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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 December 3rd, 2007, 11:21 AM   #1
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A1 better than H1?

Rented two XL H1s last weekend for a wedding. I wanted to rent XHA1s because its purchase price is more in my price range. Nevertheless I got the H1s and came away very disappointed.

1) The viewfinder sucked! I had the eyecup flipped so the VF was small and didn't have enough resolution. For scenes with lots of motion, the image in the viewfinder was very smeary, even with shutter at 1/48. As a result, while shooting an outdoor dance, it was difficult to judge focus on a fast moving subject. Does the A1's viewfinder display the same type of smear/blur?

2) Servo-only zoom felt very awkward. Having gotten used to the manual zoom on the DVX(which I use 99.9% of the time), the servo zoom on the XL H1 felt like molases - even on the highest speed. As a result, I couldn't do any snap zooms as a shooting style or for focus check. Is servo zoom on the A1 similarly slow?

3) I like to shoot using the flip-out LCD and with the rear VF pressed either to my forehead or chest for support. It was very difficult to do so with the H1 due to the awkward rear shape and the uneven weight distribution. One assumption I'm making is that the transition from the DVX to the A1 would be pretty smooth for my shooting style.

So it seemed to me the XLH1 is not very "event coverage" friendly. I want to upgrade to HD next year so the XLH1 will definitely not be considered. I'm hoping the XHA1 will be an improvement over the H1 for the aforementioned points.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 11:30 AM   #2
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Well, the XH A1 does have the flipout LCD screen, so that's an improvement. And the zoom is pretty good for a lens like that. I find the viewfinder to be much better than I expected for a color VH. However, if you're shooting 24F, there will be some strobing in the viewfinder, even at the normal 1/48 shutter speed. It's a bit annoying the first time you see it, but after awhile I quit noticing it.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 11:45 AM   #3
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Hi Bill:

I'm used to the "strobbiness" of 24P mode on my DVX and have no problems manually focusing in 24P mode. The image from the H1 is not "strobby" as its on the DVX. It was "smeary/blurry" with motion trails, even at 1/48. My understanding is that 24F results in almost identical cadence as 24P. So I don't know why the VF would depict motion trails at such a high shutter speed.

I haven't reviewed the footage yet so I don't know if that smear also exist in the actual video. However, speaking purely from a usability point of view, the smear & motion trails in the VF is a huge factor for me. Are you suggesting that the A1's VF smears just as much as the H1's?
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 11:53 AM   #4
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The A1s LCD is way better than the viewfinder on the H1, which is fairly awful. You will not get the image lag on the A1 viewfinder like what appears on the H1.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 12:43 PM   #5
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I've never seen any smearing on my viewfinder.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 01:09 PM   #6
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Saying one is better than the other is fairly subjective as they share very similar specs. I think it comes down to the ergonomics and versatily possibilities.

I for one would never choose the A1 over the H1 because I use the open architecture versatility quite a bit. I constantly change lenses, use 35mm adapters, record HD-SDI out, have used the FU-1000, etc.

For my needs, the XL-H1 blows the A1 out of the water. But that's the thing ... you should evaluate for your needs. And in your case, I think the A1 suits you much better.

The LCD of the A1 is much more like shooting with the DVX, so you should feel more at home. Although its not that much better than the H1. The H1 veiwfinder/LCD does suck IMHO.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 12:18 PM   #7
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Some picture presets (with noise reduction) produces smearing by moving. This is recorded to tape too. Can this not be the problem? I played only short time with the XL H1 - but i haven`t see any problems in the wievfinder.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 02:18 PM   #8
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Wow NR that smears the image? What a stupid NR algorithm.. I hope that's not what happened to my footage.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 02:26 PM   #9
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Althought they both produce the same image basically, they are very different cameras. One is more for shoulder use and the other is more for hand held as you prefer. I prefer the XLH1 and the lens options, I have three.

Get the one that suits your style of use.

Mike
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Old December 4th, 2007, 05:13 PM   #10
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Never turn on NR 1 o r 2 to avoid smear.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 07:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yang Wen View Post
Wow NR that smears the image? What a stupid NR algorithm.. I hope that's not what happened to my footage.
To use this NR you have to edit advanced custom settings. Or use saved custom settings from memory. You have still to know what settings are you using, because they product very different images. This smeary NR is helpful in some situations with extremelly low light.
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