Canon XM2/GL2 vs XL1S



I'm new to these forums - I've performed a search and can't find the answer so if this question has been addressed before, please advise me.

I am looking at a semi-pro digital camcorder. I like the XM2/GL2 and the XL1S. The latter is much dearer. It strikes me that the XM2/GL2 is as good as and maybe better in some areas than the XL1S so am puzzled why the XL1S is so much more expensive.

I am an experienced stills photographer and have a collection of pro-grade (L) canon lenses that, in theory, would work on the XL1S but I think that because of focal length issues, this would not be useful unless I was into nature photography and plan to film from very great distances. The XM2/GL2 has an LCD screen that might be more appropriate to use in some circumstances.

I would probably use the camera 70% of the time on a tripod.

So, given the above information, why should I go for the XL1S over and above the XM2/GL2 if I am not too bothered about lens interchangability?




It's been suggested to me that Sony make a better digital camcorder than the Canon ones I'vbe mentioned here but they too have a similar pairing in the VX2000 and the PD150. Is a PD150 worth the extra money? It seems a high price to pay for a different colour and XLR connectors with a bigger mic.

Am I missing something?




Active Member
Hi stoutd,

I have used both the Sony VX2000 and the Canon XL1 (although only for one weekends filming).

The biggest advantage of the Sony is (obviously) its size and weight, but another useful feature of all the Sony's is the Memory Stick system - I don't know whether you would have the need to take digital stills (as you are a pro), but it is certainly something worth considering.

An advantage of the XL1 is that you can purchase the extra lenses:

3x wide-angle zoom lens
Manual 14x Zoom Lens
1.6x Extender
Filter set FS-72U3x wide-angle zoom lens

which makes it a little more futureproof. Another factor (which may sound silly) is that the XL1 looks MUCH more professional - people/customers are usually much more impressed by it than the Sony which looks like a large handycam. This may or may not be important to you.

I know this doesn't answer all your questions, but it is just my brief experience of these two.



Thanks for your response.

I do not anticipate using the camera for stills work - the resolution isn't that great and I have a still digital SLR with far better resolution for that. I might find a use for the memory card in the Sony as it use can use an image on the card as a chromakey background. Any ideas whether the background has to be blue only or can another colour be selected?

I like the look of the XL1S - being seen with professional looking kit adds credibility and increases the chance of more business. However, from what I discovered this far, I am biased toward the Sony since it handles extremes of contrast better and this may be important for filming a bride coming through a church doorway. I would probably go for the Sony PD150 with the shotgun mic and this looks a bit more pro-looking than the VX2000.

The next thing I need to discover is whether the PD150 DVCAM format has any real advanatge over straight MiniDV.

Anyway, thank again for your input - I'll be glad to hear if you have further observations.

David (stoutd)


Active Member
Hi David,

Was just taking a look through some AV shops and came across this site 'Century Optics' who make accessories for the Sony PD150 & VX2000 (amongst others). Some of which I didn't realise were available.

They also do a fisheye lens for the XL1 which is something which would appeal to me. (I am hoping to pick up either the VX2000 or the XL1 later this year).

I agree with you about the PD150 looking more professional. For looks it has to be the PD150 or the XL1, but that is a pretty shallow way to judge a camera! :D

Also are doing an excellent price for the VX2000: £1995 - the best price I have seen anyway.


Distinguished Member
I've got a little second hand experience with all these cameras.

Generally for bare bones image quality the PD150 has the best image quality: However some people prefer the colour on the XL1(s) ( its slightly warmer: you could always regrade it later). I personally believe that although the actual gubbings in the PD150 are superior to the canon the use of better lenses with the XL1 can make for a better image.

The XM2 whilst good was not really seen as much of an improvement over the XM1 even though its got a higher res CCD ( I think). These are both great cameras for the money though.

The frame mode on the canons gets mixed reviews. I actually like it and I'm probably going to be in the market for one in the next couple of months. The sonys do not offer decent frame capture modes (16fps I belive compared with the canons 25fps) Motion estimating deinterlacing software can be bought for around $100 and havign tested it I'd say its actually very good. The canon frame mode is criticised as it only capture a full frame in green and half res in red and blue : interpolation is used to upsample the colour. However as a video image is mostly luma with low bandwidth chroma : also heavily compressed in the case of DV , and luma is around 90% information from the green channel I suspect the criticism is a little unfounded.

In the field I've heard from cameramen who although rate the XL1 have had some reliability problems with it.( tape jams) The PD150 and VX1000/2000 are regarded as more reliable.

So if your not interested in the frame mode , don't intend to use interchangable lenses and want something you can throw about get the PD150. Otherwise go for the XL1(s).

I've seen plenty of vx1000 and XL1 cameras on loot : A lot of people buy the XL1 thinking how cool it looks then realise its not the best thing for taking to disneyland.Consequently they have either had very little use or have been used by a semi-pro who has taken care of it.

Panasonic may release a camera soon that affords proper progressive PAL capture ( is out in the states already doing 480p).

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