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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 25th, 2010, 09:57 AM   #1
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XH-A1 Favorite Upgrades!!

Hi everyone ,

Ive had my XH-A1 for a year and i think its time for some upgrades. Ive tried doing my homework on searching for the best upgrades and here is what i found.

1. AT-897 audio-technica - gradient shotgun mic (around $250.00)
2. A zoom teleconverter 2.2x lense. I saw some excellent footage using this lense on youtube. Anyone using this style and like it? what brand is a good choice price/visual performance.
3. And the much talked about WD-H72 Canon wide angle. Ive read that this one is expensive at around 400.00 but the visual gains are great compared to the inexpensive verisons.

What would you guys do for a first mod. I think ill be doing a mod a month since this stuff inst cheap and im doing video editing as a hobby and not as a business.

Thanks All,

Chris Wysocki
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Old April 25th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #2
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Can't speak for the first two, but the WD-H72 is a great upgrade. Be aware at how top heavy it will make your camera though. You will definitely need to practice to get used to it. I believe it adds 3lbs to the front. But it's best in it's class since its zoom through and gives you .8x more wide. Super good for tight shots, landscapes, houses, etc.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 01:44 PM   #3
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Hi Chris,

I've gotten quite a few add-ons for my camera in the 18 months or so that I've had it. (I still love the camera just as much as when i first bought it.)

My first purchase -- besides a couple of extra batteries -- was the WD-H72 lens. I use it a LOT. (In fact, I have an extra one, if you're interested. I traded someone a light for it because I felt it was a good deal.) As I'm sure you've read, the lens is really heavy, but the quality is great.

I I also have a 16x9 EX 1.5 teleconverter that is nothing short of amazing. It was quite expensive, but delivers extremely sharp shots. I rarely use it, though, because the camera's 20x works in most situations. This lens is also heavy.

I use a Rode NTG-2 and a Sennheiser ME66. Thought you'll hear people trashing the ME66 a good bit, I prefer the sound to the Rode for recording ambience.

I love my Sennheiser G2 wireless setup. I have two receiver/transmitter combos working on different ranges using the ME2 mics that come with them. I just bought a Countryman B6 lavalier and hope to test it out later today or the first time. I've heard great things about it. The wireless system is perhaps my best add-on. There is no substitute for good sound and they fit the kind of shooting that I most frequently do. I also use

I also use a Sennheiser MD42 "reporter's microphone" since I interview athletes at competitions. I have used it wireless with a plug-on transmitter, but usually wired since the distance is not too great. (Myself wearing a lavalier and handling the camera with the athlete holding the MD42 and answering questions in front works well when I'm working alone.

I also recently got a Kessler Pocket Dolly Traveler that I think I am going to use a lot. A few tests showed more how improved some shots can be with a little motion. (I've used pans in the past, but never liked them.)

I also have a used 12' Kessler crane also that I got an extremel;y good deal on ($250 including a heavy-duty Samson tripod and head!). It's been used only a couple of times, but only because it's a little more cumbersome piece of equipment than I am used to carrying. If you can find a way to use it in your video, a dolly is a great thing to have.

As to your original question of what would I get first, I think the wireless system would be my first choice. It may not work for what you do, but it has been great for me. I'd probably go with the WD-H72 next and then the ME66.

While I've invested a good bit in video equipment, it's still little more than a hobby for me, too. I publish a website that is extremely popular in it's little niche area, but the limited video I produce is not the reason people visit the site. I spend more time shooting stuff for my friends, family, and students.

I've bought a few "cheap" items and learned that the quality is so much less than I am looking for as to make them a waste of money. DVInfo is my first research tool when looking at a a new "toy" to go with my camera. Learn as much as possible about whatever it is that you want to add and then get the best possible product that you can afford. I've bought some things here and have had nothing but great experiences from really nice, helpful people.

Hope that helps a little.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 03:58 AM   #4
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Hi

Phil, you write that you use a "16x9 EX 1.5 teleconverter". Is it a Century Optics converter and is it for a Sony EX1 camcorder? If so, does it fit on a XH-A1 with a step up ring for the filter thread?

Regards,

/Bo
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Old April 26th, 2010, 06:57 AM   #5
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Does the teleconverter lense make it able to do very very close shots , like shooting insects?

Also thanks for the responses. Much appreciated.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 10:07 AM   #6
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Digital Optics Pro 2x Teleconverter Lens 72mm Threading - eBay (item 110523962898 end time May-24-10 00:38:35 PDT)

I this teleconverter on ebay with a 72mm thread so i think no step up ring is required. They even have one from a different brand for $50.00 Has anyone tried these?

Chris
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Old April 26th, 2010, 01:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Sundvall View Post
Hi

Phil, you write that you use a "16x9 EX 1.5 teleconverter". Is it a Century Optics converter and is it for a Sony EX1 camcorder? If so, does it fit on a XH-A1 with a step up ring for the filter thread?

Regards,

/Bo

Bo,

It is made by 16x9, Inc. (16x9 Inc. :: Products). It has a 72mm screw-on mount so no adapters or step-up ring is necessary. It comes with a carry bag and a good. I'll try to get out after work and shoot some test video to show you what it can do.

Phil
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Old April 26th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Wysocki View Post
Does the teleconverter lense make it able to do very very close shots , like shooting insects?

Also thanks for the responses. Much appreciated.

Good question, Chris, but I really don't know. When I get home from work later today, I'll try it out and see, but I have a feeling macro capabilities are not there. I think a diopter set might be a better bet.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 02:43 PM   #9
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My favourite (and cheapest) upgrade is the Sony eye cup.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 02:50 PM   #10
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Hi Phil

Of course it's a 16x9 device. I was a little too fast writing the post. I believe that Century Optics have bayonet connections on their adapters so there an EX adapter will not fit on a XH-A1 lens.

It really would be very helpful if you would take your time and share some footage from your XH camcorder with your adapter mounted. Full zoom in of course. Then it would be possible to see how much cromatic aberation and other artifacts the adapter generates.

I've been thinking of getting an adaptor myself as I sometimes would be able to zoom in more on distant objects. I once bought a cheap teleconverter which was terrible and generated so much artifacts that ot was only a small part in the centre that was sharp. Completely unusable. Since then I'm afraid to put money in something I have difficulties to test, so some full resolution footage would be extremely helpful.

Thanks in advance!


Regards,

/Bo
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Old April 26th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Murray View Post
Bo,

It is made by 16x9, Inc. (16x9 Inc. :: Products). It has a 72mm screw-on mount so no adapters or step-up ring is necessary. It comes with a carry bag and a good. I'll try to get out after work and shoot some test video to show you what it can do.

Phil
that would be great. im interested in seeing some footage with it.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 03:18 PM   #12
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what about 7 inch monotors. any of you guys using them? are you able to dial in focus better? which models are people using with their xh-a1? Just found that some are using monitors from LCD4video.com , which model is it though , there is sooo many to choose from
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Old April 26th, 2010, 04:05 PM   #13
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Chris, upgrade the audio first because sound is 70% of what you see.

If at all possible pop for enough scratch for a RODE NTG-3. You won't regret it :)

Cheers.
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Last edited by Allan Black; April 26th, 2010 at 07:39 PM. Reason: tpe too fast
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Old April 26th, 2010, 06:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Wysocki View Post
Digital Optics Pro 2x Teleconverter Lens 72mm Threading - eBay (item 110523962898 end time May-24-10 00:38:35 PDT)

They even have one from a different brand for $50.00 Has anyone tried these?

Chris
Tried a somewhat more expensive cheapo teleconverter once, it was like shooting through a Coke bottle. For $50 my guess is fuggedaboutit.....
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Old April 26th, 2010, 06:28 PM   #15
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I love the WA, really helped. My favorite accessory for the A1, however, is noise suppression software to help out in low light situations. I use NeatVideo but there are others. With this and Vegas's new light fill, I can really improve low light performance. Here's a clip showing the "as shot" and with with the A1 last week on a dark stage at +0db in 60i. I've been able to salvage some pretty noisy footage and keep it looking fairly good. Prior to this software the noise was really bad in such situations and if I pumped up the gain or curves, this footage would have been pretty bad.

____________Straight out of Cam:________________With Neat, color adjust, and Vegas light fill:
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XH-A1 Favorite Upgrades!!-out-cam.jpg   XH-A1 Favorite Upgrades!!-light-fill-neat.jpg  

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