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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 November 5th, 2009, 02:56 PM   #1
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excessive vibration

My A1 seems prone to amplify vibration from the slightest movements...at first I thought I just lacked the finesse to keep keep the camera steady, but now I'm using it alongside a PD170, and the Sony video always looks smooth as silk, using the same techniques I use with the A1. The most obvious incident was a live concert...every drum beat made the picture vibrate to the point where everything is a blur for a couple of frames...completely useless video during the louder songs. I thought it was from just being too close to the amps, but the Sony had no such trouble and it was just as close.

I'm trying to figure out if this is a common weakness of the A1 or if I have an issue that needs to be serviced. Doesn't seem to matter whether I'm shooting HD or SD. I generally don't use the image stabilizer because I shoot mostly from a tripod.

Thanks for any input.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #2
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Are they from the same tripod? could be that the A1 is on a cheaper tripod and it pick up vibration, handheld the A1 and see if you still have the same problem, if yes then it is just the construction but it could be from a tripod also.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 04:59 PM   #3
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Hi Steve, I have the same problem so I will be interested to see if this thread comes up with any solutions. Mine was so bad that on a tripod I couldn't touch the camera without it shaking and on one ocassion it was even picking up my hearbeat. I now have the image stabiliser on all the time and the problem has disappeared, but any slow zooms are a nightmare. Would be interested in anyone else's input.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 06:10 PM   #4
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thanks guys

Khoi, the tripods are very different, but I've put the Sony on my tripod and it is much more solid than my A1 on the same platform. As Gregory pointed out, the image stabilizer helps smooth out shots, but it makes shooting from a tripod difficult as the picture tends to drift as you try to compose.

I'll try a side-by-side comparison using two identical model of tripods in the office next week to eliminate one variable in this issue.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 10:02 PM   #5
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The closest I can come to your situation is racing cars, and I've shot right next to some loud ones without issue. Actually, I've shot very close to a very loud band (I say very loud because they were very bad, not because I am very old, which I am.) without any problems. Shooting location was probably different since I was outside and I'm assuming you were inside. If so, the aural dynamics could be very different.

My only thought as to a problem with your A1 is that you just might have something a bit loose inside. Just loose enough to react badly to strong bass notes. If your A1 is still under warranty it might be worth considering that as an issue and contacting Canon tech support.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 01:58 AM   #6
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I get the same too when filming live and loud events with lots of bass. I once compared the video coming from the Sony camera next to me and it was rock steady. I've also experienced the same vibration when recording video on a Canon Powershot S5 IS.

It may be a Canon thing related to the image stabilisation mechanism (which was off)

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Old November 6th, 2009, 07:27 AM   #7
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In light of Ian's observation I'm going to retract my previous recommendation. I too would suspect the OIS and here's why. When an OIS is turned off in some cameras the mechanism can still move about in some situations causing blurriness like you describe. I mounted a Pany GS-400 in a race car with the OIS off and the image was unusable. I suspect that's because the OIS mechanism was flopping about due to the car's vibration.

Not having mounted my A1 in a race car I cannot say that it would have done the same thing, but I think it probably would. I think that the OIS in your A1 is reacting to the bass notes in much the same way as my Pany did to the race car's vibrations. Unfortunately, I cannot come up with a decent workaround. At least now you shouldn't have to worry that something is broken inside.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 03:26 PM   #8
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the ois theory makes sense. I'll probably send it in...if Canon can't solve it...hellooo Z5!
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Old November 6th, 2009, 07:34 PM   #9
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Please let us know what they say. If they come back with, "that's the way it works", then this might need to be a sticky because it would be tragic to buy an A1 or G1 and find out after spending all that money that you cannot shoot rock bands.

That would be a showstopper for me if that's what I intended to shoot.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 10:15 AM   #10
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Ive had had the same problem, at parties with loud sound systems. The bass can make the image shake. The interesting thing is that this only happens on a tripod. Once I go handheld, in the same environment, the vibrations go away. Im not certain, but I dont think it makes a difference whether the IS is on or off.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #11
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Gents, here's my 2 cents. The OIS in a consumer camera is a lens suspended in a thin film of oil. When it's off it's in a fixed position and when it's on, the lens floats, designed to damp out hand movements.

OIS has improved over the years, the early ones didn't do that much but advanced versions have better lens and suspension. However they're still optimised to cancel hand shake which has a certain kind of movement, no high frequency vibration, no sudden or sharp knocks. Every manufacturers OIS is slightly different from another.

Different kinds of vibration do different things, eg: on a stable tripod OIS can fight against pans, lagging behind them maybe creating a slight blur, the consensus there is to always turn it off.

Up close, very loud sound waves, (eg: bass, the kind you feel in your chest) will do different things to OIS in different cameras. It's essentially *hitting* the camera body generally from one direction, and as different frequencies ie: musical notes.

Holding the camera with OIS on may damp it out, turning the camera a few degrees may cancel it, bounce if off with less or no vibration to the picture. IMO it'd be different every instance, every time you set up .. and with every song.

HTH Cheers.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 08:14 PM   #12
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Allan... I would tend to agree with you. I think that having the OIS switched on does much more to mitigate the problem than having it handheld.

If you take the A1 and turn it upside down whilst turned off, you'll hear what's reported to be the mechanics of the OIS "banging" around. That sound stops with the camera and OIS on. My suspicion is that the deep notes causes those mechanics to move when switched off, but the movement stops with the OIS on.

My Pany GS-400 (with OIS) went nuts when mounted in a race car with the OIS off. Switch it on, it was better but the image was still worthless.

Some manufacturers may do it better than Canon or Pany, but it remains that some OIS systems will go all pear shaped in certain situations.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 12:41 AM   #13
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i'm wondering if insulating the tripod from the floor vibrations with a foam mat would help a bit?
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Old November 10th, 2009, 07:40 AM   #14
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Although it might help with the vibration issue, it would create other issues. The main one being that the tripod would no longer be stable as it floats atop the foam.

Perhaps hanging a sandbag from the bottom of the tripod might mitigate vibration transmitted through the floor, but I'm not sure how much of the problem comes from that versus the vibrations in the air.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #15
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Tripp I agree, a video camera in the situation described is way out of its comfort zone and as I mentioned, it'll be different every time you try to record.

That's the worst aspect 'cause you'll never know what you've got till later. You can't experiment on site because time is passing, the song is ending and the band will finish before you're ready to start.

If anyone wants to get serous doing this, a good place to start might be getting a SONY PD170, as Steve has in post 1.

Cheers.
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