Canon GL 1 Camcorder - Black/Silver

69 ratings (29 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Excellent
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Overhyped and over priced?

Mar 22, 2002
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Battery Life:
  • Movie Quality:

Pros:Compact camera with good lens and well-designed controls.

Cons:Small and low-rez LCD screen

The Bottom Line: A good camcorder but not for its price.


The GL1 feels good in the hand, especially for such a small unit. Although it's a bit heavier than some of the other camcorders we've reviewed recently (see April '99 issue of DV), the Canon GL1's size and weight fall within standard palmcorder parameters. The fact that the zoom controls, photo button, and record start/stop controls were designed on top of the handle allows for easy low-angle shooting, which is aided by the flip-out LCD screen.

AE and manual exposure modes are controlled by the Program Selector dial, similar to the dial on the XL1 and those on Canon's still cameras. Switches for program selection, optical stabilization, neutral density filter, manual focus, and white balance are conveniently located on the side of the body instead of being buried behind a panel or within a menu setting.

The GL1 maintains the tradition of having three different shooting modes: Normal Movie (interlaced), Frame Movie (progressive), and Digital Photo. The Movie mode switch is located next to the rear record start/stop button. Menu functions are extensive, yet they're limited to one page so you don't have to navigate a lot of menus while you're missing a great shot.


LENS:

The lens, in combination with Canon's Pixel Shift technology, promises to produce sharper images, but I have definatly seen better, Then again - i've seen MUCH worse. The result should be higher sensitivity, higher signal-to-noise ratio, and a greater dynamic range
The 4.2-84mm lens has a decent wide-angle view, although it would be nice to have less telephoto and more wide angle. For a wider field of view, Canon makes the WD-58 0.7X wide-angle converter, which increases the field of view to the equivalent of a 28mm lens (in 35mm terms).

The two zoom rockers are easy to control. One sits near your thumb, and the other is near your index finger. The rear zoom control has three menu-selectable speeds; but the fastest speed is on the slow side when zooming through the long 20X lens when compared to industrial/broadcast lenses. The GL1 uses a Vari-Angle Prism optical stabilization system, which Canon claims "optically compensates for camera shake before light reaches the image sensor, resulting in smoother steadier video without degradation." This really does work, especially on the jitter that comes with telephoto shots.


By most standards the sound is a little above average but nothing to die for.


Recommend this product? No


Amount Paid (US$): 2,300


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