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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 April 12th, 2009, 05:50 PM   #1
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Canon xh a1 review, and questions to be answered.

Hi there all you odd and paranoid people. I just bought a Canon xh a1 (PAL). Overall I an very happy. There are just a few things that I don't understand. Maybe you can help me.

First I want to write a small review on the camera.
The good:
Good lens
Good layout
Iris ring on the lens
Good price but thy all cost to much
Stereo int microphone
Beautiful professional style
Good quality
Full manual control
Focus and zoom preset
zoom rocker and ring can be used together
Good battery life
This camera is better than the z1 in my opinion
Excellent image stabilization system

The bad:
Small LCD display
Electronic lens is not 100% smooth
Very heavy for a 12 hour shoot
Confusing audio settings
Stupid eye cup design
Slight internal camera noise when zooming
Zoom rocker is not easy to control smoothly
The camera lacks a +9db gain setting
The 3 point focus makes no difference

4 out of 5 rating

Now I have a few questions:

What is the difference between "Progressive" and Canon's "Full frame"?

In Manual mode:

What is the EXT. CONT function for? I cant see anything in the manual about EXT. CONT. I guess it is for external devise control.

What is Audio.M.Set ?

There are a few options for the aspect guide, I don't understand the numbers in each of the following setting options. (2.35:1), (1. 85:1), (1.75:1), (1.66:1), (14:9), (13:9) (4:3)

In the Custom preset menu:
What is DTL HV BAL?
What is Corning?
What is the difference between noise reduction 1 and 2?


In the VCR PLAY mode:

What does LW and SW stand for?

The audio settings in VCR/play mode confuses me in every way, please help.

This camera shoots true 16/9 (according to canon), the HD reselotion
for 16/9 is 1920 by 1080.
But when open my Adobe Premiere Pro editing program and select HDV 1080P (or Full frame) It it tells me that it is 1440 by 1080 (which is not 16/9). But after I have captured it always comes out in a 16/9 aspect ratio.

How can 1440 by 1080 be 16/9?? Did I miss something? (the image is not stretched).

When I capture my footage in Adobe the preview image can't be seen on the computer, what is wrong?

On other computers it refuses to capture footage on the program, any help please?
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Old April 12th, 2009, 09:47 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Halbich View Post
What is the difference between "Progressive" and Canon's "Full frame"?
Since Canon's sensor is interlaced it's not technically completely progressive. Functionally, however, it's the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Halbich View Post
What is the EXT. CONT function for? I cant see anything in the manual about EXT. CONT. I guess it is for external devise control.

What is Audio.M.Set ?
Dunno.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Halbich View Post
here are a few options for the aspect guide, I don't understand the numbers in each of the following setting options. (2.35:1), (1. 85:1), (1.75:1), (1.66:1), (14:9), (13:9) (4:3)
Those are the aspect ratios of the guides you can have displayed on the LCD and viewfinder. Since the A1 only shoots 16:9 you can use the 4:3 guides to keep the action where you need it for 4:3 output if the need arises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Halbich View Post
What is DTL HV BAL?
What is Corning?
What is the difference between noise reduction 1 and 2?
Dunno.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Halbich View Post
In the VCR PLAY mode:
I capture with another camera so I don't know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Halbich View Post
This camera shoots true 16/9 (according to canon), the HD reselotion for 16/9 is 1920 by 1080.
But when open my Adobe Premiere Pro editing program and select HDV 1080P (or Full frame) It it tells me that it is 1440 by 1080 (which is not 16/9). But after I have captured it always comes out in a 16/9 aspect ratio.

How can 1440 by 1080 be 16/9?? Did I miss something? (the image is not stretched).
What you missed is the pixel aspect ratio or PAR. HDV has a PAR of 1.33 which means each pixel is 1.33 wide by 1 high. If you do the arithmetic, you'll see that the numbers work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Halbich View Post
When I capture my footage in Adobe the preview image can't be seen on the computer, what is wrong?
Nothing. That's the way it works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Halbich View Post
On other computers it refuses to capture footage on the program, any help please?
Could be a lot of things but the capture settings may be set to DV instead of HDV. Generally, capturing is easier with the free product HDVSplit.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 02:10 AM   #3
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you listed the lack of a +9db Gain setting in the Cons. why?
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Old April 13th, 2009, 05:46 AM   #4
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I'm not so sure about the "good quality" if you are talking about build quality. I've read reports of the handle (were you hold the camera with your right hand) breaking of and I read about a user reporting the ext microphone holder breaking of and the internal microphone falling off.
I also find the way the small viewfinder has been attached to the camera very flimsy, I'm always afraid it will break of if I open it too fast. recently I opened the viewfinder on a sony fx1000, now that was rock solid, made the canon's viewfinder look like a toy.
In general the camera has a professional look, but not a professional build.

Also some of the points you mention have been fixed (like the awkward eyepiece) on their new xh-a1s

You also say, very heavy for a 12 hour shoot. It's not a shouldercamera, every handycam type of camera, even the light pana hmc150 will eventually become very heavy on 12 hour shoots. then you might consider buying a shoulder support for it.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 05:15 PM   #5
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you listed the lack of a +9db Gain setting in the Cons. why?
+6 db is to little and +12 db is to much, no +9db option.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 05:19 PM   #6
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Those are the aspect ratios of the guides you can have displayed on the LCD and viewfinder. Since the A1 only shoots 16:9 you can use the 4:3 guides to keep the action where you need it for 4:3 output if the need arises.
What is the third number for?
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Old April 21st, 2009, 08:39 PM   #7
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What is the third number for?
Afraid I don't know which number to which you are referring.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 12:07 PM   #8
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What is the third number for?
I think you may be looking at numbers like (2.35:1) as three numbers. It is only two numbers. One number before the colon ":", and one number after it. It could also be written as (2,35:1).

Many countries use a "," instead of a "." to designate decimal numbers. Over here in the USA, I get confused if I see "two and one-half" represented as "2,5" instead of "2.5". Written as "2,5" makes it read as two numbers to me.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 12:13 PM   #9
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Those are the aspect ratios of the guides you can have displayed on the LCD and viewfinder. Since the A1 only shoots 16:9 you can use the 4:3 guides to keep the action where you need it for 4:3 output if the need arises.
Actually, the A1 can shoot 4:3 in SD mode. I don't know why anyone would ever want to do that, though. Shooting in HD and down-converting produces a picture with much better quality.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 03:14 AM   #10
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Actually, the A1 can shoot 4:3 in SD mode. I don't know why anyone would ever want to do that, though. Shooting in HD and down-converting produces a picture with much better quality.
It's ironic. I started out with an XL1 ie DV and now have an XH A1 (HDV) but recently I picked up some shooting work where they want DV. So I shoot it directly in DV ie SD mode, with my XH A1 and it looks fine.
I read that it is better to shoot in HD and downconvert but I'm not being paid to do that so I don't and the client has been extremely happy with my work. Bizarre.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 03:04 PM   #11
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I agree.
Half of my work with the A1 is shot in SD and tapes handed off to the client. I only shoot HDV for clients who also hire me to do post, or if they request Hi-def. Until the discs and players for Blu-Ray come down in price, I don't foresee this situation to change. Hi-def does look good uploaded to Vimeo and YouTube but again, the audience needs the appropriate net connections and videocard in their computer to appreciate it.

... but at least I get to edit in fine style with realtime hi-def playback (thanks to SpeedEdit and a dual quadcore MacPro.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 06:55 PM   #12
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Sure is +9 db.......go to yout incremental setting in the GAIN menu. AAMOF: there are decimal settings between numbers. That is how I avoid grain.

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+6 db is to little and +12 db is to much, no +9db option.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #13
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Sure is +9 db.......go to yout incremental setting in the GAIN menu. AAMOF: there are decimal settings between numbers. That is how I avoid grain.
I don't get it, how do you get to that setting, Is it Menu/Camera setup/Gain settings ?
Because there is not a +9 db or a incremental option.
Maybe it is because I only use the Manual mode on the camera or it is because I have a PAL version.

What is AAMOF? Is it a NTSC format thing?
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Old May 1st, 2009, 02:54 AM   #14
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What is AAMOF? Is it a NTSC format thing?
As A Matter Of Fact
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