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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 November 21st, 2008, 11:15 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Daniel Fessak View Post
Greetings all...

I am looking to get a new camera to shoot weddings and strongly considering the XH-A1. If you would, could you please tell me why getting it would be a good choice? And maybe even tell my it may not be.

Thanks!
Daniel:

I am a Canon, JVC and Panasonic user. You are getting some great feedback here. I suggest you also take a look at the offerings from other manufacturers so you can see competitive products.

I have been using the XH-A1 (not s). I think it is about the best implementation of the HDV camera you will find. It's only minor drawback is the 1/3" image sensor sensitivity and noise is not quite as good compared to some other cameras with a little newer and/or more sensitive (better low light) 1/3" sensor blocks. However, many people would never notice this in the end product.

Like someone else said, all the different cameras; Sony, Canon, Panasonic, have a little different "look" to them. Do you like the Canon look? Be sure to download some raw footage and check it out. There is plenty here.
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Old November 21st, 2008, 07:50 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Bob Thieda View Post
This whole A1, A1s thing is killin' me. In February I will have enough cash put aside to buy the A1 at B&H's current price, which is just over 3K.
At least that was the plan.

Now I don't know what to do.
Do I save up the extra to get the A1s at an unknown higher price, or pick up a used A1 for less...

Arggghh....
Extrapolating forward based on recent history, I'd expect a street price for the A1s at about US$3,500. That's about what the A1 was in summer 2007. Don't know how the whole dismal economic climate might effect that. Any lower prices would likely be driven by Canon since most retailers work of razor thin margins already.

I'd recommend saving your money. Chris' logic on this topic would make Mr. Spock proud.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 10:41 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
Extrapolating forward based on recent history, I'd expect a street price for the A1s at about US$3,500. That's about what the A1 was in summer 2007. Don't know how the whole dismal economic climate might effect that. Any lower prices would likely be driven by Canon since most retailers work of razor thin margins already.

I'd recommend saving your money. Chris' logic on this topic would make Mr. Spock proud.
Wish this thread had been up a week ago, I just received the A1 from B&H today. I shoot action sports, 95% hand held and my GL 1 just gave out. If my GL 1 still worked I could wait until Feb when the street price on the A1s stabilizes. But now it looks like a 900 difference and a wait of 3-4 weeks.

Options keep the Al and use the savings to buy the HV 20 for a tape deck.

Send the A1 back, buy the A1s and have no money for a capture deck.

The type of shooting I do is hard on tape heads as I not keep the camera rolling between plays, ie football huddles, volleyball stoppages.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 11:03 AM   #34
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Hi Doug, welcome to DV Info Net.

There's no doubt about it, a lot of folks around here really like using the HV20 / HV30 as a playback deck, and there's nothing wrong with that. However I'd like to point out that there's nothing wrong with using the XH as a playback deck as well. It has a VCR mode and it's meant to be used that way. The biggest reason *not* to use your XH as a playback deck has nothing to do with putting more wear on the playback heads (that's a myth -- the heads will not wear out like some people tend to think they will). Instead, the main reason is to keep your XH camera free for shooting, by not tying it up for playback and capture use.

You have to be your own judge with regard to how often it'll be used for playback, and whether or not doing so will interfere with your shooting schedule.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 02:28 PM   #35
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I've been using my XH A1 for loading for over a year now. It's fine. If I had clients sitting over my shoulder I'd probably want a deck just for speed, but clients don't see my stuff till the first cut is uploaded, so I'm happy using the camera. I may get an HV30 just because it's cheap now and it would be nice to have. If I do that, I would use it for loading, but it's not necessary at all.

I see a few posts above Noa mentioned he'd go for a big shoulder cam if not for the cost. I came from the big camera world and I hope I never have to go back. The quality I get from the XH A1 is better than with my old DVCAM 2/3" chip camera, and my stuff has intercut with that from other bigger HD cameras and holds up quite well. I can go out on a week's shoot and not have to spend money on the chiropractor afterwards now. And I can use a small, lightweight and inexpensive (under $1K) tripod. If I get a dolly and jib, I can use a lightweight dolly and cheap but effective jib, instead of $6K worth of stuff. I just bought a Merlin Steadicam package for $4K less than what I paid for a cheaper knockoff for the big camera. I can run all day on 2 standard Canon batteries for about $150 each. For the old camera I had $2,400 worth of batteries and a $650 charger, and all that in a $250 Portabrace bag and it weighed more than the camera. For the work I do the Canon is great.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 10:30 AM   #36
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I'm also upgrading from SD to HD. Having dealt with numerous tape drop out problems, I'm afraid to invest in any cameras that is tape based, unless of course, similar image quality can be achieved with a taped based cam for significantly less...

The Panasonic HMC150 is looking very good to me at this point. I was hoping Canon/Sony can come out with a tape-less solution.

I don't get why people would give the A1 a negative for not having a interchangeable lens. Unless you're shooting wildlife, what the heck would you do with interchangeable lens capability like the H1??
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Old November 24th, 2008, 10:49 AM   #37
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I'm afraid to invest in any cameras that is tape based...
But a camera is not an investment in the first place.

At best, it is a business expense. It's then a question of how quickly you can recover that expense. The camera should pay for itself long before the fact that it's "tape based" becomes an issue of obsolescence, and we're a long way from having that happen with HDV.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 10:55 AM   #38
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But a camera is not an investment in the first place.

At best, it is a business expense. It's then a question of how quickly you can recover that expense. The camera should pay for itself long before the fact that it's "tape based" becomes an issue of obsolescence, and we're a long way from having that happen with HDV.
I consider it as a short term investment, as a camera has the ability to produce income. Most likely, I would be sticking with that camera for at least a few projects so it's an investment in my workflow commitment that is associated with that camera.

My concern of the tape based system is not due to obsolescence and resale value. I'm concerned about dealing with data drop-outs.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 11:38 AM   #39
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I've been using Sony's PHDVM digital mastering tapes and have not seen a single dropout. I have, however, heard a lot of horror stories about corrupted files in the tapeless world. On a typical shoot, if you're shooting with a solid state camera, you're going to need an extra person on the crew to download, check and backup data so you can erase and then reuse your cards, unless you can afford enough cards to get through a shoot and do the data management after the shoot. Another tapeless option is the Firestore drive, and those are available to work with the Canon cameras. You may or may not need more than one drive, depending on the amount you shoot at any one time. Regardless of format, you have to eventually transfer your data so you can reuse the drives or cards. With tape, you keep your original.

Just because tapeless cameras exist doesn't mean tape is going away anytime soon. Sony just came out with a bunch of new HDV cameras this year, including the new Z5, and Canon's upgraded its full pro HDV lineup as well. As Chris said, the useful life of the camera will be over way before HDV goes away. I remember the first time I heard that film was dead...in the early '80s. People still shoot film. And Betacam SP "died" about 10 years ago, but people still shoot Betacam SP--not very many anymore, but just this morning I took some Betacam tapes a client sent me to a dub house.

And, even if you buy a solid state camera...before you get it paid for, there will be a new camera out with yet another means of recording footage and another format. There is no rational reason to think you have to own the latest format equipment--it will be the newest toy only for a little while; change is guaranteed.

Back in the days when every editing facility had Betacam equipment, then we all had to shoot Betacam, or transfer all our footage to Betacam. But those days are long gone. If you shoot for a production house or for a client with his own editing facility, then your only concern might be that you must have whatever format he has. If you finish your own shows, it doesn't matter. If you do your own basic editing and send your projects to a post house, you can give them edited files on a hard drive--it still doesn't matter what you shoot with.

As Chris said, a camera is a business expense. Or it is a hobby expense. It's not a long term investment at all.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 12:43 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Yang Wen View Post
I consider it as a short term investment, as a camera has the ability to produce income. Most likely, I would be sticking with that camera for at least a few projects so it's an investment in my workflow commitment that is associated with that camera.

My concern of the tape based system is not due to obsolescence and resale value. I'm concerned about dealing with data drop-outs.
That new sony cf card recorder would be a great option for you. It would provide redundant recording data so in case the tape drops out, you have the file on your CF cards to back it up.

With that said, I've had my XH-A1 for a year and shot probably close to over 100 hours on it and it has never dropped a frame on me.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 12:56 PM   #41
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That new sony cf card recorder would be a great option for you. It would provide redundant recording data so in case the tape drops out, you have the file on your CF cards to back it up.

With that said, I've had my XH-A1 for a year and shot probably close to over 100 hours on it and it has never dropped a frame on me.
Randy: That is a good point. Has it been used enough out in the field to get a good idea on the reliability of that setup?

On the downside, I don't like the idea of attaching such a device with an extra batter just for the CF recorder. I do run n' gun wedding videography and I work by myself so I value a solid state camera that is as compact as possible, which is what the Panasonic HMC150 is. I'm still monitoring that camera to get an idea of its recording reliability.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #42
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I just did a search for the A1S on the B&H site and this is what I got.

Are they only selling the A1?

XH A1S | B&H Photo Video
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Old November 24th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #43
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I'm not sure I quite understand the change in the A1s when people refer to the ability to zoom+focus at the same time.. The current A1, like in most other prosumer cams has seperate zoom + focus ring.. Isn't the lens on the new one setup the same way?
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Old November 24th, 2008, 01:55 PM   #44
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You can zoom with the zoom control, shift focus with the focus ring.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 02:32 PM   #45
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Randy:
On the downside, I don't like the idea of attaching such a device with an extra batter just for the CF recorder. I do run n' gun wedding videography and I work by myself so I value a solid state camera that is as compact as possible, which is what the Panasonic HMC150 is. I'm still monitoring that camera to get an idea of its recording reliability.
You definitely want to look at the new JVC camera coming out in the spring. It is being designed to me or exceed all the specifications of the Canon XH-A1.

It is also much smaller and lighter than the XH-A1.

It records on SD cards!!! The absoutely best format, because you can carry hundreds of them in your pockets, and sometimes they survive going through the washing maching and dryer!

And finally, the camera is true progressive, for that beautiful look on wedding videos, and it will shoot 720p for easier editing (though 1080i will also be included).

This camera will be the ultimate, and it will be absolutely perfect for your needs.
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