Sony DSR-PD150 Vs. Canon XL-1 : LUSENET : Dirck Halstead : One Thread

I am looking for a work-horse camera that will hold up in the field, and provide the best-quality footage when it's broadcast on TV. I'm willing to work around low-light situations, I'm just concerned about the quality. If I have to choose between the 150 and the XL-1, what does anyone suggest? I've heard problems about the hiss in the 150, is the Xl-1 any better? What is more important, pixels or lens quality?

-- New_Guy (, November 30, 2000


I've shot three episodes of ABC News Nightline with an XL1. It's great.

-- David Snider (, December 05, 2000.

the fact that you're shooting for tv means that 4:3 aspect ratio is fine. therefore the xl1 is fine, especially with it's interchangeable lens system (costly though). the pd150 has a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is designed for us low budget film makers, if we use the true anamorphic 16:9 lens. then for transfers you can't tell the difference. the hiss is not proven, only found on certain models of the 150, and can easily be cut out anyway. the lens quality is better on the 150, especially with the progressive scan mode. the xl1's eyepiece is colour (personal taste), but it lacks resolution. the 150 is black and white but great even in low light conditions.

i don't know if that is any help, as it's very personal to each user's needs but they are both very good machines, just make the right choice for you.

-- some guy (, February 16, 2001.

HI: I have just purchased an XL-1. In fact I'm waiting for it to arrive via UPS. So I can't tell you about how it works all I can tell you is about the hours and hours and hours of research I did before I made up my mind between the PD 150, VX 2000 and XL-1. At first the XL-1 was out of the question because of the money. Everything I read pointed to the XL-1 for the most part. It seems to have everything all the others do, plus. That's where I caved in and sprang. The adapter for the lens system for the XL-1 costs $439 at B&H Photo. Haven't bought that yet. Sometimes we just need a few opinions and comments to push us one way or the other. I hope this helps some. Bye for now. SPARK

-- Spark (, February 17, 2001.

I have shot using both cameras in indoor and out door situations. The best quality about the Pd 150 is its ability to generate proper timecode and the side mounted colour screen. Using the XL1 produces excellent quality pictures and the variable lens system is great. Overall I enjoy shooting on the 150 due to it's size and versatility, even when stuck in a third world country during a bomb threat (don't ask just trust me).

-- The Joshman (does@ItReally.matter), March 02, 2001.

Sorry, i'm trawling for info meself, from across the water. Wot about the sonyvx2000? how does that compare to the XL1? Or the XM1 (US speak GL-1)

-- petrovich (, April 05, 2001.

I've shot and broadcast over 150 hours of budget TV on the XL1 and PD150. The XL1 looks more professional and the public certainly take it more seriously if this is a consideration. I've also found that the end picture quality tends to be better because the lens is better - but (and it's a big but if you're going to be filming a lot) - the XL1 is not as sturdy and will not stand up to the punishment that a rigourous shoot can entail - I find I was constantly having to get the XL1 serviced but you can virtually throw a PD150 across a room and will still bounce back. From the point of using the camera, the PD150 is far more ergonomic and you can use it for much longer without getting tired - the XL1 is uncomfortable when used for long periods on your shoulder and is too heavy to use for extended time handheld. If your using the camera in low lighting conditions, there's NOTHING that can beat a PD150. It's amazing! You can film in a nightclub without a PAG light and still find no noticable loss in quality - the XL1 will go grainy. In respect of the 16:9 switchable feature on the PD150 (not available on the XL1),it isn't a true 16:9 - it just crops the image and you'd still have to aspect ratio convert in a post-production facility to get a true anamorphic, broadcast quality picture. You can however get a true anamorphic lens which is rarely if ever available for the XL1.

The XL1 and PD150 are both great cameras - if you want a flexible workhorse, go for the PD150, if looks and something that feels more profession is vital go for the XL1 - if this is vital, you'd be better looking at the JVC 500 series - an amazing camera (brilliant lens and CCD's, looks very professional) but very unbalanced and doesn't sit well on the shoulder.

-- Glenn (, April 09, 2001.

I've used the xl-1 for almost a year now, with all the accessosries available and frankly there is nothing to beat the picture quality, features, looks etc etc as for the above people talkin about sony pd- 150 lens being better , quite frankly i think they are talkin through there ass, the dsr 300 and the dsr 500 sony's top dvcams are 95% purchased with canon lens and not only in video but also pro still photographers opt for canon lens, therefore if your are looking to shoot quality video and want to look the part just pick up the xl-1.

-- marco (, April 13, 2001.

I'm struggling with the same question- XL1 or PD-150. I have not had a chance to try out the 150, but found the XL1 extremely uncomfortable for both the shoulder and the hand. The XL1 seems to be designed for a larger(male) hand and broader shoulder(with the adapter.) Have any women tried these two cameras? If so, what do you think about the feel of either while shooting without a tripod?

-- River Branch (, April 15, 2001.

I am also very interested in this subject. Right now I am thinking about purchasing either the XL-1, PD150, or the JVC DV-500. I have limited experience with all three. I used the DV-500 for about a 3 hours straight on my shoulders, while I liked the picture quality and the fact that it has the look of a Pro Camera(not prosumer) it was uncomfortable, I found the focus a little soft, plus it was so light that I had trouble holding it steady on my shoulder. After that I saw the PD150. Why I thought it looked like a consumer camcorder I was impressed with the picture, I thought it looked equal to the DV-500. I also read something about it having 500 lines of resolution compared to the XL-1's 420. I thought the XL-1 had a good picture, but for some reason I feel as if it's popularity is based on it's cool design.

-- Ken Lagrahm (, April 22, 2001.

great finding this site. i have been told that there is a matte box for front of lens filters available for the sony DSR 150. if it's true where can i get it from? can someone help.

-- louis tan (, April 27, 2001.

What does the look of a camera have anything to do with deciding to purchase one? It's ridiculous, get a camera that gets the job done. As far as the XL-1 vs. PD150, the PD150 blows it out fo the water when it comes to video quality. As for Marco calling anyone who prefers the PD150 over the XL-1 is talking out of their ass, look at the tech specs then you'll see who's really talking out of their ass. XL-1 is over- rated and outdated. Don't listen to biased XL-1 owners, they're just bitter that the PD150 wasn't around when they got their XL-1's. Go and try them out for yourself, you'll realize the truth. Most Xl-1 users dont even use the interchangeable lenses. PD150 is a professional camcorder with better CCD's, pass thru digitization of video and audio, pro audio input, professional timecode, a Zeiss lens!, and able to record Dvcam which though visually the same as Dv, it has fewer dropouts and better technicaly. XL-1....ummm lets cant do any of those.

-- Sean (, May 11, 2001.

I stand here totally un-biased against any of the cameras, because I have used both of them, tried it out, and edited footages from both cameras, and besides we also own several D-30

Here's a break-down of my thoughts and analysis:

DSR-PD150 Pros: - Ergonomic, perfectly balanced handheld at 1.5kg - Great low-light performance, extremely low noise - Records on DVCAM, noticeable higher quality, especially in Audio - Servo-focused lens not perfect, but is tight and easy to operate, snaps into focus fast and accurate. Manual focusing is easy too. - Higher resolution than Canon XL-1 (500 vs. 420) - Canon's claimed Dual-Pixel technology isn't really making a difference - Higher-resolution viewfinder (almost professional quality) - Metal Construction - Extremely durable

Cons: - Lens not as good as Canon, but still brilliant. (but this is gained back by higher resolution; why get good lenses when your CCD only takes limited of it? No logic...)

Canon XL-1 Pros: - Looks great, like a new-age camera - Good lens options - Nothing else really...

Cons: - Poorer CCD performance, especially in low light, dark areas lose detail completely and displays grainy pics. - Unable to balance properly on shoulders for extended period of time - Colorimetry isn't good, reds and yellows too "hot" - Doesn't balance well on tripod either.

Just my analysis and experience.

-- Camera (, May 13, 2001.

I am too considering these cams. I'v shot with both and each of them have their features. The XL1 and operator are capable of some very nice moves, Easier than with the pd150. The pd150 however has some nice audio features and has that sony reliabilty. Sony betas from the early 90's and 80's are still some of the warmest and lasting cams ever made. An editor friend of mine and i did a little side by side comparision. He bumped both cam's footage (shot on dv, not dvcam) to beta then we looked at it on a studio monitor. The canon's was cleaner. The pd150 left tiny artifacts/noise around the human's eyes and shoulders. If you have unlimited $$ buy the canon and have it fixed too. I'm buying

-- j son (, July 02, 2001.

Before moving to the DSR 500, I used to be an all Canon shop. At one time I owned and shot with the Optura, GL-1 and of course, the XL-1. I owned all three lenses on the XL-1. On this, I must say, I have never been completely satisfied with the colors on the XL-1. They seemed too cool versus the Sony. Moreover, though the XL-1 features interchangeable lenses, there is still a back focus problem with their two work horses, the 16X zoom and 14x Manual. Also, low light shooting is not as good as one would expect and hope. Despite all that I've said, the XL-1 still rates as a good choice in the price range. However, the XL-1 is due for a major upgrade. It can not rest on the fact that it's a great "looking" camera, while other new cameras, within the same price bracket, are making technical strides.

Just my opinion from a former

-- W. Bennett (, July 07, 2001.

What about prices? I'm leaning toward the PD150 and see prices as low as $2,999 (Broadway Photo), but with bad reviews of the seller. Any suggestions on where to buy?

-- charlie (, July 23, 2001.

I am shopping between the two camcorders myself. At first I wanted the XL1, but the more I hear the better the PD150 sounds the only remaining conscerns I have are: Is the 12x zoom on the PD150 a sacrifice versus the 16[or maybe 18] on the canon (remember I'm used to the lavish 20x on the GL1)and I don't consider a higher power with an adapter a replacement.

I have heard that the audio of the XL1 is phenominal, and I don't know if the PD150 stacks up.

I know this doesn't sound much like an answer rather than more questions, but let me put it this way; in every other respect, the PD150 sounds like a better buy.

-- only a GL1 owner (, August 27, 2001.

I am too looking and weighing everything out. I think after all I have heard and researched, I am going to get the PD-150. It has everything I want and feels alot better to operate. Even with the XL- 1S coming out, I think the SONY camera is the way to go.

But what do I know, I haven't bought either yet...

-- BGill (, September 09, 2001.

I've been making network TV docs since the days of film and recently had my first experience of DV with the Sony pd 150. I thought the improvement with this camera was the biggest change I have yet seen.

The ability to shoot with few, if any, lights and the very low profile of the 150 are transforming. I don't think that you can get the same advantages with the XL1. It is a disadvantage, not an advantage to have a camera that people notice.

-- Robin Christmas (, September 17, 2001.

I´ve consitherd both of these cameras for my documentary in Uganda, Africa. However the only camera that could be lowned to me were the SONY PD 150 so I don´t have any choice. But I´m not wheping about that. I could have been stuck whith the smaller and less proffessional camera: The SONY VX1000. After trying out the PD 150 for a little while, the only thing I really miss from my proffessional IKEGAMI (DVC-PRO camera with a Canon J-14 lens) is the direct feeling of the focusring, that I´m used to. The fact that you´re just stering a motor, whitch is moving the lenses, makes it slow and indirect and you have to turn the focusring such a long distanse. I´m perhaps to conservative because I´m not using the aoutofocus. Do the Canon XL1 have the same problem?

I´m going to film in DVCAM mode and use external soundequipment as bazooka microphone and a portable Opus mixer. When I get back I can rewiew the experiences I´ve had with the camera in an extreme climat and rough treatment.

Erik, Sweden.

-- Erik Rönnqvist (, September 26, 2001.

Subject Sony DSR-PD150 Vs. Canon XL1 & XL1s

The Sony PD150 and the Canon XL1,XL1s are both exelent camcordrs. The Canon has a great interchangeable lens system while the Sony does not. Both camcorders take great video for a number of applications including broadcast TV and documentary film work. They also have three CCD's which is extremely important with regard to image quality and sharpness. The Sony possesses Three distinct advantages over the Canon. First the pixels in the three CCD chips on the Sony are higher than the Canon. The Sony has 380K per chip totaling 1.14 million pixels. The Canon has 270k per chip totaling 810k, Aditionaly, the Canon has only 250k per chip effective pixels which further lower the count to 750k. I under stand Canon uses Pixel Shift technology to boost pixel resolution, but this does not entirely make up for the lack of pixels. Second, the Sony PD150 is a professionaly formated camera. It records in DVCAM, which uses a 15 micron head apposed to a 10 micron head used in the Canon, and all other consumer based mini DV camcorders. Also tracking speed is slightly higher on the DVCAM format. The DVCAM format allows more data to be stored on the tape and locked audio which is extremely inportant. Without locked audio you can loose up to 1/3 of a frame sychronization between the audio and video. The Mini DV format does not posess this feature. Third, the price of the Sony is the best bargan of any professional camcorder bar none. The Canon does have exelent lenses and a great look, but it cannot duplicate the Sony's duribliity. The Canon is still a consumer camera regardless of price.

-- Thomas Cznarty (, October 27, 2001.

I use the Canon XL-1 for wildlife and nature shooting, and can't think of an alternative that could possible come close. I guess a Canon GL-1 with a doubler would be good, but I use a Canon 80-400 still lens with the adapter, and get phenomenal stuff. If you are looking ever to shoot from a distance, the XL-1 is the way to go. Plus, it's relatively lightweight, so if you can get a hold of a Portabrace back packer unit, you can go way into the backcountry and produce videos that fly under the radar screen of big budget productions, but look like you must have had a huge production crew. I went in to the Thorofare area south of Yellowstone with one friend, and we managed to hike, camp, shoot for 8 days, which with a bigger pro camera/large lens would have required horses, tons of batteries, etc. Wildlife/nature=CanonXL1.

-- Joe D. (, November 02, 2001.

What a dilemma!!!! PD150 vs. XL-1 I actually had an XL-1 for a few days nad shot some footage up at the state capitol using filters, different settings, etc... It was very nice, but we DID get noticed. It is a cumbersome unit, make no mistake. If you want attention, this a video-nerd magnet. A friend has the PD150 and has done two documentaries with it, and swears by it. A more robust format and design, bottom line. Know what you want to do with the camera. For ourdoor shots, zooms, depth of field, etc..the XL-1 is fantastic, for everything else, the PD150. That's what I'm heading out to buy! (And do NOT buy anything from Broadwayphoto. Bait and switch sharks)

-- Kurt Dahlgren (, November 07, 2001.

I have been using my XL1 for over two years with good results. It's not as sharp as the PD150. It does not handle contrast quite as well and it is not as good in low light. (The XL1S is more competitive in the low light dept.) Also, you need to treat it with care in the field. However, the XL1 produces a cleaner picture than the PD150. This can be seen when video footage is bumped up to digibeta. Because the video is so clean, I've found I can achieve great results tweaking my XL1 footage in Final Cut Pro. The DV codec has improved to the point where you can get great, artifact free (for the most part) results. Here's what I do. If needed I'll sharpen the video footage. Set the pixel level to "1" and then apply the amount of sharpening needed. Also, if needed, I'll reduce contrast and then boost the color a bit if necessary, to compensate for any color washout due to contrast reduction. The result? Great video footage! You'd be amazed how much improvement can be realized! I can turn out footage shot on my XL1 that looks better than 85% of what you see on standard broadcast TV. Was it Uncle Remus who said it's what you do with what you've got that pays off in the end?

-- Donald Williamson (, November 21, 2001.

I did a comparo with both the PD150 and the new XL1s and the "old" XL1and my VX2000. I shot the same scences on tape, indoor and outdoor, with all the 4 camcorders. Yhen i looked at the tape on my monitor at home. Here is my subjective ranking:

Lowlight shooting results: 1 PD150 (incredible), 2 VX2000, 3 XL1s, 4 XL1

Normal shooting indoor and outdoor: 1 PD150, close 2 XL1s, 3 VX2000, 4 XL1

Lowlight subject and bright cloudy sky behind: 1 PD150, distant 2 XL1s, 3 VX2000, 4 XL1

Then i bought the

-- R Forest (, November 30, 2001.

Both the 150 and XL1 are quality cameras but have different features that will suit people with differing needs. XL1 Interchangeable lenses can be a boon, the 3-10mm wide angle lens is especially nice. I bought my XL1 in 98 and its worst feature is the back-focus problem with the standard 16x lens, I hate this lens and will buy the new 16x manual servo zoom lens to use for most of my work. XL1 audio is excellent, even though the std mic is not very directional. Few DV cams give you such good control of up to 4 audio tracks as the XL1. The PD-150 has a known issue with its manual mode program where the shutter speed remains on auto in manual mode so it just proves....nothin is perfect! For traveling around with, go for the PD-150, for pro-serious work on sticks, the XL1 is hard to beat in its price range.

-- Eddie Skender (, December 15, 2001.

I am really confused about the subject Sony DSR-PD150 Vs. Canon XL-1....I am serching information all over the web. I found out something that maybe could be helpful: Lars Von Trier (arguably one of the best directors alive) used a Sony DSR-PD150 with anamorphic lenses in his movie "Dancer in the Dark". Maybe this had to do with sponsors matters, maybe with his personal professional choice.....Anyway, from all that I read around the web and in this forum, right now I would go for the Sony DSR-PD150 (I think is a better choice especially if you want to shoot documentaries and you do not want to be noticed too much. The XL1 is maybe too showy...)...

p.s.:the only thing that leave me some doubts about the choice are the lenses.... p.p.s.: A QUESTION...HOW MUCH IS FOR ANAMORPHIC LENSES?

-- Guido (pizzepazze@PIZZE.COM), December 19, 2001.


"This really makes me mad!"

I just read about the manual sound kit, it really made me mad. in Israel it will probably cost more than 300$ !!!! Sony made an ambitious camera, it suppose to compete with Canon's XL-1 JVC-DV500 and others, it supposed to be better than trv900 an pd 100, It cost more. Sony was showing of with Pd150's professional sound, they didn't tell the manual sound mode is useless. They actually sold the camera with a defect. In my Two weeks old pd150 manual sound is useless!!. Now they found a way to solve the defect and ask for extra money, it's ridiculous.  Ohad Ufaz  (Israeli Independent moviemaker and moviemaking teacher)


Disappointed (past) Sony Customer Even though I planned on buying a PD-150 next week (not a vx2000), I have changed my mind. Sony's decision to fix a known problem on one model camera (pd-150) and not another (vx2000) is unethical and makes me suspect of what other problems I will run into with service on a pd-150 in the future. This inconsistency makes Sony look pretty cheap.  Didn't your marketing guys think of this? I wasted a lot of time waiting to get a pd-150, and am now going to match that time publicizing Sony's unethical business practices on my Digital Video site. As soon as I finish writing, I'll send you a link for your amusement.   Disappointed (past) Sony Customer,  Chris Allen

================================================== ===========



Since first series-models were tested, many professional users world-wide returned their PD150P with an unacceptable HISS-problem. When recording takes place with an extra mic. (with or without phantom power) using AGC (Automatic Gain Control) mode turned off  the HISS is inevitably.  Officially Sony Professional and Consumer department up to now denied the problem, but individual Sony co-workers acknowledge the problem after hearing the test-tapes. 

And now finally read Sony's official statement and comments Bob Love:

SONY's DSR-PD150 Manual Audio S/N Upgrade Kit.

The high quality imagery, which the DSR-PD150 is capable, has captured many enthusiasts and professionals that demand audio performance beyond the original design criteria of this camcorder.

In response to the increasing customer demand for a "Manual Audio Mode" signal to noise improvement. Sony has developed an upgrade kit for the DSR-PD150 camcorder audio circuits.

The DSR-PD150 Manual Audio S/N Upgrade Kit is available for installation by the Sony Factory Service Center in Cypress, CA.

The cost of the installation of the DSR-PD150 Manual Audio SIN Upgrade Kit is $150 (one hundred and fifty US dollars) not including shipping or handling. This upgrade is NOT covered under warranty.

This upgrade is applicable ONLY to DSR-PD150, and upon customer request. For further information please contact the Sony Product Operations Support Center (POSC) at 1-800-883-6817.

***============ END =================***

P.S. Owners of the Sony VX-2000 take note that the above policy statement clearly indicates this is an upgrade for the PD-150 only, and the POSC number does not deal with the consumer version. Sorry!

BTW: A note to those that felt compelled to respond to the early reports of "hiss/noise" problems when using the manual gain control, without having seen or more importantly "heard" the problem. I think we can all learn something from this experience. First you have to have the camera, then you need to talk with others that have the same camera, but different microphones. Once a pattern becomes clear, and a problem identified, then it is time to get "active". As I have stated before I am no electronics expert, but am able to do a fair job of investigating using the "process of elimination". In the end, I have no idea what parts are being replaced in the camera, but in the end it is clear that there was a problem, otherwise Sony would not be issuing an "Upgrade Kit". Hopefully there will no longer be any problems with the majority of professional microphones users chose to record with the camera.

Conclusion and opinion: For those that never "heard" the hiss, either you have one very special camera or should consider purchasing some new "Sony" headphones. I do not feel all "rumors" are bad as they sometimes draw more interest and attention to a problem or subject. The problem on the other side of that, is that when otherwise very knowledgeable people indicate that the problem is not with the equipment but in the manner that the people are using the product is where the "fault" lays. This only adds confusion to the issue and places the blame in the wrong place. Granted many people may be "beginners" and perhaps do not read the manuals, but this whole experience also proves that big electronics companies also make mistakes, and unfortunately it has become our job as consumers to help them admit and fix these mistakes. Happy video taping to all! Bob Love.

-- Guido (, December 19, 2001.

some other cool stuff about the hiss matter:


by Christina Fox

Just to clear up any confusion this is my understanding of the situation....


The original PD150 cameras did have an audible hiss problem. Firstly Sony denied it - but, then admitted there was a problem.

Next, Sony offered a fix to those people who had already bought the camera. Sony supplied a "Manual Audio S/N Upgrade Kit" to the early adopters but at a cost of $150. To add insult to injury the upgrade was not covered under warranty. Naturally those people were not too happy to have to pay to get the camera up to standard. If you want to know how p*ssed off people were take a look at for the whole sorry story.

Then Sony started to do repairs for free - all you have to do was pay for shipping. I spotted this on the egroup VX2K forum ... Hi I just sent my Sony DSR-PD150 to the Cypress California Sony Service center. I was shocked to find out that Sony is now only charging you for outbound shipping for the audio upgrade fix. What a relief! Brian Gentile, B-Z Digital Video Productions.

In between all of this going on - the cameras coming off the production line were modified and the problem solved. I attended the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in September 2000, in Amsterdam and asked a Sony rep on their stand what the situation was with the camera. I was told that "this problem has now been solved".

Here's another message and answer from the VX2K forum (posted 18 March 2001) ... ......Yes. Hiss was fixed as of serial # 1001579.

Back to the top.

BUT - what should you do if you want to buy a PD150?

If it is a reputable supplier you should be OK. If they have a regular turnover of stock and you feel confident you are getting a recently manufactured camera - you shouldn't have anything to worry about. I checked out eight cameras the other day (24th April 2001). A client of mine had just bought them and wanted me to check them over. There was no problem with any of them.

Interestingly - I checked two cameras back in January for another client - one had the hiss and the other didn't.

Be wary of special offers from suppliers - the camera may be old stock and may have the hiss problem.

Watch out for grey imports - these cameras are sold cheaply and with little or no warranties. Remember there may be a few unscrupulous suppliers out there who want to sell you old stock.

As ever you should remember the best advice before handing over your hard earned cash "buyer beware". Whenever, wherever and from whomever(!) you buy the camera - do a hiss test and if you're not happy take it back.

Back to the top. THAT HISS-TEST AGAIN...

The most comprhensive test I can find on the web is at by David Cherniack.

There was a simple test on this site but that has now been removed. It seems it was just too simple. Because according to Sony's site...

"Evaluation of Audio Signal to Noise should not be performed using earphone / headphone output. The earphone / headphone amplifier circuit has been equalized to emphasize high frequencies and is intended to be of "monitoring" quality. Furthermore, the earphone / headphone audio may not accurately represent record level audio since the earphone / headphone level can be varied using the volume +/- buttons near the LCD screen. Audio Signal to Noise evaluation should more properly be performed by playing back recorded tapes on a studio VTR." (Please note this Sony warning is about the VX2000 which is reputed to have the same problem as the PD150).

See for the full text.

-- Guido (, December 19, 2001.

I have edited project filmed with a vx2000 and a canon xl1. I have found that for the most part, the claim against both products are true. I found the Canon (even though it was set on manual focus) had a creeping focus problem on ECU's. The Xl1 seems like a perfect choice for a trained videographer...but then a trained videographer would probably opt for a JVC DV700, or if money wasn't an option, one of the new Panasonic models. For the Sony, yes there are audio issues, but nothing that is difficult to fix in post production or through a mixer. Again, you can't change your lense but for myself, I don't have $1500-3500 to drop on a lense after I buy a camera. I just recently bought a PD-150 and am happy with the decision. Personal preference after alot of research. I have a matte box and assorted filter and have been happy with the video and audio. I won't say the Sony picture is better but I will say that I prefer it. I think that the structure of the Sony is more durable...but the electronics (inputs) are flimsy and will eventually loosen. In Canada, Sony service sucks, they take forever to fix things if this is a concern. Canon is very quick and helpful. Last, yes most digital cameras put Sony lenses on their cameras. I recently had the priveledge or examining a $150 000 Panasonic DV camera with a Canon lense....a $40 000 lense. The better the glass, the more money you pay.

-- Jordan (, December 20, 2001.

I'm a 18 year old film maker, and I've been fortunate to have worked with both the XL-1 and the PD150, and when it came time for me purchase one of the two I went with the Sony. It's audio is phenomenal, not to mention the 2 XLR outputs (which have come in handy). One of the major deciding factors in my purchase was the ability to shoot in DVcam. I sent a commercial I shot to Nissan of North America and they could not believe it was not film. Plus the PD150 is so versitile and, well...indestructible that camera has been through some pretty grueling trials and I have yet to have it fail on me. The XL-1 is the coolest looking camera I have ever seen, and the lens selection is something I am jealous of, but the CCD chip in the PD150 is of greater quality so I'm not complaining. Besides, the PD150 has a great lens and Sony products are very reliable.

-- Ryan Peterson (, December 31, 2001.

I have just purchased (and begun shooting with) the Canon XL-1s. Since this camera has been totally redesigned on the inside, can anyone comment on the CURRENT comparisons between the PD150 and the Canon XL-1s? I'm very interested in opinions about comparisons with the newest Canon update. Initial reviews suggest it has really grown up. In light of that, I'm wondering how that impacts the older reviews shared within this list... Thanks.

-- Jer Olsen (, February 16, 2002.

I am also trying to decide between the XL1S or the PD-150. After reading this site and many others, I was ready to for the sony, however, the sites I have looked at recently suggest that the XL1S will better suit my needs. I have not had the chance to use either, but have seen the PD-150 being used in public. The PD-150 seems like it comes pretty well equipped for the price:B & W viewfinder, popout LCD screen, already built in XLR inputs. But the question is which one is going to suit my needs better. I am more interested in using it to film my short productions. I need it to look more like film as well. From what I have read, they said the XL1S would be a better bet for this sort of filming. Could anyone help me out. I am almost done writing my script and am going to begin casting soon. I will not actually start production for another two months. I will need some time to get used to the camera. COMMENTS PLEASE.

-- Matt (, February 19, 2002.

The thing that really hurts the pd150 is the lack of firewire! I was interested in it until I found this out.

-- Tim Danyo (, February 26, 2002.

Whoops. The spec sheet I was looking at was incomplete. It has firewire.

-- Tim Danyo (, February 27, 2002.

Are you not all forgeting the importance of the line resolution when comparing the cameras.The XL1 (and XM1) in PAL version covers full 625 TV lines (recorder also) when let say Sony vx2000 does only 530 lines. I guess olmost 20% of diference in line resolution is the only significant isue to discuss if you want to shoot something with a possible TV brodcast ambition. Am I wrong?

-- gregor (, February 28, 2002.

Consider this: 1) XL1s does not come with a B&W viewfinder, PD150 does. 2) XL1s does not come with XLR inputs, PD150 does. 3) XL1s has LOWER resolution than the PD150. (see They both go for around the same price, but the PD150 is packed with pro features and has a better picture. You can buy the Canon XL1s if you like, but it will cost quite a bit of money to bring it up to the standard that the PD150 has straight from the box.


-- Dan Ballmer (, March 11, 2002.

For production in that price range in Hong Kong, almost everyone uses Sony PD150 and I have yet seen a local team using a Cannon XL1. For all practical and functional reasons, Sony is definitely a more logical and wiser choice. I have tested the Cannon XL1 and the Sony PD150 before I bought it. Although I like Cannon's design very much, I went for the Sony PD150 for almost all reasons besides the look. As we are planning to buy a second camera, this time we might go for the XL1s - just to get a different feel and "look" while shooting. I think the choice is like chooisng between a PC and a Mac, the PC is more practical while Mac just "cooler".

-- Alex Ngan (, March 13, 2002.

After a long research I also went for the Sony PD-150. I used both cameras (althougth I never got the chance to use the XL1s...I only used the "old" XL1). The XL1 has a very sensible focus in automatic.....maybe too sensible: it constantly change, and it is easy to get a blur image (in automatic). One good thing about the XL1 is that you can rest it against your shoulder; in this way you get more stable shots when you use it without a tripod (it's also heavier than the sony so it makes it more stable). The Sony is lighter (good for carriing) but you can't rest it on your shoulder, so you get un-steady shots, if you do not have a very steady hand. Personally, I prefear the look given by the Sony....and I think it works better with dim light. Also the Sony has many more features than the canon (LCD, B&W viewfinder, etc.). The Canon is a great choice if you need to shoot with a variety of lens (especially telephoto) and if you have the money to get them. For all other uses, I think the Sony is better (you can also buy a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens for about 400$ each...I got the wide angle and it's cool). Last thing: if you have to shoot urban-documentaries, or if your production deals with not very safe locations, the Sony helps you to shoot mostly unobserved (outside it looks like a consumer camera); the XL1 is white and has a huge lens that make it look more fancy and "interesting" for thieves. That's all for now. I'd like to know more about the XL1s.

-- Guido (, March 22, 2002.

I forgot one thing. The PD150 zoom is kind of noisy in automatic....if you use the mic that comes with the camera, you will catch up the zoom noise (when you use it)'s not very noisy, but I could hear it in my tests. Yet, I think the Sony is better.

-- Guido (, March 22, 2002.

i use the PD150 and love it. for my needs it works out well and this is why... (all the above reasons i.e. good lense, resolutio ext) the sony will out preform the xl1 on battery life (you can get about 8hours with the big battery). the light weight works better for steady cams and jibs. the lcd is nice for tracking shots on a steady cam. it is easier to get away with lowkey filming with the pd150 the xl1 is to flashy. dvcam is a bonus. the xl1 is nice and i have had limited experience using it but for me and the size of my productions the sony works better. just my thoughts

-- kevin lau (, March 27, 2002.

From all that I have read, the Sony 150 seems to be the way to go. I was interested in the Canon XL1 because of its cool looks. I was able to briefly operate the XL1 at a wedding reception and liked the feel of the XL1. But I am going in the direction of the 150. Looks ain't everything. It's what's inside that counts!

-- Bob Sewvello (, March 28, 2002.

I have heard people say that the xl1 is front heavy. But from a girl's perspective, with very small hands, I found otherwise. The xl1s seemed to fit like a glove, it balances well, and is suprisingly light. However the pd150 feels as though it was designed with large male fullbellied video enthusiasts in mind. After fastening the strap to accomodate for my small grip, there was quite an almighty stretch to reach for the controls, and my other hand was required to support the lens which tended to dip downwards. In saying all of this I much prefer the menu on the the sony. It seems to make more sense and can logically be figured out even without a manual.

-- Eleanor (, April 02, 2002.

Does anyone knows for sure, can one use SONY PD-150 on Steadicam Jr. ?

Have anyone tried that, and if yes, how did it go?

-- Alex (, April 12, 2002.

If you're a serious videographer the XL1 can be the only choice. It's modular, meaning you can build on it's already great features with Canon and third-party supplied extras. And of course, the ability to change lenses is essential. The DP150 will only ever be what it is, so you have to consider that if you think you are going to "grow" in the business.

Forget resolution - to all intents and purposes, when the image is eventually displayed on the average TV screen, the viewer is never going to be able to tell the difference - they both have fantastic image quality.

If you are going to work in rugged conditions (such as a camera operator on top of a freezing mountain for the Eco Challenge) then the Sony is the obvious choice - it's built like a tank, whereas the XL1 is somewhat more delicate.

I did exhaustive investigations on both cameras and eventually went for the XL1S - mainly because I can see my business growing rapidly, and I just know I am going to need some of those add-ons, and additional lenses. I now have it, and it is fantastic!

So that's my two cents....

-- Ron (, April 14, 2002.

I've been contemplating between XL-1 and PD-150 for a while and , as many here ahve said before me, call a spaid a spaid : Pd150 wins in features and not in appearance of professionability. So, i've thought to add a tube to extend the viewer purely for aperacnes sake. I also would need a harnes to hold a pd150 that i've seen videographers had and said it's not made now. It is one that loops around your shoulder and back squeezing on your front and has a spring action. I'll bouild one if i have to. I say Make the pd150 more pro! I would welcome any ideas in this direction.

-- Manny Tuzman (, April 18, 2002.

Couple of Questions? Does the optical image stabilization on the Canon work that well? It the Sony stabilization electronic or optical? Can the PD150 adjust the shutter speed to match a computer monitorlike the clear scan on the XL1s? I know the Canon has control over setup level and sharpness, does Sony also.

-- DVCurious (, April 24, 2002.

I havnt used the PD but after spending 2 weeks on a roadtrip in FL I found the XL1s to be a pain. Although the picture quality is amaizing it is the biggest pain to hold and shoot with. I spent 3 days at a skatepark filming 12 hours a day. At the end of the day I had to go to a massuse. There is no easy wa to hold the thing. Even with the shoulder pad. I did not have the optional shoulder pad with the XLR inputs which would probably make a world of a difference. For my own personal use I will probably be buying the PD150 only because of the comfort of shooting. And by the time you put it though post production it all turns out the same color and quality wise. Thank god for a budget enough to support the AVID Symphony.

-- Neal Slimick (, May 03, 2002.

I am currently writing a script for a student production. It is going to be a drama that could eventually be blown up to film for projection. We have a limited budget for cameras, but quality is also paramount. I like the look of the PD150, mainly cause of the XLR inputs and the progressive scan mode, not to mention the 3CCDs and manual controls.

Would any say that the PD150 is suitible for use in dramas (picture quality wise)? Would you use the progressive scan mode or not?

-- Alex Grainger (, June 04, 2002.

Not sure how to use this discussion forum yet, but I have a burning question about the old audio hiss problem on the PD150p. I've been offered a reasonable price (I think) for a grey market PD150p.... (approx US$3000)here in Hong Kong. Everything I've read on this site makes me think it's ideal for my needs...but this audio hiss problem worries me. As it's a bit of a dodgy deal on this camera they are offering NO guarantee, so I need to know that I'm not buying one of the earlier models that's been hanging around on a warehouse shelf for the last 2 years??? I'm not sure I'm going to be able to carryout a full camera/audio it's abit risky. Anyway, here's the point I'm getting to. CAN YOU TELL WHETHER YOU HAVE A MORE RECENT MODEL (i.e.HISS FREE) BY THE SERIAL NUMBER ??????

-- chris head (, June 05, 2002.

I have used both of these cameras extensively and I much prefer the versatilety of the XL1S over the PD-150. Out of the box, the Canon had impressed me far more than the 150, especially in the Frame-Movie mode. If you have any knowledge of software programs and can adjust the levels and color balance of the footage, you don't have to worry about the 150 beating the XL1S visually. Massaging and manipulating DV footage is my forté and after authoring to DVD with footage from both, I am partial to the XL1S because of the incredible amount of features and options for "tricking out" this bad boy.

I wonder why the accomplished Steven Soderberg used the XL1S instead of the PD-150 for his new feature "Full Frontal"? Makes you think...

-- G Kuda (, June 09, 2002.

The PD150 is a bad boy little camera. It's sharper and better in low light situations. It has a lower profile, and can be less distracting. It has better audio ability overall. However, if it is true that the XL1s can be sharpened and color corrected in post, then it is hard to look past the higher quality 16x lens (as oppossed to the 12x of the sony) Most user's never buy the other lenses, but at least you have that ability. And, if low light isn't something that comes up often in your style of formats, the XL1s's lower resolution actually looks better on skin tones anyway. Sharper is not always better, often times, color saturation is more important. However, minus the 12x lens of the pd150, it is a better camera overall. just look at the specs!

-- davis (, June 11, 2002.

In response to above, why soderberg shot with an xl1s... Good point. Perhaps like lars von trier - he used anamorphic lenses?? I wonder. Anyone know?


-- Layman (, June 21, 2002.


Sodenberg....did he not use the 35mm attachment for the XL-1 that allows for expensive camera lenses (Arri and the likes)as well as giving the depth of field usually found in film and not in video??? I dunno.

Here goes. One cannot compare camcorders without understanding the application. For any given application or type of video one would want a particular functionality i.e. When I bought the XL-1 the contender VX-1000 (which I prefered, and it was cheaper) but it did not allow me to fit lenses that would do the job for me in the African bush.

Having bought the XL-1 with the EOS adaptor and the 75 - 300mm IS USM lens I now have 2800mm focul length. Try shooting birds with anything less, I can't get close enough in many instances.

What works for YOU and YOUR videography. Forget looks, forget price (providing in the same ball park)as it may cost you more in the long run. One may have to sacrifice something to get the tool of choice.

Have heard the PD 150 is great.

Want some good information visit this debate has been discussed on a technical platform with few serious biases.

Cheers Andrew

-- Andrew Leigh (, July 21, 2002.

Canon XL1s vs Sony PD150

I'm fairly new to this game and I too looked at both cameras. I opted for the Canon because of it's versatility. The GL2 has just been release and have notice the price of the XL1s has reduced these past couple of months. I'm fairly certain the XL2 (when it comes out) will demolish the Sony.

However, here comes the important bit. When us XL1/XL1s owners upgrade, all the expensive additions we would have purchased will most likely be usable on the new GL2.

When I expand my business and eventually buy more cameras, I hope the XL2 is available.

Is this not an important consideration? (of course assuming the XL2 will be as groundbreaking as the XL1s).

-- Andrew Sheridan (, August 01, 2002.

I have read some of the reviews posted on the web regarding the Sony PD-150 and wanted to counter with a review of Canon XL1S. Canon has addressed several complaints about the original model’s performance (XL1), and I think made it much more of a competitor for Sony’s PD-150.

First to cover what’s been upgraded: the XL-1S comes with a better standard lens than the XL-1. The original lens was frequently accused of producing "soft" images that lacked the sharpness of focus available on cameras in the same price range. Also improved is the response of the servomotor to the movements of the focus ring. Like the PD-150, the Canon comes with a focus ring that controls the lens through a servomotor. This is a serious pain in the neck when trying to perform rack focus or following action from the foreground to the background; however, the performance of the Canon’s ring is consistent enough that with practice, you can pull these shots off. Other general improvements have been made, such as the placement of key buttons and minor changes.

Now, I have recently had the opportunity to compare the images I got from the XL-1S with the images a friend of mine captured on his PD-150, and I have to say I saw very little difference between the two. Much has been made of the Sony’s 1/3 size CCD chips that are larger than the Canon’s _ size, but I didn’t see that difference on screen. The other highly touted advantage of the PD-150 is its xlr inputs, but Canon makes an adapter attachment for the camera. Not only does it have four xlr inputs (as compared to Sony’s two), but its attachment on the back of the camera balances it out and makes it much smoother for handheld shots. Even with an extended life battery attached to the back, I find the Sony PD-150 is still very front heavy and difficult to hold still. The one advantage I have to grant the PD-150 is the flip out screen, which I have to admit would be nice to have on some of my more cramped shoots, where a field monitor is not a possibility.

So if the two cameras are so similar, why do I prefer the Canon? The answer is the interchangeable lens. Unlike the PD-150, and just about any other DV camera in its price range, the XL-1S does not come with a fixed lens. This is a major advantage when you consider that the name Canon is virtually synonymous with lens quality and diversity. Not only can you attach any of Canon’s specially designed XL-1 lenses, but with an adapter you can attach lenses Canon designed for other cameras as well. What this means first of all is that you can attach a lens with a manual focus ring, thus eliminating the major drawback of the included lens. Secondly, it gives you the kind of flexibility a standard film camera has, allowing you to capture a variety of images a variety of ways. The interchangeable lens gives Canon the leg up on Sony PD-150, especially considering it is not unique to the newer XL-1S, but also available on the XL-1 - which will probably go down in price now that the upgrade is available. This kind of flexibility and quality of optics makes this the camera the choice if you want true freedom to compose exactly the kind of shot you want.

-- Andrew Sheridan (, August 01, 2002.

We have 2 pd-150's here that we use to shoot various broadcast and made-for-Internet entertainment programs. I have experienced the early model "noise floor" problem (although that bothers me less than the electronic ring in the digital Noise Reduction circuit).

The PD-150 is nothing short of amazing where low light sensitivity and image quality is concerned. For my money, there is also no question that the DVCAM recordings are better, have fewer dropouts, and can be mixed into the BETA-SP tapes at the local post house and seamlessly show up in a program you might be editing.

If this debate comes down to which camera looks cooler, I submit for your review a picture of our studio PD-150, that has been adapted for use with our old CP-16 Studio Rig matte box (with 4x4 filter stages, rails, follow focus assembly, and o'connor base plate). It basically blows the doors off the look of the XL-1s. See it at

In my opinion, you don't buy a camera based on how it buy it based on how its pictures look. There have been plenty of guerilla film-making situations when I've been very happy the stripped down PD-150 looks like a consumer camcorder. When you look harmless, people don't bug you, they don't ask you for permits, and they don't do tricks for your camera like a bunch of monkeys. And if they don't know that you're really shooting broadcast quality stuff you can drive back to the station and put on the 10 o'clock news, so much the better.

-- bob (, October 02, 2002.

One last thought. I too was impressed initially with the interchangable lens arrangement on the XL1. But a conversation with the local film equipment house that rents both the XL-1 family and the PD-150 made me realize that even though the lenses are interchangeable, no one changes them! At the rental house here, fewer than one in 50 rentals of an XL-1 goes out with an alternate lens. So when I need an alternate lens shot, I'll rent an XL-1 with the lens. The rest of the time, I'll enjoy shooting the PD-150 with its fixed lens, yet so many other benefits.

-- bob (, October 02, 2002.

I am also trying to decide what to buy (PD150 or XL1S). However I am leaning toward the Sony. For the most part the PD150's pro audio features are superior to the XL1s. I am from an audio background and the XL1s doesn't seem as good. I am new to the video world so I can't say who has the better lenses and what not. I don't think that I would purchase extra lenses. the XL1s sure looks pretty and believe it or not some people think that this matters. What matters to me is the end product. So that leaves me torn. I dont know what I'll end up purchasing, but, with past experience with Sony products I'm leaning in that direction.

-- lost mind (, October 20, 2002.

PD150 users swear by the PD150 and XL1S users swear by the XL1S. Both cameras have there ups and downs and pros and cons. From the technical spec aspect the PD-150 is better however the XL1S has interchangable lenses. To be honest with you many people buy the XL1S due to its looks disregarding quality and comfortability. The XL1S is a swell looking camera but in my opinion doesn't cut it. Many Independent Filmmakers using the Digital format will buy an XL1S due to the "Frame Movie Mode" however you should shoot clean then worry about changing the FPS in post on an NLE system for best look. The XL1S will draw attention (somewhat) whereas the 150 wouldn't if you were to walk down the street with it. And BELIEVE me you DONT wan't attention. Because with attention comes the need for permits :). Trust me. The movie "Full Frontal" used the XL1S. Sundance winners "Tadpole" & "Dancer In the Dark" used the PD150. Spike Lee used the VX2000 in Bamboozled. To each his own but the PD150 delivers REMARKABLE work with all honesty! In low light situations (which you most likely WILL encounter) the PD150 shines whereas the XL1S looks very grainy. They are both good cameras and it really is whose behind the camera. Someone above mentioned filming for TV. Well, Most Comedy Situations use Betacam. News stations use Betacam and DVCam pro. Dramas like NYPD Blue use 35mm or Super16. Most theatrical releases are 35mm with a rare Super16. HD makes the best video-to-film transfers but I'm sure HD is out of all of our budgets. If you are going to make an independent film digitally I REALLY recommend using a PD150. A friend of mine purchased the PD150 over the DSR500 and the DSR500 is a 13k camera. So in closing: If you want a camera that impresses people when you are shooting get the XL1S and if you want a camera that impresses people after your done shooting get the PD150.

-- Jay (, November 01, 2002.

I just wanted to correct myself AND a couple other posters. "Dancer in the dark" used the Sony PD 100 & Sony DXC D30WS PAL. Sundance winners "Tadpole" and "Personal Velocity" used the PD150.

-- Jay (, November 02, 2002.

After much torturous deliberation, I thought to hell with it and bought one of each (after a little windfall grant)...and still i cant decide...PD150 is awesome for fly on the wall discretion but it's little buttons make it finnicky to set if you have big hands, the picture quality is awesome and the lcd screen really useful, the precision bw viewfinder seems kinda pointless really.

The XL1s/XL1 i have been using for 3 years and love it dearly, easy to get at buttons! fab sound, fab picture and perfect for most things on legs, size can be an advantage when you want people/clientelle to take you seriously and not like some enthusiast bozo as in the case of the PD150 user. Feels great on the shoulder with MA200 or without just tucked into front of shoulder, it's weight helps to steady it whereas wieght of PD150 is a little too much when handheld out in front of you. The big question is will the XL2 have LCD screen, built in XLR's and DVCAM-like option?? But hey kidz dont worry too much, just thank your lucky stars you werent around 10 years ago when you had to put up with SVHS and tape to tape editing.....shudder!

-- Craig Middlesbrough (, November 04, 2002.

Im a student filmmaker and have decided (after much research) that the Sony pd150 is for me. However, one last question remains. I have read that shooting in the miniDV mode gives a playback in which the picture skips...or something like that. Can anyone with experience in shooting with the MiniDV mode help shed some light on this rumor?

-- Joel Dunn (, November 10, 2002.

DSR-PD150 Is a TRILLION times BETTER than the XL1 and XL1s (Wich we all know is the same cam as the XL1 remarketed with an "S" in its name.)

-- John Mack (, November 10, 2002.

Everybody will tell you that the PD150P is a better camera, and the Canon people will tell you that the Canon produces more proffesional results to the publics eye.

The PD150P is sturdier and can take poor handling over long periods of time. It is however old. A GL2 and a beachtek xlr adapter is as good as the pd150 - > bg1.php

I would recommend you to look into the new panasonic model out now. It costs the same as the pd150 but has better picture (aledgedly) and other features that make it a better coise, -like the fact that you don't need a wide angle adapter.


-- OD (, November 24, 2002.

I've used both cameras and in regards to your questions- I would go for the PD150 and unfortunately pixels and lens quality is as important as each other.

Go for the PD150 for its build and picture quality- save time with lights and finding power points- the PD150 has spectacular low light filming and sony have a 9 hour battery!

The fact that canon make lenses for high end broadcast cameras but don't really make high end video cameras- suggests only one thing. They make good lenses.

-- Christian Bowman (, December 21, 2002.

Has anyone used the PD150 with the 2x doubler or with the wide angle adaptor? How does footage shot with these adaptors look?

-- Postal Boy (, May 27, 2003.

The BBC use pd-150's..........need i say more!

-- justin (, July 09, 2003.

the canon xl1 has the worst lens i've ever seen, i'm sure canon is able to make lens but this one sucks, it does have (at least the one i tried) a backfocus problem, how can they sell such an awful product? i know what is focus and what is not, and the xl1 has backfocus problem, try it yourself. btw the pd150 is great camera, very fast, light, great for docu and filmaking

-- pier (, August 15, 2003.

This ia an awesome board. I think i am one of the few people on this list that has acutally used both of these cameras extensively in their basic retail forms. NO special lenses, no funny filters. If you have poor lighting, can't find subject matter, and don't know how to hold a camera steadily, don't get into videography. And yes ladies, the shoulder muscle is what holds a camera up. Work out! I fence, great for the camera arm. Under identical controlled conditions these cameras can have their footage edited together with very minor color tweaks with no problems. Depending on what you like for periferals, the sony has great audio, the canon has awesome (expensive) lenses. The "HISS" in the 150 is a myth. Learn how to operate a mic. The fact that you have to buy an XLR adapter for the canon is obscene. This is why the xl1 is PROSUMER. I find the sony to be cool color temp, and the canon to be warm. So for outdoor shoots, the canon. For studio work, the sony. I am tired of hearing about pixles and resolutions and CCDS. Unless you are producing for HDTV, who cares! Learn how to light. If you are forcing the camera to compensate for your lack of environmental conditions you are going to get crapy images. WHAT I CAME HERE TO FIND OUT WAS, HOW DOES THE NEW sony PDX10 STACK UP AGAINST THE GL2.??? I have to say, the gl1 takes freaking great pictures. I have yet to use the new PDX10. ANYBODY? HELP ME,. i have 2 grand burning a hole in my pocket!!!! I want small yet powerfull!!! the sony audio is what attracts me, but canon gl's have that beefy lens. I dont want to sound crazy after i basicaly said it doenst matter which camera you use. But ive seen better footage from gl1's than xl1's retail edition. NO extras. and the optical zoom and the lcd monitor on the gl's make the xl's seem like a production goof. Its like that standard lens on the XL1 was made all long as a deception to what its really capably of, not a whole lot.

-- Don Pepperoni (, August 16, 2003.

Used both XL1 is brilliant for tripod work off especially if you have plenty time to retake. As an off the shoulder tool its crap.. I found the autofocus eratic causing the missing of essential shots on the hoof. The biggest problem with the XL1 for professional work is the inability to have channel 1 as the the camera mike and channel 2 for the use of a radio microphone especially with the XLR adaptor. Got rid of the XLs in favor of 3 150's all controls are sensible aeasy camera to use in both auto and manual set the sound manually conrtol it manually camera mike channel 1 radio on channel 2 youll have no problems with hiss

-- Gary Cuthbertson (, August 19, 2003.

lol 3 years later this discussion is still going on. I'll sum it up. If you want a good camera go with either or lol. I've seen great stuff from both and crappy stuff from both. Learn how to use it. Buy whatever.

-- Jay (, October 08, 2003.

Ok you pd150 lovers, if the pd150 is so great, then why are more featurs being made with the xl1s? There have been quite of features made with the XL1S that made bank in the Box office! Listen to my man Steven Soderbergh when he stresses why the xl1s is the best DV cam to use when it comes to quality, versatility, and reliablity! Dont settle for less, buy the pd150 and then pretend you've got the best minidv cam out there, I mean, sony always has to come up with their own little formats such as DVcam and Digital8, Micro MV, why? I would definately say get an xl1s, and buy a XLR adapter shoulder pad if you feel you must whine about it being uncomfertable, then its nice and comfy, you dont have to hold it in your hands all day long, that'd be nice, my arms get tired of holding those fag cams all day long, too small, besides, if your gunna do weddings, get and xl1s, you'd be amazed at how much better the clients feel about their wedding production when the see the professional cam, you'l get more business, thats why I sold my pd150, spring for the'll thank me later PEACE!

-- Fick Dich ins knie! (, October 15, 2003.

A PD150, about the PD170???


-- Frank Borghstijn (, October 20, 2003.

Man, after reading this whole site, I still don't know what to get! I want one that looks like film and will shoot great outdoors and indoors with low light. It sounds like I should get both!! How about prosumer HD cams - JVC has one, when will the others have one?

-- George Osorio (, November 04, 2003.

Well, reading it all, I like to say, both camera has good, and bad. The XL1S is good looking, and has the ability to costumize to your need. You can spend as much as 20-30K to make it a "Pro film Cam". The PD150 is more of a reporter cam. Smaller, and designed for the field work in mind. I find the third alternative. Look at the Panasonic DVX100. It has both of the XL1S and the PD150 quality + has an addition of 24P mode. The price is similiar, The picture quality is mind blowing, it is small enough to field work, and it has a strong construction. The viewfinder is color, but the resolution (180K in .5" display)so high that is well sutable for pro focus need. The Leica lens is good as a Canon. It is totaly manual or auto design for the pro in mind. WelL...... that is my opp. after having the pleasure to own both the XL1S an the PD150. Please, invest some time, and read the spec's of all, and compare!!!

-- Just an other amateur (, November 12, 2003.

This site was helpful but from what I can tell it seems like the owners/supporters of the PD150 seem to be a bit angry. Can anyone tell me which cam is better??? The XL1s or the PD150!!??

-- Emjay (, December 07, 2003.

I know several people that shoot with both.The majority choose the 150.As far as the Canon goes,it does put out a nice pic but it's extremly clumsy and in my opinion does not compair in low light conditions.We do mostly wedding work and our editing department loves the look on the sony 150.Personally i will be buying a new Sony pd170 as soon as it's available for a decent price.Plus how could any videographer live with out the LCD?.Come on people you need both to really work it right.................

-- James (, December 13, 2003.

Someone asked "which is better?".

Final answer - Neither. They are both good. People will be impressed with footage from either if you shoot it right. The "Steven Soderbergh" issue is stupid. Like he didn't get his equipment for free with a "plug" agreement. Like the package that he used to upgrade his camera wouldn't absolutely break the bank of anyone here. People used the Canon for film and documentaries. People used the Sony for film and documentaries.

I have YET to see ANYONE look at finished footage and say "That was a Canon" or "That was a Sony".

You may have the OPTION of using different lenses with the Canon, which may seem like a more professional option, but many of the professional FILM cameras don't even have a ZOOM on them...they use dollies.

The Sony and Canon look different, but do the same thing. In the end, they both produce professional quality video (when used right). The new Panasonic also shoots professional looking video. So do the JVCs. So do...

Find the camera that has the features that you want and go for it. I would never buy a different lense with the Canon, so that doesn't interest me. My father-in-law shoots with an XL-1 and produces amazing wedding videos. Others shoot with the sonys and produce amazing video. It all comes down to personal choice. And personally, I'm interested in the Panasonic right now as well - hear it takes nice pictures (G80 is a lot cheaper since I don't get caught up in the 24P crap, either).

Just my 2 cents (and an extra quarter or two)

-- Just Passing Through (, January 15, 2004.

I've used both alot!!I'm not going to prattle on about sony vs canon except the pd150 is like a new bmw and the canon is like a nasty old toyota!

-- Patrick Hume (, February 04, 2004.

How much do you think a second hand PD150 should cost?

-- Efi Gabriel (, February 06, 2004.

i am looking for a 3ccd camera now and throiugh all the research i've discovered this:

i started with the gl2, then decided on the vx2100, and finally conlcuded that the pd170 is the best. this is a lot of research under my belt and found that the pd170 is simply the best quality camera, my two cents

-- e1mosays (, March 05, 2004.

for student films and documentaries, that is

-- e1mosays (, March 05, 2004.


-- Stephen (, March 25, 2004.

I also have been looking for a new cam, and have gotten caught up in the Sony vs. Canon thing. Right now, I'm leaning toward Canon, but since it's now 3 years after this thread was started, I'm the PD150 still one of the best for its price, or might I just as well get a PD170?

-- Jacob (, May 22, 2004.

Whoops, that's a big typo...meant to say I'm leaning toward Sony

-- Jacob (, May 22, 2004.

Re: The XL1 and PD150 debate. Its one thing playing with the numbers, this has more lines than that, etc, But when it comes to "combat conditions" out there in the real life situations that’s when you will find out which is the best camera. I had to video video-photographers at the launch of one of their documentaries on WW2. The cinema lights were supposed to be put on after the showing when some dignitaries were to speak, unfortunately someone forgot, so I pointed a XL1 I was testing at them and it was total darkness, I could have turned up the “wick” gain but would have lost quality. I grabbed my PD150 and I couldn’t even tell if I was filming a man or woman and got the shot OK. The strength of a camera is how it behaves in low light. That’s the difference between a $5000 and a throw away camera. Its not much good having interchangeable lens etc and you cannot get the shot anyway.

-- john crummond (, June 04, 2004.

There was a question about the JVC HD cam. It's just a cam with it's pixels boosted to the max and just 1 CCD,nuff said...

-- Yuri (, August 16, 2004.

I've used all three cameras from shooting weddings to sporting events. We started with the Canon XL-1s, broadcasting video for our church services. The XL-1 does a good job close in, however, it becomes very grainy from about 75 feet out. On top of that it's difficult to focus when light changes quickly as often happens in concert and stage productions. I then purchased a JVC-GY DV500U for my business and began to experiment. One day I brought the camera to chruch to use for our services and the difference was remarkable, we replaced all our Canon cameras with the JVC's. As for the gentlemen that commented on the Canon lens, you'll find the top cameras in the world use Fujinon TV series lens more than the Canon, Canon made a name for themselves in still photography, and then entered the video market, the cheapest Fujinon lens will cost half of what a complete Canon XL-1 with a 16X lens will cost, thus the reason why most videographers will go with the Canon--PRICE!

OK, back to the JVC the difference was incredible, the JVC brought out colors around black surroundings due the much larger CCDs and DSP processing. In addition, it has special features to adjust from shooting when blacks are saturated, for instance say your shooting a stage production were dancers are wearing all black at night on a lighted stage, it will adjust for the seperations of the black on black and use the lighting to pull out the dancers. The drawback on the JVC is that it's suited for just that--stage productions were the were the camera can be mounted on a tripod and zoomed on the target.

It can flat wear you on trying to shoot from the shoulder, especially if you are constantly on the move and this is where the XL-1 has the distinct advantage. It's made to be more mobile for shooting scenes with a glidecam, etc.

Last year I purchased a Sony VX-2000, since that time I've used this camera on 95% of my shoots. The quailty is outstanding, the only setback is the manual focus is shaky, unlike the Canon and JVC, your better of not even messing with the manual focus on the Sony.

The Sony is the easiest to handle out of all three and it can handle a very wide range of jobs. I've come to depend on it so much that I just recently sold my JVC.

I will add this, if your into strictly shooting sporting events or other fast moving scenes where you can remain stationary, then the JVC is your best bet. The black and white viewfinder will give you a more accurate reading of what your recording then color back lit LCD screens or color viewfinders, and it much easier to keep the camera focused on manual then the Sony or Canon.


Wes Legend-Video

-- Wes Watson (, August 19, 2004.

we have CAMCORDER SONY DSR PD 150 P new with accessories and guaranty to sell. price: 2500 £

-- VS (, September 03, 2004.

Excellent Condition Used PD150P (purchased August 2003) for Sale - London, UK Professional Modification to extend Mic Bracket - allows use with Gun Mics such as Sennheiser K6-ME66 (Bracket can be disattached and replaced with original bracket if preferred) Reason for sale: excess to our requirements. Buyer Collects. £2500 no offers.

-- (, September 03, 2004.

Which is good for weddings and events videograpy, out of JVC, SONY & Canon.

-- Bhavesh Rathod (, September 25, 2004.

Hey Guys,

feel I need to comment on this neverending discussion about which of these cameras that is the best one...

Although it´s irrelevant which one has the coolest looks - I must say to the disadvantage of the PD 150 that it´s also irrelevant whether the camera in question can shoot in DV CAM format and has better microphones etc -since that doesn´t contribute anything to any better image quality.

The PD 150 has the exact same picture/image quality as it´s little brother - the VX2100 - which goes for about 2 grand less. Strangely - I always read that people say how great the PD 150 is, but never how very good the VX2100 is. the image quality is identical- the PD 150 has better audio - that´s all. wonder if that´s really worth 2 grand?

Also - as far as progressive mode on the PD150/VX2100 - it is practically useless - since it films 15 fps.

The Canon´s frame (progressive) mode are real 25 fps/30f fps (PAL/NTSC).

Also - now with the release of Canon XL2 - which has loads of new features and a "true" 16:9 mode - the PD 150 should be out of consideration for good.

I agree that the PD150 is better and more well suited as a reporter type of camera - since it´s more portable than the XL1/XL2´s (allthough pretty front heavy with an wide angle lens)- but for more serious video production I cannot see why anyone would choose the PD 15O over the Canon XL1/XL2.

As someone remarked earlier on this board -if now the PD 150 is so much better - why does the canon XL1/XL1S get used ten times more often within serious film/video making?

Can´t really only be due to that is "looks cooler"...

-- David Jensen (, October 06, 2004.

This is just my own opinion based on my requirements for a (semi)professional (allround) camcorder.

A couple of weeks ago i bought the sony vx2100e (pal) after a long research on what camera is best (for my use) to buy.

i'm an art school student in holland mainly producing video, and having to say that with my background of analogue slr photografie i love the beautiful depht of the canon lens. but i wanted an alround camera. one which has good sound quality, good low light quality, clolours and a bitter sturdyness. So i chose the vx2100. i payed 2749 euro's (new) and am very satisfied with the quality of the body of the camera and his very good image quality. at first i was a little worried about the camera having a 15 frames progressive scan mode, but i found that (after testing) shooting with a manual-shutter of 25fps you get a progressive video when capturing in premiere pro, Avid or Final cut pro. Also: older versions of Canon camera's like the xm1 (gl1) aren't to be trusted with windows xp (even sp2, and i don't know this is a problem with the ntsc version. i've got a lot of experience with these cameras because on the art school in arnhem we've got eight of these and four xm2's wich have no problem at all with windows xp). Also with an NP-f960 (or 970) battery-pack the camera holds for over six hours (with lcd opened). very efficient.

So i chose the vx2100e. suites my needs. (reasonably) small camera. sturdy. good picture quality. progressive mode when shooting with a 25fps frame rate (under 50fps interlaced mode). Bad quality stills! but who needs a good still image quality with a camcorder, and if you wan't it: BUY A DIGITAL SLR STILL CAMERA!!

I hope this is usefull to anyone.

Video's (dutch spoken):

-- julius van der vaart (, February 23, 2005.

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