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Canon XL1S
Digital Video 3-CCD CAMERA

Canon XL1S - Super Low Light

High-Resolution - Digital Video Camera

  • 3 CCD with Pixel Shift Technology

  • 3 Shooting Modes

  • Super Range Optical Image Stabilizer

  • 4-Channel Digital Audio

  • Analog Input|Output

  • IEEE 1394 In|Out Terminal

The Canon XL1S is not one, but many different cameras. Interchangeable lenses and viewfinders allow the XL1S to be tailored for optimal performance in any shooting condition. Incorporating high precision optics, full manual control, and features found only previously on top-end professional gear, the XL1S raises the standard for others to follow.

Canon's XL1S makes it possible to truly customize your shooting experience. Its unique open architecture design, full manual control, and extensive list of dedicated accessories allow the camera to become an extension of your creative spirit. Superior image quality and pro-oriented features make the XL1S ideal for those with discriminating taste.


Digital Video Format and IEEE 1394 

The XL1S is a consummate professional creation tool that supports the established industry standards, MiniDV and IEEE 1394. Support of these standards make the XL1S a flexible video creation tool that interoperates with standard DV equipment and computer editing systems as accorded by engineering, scientific and broadcast communities.

The MiniDV format supported by the XL1S delivers more than 500 lines of horizontal resolution -- a 25% improvement over analog systems. The DV format allows for near lossless transfer within digital editing environments for faster creation, increased productivity and improved production quality of final prints.

The XL1S comes standard with a DV terminal that conforms to IEEE 1394 for digital transfer of video and sound, in addition to regular video and audio outputs. The IEEE 1394 (also known as FireWire) standard allows editing, copying and recording of digital video over a single cable. This transfer format affords improved image and sound quality and is virtually free from generation loss.

The Canon XL1S is available in NTSC and PAL versions. These are the world's standards for television production. NTSC, (National Television Systems Committee) is the 525-line screen, 60fps (fields per second) standard of North America and Japan. PAL (Phase Alternate Line) is the 625-line screen, 50fps (fields per second) standard of Europe, Hong Kong and the Middle East.


        Interchangeable Lens System

Unlike other DV systems available, the XL1S supports interchangeable lenses, both for video and still imaging, as well as extender zooms. With the XL mounting system, the XL1S offers maximum flexibility and an unbeatable range with potential focal ranges between 24 and 17,280 mm (35 mm photography equivalent).


Canon XL1S 3CCD Digital Camera



The XL1S 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.

Pixel Shift

Because human eyes see green more clearly and readily, the green component of a video signal contains 60% of the picture detail whereas the red and blue components together comprise the remaining 40%. With the advanced Pixel Shift on the XL1S, the green CCD is physically shifted the equivalent distance of 1/2 pixel horizontally from the red and blue CCD, and the green signal is electronically shifted 1/2 pixel vertically. This shifting of the green CCD increases the sampling points, resulting in a system that is comparable to 410,000 pixel CCD systems in terms of resolution. With a larger pixel size and the process of Pixel Shift, the Canon XL1S gives wider dynamic range, better low light recording, reduced vertical smears, and high quality still images without sacrificing the highest resolution DV available.

Super Low Light

The three CCD image sensors in the XL1S, each with 270,000 pixels, were specifically designed to capture as much image detail as possible and for shooting under extremely low light conditions. The size of each pixel is 72 square microns - 150% larger than the pixel-size on comparable DV models. The result is an approximate 4 dB improvement in sensitivity. This improved sensitivity means that each CCD can capture more information at all light ranges. In super low light, the XL1S still captures crisp and clear digital data. Under extremely bright conditions, the Pixel Shift capabilities of the XL1S greatly reduces vertical white streaks and smears, making it a consummate field recording device for all conditions.

          Shooting Modes and Aspect Ratios

The XL1S has three shooting modes: Normal Movie, Digital Photo Mode, and the cinema-like Frame Movie Mode that is very popular among filmmakers. The XL1S offers both the standard 4:3 aspect ratio and the 16:9 wide screen TV aspect ratio.

16:9 is the recently set world standard aspect ratio for HDTV. Currently in use with PAL+ in Europe, and used in nearly 200 DTV broadcasting stations in the US, this aspect ratio more accurately conforms to human peripheral vision and visual perception.

Interval recording allows for the capture of time elapsed motion videography. The XL1S can be programmed to record at various intervals for varying amounts of time.

Set intervals include: 30 seconds; 1 minute; 5 minutes; 10 minutes.

Set recording times include: 0.5 second; 1.0 second; 1.5 seconds; 2.0 seconds.

          Programmed Auto Exposure

Programmed Auto Exposure Modes provide automated advanced recording techniques ensuring professional results in various shooting conditions. There are six AE programs available including Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority, Spotlight, Manual, Full Auto, and Auto Mode. These applications are designed to give you creative freedom while allowing the recording control desired.

          Shooting Enhancements

The Canon XL1S offers many on-camera enhancements that help avoid common shooting errors and make capturing high-quality footage trouble-free. The shooting enhancements also include basic conventional features that are commonly found on broadcast camcorders.

  • SMPTE Color Bars - NTSC, EBU Color Bar - PAL
  • Power Save
  • Top Grip with Recording Control
  • Variable Zoom Speed
  • Index Write
  • Zebra Level
  • EVF Display ON/OFF

          SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization

Until now, optical image stabilizers have used solely a gyro sensor to detect camcorder vibration. The data collected by the sensor controls a vari-angle prism that continuously corrects the path of the incoming light. SuperRange goes one step further by examining the image after it is received by the CCD, and detecting any low-frequency vibrations missed by the gyro. This data is fed back to accelerate and refine the movement of the vari-angle prism. This greatly improves performance for low-frequency vibration, resulting in the most advanced optical image stabilization available today. This feature is found only on Canon's optical Image Stabilized 16x zoom lens.

          Picture Adjustments

Attaining the best picture possible is the essence of filmmaking, photography, videography - and Canon. The XL1S automates and also allows manual control of the essential ingredients that go into capturing great images.

  • Color Phase
  • Picture Sharpness
  • Color Gain
  • Setup Level
  • Gain Control
  • White Balance

          Audio Adjustments

Canon knows that audio is crucial to professional productions, and the XL1S provides the highest standards in audio capture available on a digital video system with a 16-bit, 2-channel recording option. The XL1S also has two additional 12-bit recording channels allowing simultaneous recording on four channels. Audio levels can be controlled manually to further extend sound quality as it is recorded.

Audio and Video Inputs and Outputs

The XL1S offers a plethora of means by which to get audio and video in and out of the camcorder.

The XL1S is designed to handle two types of analog video input and output: using audio/video cables (composite) or S-video. There are four audio inputs and outputs. All connections are on the camera body.

Custom Keys and Presets

Two Custom Keys (two settings for camera mode and two for VCR mode). The XL1S allows you to create and save your own custom settings so your common shooting modes can be readily duplicated. Select options from either the Camera Menu or the VCR Menu and create up to two customized settings for each.

Additional Features

The XL1S has many additional features for ease of use and creative control.

  • Magnesium Alloy Body
  • Tally Lamp
  • Multi-Angle Viewfinder
  • Low Power Consumption
  • Easy Menu System
  • Digital Effects
  • Time Code
  • Data Code
  • Remote Control
  • LANC
  • Canon EX Speedlite Flash Compatibility
  • Photo Search

Technical Data

About DV Tape Formats

    Uses Videocassettes bearing the MiniDV mark
    SP: 60 minutes (with an 60-min. cassette)
    LP: 90 minutes (with an 60-min. cassette)
    SP: 80 minutes (with an 80-min. cassette)
    LP: 120 minutes (with an 80-min. cassette)
    8 3/4 x 8 7/16 x 16 5/16 in.
    (223mm x 214mm x 415mm)

    Weight with lens and battery pack:
    6 lbs 4 7/8 oz approx. (2.86 kg)

Rental Price: $125.00 / Day

Manufacturer's Brochure (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Camera Instruction Manual (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

DV Messenger Software (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

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