Canon videocams GL2 or XH A1 Input appreciated

Viewing 7 reply threads
  • Author
    • #39839

      I’m a bit on the fence here about which of these two cams to get and would appreciate input. I plan to buy one of these two Canon video cams. I have researched other video cams/brands extensively and will only buy one of these two videocams.

      My use of the camera would be:

      (1) Short promo videos for local businesses. I’ll generate a little $$$ from the camera but mostly the video cam will be for my own personal use.

      (2) Nature and wildlife video.

      (3) Grampa cam for my five grand daughters. πŸ˜€

      I expect to be producing SD video for the next year or so and then gradually plan to move to high def over the period of a couple of years as funds become available.

      What I’m debating:

      Upside of GL2. Cheaper, and good video.

      Downside of GL2. No high def for long term. Actually fairly pricey for old technology by today’s standards. What will it be worth in two years if I trade up?

      Upside of XH A1 – high def for when I switch – a year or two down the road. Nice manual controls…this is a good deal. Better(I hear anyway) low light performance.

      Downside of A1 – how does it do in SD? This is the format I’ll be using for a while. Almost twice the cost of the GL2. It appears from what I read here and on other forums that downconverting high def to SD is only so…so. I may be interpreting that wrong.

      Other considerations.

      (1) I like the fact that both cameras use CCD technology.

      (2) I do need an automatic setting for when my wife may run the camera…once in a great while.

      (3) 20x optical zoom is very important.

      (4) Low light performance would be nice but not absolutely necessary for what I do.

      (5) The A1 is at the high end of my budget but I would make that move if I could justify it. The GL2 seems like it should sell for more like $1,500 new for such old technology. But maybe I’m just not understanding the marketing mentality of the GL2.

      I have read statements by folks on this and other forums that GL2’s are out there for $1,500 used, but I haven’t seen them. And, I would think that with all the moving parts of a GL2, one would not want to invest $1,500 in a used GL2 unless it was in mint condition.

      (6) I do embrace new technology and enjoy working/learning with it.

      I have learned a lot from reading all your comments and would appreciate hearing from you.

      Thanks all for taking your time to read this and to respond.


    • #171867

      I would go with the GL2. It’s an excellent SD camcorder. Spending a lot of money on a high tech feature that you won’t be using for a couple years does not sound good. High tech changes too rapidly. Who knows what wonderful hi-def camcorders will be available then. It’s fairly certain that you’ll get more power for less money 2 years from now. (And you might need to upgrade your computer for hi-def use.) I recommend going with what you can use NOW. My guess is that in a couple years there will be reasonably priced hi-def camcorders that record to inexpensive high-capacity memory cards.

      Disclaimer: I cannot really see into the future, nor do I play a fortune teller on TV. πŸ˜€

      Ken Hull

      P.S. : If low light performance is important, you might consider a Sony VX2100.

    • #171868

      Hi again! πŸ˜€

      The GL-2, despite being a couple years old now, is still a good enough camera that it’s really worth the asking price on it, in my opinion. It’s not a super strong performer in low light, but it has piles of features that similarly priced cameras (such as the VX-2100) don’t have, such as separate controllable audio channels and more manual control over your image.

      I’m a Canon fan, so I am a little biased, but I like them.

      Now, if you have more of a budget, I would suggest that you consider the XL-2. It’s more pricey, yes, but it has a ton more features, and far superior low light performance to the GL-2. The interchangable lens feature is nice, but I personally never used it in general videography, though with an adapter you can put cinema lenses on the camera and make some pretty incredible pictures.

      HD is awesome, but it’s not quite ready for primetime, in my opinion. In another year I’ll probably have changed my tune, but I’m still waiting for the hammer to fall on the HD-DVD and Blu-ray consumer wars. Once one solid standard emerges, then players will be mass produced, media prices will drop, and burners will be affordable.

      Hope that helped.

    • #171869

      Many thanks Jim/Ken. I appreciate the info.

      Jim, I’m hoping to head your way sometime next month. I’ll call well ahead of time.

      Thanks for all the input.

    • #171870

      GL2 is old. It is SD and what is worse, it does not have native widescreen imager. When it shoots widescreen it does not letterbox image on LCD/viewfinder. For the money it is sold new (~$2K) it looks and feel cheap. Good 4:3 picture though. But 4:3 is out — it had to be out a decade ago — so what’s the point?

      Instead of spending 2K on an aged technology I would spend 1K on the HV20. Smaller lens, worse ergonomics, but everything else is better. Who cares if it is a consumer camera? Both cameras look cheap, so if you ok with the GL2 looks, the HV20 should not feel worse. And contrary to what some people say, it does have manual aperture selection, though somewhat indirect one.

      Michael, Canon Elura User Pages

    • #171871


      Thanks for the input. Good point on the HV20. If it had 20x optical, I wouldn’t hesitate.

      Thanks for taking your time.

      Rog Lee

    • #171872

      I’m going with the XH-A1.

      Thanks to all of you for your input and help.

      I’ll explain about my decision more so if you would like me too do that.

      Thanks for all your help.

      Rog Lee

    • #171873


      It’s a good camera, and you should enjoy it.


      A little harsh towards the GL-2, aren’t you? Frankly, It’s still a decent camera. Yeah, it’s SD and 4:3, but 99% of my clients still want 4:3, and Even in 2009 when all analog video signals are wiped out, Digital SD signals will still exist and remain the "normal" broadcasting method for a while yet.

      I agree, going high def is a good idea to consider for the long haul, but saying that 4:3 and SD are all worn out and serve no purpose is a little silly. No, it’s a lot silly. Ridiculously silly and naive is more like it. For crying out loud, there’s not even an affordable, easy to work with standard for burning HD discs yet. Blu Ray still costs something like a grand for the burner and a 15 pack of discs, and HD-DVD doesn’t even have a burner on the market, and the only company that claimed to be shipping them, Toshiba, recently told someone at another forum I’m at that they won’t be shipping them any time soon. Once we get down to a few hundred bucks for a decent speed (at least 4x) burner, and discs are under, say, $5 each, then and only then will SD be in any risk of going extinct, and considering the literally hundreds of DVD’s in everyone’s homes, I’m going to bet it won’t be happening for several years. Seriously, I still have VHS movies that I watch!

      But to each his own, and if you don’t want to use SD, that’s fine by me. I’m not hurting for clients, even with my "cheap feeling, outdated, aged technology"! πŸ˜€

Viewing 7 reply threads
  • The forum ‘Video and Film Discussion’ is closed to new topics and replies.

Best Products

The best live streaming equipment β€” 2021

These days, anyone with access to a smartphone can connect with fans and friends from all over the world. However, the more complex your stream, the more gear you’ll likely need. Each set up has advantages and disadvantages, and...

Need help making a stellar first video?


Download our free eBook with 8 tips to get on the right track and create a video that you can be proud of.



Given away to one lucky winner

Competition is open worldwide