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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own and use a "prosumer" or "industrial" miniDV camera and have some experience in this area so I thought I'd post an answer to your question and provide a link to the site that most of my prosumer buddies and I watch for the latest gear and good reviews on what's good and what's not.

I used to use Sony but got tired of waiting at the repair shop for it to be fixed (over and over again...Sonys are the highest maintenance camcorders, bar none.)

I switched to Panasonic and have never had to have the thing fixed even once ! Not only that, the picture quality is better and the viewfinder is HUGE compared to the tiny pinhole I had to stare through with the Sony.

The Canon XL1S and GL1/GL2 are very good cameras and are quite popular. I would go with the GL1 or GL2 (especially the GL2) because they are far less expensive than the overpriced (and oversized) XL1S. The XL1 series is due for an overhaul sometime very soon and the GL2 is a brand new version of the earlier GL, so I would favor that one over either the XL1 or GL1.

Canon has been pretty ruthless in the past few years about persuading buyers to invest in an expensive (VERY expensive) series of lenses...both for their SLR film cameras and the high end video cameras...and then switching mounts or doing something else that will force everyone to buy all new glass when the new model comes out. It also tends to drop the value of the previous models lenses, in a big way.

Example: In the movie "The Jackal" Bruce Willis hooks a Prosumer Canon video camera to an anti-aircraft gun in order to remote-aim it for a specialized asassination. I believe the camera was called an "L1" or something like that. By the time the movie was released, Canon had discontinued that camera and was selling the XL1. All of the specialized lenses for the L1 were now landfill and could be found for ten cents on the dollar at the pawn shops in Calgary (where I lived at the time).

These days the XL1S is a faily slow seller and the lenses are obscenely expensive. Want to bet that Canon won't leave everyone holding the bag again and change everything for their next model of top end prosumer camera? It's due out soon...so take your chances.

The GL1 and GL2 have a high-quality fixed lens and you can add a "lens converter" (screw on adapter) to make it a wide angle or telephoto. This converter, unlike the one-model-only XL1 lenses, can be adapted to fit a multitude of cameras so your lens investment won't go poof when the new model comes out or you need to sell something to someone who doesn't have your particular brand and model of camera.

Consider this very carefully if you are on a budget. I seriously doubt if you will be able to tell the difference between the fifteen hundred dollar XL1 lens and the one that came stock with the GL1 or GL2.

Want a wideangle lens for the XL1? Most of us use a wide lens more than any other focal length. Well, then you'd better sit down while I tell you this...the adapter that lets you put a wideangle onto an XL1 is sixteen hundred dollars! NOT the actual lens...the adapter! And it ONLY fits the XL1/XL1S.

My personal advice would be this: If you can find a GL1 or GL2 for a reasonable price then buy it! An XL1/XL1S would be a better camera, but only invest if it comes with several lenses (especially a WIDE) and is not too worn out. It's an overpriced five grand without accessory lenses. If you can find one for two or twenty five hundred, especially with lenses, then BUY it. If you find a fully-equipped clean one for signifigantly less than that, then call me and I'll buy it!

I would avoid a Sony unless you get it very cheap because you will be spending money to fix it quite regularly. Forget about warranties with Sony's...they will charge you labour+extras and it will COST you, big time!.

I have no experience with JVC, and none of my buddies do either, so I can't help you there.

Panasonic has the best picture and they are as reliable as a rock. The newest Panasonic...called the 24P...takes progressive scan digital hi-def images at 24 frames per second and the picture is so good it can be transferred to film. It LOOKS like film! No other camera can claim this kind of image quality right now. It is also native in 16X9! And, get this...it actually costs less than the Canon XL1S! It also comes with a Leica Dicomar lens, built-in.

This is the next camera that I will buy...for sure!

Here is the link so you can check out all of the latest high-end Prosumer Digital Cameras and gear.

Supervideo

Look around the site and check out "DV NEWS" for each month. This guy goes to all of the Japanese trade show (he lives in Hawaii) and he finds out about the best stuff long before we get it. He is not brand-loyal but...like myself...he has come to favor Panasonic cameras over all others because of their superior picture quality and ruggedness.

It's just a side benefit that they actually cost less than some of the others in their class. :D

Hope this helps! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I just re-read my reply and I realised that I didn't mention that you ABSOLOUTELY have to have a 3CCD camera for serious work. Regular miniDV cameras have very good picture quality, but they use a SINGLE 1/8th inch CCD for imaging! My four year old Panasonic uses three 1/3rd inch CCDs to make the picture.

Care to guess which one looks better on the screen? Pixel count is all-important and so is CCD size. Check before you buy.

If at all possible, try several cameras on the same good-quality monitor and see what the final results look like. I believe Vistek will let you do this at one of their stores. Try and take your test shots outdoors. Indoors, under artificial light, some cameras display an "active pixel effect" that is somewhat displeasing. Especially on some "one chip" cameras (read: Sony). Shoot your tests in the conditions that you will be recording in the real world, if possible.

Sound is also important. The XL1/XL1S have controls that allow you to adjust each channel of audio. This is a big advantage! However, a company called "BeachTek" will sell you an adapter that will allow you to do this on all popular cameras for only a bit more than two hundred bucks, so consider that when you buy. Use headphones to see what you are actually getting on tape.

End of rant. Again...I hope this helps. ;)
 

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I'm looking to possibly getting a higher-end DV camcorder and was wondering if there were anyone with suggestions for something with semi-professional quality.

I was toying with the idea of saving for an Canon XL-1, XL-1S, or GL-2 (. Anybody have suggestions? I plan on using this camera to produce an independant film (or two if I'm lucky). Hopefully it won't require me to study a manual for a month just to learn how to turn it on. ;)

Anyway, any comments are appreciated! :D

 

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I just purchased myself a Canon GL2 camera after checking out my options, and speaking to many pro's about what they use (Unfortunatly its backordered for another week and a half :( )

I chose this camera for a few different reasons, the CCD's (550 lines of resolution per CCD), the price point, one fo the best lenses avail on Mini DV (20X Optical Flourite lens), and the new features it had over the GL1
I would like to have interchangeble lenses like the XL1S, but I can still get adapter lenses for Wide, Telescopic, and Fisheye (I think there a few more as well), and I really want to use the Time Lapse option to do some stock scenery footage.

This is my reccommend anyway, but there ar elots of great camera's out there!
 

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mannyp

I fully agree with macnutt the new Panasonic AG-DVX100 is going to kick ass.

Here's a link for more info:
http://www.panasonic.com/PBDS/subcat/newsinfo/press_01/01_137.html

ETA was October 1st now it looks like November 1st

This puppy is going to finish revolutionizing the independent film scene.
For just under $6000 CDN

I've used the GL1 and had absolutly no complaints. If you can still find one new in a box it is the best economical way to go.

I really want to get the Panasonic AG-DVX100 for our budding Animator's Co-op: http://www.awn.com/tais/
and forget about a 35mm animation stand.

I fought hard to get a DP G4 and Final Cut Pro as part of our initial equipment purchace (the PC trojans were at the gate) and now I am proud to say it's a cross-platform shop.

SpiderEyes
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The new Pana is truly a revolutionary piece of equipment and I think that, in the right hands, a filmmaker could shoot a feature film with it. No sh*t! Final Cut Pro or an equivalent would be needed to finish it off and bobs yer uncle...you've got a MOVIE! Not a home video or what we have been referring to for the last few years as "industrial" video...but a real honest-to-spielberg friggin MOVIE!

We truly live in interesting times!

As for the GL1/GL2....this would be pretty much my first choice (outside of Panasonic) and will be able to do whatever you want it to do when you are shooting. It will not limit you...it will enable you. A very cool machine...and at a very reasonable price!

The fact that Canon sells about fifty of them for every one of the XL1S cameras should tell you that you are on the right track in buying it.

I know several people who are using GL1/GL2s and no one has ever complained about poor reliability. Ask someone who's owned a Sony about reliability and you'll likely get a roll of the eyes and a fifteen minute diatribe about all the repairs that have had to be done.

Repairs are very costly and, when your camera is in the shop, you CAN'T shoot any new footage. This is no fun, trust me.

Good luck on your project and please keep us posted! If there is anything I can do to help then please ask. ;)
 

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Not that the equipment I'm using is in the same league, but my experience of using single chip cameras is favouring the Sony for filming skydiving. My Canon Elura needed a lot of repairs, and still conked out shortly after that. So far the Sony is working as promised, but I liked the colours of the Canon better. The Sony seems to handle the wind vibration better.

My 2¢

Sloow
 
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