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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 September 29th, 2008, 09:23 AM   #1
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A1 for weddings, Good Idea?

I have a DVX100b and need to get a second camera. I am between another DVX or an XH-A1. Either way, I'm still going to be outputting to SD in the short term.

If I do go with the A1, is the low light performance good enough? Also, is there an issue with the rolling shutter and camera flashes? These are my 2 major concerns. Are there others I should consider?

I have just enough technical knowledge of this stuff to be dangerous, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 09:49 AM   #2
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Rolling shutter ONLY apply on SONY CMOS chip. The FX7, V1 and EX1 may have thiese problem. If is due with lot of flashing events than XH-A1 is good. Low light performance can check the forum user on XH-A1.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Procyk View Post
I have a DVX100b and need to get a second camera. I am between another DVX or an XH-A1. Either way, I'm still going to be outputting to SD in the short term.

If I do go with the A1, is the low light performance good enough? Also, is there an issue with the rolling shutter and camera flashes? These are my 2 major concerns. Are there others I should consider?

I have just enough technical knowledge of this stuff to be dangerous, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
I feel that, unless you have a definite need for HD, you'd be better with another DVX (and I say this as a confirmed XH-A1 lover!). My reasons are:

1. Less risk in matching colour/texture between shots
2. You already know how to use the DVX, so not only no/little learning curve, but no risk of accidents when having to switch quickly from one camera to the other.

I've never done wedding video, but I have done wedding stills, and I am convinced that rule number one is keep the risks down.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 10:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Procyk View Post
I have a DVX100b and need to get a second camera. I am between another DVX or an XH-A1. Either way, I'm still going to be outputting to SD in the short term.

If I do go with the A1, is the low light performance good enough? Also, is there an issue with the rolling shutter and camera flashes? These are my 2 major concerns. Are there others I should consider?

I have just enough technical knowledge of this stuff to be dangerous, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
You should consider the AG HMC-150 for a HD camera option. The controls are very similar to your DVX100b and you may be able to match the video better.

The low light on the HMC-150 is looking a little better than the XH-A1 so far, but there is a steep learning curve on the Panasonic vs. the XH-A1 that I have had and learned for 2 years.

The HMC-150 does not record any variety of SD to the SDHC card. It may output it though.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 12:15 PM   #5
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Stick with your DVX

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Procyk View Post
I have a DVX100b and need to get a second camera. I am between another DVX or an XH-A1. Either way, I'm still going to be outputting to SD in the short term.
I used DVX's for weddings before I switched to the A1's. In my opinion I suggest you stick with Panasonic:
1. You will hate the A1's lack of low light ability especially during those dark wedding receptions.
2. The sound setup on the DVX is intuitive. The A1 has a convoluted array that was poorly designed. Also the DVX has a sound limiter which I miss every shoot.
3. The DVX has a vibrant color that can't be matched with an A1 preset.
4. The mic holder on the DVX is the correct size for most mics and it has a cushion from the camera. The A1 holder is too large for most mics forcing you to wrap it.
5. If you wear glasses you will prefer the DVX eye cup.
6. I agree with one of the other posts that it is easier to match color with DVX.
7. The learning curve on the A1 is steep.
8 Finally the small LCD screen makes accurate focusing very difficult.

BUT - If you are planning in the very near future to output to HD Bluray your decision would favor the A1.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 12:36 PM   #6
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Sorry, but I do no agree in one thing; I think the canon HX A1 handbook and learning curve is a very easy thing. Maybe this is a personal question.

Cheers.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 01:08 PM   #7
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Hi Jeff,

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Originally Posted by Jeff Kellam View Post
The low light on the HMC-150 is looking a little better than the XH-A1 so far...
Where did you read that? Or was it anecdotal? Have you seen any footage yet? Just curious.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #8
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Hi Mike,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Procyk View Post
I have a DVX100b and need to get a second camera. I am between another DVX or an XH-A1. Either way, I'm still going to be outputting to SD in the short term.
I agree with the others in that I like the idea of at least staying with the same brand of camera, both for the layout and the look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Procyk View Post
If I do go with the A1, is the low light performance good enough?
In my opinion its borderline. You can get by but there isn't much latitude for very dark situations. I've only used the A1 for a few months and so far I haven't had a really demanding location. I shot this with 2 A1's and 2 HV30's this past weekend. It was a same-day edit so very little color-correction has been done:

~ annmarie and eric | 9.27.08 ~
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Old September 29th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #9
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Low light performance is crucial, and I've been hearing that the A1 is good, but that's probably relative to other HD cams in that price range. It's hard to buy another SD camera, but I said that when I bought the other one two years ago, so hopefully I'll get another two years out of a new one.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 02:22 PM   #10
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Joel,

Didn't realize you did weddings until I watched your sample. Great Stuff! How do you plan on handling the extreme low light situations? Two weeks ago, I shot in a church where I had to go full open with gain (3 or 6, I forget). I can't imagine how a camera with lower light capabilities would handle that. Have you had any dark receptions yet?
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Old September 29th, 2008, 03:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Peregrine View Post
Hi Jeff,



Where did you read that? Or was it anecdotal? Have you seen any footage yet? Just curious.
I got my HMC150 last week but have had only a little time to experiment. I also have XH-A1s which I may replace with HMC150s.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 04:45 PM   #12
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Hi Mike,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Procyk View Post
Joel,

Didn't realize you did weddings until I watched your sample. Great Stuff! How do you plan on handling the extreme low light situations? Two weeks ago, I shot in a church where I had to go full open with gain (3 or 6, I forget). I can't imagine how a camera with lower light capabilities would handle that. Have you had any dark receptions yet?
All receptions seem dark to me unless you're in the middle of summer and there are a ton of windows. The one in that sample would have been a cave but I use two remotely controlled off-camera lights on stands. You can see them in the dance portion.

I have no problem going up to 12db with the A1. Grain doesn't bother me as much as dark video does. I'd rather have a soft, bright image than a clean dark one. The ceremony was shot at 6db for the processional. Whenever I use gain I have a preset that cleans up the image a little.

The whole low-light situation bothers me. I was used to $2500 camera that gave me decent pictures at low light light levels and ever since the FX1 came out I've been saying I won't take a step backwards in light sensitivity just for more resolution. I finally gave in, but of course it was about 4 months too soon. The new Sony's seem like just what I was waiting for - a camera with a fixed lens and the chips from the Z7U in a smaller body. The A1 is a great camera though and I know it will have a ton of resale value if I go the Sony route.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 04:46 PM   #13
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I got my HMC150 last week but have had only a little time to experiment. I also have XH-A1s which I may replace with HMC150s.
Thanks Jeff. Keep us updated. You're in a good position to offer your opinion of how they compare.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 01:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Juan Parmenides View Post
Sorry, but I do no agree in one thing; I think the canon HX A1 handbook and learning curve is a very easy thing. Maybe this is a personal question.

Cheers.
I didn't mean that the A1 is hard to learn - I meant that, since he already knows the DVX, he won't have to learn anything new
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Old September 30th, 2008, 03:45 AM   #15
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I didn't mean that the A1 is hard to learn - I meant that, since he already knows the DVX, he won't have to learn anything new
I also own a dvx and a recently purchased xh-a1, there is only one area were the canon is much better if you downconvert to dvd in widescreen and that's resolution. If I go wide with the lens everything contains more detail in the background, the difference between the dvx and xh-a1 is in that area quite noticeable so beside the colormatching problem this is for sure the second biggest problem to match both camera's.
If you zoom in with the pana you notice it less but fully wide you clearly see it.

About the learning curve, yes the pana is a much easier camera to work with, every control has been thought about and you see that pana listens to their clients. The xh-a1 has some very awkward placed functions. I hate the fact that I can't turn the ois off with a button and some buttons are so tiny they are difficult to switch on or off. Also the pana is easier to whitebalance with, the canon has again placed a part of their whitebalance options under the lcdscreen which has to be opened to operate. And again a very tiny button that's hard to reach.

Their big function wheel on the side and especially how they assigned the functions to it I don't like either, if you don't want to operate the camera fully manual under run and gun situations but use one of the presets on the side valuable information is taken away in the viewfinder or lcd screen. F.i. I prefer using the tv mode as it locks down the shutter speed and automatically controls the iris, in that way I can easily switch between auto and manual for the iris when it's needed by a press on the iris button. Only the camera will not tell you anymore when to use the nd filter, only way to know that is to check your iris values by pressing the iris button to switch to manual, based on the iris values I now decide when to switch on the nd filter.

They say the xh-a1 is a camera that should be operated manual only which is true, but in run and gun situations it's very difficult to assure ALL values are correct and in the meantime assuring the you got your subject properly framed. In controlled situations sure, then it's easy as the camera has focus assist options as well as iris assist option in the viewfinder.

Also the iris ring should be better then that small wheel on the dvx but I think it's is not, it's more prescize yes, but for handycam type camera only an advantage if you work on a tripod. If I am handheld I hold the camera stable by pressing my arms against my body, my right hand can only control the zoom and on/off button and with my left arm I support the camera on the bottom, that leaves my thumb available to press the iris button and controll it real easy, because I don't have to move my left hand for that I can still have full controll and keep the camera stable. Same counts for focus which is an easy switch of a button and then pressing the one push focus button. I can all do this in "real time" without looking at the buttons and keeping my cam stable.

The canon has again a much smaller button to switch on/of the auto/manual focus option and a much bigger problem is the iris button which is too far apart from the irisring, meaning that if you want to switch the iris on/off during recording while handheld it's much more difficult to keep your camera steady.
If the xh-a1 were a shouldercam that wouldn't be any problem but for handheld type of camera's this option is not good when trying to stabilize your camera.

But, I must say I don't regret my choice, when I import the xh-a1 footage in premiere cs3 it's like looking through a window, there so much more detail to start out with and it just looks sharper on big lcd screens when downconverted to dvd. The pana might have much better colours out of the box but there are many presets to finetune your colors to look like the pana and some preset make your colours really "pop".

My suggestion would be, if you can take the price difference and have a fast pc get a hmc150. here in Europe the new hmc150 is about 1800 dollar more expensive then a xh-a1 so for me the xh-a1 was the best bang for buck. I do change camera's every 3 years or so and by then there only will be tapeless camera's and pc's that will handle this like they do now with mpeg2. The canon is by far the best mpeg2 camera you can get for the money now.
You only have to live with the tapes for a while longer but I don't mind that much as there are other tapeless additions for this cam as well.

About low ligh, it's not as sensitive as the dvx but if you stay wide with your lens, work with 1/25 shutter and experiment with some presets you can get the same low light performance. But you can't zoom in anymore, the dvx would then still retain enough light but the xh-a1 doesn't as your image gets real dark very quickly. I bought myself a led 40 watt light that you can dim. Now i just adjust my way of filming and get closer to my subjects and use the light I need to get a good image so for me the camera performs good enough in low lit rooms.
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