The Canon GL2 (like its predecessor, the GL1, and its big brother, the XL1) is helping to blur the line between consumer and professional video equipment. This camcorder borrows most of those cameras' professional-quality components and puts them into a more compact, affordable camera. Though it's small enough to carry around and doesn't cost much more than a top-of-the-line consumer camcorder, the GL2 produces such high-quality results that it could be used as a broadcast video camera.
The 3 CCD System
The GL2 maximizes the capability of the DV format by using a 3 CCD (charge-coupled device) system with a separate CCD for each primary color (red, green, blue). A beam-splitting prism separates light passing through the lens into individual color components and each is sent to its own CCD. Compared to a single CCD, the 3 CCD system achieves outstanding detail with highly accurate color reproduction suitable for the demands of high-end video production - wide dynamic range, low color noise, high-contrast detail, natural color resolution and low-aliasing. The 3 CCD system also makes advanced Pixel Shift (for increased image quality) and Low Light Recording (for increased flexibility) possible.
Professional L-Series Fluorite Lens
Canon has satisfied the demands of experienced image makers for years through the power, design and quality of 35mm and broadcast TV lenses. Canon's Professional L-Series lenses utilize Fluorite, a material which provides outstanding resolution, contrast, and color reproduction- especially in lightweight, high-magnification lenses. Incorporated into the lens on the GL2, Fluorite delivers the ultimate in clarity and image quality. The Fluorite element inside the lens defeats color aberration -- the effect when the components of light stray from one another within a lens, causing a reduction in sharpness, contrast and color. The Fluorite lens precisely controls components of light providing an excellent balance of these three critical ingredients of picture quality. This is unobtainable with conventional optical glass.
To further improve image detail, Canon has intentionally shifted the green CCD (which contains 60 percent of the picture detail) 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 low-light situations. All this results in outstanding detail, with highly accurate color reproduction suitable for the demands of high-end video production. The GL2 also incorporates a 20x Professional L-Series fluorite optical zoom lens, which is equivalent to 39.5-790mm, as well as a 100x digital zoom.
The GL2's omni-directional microphone is designed to deliver realistic stereo sound. Using the GL2's advanced accessory shoe expands your audio options. 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.
Optical Image Stabilizer
Canon's superb optical stabilization system corrects camera shake instantly so even hand held shots, at full telephoto, and shots taken from a moving car, are smooth and steady. And since it is optical, there is no loss of image quality inevitable with electronic image stabilizers. It perfectly complements the high picture quality of the DV format.
You can turn your GL2 into a still camera by switching to 1.7-megapixel photo mode and capturing high-resolution still images onto the camcorder's MultiMedia/Secure Digital card. (One 8 MB Secure Digital card is included with the GL2.) The full-frame images are free from time-lag blur. A six-blade circular iris, as found on Canon's top-of-the-line XL1 and XL1S models, is used for professional exposure control, helping to deliver stunning video and still photos.
Inputs and Outputs
The GL2 comes with the standard DV IEEE 1394 port (also known as FireWire) for a super-fast, lossless connection to a PC or other DV machines. You can also connect to your PC via a USB connection to download still photos. The GL2 is designed to handle two types of analog input and output: using audio/video cables (composite) or S-video. Both connections are on the camera back.
- Three shooting modes: normal movie mode, digital photo mode, and the cinema-like frame movie mode.
- The Custom Key function lets you create and save your own custom settings so your common shooting modes can be readily duplicated.
- Digital effects are offered for a greater imaging variety, including fader, sepia, strobe motion, and black and white.
- With the Interval Timer function, you can record for a selected time with a selected interval--convenient for nature observations such as flowers or sunsets.
The Canon GL2 digital video camcorder uses the standard MiniDV cassette, producing the highest quality video possible from nonbroadcast equipment. The MiniDV format standard delivers more than 500 lines of horizontal resolution. And, because it records both video and audio as digital data, this information can be transferred--without any loss of picture or audio quality--to a computer for editing, then transferred back to DV tape, without a reduction in either picture or audio quality.