192 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2003
I own this camera, and it's my best friend. Well not really, but it's the most amazing camera I've ever had. You get what you pay for, and you get a lot from this camera.
This is however, NOT a camera that the general public should buy. It's far to expensive, and really wouldn't be worth it to someone who will be using this for filming say a birthday party. There are many features on this camera, which make it as wonderful as it is, but these features would likely be unused by someone new to video cameras. So if you are in this boat, save your money and get a different camera.
What's great about it? The image quality is better than anything I've seen before. With 3CCD, it's good. Unlike the XL-1S, the GL2 has a 2.5 inch color LCD. However, I rarely use this. It takes up more battery power, and you can't see it when there's sunlight. I love the audio controls, and how it's not only stereo microphone, but you can control the levels of your left and right audio, right there, on the camera. I love to convert analogue video into digitial video, and it's almost too easy using the GL2. It's great for getting your older stuff into a digital format, and being able to easily get it onto your computer.
What's bad about it? Really not a whole lot. The 1.7-megapixel photo mode is really uneeded. 1.7-megapixels really isn't that good. The included 8MB card for these pictures isn't enough. If you're going to want to take digital pictures, then get a digital still camera, and don't use the GL2 as a still camera.
But I can't stress enough that if you aren't going to use this for more professional projects, then you really shouldn't get this camera.
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2006
This unit is pretty awesome especially with frame.
Also, a noteworthy thing is this camera first does 16 x 9 and then encoding producing a higher quality image than a comparable Sony model.
I've actually owned the precursor unit to this one, the GL1, and was also pleased with it.
This camera has the hotshoe feature and the longest OPTICAL zoom in its class.
Optical VS Digital, optical definitely wins.
This camera is all-a-round useful and also, this unit is actually the preferred camera of choice for many sports film-makers.
If you take this thing to the slopes like i have, strangers will come up to you and instantly recognize the unit.
Great with kenko lenses.
Only actual thing I've seen is that it doesn't like low light, so adding a VL-3 is a must, or a VL-10 is recommended.
One thing to watch out for is that you must keep care of the camera. For example, you must get yourself a tape-head-cleaner. The Maxell's are a good buy, but you could go OEM if you want to.
Also, don't cheap out on the cassettes.
In my 6 years of using the GL1/GL2, I've always used TDK and JVC tapes. The JVCs come in a 6-pack and can be found a a best buy. The TDKs also come in a 6-pack, and you can find them at Costco.
For more reference, I have pushed this camera beyond its specification as it has been rained on, snowed on, and frozen to the point where there is actually lag in the LCDs and yet, it still works like brand new.
Definitely a good buy !
96 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2004
I bought a GL2 because I had used the GL1 and I liked it. The GL2 was just past the warranty and I kept getting the error message on the screen that said "Remove The Cassette" I paid almost $250.00 for the repair facility to replace the tape transport system which they said was bent. No camera in the world gets better treatment than this one believe me, $2,200 is a lot of money to me. Now the camera is doing the same thing again after less than 6 hours of use. I would strongly suggest doing some searches to see just how many people are having this problem. Mine is anything but an isolated incident. Go to google or dogpile and do a search under gl2 remove the cassette or go to camcorderinfo.com and read the many complaints about this problem in the Canon forum area.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2003
Not for the faint of heart... if you want to shoot a little league game, bbq, or basically don't have much experience with cameras this isnt the one for you. However if you have outgrown other DV cameras then by all means go ahead because it really is the greatest camera ever. I am a film student and have been using the GL2 for the past 2 years. The incredible image quality has saved many an ill fated piece. Its versatility makes it a must have for anyone who wants to shoot in a variety of situations. Bottom line, if your experienced and know exactly what you need, you can't go wrong with this camera, but if you're new too this and are unsure of the features you need, go with something cheaper.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2005
The video quality for the GL2 is excellent in good lighting and still good in low light but has noticeable noise. The image stabilizer works great even if you don't have a steady hand, even full telephoto won't make you nauseous. The analog to digital feature is nice being able to convert just about anything to digital. The full manual controls are great for anyone who wants to control how their video comes out. The automatic modes are pretty good but that's not why you would buy this camera. Even the automatic focus and aperture work good but are kind of slow. This can work to your advantage if someone walks in front of the camera or you pan past a window, but if it loses focus or changes the aperture it doesn't bounce right back.
This camera is notorious for faulty tape decks. If it doesn't give the EJECT TAPE message it still requires constant cleaning with a head cleaning tape, about every 5 hours horizontal lines appear on the LCD. The photo feature is kind of pointless, only 1.7 Megapixels, anyone who could afford this camera would already have camera that would take better pictures. And it can't be used while recording, requires a seperate shooting mode.
Summary: All around great camera but gets dirty easily. Video quality and manual controls are top notch.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2004
This is a great camera with a lot of good settings available to you. I have owned a GL2 for about 6 months and just bought by second one. I have had no mechanical problems with it at all. The features that I especially like on it are: three settings of white balance (preset indoor, preset outdoor, and one you can set) this is a must if you want to shoot indoors and still have your color look right, stereo mic settings (an adjustment for both the right and left side), and you can use it as manually as you want (you can have it in total automatic mode or be able to set your shutter speed, iris, gain, focus, etc.). I use Premiere Pro and have had no problems capturing video to my PC. I did buy a bigger battery for my camera. I got the 945 on eBay for about $90. Also, make sure you get a UV haze filter for your lens. It will protect your lens from scratches and from harmful UV rays. I looked at getting an XL1s for my second camera but the main thing better in the XL1 is the ability to change your lens. Since I don't own any others right now it wasn't worth the extra money. The only thing I haven't been able to shoot is a blacklight picture. I don't think the white balance could adjust far enough. But most people won't ever run into this problem.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2005
The GL2 has proved to be a great friend.
My documentary work involves a diverse set of environments, from deep caves to back country wilderness to the barrios of seeder stretches in Mexico, and the light weight, compactness and ruggedness of this camera has amazed me. A fine machine in the field, 300 hours later I have had zero malfunctions and continue to be pleased by the diverse range of features. It has weathered tough environments and significant impacts without a hitch.
Excellent fluorite optics. Fine zoom control. Beautiful images. Useful if semi-low rez digital camera mode. Great image stabilization.
Cons: Many of the control features are controlled through a menu access system. This has taken some time to adapt to, but has now become second nature. At this point it no loger bothers.
The low light capability is limited compared to the XL1, which I also use, and must be compensated for by generous lighting and judicious use of low db, low f-stop settings and slower shutter speeds, typically 1/60 or 1/30. The GL2 is rated at .37 lux, but this is at the trippy but relatively useless 1/8 shutter speed. Get some lights if you mean to film in dark environments.
A wide angle lens can be added for approximately 160.00 and significantly improves close up work and fast action shots. A must.
Ironically, one must sometimes weight the camera to improve smooth motion.
UPDATE ON CONS: Ah, the infamous EJECT CASSETTE warning? Yes, Canon has had occasional problems with its Tape Transport Mechanism, and these finally caught up with me about a year after the rest of this review was written (8/2005). Result? New mechanism installed ($400 price) for Free. Total cost for me: A $60.00 submission and cleaning fee. Repair and return time: 7 days. Camera fully cleaned, little things like a missing tiny screw on the mounting socket replaced. Not bad. Canon has admitted there is an occasional problem here, and they are now treating it with honesty and fairness. We are now well over 1000 hours of GL2 use and 400 hours of footage in very challenging environments. Hey, I'm happy.
Upshot: Canon quality isn't cheap, but is well worth it. A fine investment when you want one of the best in its class. HD is coming, but it hasn't arrived in a truly afordable format yet.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2003
This is a camera whose output is TV ready. I burn that output to DVD and it is unquestionably professional. Have bought the wide angle lens, video light and a few 2 hour batteries and my documentaries are Discovery Channel ready. Maybe you have seen them. That ability in a camera around US$ 3000. Recommend to anyone who wants this level of video creativity. Buy!
46 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2002
I was drawn to the GL2 because I believe it is the only 3 CCD camcorder that has a 20X optical zoom. I've been very pleased with the quality and features so far, especially the optical image stabilization. I previously used a Sony Digital 8, which uses electronic image stabilization. This made it hard to do smooth pans, as the image would stay still during the initial part of the pan, then "pop" suddenly as the electronic buffer was exceeded.
I also am looking forward to the wind screen setting for the mic, as many a shot on my old camcorder has been marred by so much wind noise that audio is inaudible.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2003
I bought this camera to create some instructional videos and have been very impressed. With a tripod and the remote control, the user can make excellent videos of himself/herself with family and friends. The GL2's controls also offer much flexibility in the lighting, sound, and other aspects of the recording experience. I have had only great results with my GL2 and therefore recommend it to anyone looking for a digital camcorder on this level.