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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 17th, 2008, 08:30 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I made it clear for them that for me this was a used camera and only would accept an unopened box.
Note that unless they've changed policy, Canon doesn't seal their XH-A1 boxes.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 07:14 AM   #62
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Noa,

Man did your question open a can of worms! Glad you got to a point where you are confident in making a decision--the A1 is a beautiful camera at its price point (and is available NOW).

I apologise in advance if this seems to be raking over the coals, but Scarlet IS going to change the face of videography (I'll try to avoid the hype of "revolutionise" and "paradigm shift", although I personally reckon they're apt).

Certainly any resolution beyond "HD" (ie 1080p) is (arguably) underutilised/un-utilisable for weddings etc, however greater-than-HD (ie 2k+) CERTAINLY results in way more beautiful images when they are down resolved to 1080p. Also note that Scarlet not only resolves at 3k, but is a 2/3" censor (whereas the A1 is a 1/3" sensor) so you innately have a much narrower depth of field, resulting in more filmic images (to create a smaller DOF with the A1s you can of course use adapters which allow the use of 35mm (or equivalent) lenses (look to the beautiful work of Stephen Dempsey on this site for an example).

I have 2 G1s and love them but when Scarlet is released it's going to be difficult to argue to keep them, given one G1 is then same price as 3 Scarlets, here in Oz anyway. Having said that the post-production path is more intricate with redcode and to archive footage that is shot on compact flash cards in a secure, reliable manner requires another capital investment (whether it's big RAIDs, LTO tape etc).

Until Scarlet arrives I just have to continue my love affair with our G1s...
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Old July 18th, 2008, 11:01 AM   #63
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I apologise in advance if this seems to be raking over the coals, but Scarlet IS going to change the face of videography (I'll try to avoid the hype of "revolutionise" and "paradigm shift", although I personally reckon they're apt).
Hi jim, I'm still not convinced that it will be a "regular" weddingevent camera, the options needed for this camera are very expensive and I still wonder how it handles in run and gun situations as I can't see any controls on the logical places. It might be that it will change the way have been thinking about the way a camera should look like but once it hits the market we will get more and more users sharing their opinions and only then we will know what it's all about.

Everybody talks about the fact how cheap it is and out of the box it appears you can go right ahead with it but as far as I can tell it has only the bare essentials and all the goodies making it an better camera to work with will make your bank account a lot lighter.

If it proves to be the holy grail it is still not too late to upgrade in about 2 years when I made enough money with the XH-A1 to pay for the options as well :) For regular clients the "old" hdv codec should perform more then OK as I don't think it will get much better then what it is now.

Who knows the Scarlet will put all other competitors to shame which will result in lowering their prices or push their technologie to the same level as Scarlet but at the same price of a XH-A1? :)
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Old July 18th, 2008, 11:03 AM   #64
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Note that unless they've changed policy, Canon doesn't seal their XH-A1 boxes.
Then I can only hope they took my advise :)
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Old July 19th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #65
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Hey Noa,

We're of course only goofing around here, as Scarlet doesn't even exist yet, and you've made (a very considered) decision t go with an A1 (and I'm sure you won't be disappointed). As I've said I'm a Canon guy myself but I do feel obliged to say that Scarlet doesn't need anything extra BUT for compact flash cards. Your 2 year plan sounds great to me--broadcast HD sux right now (http://provideocoalition.com/index.p...is_resolution/) so HD is a superb medium, but if you're wanting to future-proof what you shoot now, >2K is the go.

I really look forward to seeing some of your footage Noa, from the beautiful flat countries...
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Old July 19th, 2008, 10:34 AM   #66
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broadcast HD sux right now
I did see a comparison at a store selling lcd's and I saw big differences between a regular tv signal, a dvd, a hd broadcast and a blu-ray movie that was playing. The guy from the store really took the time just to show me the difference in image quality on different sets of hd ready and full hd. From what I saw there HD broadcast and the blu ray movie that was superior in image quality to what I see with my regular dvd's at my clients who own lcd's so I couldn't understand how Adam (from the link you gave) almost couldn't see the difference. Well, I did and it was a big difference.
Ofcourse he was right that resolution is just a small part of the experience but I don't agree with him that you hardly notice. You notice it the most when you go fully wide with an sd camera, everything which is a bit further from a lens looses detail, eye's from people become black dots f.i. This also has to do with the fact that I'm currently using a 4:3 camera which looses resolution trying to imitate a 16:9 camera. On big lcd's that resolution loss becomes more apparent.

We do have mountains you know :)
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Old July 26th, 2008, 09:29 AM   #67
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What I'm saying about the web is in order to see the quality of HD it needs to be fairly large with not much compression. That makes the movie take a long time to download. If I have to wait more than a minute for it to load I'm out of there. Do you think you could tell the difference between a youtube movie shot in hd vs sd?
If you cant see the difference you really should give the game away. Are you making money from your work? I cant believe anyone shoots in SD anymore and it's a crime to shoot SD for someones wedding and not at least offer them a HD version later. It may be different here in Australia because I notice we still get "Judge Judy" etc in 4.3. I dont know of any programs here shot in 4.3.
HD down converted to SD is so much better and later on all our work will be offered in HD. I edit TV commercials for a living and shoot HD always. Once edited I down convert to SD for broadcast. The difference is amazing. Not that it matters but I use the jVC HD111. HD is so important to my business. I offer it to clients and get the job. I don't charge extra and offer clients HD at SD rates. It's a shame not to.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 12:57 PM   #68
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I cant believe anyone shoots in SD anymore and it's a crime to shoot SD for someones wedding and not at least offer them a HD version later.
Well, I got the xh-a1 yesterday and did some test shooting today, I used my vx2100 to compare because it doesn't perform as good as my dvx100 when it comes to sharpness. I wanted to see how big the difference would be after I downconverted the hd footage. So I shot in HD, edited in HD and then converted to Avi and let Encore handle the encoding process automatically as I usually do.

I have to admit that you clearly see the difference when the lens was completely wide, the VX couldn't hold any details on objects that were further away while the XH-a1 did. Only when I zoomed in the difference became less noticeable.

When I was editing the HD footage in premiere it was impressive to see how clear my preview was, in no way my sd footage could compare with that, I guess that on a blu-ray and when looked on a lcd the image quality should be comparable.

Does that mean my vx2100 has to go? Yes, does it mean my dvx100b has to go? no. The pana performs better then my Sony and eventhough it can't compete with downconverted HD material the difference is not that big, the pana gives me nice colors and an acceptable sharp image, also on large lcd tv's and it is better when it comes to ease of handling. I found the Canon to be a quite complicated camera and the instruction manual didn't make it much easier. The Pana was much easier for me to learn how to operate.

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Originally Posted by Dennis Robinson View Post
I don't charge extra and offer clients HD at SD rates.
I could raise my prizes and tell my clients the same as you do, they never know if they haven't seen my prizes before but I intentionally will keep a price difference. Fot those who have a Lcd tv I plan to show them the difference between SD and HD and let them decide if they want to pay more for HD. there is much more to a weddingvideo f.i. then just getting the sharpest picture possible and there are still many clients that don't care about HD, if they can save money with it they will. If I work with SD my workflow is faster and not using a blu-ray disk and hd cassettes makes it cheaper as well so I have a reason to have different prizes. If they choose for HD I will deliver a blu-ray disk and a few regular dvd's but at a higher price.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 03:58 AM   #69
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The Scarlet looks interesting, but if it's anything like the other Red cameras then I get the impression you will be needing a full 35mm/16mm style camera crew to go along with it. It just doesn't seem like the run-and-gun proposition that the A1 is. I think the previous comments about the costs will prove to be right on the money as well. It really does looka s though a Scarlet with a good set of options (as opposed to the stripped down basic version) will cost a LOT more than $3000. I look forward to being proven wrong though :)

In the meantime the real answer to the question "Is the A1 really worth it?" is absolutley a resounding YAY, YAY and thrice YAY. I cannot recommend this camcorder enough. I love mine and I have nothing but good things to say about it. Tape is cheap and reliable, and CF are expensive and risky. It's a no brainer really.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 04:42 AM   #70
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In the meantime the real answer to the question "Is the A1 really worth it?" is absolutley a resounding YAY, YAY and thrice YAY.
I'm taking the camera out for a test soon with another videographer, actually as a second camera operator but mainly to try the camera out at conditions typical for weddings. I'd like to try out different settings and presets and I am very curious about the performance in low light conditions.
It's funny that with a HD cam you feel like starting over again, f.i. just the type of tape to choose, it toke me quite some reading on forums to decide which to use, the Panasonic AY-DVM 63AMQ seemed to be the best, and in my region cheapest, choice.
I also always used a cheap sony minidv handycam to rewind and capture my tapes but I noticed that that doesn't work anymore for hdv tapes? At least not with the tape canon supplied with the camera, I wasn't expecting that either.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 06:25 AM   #71
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I also always used a cheap sony minidv handycam to rewind and capture my tapes but I noticed that that doesn't work anymore for hdv tapes? At least not with the tape canon supplied with the camera, I wasn't expecting that either.
The problem isn't the tape, its the HDV material on the tape. A DV cam isn't going to have a clue what to do with the HDV data on the tape.

Best bet for a "deck" camcorder is the HV20/30. Plays back all of the XH-A1's frame modes and works as a nice B cam as well. If you work mostly in 1080i then any brand HDV cam will work as a VTR.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 06:59 AM   #72
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Best bet for a "deck" camcorder is the HV20/30.
Thanks for the info, I have one sd camera for sale right now and when that goes I most likely will get a smaller hd cam as backup and as deck as you suggested. Too bad I couldn't continue using my small minidv cam, on the other hand it was useless as a backup camera because the image quality was not that good. Think a HV30 should be a bit better investment because it not only could function as a deck but could match the XH-a1 footage in good light conditions.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 12:01 PM   #73
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Some people have said the XH-A1 is more prosumer than pro. I don't get this. They can't possibly have used one. I have the EX1 as well, and the XH-A1/G1 has a comparable feature set, comparable image controls, comparable build quality, comparable image quality. Maybe they would argue the EX1 is prosumer as well, although most seem to put it in the pro/semipro category (if these "categories" are anything more than arbitrary).

Perhaps it comes down to the HDV codec not getting the full respect it is owed in the Canon XH-A1/G1 and XL-H1/A products.

You can take an HV10/20/30 and put it on a tripod in good light, and you might get an image comparable, but in the details it doesn't hold up. I know because I own the HV10. Great little HDV cam. But I can still see the degradation caused by the bayer filter, the sometimes neon look to the colors. I can always spot the better shadow detail and purity of the XH-A1 image.

The main problem at first glance when comparing the XH-A1 to the consumer cams, is the conservative default settings, so bland as to lack any sort of pop. Once you discover the potential of customer presets, like VividRGB or Panalook2, or come up with your own variations, what it can do cannot be appreciated.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 12:10 PM   #74
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XDCam has been deemed suitable for broadcast by most outlets, whereas no HDV has. I think that makes a heck of a difference to people trying to get their footage on TV. Additionally, with an SDI port, the EX1 can output on a codec identical to $150k cameras. That also makes a difference.

But with no interchangeable lenses, no ability to sync timecode, etc., the EX1 would be hard to classify as a professional camera. It's just a good prosumer camera, and I don't think it was ever positioned as anything else.

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Perhaps it comes down to the HDV codec not getting the full respect it is owed in the Canon XH-A1/G1 and XL-H1/A products.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 01:10 PM   #75
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XDCam has been deemed suitable for broadcast by most outlets, whereas no HDV has. I think that makes a heck of a difference to people trying to get their footage on TV. Additionally, with an SDI port, the EX1 can output on a codec identical to $150k cameras. That also makes a difference.

But with no interchangeable lenses, no ability to sync timecode, etc., the EX1 would be hard to classify as a professional camera. It's just a good prosumer camera, and I don't think it was ever positioned as anything else.

HDV is accepted for HD broadcast with some restrictions. It's already been used in too many professional collaborations to mention.
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