Canon’s XL1

The official Canon XL1 website

Forum for XL1 and GL1 Owners

Overview of the XL1

Featuring the Mini DV format, this 3 chip camera uses 1/3″ chips with 250,000 effective pixels. The camera is equiped with a DV terminal that conforms to IEEE 1394 for digital transfer of video and sound. It comes standard with an Optical Image Stabilized 16X Zoom Lens which Canon says is the longest available lens for a DV camcorder. The camera records drop frame time code. The on-board microphone is a balanced-type with XLR connectors. Unlike the Sony VX-1000 , the XL-1 features interchangeable lenses like the earlier Canon L1/L2 Hi-8 camcorders. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $4700. Street prices are typically much less.

First Hand Experiences

DV & Firewire Central features some very useful first hand accounts of the camera:

Cinematographer Ross Lowell’s Impressions on the new Canon entry. Ross invented the Lowell Tota Lights. (My 15 year old Tota lights have been around the world and are still working strong.)

Chris Hurd has done an excellent job of collecting the best information about Canon’s amazing digital video camcorder at his XL1 Watchdog site.” The site features Tips and Tricks including another case of undocumented color bars, and other useful tips.

Steadicam-type Stabilizer

See how you can build your own steadicam-type stabilizer for the XL1 with parts from Home Depot! Here’s how Chris Santucci did it.

Vertical Lines Problem

Back in the early days of this camera many new owners of the XL-1 experienced a problem with signal noise which appears as vertical lines. Here was Canon’s response:


Date: 98-01-23 15:38:54 EST


Dear Sir/Madam:

Last week Canon USA, Inc., issued a statement about the

concerns that were expressed regarding the performance of

the company’s new digital camcorder, the XL1. The concerns

indicated that on some XL1 units a pattern of vertical lines

may appear on recorded images.

Canon’s research and development center has investigated

this issue and has determined that the vertical lines are

caused by noise interference generated by internal

components of the XL1 camcorder. The amount of noise depends

on the camcorder’s settings, lighting conditions and the

content of the image being recorded.

Depending on the usage of the camcorder, these noise lines

may be visible and objectionable to some users.

Since Canon remains committed to providing the highest level

of customer satisfaction, if any current XL1 owners have

these vertical lines and finds the amount of noise

objectionable – Canon will correct the situation.

It is important to note that the same corrective measure,

which consists of the addition of a noise reduction

component, is now being implemented on the XL1 production

line. All future shipments of the XL1 camcorders to the

marketplace will have the noise reduction component added.

The only units that could be affected are the XL1 camcorders

that are already in the marketplace.

If an XL1 owner would like the noise reduction component

installed, please contact Canon to arrange for shipping

instructions. Of course, this will be done under the XL1

warranty at no cost to the customer. You will be required to

provide your name, address and product serial number as part

of this process.

Canon can be reached at 1-800-828-4040 (Monday to Friday,

9am to 5pm EST) and choosing the camera/video prompt or by

email at

All of us at Canon’s Video Division want to thank our

customers for bringing this issue to our attention and for

your patience while we resolve it. We appreciate your

patronage and look forward to serving your needs now and in

the future.

Thank you,

Video Division

Canon USA, Inc.

Word Spread Quickly On The Net

It’s interesting that this response appears to have been generated by all the complaints Canon was getting on the web. It’s my opinion that their response would not have come so quickly in the days before we all had the power of the Internet at our fingertips. In fairness to Canon, most customers seem to be pleased with Canon’s response and the way they handled the problem.

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