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Howdy, and welcome to the site.
You asked for advice, and here it is. 😀
The XL-2 is a phenomenal camera. Simply put, it will have anything you do need, and a lot of stuff you don’t. It’s as close to a news station ENG camera on our side of the fence as you can ever get.
But, just because it’s, as Canon puts it, intentionally overengineered doesn’t mean it’s the best camera ever, period.
Cameras are like shoes. They make certain styles for certain things. With Shoes, you can buy a good all-purpose shoe and use it just about everywhere, but sometimes these shoes cost more, and they’re not as comfortable as the "right" shoe. The same goes for cameras.
So the first question before you even think about going window shopping in camera land is "what are your needs?" What are you doing? Events? Corporate videos? Independent films? Podcasts/Internet broadcasting? Everything has it’s own need. You said you’re looking at doing independant filmmaking, so we’ll focus on that.
You also need to ask "What do I really need?" If you only have a total budget of $4000, DO NOT spend it all on a camera. You’re going to need a good tripod, which will cost $600-1000. You’ll want a mic or two, there goes $250. If you’re making films, you’re going to need lighting. There’s another $700. Plus, all the little crap that kills you. Tapes, extension cords office supplies, etc. The dumb little stuff will sink you if you don’t plan for it early on. Don’t forget that you’ll need batteries!
Even if you’ve already planned for this, and you really can afford to spend $4000 on a camera, will one camera be enough? If you don’t want to do takes all day long, it would make sense to have at least two cameras. I have four, personally. You’re starting out. I think best bet would be to buy two $2000 cameras, and when you’re more experienced and people are watching your films, then make the big step into the $4000+ range on a camera.
I’ll be honest, the cameras I use are the GL-2 and the VX-2100 (by Sony). Yeah, they’re not huge cameras, but they carry themselves very nicely. Besides, you should be concerned about the image quality, as opposed to how beefy the camera is.
The VX-2100 has the same size CCD setup as the XL-2. In video quality, it’s very comparable. The GL-2 is also very close, though the CCD setup is slightly smaller, casuing it to work less than perfectly in low light. But again, what are your needs? A filmmaker will use stage lighting, so a low light performer isn’t needed.
Yeah, the XL-2 is incredible. BUT if I were you, starting out in the field, I’d go with the more economic cameras for now, and let the quality cameras come up as youdevelop your productions.