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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 20th, 2008, 03:21 AM   #1
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XH A1S or FX1000: Which to buy?

Ok, I've been going back and forth for several weeks on whether to buy the XH A1S or the FX1000. I have several questions about each camera that keep me from making a clear decision, so I thought I'd get some feedback from you all in the hopes of coming to a decision.

First, my pros and cons for each camera (as I see them):

===========================================
XH A1S
--------------------------------------------------------
PROS:
- Better Audio options (recording from xlr and built-in mic simultaneously)
- Better Manual controls (focus while zooming, etc, etc.)
- 24F is better than Sony's 24p
- Higher resolution sensors (1440x1080 vs Sony's 1,080x960)
- More professional looking than the FX1000

CONS:
- Still has low-res LCD viewfinder
- More expensive ($800 more)


===========================================
FX1000
--------------------------------------------------------
PROS:
- Hi-Res LCD for easy focusing while shooting.
- Lens improvements (wide angle, G series optics)
- Better low light performance
- Useful features, like Smooth Slow Record, Shot Transition, etc.
- 24p like the XH A1S
- CMOS sensor is more power efficient.
- Way cheaper than the A1S.

CONS:
- Lower-Res CMOS sensors
- Weaker Audio capabilities
- Looks more Consumer/Amateur-ish to me.

I know I could go for an older A1 to save money, but I'm hesitant to buy a two year old camera when these new ones just came out.

--------------------------------------------------------
So here are a few questions:

1. How does the Canon 24F implementation differ from the FX1000's 24p? Does Sony flag the frames for proper pulldown removal in editing as the A1S does?

2. Is the CMOS rolling stutter REALLY that noticeable on the FX1000?

3. Are Sony's "Picture Profiles" pretty much the equivalent to the A1's "Image Presets"?

I plan to use the camera for a wide variety of personal projects (meaning non-paid mostly), from documentary type work, to home movies, to weddings, to small plays and theater stuff. Basically running the gamut of video work. So I need a camera that will be a kind of "swiss army knife" of video. Both seem to fit in different ways.

I can see strong points for both cameras, but then I can see the weaknesses in both as well. I'm hoping some of you can enlighten me as to what you would choose, and why.

Thanks so much!
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Old December 20th, 2008, 03:59 AM   #2
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Just from comparing your Cons of each camera, I'd go for the XH-A1S.

FWIW, I love my A1. The only time I'm not loving it is during a low light reception but if I was able to shoot in 24F at 1/24 or 1/48, it wouldn't be an issue. Can't do that since the other cameras I'm cutting with don't have that mode. I'm sure you'd be happy with the XH-A1.

Can't really answer your questions but thought I'd toss my opinion. Good luck!
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Old December 20th, 2008, 10:12 AM   #3
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Hi Benjamin,

Have you looked into the HMC150? The AVCHD is the big con for that camera but otherwise it has a lot going for it. I made the same list as you with the 150, A1S and FX1000 side-by-side and decided to hold on to my A1's for now. I'd get 150's if FCP edited AVCHD natively and didn't have to transcode it, and that is only because I'm done same-day edits nearly every weekend and need immediate access to my clips. From my tests here with AVCHD its about a wash when comparing the time it takes to transcode it in the field on a MacBook Pro to just capturing an HDV tape in real-time. So until shooting tapeless is an advantage I'm not interested. Ditto the comments about low-light and 24f - it adds about a stop of sensitivity. I shoot preps and ceremonies at 60i so the captures are editable with HV30's but then switch to 24f for receptions where I'm only shooting A1's. Everything goes progressive in the last encoding step to disc so the interlacing isn't an issue...

I don't envy anyone with a camera decision to make right now - lots of choices but no perfect ones.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #4
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You could still get the XHA1 for $3500, and it would be a better deal than the FX1000. The Sony Z5 is more comparable to the Canon and it's more expensive.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 12:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
You could still get the XHA1 for $3500, and it would be a better deal than the FX1000. The Sony Z5 is more comparable to the Canon and it's more expensive.

Or if you're comfortable with it buy 3 lightly used as I did for the price of two A1S's. The most important part - the imaging block, is unchanged.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 01:23 PM   #6
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If you shared with us what you are doing with the camera that would help. That is a critical piece of info that should dictate what you would be best served to buy. Sure low light ability is nice, and so is the 20X of the FX1000. But if you're shooting in a studio you don't need those features. In a studio I would guess the Canon might be best aesthetically, but that is subjective and completely a matter of opinion.

I'd agree with Joel that except for the AVCHD and the lack of 20x zoom the Panasonic is a great value with it's XLR.

On the other hand the Canon users are not just in love with their cameras, they are devoted to them. That says a lot to me. The Canon images are superb.

As a wedding videographer, the low light is something I cannot get around. While the Canon is reputedly not bad in low light, the Sony FX1000 with it's 20x zoom, somewhat better low-light performance, and mini-dv format makes it a best choice for me in my price range.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 04:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
You could still get the XHA1 for $3500
Check B&H Photo: I just got my A1 3 weeks ago for $2,999.00 They are getting ready for the A1s

Last edited by Howard Churgin; December 20th, 2008 at 05:35 PM.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 04:46 PM   #8
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The price has gone back up to $3500.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 05:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
The price has gone back up to $3500.
I just checked (6:34pm est)it is $2,999.00 on each page it shows up under. Maybe you are referring to a package
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 04:20 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the input, everybody! I really appreciate it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Peregrine View Post
Have you looked into the HMC150?
I thought about the HMC-150, but I don't think I'm ready to jump to AVCHD just yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
If you shared with us what you are doing with the camera that would help.
As I mentioned in my original post, I'm going to be doing everything from documentary to home videos to weddings to nature types of videos. Pretty much anything that can be done with the camera, I plan on doing. That's why I'm so torn on what to buy.

BUT...

I think I've come one step closer to my decision. I'm leaning more towards the A1S now after reading up on the 24F implementation.

From my understanding, 24F is 24 individual progressive frames recorded with no pulldown, so there aren't any strange interlaced frames as placeholders. Only 24 frames are sent over the FireWire connection per second, without duplicates. So, that makes my life a lot simpler. I didn't want to deal with all the pulldown removal, which sounds like the case for the Sony FX1000, which uses pulldown to put the 24p into a 60i stream.

Anyway, I'd still love to hear more of your thoughts on which camera you prefer and why.

Thanks so much!
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 05:13 PM   #11
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I have an XH-A1, and I vote for the XH-A1s from your list.

The 24F is true 24 frame progressive. The F is used to indicate the frames are generated off the CCDs using Canon's proprietary and secret formula.

There are many nice features of the Canon, for example: a relatively low-cost and very high-quality wide angle lens, the new features added with the s model that have been widely discussed, the true 24 progressive, the adaptability of the camera to many uses, the focus, zoom and iris rings, etc.
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