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Losing quality on Canon xl-2


To preface this, I am a sound tech by trade, who is now running the live production department at Cincinnati Christian University. Our current setup is running 2 XL-2 cameras through a panasonic AV-HS300 switcher, and into an Aja Ki Pro. We edit everything with the latest versions of compressor and Final Cut Pro X. 


I left out one thing which I think is the weak link in our chain: we record from the s-video output of the xl-2, through a Black Magic Design analog to SDI converter. My understanding is that we need to utilize the DV output to get the least compressed signal these cameras will allow.  Here is a one of our videos.


I have made some improvements to other settings on the camera since this video was taken, improving contrast and keeping colors from blowing out, but the picture is still much less clear than others I have seen recorded with the xl-2. Such as this one.


The dilemma I have is that DV to SDI converters are in the $1500 dollar range, and we would need two of them. Would we be better served by that upgrade, or by selling our xl-2s and upgrading to something like the XFR105?


Is there any other options for us to use the DV output without shelling out $3000 on 15 year old cameras?



Hi bcarrigg90,


Thanks for posting.


The quality of the video you will get out of the DV port is better than what you are getting now, so that is definitely contributing to your issue with the quality of the video here. 


Given the age of the XL2, your future investment may be better served by a camcorder that is built more for this purpose, such as the XF105, or even the XA25.  Not only will the image quality be much better natively, but you also will not need the conversion equipment.  You can take the video signal straight out of the SDI ports that are built into these camcorders.


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I would certainly love to upgrade to either of those cameras, but its highly doubtful I can convince the university to make that kind of an upgrade right now. We just finally convinced them to purchase a new audio console, and that took us six months and cost less than two new cameras. Are there any other options for recording from the DV port that aren't so expensive? They might agree to a modest upgrade now, and a larger upgrade in a few years.