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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 October 13th, 2007, 05:11 PM   #1
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Canon A1 equipped vs. Sony EX as is?

The price on the EX is speculation for now, but based on threads here I would assume I'm in the ballpark...

I'm currently shooting with a FSC on and XL-2 and thinking of making the switch to HD. I already know that I don't want to use tapes anymore. (A firestore will do that to you) I was thinking the canon H1 or G1/A1 w/ a FSC but when the press releases for the Sony EX hit, I decided that for the money the EX would probably be a safe bet over the H1 and G1.

So the reason I'm posting this question here is the A1. The A1 has great specs, but I will no doubt be adding things to it which I may not need to add with the EX. Below is the short list. I'm aware that the EX would closer compare to the likes of the H1 or G1 with HDSDI out and all but I'd have to add the same extras to those cameras and that would certainly put their prices over the EX.

So the question is EX as is VS A1 equipped:

Sony PMW-EX1 as is: $6500-$7500
Comes with a real High Def LCD w/ 921,000 Effective Pixels
Has buit in tapeless recording without need for firestore device
1/2" sensors with a near pro lens for greater DOF than 1/3 sensors

vs.

XH-A1: $3250 - $3500
plus:
FireStore FSC for tapless: 60GB $1250
External Monitor for critical focus work: ikan: $750+noga arm: $100
Add the 35mm adaptor of your choice + pro lenses: $1000 and up
total: $6600 and up, depending on the lenses for a basic M2 kit.


If the EX hits the streets at $8000or more, I'm probably going the A1 route with all the extras. But if is does come close the price of the A1 I might have a harder time choosing. I'm a huge canon fan and have been since the L1/2 Pro Hi8 days, but this EX has really got me thinking.

Are any of you G1/A1 owners considering the switch to an EX?

Does anyone know if Canon has a solid state camera in the works for their "pro line"?

I don't consider the HG10 pro, though it was a surprise and got me thinking they might have something brewing to combat the other solid state camera in their class from Panasonic and now Sony.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 05:41 PM   #2
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The EX is a totally different animal. It's HDV, but it's at 35mbs, a significantly higher data rate. I think the Canon XH A1/G1/ XL H1 provide the best looking images in the 1/3" chip category, but you're comparing them to something in the next tier up.

I'm in no hurry to go tapeless, but if I were, the Sony solution is pretty workable. I don't know what the cards are going to cost, but just for speculation say they come in at around $500 for 32 gig ones. For $2,000-$3,000 you can probably get enough to do you for most types of shooting; and they're going to have an XDCAM disc burner, allegedly for around $2,500 that you can get to burn discs of your original footage for archival purposes. So I'm guessing around $12K would be closer to the real price for a working setup. And that's haf the price of Sony's XDCAM HD F-350 with no lens, so it's the best deal on the market, in my opinion.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 05:54 PM   #3
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Yeah I know the differences between the Canons and the Sony EX and that the EX is technically a step or two above them, but I have the archival part handled and would only need a card or two to start with the EX.

I'm looking at it like this: If a Canon A1 equipped with a monitor/firestore/35mm adapter comes close to the price of a EX. I think I might just go with the EX. I currently have a system that can handle XDCAM EX editing and archival so my only additional cost would be an extra SxS card for the moment.

The only thing it really hinges on is the actual price of the EX. If it's 6500-7500 I'll buy it.
If it's 7500-8500 I'll buy an A1 plus the extras

Either way, both will have a great picture that, I'm sure of.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 06:09 PM   #4
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I have an A1 and am planning to make the switch as soon as the EX is shipping. Part of the reason is that I'd like to go tapeless and get shallower depth of field - but I'm just not willing to turn my compact, easily portable and unobtrusive A1 into a cumbersome frankencam with all the accessories you've described. To me it defeats the purpose of getting a small camera in the first place, so the price difference is not the deciding factor.

Also (since I already own the A1), between the A1's resale value and the write-off from the EX this year the real cost for me to upgrade is probably less than the combined total of the accessories you've listed - if I didn't already have the A1 going to the EX would seem like a bigger cost jump and I'd probably go for the A1. It might not be a bad idea to do something like get an A1 first (maybe without all of the accessories) and shoot with it for a year before upgrading to the EX - by that time I imagine the SxS cards will have dropped in price/increased capacity.

I really am happy with the A1 - if it weren't for the fact that the EX has so many different aspects that seem to be improvements over it (sensor size, real lens, higher bit rate, tapeless, etc) I would just stick with the A1, it's a great camera.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 06:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Travis Binkle View Post
1/2" sensors with a near pro lens for greater DOF than 1/3 sensors
First of all, a greater DoF would be deeper (and I am assuming you are talking about a more shallow DoF).

Bigger chips give you shallower DoF, but it isn't going to be very obvious. Honestly, if you didn't know and based on DoF alone, I don't think you could tell the difference between 1/3" and 1/2'.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 06:28 PM   #6
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Bigger chips give you shallower DoF, but it isn't going to be very obvious. Honestly, if you didn't know and based on DoF alone, I don't think you could tell the difference between 1/3" and 1/2'.
I feel it's actually pretty noticeable - I remember a few years back when I was shooting a lot with Xl1's and a friend got a JVC dv500 - at the time I didn't even know it was a 1/2" cam, but the first time I shot with it and watched the footage the shallower DOF was quite noticeable. Since then I've always wanted a 1/2" cam but was never willing to go up to a bigger camera to get it - and now with the EX it finally looks like I won't have to. The difference in DOF certainly isn't nearly as dramatic as you'll get using a 1.8 nikon on a 35mm adapter, but it's enough (in my opinion) to noticeably improve foreground/background separation, unless maybe you're shooting at full wide.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #7
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You're right Bennis, I said "greater" but meant "better" by way of "Shallow" DOF.
I can see/tell the difference between 1/4" and 1/3" sensor cams so I figured the same would apply to this 1/2" camera. Every little bit helps and adds to the Bokeh.

While 1/2" sensors won't completely get me the same result as a Redrock on the front. They will get me closer than 1/3" and give me more light in the process, which would be great if I decided to get a 35mm done the road.

Even: Thanks for your input on the subject as a current A1 owner. It would very well be my next camera should the price of the EX be to far from my reach. I've researched the H1 G1/A1 to death and I'm actually nearly ready to buy. I just want to see where that Sony is price wise. If it is a bit more than I can afford right now, I'm going the route you suggested and stick with a A1 for now and save for the EX while it's media falls in price too. Something the P2 never quite did. But the express card seems to have more companies around it and should drop faster from what I've read.


On a side note to Shallow DOF: the EX has a DOF meter on it which tells you how far and wide the focus is, so I would assume that this camera will be noticeably different than the current 1/3"s
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Old October 13th, 2007, 07:01 PM   #8
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There will be a little difference but not all that much. Here's a short article about depth of field with the XH A1 with some examples: http://www.dvfreelancer.com/articles/DoF.html . Bigger chips obviously give you shallower depth of field under the same circumstances, but not enough to justify a purchase, in my opinion. Even with a 2/3" chip camera you don't get shallow depth of field unless you're pretty tight and wide open.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 07:15 PM   #9
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Bigger chips obviously give you shallower depth of field under the same circumstances, but not enough to justify a purchase, in my opinion.
It's not the only thing we're using to justify the purchase though. If fact it's the last thing on my list that I'm focused on. (pardon the pun)

The Real HD LCD, Tapeless work flow and pro lens way out rank the DOF for me. The 1/2" sensors are another huge plus, more so even, than the slightly shallower DOF they yield.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 07:18 PM   #10
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I shoot with the XDCAM 350 a bit, and it is a fantastic camera but I don't get nearly as shallow DOF on that with a fantastic lens and 1/2" chips as I do with my XH-A1 and my Brevis 35 (or really any camera with the Brevis).

The EX looks fantastic, and I may look into it down the road (and will likely put the Brevis on the front end quite a bit), but comparing that to an A1 with a 35mm adapter is like comparing apples to oranges. When I shoot on a Varicam the DOF is still quite deep compared to a 35mm adapter.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 07:44 PM   #11
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You can't compare DOF between EX1 "as is" and XH-A1 with 35mm adapter. I tried out the EX1 at a product launch and the DOF is not much different than what you get with a 1/3" chip camera. Yes it is better, but nowhere near what you see with 35mm.

The lens on the EX1 is really nice to use, but some camera controls seem to be a bit strange. For example, the way it was demonstrated, the shutter speed adjustment was very limited unless you went into the menus.

I'm also interested in the EX1 as my next cam, but only after I see what happens to memory formats and prices. I wouldn't want to be an early adopter of this technology, unless it was really necessary, because things can change vey fast.

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Old October 14th, 2007, 06:12 PM   #12
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Again, I'm saying that the DOF is the last of my concerns.

The Ex's Real HD LCD, Tapeless work flow and pro lens are what I'd like to compare to a equipped canon A1.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 08:20 PM   #13
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The lens will have distance marks, I've read. The Canon lens has distance readouts in the VF and LCD, so that's about the same thing in practical terms. I never liked the electronic lenses until they managed to give me the distance readouts and repeatable focus from the readouts. What would be more important to me is how wide the lens is at its widest end.

To me, the tapeless workflow is a negative thing, at this point, because it takes too long. You still have to copy over the files, and that's pretty much real time, just like loading from tape. Then you have to burn discs or come up with some way to archive the footage, at least I do because I have to keep all my original. The only tapeless workflow that works for me is XDCAM because the discs are about the same price as tape, and therefore you can store them without having to download, delete, copy and reuse. I think eventually we'll have some type of solid state storage that is economical enough so you don't have to reuse it. Then I'll be all in favor of tapeless.

However, even though I prefer tape or disc, I would probably buy the EX over the larger and more expensive XDCAM HD camera because it's so much cheaper and you can get to the same place with it. For that low price, I could live with the extra work of being tapeless (that's assuming the little Sony disc burner will work as it should).
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Old October 14th, 2007, 09:34 PM   #14
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To me, the tapeless workflow is a negative thing, at this point, because it takes too long. You still have to copy over the files, and that's pretty much real time, just like loading from tape.
Actually, part of the reason to use the SxS media is that has a much faster than real time transfer - we'll have to wait for more real world testing but it looks like a 16gig (~ an hour of footage) card should transfer to your hard drive in less than 10 minutes, possibly as little as 5. That could add up to a pretty significant time savings depending on the project. Burning to optical disc for archive purposes does negate some of that time savings, but since it could be done while you're getting to work on your edit I still think it's an overall gain.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 10:37 PM   #15
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I guess it's personal feel then. I shoot with a F350 quite a bit and own a DVX. PQ aside, I always feel as if their DoF characteristics aren't that far off.
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