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Old April 26th, 2003, 01:45 PM   #1
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XL1s vs GL2 for wildlife

I am a current user of the GL1. I use it mainly for wildlife, mostly whitetail deer, at my dad's ranch. He has recently informed me that he wants my GL1 for himself and has told to me that he is going to buy me a GL2 or XLs1. I am not sure which one I should go after. I have limited background in video and photography but I am constantly learning. I still have not masterd my GL1 but I know I will some day. Last year I acquired the Century Optics 2x teleconverter to help get those needed close ups of deer that are 100+ yards away. It worked wonders but one should definitely use a tripod when the converter is in use. I mainly use the camera for my dad's marketing needs but I have recently been approached by others to help them with theirs. I am by know means a pro and getting that discovery/wild america look is still being hunted for. Right now my talent lies within the end product that the images are used for (web sites, brochures, posters,etc.)

Here is my question. With inexperience set aside, I was wondering which camera (GL2 or XL1s) would better fill my needs? I know the GL2 has some new features but I pretty much know what its capabilites are through the use of my GL1. I guess what I am really looking for is advice. I like what the GL1 has produced with my lack of knowledge and experience so I know the GL2 will do better. I like the thought of the XL1s because of the interchangeable lenses, mainly the telephoto lenses, and its many different available set ups. I try to approach this in a forward looking manner. Meaning that I believe I will get better as time goes on, therefor I want to make sure I have the best equipment possible. Something I can not only grow into but something I can expand with. I have read several reviews and threads out there about the akwardness the XL1s sometimes presents in handling. I already use a tripod a majority of the time so I 'm not sure that is much of a concern. I do like the fact the GL2 has the LCD, making it much easier to maneuver and capture video at the same time. I just don't know. I'll bring this novel to an end and leave with the question: What do you guys think?


P.S. Please include any experiences or examples that you may have encounterd with these cameras.

My dad's website www.crosstimberswhitetailranch.com
90% of the stills and all video taken with GL1. Video is not the best quality so to help decrease download time.
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Old April 26th, 2003, 03:38 PM   #2
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The XL1S allows use of any Canon EOS series 35mm still photo lens; which becomes *extreme* telephoto with an effective focal length magnification of 7.2 times. For examples, see African Wildlife through an EF Lens. Hope this helps,

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Old April 26th, 2003, 11:14 PM   #3
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No brainer. XL1s.
Don't forget you will need the EOS adapter to use the EOS lenses. They don't fit right onto the body of the XL1s on their own.
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Old April 27th, 2003, 03:54 PM   #4
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I've been using an XL1s for wildlife video for over a year now. It can be awkward to use at times. I have managed to get plenty of great stuff. I do a lot of bird stuff which, as you can probably imagine, can be challenging.
I'm using a the standard 16x lense and the 1.6x extender. I use a variety of methods when I shoot depending the situation. I shoot from the shoulder for fast moving subjects such as birds etc. I use a monopod when I'm on the move, but need to get a steadier shot. I also use a tripod which I have been finding a bit awkward to use - I am getting an LANC zoom - focus controller next week (finally!) and I'm sure this will help immensely.
The thing you will probably miss the most is the GL1 and 2's flip out LCD monitor. The thing I like least about the XL1s is the EVF. I am not always confident that I am in perfect focus and I have a bad habit of relying on the push autofocus. If you do go to the EOS lenses you will want to have a heavy rock solid tripod for those extreme zoom shots.
Good luck - it is a lot of fun.
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Old April 27th, 2003, 05:06 PM   #5
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If you are considering the extra lenses into the equasion, look at their prices first. Then decide if you will be likely to buy another lens in the future. I'm not sure if the GL2 has a better zoom than the GL1, if so, get it. It will be easier to move through brush and bramble with it's more compact size.

The optics would be the big factor, as I felt the XL1s did produce a better image and zoom, but not overly noticable. And with the money you saved, you could buy filters, mics, tapes, an extra hard drive for video storage... :)
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Old April 27th, 2003, 05:08 PM   #6
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Just a late thought... The XL1s has a time lapse feature, does the GL2?
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Old April 27th, 2003, 08:02 PM   #7
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I think so but I'm not sure.....need to investigate that
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Old April 27th, 2003, 08:20 PM   #8
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This is a no brainer if you do wildlife to any extent. The ability to add EOS EF lenses in unparalleled for wildlife work. The GL1/GL2 have a 20:1 lens, 4.2mm to 84mm (40mm to 800mm in 35mm terms). This provides 16X magnification. It should work fine for large mammals if you can get reasonably close.

The XL1s on the other hand, comes with a 5.5mm to 88mm lens (40mm to 633mm in 35mm terms). This provides about 13X magnification. Human vision cannot tell the difference between 13X and 16X magnification.

Now add the 70 - 300mm EOS EF zoom with IS and you have a range of 504mm to 2160mm, in 35 mm terms or a magnification of 43.2X. Now you can be much further away from large mammals, you can also now shoot birds and small mammals with ease. If wildlife is your primary purpose for the equipment or at least a major part of it, get the XL1. The results will amaze you.
Jeff Donald
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Old April 27th, 2003, 09:32 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Keith Forman : Just a late thought... The XL1s has a time lapse feature, does the GL2? -->>>

Yes, Canon calls it interval timing. Intervals can be set for 30 seconds, one minute, five minutes, or ten minutes. Recording time can be set for 0.5 seconds, one second, 1.5 seconds or two seconds.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 08:27 PM   #10
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I use the XL-1s on an almost daily basis to videotape whitetail deer and Pennsylvania Elk. I have not used the GL cameras, but have used several camcorders with fixed lens and have found them lacking. If you need to go after deer in the brush or at moderate range the camera works well with the stock lens, but it really shines at long ranges with the big telephotos such as the Canon 100-400mm L IS and the 35-350mmL lens. Of course you need a tripod for them but the rewards far outweigh any inconvenience. This rig is not easy to handle but when you see what you can do to a buck at 200 to 400 yards or so, or the dramatic close-ups you can get at closer ranges, you will be convinced. None of the fixed lens camcorders can come close. I had my first experience of this nature with the old Canon L2 (the camera before the XL-1)and it literally changed my life, turning me from a casual videographer to one that pursues it with a burning passion, although I am still an amateur. In fact I hope to be in the Pa. elk range early tomorrow morning documenting antler development on the bulls.
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Old May 3rd, 2003, 01:49 AM   #11
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You've got the skinny above from the experts when it comes to spec's and add on gear.......

I'd chime in and say there is no question that the XL1s is the fit for your situation.

I'm a little spoiled when it comes to not needing a slew of zoom lenses. There is so much wildlife here, you don't need to zoom very often <;~)
Plus, the foliage is generally so thick in my part of AK, you can't see past 50-100 yards anyway (in general terms).
Dan Holly
Anchorage, Alaska
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