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Thread: Canon XL1 tips / Help wanted

  1. Default Canon XL1 tips / Help wanted

    I have just got a Canon XL1, it was a rushed purchace on eBay as my current XM1 packed up 2 days before i had a wedding to video for a friend ( and it was the same price as the XM1s were going for so i thought i would get it )

    I just wondered if i could get some tips and advice about using it properly from those who already have one.

    I had some problems with the brightness of the image, which i belive is because the viewfinder is too dark ? so i need to compensate for that.

    I also had some problems with the skin tone, in sunny mode it was way too orange, and in the indoor light mode it was too washed out, on the manual white balance it was a bit tempramental, sometimes good, sometimes orange - whats the best way to set it up correctly ?

    Also, with the autofocus, is there any fix to make it better ? or can a replacement lens help at all ? i usualy do motorsport, so a slow auto focus makes my job harder if i have to use manual all the time.

    And the final thing, can anyone recomend a good LCD attachment to put on it ? i feel theres some times when this would be more use to me than the viewfinder as its hard to tell when the focus is sharp on the viewfinder

    Sorry for all the questions, but i know this is the best place to ask

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    There are 2 types of finders used on cameras. Most cameras with sane prices have a small tft (crap) - big cameras have a ( usually) black and white tiny crt - this is far better for getting sharp focus. I suspect the canon has the former. Screens can be added but those at a sane price will have the same low res probs as the finder. To get good foucs a few hints may help. Keep the dof large, aperture small, high f number - this will give a large ' zone of confusion ' allowing nearly everythnig to be in focus. Another technique is to set focus by zooming fully in to subject, then zooming out to frame.

    Following focus on moving subjects is fiddly but a good skill to learn.

    As for auto focus - best forget about it. 'Pro' cameras rarely have any auto focus for this reason. The xl1 has a great lens with nice to use manual focus - get good at using it and your films will benefit.

    As for white balance, such things can be tweaked in post but problems can be avoided by manual white balancing whenever the light changes to any large degree.
    Last edited by Mark W; 08-17-2008 at 09:58 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Newberg Oregon


    I just got an XL2 and these two machines are very similar.
    The auto focus is great but having ones fingers on the ring is a must if you cant afford an issue with fuzzy pix.

    The XL2 will allow full manual mode or allow overide on the focus with the ring.
    The white ballance is best set manually to suit the type of light ( indoor tungsten bulbs or florecent tube) or daylight outdoors.

    The exposure control is far better set manually to get the Fstop right on the mark.

    I believe the XL1 also have good control here too.

    I like the B&W view finder for focus but I love my XL2's color finder so I can see what the real pix is more or less going to look like.

    If you are real fussy hang a little 5 inch LCD up top on the shoe and use it to see whatsashakin.

    There is a wonderful video out there on HOW TO USE THE XL1 I have the one for the XL2. This DVD is a real nice learning tool done by a fellow who lives eats and breathes the XL series Canon's.

    Get it and watch it with your camera in your hands or at least close by.

    I play my DVD on my lap top in bed at night and have the camera close and just run it and run it and run that DVD.

    Burn some battery time on the cam with a tape in it too and just thrash around until you know the beast inside out.

    The only way to learn is to do. All the book lookin and stuff is fine but you have to do it and do it to get proficient with the thing.

    You need to be able to think on the fly to be able to capture good video and not be fooling around wondering how to do something.

    I flattened the battery a couple times just fooling around learning the menues and the controls on this monster.

    Try different things and see what they do and how they work.

    Have fun and good luck.

    OH BTW if you are pressed for this upcoming wedding just set the thing on the Green Auto setting and say a little prayer.
    The little creature will probably get you through OK if you dont ask it to do anything way off the wall.

    There is no quick way to learn other than get it going and do it.

    Have fun and good luck


  4. Default

    My Main concern with the auto focus was for My motorsport work, its obviously a lot faster, and there would have been no way of doing it manual i dont think

    But it turns out it was fine, i actually had more problems with the autofocus at the wedding than the Rally

    I am guessing it was to do with the number of points it could focus on at a wedding, ie. all the people etc, i had a go with auto, and had a go with manual, i just basically kept it rolling all day, got plenty of stuff, so all is ok, set it up manual on teh main bits, like in the church etc so as not to miss anything, then had a play around on the less important bits during the day

    The Rally was a differnt story, i set it all up manually for white balance etc, which i mostly got right, sometimes would say a little light or dark, but i am still getting used to guessing it as the LCD screen does not display whats coming out of the camera

    The autofocus didnt like full zoom filming, it was a bit soft, but for what i need it for it was fine, as soon as the car came closer it picked it out no problem and was pin sharp, it hardly lost focus at all, only on ocasions when a car caught me by suprise and i wasnt pointing it in the right direction ready.

    I have a bit of the footage online should anyone be remotely interested in that kind of thing, just excuse the editing as it wasnt a paid job, just a camera test, so i just rushed it all through

    Obviously more benificial to watch in high quality

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Newberg Oregon


    The stream quality really does not allow the true ability of the XL1 to show.

    The overall colors and such are about what I would expect from the Canon.

    I would love to see this video on MPEG2 DVD



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