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    • #42476

      Can I hear some opinions on the Canon XL1S? I am looking at hopefully getting into Wedding/Event videography, or anything else I can get into. I like the idea of an LCD screen to look at, but wondering if that is not a big deal. I know the XL2 viewfinder flips up, so you can use it as a monitor, but I don’t think that the XL1S does that. 8)

    • #178382

      It really depends on how serious you are and how big you want to be.

      I personally like the XL series myself. But for the price of them, unless you’re well established as a videograper, why waste the extra cash when a smaller camera will do?

      Plus, if you’re new on the wedding video scene, you’ve got to expect that your first couple videos are going to need to be discounted or free (I think I did my first wedding video at-cost, and I got an extra $50 on top of that on my second one.)

      Your budget is a good indicator of what you can afford, too. Realistically, you’re going to need at the very least, two cameras, one good tripod (expect to spend almost as much on a good tripod as you will for your camera), and maybe some lighting, depending on the camera you get (okay, I think every videographer should have lighting anyway, but that’s just me).

      Sony has a great camera, the VX-2100. It runs a shave under $2500, and it gives you a good camera with great low lighting conditions. If you’re really a Canon fan, the GL-2 is affordable, and while it doesn’t work as well in low lighting (e.g. 70% of all weddings) which means you need a light, there are a lot more neat features and a better zoom which, if you do other stuff such as sports events, may be handy to have. There’s a rebate offer going on now, where you can get the camera from B&H for about $1750 after the rebate. I bought one on the rebate program because I needed one more camera, and I like the GL-2, despite their not-so-great low-light performance. Plus, I can’t afford three VX-2100’s! πŸ˜›

    • #178383

      Do you really feel that you need 2 cameras to start out? And about someone to operate the second one. Or do you just use the second one as just being on (in one position all the time) and not being moved around? See, I would love to take a videography course, but no one offers it. A couple in Kansas said that they would do a one on one with me for 2 days, but they wanted 1600.00
      Back to the camera, I like the looks of the XL series, but wondering if having the LCD screen & viewfinder is better than just a viewfinder. That way it doesn’t have to be always on your shoulder. I know XL2 you can flip up the eyepiece to see it more as a 2" monitor, but I can’t afford that price. I can afford a XL1S though. I am not sure of the lux rating of the LX1S. I guess I am looking at it as I want a camera that looks and performs as a semi pro camera, otherwise I would use my Sony DCR-TRV720. I looked at the VX2100 the other day, and it has pretty much all the same features of the camera that I have. My wife is getting into the wedding consulting business on the side and thought that seeing I am only 50 and retired that I would try this along with her business.

    • #178384

      Having formerly owned an XL-1S, I can honestly say the GL-2’s and VX-2100 I use now are just as good a picture. I’ll get back to the other stuff.

      I would also say that you absolutely need at least two cameras for a ceremony. I always use three (and sometimes ever four!) The main reason I do it is because with only one camera rolling, you’re likely to miss stuff, and editing is hellish, because you’ve only got one view to go from.

      Additionally, professional television, movies, videography, etc… is always shot from a three camera standpoint. You need to have wide shots to give the viewer an idea of where they are. You need medium shots to show who’s the focus, and you need those tight, close shots to capture emotions, and draw in your viewer.

      If you’re filming a short film, one camera can get all of these shots thanks to multiple takes. But at live events, such as weddings or other events, you only get one take, so you need more cameras to get the job done right. In the end, a one-camera aproach won’t "llook right" to the viewer, even if they can’t pinpoint exactly why, and you’ll be limited in the shots you get.

      The Viewfinder issue really depends on your usage needs. If you’re going to be on a tripod, a viewfinder is good, because you don’t need to pin your face to the camera. I never use it for handheld camera work, as you get much better stability pinning the camera to your body.

      If you’ve got two cameras, you can get two operators, but it’s not needed. If you’ve got three, you need two operators. Here’s my typical setup. "Camera 1" is in the back of the room or on the balcony if possible. This camera is a wide shot that gets the entire room. Because it’s away from people and never moves, I’ve got a crappy $60 tripod under it. The image stabilizer in the camera makes up for the low-quality tripod.

      "Camera 2" is usually located along the far stage right aisle, about halfway back. It’s tripod mounted, using a nice fluid head tripod that cost me about $1000. Usually my wife mans this camera, going for medium shots of the stage and the audience for some "B roll" cut-ins.

      "Camera 3" is the handheld camera. I have another crappy tripod that I set up on the far stage left aisle, in case I need to back off for a while. I use that to get up close and personal, taking tight shots and going for those unique angles and close ups of special moments.

      In this setup, the only one that "needs" an lcd panel is camera 2. Camera 1 in unmanned, and doesn’t need anything once it’s positioned, and camera 3 is almost entirely shot from the eyepiece. Having the LCD panel on 3 is nice from time to time, but not needed.

      My advice is not to start out with an XL series camera. Too pricey, and the quality isn’t much higher that the GL series. If you really like the XL-1S, then you should buy a few GL-2’s. Bang for the buck-wise, GL-2’s are good cameras, given that either you A-Have lighting, or B-Won’t be in low-lighting situations. They have virtually all the features that the XL-1S has, and they’re cheaper, too. The Sony VX-2100 is a bit more expensive, but it handles low light much better and is otherwise comparable to the GL-2. The GL-2 and VX-2100 might be smaller, but don’t let them fool ya. They’re pro quality, and pretty standard cameras in our industry.

      As far as training goes, $1600 for two days is a hair steep. Come on up to Minnesota and I’ll do it for half that! πŸ˜€ But really, videography is a lot like the board game "Othello", as it takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master. I can show you everything you need to know in a couple days, but unless you practice it, and keep practicing on a regualr basis, it won’t do you any good.

      As much as I love the Xl series, there are more important things to drop cash on. Like a nice tripod, or more cameras, or audio. In fact, I’d say that good audio is more important than good picture quality. Even using a GL-2 in the dark, grainy image and all, with great sound, would be far superior to a well lit film on an XL-1S with crappy audio. Get some nice UHF wireless mics, and some other goodies too.

      But then, there are a lot of smarter people than I who would advise you otherwise. Be sure to get as much insight as you can before you buy.

    • #178385

      Okay, I really appreciate your feedback on this matter. I didn’t look much at the GL2 because from what I read, the min. Lux is 6? My consumer camcorder is better than that. And I didn’t want to spend that kind of money on something that does great outdoors, but crappy inside without lighting. I guess I want something that is good in both situations. Just curious, what is the lux on the XL1S? I even contacted WEVA about some training, and the woman told me that she don’t know of any place that gives training, that seems like everybody starts out the same as me, from knowing very little, and learning from own personal experience.

    • #178386

      First, I should warn you not to be immediately fooled by LUX ratings. There’s basically no control on the industry how each company rates their products. For example, the XL-1S was advertised as 2 lux brand new, but that was at a grossly reduced shutter speed. The XL-2 is more realistically rated at 5 lux at a more average shutter speed, and in all reality, the XL-1S would actually be more reasonably rated at 5-6 lux at the same shuter speeds that the GL-2 and XL-2 were rated at.

      Consumer cameras hype up their lux counts. With the "night vision" garbage most cameras carry, they often advertise 0 lux up to 2 lux, when in all reality, most consumer cameras, if you measure the point at which colors start to fade, are probably around 15-20 lux.

      In addition, even lux itself isn’t as solid a number as you might be led to believe. Technically, all cameras are 0 lux, bucause lux is actually the amount of light being produced, not the amount being picked up by the CCD, as some clever marketing agent in a camcorder company one day dreamt up. Here’s an experiment: if you have a 2 car garage, go close the doors and block the windows so it’s pitch black in there. Now, in the middle of the room, light up one 40 watt bulb. That’s about 10 lux in scientific measure, maybe a little more even. Take ANY camera on the market, even the super low light friendly VX-2100, and try shooting the stuff on the walls of your garage. It’s not going to look very good.

      Honestly, I’ve never given much respect to lux raitings, since every manufacturer can do it however they want, and in the case of the XL-1S and the XL-2, we can see that even the same manufacturer can do it differently for each camera. Lux is a marketing tactic, not much more.

      The best way to learn if a camera is good for you is to ask others who have used them how they rate. I’ve used the VX-2100, the GL-2, and all the XL series cameras except for the new Hi def XL. They’re all fairly comparable in light, with the VX doing better in lower lighting than all of the others. Yes, the GL-2 rates at "6 lux" on Canon’s information, but by the same standards, both the XL-1s and the XL-2 only rate at about 5. And those numbers are going to be more honest, whereas consumer camcorders basically lie through their teeth about lux. 0 lux may as well be 20 lux.

      On the classes, you’re right, there’s not a lot. You can pay the big bucks to attend an intensive workshop at the New York Film Academy, or for $30,000 and two years of post grad work, they can issue you a Masters of Fine Arts in Fimmaking. But the best way is to maybe pay someone for a crash course if you’re really uncomfortable, but then/otherwise pick everything you need up by doing it.

      I hope you find what you need, and keep us posted on how the business is going.

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