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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 April 29th, 2008, 10:38 AM   #1
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Just about to buy an XH A1 - shopping list opinions sought:

Hi All,

I'm in the UK and just about to order my camera and kit. I would love to hear what you think about my list. There are a couple of areas I thought about saving on - especially the tripod/head - but for my budget I am thinking of the following:

Canon XH-A1 HDV1080i camcorder
Canon BP-970G battery

Rode NTG-1 microphone
XLR pro audio cable 0.50m
Rode Deadcat windjammer

Kata CC-193 camcorder bag
Kata CRC-14 raincover

Energizer Duo charger kit for Canon BP900 series batteries

JVC MiniDV ProHD tapes

Manfrotto 503HDV/525P tripod kit inc spreader & bag

Calumet 72mm circular polariser filter
Calumet 72mm MC UV filter
Bebob Zoe DVXL Remote control

Still pondering these ones:

Canon WD-H72 wide angle converter lens for XH-A1 / XH-G1
Ianiro Gulliver3x300w Lighting kit + dimmers, soft case
PAG C-6 video light kit (on camera)

My first project is filming a cycle trip across europe for a charity although I have the luxury of not cycling :) I understand the camera is pretty 'wide' - do you think the wide angle is a must to start with? Although most of my shooting will be in good light I understand a video light is gonna be essential. What ND filter do you think I should start with?

Thanks for any pointers - hope to have made my mind up and have the kit in my hand within a week - very exciting. I have butterflies. I was considering waiting for the XL H1A to come out but even at the discounted price I will be able to get so much more with the A1 kit.

Cheers,

Paul
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Old April 29th, 2008, 11:52 AM   #2
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Hi Paul,

Relatively recently bought an XH-A1 from the UK (sort of) so thought i'd give you my two-pence worth.

Firstly, the kit list is very similar to mine. I assume if you're buying a short XLR cable that you'll be mounting it on camera and therefore probably want to buy the shock mount for the NTG1 also.

I personally haven't needed the wide converter, as it is fairly wide - but might be worth checking out some footage to see what it's like.

Where were you thinking of buying it from? I got my camera from HK via eBay. I know it's risky, but the seller i got it from has huge positive feedback and they even refunded my the import tax i got charged - it ended up costing me £2k inc shipping, which is around £500 cheaper than anywhere else i could find. Don't worry about the camera too, it's PAL version as HK uses the same format.

If you can afford to i'd try and get a better tripod if you want to do anything other than hold the camera stationary. I've a 501/525 and wish i had a bigger budget to get a better tripod. It's worth spending the extra on something like a vinten vision 3 (i know it costs about 3 times as much) if you're going to be doing pans/tilts and don't want your footage to look amateurish. I personally will be upgrading my tripod as soon as and selling my current one - even though i only bought it a couple of months ago.

Hope that helps - let me know if you want the name of the ebay seller i bought from - i'm not sure if i'm allowed to post that here so will wait to see what other's say.
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Last edited by Jo Potts; April 29th, 2008 at 11:52 AM. Reason: typos!
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Old April 29th, 2008, 12:11 PM   #3
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Tripod and widde angle

I have the Manfrotto 503/525MVB tripod with a mid-level spreader & bag. It is heavy, and I have become disappointed with the movement of the 503 head. It isn't as smooth as I think it should be, plus it has a little bounce-back at the end of a pan. The Libec LS-38 (I think this is the right #) has gotten great reviews from several people here. I really wish I had gotten that setup.


I also got the WD-H72 wide angle a couple of months ago. It makes the camera really front heavy, but I really do like the results. Hand holding with the wide angle for more than a minute or two starts to hurt my wrist.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 01:48 PM   #4
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I also got the WD-H72 wide angle a couple of months ago. It makes the camera really front heavy, but I really do like the results. Hand holding with the wide angle for more than a minute or two starts to hurt my wrist.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #5
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I seem to recognise most of this shopping list :-)

The Matthews MN25 might be worth considering instead of the Manfrotto if you want to save a bit, but I take Jo Potts's point about getting the best tripod you can. I'll second Christopher's point about the WD-H72 being a monster to hand hold but I think it a good lens and have found it very useful indoors.

The NTG-1 doesn't fit well in the A1 holder and will pick of camera noise so ditto the shockmount.

The PAGlight C6 is OK as on camera lights go, but the battery is heavy and looks like you are carrying a gas mask.

Last edited by Colin McDonald; April 29th, 2008 at 02:15 PM. Reason: rong speling
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Old April 29th, 2008, 03:47 PM   #6
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Looks a good list Paul, but from the sound of your project you're going to need a wide-angle straight away - 32.5 mm (equiv) is more 'normal' than wide in my view, and even Canon's 0.7x is a bit mild.

A video light has to be a must, but until Paglight pull their finger out and get it working off attached Li-ion camcorder batteries, I'd give it a miss. Look at LEDs now.

If the Kata is a 'rip the top open with a double zipper pull', then go for it. Bags with a multitude of silly side pockets are a right pain in the bum.

The Polariser is good, but you don't need a UV and nor do you need extra NDs. You might need a Hoodman to shield that top-screen and make it usable - shooting bikers while you lean out of support vehicles means you won't be using the v'finder much, if at all.

The NTG-1 is a goodie, but I see no mention of a radio mic with a lapel. I love the 525 / 503, but the 503HDV is an even better head.

tom.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 05:34 PM   #7
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Wow - thanks for all the replies - it has made me take a long deep breath...

Colin ;) Good recommendation - thank you. Barry is Ace.

Jo, Christopher & Colin - you have persuaded me to spend the extra dosh on the tripod front...

There seems to be no love lost over the Rode mic - can anyone recommend an alternative that fits well with the XH A1?

Thanks for the ebay tip Jo - interesting to know that those auctions work. I've found a great deal (only a couple of hundred more) just round the corner from where I live. With my lack of experience with video it feels good to be able to walk into a shop and get help.

The wide-angle issue is mixed - which do you use Tom?

I agree on the light issue - the paglight is ugly and having another battery to charge and carry on the road is gonna be a real pain. Can anyone recommend an LED light?

Thanks for all your advice - I would hate to shelve out my hard earned cash and 'then' learn these lessons.

These are mostly rhetorical questions above - I will start using that search link now :)

Cheers,

Paul
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Old April 29th, 2008, 08:53 PM   #8
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Hi Paul,

Regarding tripods, you might want to read this review of the Libec LS38 before you get that Manfrotto.

I don't own the Libec LS38 nor have I ever used it - however I will be purchasing it within the next 30 days based solely on the great things I've read in these forums along with the following review:

http://www.dvuser.co.uk/content.php?CID=150

I also happen to own the wide-angle lens adaptor from Canon and I'm not impressed with its' slightly-expanded field of view. I wouldn't bother.
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Old April 30th, 2008, 01:36 AM   #9
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Paul - LED lights that are any good are pretty expensive, simply because of the colour balance issue. The last one I bought (at the Video Forum this year) I sent back for a refund, smartish. The Sony 20-DW2 is a goodie for those with Sony batteries (me) and is easily diffused with a Lumiquest Mini Softbox.

The wideangle I use is made by Bolex in Switzerland and I've fashioned a bayonet mount so that it attaches quickly to the Z1. It's a powerful 0.52x and gives zero barrel distortion. Here's a timeline shot taken just on Saturday at a wedding. I couldn't step further back, so the Aspheron saved the day.

tom.
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Old April 30th, 2008, 04:24 AM   #10
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Hi Paul,
I think your list looks good, but as others have said, i would spend as much as you can possibly afford on a good tripod. I had a Libec LS22, the model down from the LS 38, the one others are talking about in other posts here, and although it is a great tripod, it was simply too light for good pans & tilts. I ended up getting a Miller DS 10 Solo carbon fibre, & haven't looked back since, it makes such a big difference! The LS 22 is now only used for my HV 20 as a B roll camera.
I also have a couple of Rode mics, but i have to say, their dead cat is a bit of a dead loss. If you can afford to stretch the budget here too i would. After having their dead cat wind jammer & not beeing entirely happy with the quality of sound i was getting with it, i went back to my local store to talk to them about what to do.They convinced me to buy a Koala Fluffy at more than 3 times the cost. I must admit though, after using the Fluffy, i would never suggest to anyone to buy the Rode Dead cat. The difference is that big! These Koala Fluffy's are similar to the Rycote Softies, & although they seem expensive, if you are ever working in a windy environment, & need your sound to be spot on, they are an absolute must, no question.
Hope this helps,

Bryce
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Old April 30th, 2008, 06:04 AM   #11
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Just on the tripod: I have the Libec L38 and it's really outstanding for the price. I posted a short review at

http://www.simplydv.co.uk/simplyBB/v...p?f=13&t=20582

if you're interested.

Looked at Manfrottos, and the Libec was the best I could see in the orice range
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Old April 30th, 2008, 08:51 AM   #12
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nice thread guys. I'm looking to get an XH-A1 soon too so this is some helpful information. I currently have a Sony HC1.
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Old April 30th, 2008, 09:07 AM   #13
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I've got a couple of pennies to toss in!

I had the WD-H72 wide angle and have had great experience with it.
Here's some auto show stuff I shot with it. Everything handheld is me using the wide angle. I find that it really helps me when I have to get into a tight space (underneath or inside of a vehicle.)

http://exposureroom.com/members/Will...6c163f580bcd5/

Oh, and I'm not being too outlandish when I say that the wide-angle almost doubles the weight of the camera. It's really heavy and hard on the wrists. So I built a cheap shoulder mount.

I have a blog post where I talk about the shoulder mount and briefly about my experience with the Matthews M25 tripod. Overall I like it.

http://exposureroom.com/members/Will...orials/post/32

Thanks!
Enjoy!
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Old April 30th, 2008, 08:10 PM   #14
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I noticed a charger in your kit. The camera comes with a battery charger. You don't need another one.

When I got my XH A1 I wanted a small, lightweight tripod and I got the Libec 22. I managed to use it, but it was too light for the camera (light in terms of the head was undersized). It also had that pesky bounceback that most all the cheap tripods have. I sold it and bought the Libec 38, and I've found it to be perfect for this camera. That review is accurate and I agree with it all.
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Old April 30th, 2008, 09:48 PM   #15
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I'll cast another vote for Libec. I went with a 55 M (mid-level spreader) as an upgrade from the 503 and can't believe the difference. If in the future you don't plan to add on a lot of weight to the camera, the 38 should work well too.
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