Canon GL1 notes and information

Main GL1 page

Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999
From: brig43 at earthlink net (Brian Gilbert)
I got to do a GL-1 brief test yesterday - outside, sun, various surfaces/colors. It's not thorough, of course, but I just wanted to share some observations with those curious about its general performance.

I kept the trv-900 in mind to compare to as it is the other camera in this '$2k 3ccd' class with which I have substantial experience. I also checked out a pre-production GL-1 some time ago.

One annoyance that concerned me is that the shutter/iris/gain wheel is quite dinky, and lacking in tactile response. Strange, b/c the menu wheel in the back is better. Why Canon didn't beef up this vital control is odd. But at least the parameters are entirely independent, unlike the Sony cams. The actual controls (besides menu location) on the 900 are better, however.

AGC issues aside - won't beat this dead horse - the audio was quite good. I turned attenuation off, and made some sharp noises to throw it off. It was quick with no pumping, though it may likely differ in a quiet room. The main thing I noted was the nice low end response - something I've found lacking in the trv900's audio. The unassuming small mic on the GL-1 does a good job.

The large focus ring was nice to use. It didn't require the turning the 900 ring does. Auto focus kept up, zoomed and wide with minimal hunting. The stabilization, although very good, is not as good as sony. You can get a slight drift when moving/stopping - this can be countered through technique, but shouldn't have to be. Otherwise, when no movement, it's rock solid.

The zoom allowed for a surprisingly slow crawl - good, easy control. Speaking of zoom, the optical range delivers. I kept digital zoom off, so no comment on it.

Picture quality, for what I shot, was sharp and bright - pleasing. Nothing that blew me away as I stare at dv footage on a daily basis. Nonetheless, colors seemed to be right on with very good saturation, accuracy/neutrality. (I did one manual white balance and didn't test the presets). I turned up the sharpness control for kicks and it it did what it's supposed to, but seemed to introduce noise. I don't know, I would have gladly traded this control for, say, manual audio. Considering a b-roll cam for your XL-1? The Gl-1 will probably match up well.

The frame ("progressive") mode is right there instead of in a menu - and 30fps. Tape loading is the same 2-stage affair as the vx1000, but even slower. Conversely, the 900 allows tape changes in the blink of an eye. The body is not that metallic feel of the Sonys, yet the plastic at least feels solidly constructed. As with any other flip screen, it was useless outside. The VF is more comfortable in use than the 900's.

Overall, "a nice little camera." Currently, thay can be had for about $2300 - about $300 more than the 900. Are you getting $300 more camera? Personally, I don't think so. Some may like the form factor of the Gl-1 better, but the 900, despite its quirks, has advantages in other areas that make it the clear choice between the two. --brian

5 Minutes with the Canon GL1

From: "John P. Beale"
Date: Oct. 1999  
I was wandering through the local Fry's Electronics (Fremont, CA) today and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a Canon GL1 demo unit on display. Naturally I took a look at it...

The store monitor wasn't much to speak of and they had it connected via composite so there was some color fringing which probably wasn't the cameras' fault, but the picture looked pretty good. My 5-minute impressions were: 1) LCD viewscreen very small relative to the TRV900. 2) controls well laid-out, many more separate controls instead of the TRV900 heavy reliance on a menu system. The GL1 does have a (one-level) menu but it is for less-used features. Closing the viewscreen only covers LCD brightness and headphone volume controls, as I recall. 3) I like the GL1 manual focus action better than the TRV900's, it seems more intuitive. 4) It really does have 1/30 progressive scan as far as I could tell. 5) apparently it does not have manual audio level control, anyway I couldn't see any. 6) it has color tint control and sharpness control (on the menu) and they do indeed function. So, you can adjust the image hue to suit on the GL1 before it's recorded to tape. 7) the shutter speed goes up to 1/15000 but nothing slower than 1/60 sec, that I could find.

It looks rather like the Sony VX1000 but is smaller; definitely shorter anyway. Previously there has not been much competition for the Sony TRV900 in that price category (near $2000), except for maybe the Panasonic AG-EZ30 (hardly marketed, and difficult to find). As much as I could determine in 5 minutes, the GL1 is worth a close look. I realise there isn't much of substance here but since there have been so few "hands-on" reports about it I thought I'd post this.

It seems like Canon has paid attention to many of the issues people have had with the TRV900 in this design. (If Sony has any sense, they'll be paying attention too.) --john

GL1: Makes a great bar camera

Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999
From: Peter Svensk (svensk at my-deja com)

Shot for a couple of hours in and around a rowdy Seattle bar last night, using a borrowed GL1. Was disappointed that there is no slower shutter speed than 1/60th/sec. Nice form factor, but was afraid to be more than a little rough with it as it is a chunk of plastic.

Through both the viewfinder and the LCD screen, images had very little contrast, and I thought they were going to look altogether too muddy on a good monitor. However, upon viewing, blacks were velvety, fleshtones, though noisy, were warm and saturated.

Thought the image stabilization was very effective, and the audio (despite AGC always on) had some nice low frequency response. Autofocus hunted relatively little for being in such low light (prob. around 1-3 lux) but I pretty much stuck with manual and liked the large focus ring. But, couldn't do any snap zooms as there is only a (very nice) servo. You may select from 3 servo speed ranges, but each range had at least 3 "steps" or "thresholds," if not more. So, whilst not feeling like a $20k Canon lens with full servo, it allowed for fairly nice, slow pushes (please forego all anti-oncamera-zoom sentiments).

All in all, a great little toy, and likely to satisfy lots of users (as long as you don't need to ride audio levels). I'm looking forward to shooting in some decent light this weekend! --Peter

GL1 Happiness

From: skiphunt at my-deja com
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999
I've been posting about some concerns with the GL1 and another poster asked if I'd made up my mind whether or not to take it back. The following is my response:

I decided to keep it and am happy about it. The only problems I can see are the lack of manual audio control. You basically get one level. I'll be getting a beachtek adaptor to plug in my xlr's and then I'll have control. The only other thing is pretty minor. When you're shooting from the handle (there's a zoom rocker and shooting controls on the handle too. pretty sweet!) If you're not careful, your knuckles can be depressing the main zoom rocker. Not a biggy, but it would be nice if they'd put a way to lock out the controls like you can on the handle. I haven't had it that long, so there may be a control I haven't found yet. Once again, I'm very happy with the GL1, and recommend it.

skip hunt

Subject: GL1-more first impressions
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 10:27:54 -0800

Well, after two days of mucking around with the GL1 I get the feel that good
things can come in small packages. It's solid. All the hard specs you can
find at

Some things I've find out so far is the 900 series batteries from the XL1
work on the GL1. (7.2v) That is great news as I thought sure Canon would
have us out buying a new batt set.

It's looking like the Bescor MX5C 5-hour lead acid batteries, using the
supplied ac adapter of the GL1, will work seeing as how the adapter steps
the 12v supply to 7.2v

If you've got a Glidecam, Steadycam, SkEYEwalker( or
similar the camera is perfect. There's sufficient wide angle for steadycam
movement as it is, and Canon will release their .6x(?) wide angle
attachment in a month or so. (I heard about $249) Also the flip out LCD
screen negates the need for the extra weight of an external monitor.

For matching Frame Movie mode  footage of the XL1, the GL1 does, of course,
have the Frame Movie mode. Image stabilization is very good.

I received a Beachtek XLR adapter from Samy's camera( for
about $215 and pretty much solved the AGC problem although I haven't test
it extensively. There's nowhere to mount a shotgun but it works well with
wireless lavs and any good videographer will come up with a rig. If you had
a hotshoe mount with a 1" receiver for a shotgun that would work well.

That's all for today. If you have any other questions, short ones, feel free
to email direct after deleting KillSpam from the address.

Chok dee,

Subject: GL1 and XLR-PRO, AGC behavior From: Robert Gilman Here's the message I posted last Sunday on > "Bob A." wrote: > I have read several posts from folks that breifly tested the GL1 with > external mics. Most of them felt that even without manual control that > the audio sounded fine. This doesn't make sense, but that is what they > said. > > Soooo, if the only thing that you don't like about the GL1 is the "non > manual audio" you may want to test one with your mic or wait until > full reviews are available. I don't own a GL1 (never seen one). I have now tested the audio on a GL-1 by analyzing audio tracks in Bias Peak 2. My impression is that the AGC works essentially as a compressor, preventing over-loud sounds from distorting or clipping. I could find NO indication that the "AGC" did anything to boost signals that were below this clipping level. The gap between the intrinsic noise in the camera and the maximum volume where the AGC kicked in was about 50dB, so if you keep your signal in that range it is as if there was no AGC -- at least this is my impression. This may explain the "strange" reports from actual users. So I agree with Bob A. Forget your automatic reaction to the dreaded initials "AGC" and do some tests. Hope that helps, Robert
Subject: I love my GL-1 From: "Nick" (bdkoogs at aol com) Newsgroups: Date: Nov 2 1999 Just for the record... I own a TRV-900 and a GL-1. Although I was a little down about the size of the GL-1's LCD screen... it has turned out to be a GREAT camera! I love it! Especially in low light. My opinion when comparing the two cameras image quality would be that the sony produces a sharp video image with harder edges and the canon tends to smooth the image creating a warmer feel. I think both are great depending on what kind of picture you are looking for. I tend to lean more toward the canon cameras for shooting "movie look" footage. Nick Kaos
Subject: gl-1 and trv-900 From: (BDKoogs) Newsgroups: Since it seems that many are curious when it comes to the question as to which one would be better or will it suit my needs if I am doing this or this... I will give a few more opinons and you can take them or leave them. I stated earlier that I have both the GL-1 and the TRV-900... and I owned the PD-100 for a week before returning it due to some glitches in certain lighting conditions... (I am going to post some pictures to try and show you all what I'm discussing here.) Anyway, I edit on a Blue and White G3 using firewire and Final Cut Pro. I do tons of motion graphics as well. I need to get a dv deck eventually but I've obviously invested in cameras for the time being. :) So using these cameras I shoot lots and lots of footage and they both work perfectly using firewire and FCP... TRV-900: I really like because of the large LCD screen, for monitoring and while using my glidecam. I also like using this camera because of my 6 hour battery life. Which I never actually use unless I get lazy and not plug it in when I'm dumping in footage. But it is nice to feel secure. :) PD-100: Outside of the problem I had with the image at times, I found the camera itself to be cooler looking but identical to the TRV-900. It had a couple of barely usable features like an extra zebra setting and choosing drop frame or non drop frame time code, and it obviously shot in dvcam which I personally didn't see the difference on my "prosumer" monitor. And cost me an extra 20 min. per tape. GL-1: Although the lcd screen is smaller than the TRV-900 it still does the job. The large focus ring is a definite plus... the 20x optical zoom is AWESOME. "Flourite" lens honestly doesn't mean anything to me but the image quality is amazing. Most apparently in the clarity of distant objects. One of my favorite features of this camera is the handle on top with extra recording controls... it is also where the transport controls are located. making them easy to get at... (and easy to push unlike the trv-900 sometimes). When the camera is in vcr mode you get a cool little video icon in the middle of the screen that animates when you rewind or fastforward... not a big deal but extra features. :) If I had to drop the gl-1 and my trv-900 on the ground and guess which one I would feel more safe about not breaking I would choose the GL-1... it is a sturdy little camera. try checking out some of these images for yourself... go to my test site. Nick
The GL-1 also provides great fun when shooting outdoors... :) A little movie to download if you have time... It's all in good fun!!! approx. 4 megs. you will need at least quicktime 3... thanks BDKoogs
Subject: TRV900 vs. GL1 Date: Nov. 5 1999 From: Tom K. Having just purchased a TRV900 several weeks ago, I was anxious to check out the new Canon GL-1. For those of you who have not seen it and might be suffering some Canon envy - I did not. I have shot video with "everything" from old Sony B&W porta-paks to Betacams and lots of cameras in between and here are my first impressions FWIW. On the plus side the for the GL-1: Longer zoom ratio 20~1 than TRV900's 12~1 Smoother Steady shot than the TRV900 Better internal microphone placement (above the lens) On the negative for the GL-1: Slow, cumbersome, apparently fragile double door tape loading system Significantly smaller LCD (this one had two bad pixels) Frustratingly slower motorized zoom speed Bulkier, heavier design I took my own tape with me and recorded a few scenes in the store. When played back on my 27" high end SONY TV/monitor via S-VHS cable at home, the footage matched my TRV900 - in both clarity and color. Don't get me wrong. I like the GL-1, but I like the TRV900 better. I do wonder though if the GL-1 has the same END OF TAPE PROBLEMS. I told my salesman - a very competent and knowledgeable guy and an experienced wedding shooter as well. He shoots on a Panasonic miniDV camcorder. The TRV900 tape crinkling problem was news to him. Tom
Subject: Re: has Canon GL-1 been reviewed anywhere? From: Newsgroups: Date: Sun, 07 Nov 1999 01:04:11 GMT For what it is worth, I spent half of the day with a TRV900 and GL1 side by side through a switch box to a common monitor. I have read from numerous Sony users that the TRV900 is superior in pic quality and sound quality. I am a Sony proponant from way back, but in this case, the GL1 is superior. I didn't test the sound differences. The ergonomics of the GL1 are superior as well. The end results: my GL1 arrives next week.
Subject: New mailing-list: GL1/XM1 (PAL) From: "Chris Reijnen" (pe1nib at telebyte nl) since i'm curious what other camera's might do with mini-DV tapes (or other problems) I started a new mailing list for the Canon GL1 / XM 1 (Pal version) camera. Info: Subscribe: Post message: Unsubscribe: To write an email to the List owner: greetz Chris
Subject: GL1 case that fits like a glove Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 08:47:16 GMT From: "James Harmon" (jcharm at mediaone net) Newsgroups: Just thought I'd give a little back to the group. I bought a CaseLogic case for medium sized camcorders and the GL1 fits perfectly. This case had the most padding and the GL1 fits so snug that it doesn't move around at all. It's basic black with a few pockets for accesories. It looks good but not too expensive. Those aluminum cases look great but If I were a theif I'd steal it in a second. Rock On JH
Subject: Re: anyone compared the TRV900 and GL-1? From: "Tom Hardwick" (TomH at rdwick freeserve co uk) Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 14:41:57 -0000 A good friend of mine has done just this... swapped his TRV890E for the Canon XM1 (as their GL1 is called in Europe). As an aside, Minolta's top-of-the-line SLR in the 70s was the XM, so is there something magic about the letters? Anyway, it's comparison time from him but as he's not on this list, let me pass on his findings. For a start there's the obvious difference in size, the 20x optical zoom (that doesn't have any more wideangle, sadly) and a much better placement for the stereo mic. And what a microphone performance! Streets ahead of the bass light 900 and in a much better position for those using the ultimate widie: the Bolex Aspheron. We've done some voice tests and there really is no substitute for getting the mic well away from the body. He's found the handle great for low down tracking shots and the size of the unit gives him more street cred when he's shooting for clients. The Optical SShot is just as good though not as invisible as in the 890/900 where the floating elements are all internal. There are some points that he's not so happy with. The smaller side screen is not as sharp as the Sony's and the v/finder (with it's greater enlargement) looks more grainy. Both camera's give identical sharpness and there's nothing between them. But the real clincher is the lack of flare, and the fluorite elements really have put paid to the Sony's green flare trademark. There's less of a hysteresis loop to the manual focusing, too, though it's far from perfect. By the way, perfect belongs to a camera made by Canon 25 years ago - the 1014E, so how's that for progress? Next is the Canon's knobs rather than menus (less reliable but a lot more user friendly) and it's ability to switch into progressive scan mode quick as a wink. We did some tests where we recorded onto tape and then kept absolutely quiet. On playback we listened hard to see if we could hear the AGC working, and couldn't. Modern limiter algorithims (posh, huh?) are so good I question the need for manual control of the sound level, and whenever I've used my 900 in manual I've always been terrified of clipping the signal and have often set the level too low as a consequence. You can happily go into the red in analogue, but the distortions produced in digital make the whole section unuseable. So, no complaints about the lack of manual, though I guess there are others to which this might well be a deciding factor. The prices [for TRV900 and GL-1] here in the UK are neck and neck. tom.
Subject: Re: Sony tape breakup w/ GL1 From: (kj) Newsgroups: Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 15:07:04 -0400 In article , "James Harmon" ( wrote: > I've been experimenting with my new GL1 and am curious if anybody else > has had similiar experiences. Shot some video over the weekend in San > Francsico. I bought fresh 60 minute Sony stock. Towards the beginning > of the tape there is blocky digital breakup at the start of each > recording. It's worse when I take a still . It basically goes away > about 5 or so minutes into the tape. The breakup is only at the > beginning of a shot, almost like the head is still spooling up. It's not > a big deal as long as you shoot preroll. > However, experimenting with the canon 30 minute tape produced no breakup, > even with many stops and starts, which makes me curious. Is it the brand > of stock or the length, or just a fluke? It's a brand new camera so I > doubt the heads are dirty. Any Ideas? Thanks in Advance, JH Funny, I had the opposite experience. The included 30min. tape gave me a pretty hefty dropout at one point, but otherwise fine. I basically used it to test the camera when I first got it. I always use Sony tape. So now I've used Sony with my GL1 and it's smooth sailing as expected. Hopefully it's just a fluke in your case. Though if you experience identical problems with yet another new tape, there might be something more to it.
Subject: Sony TRV900 vs. Canon GL1 Date: Dec. 3 1999 From: "Graham Baker" (plantek at bigpond com) > Someone in the States commented that the PD100a is in very short supply > there, but it's the same price as the TRV900. Is that really right? In UK > it's perfectly available, but it carries quite a premium. a "good" price > seems to be around 2200 UKP! Same in Oz - PD100 is considerably more than the TRV900, but value wise is probably a good deal as it comes with mem stick/reader and wide angle lens.... > As a result of some postings on this list, I'm now more-tempted-than-ever > by the Canon XM1 (or GL1 as some have it). That's about 1600 inc. VAT > in England. I need to go to a shop and compare the two in detail, but I > think the Canon might win because of the "zoom lens to die for", and the > more accessible controls. I have been comparing my TRV900 to the XM1 and IMHO, the XM1 is the better cam, for me, that is - it depends on your individual needs. For wildlife video (my hobby) the XM1 wins by a country mile with it's 20 x lens and superb stereo sound. If you get the chance listen to both cams through some good headphones - you will be amazed at the difference in sound quality - the TRV's is all 'dead centre' - very little stereo content or bottom end - the Canon is just the opposite - really good separation and good bass also. I don't think that the lack of manual audio control is any big deal - the XM1's audio is excellent. I couldn't detect any noticable AGC effect - it seems AGC pumping etc is non-existant in either the TRV900 or the XM1, they seem to be 'limiting' type AGC's, not boosting. The XM1 also has usable progressive scan video with instant access next to the record button... The smaller LCD screen of the XM1 is a minus point (The TRV900 screen is about the best around) but the viewfinder seems just a bit better than the Sony and that's more practical than the flip out screen in outdoor conditions.... Another minus (or two) is the lack of slow shutter speeds and direct to chip still capture But definitely worth considering, IMO. GB
Subject: Price for Canon GL1 at CameraWorld From: (Bill) Newsgroups: Date: Thu, 09 Dec 1999 17:25:55 PST I ordered a GL-1 on-line from CameraWorld in Portland (Oregon) two days before Thanksgiving (Nov. 25th to those of you across the pond.) Paid $2,299, but the company had a 'Bonus Bucks' promotion going on at the time, which effectively gave me a 10 percent rebate (a credit for $229). The only hitch (drawback to those of you across the pond) is that it can't be used until after Jan. 1st. On the other hand, on Jan. 2, I can order $229 worth of merchandise, which will be a wide angle lens for the GL-1 plus a few miniDV tapes. Bottom line, my total cost for the camcorder was $2,299 minus $229, or $2,070. (CameraWorld doesn't charge for shipping with on-line orders.) The GL-1, which is replacing my old Canon A-1 Digital and a Canon ES-5000, arrived early last week, and it's something else. The only thing I miss on it is the overlap (pseudo dissolve) feature, and a slower shutter speed than 1/60th of a second, which both the A-1 Digital and the ES-5000 have. The electronic shutter on the A-1 Digital could be set to as low as 1/8th of a second, which gave it the capability of nearly seeing in the dark without the need of an infrared signal, which Sony uses for its 'Night Shot' feature. Bill in Fremont, Calif.
Subject: Thoughts on the GL-1 (some annoyances) From: "Daniel H Lauring" (dlauring at tir com) Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 04:02:51 -0500 I got my GL-1 for X-mas and wanted to share some things with and contrast with your experience and your camera. I went for the GL-1 on the strength of the extra zoom and because I prefer a soft look to video vs. the oversharpened side of things. From the postings it seemed that the Canon would be softer than the Sony. I also, wrongly assumed, based on early postings that the Canon might be better in low light than the Sony. You and David Reuther set me straight there...much to my dismay. Anyway, after spending a couple of hours with the camera, I just touching on some of its quirks and mine as well. Firstly, I really like the handle on the top of the camera. With three small boys running around at waist level it is how I do a large portion of my shooting. I just let the camera fall to my side and tilt the LCD up toward me....really saves on the knees. But, this is where I found one of the first problems. I've had real fits with the zoom button on the handle. Firstly, it gives no tactile feedback so it is difficult to feel whether you've got it pressed or not. Secondly, it isn't progressive like the main one. On top of the ergonomics, I've had it do some real quirky things like continue zooming even after I've removed my hand from it....refusing to stop zooming even when I pressed the wide angle side. I don't know if this was caused by a flaky switch or caused by my inexperience with the camera (was I possibly inadvertently leaning against the main zoom switch with my wrist and didn't realize it???) Yesterday, I filmed outside and it worked perfectly. Secondly, the autofocus, sometimes hunts..even after having locked on. I've had situations where I was filming a scene when suddenly it went off on a focus search ending up right back in focus. It was very noticeable because I was filming a mostly stagnant scene....sure wish I had been using the manual focus at that point. The manual focus does work very nicely, with the large ring. Another thing that bothered me was a severe case of vertical smearing. I was filming someone that was backlit pretty badly. The camera actually did an admirable job of properly exposing them automatically. Unfortunately, when the light slipped into the upper edge of the picture it created a vertical smear the full length of the CCD...right down the middle of their face. [I believe this is CCD saturation, where the whole column of pixels turns white in an overexposure condition. -jpb] On the plus side the big 20X zoom is very nice. I was filming my sons sledding outdoors. One was beside me while the other was sledding a good distance away. I was able to switch the camera from filming my son close to me, hamming it up for the camera, to my son, far away, oblivious to the camera, concentrating on his snowboarding technique with ease...and with both of them filling the frame. During this episode I found another problem that may right itself as I gain familiarity with the camera. The external buttons are a bit too easy to press. I inadvertently bumped the ND filter a couple of times and took a few unplanned photo shots....and that is just what I caught. God knows what other settings I might have changed while filming. After my first session I realized real quick that I'd need an additional battery. The OEM battery didn't even get me through the 1/2 hour tape that came with the camera. The best battery they sell for it only has three times that capacity. I've heard of people filming all day with a high capacity Sony cell....that won't happen with this camera. Speaking of which, I'm not sure what is going on with my battery indicator. I haven't noticed the bar shortening at all. I've been so busy messing with the all the controls that I've only realized that something is amiss there. I'll try to figure it out over the next few tapes. Colors have been pretty good on full auto white balance. During the outside shot when it was cloudy, against a very white snowy background the color balance slipped too much toward the blue (something I've heard is a problem with the TRV900 but not heard with the GL-1.) Overall I'm pretty pleased with the ergonomics and picture quality of the camera. I've got a digital camera (Nikon 950) so I'm not very interested in the GL-1's picture taking capability. That about sums it far. As I get more familiar with the camera I will delve more into its features and manual controls and will be able to report back in more depth. Wishing you a happy holiday season, Danny
Onderwerp: Re: GL-1 VS TRV 900 - GREAT INFO! Aan: The Cassie Tips List ( Datum: vrijdag 7 januari 2000 3:31 Hi guys! For those of you are in question between the 900 & the GL1 - here are a few (but abbreviated) practical observations built from a thorough testing of both cameras. My testing involved shooting of both cameras side-by-side ( same angles, lighting, etc.) in 8 different circumstances, and then displaying them from a Sony DV-1000 onto a 14 1/2 foot screen powered by a Faroudja 3000 interpreter. I end up with 960 lines (invisibly so!) at 60 frames per second on the Stewart 150 Screen. Used Sony tape on both cameras. Observed results: 1. Resolution: Since both claim about the same DV resolution, let me make a new name for this look - as CLARITY! The 900 was dramatically clearer on this size screen. True, many of you don't use this as a criteria sized screen, but if your taking in to account "pixelation", then beyond the small screen we must look at everything for a complete analsis, yes? Split-screen blind tests resulted in the cameras being spotted 100% of the time (There were 25 scrambled blind tests). The "pixel shift" that Canon uses to theoretically increase the number of pixels rendereing a picture seem to bring more artifacts to the picture than I would like to take down a generation or three during great editing and dubbing session. Idid not compare the two cameras after feeding them through the Cassie a time or two, thyen dubbing them off! The 900 was crisp, clear, no moire patterns in the color or b&w signal. A little cooleer picture than the GL-1. 2. Optics & Picture stabilization. I don't think ANYONE has outdone the Canon Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). It's truly the best! Out at full range (which is considerably more than the 900), the image shake is so undetectable and the panning so smooth and floating, it's just amazing. The Sony uses OIS as well, but it's really not quite as quick and effective on a big screen. Again, a 19-27" inch screen might provide more identical "looks". The Canon Zoom is also the best that I've tested - including professional cameras. That's one piece of nice glass - although there's nothing negative to say about Zeiss optics either. 3. Sound. Difficult and different for both cameras. Fidelity - perhaps the Sony by some small amount. Sensitivity and Surround Capture - the GL-1 has a terriific mike, and the "directionality" of the sound is outstanding. During VERY quiet conditions, the Sony mike will pick up that ever-so-slight motor noise of the camera before the GL-1 does. 4. Light gathering! They're both good cameras, so I don't want to sound pessimistic about either one - but facts are facts. As the amount of light to shoot by diminishes, the comparisons between the two cameras becomes more evident. At low (or even almost non-existant) light levels, the 900 chip continues to deliver a picture that's more usable than the Canon. I don't know whether or not it's the effect of the pixel-shifting, but the Canon begins to look "muddy" much earlier than the 900. At regular light levels, on a medium size screen it's ALMOST a tossup - but as the sun sets in the West, Sony's 3 380K chips hold up better than Canon's 3 280K chips. (I hope I'm remembering these numbers accurately - I'm nowhere near my test records and specs - sorry!) Anyway, there were alot more test results in other areas - handleability, fold-out LCD screen performance, Special effects, etc., but I think most of you guys who do more with the Cassie than with the cameras are probably not relying on the camera FX very much. In general, for those who have not yet handled both cameras,the GL-1 is really nice to hold - balanced, feels good - and heavier than the 900. The 900 is lighter, smaller, easier to transport, and an old workhorse. There is a great deal of "personal preference" involved in selecting one over the other, and it's a difficult choice. If I've contributed just a little bit to the discussion, then I'm pleased - hopefuolly I haven't stirred up a witches' brew with some of you who have different observations. But then again, different observations father more discussion and more surprises! I'm sure we'll all benefit. My last word would be - find an outlet that carries both camers, take a tape over there, and handle and shoot with both cameras - and make up your own mind, bathed in every other observation voiced here on Carroll's terrific List. Good luck - and Happy New Year - Alan J. Levi (AJL14 at aol com)
Subject: Comparison of GL1 and TRV900 From: D Gary Grady (dgary at mindspring com) Date: Jan. 22 2000 Here's a quick summary of the relative advantages and disadvantages of the TRV900 and the GL1: In favor of the TRV900: - slightly less expensive - smaller, lighter - much longer battery life - better resolution - better autofocus - larger, clearer viewfinder - manual audio level control (but see below) - lower shutter speeds (GL1 only goes to 1/30) - not all manual settings have to be reentered every time you turn on camera, as the GL1 forces you to do In favor of the GL1 - better arrangement of controls - focus ring more responsive than TRV900's - frame movie mode (good for extracting stills, "film look") - more manual control over video - better (but still not great) on-camera microphone - automatic audio level is allegedly excellent and in combination with XLR adapter gives effective manual control - no report of the "tape crinkle" problem that affects a small but notable percentage of TRV900s - much longer zoom range - less lens flare The GL1 also looks a little more like a pro camera. This is good if you want to impress somebody but not so good if you want to be subtle. I'm sure I'm leaving things out. D Gary Grady
Subject: GL1 Tape Recording Problems From: Kevin Petajan (kpetajan at execpc com) Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 15:02:15 -0600 Newsgroups: Here's a strange one... A producer of ours checked out (2) GL1s and shot an event with (2) used tapes: 1 was a Sony "Premium", the other a Sony "Excellence". They apparently both began recording the hour-long event on the used tapes from the head end of the each tape. Upon playback, both tapes had the exact same problem: the first approx. 3-5 minutes of tape were not recorded- the previous recording remained. Then each tape gradually merges into the recording of the event after a little distortion. The rec/write tab on each tape was closed, or enabled. The tapes probably only had 2-3 passes on them at the most. I know producers who've shot 100+ passes on tape with very few problems. [...] Kevin Petajan
Subject: Videosmith "mini rover" Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2000 17:56:26 -0800 From: "Kevin Shaw" (kevinwshaw at softcom net) I'm happy to report that I just received a "Mini-Rover" camcorder grip from Videosmith and it makes a huge difference in the sense of balance and stability of my GL1. Having one hand on the mini-rover grip and one in the camera's right-side strap allows your hands to work together to resist movement of the camera in any direction, and also dramatically reduces strain on the right wrist. The metal extension arm of the mini-rover is very solid and the rubberized grip is quite comfortable. The extension distance from the camera body to the grip is just right to clear the LCD screen on a GL1 when it's open while leaving enough room for fingers wrapped around the grip. (This might not be the case on a TRV900 with larger LCD.) The accessory shoe in the top of the mini-rover grip makes it possible to really load up your camcorder with extra hardware: I've currently got my video light mounted on top of the grip and a shotgun microphone mounted on top of my GL1. Not only does this make it practical to haul all this equipment around together and still shoot steady hand-held footage, it also looks quite impressive. One other note: there is cork padding at the point of contact between the mini-rover and the camera, which in conjunction with the rubberized grip should reduce transmission of motor and handling noise to any microphone mounted on top of the grip. Given the GL1's weight and awkward center of gravity, I'd call this item (or some equivalent) a must-have accessory for anyone who plans to do a significant amout of hand-held shooting with the GL1. I'd expect a similar benefit with any other compact consumer camcorder (e.g. the TRV900), even though most aren't quite as awkward to start with as the GL1. There are other more advanced grips available, but for $60 the mini-rover is a bargain and worth every penny. For more details see P.S. I'm not trying to plug videosmith, I just think this is a good product...
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