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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 July 6th, 2008, 04:21 PM   #16
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I'm currently a Sony HC1 user and other than the couple of times in the very beginning of my HC1 ownership, I have always used the Sony blue-label DVM60PRL. When I get an XH-A1, I plan to keep using these tapes so that I can take my tapes back and forth between my HC1 and my (hopefully) future-owned XH-A1.

Good to hear from this thread that there really seems to be no difference.

Now to just make the jump for an XH-A1. Come on any sort good deal/discount.. where are you?
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Old July 6th, 2008, 08:05 PM   #17
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I use the Sony DVM 63 HD tapes. Just ran out this week, and found out the entire area I live in has no HD tapes. Got into a mini panic...
There really is no such thing as HD tapes, except in marketing department created fantasy land. HDV specs call for the use of tapes that meet the specifications for MiniDV tapes (no more, no less). There is absolutely no difference in specification. Vendors can quite properly put HDV on the label of ANY tape that conforms to MiniDV specs.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 09:29 AM   #18
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I think this is true. The only difference is in the quality of the tape. Any miniDV tape will record HDV. I don't know if this is still true, but back in the dark ages of video, ie., quad recording on 2" tape and then 1" recorders, the only difference between "pallet" stock and "master" stock was the number of times it was inspected for dropouts per running millimeter. Apparently the tape manufacturers have some kind of automatic verification device, and it's probably another pass through another machine so they charge more for it. The master tape was the same tape as the pallet stock, but you could be confident of fewer dropouts.

FYI, pallet stock was called pallet stock because it was delivered by truck and offloaded with a forklift, on pallets. Now, with miniDV tapes, a shoebox can hold as much, or more, capacity as the old pallets that no human could lift.

Anyway, while the tape itself may be the same, the expensive stuff in theory should be safer, ie., the likelihood of dropouts should be less. A tape supplier told me several years ago that while Sony's DV tape and DVCAM tape came off the same sheet, the pricier DVCAM stuff was slit from the center of the sheet, while the cheaper stuff was from the outer edges. You think about a wide sheet of thin material traveling at high speed across rollers and over cutters, that kind of makes sense that the middle would be more stable and maybe less susceptible to dirt and other problems.

It would be cool to be able to visit a tape factory in Japan and find out what really goes on. Years ago I shot in a factory that made the fuzzy covering for tennis balls, and the plant manager told me that the only difference between the cheap tennis balls and the good ones was the quality of the covering. The guts were the same. Could be a similar thing with tape...same tape but differences in dropout inspection, handling, packaging, etc. Still, no matter what it costs, tape is the cheapest thing on any production.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 09:59 AM   #19
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Someone posted a comment with diagrams here one time that tried to explain the difference between HDV and DV tapes. I think it was mostly grain structure (more tiny pieces) and consistency.

If you can afford it, why not. But, like I have said many times, hundreds of Sony Premiums used by me in 4 or 5 different cameras, including two HDV cameras and never a single drop-out.

Keep your camera clean, clean the tape path regularly and take care of your tapes and camera when not used.

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Old July 7th, 2008, 10:18 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch View Post

Keep your camera clean, clean the tape path regularly and take care of your tapes and camera when not used.

Mike
Probably most dropouts and glitches occur on the tape(s) used just after a cleaning. I would never recommend a cleaning before an important shoot unless you have a problem. I would probably say cleaning is just not needed for at least the first 100 hours, unless you have a problem.

I think all the new tapes are a much higher quality than say 10 years ago. There is probably very little difference in them. I think I saw someone earlier in this post ask about video quality issues. That is a complete non-issue with digital media of all types. It either works, or it dosen't.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 10:40 AM   #21
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On my old BVW300 (which I retired about 8 years ago) Sony used to recommend using the head cleaning tape every 50 hours.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 12:52 PM   #22
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Dropout

I have an A1 and have been having tons of dropouts; sometimes up to 5 per tape, but the norm seems to be at least one per import. I have been using the Panasonic PQ tapes on the A1 then importing with a HV20.

Any suggestions?
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Old July 7th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Michael Padilla View Post
I have an A1 and have been having tons of dropouts; sometimes up to 5 per tape, but the norm seems to be at least one per import. I have been using the Panasonic PQ tapes on the A1 then importing with a HV20.

Any suggestions?
Michael,

I have an XLH1 and capture with an HV20, so very close if not pretty much identical conditions.

As I had posted maybe a year ago, some cameras just don't like some tapes. It's not the tapes fault necessarily, it's just a fact. I had a JVC HDV camera that I used only JVC tapes in and never had a problem. Then I bought an XL1s and tried to use the same tapes in both, no way would it work. I cleaned the Canon camera and cleaned it, but it would not work with the JVC tapes, banding etc.. I bought some Sony Premium tapes and I switched both cameras to them, never a problem after that. For some unknown reason, the XL1s just would not work with the other tapes. That was about 3 years ago and that same XL1s is still in use to this day by my brother who does weddings.

I would do two things: First I would clean both cameras very fully. Do two or three times the normal cleaning. Then I would try a different tape brand, Sony's cheap premiums are readily available and are good for a quick try. Then if you still get drop-outs, find out what camera is causing it. If you shoot with the A1 and capture with the HV20 and have drop-outs, try capturing with the A1 and see if they are still there. This way you can Identify which camera is causing the problem.

If you have bought into the "Big Bad Cleaning Tape idea," thus far, you may have gotten a lot of gunk on the heads and you may need several times. See what happens.

Everyone has to realize that the materials that we manufacture everything out of these days has improved so very much. If you are as old as many of us on this site are, you will remember when cars wore out rather quickly and you would see many cars and trucks driving around with smoke billowing out of the exhaust pipe. It was very common, and oil use was a normal thing and you had to be sure to check the oil level with every fill-up. I have not done that in years and years, why, because the materials used to manufacture engines have improved so much, that most cars are running over 100,000 miles without engine problems. Most don't leak oil anymore, the valve seals last almost forever and so on and so on. This is the same for cameras and such. Few if any of us on this site will ever wear out a drum on our cameras. And, if anyone tells you you did, they are probably not being honest. They want to sell you that big repair.

You must also understand that labor is the biggest expense that companies have these days. When you send a camera or anything else in for repair, it is much cheaper to just replace the major unit or the entire camera or whatever. Your item has to go through the office for clearance, shipping and receiving, diagnostics department, parts department, manual labor to replace the part, then ship it out, bill it or eat the cost. Most would rather replace the major unit, drum, and charge you or write it off. After all, that drum you are paying $250.00 for really costs them only a few bucks. These items are massed produced by the millions and labor to assemble/etc is the real big cost. If you send your camera to a private repair facility, they need to make money and too many repair facilities (autos and all) take the easy way out and want to do major repairs so they make a profit.

I recently sent a portable DVD player in for repair. It had cost me over $200 and I wanted to get it repaired rather than buy a new one. It was just a few months out of warrantee. I called the recommended repair facility in CA for the repair #, and sent it it. They never even checked it out. I received a complete new unit in the mail only about 10 days later, no charge. It is simply not worth their time to try to give me an estimate, repair it and bill my for it. Probably cost $4 to make in the first place.

I was in the auto repair business many many years ago and I got out because of the dishonesty in the entire industry. I worked in many shops and had a few of my own. I could not compete with the crooked shops. I have seen them tighten a loose battery cable, then spray some black paint on the starter and charge the customer for a new starter. I was doing front brakes on a vehicle and the lady asked me to check the rear and see if they were OK. They were perfect and I told her so. Then I got really chewed out by the shop owner for not selling her new ones. This is just the way business worked back then and to some degree it still is.

Do not be afraid of cleaning your camera. Be afraid of drop-outs.

Wow, sorry to go so long. Maybe I can sell this manuscript! How about "Drop-Outs," the movie?

Sorry---Mike
Mike
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Old July 7th, 2008, 03:02 PM   #24
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That's definitely not normal. Have you cleaned the heads?
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Old July 7th, 2008, 08:00 PM   #25
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I use panasonic DVM63AMQ tapes for over one year now, I never cleaned the heads, and I don't have a cleaning tape. I also do not see dropouts, I capture with the A1. Maybe one dropout for 20 hours, but if you redo the tape it is gone. Am I lucky?
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Old July 7th, 2008, 08:07 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
That's definitely not normal. Have you cleaned the heads?
Thanks for the replies..

As for the cleaning.. I have only cleaned them once since new (which was the A1's debut date late 2006). I have been kind of living with it since it has basically been happening since new and just assumed that was the downside to moving to HDV??
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Old July 8th, 2008, 07:32 PM   #27
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Have your heads cleaned by a professional. Cleaning tapes can only clean minor dirt and debris.
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Old July 9th, 2008, 06:55 AM   #28
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Have your heads cleaned by a professional.
Meaning, send the camcorder to one of the two Canon factory service centers in the U.S.: http://dvinfo.net/canon/skinny.php#service (for XL1 but applies also to all Canon camcorders including the XH series).
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Old July 9th, 2008, 09:26 AM   #29
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I use the Panasonic AMQ tape without any problems. I think it is the best value for the buck as many people on different forums are using them and very few of them are reporting problems. The customer feedback on BH Photo Video is also very good. For less than $5 per tape I think you can safely say that they are great value for your money. I am sure the Sony tapes are great as well but they cost a lot more and I don't get the impression that they are substantially better. I do recommend to stick with one brand.
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Old July 9th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #30
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Have your heads cleaned by a professional. Cleaning tapes can only clean minor dirt and debris.
I recently sent my XH-A1 in to the Canon, Irvine service center for a repair to the internal speaker. I requested they perform a complete head and tape path cleaning, which they did. Upon getting the camera back and inserting a fresh tape, I got the dreaded "Clean Heads" error message. I'd never seen that message on my camera before, so was a little shocked to see it right after getting it back from a factory cleaning!! I ran 10 seconds of cleaning tape through it and never got the message again.
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