Product Type: Canon digital camcorders
Newest Review: ... system. Media Coverage: Unlike a lot of the MiniDV competitors in this arena, the XL-1 looks professional. This is very handy if you are... more
Broadcast quality video in a neat MiniDV package
Member Name: speedboy
Date: 21/03/01, updated on 21/03/01 (1211 review reads)
Advantages: Quality, Flexible, Professional, Takes advantage of EOS lens technology, Hotshoe option
We have been using the Canon XL-1 for around two years and the unit has certainly exceeded all expectations. Anyone looking for a flexible DV camera should certainly take a good look at the XL-1 as it is the most capable Digital Video camera that I have used so far.
I have used the XL-1 for a variety of tasks including equipment testing, macro video, media coverage (speeches etc.), leisure footage and action events. As you can configure almost every setting on the unit, the one system provides for excellent results in each area:
Equipment Testing: Allowing for full manual focus is key when shooting vibration and environmental testing of electrical equipment
Macro Video: The XL-1 has an interchangeable lens which permits a standard Canon EOS to be attached with a small adaptor. When used with a tripod, this enables digital video to be shot of various macro subjects. We have primarily used this to shoot corrosion on printed circuit boards however it would suit a variety of nature shots as well. Combined with the ease of time-lapse editing using a Non-Linear Editing tool such as Adobe Premiere, this provides a great wildlife system.
Media Coverage: Unlike a lot of the MiniDV competitors in this arena, the XL-1 looks professional. This is very handy if you are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with TV crews and other members of the media. In addition, although the XL-1 is not light-weight as far as MiniDV systems go, it is significantly less bulky than a traditional ProBeta camera and can be shoulder-mounted for long periods. The four-channel audio is handy for this purpose as well; since you can take a wireless microphone feed into the second stereo channel while leaving the built-in microphone to pick up questions/crowd reactions etc.
Leisure footage: Unless you have an extreme taste for high-end gadgets, the XL-1 is not a home camera. If, however, you happen to have access to one of these units for the weekend, it is suitable
for weddings and family events. The hot-shoe flash connection (an option) is very useful for this purpose and another option is the video light however I have not actually used this myself.
Action shots: The variable shutter speed that is an option when in full-manual mode is a useful addition for action shots. I have used this for high speed footage at airshows and motor sport venues. A useful companion to the shutter speed is the totally variable iris and white balance settings which can compensate for less light into the lens.
Canon have some major plans for the XL-1, despite the age of the unit, including a recently announced 3D lens - stay tuned!
In conclusion, the XL-1 is a capable and professional unit which should be the first choice for corporate or semi-pro video use.