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Canon GL1 MiniDV Digital Camcorder with Lens & Optical Image Stabilization
- MiniDV camcorder with 3 CCD technology
- 20x optical, 100x digital, zoom with optical image stabilization
- 2.5 inch color LCD and color EVF
- Records digital stills onto MiniDV tape
- Comes with wireless remote, battery pack, and power adapter
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|Battery Type||Lithium Ion|
|Item Weight||2.8 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Media Format Digital Video||MiniDV|
|Media Type||Mini DV|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||0.27 MP|
|Package Height||12.25 x 12.25 x 20 inches|
|Shipping Weight||12.4 pounds|
Great movies start with great CCD sensors, and Canon cuts no corners here. For the best possible picture quality, they use three separate 270,000-pixel CCDs (one for each primary color). To further improve image detail, Canon has intentionally shifted the green CCD half a pixel horizontally and vertically. This shift allows more accurate interpolation, resulting in an image that Canon claims rivals those from cameras with 410,000-pixel CCDs. Each pixel is 72 square microns, which is about 1.5 times the size as those in competing camcorders. This increased size increases light sensitivity, allowing you to shoot in lower-light situations. Ultimately, the larger pixel size results in an improvement of 4 dB loss budget in sensitivity.
For great optical quality, the GL1 uses a fixed (nonremovable) 20x optical (100x digital) zoom L-series fluorite lens. The fluorite element in the lens increases sharpness and contrast, as well as helping to preserve color fidelity.
Audio is recorded through the built-in microphone, which features two pairs of pickup elements. Audio can be recorded in 16-bit mode on two channels on one track. Alternatively, audio can be record in 12-bit mode, where the audio track is divided into two, and two channels of audio are recorded onto one track, with the other left over for audio dubbing.
The electronics of the GL1 have many advanced features, including a number of programmed AE modes, as well as both shutter and aperture priority modes. There are two different auto modes, one of which allows you to adjust any setting manually, if you want, and the other, which adjusts every setting automatically and lets you adjust nothing. A spotlight mode automatically compensates for lighting difficulties when shooting a subject bathed in a spotlight. Finally, a sand-and-snow mode is designed to prevent dark, underexposed subjects in situations with bright backgrounds--commonly found in sandy and snowy areas. There are also three different shooting modes: normal movie mode, digital photo mode, and frame movie mode. Normal movie mode is for any time you want to shoot video footage. Digital photo mode records a still image for six seconds on the miniDV tape, and also captures any audio, such as a commentary. The frame movie mode records 30 still images per second, but it isn't intended to be used for shooting video. Rather, frame movie mode should be used as burst or continuous shooting mode, as you'd find on a still camera.
The GL1 uses an IEEE 1394 port for digital editing and for transferring footage to and from other IEEE 1394-compliant devices. The camcorder also has RCA (composite) audio and video ports, and an S-Video out. The analog inputs allow you to transfer old footage to DV for archiving. Built-in effects include a fader for transitions, black and white, slim, stretch, and strobe. Picture adjustment is also possible; you can adjust camera sharpness, softening or sharpening your subject, as well as the color tone and how dark or light the camera sets the auto-exposure level.
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Top Customer Reviews
-L Series Fluorite Lens
-All Manual Controls
-Large Manual Focus Ring
Of course, we all know that 3CCDs are far better than one... I need not go into more depth there. As far as the lens goes, some have argued that they see no difference of quality over that of Sony's. This may be due in part to the fact that they are looking for a difference in resolution. When compared in numbers to some of the 3CCD models of Sony, you may think that this is a lower resolution camera (which can be a very deceiving thing). It is recognized that a camera with a high resolution in numbers does not equal a pleasing, or sharper image. When you compare the color of a Sony and this GL1 (or any other Canon against a Sony, for that matter), there will be no comparison. The Sony will inevitably lean towards the blues, giving a very cold, unnatural feeling, which can often result in having to waste time in post, by adding color corrections. The Canon will have a much warmer, more natural coloring. With deeper, richer blacks.
The Progressive Scan (or frame mode) is beautiful. It gives the footage a much more film like jitteriness, instead of the liquid smooth interlaced footage that is usually the only option you have on most Sony camera models. It is called "frame mode" because it captures 30 FULL frames per second, instead of 60 FIELDS per second (top field and bottom field) being joined together to make the 30 frames, which when slowed down will show interlaced lines. Some say ...that Progressive Scan is only meant for a "digital motor drive" where you capture 30 frames per second with the intent of getting still pictures from it. Yes, this is a possibility...Read more ›
The 30-lux capacity means you can walk into a subdued lighting environment such as a dining room lit by a single candle and get very good, balanced exposure. It is not like an infrared camera or anything, however... there must be SOME non infrared light, or you get nothing.
The 30x zoom can't be beat. You can be 50 yards away from a person and zoom in and get a shot of their nose... in many ways, it must be seen to be appreciated.
Considering the features, the unit is light-weight, but newer digital camcorders of similar strengths are now on the market for far less and weigh half as much. Still, the GL1 is easy to hold with one hand while using the eye piece or the LCD panel.
I only have a few criticisms. For one, the unit does not ship with a firewire cable. If you are ordering this item for its firewire compatibility, you will need to order a 6-to-4 pin firewire cable separately. (6-pin for your Mac, 4-pin for the GL1).
Also, the GL1 has a tendency to eat tapes. For a while, I thought I was just getting deffective tapes, but a co-worker got a DV deck and the deck was able to view and use the tapes without difficulty. Just viewing the tapes on the DV deck seemed to "fix" whatever the GL1 perceive was wrong with the tapes. On occasion I will get an all red "WARNING: EJECT TAPE" display on the LCD panel... I then eject the tape, rewind it a bit on the DV deck and then I can use it fine for several weeks w/ the GL1. This has been a problem from day one and I have head-cleaning tapes.Read more ›
Now the practical. I spent a fair bit of time looking through the market at the 'low pro' end. Canon's GL1 and XL1 were clearly in the running, as were several Sony products. What finally sold me on the GL1 was the flourite lens, which to my eye has a noticeably brighter image, as well as the optical image stabilization, which provides a more natural looking view also. I have to say that I find the manual zoom feature useless as it's a servo controlled focus rate, and very difficult to 'stop' in a slow focus. I've found that using the 'automatic/manual' focus switch to allow the camera to bring the subject into focus, then switching immediately to 'manual' to lock the focus is very effective as a workaround. The only time this doesn't work well is at the limit of either the optical focus or the digital focus when the subject is poorly defined versus its background. In these situations, the rangefinding system seems to 'hunt', giving a nauseating soft in/out blur. Truthfully, using the camera under these cirucumstances is rare, and this is the only criticism I've got for the system. An often overlooked feature of DV is that the audio quality is about the same as CD, and is digital. This means that even your home movies now have DAT audio quality! Despite many comments to the contrary, I've been very favourably impressed with the quality of the audio, including the stereo separation.
I also mentioned the XL1, but the only difference I could see was perhaps better audio, and for the considerable extra expense and size, it wasn't a good tradeoff for me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I received it the firewire interface was unworkable. I have not been able to use this camera since I bought it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by MG - Poet
it did not work well it only work for 15 mini and that is allPublished 5 months ago by PASTOR OKENARHE ABRAHAM
It a good camera. Well worth the investment. The Mini-DV is cumbersome. My next video camera purchase will be SD card.Published 11 months ago by DiscoDaze