XL2 compared the XHa1s at DVinfo.net

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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 December 3rd, 2009, 07:25 PM   #1
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XL2 compared the XHa1s

Has anyone switched from an XL2 to the XHA1s? Thats what I am considering. Well at least adding the A1s to my arsenal as my new main camera.

Any comments on real world low light quality (reception halls)
as well as quality in general when the final product is still SD DVD?
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 07:56 PM   #2
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I switched from the XL2 to the XHA1s. I was very sad to get rid of it, but it had to be done. By what I have shot and watched so far, the A1 does everything the XL2 could do, and even SD quality does look better.

I was worried about low light, but actually, the A1 can handle low light just as well as the XL2 could, maybe even slightly better. The grain is more noticeable in HD of course, but the grain itself is easier on the eyes (less chroma noise), then the XL2's.

The A1s is also more vibrant (less neutral) out of the box then the XL2 (And the A1 apparently) I'm finding no need to use a heavy custom preset.

You will get used to the lack of buttons. I do miss having more gain options without having to go into the menu. But the real iris ring is so much nicer then that stupid toggle switch on the XL2.

One thing that takes some getting used to on the A1s (I heard the A1 does not have this problem), is the extremely slow manual focus ring. Even at the highest setting, you often have to tug the ring to get it to focus quickly at all, and often you have to reset your hand to get a full rack focus, which of course, does not work at all. You can do it, you just have to learn to make fast movements without shaking the camera.

Which brings me to the one thing that I really miss about the XL2: The shoulder mount. The handheld work on the A1 is much more shaky, and my hands and arms tire so quickly. You can get a spiderbrace, or the CB-105, but it just adds another attachment, and every time I want to switch onto a tripod....

Unfortunately, the XL-H1 is $4000 more just for that design and some SDI outputs.

One more thing. I find the viewfinder on the A1s completely useless. Compared to the lower resolution, but bigger ENG style viewfinder on the XL2, the small size and limited viewing angle are crap comparatively. I almost exclusively use the LCD, which is very good, unless I am in bright sunlight.

Hope this helps,
Brandon
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Old December 4th, 2009, 07:11 PM   #3
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thank you

Thanks Brandon,
your advice does help greatly. I've narrowed my decision down to the A1s and the Sony HDR 1000. but its lack of xlr and rolling shutter concerns me.

I know how my XL2 will perform in low light and its pretty darn good with slower shutter speeds and higher gain.

one last question if you don't mind...

is it true that you can use the cam mike and another mike (wireless) simultaneously ?
in true high quality 16 bit audio mode?
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Old December 5th, 2009, 11:56 AM   #4
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Yes, The A1s (Though not the A1) can run both the on-camera mic and an xlr input simultaneously in 16bit. I have used this setup quite a few times and it does work. Of course, you can set the onboard to automatic while manually controlling the xlr (if using a lav or something) if you like as well.

Brandon
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Old December 6th, 2009, 08:04 PM   #5
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Thats awesome because the XL2 did not allow that without switching to 12 bit audio.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 10:34 PM   #6
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follow up on my purchase

I thought I would follow up on my final purchase decision. I bought the XHA1s and it performs pretty much as Brandon said it would. Low light is the same if not slightly better in some cases than the XL2.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 11:27 AM   #7
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Dan,
Glad it's working out for you. I have been using a mix of my A1s and 7d for my current series, (The Underdogs), and couldn't be happier. 7d for the beauty shot and A1 for the documentary/reality shots.
Brandon
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