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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 25th, 2007, 02:20 PM   #1
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Accessible controls?

How accessible are the controls on the A1 compared to the XLH1?
I will be shooting in extreme cold using a camera coat so I need to access the controls by feel. I use Focus lock, AE lock, and exposure compensation quite a bit, as well as shutter, iris, focus, ND etc.

Does the A1 have a focus button so I can shoot in manual focus and just push the button to do a quick autofocus?
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Old October 25th, 2007, 03:05 PM   #2
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Tha A1 does have a focus button. It works well and it is fast.

Compared to the h1 I am uncertain because I have not used that particular camera.

I can tell you that I live 100 miles south of the arctic circle and we hit -60 to -65 regularly with windchills during Jan-Feb. I use a Beta-cam SX every day at work and the buttons on that monster are no more accessible than the A1.

At those temperatures everything kinda stings but the buttons are easy to find. I look forward to my first days in extreme cold with the A1. I don't expect it to be more difficult than using what I consider the grand champion of the industry...Beta-cam.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 03:15 PM   #3
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Doug,

I don't know much about the XLH1 so keep that in mind when you read this.

These are the assessible controls (at leat they're buttons on the outside and not in a menu option)

Push focus and AE Lock are available as buttons.
Exposure compensation is burried in a menu.
Shutter, Iris, Focus ring and ND are all easily acessible by feel as well.

Not sure of this but it may be possible to use one of the custom keys (see photo attached) to set them up for exposure compensation

<a href="http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/attachment.php?attachmentid=4813&d=1193343559" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/attachment.php?attachmentid=4814&stc=1&d=1193343674"></a>
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Old October 25th, 2007, 03:24 PM   #4
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thanks for the replies.

With the XLH1 I often let the camera choose the exposure and then hit AE lock and tweak shutter speed and iris manually. This should work OK with the A1?
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Old October 25th, 2007, 03:26 PM   #5
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Yes, you'll have that capability.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/attachmen...3&d=1193343559
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Old October 25th, 2007, 03:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Bennett View Post
With the XLH1 I often let the camera choose the exposure and then hit AE lock and tweak shutter speed and iris manually. This should work OK with the A1?
Yes. Works exactly the same way on the XH A1 and it is a very effective way to shoot. I often do it the same as you, operate in Tv (shutter priority) mode, let the camera find exposure, then push AE Lock to take over full manual control. Works like a charm.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 03:42 PM   #7
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Chris,

I've wondered about the reasoning behind AE lock...

One would use it in situations where I guess where light conditions are not changing correct? If so then why bother with AE lock? Or would you use AE lock in other situations as well? Such as back light possibilities when the camera and subject are moving?
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Old October 25th, 2007, 05:11 PM   #8
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The AE lock in TV mode simply switches the exposure control to manual. It works the same as the auto iris button on professional lenses where you press the button to let the camera find exposure, then release so it won't stay in auto and change on you. Very handy.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:25 PM   #9
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Bill,

I'm assuming your reply was in response to my question to Chris?

I know what AE lock does, but can't imagine where/when I'd use it. In DSLR I use AE lock to expose for the subject, then re-compose and shoot. This ensures that the subject is properly exposed. You could do the same thing by using manual mode and setting the exposure for the subject and then re-composing and shoot.

With the A1, I find myself in Manual mode most times (in controlled situations). I do the same thing. Expose for the subject, and recompose and start recording.

So I'm just trying to understand why/when I would use the AE lock feature.

Shiv.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 09:23 PM   #10
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Shiv,

I know for me when I want a quick reference out in the field I will pop my auto-iris just to get a feel for the correct amount of light (NTSC Standard levels).

You are correct to expose for your subject and then adjust your framing to your liking. This is a general rule of thumb. However, there are times when a subject is correctly exposed and then once you have zoomed out the background is blown out and your white levels are much too high.

The AE button is great for when you are shooting scenics, or into the sun for example.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 04:39 AM   #11
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Jay,

Thanks for the reply. I still don't see an argument to use AE lock per se :)

Would you mind explaining your first sentence please? I'm not familiar with the lingo you use :)
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Old October 26th, 2007, 09:38 AM   #12
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I hope this explanation helps.

On the beta-cam I use, there is an auto-iris switch on the lens (bill mentioned the likeness of this switch to the AE lock) I know if I trigger this button, the viz I shoot is not too overexposed or underexposed for that matter. If I leave the auto-iris on while I shoot I will run into problems. Anything that enters the screen will change my levels...and it will be a noticable change. Shooting a street for example, when a black van enters the screen the auto-iris kicks in and bumps everything up to compentsate for something so dark entering the shot. Vice-versa when something really bright enters the shot. So I just quickly press the button, get a feel for the levels and then imediately go back to manual iris and generally the entire shot remains at standard levels.

When I get back to the station I run the viz through a waveform monitor before it ingests into our NLE. This monitor allows you to eye and adjust all your levels or luminance as it is also referred to. Blacks are the lowest levels and whites are the highest and we want to keep them at a broadcast standard. In most cases the viz that was aided by the auto-iris fits nicely without much adjustment. I can regularly keep it close when shooting purely manual but sometimes to be on the safe side I press my auto-iris to get the feel.

I hope this kind of helps. And I hope I haven't made things more confusing on this thread:)

Jay
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Old October 26th, 2007, 09:50 AM   #13
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Jay thank you for your explanation and effort. I deffinitely understand what you're saying now.

So one could achieve the same "control" using full manual mode too right? I mean just like in a DSLR in full manual mode there is no need for AE lock (don't think it even works in manual mode).

My relating it to what I know better, I Just want to make sure that understand its use correctly.

Shiv.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 09:53 AM   #14
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Good explanation. That's how I use the auto iris on 2/3" chip cameras I shoot with. It's quick and easy to zoom in to a neutral reflectance area of the shot, hit the button and let the camera set itself. Then you adjust up or down from that when necessary.

It's probably just that I'm used to bigger cameras, but I still find the Canon auto lock system awkward and have to think about it. But as I shoot more with the smaller camera I'm sure I'll get accustomed to it.

Shiv, yes you have full control in manual. This issue has confused a few people because at first everybody thought the camera didn't have an auto iris button. It doesn't have one in the usual place, but it does if you use the TV mode. The TV mode, as Chris has said numerous times IS a full manual mode. It simply gives you the option of using auto iris at the touch of a button, just as professional manual lenses do. But you don't have to use it; it's just a handy thing to have.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 10:07 AM   #15
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Bill,

so by "Auto Iris" you mean (in Canon terms) AE done using the iris since the shutter is controlled by you in Tv mode?

In other words, the iris is not under your control and is therefore "Auto Iris". So in Tv mode using AE Lock button simply locks the iris where it is.

I mean I understand the concept completely, I'm just trying to translate the vocabulary you all use :)
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