Canon XL1 ..Problems ???????

8 replies [Last post]
Joined: Apr 15 1999

I was wondering if anyone could help .I’m going to buy a DV camcorder, and I’d narrowed it down to the Canon XL1. But reading the latest copy CV mag, I noticed a reply stating that there were some problems with the XL1! Could any one tell me what these are, as I need to purchase this camcorder (or another one) in the next couple of weeks. I know CV mag has one on long term test but I fear I’ll have to purchase one before the re-review comes out.
For information I’ll be using a miroDC30+ as the capture device (DV upgrade when money permits!). Will I have any problems using the miro and LX1?
Thanks in anticipation.

Joined: Apr 6 1999

The only problem I have encountered is sound.
The sound from the Camera mike is not very good, in as far as it picks up ALL camera sound. I have had some luck in isolating the camera mike from its holder using sponge packing. I have had better luck with a MKE 30 mike which is mono. I use this with a DV300 borad and a DC30 Plus. No problems. BUT use the latest drivers from Pinnacles web site.


Joined: Apr 1 1999

There is a long term test underway at CV. A few points to think of:
According to Canon starting November l998 they had implimented a series of software fixes for some of the lens issues. You need to make sure that the unit you purchase was sold BY CANON after this date. If you are unsure I suggest you return it to Canon for an update.

Basically the issues are in a few major areas:
The lens uses the same elements for the zoom and the focus so there are instances where if you zoom full in on an item, focus and then zoom back out full and then do a partial zoom in you loose focus.

There is a degree of noticable softness in full wide with the 16x lens.

I'd recommend you get a better mount for the on board mic for better isolation.

All of the above and more will be analized in detail during the review.

For my money today there are two choices
Buy the Sony PD100 or the XL1. Possibly I'd also consider the TRV900 but the kit that comes with the PD100 (wide adapter and XLr input and the dual Zebra option) make it a very good choice.

The XL1 has the potential for better lens and in many instances in fact does, it has more sophisticated audio (4 independant tracks)but it has poor balance, and will not play back DVcam.

I have personally upgraded my VX1000, currently I've gotten the XL1, but I want to add a PD100. This summer Jan Van Der Meer and I will be using both extensively in our wildfile "seafari" in Alaska.
John Ferrick

Joined: Apr 15 1999

Thanks to all for above advice, Ill probably stick with the XL1 - It just looks so cool (so much for "never judge a camcorder by its looks"!!!!) Seriously I think I can live with the "problems" But I’ll check out the PD100 as well.

Quick question - What brand of tapes should I use, with reference to all this head clogging business ?

Thanks again

Gary Schwartz
Joined: Apr 27 1999

I found the Canon XL1 to be a disaster. I have tried a number of comparable cameras and have gone back to Sony. The answer to the performance of the camera is relevant to what you are using it for. Here are SOME of the problems I encountered. By the way one way to find out if a camera may be your cup of tea is to hire it for a day.

The camera is very awkward to hold in hand held situations, they deceive you into believing it is hand held, try it for five minutes and you believe them, try using it for longer and it becomes very heavy.

The focus kept hunting even when the camera was on a tripod and the subject not moving.

White balance drifted.

Using manual zoom and focus there is a significant delay between turning the barrel and something happening.

People kept stopping me and coming up to talk to me because of the type of camera that is so noticeable. If you want to make friends it is great for attracting attention, but a disaster if you want to get on with some videoing.

In my personal opinion you would be better off with a Sony vx1000 or trv900, both can be hand held far more easily and don't claim to have a shoulder support. I own a trv900 as a recent acquisition and compared it to footage shot on the XL1, there is no way I would use an XL1 again. The trv900 and vx1000 work better in practically all situations.

Joined: May 11 1999

I thank God that I met this forum before I changed my camera. By the moment I´m using a Panasonic NV-M2400PN.Before I owned a Sony Handicam Hi8, with nightshot, stereo and a lot more useless stuff. I sword to God never buy anymore Sony cameras because the poor colors and resolution.
I considered to buy in the near future a Canon XL1, but after reading the post about I prefer to keep my cheap (?) Panasonic - street price in Chile US$ 1000. The Sony VX1000, guess : US$ 5650. The right camera for an Oil Sheik or an awarded movie star, but not for a lousy beekeeper like me.
I´m making an educatinal video about the bees and her life and for that I have to make a lot of very nearby footage ( bees, flowers, bees larvae, etc) and when not nearby but in bright environmen, (bee yards).
What camera is the apropiate one for this kind of footages?
I´m editing with a Miro DC 30 plus, Adobe 5.1A, PC Pentium II 300Mhz, 128 Ram, etc.
I will be thankfull for an advice about the right camera before I waste the money.

Joined: Apr 30 1999

Great after a bit of sifting thorugh the net I found a picture of the PD100 DVDOC recomends..... one thing.....

Does it have DV in in the UK???

Is it available here to buy?

Joined: Apr 15 1999

Perhaps to end this tread I’ll let you Know what my final desition was (a bit late I know)....the XL-1.


I had the camera on loan for nealy a week from an excellent local firm, plenty of time to play!

I wanted the highest optical zoom in my price range...the XL gave me this.

I also wanted full manual control over audio....the XL gave me this.

I also had a chance to let a few of my colleagues, who are full time professional TV studio cameramen/women, have a play and basically the were very impressed .I did ask there advice initially but they had little practical experience of – dare I say it – the lower end of the DV market!!!!! (Alright for some eh!). Infact they wanted to keep the XL!!

I will say that the design does take some getting used to, and the camera is front heavy, but for my purposes its not a problem since 95% of my work is tripod based.
It is a “head turner” as well, but it looks like a serious bit of kit, and I found that people treat you as a professional because the XL looks like it means business.

I like controls found them very easy to use and right at my fingertips just were you need them.

I think at the end of the day the XL-1 is a camcorder that dares to be a little bit different from the norm, and like anything that dares to be radical or different it usually forces people in to two camps, you love it or you hate it....and I love it!....but after 12 months use who knows???

Can I just thank again all the people who found the time to reply, to my questions, much appreciated.

And a nod to Bob and his boys ‘n’ girls for an excellent mag and web site.

Thanks again

Joined: Jul 1 1999

I have had a Conon XL1 for 9 months.
Sure its a quirky sort of camera, but I still get absolutley astounded by the picture quality!!. Sure blows away the Sony DSR 200 (DVCam). Tha Canon pictures are sharper, better colour balances,better low light performance, and pics look like film not video.
It is also a verry coooool looking bit of kit!.