picture quality is horrible on my a1... at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old August 17th, 2007, 11:24 AM   #1
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picture quality is horrible on my a1...

video footage on my a1 is perfect. but how come every damn pic I take is grainy as hell. even well lit stuff sucks. gain has been adjusted but no settings seem to fix it. what is the best settings possible to make this thing work right? can you take raw images with this cam or only jpg? It just seems if the video footage is great then the pics should be just as good.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 11:32 AM   #2
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Maybe its just me, but I really don't see why anyone would want to take pictures with the camcorder. Personally, I wish the camcorder companies would just remove the feature all together, because I rarely see decent images taken with them. It seems as though they just add the feature for marketing reasons. I have seen a couple good photo's taken in this forum from the A1, but still, it's not a camera, its an HD Camcorder. :)

Also, It takes the picture at the same resolution as the video, so just take some video and then take a screen grab in your NLE if you really need to have a single image and have no digital camera around.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 11:45 AM   #3
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Luke, well said. I always have my SLR with me - much better than any camcorder. And yes, it's a Canon too. :)

One can do "fake zooms/pans" with stills in post too if you only have "dead" objects, like glas, facade, or similar. No need for going around filming such stuff. Great to fill out a lengthy scene.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 03:02 PM   #4
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Mark, I've had pretty good success with just pulling stills from the actual video. Here's a still from a video I shot with the XHA1 and the Letus 35mm adapter. It's pretty grain free or whatever is there adds to the organic feel of the pic.

This is not color corrected or treated in any way...just raw footage still.
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picture quality is horrible on my a1...-still.jpg  
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Old August 17th, 2007, 03:11 PM   #5
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just went out and bought a canon eos 30D, lets see if it will improve my pic quality. and that way I wont noob it up anymore by using a feature of the A1 which is taking digital pics :)

steve that's one hell of a grab, I'm gonna test that out now and see what I can do
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Old August 17th, 2007, 04:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Leonard View Post
just went out and bought a canon eos 30D, lets see if it will improve my pic quality. and that way I wont noob it up anymore by using a feature of the A1 which is taking digital pics :)

steve that's one hell of a grab, I'm gonna test that out now and see what I can do
Well, it will not degrade the quality for sure.

Note that all/most Canon SLRs tend to take "soft" images. A bit "sharpen" in Photoshop and you will have great images.

BTW, forget about those marketing texts about how excellent the costly 24-70/2.8L etc. lenses are. They are in fact pretty useless at 2.8. Go for f4-9 or so and they will shine. The CA at 2.8 for the 24-70 is horrid, not to mention the unfocus of the 50/1.4 at f1.4.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 04:26 PM   #7
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I found that I get great results in post, extracting a video frame instead of using the photo option. Here are a few stills.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=94162

The camera feature is nice, but when you swtich from video to card, the exposure and color casts are a little different. I found myself adjusting and readjusting shots in order to take a still. If you have that kind of time during a shoot, the card stills are decent, but only a bit better than what can be achieved from a screen cap.

The 30D should treat you well. I do a lot of print work with a 20D.
Don't invest yourself too heavily in the EF-S lenses. If you want to
go for a more serious camera in the future, the EF-S ones won't work.

I've attached some SD caps and their 20D counterparts.
Attached Thumbnails
picture quality is horrible on my a1...-a1-sd1.jpg   picture quality is horrible on my a1...-a1-sd2.jpg  

picture quality is horrible on my a1...-img_7258.jpg   picture quality is horrible on my a1...-spa1.jpg  

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Old August 18th, 2007, 10:14 AM   #8
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Hey Mark, I thought the same thing when i got my A1, I was shooting inside for pics and realized later that their was just not enough lighting. Did you try to take the pics inside with low light? Go outside and you should be happy with the results. make sure the gain is at 0 and the auto gain is off. As for taking stills off the hdv footage seems much better in time and quality. I thought that its a kewl feature but ill always take stills for the footage.
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Old August 18th, 2007, 01:30 PM   #9
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Mark, I do know what you are saying. I have much better luck out doors than indoors. Unfortunately we don't have a RAW mode, so every image has JPEG artifacts. But I do so love the clarity of the L lens and what i feel are fairly unique shots from what I get with my 35mm digital Canon. I have had success removing the noise with a Photoshop plug-In called Noise Ninja. The way that it works is that it can either analyze the EXIF data from the shot and give you a tweakable reduction toolset, or you can marquee an area that you feel best represents the noise pattern and it will calculate the reduction from that area. Using that in combination with Genuine fractals you can get quite a nice decent size print off of the A1.
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