by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor
Since it’s release in late-1997, the feature-packed Canon XL1 Mini DV camcorder has been considered by many to be the top-of-the line consumer video camera. Now, Canon is poised to release its first upgrade to the popular model, the XL1S. Available in late August, with a suggested list price of $4,699 (the XL1 debuted at $4,699), the XL1S includes a standard 16x optical zoom lens (which includes Canon’s optical image stabilizer and automatic focus feature). In September, Canon will offer buyers the XL1S with an optional 16x manual lens at the same $4,699 price.
While the XL1S’ exterior is nearly identical to the XL1, expect some major changes on the inside. According to Canon, key improvements are in several areas: picture quality, shooting modes and enhancements, variable zoom speeds, zebra levels, picture adjustments, white balance, audio controls and an improved, optional XLR microphone input adapter.
Canon Product Development and Support Senior Manager Joe Bogacz said all the expressed needs that may have prevented cinematographers and broadcasters from using the XL1 have been addressed in the upgraded XL1S. Watch for a complete review of the XL1S in an upcoming issue of Videomaker.