Sand and the XHA1 at

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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 January 11th, 2009, 10:57 AM   #1
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Location: Boise, Idaho
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Sand and the XHA1

Hey guys I will be shooting alot of off roading this summer at our local sand dunes and I was wondering what the best way is to keep sand out of the cameras? (ie rain slicker, which one? etc) I have an XHA1 and a HV30. Thank you!
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Old January 11th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #2
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Andrew, I'm around airfields and dust is a problem. I've used the Porta-Brace rain cover a couple of times but the A1 got too darn hot in the sun.

So I block all the unused switches, ports etc with black low tack Cling brand tape and run a Dustbuster and damp rag after the shoot. Cover the cams between shots.

A bad thing is changing tapes out there, bad bad thing, load a new tape before you go out.

And put a pop filter or windsock over all mics, this fits the A1 cam mic perfectly. I keep one on all the time because dirt will gradually degrade a mics performance and eventually wreck it. You can wash these out.

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Old January 11th, 2009, 06:10 PM   #3
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I'll echo the PortaBrace rain slicker idea. You should be conscious of the heat.

Nearly as important is how you store your camera when you're not shooting. Get a good camera bag/case and keep it stored there when not in action. If you're goig to be on the water, the Pelican cases are great for that, but they'd be tougher to clean sand out of the open cell foam than a conventional camera case like a Petrol. You will want to vacuum your case out periodically.

Just for giggles, bring a couple of black trash bags along for when you don't want to bring the whole case along.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 02:17 AM   #4
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We have a large pelicase with a regular Lowe-pro camera bag insert - can't remember what model it is (can't get to most of my belongings while builders have turned the house upside-down), but it will also take my nature-trekker and fit airline carry-on restrictions. No open cell foam to worry about.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 12:18 PM   #5
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Whatever you do, just make sure you do it. I got a used XH-A1 in December. It worked fine for about a month until issues arose with the tape transport mechanism -- would accept tapes, unusual noises, etc.

Turns out it had a lot of "fine sand" inside. Should be back next week and I'll be out $640 for the repair! I do a lot of work outside and sometimes in dusty environments so you can bet I learned the importance of protection.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 09:17 AM   #6
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A screw-on filter (such as a UV) on the front of the lens would be a good idea, to prevent scratches to the lens coating, etc.

One risk is sand under the lens rings (focus, zoom, apperture) which could be expensive to get cleaned out. Would a "rain slicker" keep the sand out of there?

If it were me, I probably wouldn't take the XH-A1 into the dunes at all. Wrap the HV20 as carefully as you can, mount a separate mic away from any rustling plastic, and put aside 600 for a new one when you've finished, just in case. It's probably still cheaper than paying Canon to overhaul the XH-A1 afterwards!
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Old January 13th, 2009, 11:38 AM   #7
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I film a ton of motocross, where dust and rain are two huge factors. Rain slicker and UV filter are a necessity. Used the A1 for 2 years now and haven't had any mechanical problems yet!
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Old January 17th, 2009, 09:32 PM   #8
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All of the above and one more

I've shot a lot of sand stuff as well. I keep the Kata rain slicker, which like all the other guys said can be a pain with tapes and operating. Another product that works depending on what you need to do with the camera are those 6" wipe shrink wrap rolls on a handle that you use for packing. you can wrap over vital parts of the camera and wrap around everything keeping it more accessable if done right. This works like a pro on huge production video and film cameras, and not too badly on my A1 from time to time.
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