XH A1s, Me, and Tornadic Supercells . . . Perfect Together? at DVinfo.net

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Old May 3rd, 2009, 05:49 PM   #1
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XH A1s, Me, and Tornadic Supercells . . . Perfect Together?

Hi.

I hope this isn't one of those hackneyed posts that veteran members of the site/accomplished users of the XH A1 tend to loathe. I apologize in advance if I fall into that category. Thing is, I have no real world experience with the camera and Iím seriously contemplating pulling the trigger on one. Within the context of the intended use, it's possible my interest in the camera borders on delusional and I will patently offend some folks merely by considering ownership. In the spirit of avoiding that, I was hoping to provide a little information about the application and receive some feedback from XH A1 gurus as to whether or not the camera is a good fit.

First, I am far from a professional. In fact, the camera will see only minimal use outside the one month out of each year that it will be wielded in excess. From mid May through mid June, I wander the Great Plains with the goal of witnessing and documenting severe storms and tornadoes. For many years now Iíve relied on the ever proficient Sony PD170, which has always served me well in the varying, and often low, light conditions that typify the immediate storm environment. This spring Iíd like to graduate from SD to HD. After doing a ton of research, Iíve settled on the XH A1s. The primary impetus for this is the .04 Lux rating that can be accomplished by dialing in the appropriate setting(s).

Consider that:

- I am reasonably practiced in the basics of photography/videography, but I am not exceptionally savvy in the more intricate nuances of the art, nor am I very skilled at solving complicated settings. Overall, my photographerís/videographerís IQ is much closer to the basement than the attic.

- I have a little under three weeks before I leave on my annual chasing trip. Given the steep learning curve that Iíve read is inherent to the XH A1s, is three weeks, or under, enough time to learn what I need to about the camera to use it effectively in the field?

- I need a camera that will perform well in varying conditions of low light. Does anyone have any experience shooting in or near the immediate storm environment or in a setting of similar ambient light?

- I'm sure I'll need to seek suggestions in respect to tweaking the settings to their optimal levels for my application. I see that there is a Custom Preset Library on this site. Does anybody have any specific recommendations for custom presets that would be conducive to the environment in which Iíll be shooting (such as gain, white balance, frame rate, etc.)? How involved (complicated) is it to install these presets on the XH A1s once you download them from the library?

- The camera will do a lot of hibernating between chase trips. That begs the question: Too much to payótoo much cameraófor such comparatively little use?

In the end, I'm just trying to gauge whether or not the XH A1s is a logical choice for someone of my ability (or lack thereof) and for the intended application? Input is greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot,

-- David
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 08:02 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Fogel View Post
- I have a little under three weeks before I leave on my annual chasing trip. Given the steep learning curve that Iíve read is inherent to the XH A1s, is three weeks, or under, enough time to learn what I need to about the camera to use it effectively in the field?
I'd say, generally yes. You know your Sony to some level so you understand the basics. I don't know that model so I cannot say how much more complex the Canon is.

The XH A1s has more selectable options, but you can select from dead simple Auto which leaves everything up to the camera, to full on manual where the decisions are yours. You can pick from an virtually infinite combination of things you want to control and leave the rest up to the camera.

Remember too, that you'll learn a lot while you're out shooting on the Plains, and it's always best to more control than you need rather than less.
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Originally Posted by David Fogel View Post
- I need a camera that will perform well in varying conditions of low light. Does anyone have any experience shooting in or near the immediate storm environment or in a setting of similar ambient light?
You'll have no problems with light in that environment. I shoot night racing at least once every week in the warm months on a poorly lit track. I get great footage with the Factory preset that I can tweak in post if necessary.
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Originally Posted by David Fogel View Post
- I'm sure I'll need to seek suggestions in respect to tweaking the settings to their optimal levels for my application. I see that there is a Custom Preset Library on this site. Does anybody have any specific recommendations for custom presets that would be conducive to the environment in which Iíll be shooting (such as gain, white balance, frame rate, etc.)? How involved (complicated) is it to install these presets on the XH A1s once you download them from the library?
Presets are dead simple to install and select. My guess is that you'll want one (or several) that bump the contrast and probably boost the saturation a bit since you will be shooting in very flat light. I'm not that deep into presets but I think Panalook2 might be a good place to start. There are a couple of low light presets floating around that I haven't tried. Those might be of value to you as well.

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Originally Posted by David Fogel View Post
- The camera will do a lot of hibernating between chase trips. That begs the question: Too much to payótoo much cameraófor such comparatively little use?
If you're rich, then no. Otherwise it might be. I think this is a question only you can answer by balancing your finances and your desire for high quality footage.

If you wanted to drop down in price, you might consider the HV30/40 for a lot less money. It will not do as well in low light but it does have some decent controls and can produce stunning footage. I have an HV30 and it matches very well with my XH A1.

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Originally Posted by David Fogel View Post
In the end, I'm just trying to gauge whether or not the XH A1s is a logical choice for someone of my ability (or lack thereof) and for the intended application?
Tough choice that. As I said before, it's better to have more camera than you need. You will grow into anything that gives you controls you don't yet understand. I think almost anyone can learn the XH A1s and certainly anyone who can operate a consumer handycam can successfully use the Canon.

BTW... If you do get one, you'll want a rain cover unless you're always shooting from inside a vehicle, and you might even want one then. It's protection for your purchase.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 10:02 PM   #3
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Hi guys..........

It might be a little more pallatable to the wallet to buy an XH A1 second hand instead of going for the "S".

Same brilliant performance but a few less bells and whistles that I really don't think you'd miss.

There's one for sale through the "Private Classifieds" here on DVinfo (which you probably can't see as your post count is so low) for $2500.

Haven't really needed to compare US/ Canadian prices so don't know if that's good, bad or indifferent.

A good condition s/h A1 has gotta save you some pretty big bucks over a brand new A1s.


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Old May 4th, 2009, 02:43 AM   #4
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Go for it... the camera is pretty straightforward. If you want to save some dough go for a straight A1, or as mentioned in previous post go 2nd hand.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 05:38 AM   #5
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If you want good low light capability and don't require XLR I would go for a Sony FX1000, it is much better then a xh-a1 in low light. I own a xh-a1 and have compared my camera with a fx1000 and the biggest difference between the 2 is that the Sony handles gain way better then the canon.
The canon will allow only 6db and after that things start to look real ugly quick while the Sony can go up to 18db gain and still doesn't look worse then the canon at 6db gain. Also the second big difference between the 2 is the lcd viewfinder which is way better on the fx1000, much bigger and more resolution which will make it easier to focus.
It is also cheaper then the xh-a1s.

That doesn't mean a xh-a1s would be a bad choice because I really like working with mine but when things get dark I often wished it would be like my old Sony vx2100. A lot of times I have to film at 1/25th shutter and 6db gain to get the most out of it at poorly lit receptions, pushing it further to 12db gain results in real ugly grain.

regarding the presets that you can use with a xh-a1, if you are filming in dark situations, never use them, it's much better filming as flat as possible and correct later in post. In that way you can be sure you get all the detail the camera can handle from the start and correct later if necessary. All presets will do that correction during recording and that could result in loss of detail, colors that don't look right of ghosting. That is, if you choose the wrong preset, once it has been recorded with a wrong preset there is almost no way to correct it afterwards.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 07:30 AM   #6
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If you want to go for a prosumer camera then you should get the Sony FX1000 or a second hand FX1 or FX7. One of these would be alot cheaper and the menu system and controls are just like the PD170 so you wont have to relearn them.

Otherwise go for a Canon HV30/40 as they are alot cheaper.

If it was me then I wouldn't bother spending all the money on an A1 if your only going to use it once a year.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 07:47 AM   #7
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Otherwise go for a Canon HV30/40 as they are alot cheaper.
Cheaper yes but for dark environments this is not a good camera. Also a fx1 or fx7 are no match for the fx1000 when it comes to low light sensitivity.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 10:10 AM   #8
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Thanks a lot

Thanks very much for all the informative responses. It was advertised to me that there is a ton of knowledge on this site and I see for myself now that itís true. The advice is greatly appreciated.


Quote:
If you wanted to drop down in price, you might consider the HV30/40 for a lot less money.
And:

Quote:
If you want good low light capability and don't require XLR I would go for a Sony FX1000, it is much better then a xh-a1 in low light.
And:

Quote:
If you want to go for a prosumer camera then you should get the Sony FX1000 or a second hand FX1 or FX7.
Great cameras, all of them. Unfortunately, they share a significant drawback if the application is filming storms: the light entering the camera is processed by CMOS sensors. Overall, if Iím not mistaken, CMOS sensors offer better low light performance than CCD chips, correct? The problem is lightning. Many chasers who shoot with the FX1000 have complained profusely that a highly electrified storm (which supercells often are) causes irreparable distortion. For some reason, the CMOS sensor canít wrap its micro-processing brain around such a luminous and sudden influx of light into otherwise dark surroundings. From experience, the CCD chips are fairly adept at processing lightning strikes with minimal (and often no) distortion.

Thing is, the SW end of a supercell, where you typically find the embedded circulation (mesocyclone) that sometimes results in a tornado, is also often the most electrically charged region of the storm. Itís not uncommon to experience constant cloud-to-ground strokes and brilliant inter-cloud flashes around a tornadic circulation, which damages (distorts, blurs, etc.) the footage of the tornado youíre attempting to shoot. For instance, my PD170 (with its three 1/3 CCD) chips keeps the tornado in crisp focus (when set to Infinity) and at the same time captures the strikes/flashes with no noticeable distortion. If my chase partner, with his Sony HVR-Z5U, is shooting the same tornado from the same perspective, every discharge completely washes out the field of view. For as long as an individual discharges lasts, itís akin to pressing your eye right up against a flash and pressing the shutter. Itís not something that heís been able to correct in post, either.

If he were the only one experiencing this effect, Iíd say it was him, his camera, or both. But many chasers have voiced the same experiences with CMOS sensors. This was a big motivating push toward the XH A1 for me. You get the 20X glass of the FX1000 and the like, but with the trusted and proven CCD chips. If anyone who uses the FX1000/HV40 has had an antithetical experience shooting lightning, Iíd be interested to hear about it. Iím doing my best to open my mind to these two alternative before I make a final decision.

Quote:
Remember too, that you'll learn a lot while you're out shooting on the Plains, and it's always best to more control than you need rather than less.
And:

Quote:
You will grow into anything that gives you controls you don't yet understand.
Good point. Now that I think about it, the mode of education you describe is precisely how I learned to use my PD170 years ago. It was as much an education in trial and error as in the use of the camera. It's just that I've read many horror stories about how intricate the XH A1 is and how difficult it can be to master, especially if youíre not a pro to begin with. Iíll be out there for nearly five weeks this spring. Even if Iím not completely plugged in prior to arriving to the Plains, Iím sure using the camera in the context of its intended application will prove quite enlightening.

This sentiment:

Quote:
You'll have no problems with light in that environment. I shoot night racing at least once every week in the warm months on a poorly lit track.
seems to clash somewhat with this one:

Quote:
when things get dark I often wished it would be like my old Sony vx2100. A lot of times I have to film at 1/25th shutter and 6db gain to get the most out of it at poorly lit receptions, pushing it further to 12db gain results in real ugly grain.
I realize, though, perspectives and uses vary. Divergent perspectives from folks intimately familiar with the camera are what I was hoping to get, actually. Gives you a more complete scope of the cameraís performance across a broad spectrum of applications. When I consider what you guys each have to say about the XH A1ís performance in low light, Iím led to the epiphany that the camera works better in the low ambient light of outdoor settings than of indoor settings. I suppose that make sense; outdoor ambient light is far more dynamic, even at night and in full darkness. I drift back to 1995 in the Texas panhandle. Itís 9:30 PM. Weíre cautiously tailing the business end of a violent supercell, watching in amazement and fear as one lightning-illuminated tornado after another ghosts across the near distance. High above, the full moon is blotted out by the stormís marshmallow-thick anvil. Yet, enough of the moonís potent light filters through to cast each of us in a spectral white haze.

It was plain eerie. We were literally glowing. One of the weirdest refractions of light Iíve ever seen. Perhaps such an example of ambient light is one of the reasons the XH A1 works better in low light outdoors than in?

Quote:
If you're rich, then no. Otherwise it might be.
Far from it. I am, however, very passionate about shooting high quality footage of my quarry and I do have a few sponsorship dollars to offset *some* of the cost. I donít mind chipping away at a modicum of debt. I just want to make sure that debt was amassed for the right camera.

Quote:
BTW... If you do get one, you'll want a rain cover unless you're always shooting from inside a vehicle, and you might even want one then. It's protection for your purchase.
A very good and appropriate suggestion. Those of us who have been chasing a long time, and who have a firm handle on a tornadic stormís anatomy, tend to thread ourselves into dry viewing perspectives. In Classic supercells (our most favored variety of that storm), tornadoes descend from the rain-free base 99% of the time. Aside from the occasional spit of rain that falls from the anvil (the roof of the storm, essentially), we donít often shoot from the stormís precip core as the thereís nothing to shoot really but rain and hail. There are, however, HP (high precipitation) variety supercells that sometime require you to navigate into and through blinding downpours to witness a tornado. When youíre trying to squeeze into the Ďnotchí, as the tornado-bearing region of an HP storm is called, a rain cover is essential, even if youíre just powering the windows down for a few seconds at a time. Is there a particular brand or type you recommend?

Quote:
A good condition s/h A1 has gotta save you some pretty big bucks over a brand new A1s.
Thatís a very *valuable* suggestion. Thank you. I apologize for not knowing this, but are the illumination capabilities of the older XH A1 the same as the XH A1s? My primary focus is the Lux rating.

BTW, B&H has the XH A1 for $2999. Doesnít seem too shabby for a brand new model, does it?

Quote:
regarding the presets that you can use with a xh-a1, if you are filming in dark situations, never use them, it's much better filming as flat as possible and correct later in post.
So, youíre saying to rely on the factory presets in low light and fix whatever needs fixing later in post? If thatís the case, Iím pushed even closer to pulling the trigger. One of my biggest fears is my legendary failure to figure out diverse and complicated settings. If I donít have to do much beyond the basics, my use of a camera proves far less frustrating than if I have to fiddle with myriad settings to optimize quality. Thanks for that advice. Eases my mind a bit.

Again, I am very grateful to all of you for the valuable input. Itís definitely a huge help in making the right decision. Thanks for taking the time. Anxiously awaiting further insight . . .

--David
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Old May 4th, 2009, 11:43 AM   #9
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I'll just add one comment to Presets. There is a preset called PFVISION that performs extremely well in lowlight situations without having to kick the gain up real high (although you can do that as well). I used it recently and was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked. In fact it is brighter than the factory default preset. I can't comment on how it will work with lightning, however.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 11:44 AM   #10
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I'd say the XH A1 is your best deal because of the lens. If money is tight, you might see if B&H still has the XH A1 models in stock. They're about $800 cheaper than the new S model and you'll get the same quality.

While the old PD150 is probably about 1/2 stop better under low light than the Canon, with HDV the resolution is high enough that you can boost gain a little if necessary. I normally shoot under good light and use the -3db setting. My first "high gain" setting is zero db, and the next is +3. You can change those in the menu. For example you might want a +3 and a +6 on the external switch so you could change quickly, although I wouldn't recommend shooting at anything beyond a +6. Of course the more you zoom in, the more the lens stops down. Still, I've been around tornadoes a lot for years and it doesn't get all that dark unless they happen at night. Normal settings should be OK in most cases.

While $4K may be expensive for the amount of work you do with the camera, I don't think you'll find anything comparable for that price. The equivalent Sony (the Z5 or Z7) is more expensive. Also, you want a good, reliable camera for that kind of shooting. The PD150 was a great choice in its time.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 07:38 PM   #11
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David... Your level of consideration of your purchase is approaching mine. (grin)

As to the two low light statements, my racing venue at night has more light than most indoor environments. I'm going to assume that the other poster shoots weddings which are notorious for being light-free environments.

Having lived on the plains and been in tornado weather, it's still lighter outdoors in those conditions than it is under indoor lighting. No... I've not measured the light levels. It's just what I remember and the Alzheimer's isn't too bad tonight.

With the Canon, you might want to set the gain to 0, +3 and +6db. It's what most people use from what I've heard/read, and you can count me amongst those "most people".

You are also dead right on the CMOS sensors. I forgot to consider lightning, so anything using them is right out.

US$3k for the original XH A1 is a good price, I don't think you'll miss the upgrades the A1s has. You might want to check B&H's used gear. You could save a few hundred if that's important in your decision making. Right here, right now, debt for me is bad so I try to avoid all I can. But that's just me.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 01:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by David Fogel View Post
Many chasers who shoot with the FX1000 have complained profusely that a highly electrified storm (which supercells often are) causes irreparable distortion. For some reason, the CMOS sensor can’t wrap its micro-processing brain around such a luminous and sudden influx of light into otherwise dark surroundings. From experience, the CCD chips are fairly adept at processing lightning strikes with minimal (and often no) distortion.
yes, you're right about the problem with flashes and how a cmos camera deals with it, didn't think about that and then I can imagine it's is not so suitable for you. taking that into consideration the xh-a1 might be a better choice, even if it is less sensitive. Then you only need to take the gain(grain) problem into consideration.
Regarding presets, the ones that I have used that are specifically made for dark circumstances all produced ghosting in the image. That is ok if you are working on a tripod and if there is not much moving in your image but i guess you guys are doing a lot of handheld filming?
About the 20x zoom the fx1000 and the xh-a1 has, the 20x zoom of the canon zooms in further then the Sony, I have seen the difference, it's not much but there is a difference .
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by David Fogel View Post
I drift back to 1995 in the Texas panhandle. Itís 9:30 PM. Weíre cautiously tailing the business end of a violent supercell, watching in amazement and fear as one lightning-illuminated tornado after another ghosts across the near distance. High above, the full moon is blotted out by the stormís marshmallow-thick anvil. Yet, enough of the moonís potent light filters through to cast each of us in a spectral white haze.
Not video related but because English is not my native language I find the way you describe a situation almost poetry, you shouldn't be chasing storms, you should become a writer!
Don't get me wrong, I"m not making fun of you. I only wished I possessed the same kind of writing flair you have.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:25 PM   #14
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I'll just add one comment to Presets. There is a preset called PFVISION that performs extremely well in lowlight situations without having to kick the gain up real high (although you can do that as well). I used it recently and was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked. In fact it is brighter than the factory default preset. I can't comment on how it will work with lightning, however.
If I decide to take the plunge, Marcel, I'll download the PFVISION preset and see how it performs out in the field. I'm anxious to try a plethora of settings to arrive at the ones that suit my purpose best. I've been craving a camera capable of capturing the storms in HD for a few years now, especially since most of the networks that purchase footage from chasers (Discovery, TLC, NG, etc.) are themselves craving HD. Selling my stuff isn't a priority, but in those rare instances when you deftly play a major event, it's nice to share the results in the best format available. That, and I'd like to finally shoot some high definition memories.

Quote:
I'd say the XH A1 is your best deal because of the lens. If money is tight, you might see if B&H still has the XH A1 models in stock. They're about $800 cheaper than the new S model and you'll get the same quality.
Unfortunately, Bill, they don't have them in stock any more. I just checked today. As of last Friday, they had them listed on their site for $2999.99. That deal is no longer available. They did, however, offer me the XH A1s for $3419.00. That seems like a good deal for the latest and greatest, no?

Quote:
Still, I've been around tornadoes a lot for years and it doesn't get all that dark unless they happen at night.
Thanks for the information comparing the XH A1 and the PD150. It's relevant and useful considering I would be coming from a PD170, which is very similar to the PD150, as you are aware.

Your statement about tornadoes is dependent on the angle/direction from which you are viewing the storm. If, for instance, you're looking W at a storm whose motion is true W to E, your field of view will, in fact, be exceedingly dark as the full precipitation core will be between you and the primary source of intervening ambient light (the sun!). Of course, core density varies greatly. Let's assume, for argument's sake, though, that we're talking a 65+ dbz core (which is hopelessly dense). Very little, if any, light is going to penetrate that degree of density. If a storm is expansive enough—such as the Kress/Turkey, TX supercell of May 29, 2001 that spanned the entire breadth of a large county—it can actually preclude all ambient light and cast the sky in a deep murk that mirrors the darkness of full night, especially if you’re also standing beneath the downwind anvil shadow. With virtually no light refracting through the storm, many cameras are known to struggle with pulling contrast, even when the settings are optimally adjusted for those conditions. Then there are the many tornadoes that wrap almost completely in rain, but whose outlines are discernible if the camera is able enough in low light. In the case of a tornado that is well displaced from the precipitation core, spawned by a discrete cell that is otherwise surrounded by sunny conditions, sure, the immediate proximity of the tornado isn't that dark. But that's most definitely the exception, which is why I'm seeking an HDV camera that is adept at handling low light.

Quote:
David... Your level of consideration of your purchase is approaching mine. (grin)
No doubt, Tripp. I'm hyper-meticulous about making the right decision. I'm guessing, based on your statement quoted above, that you are the same when it comes to parting with 34 or 35 Franklins. :) I was far more impulsive when I was a bit younger. Now I do my homework and hope that I park it instead of whiffing on three pitches.

Quote:
It's just what I remember and the Alzheimer's isn't too bad tonight.
That one gave me a healthy chuckle, Tripp. I just hope the references is less about the actuality of your circumstances and more about one of the unfortunate scrapes of getting older. You’re generally right about the typical level of light that embraces a tornado. I believe I mentioned as much in my previous post in respect to why the XH A1 may be a better option for outdoor shooting. My response to Bill above outlines when the differences are much less palpable.

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US$3k for the original XH A1 is a good price, I don't think you'll miss the upgrades the A1s has.
Do you happen to know what, specifically, those upgrades are? Has anything major been revised/improved? I called Canon and asked that question. The girl on the other end of the line, whose voice resembled a worn brake pad flush against the rotor, was only able to tell me that the ‘s’ had time synchronization capabilities. Other than that, she wasn’t able to tell me much about the differences. “It’s just better,” she said. Hence, why I’m here asking all these questions.

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Right here, right now, debt for me is bad so I try to avoid all I can. But that's just me.
I’m actually looking through B&H’s used products as we speak. I don’t want to be nonchalant in my openness to debt, either. For me, though, the reality that I could be shooting some truly profound storms/tornadoes in a truly profound format weighs the greater. I might feel differently when the six months of no interest comes to an end.

Quote:
That is ok if you are working on a tripod and if there is not much moving in your image but i guess you guys are doing a lot of handheld filming?
We try, whenever possible, to get on tripod. The ability to do so is largely dictated by the storm and the region of it you find yourself in when tornadogenesis occurs. There are so many factors that affect being on tripod in the immediate storm environment. For instance, how close are the nearest strokes of cloud-to-ground lightning (last thing you want to be doing is clutching a metal tripod if there’s an imminent threat of a discharge close by). If you’re standing in the inflow region of a tornadic supercell, it’s a good possibility that you’ll be contending with 30-60 MPH sustained winds roaring over you and up into the storm’s updraft base. Even the heaviest tripod can be easily tipped by wind of that force. Rain, of course, is a big issue as well. Some storms are wetter than others. I would say that, overall, handheld filming is a mode of necessity about 60 or 65% of the time. That said, do you feel the XH A1s is still a logical choice?

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Not video related but because English is not my native language I find the way you describe a situation almost poetry, you shouldn't be chasing storms, you should become a writer!
Don't get me wrong, I"m not making fun of you. I only wished I possessed the same kind of writing flair you have.
Thanks, Noa. I can’t deny my affinity for turning a colorful phrase. Truth be told, writing is how I fund my immoderate taste in HDV cameras and everything else in my life. Chasing is merely my hobby. Writing makes chasing possible and chasing is inspiration to write. They’re not mutually exclusive, but they do make a handsome couple. :)
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Last edited by David Fogel; May 5th, 2009 at 03:02 PM.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 08:51 PM   #15
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David... No actual Alzheimer's yet. Just perceived.

If you search the XH series list you'll find a comprehensive list of the differences between the A1 and the A1s. From what I recollect, I don't think there are any "gotta haves" with the A1s given your needs. Here's what I remember that is improved on the A1s...
- Can zoom and focus manually (probably the biggest deal)
- OIS on/off programmable to a custom button
- Can take mic input on one XLR input and line input on the other
- No standby switch (not a biggie)

There's no difference between the two models when it comes to the optics, which is the biggest thing based upon what I understand about your situation.

Too bad you missed at B&H. Their offer on the A1s is pretty good. If you can't find an A1, I'd pull the trigger on it.

BTW... Noa's right. You can turn a phrase with the best of them. Me... I write like English is my second language and I was born in the US! Maybe it is setting in for real. (grin)
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