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i MUST buy a camera so why SHOULDN"T i buy the xl2?

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rob katz
i MUST buy a camera so why SHOULDN"T i buy the xl2?
on Dec 8, 2005 at 1:11:27 am

i've been shooting with sony pd150/170 for years. low light images were good. but the overall image was not as adjustable as i needed.

spent the summer shooting talking heads for a doc w/the panasonic dvx100a. the image was more adjustable. i strongly did not like the menus or the ergonomics of the camera. i just couldn't remember where everything was. i wanted more knobs and switches not embedded menus and push buttons.

this has been a good year.

i MUST buy a camera or the taxman takes a bigger share.

my business is corporate & docs. run and gun exteriors, plenty of talking heads, moves on still images. there are many circumstances where i am not in control of the lighting-a mix of flo and natural or low light from vapor lights in a stairwell.

i've never shot 16x9 nor has a single client mention hd. for now my business is tape based sd.

so what camera?

i've been drooling over the panasonic hvx200 hoping to shoot sd onto tape and grow into the hd portion of the camera, if and when it is ever released.

the sony hd rig? was at b&h today and spent 2hrs playing w/the assembled cameras.

the one i liked the best?

the canon xl2.

i liked the menus. i liked the zoom control. i liked the instant access to the f stops. the colors were lovely.


i would have liked a swing out monitor. has that been an issue for those who shoot w/the xl2? i was using the monitor at b&h and not relying on the viewfinder. how do other deal w/only the viewfinder-especially a b&w viewfinder---it is b&w, right?

something else was worried me. the camera was equipped w/the 20x lens. though i like the 20x zoom at the tele end, i wish it was a bit wider at the start. at b&h all the cameras are mounted on tripods standing around a toy landscape w/toy people on top of toy buildings and trucks, u get the ides.

i set the camera to autofoucus and when i slow zoomed into a toy figure the af would latch on for a moment then lose focus only to then find it again and stay in focus! this happened on vertical figures along with horizontals. loosing focus on a zoom is a deal breaker. do other have issues?

i attempted to boost the gain thinking that lens needed more light at the tele end. i went up to +6. same thing happened. thoughts?

so...why shouldn't i buy this camera?

how is it in low light?

do u miss a flip out screen?

is it too big & not "stealth-like" as is the sony pd170 & the pannie 100a?

has a "hunting" autofocus been a problem for others?

does everyone end up buying a wide angle adapter?

well, that's it. sorry for the rambling, long post.

thanks in advance to anyone who cares to share.

rob katz
harvest film company

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Don Greening
Re: i MUST buy a camera so why SHOULDN"T i buy the xl2?
on Dec 8, 2005 at 6:48:23 am

[rob katz] "viewfinder---it is b&w, right?"

Nope. It's a colour VF.

[rob katz] "how is it in low light?

It's certainly not as good as my PD170. I'd have to go to +6 or sometimes even +12 on the gain to equal the zero gain setting on the PD170. But just think a minute about why there's such a difference: The pixel density on the 170's chips are less than half the amount found on the XL2's chips. But the individual pixel size on the PD170's chips are sunstantially bigger. This means each pixel can gather more light but at the expense of picture quality, because there's more interlace "tearing" when high contrast lines fall between pixels. It's just a matter of physics. You use different cameras for different situations. Overall, the XL2's low light capabilites aren't all that bad, but the PD170 is still the undisputed king of low light shooting in the MiniDV class, and that includes HDV as well. That's why I bought one.

[rob katz] "do u miss a flip out screen?

Not really. I like the VF of the XL2, especially on sunny days. I hate the VF on PD170, not because it's black and white but because I have trouble seeing though it without it going all blurry on me. My eye has to be in an exact position in order for it to work for me. Any more than a micron off and it goes blurry. The Canons have a ton more latitude in this regard. Don't get me started.

[rob katz] "is it too big & not "stealth-like" as is the sony pd170 & the pannie 100a?


[rob katz] "has a "hunting" autofocus been a problem for others?

Not really. Any camera you use with auto focus is going to fall on its face in low light situations. Auto focus with proper lighting works very well on the XL2. More physics. I will say that It's something you should be aware of with the XL2 and that in low light you need to get used to using man. focus just like any other camera. The PD170 seems to be slightly less "confused" when in auto focus mode than the XL2. But again, it's to do with the amount of light the Sony can gather with it's bigger pixels.

[rob katz] "does everyone end up buying a wide angle adapter?

Can't answer that one. When I need a wide angle shot I'll reach for the PD170 and the .7 wide angle converter that it came with. I love it.

You won't like the image stabilization of the Canons if you're used to it on the PD170. It's about 2 times better than the Canons.

Hope this has helped.

- Don

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Re: i MUST buy a camera so why SHOULDN"T i buy the xl2?
on Dec 9, 2005 at 5:17:05 am

I love the canon's, if you could I would buy the HD cam from them thats the shit. here's you only real problem, you are very use to using a straight run camera, and XL's are more film like cameras. if you are looking to become a a DP or better a director I would with out a doubt buy a canon, every other camera is like a toy in the real world (music video / TV spots / and features) now i am not saying that the other are bad, there not there really good, but your looked into the lens set up you can never get away from, the reason wht the XL's are so hard for a lot of people to really use, is they are doing more run and gun, and not beauty set up / commercial work.

so really think about what you need to film then what camera to use.

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