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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 December 4th, 2008, 09:27 AM   #1
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XH A1 vs. XH A1s

Hello everyone,

I had a question for you all. I need to purchase a camera this month and have been waiting a while to see if anything comes up interesting. I am a Canon fan and have been waiting to see what the price of the new XH A1s would be. Today, B&H finally listed the camera for $3,999.00. The XH A1 is on sell for $2,999.00.
Canon | XH A1S HD CAMCORDER | 3238B001 | B&H Photo Video

So my question would be do you think it is worth an extra $1,000 for the new XH A1s? I have read the spec's and looked at the pictures that Chris posted. It doesn't seem that big of an upgrade, but I don't want to invest in the XH A1 if there is a fundamental flaw in the design.

It seems with the $3,999.00 price tag is a bit steep.

So what do you guys think for these two cameras head to head?
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Old December 4th, 2008, 10:12 AM   #2
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Hi Michael,

the A1 is a good cam, but there are two mechanical design flaws which I really dislike and which are apparently solved at the S version:

-Headphone jack is quite fragile.
-The screws attaching the ext. mic holder are much too tiny.

If these (and the other) improvements are worth about 1.000 $ is difficult to decide. I won't sell my A1 to upgrade to an A1S. But if I would be in your position, I'd rather buy the S new version.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 11:57 AM   #3
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I haven't had any problem with either of those two things and I've had my XH A1 since the end of 2006. The main improvement I like on the S model is the use of a 6 pin firewire connection, which would only be really significant if you used a Firestore hard drive for shooting, which I don't. The other improvements are nice, but if the original XH A1 is still available for a thousand bucks less, I would get it over the new one if I needed another camera today. I could put the $1K into more lighting equipment, buy a Steadicam Merlin, buy a new tripod, buy a nice mattebox and some 4X4 filters, etc.

Or, if you don't need a camera right now, wait and the S model will drop by $400 in a few months.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 08:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
Or, if you don't need a camera right now, wait and the S model will drop by $400 in a few months.
What does Bill know that we don't?

To the original question, there are a few threads here on the XH list comparing the A1 and the A1S. The S is significantly improved over the original. Is it worth US$1,000? I think to many the answer would be yes because the new model eliminates many of the shortcomings of the original. Not that the A1 is a lemon.

I'd recommend that you search those threads and find out if the enhancements to the S are worth the extra scratch in the context of what you might want to do with the camera. Not what you're going to do. What you might want to do. Remember, the more you work with the camera, the more you'll want it to do.

That's the view from my corner of Lilliput.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 08:23 PM   #5
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Certain audio issues are also fixed.. inputting line vs. mic. Internal vs. external mic. can be mixed.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 09:21 PM   #6
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You can input line on one channel an mic on another now? If that's true, that would be a significant improvement. Not worth $1K, but definitely a good thing.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 10:50 AM   #7
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Also, they changed the firewire connection from 4 pin to a 6 pin.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 11:11 AM   #8
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Focus zoom

Don't forget that you can now focus and zoom at the same time. I finally get to divorce gaussian blur from the crop window in Vegas....becuase now you can do it on the camera.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 11:12 AM   #9
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Not sure how you'd mix an external mic with the internal as the internal mic is a stereo mic. The line/mic issue should have been implemented on the original model IMHO. It was one of my big complaints. However, I got over it. Just buy a good quality 50 db pad. Use your mic of choice on 1 XLR input and insert the pad into the other if your taking a line level feed from a mixer. No problems, just a few extra dongles to haul around. Not worth 1K in my book.

I can think of a whole lot of features that I'd look into before dropping the extra 1k. How about independent Black and white switching of the LCD vs viewfinder? How about putting the image stabilizer in the custom key menu? If these things are being addressed, well maybe. (BTW), has anyone else tried to find the little IAF button in the dark as your shooting?) They should have made that baby as big as a penny.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 11:20 AM   #10
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David,

If the audio block is the same as the XL-H1a, and I think it is, the internal mic can be switched to mono and you can definitly use the on board mic with another external source, line or mic level. That's a huge improvement for me.


And I have read on another thread that the OIS can be switched on or off from a custom key now.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 11:34 AM   #11
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hum... OK. I guess the concept is OK. Course the on-board mic on the Canon is a real jewel isn't it?

We could always turn our attention to the useless viewfinder focusing slider!!! :-)

Great cameras though for the money. If you do a lot of manual iris control, the iris ring is worth the price of admission. I have 2 of em and a PD-170
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Old December 5th, 2008, 06:43 PM   #12
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All these updates in the A1s could have been in the A1, it's not like Canon started making cameras yesterday.

I mean leaving off a limiter and the OIS button, you have to wonder if they wanted some things to update at this time in the A1 evolution.

But any manufacturerer who gets the audio faders reversed, you have to wonder.

Have they fixed that on the A1s?

Cheers.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 08:48 PM   #13
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I think that the current iteration of the A1 is one very powerful cam. The one thing I ws hoping for in the S version was an improved CCD, with better sensitivity and less noise, something similar to what Panasonic just introduced in their new HMC150, HVX200a and HPX170 cams. Now that would be worth the $1,000.00 more. As it is now, I'm not sure te upgrades are really worth it. I had been hoping to see more significant changes under the hood.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 12:18 AM   #14
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I also think that is not worth it. I would say with the additional money can be use for accessories. I was also expecting an improvement on the CCD. Overall I'm more than happy with the performance of my A1.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 01:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael D. Shivers View Post
Hello everyone,

I had a question for you all. I need to purchase a camera this month
I bought an A1 last week because I had to buy it this month. If I had more time, I might have considered A1S. If you can wait, you can expect A1's price to drop much lower than $3000. That is another option.
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