On Tuesday, Canon took the wraps off the highly-anticipated successor to its XL1 and XL1S digital camcorders. The Mini-DV XL2, which will be available in August for US$4,999, features the ability to record at 60i, 24p or 30p frame rates, a choice of 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) or 16:9 (962 x 480) aspect ratios, a 680,000 pixel progressive scan CCD, an open architecture that accommodates interchangeable lenses and adapters and more. In addition, the company introduced a new Professional L-series 20X optical zoom lens that offers a 72mm filter thread, a 6-blade iris diaphragm, two independent ND filters, a f/1.6 to f/3.5 aperture and more. It’s included with the camera.
The XL2’s choice of frame rates allow you to capture a wide variety of look and feel, with 30p offering the option to freeze an image or slow down motion for an “instant replay” effect and 24p coming across as a “cinema look,” complete with a 1/48th per second shutter speed that matches the speed found in cameras used for typical Hollywood productions. 60i is the standard frame rate used in television today. Such variables as Gamma, Knee, Black, Color Matrix and others can be modified independently for more precise control of the picture, and you can create three custom presets to recall specific settings at a later date, or to share them with another camera through its FireWire 400 port.
In addition to the openness of the XL2’s external architecture, Canon is also offering a software developer’s kit that allows you to create customized software controls for the zoom, focus and image controls as well as white balance and Master RGB gain. The XL2 is compatible with Final Cut Pro 4 and iMovie 3.