Top positive review
75 people found this helpful
on July 7, 2004
I don't know how this hasn't been reviewed yet - this is simply the "prosumer" camcorder to have. After reading up on this camera, the Canons (GL2, XL1s), and the "Panny" (aka, the DVX100a), it seems this manages to, put simply:
- Beat the GL2
- Tie with the XL1s
- Beat the DVX100a
To go more in depth, let's start with the GL2. While this is one heck of an affordable, broadcast-quality machine, it mainly loses to the VX2100 in terms of low-light conditions. This is really where the Sony shines - low-light shooting. A popular breakdown of the VX2100 vs. the GL2 is that the VX2100 works better in low light, and the GL2 has a more powerful zoom. That pretty much is what it comes down to. The GL2 has a "frame mode," in which you get 30 frames/second non-interlaced video. The idea behind this is to equate to the popular, on-demand 24p, to get that "film look." Such a look is only important if you plan on doing actual movies, and unfortunately, the GL2's frame mode simply isn't that great. Aside from that, when you later edit your shots, there's tons of programs and plug-ins which will do the same thing - but better.
Now, the XL1s. I know I've used the word "simply" a lot in this review, and that's primarily because I want to make the comparisons simple. When one goes to taste a Coke and a Pepsi, it would be useless to make a pro and con list to decide which tastes better... to you. Instead, you just pick the one you like, and continue drinking - and you probably wouldn't mind the other brand next time (ok, maybe not all of you). Anyways, the point being all of these cameras will give you an excellent picture, and they'll all do a bunch of extra things. If you're a serious, professional videographer, then it is recommended you compare long specifications lists to see which better meet your needs. On the other hand, if you're like me and just want something that will shoot family and non-planned out footage, these will all do great. And when you go to shoot a movie, wedding, documentary or whatever it is you're doing professionally, these cameras will continue to impress you.
Ok, about that XL1s. This camera has been used in movies - 28 Days Later, TV shows - pretty much the entire MTV line-up, commercials - that Jerry Seinfeld American Express one, etc. Needless to say, this is a very impressive camera. Not only is it significantly larger than the others, but its most sought after feature is the fact that the lenses are interchangeable. What's not frequently mentioned is the fact that these lenses cost upwards of $600/pop. Of course, the XL1s has some more professional features to justify the price jump from the GL2 - those of which you can read about on those spec sheets I mentioned earlier.
And finally, onto the "Panny," or the Panasonic DVX100a. This camera has a whole several-thousand member online discussion forum for it. That should tell you how much people love this camcorder. I think it's nice, myself. Don't know how much I love it. I know what everyone loves about it is the fact that it does 24p perfectly - that's the aforementioned "film effect" feature. The problem is, when you compare its other features to the VX2100, the Sony is the better camcorder. And don't forget you can still get a "film effect" when you go to edit your video.
So, all in all, these are the camcorders which are all in somewhat of a similar price range. I know I've considered all four of these, which is why I wanted to share what I found for that other guy who wants to know the same thing. You probably still want to check out some other places for reviews, which is highly recommended. Like I said, I spent 4 weeks doing what you're doing now, and I ended up with the VX2100. Take that for what it's worth.
See ya in the funny pages!