Canon GL2 MiniDV Digital Camcorder w/20x Optical Zoom
List Price: $2999.99

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Product Description

With the GL2, Canon has created a camcorder with a wealth of features, each selected to elevate further the standard against which other camcorders are judged. The GL2 is a must-have for the person looking for the very best video-making experience. The GL2's excellence begins with its outstanding Fluorite lens and includes pro-level picture adjustment features found only in Canon's top-of-the-line, trend-setting XL1S camcorder.

The Canon GL2 (like its predecessor, the GL1, and its big brother, the XL1) is helping to blur the line between consumer and professional video equipment. This camcorder borrows most of those cameras' professional-quality components and puts them into a more compact, affordable camera. Though it's small enough to carry around and doesn't cost much more than a top-of-the-line consumer camcorder, the GL2 produces such high-quality results that it could be used as a broadcast video camera.

The 3 CCD System
The GL2 maximizes the capability of the DV format by using a 3 CCD (charge-coupled device) system with a separate CCD for each primary color (red, green, blue). A beam-splitting prism separates light passing through the lens into individual color components and each is sent to its own CCD. Compared to a single CCD, the 3 CCD system achieves outstanding detail with highly accurate color reproduction suitable for the demands of high-end video production - wide dynamic range, low color noise, high-contrast detail, natural color resolution and low-aliasing. The 3 CCD system also makes advanced Pixel Shift (for increased image quality) and Low Light Recording (for increased flexibility) possible.

Professional L-Series Fluorite Lens
Canon has satisfied the demands of experienced image makers for years through the power, design and quality of 35mm and broadcast TV lenses. Canon's Professional L-Series lenses utilize Fluorite, a material which provides outstanding resolution, contrast, and color reproduction- especially in lightweight, high-magnification lenses. Incorporated into the lens on the GL2, Fluorite delivers the ultimate in clarity and image quality. The Fluorite element inside the lens defeats color aberration -- the effect when the components of light stray from one another within a lens, causing a reduction in sharpness, contrast and color. The Fluorite lens precisely controls components of light providing an excellent balance of these three critical ingredients of picture quality. This is unobtainable with conventional optical glass.

To further improve image detail, Canon has intentionally shifted the green CCD (which contains 60 percent of the picture detail) half a pixel horizontally and vertically. This shift allows more accurate interpolation, resulting in an image that Canon claims rivals those from cameras with 410,000-pixel CCDs. Each pixel is 72 square microns, which is about 1.5 times the size as those in competing camcorders. This increased size increases light sensitivity, allowing you to shoot in low-light situations. All this results in outstanding detail, with highly accurate color reproduction suitable for the demands of high-end video production. The GL2 also incorporates a 20x Professional L-Series fluorite optical zoom lens, which is equivalent to 39.5-790mm, as well as a 100x digital zoom.

Audio
The GL2's omni-directional microphone is designed to deliver realistic stereo sound. Using the GL2's advanced accessory shoe expands your audio options. Audio can be recorded in 16-bit mode on two channels on one track. Alternatively, audio can be record in 12-bit mode, where the audio track is divided into two, and two channels of audio are recorded onto one track, with the other left over for audio dubbing.

Optical Image Stabilizer
Canon's superb optical stabilization system corrects camera shake instantly so even hand held shots, at full telephoto, and shots taken from a moving car, are smooth and steady. And since it is optical, there is no loss of image quality inevitable with electronic image stabilizers. It perfectly complements the high picture quality of the DV format.

Digital Stills
You can turn your GL2 into a still camera by switching to 1.7-megapixel photo mode and capturing high-resolution still images onto the camcorder's MultiMedia/Secure Digital card. (One 8 MB Secure Digital card is included with the GL2.) The full-frame images are free from time-lag blur. A six-blade circular iris, as found on Canon's top-of-the-line XL1 and XL1S models, is used for professional exposure control, helping to deliver stunning video and still photos.

Inputs and Outputs
The GL2 comes with the standard DV IEEE 1394 port (also known as FireWire) for a super-fast, lossless connection to a PC or other DV machines. You can also connect to your PC via a USB connection to download still photos. The GL2 is designed to handle two types of analog input and output: using audio/video cables (composite) or S-video. Both connections are on the camera back.

More Features

  • Three shooting modes: normal movie mode, digital photo mode, and the cinema-like frame movie mode.
  • The Custom Key function lets you create and save your own custom settings so your common shooting modes can be readily duplicated.
  • Digital effects are offered for a greater imaging variety, including fader, sepia, strobe motion, and black and white.
  • With the Interval Timer function, you can record for a selected time with a selected interval--convenient for nature observations such as flowers or sunsets.

MiniDV Format
The Canon GL2 digital video camcorder uses the standard MiniDV cassette, producing the highest quality video possible from nonbroadcast equipment. The MiniDV format standard delivers more than 500 lines of horizontal resolution. And, because it records both video and audio as digital data, this information can be transferred--without any loss of picture or audio quality--to a computer for editing, then transferred back to DV tape, without a reduction in either picture or audio quality.

Features:
  • 20x optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 100x) and image stabilizer
  • 2.5-inch LCD with 270-degree rotation
  • Save to MiniDV tape or MMC/SD card (8 MB SD card included)
  • Record for up to 65 minutes on one battery charge

Customer Reviews:

  • Great quality "prosumer" camcorder
    I was drawn to the GL2 because I believe it is the only 3 CCD camcorder that has a 20X optical zoom. I've been very pleased with the quality and features so far, especially the optical image stabilization. I previously used a Sony Digital 8, which uses electronic image stabilization. This made it hard to do smooth pans, as the image would stay still during the initial part of the pan, then "pop" suddenly as the electronic buffer was exceeded.
    I also am looking forward to the wind screen setting for the mic, as many a shot on my old camcorder has been marred by so much wind noise that audio is inaudible....more info
  • Add an extra thousand dollars to the cost
    This camera is SPECTACULAR!!!! For about a year or two.

    Then the system tape rejection errors start (do your research). Once this happens it's to the canon repair shop you must go where they are currently charging $516 for the parts plus $400 for the labor plus taxes and shipping etc. I am now throwing my GL2 in the trash and saving up to buy a new one. Canon's repair costs are outrageous - especially when this problem has been complained about for YEARS. A Canon rep even told me to never use the camera to play or offload videos (why advertise it as a feature if its such a bad idea?). He advised that you should buy a cheaper video camera to do those types of tasks. Good advise.... but even if you do... remember to add that cost to the purchase price of the GL2

    - Disgruntled....more info
  • Canon GL2
    Great PRO 3CCD camera. We bought this camera because of it's lens quality and zoom capabilities....more info
  • Don't buy anything from Canon
    I own the GL2. A pixel has blown. I called an authorized Canon repair service and they told me not to bother installing a new CCD chip as that one will fail as well. And that lesson would cost me $[...] (US).
    I hadn't had the GL2 long enough for the Tape Cassette failure the GLS is famous for to kick in yet.
    It is called "Planned Obsolescence" and is now designed to kick in after the warranty expires.
    I can't recommend any Canon products. My EOS 20D camera's flash unit has never popped up. I didn't use the flash until after the warranty was up. I know I was negligent for trusting Canon's reliability but know I know better.
    And the Canon 50mm lens I bought new has a defect like a scratch or speck inside the lens. Also discovered too late.
    Read the complaints about Canon.
    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/cameras/canon.html
    http://www.eventx.com.au/avc.htm
    http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/canon-gl2-gl1-son-watchdog/32267-gl2-dead-pixel-again.html
    Never again for me....more info
  • fire wire problems
    I love the camera, however i've been having firewire problems with it since i got it.At first i thought it was my software-not,then the firewire itself-not.It is the port on the camera that is the problem. the conncection doesn't seem to complete the interface and it flashes 'dv in'and never stays connected,needless to say this is frustrating.I have to use another camera to upload footage into my editing program-is anyone else having this problem?...more info
  • Canon Gl2 Blues
    An ok camera, just not what I expected. I own a Sony VX2000 and PD-150 we use in video production of homes for sale. We bought the GL2 because of the fact it was about a half pound lighter and a little smaller than the Sony cameras.

    The first problem is when you attache the small 3 watt Canon light, the drain on the battery is too great and shuts down the camer before the battery is one half way drained. Even with the biggest battery that Canon makes the battery life is short with their fill light.

    The second problem was when the telephoto zoom button failed after 70 minutes of use, making the auto zoom function useless. Now I must send the camera back to Canon only after 20 days of use. The mail order place would only take it back within 15 days.

    The third problem is the low light noise is a little worse on the camera when compared to the Sony VX2000 or Sony PD-150. It is not a big difference, but it is noticeable.

    I never had a reason to mail in a Sony camera for repairs, even after years of use. It's a dissapointment to have a new camera fail in so many ways....more info

  • The dreaded "Remove the Cassette" message makes this a non starter.
    I've used this camera for 6 years. Last year I started getting intermittant "Remove the Cassette" messages. I wish I had captured the outstanding three recorded tapes onto my PC then. Instead I recorded another 45 minutes. Now, the error message is solid, no matter which tape I use.

    My experience with Canon in the past has taught me not to waste the time or the money to bother having this repaired. (I spent about $700 having my previous Canon Camcorder repaired. It worked a few weeks and died again each time.)

    Having gone to the web to research this bug, I'm convinced fixing this one will be an expensive and time consuming exercise in futility. (6 weeks plus turn around! and Canon won't tell how much the average repair cost is. Check the web .. $500+ )

    Lesson learned. I'll be shopping a different manufacturer. Sony? JVC? Never again Canon. ...more info
  • Canon GL2 Mini Cam
    Great camera , Great price. Bought this camera for my 16 year old son. He makes skateboard videos also tapes games for High School sporting events.
    After editing on his computer the finished product looks very professional!
    The camera is used daily and is very durable.No Complaints from him at all! Canon GL2 Mini DV 3 CCD Camcorder & 1GB Pro Opteka Accessory Kit...more info
  • Canon Gl2 Problems I Had!!
    Pros: Excellent image quality and color fidelity; 20X optical zoom; two-channel audio control; 1.7-megapixel still image capture; lightweight.

    Cons: Too many controls per button; onboard microphone is omnidirectional; mediocre battery life with included cell.

    Summary: An ok camera, just not what I expected. I own a Sony VX2000 and PD-150 we use in video production of homes for sale. We bought the GL2 because of the fact it was about a half pound lighter and a little smaller than the Sony cameras. The first problem is when you attache the small 3 watt Canon light, the drain on the battery is too great and shuts down the camer before the battery is one half way drained. Even with the biggest battery that Canon makes the battery life is short with their fill light. The second problem was when the telephoto zoom button failed after 70 minutes of use, making the auto zoom function useless. Now I must send the camera back to Canon only after 20 days of use. The mail order place would only take it back within 15 days. The third problem is the low light noise is a little worse on the camera when compared to the Sony VX2000 or Sony PD-150. It is not a big difference, but it is noticeable. I never had a reason to mail in a Sony camera for repairs, even after years of use. It's a dissapointment to have a new camera fail in so many ways...more info

  • Great Camera
    I purchased this camera looking to take more manual control over my video projects. And that is exactly what it has allowed me to do. It has the right balance of manual controls (as well as automatic modes) and price. It has given me the flexibility I was looking for. The weight balance is good, the controls are easily accessible and battery life is very good....more info
  • GL2 a good camera with problems
    The GL2 certainly is compact which is great for handling but means that all the inputs and outputs are squashe together and you need small nimble fingers. I specifically bought this camera to use with tapeless capture (Firestore FSD) and that has proved problematic as it records all on the screen. But it was not an unsurmountable problem, just not user friendly. The menus are clunky to use and I would like better audio inputs as standard....more info
  • Great Camera
    This camera is Great! I use it to film events for a broadcasting class at school and its wonderful. The only problem is the microphone picks up noises behind the camera, as well as infront, usually you only want sound from the front, but thats just a minor problem. The image quality is superb! Just be sure that you buy a better battery, because the one that comes with doesn't last too long. Other then those two small problems this camera is great. However if you just want to film small events, birthday parties etc don't get this, this is a semi-proffesional camera....more info
  • This Thing...WOW!
    Dude. This thing...WOW! I bet it's so good. Can't wait to not buy it....more info
  • GL2 sucks and Amazon sucks more...
    Within the first 30 days GL2 began eating my tapes. I promptly returned camera to Amazon within the first 30 days. 30 days after receipt of the product by Matt Greene at Amazon, still no refund. After 3 calls to their customer service, taken by people in the Philipines, still no refund. Will NEVER buy Canon or from Amazon again. Amazon, get your act together, this is not the economy to be messing with people's money. Plus, you might reconsider using people in a foreign company who have no concern for YOUR customers. They promised to call back twice, never did either time....more info
  • A great dv cam, but you have to know its limitations.
    I have been using this camera for about 2 years now and I am very pleased with it. It's a solid dv camera as far as design and durability are concerned, and the picture quality is some of the best in it's class of camera. You can do some great stuff with the GL2 but it does have it's limitations.

    For the price, this is a great "event" camera. If you shoot a lot of things like conferences, sports or other similar activities, this is probably good for you. If you produce content for the internet, like sketches or DIY videos, again, this is probably a good choice if you are starting out. The GL2 is basically like a semi professional camera for the amateur videographer. Once you "learn" the camera, you don't have much room to grow with it, so you could be looking for a more professional camera sooner than you would wish.

    With the falling prices of HD cameras, it's hard to justify buying the GL2 now though. For a few hundred dollars more you can upgrade to an hd picture and not lose any features.

    It's still a great cam, but it's lost some of it's clout recently. ...more info
  • Canon GL2 U.S. Approved!
    I tried buying the Canon GL2 from several other places to save money but they all had something very wrong... All camera operations in Chinese, Didn't come with ALL the parts,no warranty, etc. Amazon came through with exactly what I needed....more info
  • DO NOT BUY THIS CAMERA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    If you are looking into buy this camera....DON'T. get the Sony HDR-A1U High-Def camera it's 20x times better,newer,same price and High-Def.if you buy the GL2 you will get the "remove the cassette" warning after about a year of use!!!!! ...more info
  • Great camera, but prone to costly repairs
    I have had my Canon GL2 for several years. It worked fine for the first 2 years or so, then I got the dreaded "Remove the Tape" error. After looking online, I saw that a lot of others had the same problem, and that the only solution was to send it in for replacement of the tape drive mechanism -- to the tune of $250.

    I bit the bullet, sent it in, and it came back fixed --- for a while. Now it's about a year after the fix, but I only used the camera a few times, and the problem has returned.

    The camera is easy to use, and shoots good video, but if I had to do it over again, I would go with another manufacturer. For [...]bucks, the
    thing ought to work. My experience with this camera, and previous digital still cameras is that Canon quality/longevity leaves a lot to be desired.

    My old (10 yrs) Sony digital 8 camera is still going strong. I will look at Sony and Panasonic to replace my Canon, and never go back....more info
  • Fantastic quality and value
    Bottom line, the Canon GL2 is a great mid-range pro-sumer camcorder for everyday use and learning. We bought one for a high school broadcast journalism curriculum, and so far it's been great. We considered several other camcorders within the same price range, but we decided on the GL2 because of recommendations, features, and Canon's reputation.

    Some thoughts on the GL2:
    Pro:
    -Great bang for the buck.
    -*Extraordinary* image quality and focusing (3CCD instead of normal consumer of 1 CCD). We've shot a soccer game from about 150 feet away in the stands, and the zooming and focusing combines into outstanding quality. I've heard the GL2 has much better image than some other more-expensive pro-sumer cams, and the GL2 certainly gets the job done.
    -So-so internal mic. (But you should buy an external shotgun mic to use anyway so you don't pickup audio of camera adjustments.)
    -A fair variety of manual controls to learn and gain experience from.
    -Capable of shooting 9:16 wide screen shots, but it's not actually HD. A separate feature puts bounding boxes indicating 9:16 boundaries on the viewfinder for 4:3 shooting mode.
    -Secondary record/start-stop button and zoom dial on internal microphone area above cam body useful when shooting with camera near ground.
    -Steady-cam feature works fairly well.
    -Variety of preset effects/transitions.
    -White balance automatic/manual options easy to use. Feature's buttons near LCD panel.
    -Feature to reduce flicker shot of CRT monitors. Feature's button to left of LCD panel.
    -"Frame mode" - nice for documentaries, "unique" clips
    -"Advanced accessory shoe" behind internal mic for accessories such as internally powered lamps. Also can hold external shotgun mic shock mounts.
    -MiniDV tapes load in top side of GL2 opposite LCD unlike most consumer camcorders - can easily & quickly change tapes when using on tripod.

    Con:
    -Learning to operate some manual controls can be a little confusing and complicated.
    -The manual takes a bit getting used to terminology and language. A *couple* terms specific to this camera's operation refered to in feature explanations are not explained.
    -Included battery pack BP-915 only lasts about an hour. You'd probably want to also want to buy a secondary battery (that can hold more power), especially if you shoot sports games, meetings, etc.
    -As some reviews mention, some manual controls are operated within the same menus, and a couple common features users may frequently used are in the main menu. Check the manual for more info.

    Tips:
    -Make sure to white balance each shot, it's definitely worth it and makes video look that much better.
    -If you shoot outside footage in any precipitation, it's a good idea to get a rain slicker such as the Porta-Brace RS-GL2, and perhaps the Porta-Brace Polar Mitten Heated Case for temperatures below the low operating temperature of 32 deg Fahrenheit.

    Overall an outstanding piece of equipment I would certainly recommend for anyone looking for a camcorder with these types of moderately easy-to-learn features in this price range. Fun to learn from as well....more info