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Old May 6th, 2007, 07:10 PM   #1
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Why get more expensive HDV camcorder if you're planning to use an adapter?

Hello there! For the past three or four months I've been thinking about purchasing a Canon A1, which, as you probably know, is a pretty nice prosumer camera with lots of awesome manual features. It's got everything I could want in a camcorder.

I've also spent that time learning about 35mm adapters, which, as you all know, allows you to use 35mm lenses and thus makes the picture look a lot like film. Which is just awesome.

But the thing is... when you're using an adapter, you're not going to be using any of the features of your camera. Everything should be locked.

So I'm wondering... why should I spend 3500 bucks on the Canon A1 when I'm just planning on shooting with an adapter?

I can save 1500 bucks and go for 24p-capable HDV consumer camera like the Canon HV20 instead, and the only thing I loose are a couple CCD's. That's the only practical difference, right? It's not a 3-chip camera.

I don't know. It's just that I feel like since you're not utilizing all the fancy options and controls of a better camera, I could save a lot on the camera and invest in a better 35mm adapter system, and the footage would still look great.

What do you think? Is it really worth it to go for the A1? Do I have my priorities in the wrong place?

Thanks a lot! I'd love to hear your opinions.

Colin Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6th, 2007, 08:31 PM   #2
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Just be aware of rolling shutter.

as Russ Andersson puts it:


Say no to CMOS!
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Old May 6th, 2007, 08:35 PM   #3
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You need to be able to lock off two principal functions, shutter speed and video gain.

You need also to consider mechanical aspects - how the camera will support the adaptors or the adaptor support the camcorder, bridgeplates, rods, matteboxes etc., and whether functions of the camera remain accessable once your adaptor is mounted. (cassette door for inserting and removing tape which is a nightmare on one Sony model)

Beyond that, the rest is up to your personal preference as to what your are prepared to accept visually.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 10:43 PM   #4
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Check this thread out:


and these thread provide additional test shots, as well as a picture of the camera set up to shoot upside down.


Chris J. Barcellos
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Old May 7th, 2007, 06:40 AM   #5
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If you compare the HV20 to the Canon XH-A1 you'll be getting far more control over your image with the A1, not to mention:

Better latitude
Manual control over picture elements (gain, gamma curves, setup, pedestal, etc.)
Better color reproduction
Better low light capabilities

All in all, these are two very different machines. I think my HV20 will work great with my new Letus adapter, but there's no way it could get as good images compared to my XH-A1. Honestly, I haven't seen too much "rolling shutter" issue with the HV20, so that's the least of my problems.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 09:29 AM   #6
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Re: Rolling shutter

I've had one or two incidents with what I now think is the rolling shutter issue. The issue was not with an adapter, but with standard camera. I think it is a combination of things. Tripod mount slight left to right upward pan, OIS inadvertantly with instand auto focus on. All of these were know to be on by me, but I was seeing what would happen. I had an object that was focused on in center of screen, started upward left to right pan and that object started to almost liquify as the tilt pan continued, and lettering on it seemed to float independently.... It was ghostly looking, adding effect, since the foreground object was a gravestone....

However, all that said, I have shot my letus with the FX1 and the HV20, and feel the HV20 has a lot to offer. One of the big issues is the flip issue. From my experience, aside from additional time required, flipping footage in post actually also loses something. And if you buy an adapter with flip capabilitiy, you are losing 1 to 2 stops over normal loss experienced with adapters. With the HV20, you can build a simple device to shoot camera upside down. See my threads above, and you will find one a put together in 20 minutes. It is a lot more difficult to shoot my FX1 upside down, because of the form factor. The HV20 lends itself well to that method. The way I set it up, there is no issue with tape change, or access to any control. Viewfinder still show upside down image, that can be remedied with opening the camera, and manipulating the dip switches. However, I am certain that with a lot of shooting, I won't even realize the image is upside down.....

As far as control, this camera has a lot more control than many give it credit for...
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old May 7th, 2007, 11:46 AM   #7
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Thanks a lot for the replies, everyone.

Interesting stuff. Wasn't aware of the rolling shutter thing. Hey Chris - is there a way to lock down the gain and the shutter speed as well as the focus and aperture?

And cool that you can mount that camera upside down! I bet people look at you weird but it's cool that it works.

Anyway, I was also unaware that the A1 has better latitude. Why is that? That seems fairly significant.

I also feel like there are certainly some situations where I will not want to lug around an adapter with the camera and in those situations, of course, the A1 would win out over the HV20... but I don't know. This is still something I need to think through.

Thanks for the replies thus far!

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