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Is the Canon XL1-S still relevant / a good buy?

nukshots

Standard Member
hi everybody, I've just joined after been reading the forums for a while.

I have a question which I hope some of you will be able to help me with. I have the opportunity to buy a Canon XL1-S camcorder in near mint condition from a relative. I know it is in good condition as I have been able to play around with it and it seems ok.

I know that it is not a recent model and only shoots SD, but I want to know if the camera is still relevant and a good piece of kit to buy. My experience with video is not extensive at the moment so I don't want to make a mistake and spend my money on something which is too outdated. I will mainly be using it for documentary work, small independent film productions and video destined for the web. I don't have any need for HD quality at this stage.

I also hope to use it as part of my media studies course which I hope to start in september so the idea of having a camera which allows me complete control over all settings if I need to appeals to me. I would like to get at least 2-3 years of life out of the camera.

Do you think it is worthwhile buying the camera or should I keep my eye out for something else? My budget is about 500 pounds, which this second hand camera more than fall into.

Thanks in advance for the help.
 

robred

Active Member
That camcorder should give excellent SD image quality, but bear in mind that you will need Firewire for capture. That isn't a dealbreaker as there are PCI Firewire expansion cards often with an OEM consumer editing package thrown in for a tenner or so I use it's cousin an XM2 for SD and it is still useful for the sort of things you plan, The XL 1S will have far better low light capability than a cheapo, and some not so cheap HD cams imho. Others will no doubt know more. Hope that helps.
 

M Stewart

Active Member
Do check that the Firewire connection works - I've seen comments that they're electrically fragile. That on my XM2 (similar vintage) failed after I tried connecting my XM2 to another Mini DV camcorder - a feature offered in the Manual to allow two camcorders to be controlled from one. Repair would be expensive as it requires a new main board, so I bought the cheapest used Mini DV camcorder, and use that to upload my SD videos from the XM2.

For simplicity, I'd recommend that you use the same make & type of tape that's been used previously by your relative.
 

nukshots

Standard Member
Thanks for the replies and the help, it is much appreciated.

I'm picking up the camera next weekend and I'm looking forward to using it.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
Hi and Welcome.

Others have suggested some pitfalls although it was a good camcorder in its day and not much has changed since, althought modern ones are smaller. You might like to get a new battery whilst they're available... and the weight is something of a mixed blessing, making it easier to get steady shots, some say. However, tape/firewire can be a pain and there is the real risk of overwriting in the field.
As a tool for a Media -course it should be vey good. it will offer facilities modern camcorder users can only wish for.
But the college will have more modern pro-camcorders . . . probably too late to check . . . ENJOY.
The snag with SD is that it looks old fashioned and can lack pixels to fill a wide screen. However, I believe the image quality will be very good if handled correctly.

Good luck.
 

robred

Active Member
Thanks for the replies and the help, it is much appreciated.

I'm picking up the camera next weekend and I'm looking forward to using it.

If you get to grips with it, it will do everything you want but obviously the footage will be good, but don't get drawn into comparison with HD conversations, it shoots great footage period, and not everyone wants HD.
 

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