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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 November 30th, 2007, 10:29 AM   #1
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Hi - a few newbie questions

Hi All -
I'm new here - my first post so try to make it as brief as possible.

After 2 months or reading everything I could get my hands on - I have decided to buy the XH-A1. Although I've been in the "biz" for a while, this will be my first camera. I chose the XH-A1 because seems to be the highest quality camera that is HD capable, is native 16x9, has XLR ins for "real" mics and is well within my price range. I will use the camera mostly for my own projects and will possibly sell it as an additional service to my current clients.

I was going to ask about where to buy but I see that's been covered. I'll probably end up buying from B&H since I've done a lot of bunsiness with them in the past and they seem to have the best price.Although my mind is not 100% made up yet.

Is there a deck that can play back tapes shot in 1080 with the XH-A1? I know it's common to just use the camera as playback, but I'm a bit concerned about the wear and tear on the transport inside the camera over time. I asked this question via Cannon's web site and they responded "Gee..we think there is". Not much help. Any suggestions?

I was also wondering if anyone had any significant experience shooting with the XH-A1 in low light?

Finally, what filters and/or other accessories do members of the group feel are necessities in real life shooting?

Thanks - I hope to contribute much more in the future.

Mike
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Old November 30th, 2007, 10:38 AM   #2
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From what I understand, just buy the HV20 camera and use it as a deck.
This will also give you a back up camera should yours fail.

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Old November 30th, 2007, 11:29 AM   #3
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Mike,

Yes, the HV20 is a good choice for deck as well as a second camera should you need one.

As regards filters:
A UV filter to protect your lens for sure. Other filters would depend on what you plan on shooting. A circular polarizer and a graduated filter if you plan on shooting landscapes and such. There are a ton of filters for a variety of things really but I'd start with the above.

The camera has built in ND filters so you're pretty much covered for the most part on that front.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 01:20 PM   #4
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The HV10 or HV20 will work.
But in all honesty you will probably upgrade to a new camera long before you would wear out the playback abilities of your XH-A1.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 03:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
The HV10 or HV20 will work.
But in all honesty you will probably upgrade to a new camera long before you would wear out the playback abilities of your XH-A1.
Yeah -you are probably right, but the concept of buying a cheap camera
to use as a "playback deck" is pretty brilliant. Thanks

mike
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Old November 30th, 2007, 04:21 PM   #6
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One more thing, I don't think the HV10 will playback 24f. Check it out.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 06:36 PM   #7
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Dont buy another camera for a deck unless you're shooting a huge amount of footage, like for a docu or something. Its just wasted money. I mean, how much is it to replace the heads? Really not worth it.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 07:33 PM   #8
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The HV10 will play back 24f; it just won't shoot it.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #9
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Depending on what and where you are shooting I would say for accessories:

Larger battery
Tripod with Fluid Head
Shotgun mic / wires mic system
Cases for transport

I bought my camera from Zotzdigital.com hit them up for a quote, they know a lot and are very friendly.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 10:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessandro Garabaghi View Post
Depending on what and where you are shooting I would say for accessories:

Larger battery
Tripod with Fluid Head
Shotgun mic / wires mic system
Cases for transport

I bought my camera from Zotzdigital.com hit them up for a quote, they know a lot and are very friendly.

Thanks -
Just ordered my XH-A1 last friday from Zotz, thanks in large part to the glowing recommendations on this board and how extremely helpful Brian @ Zotz was. Also ordered with the cam an extra/larger battery and a UV filter.

I'm searching for a decent tripod at the moment, keeping in mind that you can spend upwards of $5000+ on a tripod, I'm looking to keep the tripod under $200. At the moment the leading candidate is the
Smith-Victor Propod III which seems to be just what I need for around $120 at B&H.
If anyone has any other suggestions - please pass them along.

The mic will wait until next year. I'm shooting a project next summer and need to spend a lot of "quality time" with the camera before I start thinking about audio. But yes - unless I can find a audio guy with his/her own stuff who's willing to work pretty cheap - I will be in the market for a shotgun mic and fishpole next Feb or so.

Thanks
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 11:21 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mike Stivala View Post
I'm looking to keep the tripod under $200. At the moment...
A $200 tripod for a $4000 camera is a shame.

However, see this thread for XH A1 tripod discussions:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=84267
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 11:28 AM   #12
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I realize you need to buy what you can afford, but you might look around for a better quality used tripod. With something that cheap, about all you can do is lock it down; you really won't be able to make any decent moves. However, if that's what you have to get, it isn't totally useless...it will keep you from making excessive moves, not necessarily a bad thing. I used an undersized tripod for my XH A1 for awhile, shooting interviews, and I was able to live with it by being careful.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 03:48 PM   #13
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I'm still looking and if I can find a $1000 used tripod in decent condition for under $400 I'm sure I'd buy it. Look, we're all equipment geeks here and obviously you always want the best stuff. But when you're dealing with a small budget to put together an entire production package - the tripod is not at the top of the list of priorities. Afterall, if I've got $900 to spend, I'd much rather buy the $200 tripod and invest $600+ in a great mic.

Besides, in all honesty the only reason I want the tripod is to lock off shots so the cam stays steady on CUs and long shots. I have access to a steadicam for any movement I may need and I much prefer tracking and dolly-ing to panning and tilting.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 04:10 PM   #14
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In that case the cheap tripod should be fine. As I said, I used an undersided one for a time and did the same thing; shot mostly interviews with it.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 04:47 PM   #15
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Ebay has some great deals on tripods if you're patient enough.

I picked up 351mbv2 sticks with a 503 head and it does GREAT for what I do now (Bboying/Breakdancing competitions and weddings).

I've seen this combo go for $300-$450 all day long on various message boards' classified section. The jump in quality from $200 to $400 is worth more than double the cost in my opinion.

As for filters, I just use a Rodenstock and it's fine. No problems or issues. I came from DSLRs and was in the UV filter camp for the fact of protection over absolute IQ/PQ.

And finally deck, I had a HV20 before my A1. Funny thing is I use an older minidv cam to capture all my footage. I don't shoot in HDV as my projects don't require it but the moment I do, I will be using the HV20 as a capture deck. It's less of a space hog on the desk.

Congrats on your decision. I love my A1+VividRGB setting :).
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