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What's the skinny on the problems with GL2s?


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#1 Leslie Farquharson

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 02:29 AM

Hi,

Am shopping around for miniDV camcorders as I am starting film school in the Fall. A wise member of this site reminded me that I would be concentrating on learning basic composition and storytelling technique first year, and while I agree, I still don't want to get a TOTALLY cheap camera. I thought I would shop around and find a good price for a 'prosumer' level camera. I had pretty much settled on the Canon GL2 after much deliberation, but the horror stories of 'eject cassette' warnings flashing on the LCD screen after a few months of use are all over the web. I would hate to spend any amount of money on something that is sure to fail on me after a short while.

Does anyone know if Canon has corrected or addressed this issue? Does anyone own a GL2 or work with one regularly that can testify to its quality and reliability?

Any info would be appreciated. Thanks so much.
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#2 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 02:59 AM

If you really want some mileage out of a camera for use in film school I would suggest getting one that at least shoots in 24P. There were several projects that required students to shoot 24p video at my film school and having a camera of your own would be a great benefit.
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#3 Bryan Darling

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 02:02 PM

I own a GL2 and never have had that problem. I bought mine last August to replace my XL1 and after testing out the Panasonic DVX-100. It's a great lil camera and decent in 16:9 mode. It also has the ability to put framing guides in the viewfinder for 16:9 while shooting in 4:3 mode. You can use them as a guide for 1.85:1 if you remember that the guides are a little bigger than the 1.85 frame.
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#4 Leslie Farquharson

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 07:42 PM

I own a GL2 and never have had that problem. I bought mine last August to replace my XL1 and after testing out the Panasonic DVX-100. It's a great lil camera and decent in 16:9 mode. It also has the ability to put framing guides in the viewfinder for 16:9 while shooting in 4:3 mode. You can use them as a guide for 1.85:1 if you remember that the guides are a little bigger than the 1.85 frame.



Thanks for the info. Glad to know somebody's had a good experience with the camera. Am shocked that you chose it over the Panny. I was under the impression that the DVX100 was superior to the GL2 with the exception of a funky focus ring.

In response to the idea of looking at cameras that shoot in 24p, I would LOVE to get a miniDV with that capability, but the difference in price between the Canon XLs/Panny DVX100 and the GL2 is kinda big for me now. I checked with the school (LACC) and the 24p feature isn't required for classes calling for miniDV shorts.
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#5 Bryan Darling

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 01:32 PM

Thanks for the info. Glad to know somebody's had a good experience with the camera. Am shocked that you chose it over the Panny. I was under the impression that the DVX100 was superior to the GL2 with the exception of a funky focus ring.


I didn't like the image stabilization of the DVX, in my opinion Canon has had the best stabilization and it?s zoom is longer than the DVX. I do a lot of handheld shots in the field and the DVX was more fussy to work with. Additionally, I didn't like the "look" of the 24p in that the Frame mode on the Canon gave a "look" that seemed just as acceptable to me. Yes it may not be truly 24p but the average viewer doesn't know and can't tell. Also I found the 10x zoom lens to be too little for me. I was used to having a 16x zoom lens on my XL1 and the GL2 has a 20x. Video cameras have come along way however I find myself just saying wow that's good video.

If I want the film look and 24p it just makes more sense for me to use 16mm or such. This is just a personal preference and aesthetic choice. Something I've come to in the 11 years I've been playing around with the various visual mediums. When I started I was 17 and unless you had something like 20,000+ you weren't going to be editing on a computer so that wasn't even a thought in my world then. I got a simple non-reflex Bolex at a swap meet for $100 and a couple rolls of Tri-X film. I had no idea about film speed, f-stops, etc. I just put it in and pressed the button. When the film came back from the lab I?d cut it and splice it and throw it in a military surplus projector.

I've come along way since then but I tell you this because even if I had had a better or bigger camera, I would never have used it to its fulles. When you are starting it's important to find something that you feel comfortable with, that can be easy and that you can learn with. Digital technology is very intricate and constantly changing, especially when you add 24p into the mix. Lots of little technical things that you get to when shooting, editing, mastering DVDs, projecting- all sorts of things. As you go through the process you learn what they are and how to deal with them until it becomes second nature.

I really would say keep things simple and easy for yourself. You can always sell the camera you buy and use that towards something better. That's how I've been able to put a good collection of gear together over the years. It?s not so how much you spend, how big it is, what all the little do-hickeys it has, but rather how you use it and what you make with it. Have fun and make stuff?try not to get caught up in the ?techno-craziness.?
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#6 Paul Lammertsma

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 09:40 PM

I have the European verson of the GL2, the XM2, which is identical with the exception that its PAL instead of NTSC.

I can testify that I have never had the blinking eject tape. On several occasions I've been instructed to clean the heads, but this was my own doing by inserting several Sony tapes (also taking them out of a Sony camera and putting them in the GL2), which is a big no-no.

The GL2 went along for a documentary to Hawaii and was in some cases in some pretty wild environments. No problems -- none at all.

As tornsprocket says, the image stabilizer is exceptional I haven't seen anything remotely as good before or since. It supports 16:9 which was one of the many reasons I went for it.

I have a few grievances, but only minor ones. The foremost is the incredibly slow zoom, especially in tele. The far zoom (say at the max of 20x) has visible vingetting. Focus under low light is disappointing, though I wouldn't go as far as to say it's bad (then again, if there's that little light you'll have a bad picture with noise anyhow).

It doesn't have 24p, but it allows you to shoot frame 30i, if that's any compromise. I don't suggest you look into 24p since you're bound to pay $1000 more for a camera in that league. Unless you can cough up the dough, of course. ;)

This is a real feel-good camera and you'll love it in the first few moments. Learn to use just a handfull of it's features and you're well on your way to make good DV-quality productions. The price is good at the moment, and although I have no experience with other camera's in this particular price range, I'd say: Go for it.

Edited by Paul Lammertsma, 21 May 2006 - 09:43 PM.

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#7 Leslie Farquharson

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 12:29 AM

I have the European verson of the GL2, the XM2, which is identical with the exception that its PAL instead of NTSC.

This is a real feel-good camera and you'll love it in the first few moments. Learn to use just a handfull of it's features and you're well on your way to make good DV-quality productions. The price is good at the moment, and although I have no experience with other camera's in this particular price range, I'd say: Go for it.


Thanks for the words of encouragement, man. Am currently in the process of checking out a slightly used GL2. The owner is letting me take if for a test drive before handing over the cheddar. Am very excited. Will make sure to be mindful of which tapes I use.
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#8 Landis Tanaka

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 06:52 PM

Yeah I have a GL2 and I love it. Theres only a few things I don't like about it.

Small size: its too light. I wish it were heavy.

No 24p: I like 24p more than anything.

crappy viewfinder: it has a low resi image and when I point the camera up, it goes out of focus because a piece of glass is loose in it.


other than that I have gotten some amazing results with it.

Edited by Tanakaskier, 03 June 2006 - 06:52 PM.

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