March 26, 2006

J.D. JOHANNES ON BODY ARMOR — I told you so: “When I chased a Marine infantry platoon around Al Anbar last Summer I was armed only with a Canon XL-2 camera and only wore a kevlar vest similar to what a police officer would wear. By wearing/carrying 50 pounds less I was able to out run and climb the 21-year-old grunts.”

His earlier post on the subject is here.

UPDATE: J.D. would move even faster if he used a Canon GL2, which is smaller than the XL2 by far but has the same imaging. No interchangeable lenses, but I suspect that’s a minor drawback when covering combat.

The Insta-Wife shot most of her documentary with a Canon XL, but on one interview where she had to fly solo she took the GL2 and it was the best video — and audio — of the whole thing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Greg Johnson says I’m wrong about the GL2:

The image system on the XL2 isn’t identical to the GL2. The XL2 also has 24p option (the GL2 doesn’t), where frames are “pulled down” within the camera itself to simulate the film “look.” This is the big new development in DV prosumer technology in the past two years, the Panasonic DVX100 series has it as well. One step closer to under $5000 cameras looking no different from film (to a layman) on the DVD player.

Hadn’t noticed that, but then that’s not an option that I’m interested in.

And be sure to read this underlying story on the armor subject:

Extra body armor — the lack of which caused a political storm in the United States — has flooded in to Iraq, but many Marines here promptly stuck it in lockers or under bunks. Too heavy and cumbersome, many say.

Indeed. Of course, on the general subject of whether more armor is always better I can say I told you so too!