL1 or Sony VX2100

Thanks Chris,

I will say that I am using the vx2100 to shoot 30 weddings a year and have been for about 3 years now. Not one of my customers want HD. I ask them all the time, and get the same answer. They are very happy with the SD format. I will make the change one day, just not yet. I have been given a XL1 and was just wondering if in the SD world if its better then the vx2100

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Old June 14th, 2011, 05:06 PM   #4
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Re: Canon XL1 or Sony VX2100

While I agree with Chris I am too still using old technology for weddings for much the same reason as you.
I have always liked the XL1 but frankly I have been using PD150s/170s and DSR250s for longer than I care to admit and while I admire the XL1 in low light situations there was no camera out there that could beat the PDs and since the VX2100 has the same electronics, DSP and chips as the PD170 then my vote would be to stay with what ya got. Plus you know the camera inside out (I'm making what I believe to be a valid assumption since you've been using it for 3 years) and don't have to think about the camera so you can concentrate on the job at hand.
Please don't let me sway you but if it were me, I'd stick with the VX until you make the move to HD.
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Old July 17th, 2011, 08:12 AM   #5
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Re: Canon XL1 or Sony VX2100

For most wedding work there is no reason today to get an XL1 as a replacement for the VX2100. Each had its pluses and minuses. While I prefer the color and audio of the XL1, the VX2100 may give a bit better results in very poor light. As I understand it, factory service is no longer available for the XL1 - Its been too many years.

The move to HD is a separate issue. Most people are still satisfied with delivery on DVD, but many like it wide screen, and to do that well you really should have a HD camcorder and down convert using a good coding product.

For better or worse, things are moving to tape-less formats. Bottom lime is run the numbers and do what makes business sense to you in your market.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 11:35 AM   #6
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Re: Canon XL1 or Sony VX2100

Originally Posted by Gary Randall View Post
I have the vx2100 right now and it takes great video. Is the XL1 that much better?
Gary, today any high end consumer camcorder is better than VX2100, do yourself a favour, switch to HD,
even if your delivery format is SD, first of you'll get better quality, second - you'll get a lot of your clients coming back for an HD copy of their wedding couple years from now, and it'll be very nice for you, and for them too, if you'll have them at that time :)
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Old July 25th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #7
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Re: Canon XL1 or Sony VX2100

I just bought my first HD camcorder, a Sony NEX FS-100 on June 8, 2011. Until then, I have been shooting with my PD-150....for EVERYTHING! I have had no requests for HD productions. I have made sure to tell my clients that they cannot come back for an HD master in 2 years time. None of them care, they all want a regular DVD....I have not had a single person who even owned a blu ray player as a client.....until June 1st. On June 1st, I had a client specifically request an HD wedding. the amount they were budgeting for the wedding, was enough to pay for a a Sony FS-100 and lens. So I bought it. They loved how it looked, and really, it is absolutely stunning video. Since then I have not had another client ask for HD. And I have been pushing it like crazy since I own an HD camcorder now. No one cares. More and more things are going more toward 'budget' productions, and if they can get things a little cheaper for SD.....well, that's the way the cookie crumbles. It's a shame as the HD video the FS-100 puts out is just amazing. That's how come I ALWAYS NOT listen to everyone on an internet forum like this one who tells you that you 'need' to upgrade or be 'left behind'. They have no clue about the market you are in. Just because things work that way in NY or LA or wherever, it is almost certainly different in more rural parts of the country. You know your market better than anyone else on an internet forum ever will, if you run a business there. That is why I refused to buy a HD camcorder until I actually had a client willing to pay me money for it....I really really wanted to buy an HD camera, but it would have been the dumbest business decision I ever made. Buying something that no one will pay you to use? Why would I do that? Only after I got a client to foot most of the bill did it make any sense. If people want to continue to pay me to use my old gear which is LONG since paid off, I will continue to use it. Do NOT make decisions based on what people tell you about 'SD being obsolete' and 'get with the times'. If you have any business sense at all, YOU will know when it's time to make the jump. As one of the production houses I work with likes to say

'We don't have a gear section on our website. We don't advertise that we have camera 'x' 'y' or 'z'. We can work with ANYTHING the client wants us to use. And we can rent, buy, or get our hands on any camera in short order. The only limiting thing is the clients budget.'

In other words, don't tie yourself to 'HD' production or 'AF 100 HD production' or anything else. Advertise yourself as offering HD services and if people want it, then you make your decision on how exactly to go about it, depending on their budget. I offered HD services for about 7 years before I actually purchased an HD camera. I had 3 HD shoots in those 7 years. Without a significant budget on a shoot, I am NOT going to buy an HD camera....I would rent, or borrow, or something of the sort until I could get a client that wanted HD and had a budget for it. Only then would I buy.....and it wasn't until about a month ago that this actually happened for me. And, the longer you wait to buy HD, the better the camera you will get for the same amount of money, as technology advances. Get it when you NEED it, not because people tell you that you need it. If people want SD video, the VX 2100 is in my opinion, every bit as good as the XL-1. It actually has a little more resolution as I recall.
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