XHA1 and HV20 Side by Side Test at DVinfo.net

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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.


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Old April 28th, 2007, 10:36 AM   #1
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XHA1 and HV20 Side by Side Test

XHA1 and HV20 Side by Side
After some adjustments balancing the colours using a component switching monitor setup I best matched the A1 to the HV20.

HV20 20 Settings.
White Balance set to Cloudy.
Av Mode Aperture set 3.4, Exposure locked to -2
Picture adjustments, Sharpness all the way up, Brightness all the way down, Contrast all the way up. Other setting remain the same.

The XHA1 adjustment preset I used can be downloaded at:
http://www.aliencodes.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/presets/

XHA1 White Balance was set to 5500K

50% Screen Grabs From Quicktime can be downloaded at:
http://www.aliencodes.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/grabs

Footage can be downloaded at:
http://www.millerandmiller.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/mov/1a.mov (uploading now)
http://www.millerandmiller.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/mov/2a.mov (uploading later today)
http://www.millerandmiller.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/mov/3a.mov (uploading later today)

http://www.aliencodes.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/h264

Files in the 'mov' folder have been split into short sections. You will need QuickTime to play these files, they are output directly from Final Cut Pro as full res HDV.

The H.264 file is 48mb 720 x 392 in QuickTime format.

All Footage Captured in 'Apple HDV 1080p25, 1440 x 1080

Conclusion:
In my opinion you have to use the A1 with a custom preset, the default setting is much to flat to balance footage with HV20 even in post.
The HV20 is a fantastic camera that I pick up and take everywhere. (taking it to the Ashdown forest on Sunday, home of Winnie the Pooh!). Will post edited footage.

James
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Old April 28th, 2007, 10:54 AM   #2
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the hv20 seems a bit more contrasty, does turning the contrast down (-1) or to 0 help?
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Old April 28th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #3
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Looks like the XHA1 appears the have slightly better resolution.. or at least a sharper image. I'd be interested to see the full resolution clips, or even screenshots at full resolution.

Thanks for posting these.
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Old April 28th, 2007, 12:49 PM   #4
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Turning down the contrast did help a little. But I still can't quite match the rich colours of the HV20. By using the Cine mode on the HV20 it's a little easier to match the 2 cameras.

I will post some full size grabs and more full resolution files later.

James
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Old April 28th, 2007, 12:58 PM   #5
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Hey James, thanks for taking the time to do this. I think this is one of the first direct comparisons I've seen between the cameras.

I notice the HV20 pics seem to have shallower depth of field than the A1 pics. Was this due to trying to match up the framing?
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Old April 28th, 2007, 01:04 PM   #6
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Yes I did have to match up the framing. The A1 was set back 20inches from the HV20 to help, but I still had to zoom in a little.

I was a little restricted with the cameras because of the HV20's short component lead.
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Old April 28th, 2007, 02:12 PM   #7
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I've posted some full frame images here
http://www.aliencodes.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/Full_Res_Grabs/

http://www.aliencodes.co.uk/XHA1-HV2...es_Grabs/HV20/
http://www.aliencodes.co.uk/XHA1-HV2...es_Grabs/XHA1/


HDV QT SQ 1440x1080
http://www.millerandmiller.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/mov/1a.mov
http://www.millerandmiller.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/mov/2a.mov
Now Uploaded

http://www.millerandmiller.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/mov/3a.mov (uploading now, will finish at 20:16 Local Time)

Other Files (uploading now):
http://www.aliencodes.co.uk/XHA1-HV20/Other_HV20_Files
SD DVD m2t file 15.5mb (1a)
Streaming H264 640x360 7.1 (1a)
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Old April 28th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #8
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I've got QT, but I can't seem to play these files...I just get a black screen with the status bar moving as if the clip is playing. Any idea what I'm missing?

I did look at the stills, and it is amazing how close these cams are in picture quality.
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Old April 28th, 2007, 02:53 PM   #9
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I think you will need the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component.

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/mpeg2/

The QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component provides QuickTime users with the ability to import and play back MPEG-2 content, including both multiplexed (a.k.a. muxed, where the audio and video tracks are interleaved together into one track) and non-multiplexed (a.k.a. elementary) streams.

The only catch is it's $20.

I am sure there is a freeware program like VLC player: http://www.videolan.org/ that will do the job.

Come back to me if you still have problems and I will save as a different a format. James
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Old April 28th, 2007, 08:44 PM   #10
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Jim, thanks, but the weird thing is I have Quicktime Pro and I just downloaded the VLC player. I just get a black screen with Quicktime which I thought was able to play mpeg2 and nothing but a moving progress bar with VLC. Strange.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 12:50 AM   #11
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I will convert them to m2t's later today. Has anyone else had this problem?
James
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Old April 29th, 2007, 03:49 AM   #12
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yes i am also

thanks
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Old April 29th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #13
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Thanks Jim.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 08:28 AM   #14
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Yeah, I can't play them either, thanks. You link pages seem to be down also.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 09:45 AM   #15
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having used an A1 quite extensively over the past six weeks, i just don't think that a side by side test with an HV20 has much use value. i'm not trying to be difficult or in any way take away from jim's testing. just honestly speaking, an image comparison doesn't mean much. you either want the incredible image flexibility and customizability of an A1. or you don't. it may be too much of a learning curve, it may be something you prefer to add in post-. etcetera. that's the real decision to be made.

you either want features like in-camera temperature control. or you prefer to warm balance using blue cards.

the added features either mean something to you. or they don't.

for my money, the ability to completely alter the look with the press of a button is well worth the price. i spent a lot of time, in the past few weeks, run and gunning from day to night, and from indoor to outdoor, and from high light to low light, and was able to adjust my image with an A1 to fit these environments, with just the push of a few buttons. i also use the 30F/P feature extensively, which the HV20 does not have, because i have more flexibility in setting shutter speed than i do with 24F/P.

i could go on.

i own an HV10, and in an outdoor, well-lit interlaced shooting environment, the HV10 image is every bit as high quality as the A1, and i have no doubt that i could match the images nicely. i think we can just assume that canon isn't trying to up-sell a better image from the HV10 to its top-of-the-line XL H1. the out-of-the-box interlaced images are comparable. they are selling enhanced feature sets, not "better" images from camera to camera. you will get better images *because* of your ability to implement the features, not because the image is substantially different from camera to camera....

i also have an FX-1, and if you take a bit of the magenta out of the A1 image and warm the A1 up slightly, it's a pretty good image match, too.

so i think that if you're paying more, it's because you want more image control, period, and you want that in the camera, rather than spending time in post-production obtaining it. without image control, the 1080 60i images are actually all rather similar.....and all pretty beautiful, in my opinion.

so don't pay up (or down, for that matter) because you think you are getting a better image. what you should pay up or down for, is the feature set.

again, my intent is not to derail the discussion, but rather, to offer my perspective, based on shooting a bunch of these cameras under a broad range of circumstances.
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