Is the XH-A1 too much for my needs? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 6th, 2007, 09:48 PM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Palmdale, CA
Posts: 14
Is the XH-A1 too much for my needs?

Hello guys and gals, I've read here a bit and got crosseyed at all the info. I'm hoping someone could help me with my specific needs.

I am a professional motorsports photographer looking to add video as another product to offer for sale. I mostly shoot trackdays and races on road courses and I've tried a couple of camcorders from the big box stores with mediocre results. The problem I'm having is that the camera is set up on a tripod capturing the cars or motorcycles moving by. The Sony SR-200 shot progressive frames (or at least using a fast shutter speed), which basically looked kind of jerky as the object went by, the Panasonic hdr-S200 is worse and has the awful interlaced look, so it looks like there are two halves of the subject. I haven't tried the JVC gz-hd7 Everio yet but I did notice it has options for shutter speed.

I was thinking about the XH-A1 used with a Firestore drive since I need to be able to quickly and easily make DVD's from the footage and can't wait for miniDV tape transfer... there will be virtually no time for converting from one format to another, either. I dont need hi-def video, I'm just looking for quality video that looks good on a regular DVD, ideally with overly-saturated colors too. I have no idea if this camera will work for my needs or if I have to stick with a consumer camera.

Any help is greatly appreciated!! Thanks!
-brian
Brian Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 6th, 2007, 10:49 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Philly,PA
Posts: 360
If your just doing 60i, 4X3, SD to DVD shot in outdoor daylight, the GL-2 would be ideal.
Eric Weiss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 6th, 2007, 11:07 PM   #3
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Palmdale, CA
Posts: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Weiss View Post
If your just doing 60i, 4X3, SD to DVD shot in outdoor daylight, the GL-2 would be ideal.
Hmm, I was under the impression there are no hard drive add-ons for the gl-2, thus I would have to transfer the video real time via miniDV/firewire? I've seen some folks that have made real time recording using laptops in the field, but that is too fragile/bulky for my needs.

The firestore drive option for the xh-a1 is what's making me consider that level of camera. I dont know if 60i or 30f (progressive?) mode is better for fast action... I'll admit, I'm a newbie to video.

Am I confusing myself?

Thanks,
-brian
Brian Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 6th, 2007, 11:29 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Noosa Queensland Australia
Posts: 236
One thing I can recommend the A1 for is that it opens doors and makes people stand to attention.

I've got Pana GS400 which is a good little cam but it's hard to get people to take it (or me) seriously out in the street.

When I pull out the A1 and set it on the tripod with the hood on and wireless mike set up in the hot shoe, however, everyone snaps to attention.

By everyone, I mean the general public.

It's funny. As you set the A1 up you can see people nudging people... it's like, 'Hey look, the media's here'. If you need space or a clear view you only have to ask and the crowds will part for you. Not kidding, it's very useful.

By the way, I got mine for the HD but in between scored a little gig with a local tv network so use it mostly (at the moment) on SD for local news footage. Works fine.
Bill Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 7th, 2007, 01:51 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fairfield, Dunedin, New Zealand
Posts: 3,634
Images: 18
Hi Brian............

To my knowledge, the Firestores work with any flavour of cam that has Firewire out. So the A1 isn't a priority on that basis. An FS - C should suit, no matter what Canon you're using.

For fast action, for my money (some would, could and will disagree) shoot interlaced.

A GL - 2 as Eric suggested would be ideal, or an XL2 (they still making those?).

Don't get to caught up in the mechanics of the thing, you need a tool to do a job, get the simplest system that will do it. GL - 2/ XL - 2/ FS - C and you're off and running.


CS
Chris Soucy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 7th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Western Minnesota
Posts: 227
Brian,

I'm a video rookie compared to most guys on this forum.

That said:

I used the GL2 for a couple of months before buying the A-1, and I'm very glad I made that choice to buy the A-1, even as a newbie to video.

There's nothing wrong with the GL2; however it was clear after a bit of research and using the A-1, that the A-1 could do everything the GL2 does and more.

There is a bit more to the learning curve of the A-1, if you want to take full advantage of the camera's options. And I'm learning as I go on the A-1.

However, I was able to start shooting video as nice and many times better looking, than the GL2 gave me from day one using the A-1 in Auto mode.

You mentioned going direct to digital recording from the camera bypassing the tape.

I haven't had any direct experience with direct to digital video recording with either the A-1 or GL2.

On the other hand, I've had years of experience of digital audio recording and I know that the opportunity for the best results are greatly improved with having the best source signal available.

So again, I would(and did) put my $$$ on the A-1 given that I might want to go direct to digital recording someday as well.

Best of luck.

Rog Lee
Roger Lee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 7th, 2007, 11:35 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Philly,PA
Posts: 360
Last I checked, the GL2 is compatible with FS-4 and FS-4 Pro. Regardless, you will still need to encode your raw content to DVD. The A1 is a far superior camera but itís more expensive and requires a more time consuming workflow to achieve desirable SD content. If you donít need HDV or have the time to spare down converting, the A1 isnít the best option.

If you want to shoot 60i, 4x3 and go right to DVD you may want to consider a DVD cam.

If you donít plan on editing anything, a DVD cam will provide you with the fastest workflow. However, editing that footage can be a real nightmare. Those may not provide you with the best looking footage either.

Quality video and ďquick and easyĒ workflow rarely splice. You will typically sacrifice one for the other, but in my experience the GL-2 comes close. It will provide you with broadcast quality footage out of the box.

My suggested workflow for you would be as follows.

GL-2 to Firestore with a miniDV backup.
Take the firestore files and batch import them into Canopus Procoder.
Export as Mpeg or VOB and burn to DVD.
Eric Weiss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 7th, 2007, 12:11 PM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Poland
Posts: 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Reynolds View Post
The problem I'm having is that the camera is set up on a tripod capturing the cars or motorcycles moving by.
Do you operate/move the camera following cars - or do you make only stable wide pictures?
I have many experience with rally and racing and i prefer to use for car action cameras with mechanical adjusted optic rather than electronic devices between focus and zoom ring and camera optic - like in A1 or GL2. Mechanical steering is faster and much more direct - very helpful by fast action like this:
www.arkdelfina.neostrada.pl/micro.wmv
Ivan Mosny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 7th, 2007, 11:23 PM   #9
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Palmdale, CA
Posts: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Weiss View Post
Last I checked, the GL2 is compatible with FS-4 and FS-4 Pro. Regardless, you will still need to encode your raw content to DVD. The A1 is a far superior camera but itís more expensive and requires a more time consuming workflow to achieve desirable SD content. If you donít need HDV or have the time to spare down converting, the A1 isnít the best option.

If you want to shoot 60i, 4x3 and go right to DVD you may want to consider a DVD cam.

If you donít plan on editing anything, a DVD cam will provide you with the fastest workflow. However, editing that footage can be a real nightmare. Those may not provide you with the best looking footage either.

Quality video and ďquick and easyĒ workflow rarely splice. You will typically sacrifice one for the other, but in my experience the GL-2 comes close. It will provide you with broadcast quality footage out of the box.

My suggested workflow for you would be as follows.

GL-2 to Firestore with a miniDV backup.
Take the firestore files and batch import them into Canopus Procoder.
Export as Mpeg or VOB and burn to DVD.
THANK YOU everyone for your replies! I was confused about a few issues.. for instance I thought the firestores only worked with the higher end canons (X series.. 30 seconds of research at b and h would have showed me that was wrong... whoops!)

The camera will be stationary on the tripod. After going through the initial learning curve to dial in the settings I want, a monkey could operate it... which actually would be pretty cool if you think about it.

I will look hard at the GL-2, looks like you can get them used on ebay for around $1000-1200, which is very cheap for a good camcorder. However, I may consider ponying up for the xh-a1 for any future hd needs I may have.
Brian Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 8th, 2007, 01:48 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Western Minnesota
Posts: 227
Brian,

Best of luck. I, for one, would be interested in knowing what you get. The GL2 is a very good camcorder.

Just a word of caution re: used camcorders. Unlike SLR/DSLR cameras, camcorders have a lot of moving parts that can wear out.

That isn't to say that there are some good used buys out there as they do exist. I for one, however, would want a good look at a used camcorder before I bought it.

Again, best of luck.

Rog Lee
Roger Lee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2007, 05:26 PM   #11
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Palmdale, CA
Posts: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Lee View Post
Brian,

Best of luck. I, for one, would be interested in knowing what you get. The GL2 is a very good camcorder.

Just a word of caution re: used camcorders. Unlike SLR/DSLR cameras, camcorders have a lot of moving parts that can wear out.
I decided to go for new, just placed an order for the GL-2, 40gb firestore, a good bogen tripod and a boatload of other accessories like rode shotgun mic, canon .7x wide angle lens, batteries... total was about $4000 yikes! But i've learned the value of buying good equipment rather than penny pinching on cheap accessories like impact batteries.. they are never worth much in the end.

Wish me luck! I'll post up some video clips if I end up getting any good footage. For 4 g's I hope I get something good, lol

-brian
Brian Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2007, 05:42 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Western Minnesota
Posts: 227
Brian,

Best of luck to you.

I hope the GL2 works out.

Last minute question.

Are you sure???...about the A-1/GL2 thing? Do you still have time to reconsider???

Re: A-1.

I have yet to regret going the A-1 route and I'm a newbie. In the end...a year....two years....down the road you might regret going GL2 vs. A-1?

I'm not trying to cause problems here....just double checking since you posted what you did.

Best of luck.

Rog Lee

Amature at best.
Roger Lee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2007, 06:45 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 89
Hi,

Just want to take time to agree with the last post... i had a Gl2 and while it was a good camera i had to sell it (for some other reason: namely $) and , i haven t bought a GL2 when it was time to buy again. Instead, i bought a HC1 and i am glad i did.

Unless you really *need* to impress people with the camera (GL2 will do that better than a HC1 i have to admit)... you might want to reconsider. Getting a small HDV cam or better yet, if you can, *invest* in a Xh-A1. The keyword here is INVEST,...If you decide to get a GL2 with enough accessories to go up to 4000$... think twice : the GL2 is a 2002 camera...5 years is a lot in digital video.

If you still want to go for a SD camera (which is fine BTW), consider a good used camera... there's some good deal around (which might also include most of the accessories you need).

With all that said, i really hope whatever you choose to do will work well for you.

Good luck,

Philippe
Philippe Messier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2007, 08:55 PM   #14
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Palmdale, CA
Posts: 14
What the hay, it's only money right? actually I thought about it a bit more and think you guys are right, in a year or two i'd be kicking myself. I cancelled that order and placed a new one... actually found that amazon had it for about $3329 then of course after i placed it there, saw that Dell has it for about $3150. Haha.. oh well. I'm happy with amazon's price... and i get $4 overnight shipping :)
Brian Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 14th, 2007, 11:01 AM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Western Minnesota
Posts: 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Reynolds View Post
What the hay, it's only money right? actually I thought about it a bit more and think you guys are right, in a year or two i'd be kicking myself. I cancelled that order and placed a new one... actually found that amazon had it for about $3329 then of course after i placed it there, saw that Dell has it for about $3150. Haha.. oh well. I'm happy with amazon's price... and i get $4 overnight shipping :)
Brian,

Thanks for sharing your decision. I think you will be happier in the long run with the A-1.

Let us know how it all goes. $3,150? Must include the rebate?

Take care.

Rog Lee
Roger Lee is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:37 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network