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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 February 12th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Kevin Lewis View Post
Heres a question for those that use the "A" mode. I thought that under this setting the camera contolled everything but you still had the option to chage the settings. Lets say you manually add more light while in theis setting, wont the camera just change it back on its own? Same for the reset of the settings that it controls. What keeps the camera from making its own adjustment once you make a change?

I shoot in A mode quite often with Exposure Lock. I use the A mode and then when you press the exposure lock you get the aperture and shutter readings on the lcd. You can adjust either or both or add gain and still know you are within a stop or two of the cameras auto setting.

I also use it in TV mode when I need to maintain a good shutter speed of about 125-150 indoors with a lot of daylight coming in. (Horse shows) and then I can adjust the aperture and gain to make sure I have enough light for the shutter speed.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #17
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Generally you don't want the shutter speed changing during singe clip. The TV mode allows you to fix the shutter and the camera will control the apperture. Also, with a quick push of the AE Lock you go into full manual. I usually let the camera control a few things as possible. Under spots (I shoot a lot of recitals and stage shows) it will tend to overexpose the bright areas so that the darker areas come out. Also, since the auto exposure tries to maintain an average level, you loose the changes in lighting that the LD and director intended to be seen.

After some practice it really isn't that hard to get use to shooting in manual. The controls on the A1 are very well placed and the camera is really laid out to shoot in manual mode. the biggest challenge is focusing due to the small lcd.

Under good lighting conditions the A1's auto mode does a pretty good job but when lighting isn't ideal, the camera's auto mode doesn't yield very good results. One of the main reasons I see for buying a camera like the A1 over say an HV40 is to get the manual controls. In fact, if I were in a situation where I just had to pick up a camera, turn it on and shoot, say I were driving along and saw a UFO, I'd opt to pull out my HV20.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 02:33 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Mark Fry View Post
My second most common set-up is Tv with either 1/120 (in good light) or 1/25th (in poor light) shutter.
Hi Mark
Why do you use 1/120 instead of 1/50 in good light?
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Old February 12th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #19
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WOW! Thanks for all of the excellent information! As far as the whole Auto/Manual debate, I can see the benefit in both under different circumstances. However, Focussing manually isnt really an option for "most" of the shooting we will be doing. For much of the shooting the camera will be attached to the outside of a vehicle via the Microdolly Suction Mount. Dont get me wrong, we will be doing other types of shooting. But with no crew AT ALL other than myself, shooting auto may have to be the norm. Please, keep the information coming! I have learned a tremendous amount today by reading these posts!

Thanks again,

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Old February 12th, 2009, 10:36 PM   #20
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Seem like theres not that much difference between the easy mode and the automatic mode, since it seems that alot of people let the camemra do most of the work while in auto mode. Wile in manual mode, can you still use the auto focus? Normally when I'm in manual I control everything. I'm still getting to know the camera.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 10:44 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Kevin Lewis View Post
Seem like theres not that much difference between the easy mode and the automatic mode
Actually there's a big difference between these two modes. In Easy mode, there's no manual anything. Even if you set the autofocus switch to manual, it will still function in auto mode. Same thing with the AGC switch... gain is always auto in Easy mode. Image stabilization is always on in Easy mode; it can't be turned off, therefore Easy mode should be avoided when shooting from a tripod.

However, in Auto mode, you can override any of these functions and have manual gain, manual focus, etc. It offers much more freedom than Easy mode, but it also requires more thinking than Easy mode.

Quote:
Wile in manual mode, can you still use the auto focus?
Yes. Autofocus is controlled by a slide switch on the side of the camera, not by the program mode dial (the one exception here is Easy mode -- autofocus is always on in Easy mode no matter how the AF slide switch is set).
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Old February 12th, 2009, 10:53 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Kevin Lewis View Post
i'm surprissed that you actuall admit shooting in the 'A" mode.
There's nothing at all wrong with shooting in Auto mode, and more folks use it regularly than you might realize, including many pros. I strongly recommend it, especially for beginners, because more attention can be paid to actually composing and framing the shot. The camera does a fine job in Auto mode.

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Originally Posted by Kevin Lewis View Post
Heres a question for those that use the "A" mode... What keeps the camera from making its own adjustment once you make a change?
When shooting in Auto mode, press the Exp. Lock button on the left side of the camera. This will stop the camera from changing its exposure settings automatically. Additionally, in "A" mode with Exp. Lock activated, the camera is now in your full manual control and you can set the exposure to whatever you want. Press the Exp. lock button again to return to Auto mode.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 03:59 AM   #23
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Does anyone have thoughts about the relative merits of shooting in A mode as opposed to shooting in TV mode?
I've been using TV mode together with the push autofocus and exposure lock buttons, so the camera is effectively working in manual but setting focus and exposure is faster because you are getting the camera to make these settings for you when you operate these buttons.
There doesn't effectively seem to be any difference working this way in either A mode or TV mode.
Am I missing a trick here?
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Old February 13th, 2009, 05:38 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
Does anyone have thoughts about the relative merits of shooting in A mode as opposed to shooting in TV mode?
I've been using TV mode together with the push autofocus and exposure lock buttons, so the camera is effectively working in manual but setting focus and exposure is faster because you are getting the camera to make these settings for you when you operate these buttons.
There doesn't effectively seem to be any difference working this way in either A mode or TV mode.
Am I missing a trick here?
For me the difference would be if you need to maintain a certain shutter speed or not. for example I posted that when I am shooting horse shows indoors (there is relatively good lighting) I try to maintain a shutter speed of a minimum 125-150. this will allow for smoother motion and some decent slo mo if required. So by being in TV mode I set the shutter and the camera can adjust the iris. if i need to add gain I usually only go to +3.
If I adjusted the shutter speed like this in Auto mode with exposure lock the iris would not change and I might be underexposed.

If shutter speed is not critical I will go to Auto mode and if I want to adjust for lighting I will hit exposure lock and adjust the iris for a touch more or less light w/o effecting the shutter speed.

Once you understand it just try some different things and when you see the results on the computer you'll understand what you did. For me it is the same as digital photography. If you use auto mode and press exposure lock the camera will show you the current settings. If you need to adjust for light or speed from these settings and dont stray more than 1-2 stops you should still get some decent footage.

Play around and try different settings.

If I am doing some landscape type shooting, like a still camera, I might set the camera to AV (aperture value) so I can use a fairly large aperture to get some slight out of focus background closeups and let the camera set the shutter speed. it will also tell you if you need to add the built-in neutral density filter ( I believe it is 2 stops and 5 stops).

Or if i want a deeper depth of field set it the 7-8 range so everything stays nice and crisp.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 07:05 PM   #25
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Thanks for the tips Chris. This has turned into a great thread.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Kevin Lewis View Post
Battle, i'm surprissed that you actuall admit shooting in the 'A" mode. Seems like a lot of XHA1 users only use the manual setting. I still use the easy mode and I find that it works just fine for me. Now I should also state that I am usually shooting under very controlled conditions with good lighting. Do you think theres that much of a differece between the "A" and easy mode as it relates to picture quality? Also, thanks for the advice that you've given me on some of my other threads. In case you have'nt noticed i'm new to the xha1.
I am the first to admit I am still very much a learner when it comes to videography but this snobbery about manual over auto reminds me of the mid 1970's (my days in still photography) when 'professionals' (like me) would turn their noses at people who used 35mm, then late 70's/80's when we all went to 35mm, we'd turn our noses at people who used automatic settings - again, until we realised that actually...you could!

As 'professionals' you are perhaps photographing something for someone who thinks you can do it better than they can - that's all you need to know when you're selling your service to the public or even corporate end. The fact that you take time to compose and edit (or in stills world 'frame') means that your end result will always look better than the general public can do.

Auto v manual - yes, OK so if you put your video anorak on and study the books and play with the knobs, you could get a better picture and sound in various ways but..... are your viewers really going to notice? - no. You are actually just pleasing your own technical know-how
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Old February 18th, 2009, 04:09 PM   #27
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good info...thanks everyone
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 11:01 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
Agreed. HDV for sure. 60i makes sense since it sounds like you'll be shooting wild. Progressive adds some complexity. Not a lot and easily handled if you're experienced in it.

Can't agree with using automatic. Too many variables controlled by the camera, including gain. The camera may be smart but I don't like it choosing gain for me. The autofocus may be brilliant, but I cannot comment since I've never used it.

Also, I'd go with the factory preset. It'll be easier to push around in post and will likely be more forgiving in the wide variety of situations you'll be shooting in.
I agree 100%...at risk of sounding harsh here, why do people by a camera of the A1 caliber but use auto? Why not just stick with a conusmer point and shoot?
Manual mode allows you to control everything. Understand Exposure!!! Get to know it and you will be a better Videographer for it. In my opinion using Auto on the A1 is like these people you see capturing treasured moments using a cell phone camera, why bother?
As for the A1's auto focus ability, it is fair to good depending on the subject but there again the situation may require manual focus as opposed to auto focus.
I am sure auto mode has it's uses but it allows the user to not learn and grow, but be dependant on allowing the camera to do the work for us. Just my opinion here and food for thought.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 12:06 PM   #29
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I agree 100%...at risk of sounding harsh here, why do people by a camera of the A1 caliber but use auto? Why not just stick with a conusmer point and shoot?
Manual mode allows you to control everything. Understand Exposure!!! Get to know it and you will be a better Videographer for it. In my opinion using Auto on the A1 is like these people you see capturing treasured moments using a cell phone camera, why bother?
As for the A1's auto focus ability, it is fair to good depending on the subject but there again the situation may require manual focus as opposed to auto focus.
I am sure auto mode has it's uses but it allows the user to not learn and grow, but be dependant on allowing the camera to do the work for us. Just my opinion here and food for thought.
Sorry Tim, you do sound a little harsh.

"Manual mode allows you to control everything." True.

"Understand Exposure!!! Get to know it and you will be a better Videographer for it." Sound advice, but no need for the exclamation marks.

"In my opinion using Auto on the A1 is like these people you see capturing treasured moments using a cell phone camera, why bother?" Now we disagree.

The missing piece of advice here is "get to know your camera." Modern cameras can help you a lot, provided you understand when you can leave it up to them and when to step in and take control yourself. Unless you are working on a well-controlled set, with lighting, sound and action doing what the director tells them, and you have the chance for several re-takes, you will often find the need to concentrate on one or two aspects yourself (always framing, maybe focus and DOF, maybe exposure...) and leave the camera to do the routine things. If you only ever use manual mode, then you are only using half the camera. I'm not suggesting that everyone should use "easy" or "green box" mode (unless there's a good reason, of course). "A" and "Tv" are as usable as Auto Focus or auto audio level - a boon in some circumstances, acceptable compromise in others, and sometimes quite unsuitable.

Besides, you can frame and shoot a dozen images on a phone-camera in the time it takes to unpack and set up a "proper" camera in full manual mode, by which time the moment may have passed - even phone cams have their uses sometimes ;-)
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 12:13 PM   #30
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Hi Mark
Why do you use 1/120 instead of 1/50 in good light?
I've used it to cut down the blurring of fast moving subjects. Any faster than 1/120 looks too stuttery, but sometimes it's helpful. There's a comment above that its helpful when doing slow motion. Also, in very bright light, the camera's maximum ND might not be enough to keep the apperture below f8, in which case you either have to add an external ND filter (or maybe a polariser?) in front of the lens or move to 1/120.
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