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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 October 3rd, 2009, 12:19 PM   #1
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Repairing or cleaning the tape recording mechanism

I'm looking into getting a new camera as soon as I can afford one. Right now the Canon XH A1 (or A1S) is at the top of my list, followed by the Panasonic HMC150/HMC40. Due to a tight budget I'll have to buy a used camera. The biggest thing that worries me is the recording mechanism on the camera. I've heard they can wear out over time and that you may need to take the camera to a repair shop and have them cleaned or even replaced. How often or how many hours of tape need to go though to the point where it would need to be professionally cleaned or replaced? How worried about this should I be when buying a used camera off Ebay? I dont plan on using it in very harsh conditions such as rain or when its very dusty.

I used to work for the TV broadcasting department at a university. They had about 8 Canon XL2's and it seemed like we brought almost every one of the cameras to be professionally cleaned at least once the 2 semesters I worked there. They were at least 6 years old though, so that could have been a part of it and I dont remember the last time they were cleaned. I also have a small sony handycam (one of the home movie cameras that fit in the palm of a hand) that I've had for at least 5 years and I've only run a tape cleaner though it once or twice and it still works pretty fine.

Also, due to budget, unless I can manage to get a tape deck for around 100 or less, I'll most likely be using the camera it self as the tape deck to capture it all to my computer. After reading through these forums a lot I think I just made half the viewers cringe there. How harsh is doing that on the camera?

I'm just worried that I'll spend all of my money on a camera and some gear, only to have the recording mechanism on the camera fail in a month and then not having the funds to fix it.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 08:15 PM   #2
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I can speak to a couple of yoru questions.
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Originally Posted by Steven Swanson View Post
How often or how many hours of tape need to go though to the point where it would need to be professionally cleaned or replaced? How worried about this should I be when buying a used camera off Ebay?
This depends upon hours used and the conditions you use it in. Since there's no way to know the hours on heads in an XH A1 you have to guestimate. I've had my A1 for two years now and will probably schedule a cleaning when I send it back to Canon to get the hand strap loop retrofitted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Swanson View Post
They had about 8 Canon XL2's and it seemed like we brought almost every one of the cameras to be professionally cleaned at least once the 2 semesters I worked there.
Apples and aardvarks comparison. Hopefully, you're going to treat your camera more kindly than some frat party refugees. I kid, but when something belongs to you, you're nicer to it. Think about what happens to rental cars. Nuff said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Swanson View Post
I'll most likely be using the camera it self as the tape deck to capture it all to my computer. How harsh is doing that on the camera?
Capturing a whole tape in one go will be kinder to your camera than what you did to record it. What really eats up the innards, especially the heads, is the scrubbing back and forth. Capturing will increase the wear on your new camera but it will hardly make it explode in a week.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 08:02 PM   #3
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How much does Canon charge to do a cleaning?
Once I can afford to buy a camera, I plan on treating it better than a new born child.

Thanks for the answers.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 09:52 PM   #4
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im wondering the same exact thing, i just bought a A1 and i need to buy a tape deck also
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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:53 PM   #5
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Dunno. I remember seeing figures between US$200 and $300 but that was months ago and I cannot remember the source.

I have two shoots in the next seven days so I won't look into anything until after that.
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