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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 27th, 2008, 09:26 AM   #1
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display setup, show exposure setting in "a" mode

OK, I have been reading the xh-a1 manual from beginning to end and backwards but I couldn't get a simple option to appear on the lcd screen.
When I'm in the "m" manual mode I can read the exposure settings on the lcd, but I plan to use the "A" mode as well which gives me the option to go to manual when I need to, only in the "a" mode the exposure setting disappears from the screen.
I already tried to change the custom display option in the customize menu but no matter what I change there, I can't get the exposure setting to appear when in the "a" mode.

Anyone has a clue ho to change this?
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Old July 27th, 2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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Hi Noa, in "A" mode the camera doesn't display f/stop or shutter speed. In "Av" mode it won't display shutter speed, and in "Tv" mode it won't display f/stop. Those functions are automatic in those modes, so the camera thinks that since you've yielded control, it must be none of your business what it's actually doing. It's as if it were saying, "hey, you put me in control here, don't you trust me now?" Really, how dare you!

All kidding aside, I have an idea what the reasoning is behind it. If those functions were displayed, you might think that you have control over them. And then you go to adjust the shutter speed or turn the iris ring, and nothing would happen because you're still in Auto mode. Since you can't control those functions in Auto mode, they're just not shown to you.

But there's an easy way to find out what the auto modes are doing at any time. Enable still image recording via the Custom Function menu, and make sure there's an SD card in the camera. In A, Av or Tv modes, press the Photo button down halfway. The current f/stop and shutter speed will appear in the bottom right corner of the display. Release the Photo button and they go away.

Meanwhile, consider using Tv mode instead of A mode. In Tv mode, the shutter speed is locked and the camera works in auto exposure only. In A mode (and Av mode), the shutter speed is automatic and therefore liable to change on its own, which usually isn't a good idea in most (but not all) common shooting situations. Hope this helps,
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Old July 27th, 2008, 11:17 AM   #3
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Thanks Chris for the answer, I mainly do run and gun shoots and for that reason I prefer to have the camera in semi-auto mode, with my dvx100b seeing the exposure settings in this mode allowed me to keep it somewhere between f4 and f11 by using the nd filter. As I always understood that would give the sharpest image on a sd camera. Don't know if this is such an issue on a HD cam.
I also switch to manual mode to control the exposure if necessary, to get a shallower dof when zoomed in or because my dvx had the tendency to overexpose whites and with the zebra's I immediately saw when to go to manual mode to adjust, or f.i. when there is a stronger light on the background but for this I did not need to see the exposure settings as the zebras would inform me when it was wrong.
I know the "pros" only use manual control all the way but in "realtime and only one shot to get it right situations" I constantly switch between automatic and manual mode, mainly for exposure and focus and only when I need to.

Also thanks for the tip on the TV mode, I only have been using the xh-a1 for about 3 days and it has a much steeper learning curve then my Pana. wasn't expecting that.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 04:32 PM   #4
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Easiest way to check shutter speed when in AV mode is to press the exposure lock button, and the easiest way to check the aperture when in TV mode is to press the exposure lock button.

But remember to press the button again to go back into full AV or TV mode!
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Old July 27th, 2008, 04:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Haycock View Post
Easiest way to check shutter speed when in AV mode is to press the exposure lock button, and the easiest way to check the aperture when in TV mode is to press the exposure lock button.

But remember to press the button again to go back into full AV or TV mode!
Thanks Annie, I knew this but the reason why i asked was that I found it strange that the canon did not have the possibility to always show that info. Think that canon thought that if you run the camera partially automatic you don't need that info but I don't understand the reasoning behind it. I will have to get used to it I guess.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 05:36 PM   #6
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I agree it would be useful - would have stopped me using the wrong shutter speed a few times. The XM2 had the exposure lock button where the shutter speed dial is on the A1, and it took me a while to realise that I was still using that dial as if it was the exposure lock - and so changing the shutter speed when it was really the aperture I wanted to change.

But, you get used to it.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 12:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I prefer to have the camera in semi-auto mode, with my dvx100b seeing the exposure settings in this mode allowed me to keep it somewhere between f4 and f11 by using the nd filter. As I always understood that would give the sharpest image on a sd camera.
I know this is slightly off track, but does it give you a sharper image or just allow for more error in your focus point. I can see how this might give you a sharper image because it give you more DOF but I don't see how this improves the sharpess other than that. Could someone give me more insight to this?
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Old July 28th, 2008, 12:25 PM   #8
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Noa has the right idea. Staying out of the extreme ends of the aperture range, especially very small aperture values of f/11, f/16, f/22 etc. will indeed give you a sharper image, as you're avoiding diffraction errors that way. Diffraction causes soft focus. Hope this helps,
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Old July 29th, 2008, 02:24 AM   #9
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This is also something I've been wondering about: why XH-A1 cannot show the aperture while in Tv or shutter while in Av (or both while in full auto). Yes, I do agree with reasoning Chris stated but still: my ancient Sony F707 still camera shows the values if you are in Av or Tv, the automatic value is just greyed out.

Now the only way knowing where you are is to use the M, which sometimes is a bit risky approach (especially in fast changing conditions). Also if you do not remember to switch the AGC off the camera will still use gain to compensate the exposure (which is basically OK but since it does not show the gain, if it is in auto, you again do not know what is happening there).

Also the zoom indicator replaces the exposure meter while in full manual, which is something I would like to be able to disable totally. Normally you really don't care where the zoom is, you just check the composition from the viewfinder.

So, my wish list for Canon is:
- enable all exposure info to be shown regardless of the mode (shutter, aperture, gain)
- in manual always show the exposure meter and disable the zoom meter

But still I love my XH-A1: it makes it possible to shoot with manual (or partly manual) exposure control with relative ease compared to my Sony HVR-A1, which I shoot with full auto only (because most of the controls are buried in the menu structure).

Also I would like to highlight one feature which I just learned to "master", which I earlier had considered to be a "bad thing": the manual switch between internal and XLR-attached mic. My Sony HVR-A1 makes an automatic switch between internal and XLR based on whether the XLR mic has been attached or not. Initially I was quite disappointed to find out that the XH-A1 did not do this. But then I was shooting one sporting event (karting) and it was very easy to switch between the internal stereo-mic for close-up pit scenes and then use XLR-attached shotgun mic for track events. Just make the switch using the menu selection. Great feature!
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Old July 29th, 2008, 03:13 AM   #10
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I don't know what all the fuss is about here. I shoot in Tv mode all the time, but while using Exp Lock (which for all intent & purposes IS full manual. Both aperture & shutter info are displayed on the LCD & viewfinder at all times. What am I missing here?
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Old July 29th, 2008, 07:20 AM   #11
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Only that Noa wanted to be able to see the info in the auto modes. And some of us agreed it would be useful.
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