Buy used A1, New A1s, wait or other? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 24th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 339
Buy used A1, New A1s, wait or other?

Gents,

Now that we know that Canon's newest offering (the XF-300 series) is going to be fairly costly...read/make that rather surprisingly expensive.... at around roughly 6.8-7k when introduced, accordingly, I'm wondering what to do now as that price point far exceeds a brand new A1S (3.3k) or a good used A1 (2k+).

I had been waiting and hoping for more reasonable pricing for the XF's & to see what the options were when released.

So now my quandary is how to proceed getting in the HDV (preferably Canon) arena and moving up from aging SD. I need all of you sage advice at this stage while I plan for the future.

1) Is the picture quality of the A1s any better than the A1 or approx the same? Most online sources seem to indicate that the A1 still has the edge.

2) What are the main advantages or cons when those 2 models are directly compared head to head? Better, worse, the same or can't tell the difference? Online search didn't reveal much to justify a 1.3k cost differential.

3) So few of these particular models come up for sale here at dvinfo.net. Is e-bay a possibility for a used A1 and what sort of questions to I want to ask if considering that route. Any of you purchase one through E-bay? There doesn't seem to be much out there new seeing that these were released 3-4 years ago.

4) As these models have been available for years, are they still holding their own or are there any other strong contenders/alternatives that are just as good or even superior in the 3-4k range? Can one do better currently or are there pending releases the 2nd half of 2010 that may be comparatively priced that would merit waiting a few months?

The Canon web site sells an A1 for $2,500 refurbished which to me seems high seeing that there are no "extras", these were sold new for around $3,300-3,400 before the A1S "replaced" it, it's going on 4 years old & one would have no idea what's behind that units history and usage. Currently out of stock.

5) What would you do if you were me facing the same decision, what considerations and options would roll through your head?

To me there seems to be a huge cost gap between 3.3k and roughly 6.8k going the brand new route.

Thanks for participating
Bruce Pelley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Walworth, NY
Posts: 291
Bruce,

I have two A1S's that I upgraded from the A1's. There were a couple things fixed and I don't see any difference in the image quality so if you can get a great deal on a used one it may be the way to go. You are moving up from SD so you will see a marked improvement in quality and I guess the real question is what are you going to use it for? Will the A1 fill the bill or do you need some of the new features/capabilities of the new camera?

I was going to upgrade but since I sometimes need two cameras I couldn't justify the cost. (Make that afford them) With business a little harder to come by, spending the additional money doesn't really fit my business model, so I am making do.

If you pay attention to lighting and realize that tape cameras are nearing the end of their life cycle, these cameras may fit the bill for years to come. Not sure what the used A1 market is but because of the high price of the XF series they may hold their value for the near future. I know I'm holding onto mine.
__________________
Dave Chilson
www.loc.org
David Chilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2010, 02:50 PM   #3
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Posts: 14
Used XH-A1

I am in the wedding videography business (on the side) and use a GL-2 and XH-A1 and shoot in SD. I plan on moving up to HD soon, but realize that the GL-2 is SD only. I bought my XH-A1 off of ebay 2 years ago and have been very happy with it's performance. I would buy another XH-A1 in a minute.

NVP Nelson Video Productions
Joe Nelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 162
Just got mine!

Bruce, Joe and David are right. I just picked up my AH-1A from eBay (see my earlier post) and am ecstatic with what I'm seeing already! There were some upgrades to the A1s, but my A1 was in cherry shape. If you're as fortunate as I, you'll be really happy and when the camera starts paying for itself, you can invest in another--maybe even one of the new XFs!

Good luck and good shooting!
Terry
__________________
Rule #1: Don't sweat the small stuff. Rule #2: It's ALL small stuff!
Terry Wall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25th, 2010, 08:57 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 339
Joe & Terry,

What technique did you both use & what questions were asked in order to determine if a A1 on E-bay was worth buying, 100% operational, in mint shape, well treated, maintained and to both feel comfortable with & trust the seller?

I'd sure like to repeat that experience.

David,

Long-term I have used 2 GL-2's (mine) and on occasion an A1( borrowed). There is no income involved in what I do. I participate as part of a volunteer video/church ministry. With my limited hands on A1 usage to date I think I could be happy with one if the condition and price would be right and yes... lighting is always a challenge. The A1 needs a lot of it to look good and graininess is re-occuring problem.

Thanks for any and all replies.
Bruce Pelley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25th, 2010, 12:57 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 162
I really pressed questions about usage: how much, under what conditions did you shoot, number of hours on heads, how many tapes...those kinds of questions. In the end, I bought locally so I could visually inspect the camera. Doing business in person stops the scams, too. The guy I bought mine from was changing from film making to screenwriting and hadn't used the camera in almost a year. And it's in near new condition!

Good luck in your search!
TW
__________________
Rule #1: Don't sweat the small stuff. Rule #2: It's ALL small stuff!
Terry Wall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25th, 2010, 04:03 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 33
You may want to check your local Craigslist first. That way you can go and visually inspect the camera first. - While just visually inspecting the camera can't tell you everything, you can learn about how the previous owner took care of the camera...i.e,. stored in a case, clean lens, lens filter, clean, dusty, etc. That's the route I recently took to get my first XHA1 - Got it with a hard porta brace case, Anton Bauer Elipz 10K battery & charger, standard Canon kit batter...all for an incredible $1900!!! I have already used it on 3 wedding shoots and love it!!! I bought this just as a temporary solution, as I'm looking to go tapeless and really wanted the XF300, but it looks like that's going to be not only outside of my current budget, but also more than I would be willing to pay at this time. I'm actually now considering the NX5, but am just playing the waiting game for now.
Coral Cook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2010, 02:39 AM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Palo Alto, California
Posts: 100
I got serious about video production years ago when I purchased a new XHA1. It is a fantastic camera, but lately I have been tempted down the path of tape less video.

I shoot multicam event video with a Panny HMC150, HMC40, Sony Z5, and the XHA1. All of these cameras are effectively indistinguishable in post production, except the HMC40 in low light conditions.

As much as I love the A1, I would get another HMC150 as the best all round camera in my pack.
Terry Martin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
We're producing aircraft programs using an A1, great camera but the feature it sadly lacks for us is audio limiters.

They take away the necessity of checking the levels every few secs to make sure we're not into peak distortion.

So we've ordered a new A1s (has limiters) We have piles of A1 accessories filters etc., huge tape archives and a tape workflow. With the 300 we'd basically have to start again so we'll wait until the 'dust' settles :)

Checking around the dealers here we found new A1s are going fast. Canon Aust ordered 10 and they're getting 3 they told me yesterday.

Cheers.
__________________
30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Northern New Jersey
Posts: 391
I think one factor is your view on how important tape is for you, without assuming that tapeless is always better for all usage scenarios.

If you're going for tapeless, you can use an A1/s with a firestore (or other) and you get all the benefits of tapeless, and still have the option for tape, which in some cases is quite useful (in addition to archiving your finished product, you have a built in backup of your source assets).

Granted, you have to deal with that on tape or tapeless out from the firewire port, you only get HDV. If this is sufficient for your purposes, then my take is that you have options to go to tape or tapeless. And, in a controlled (studio) environment, you can take the analog output from the A1 which is full HD, and then use many different methods to capture and encode that to higher bitrates (granted it's gone D to A to D, but may be ok for you).

I think if the production quality you are looking for necessitates higher bitrates without going D to A to D, then the newer canons have that, and that may be more important for you. E.g. the 50MB mpeg2, 4:2:2. But then you don't get the tape transport built in to the camera and have to handle backups, etc, in other ways.

But, you will have to pay the premium price for that ability. I did look into using a CD nanoflash with my A1, which would give 50megabits and much high, but in the field, it needs a converter to take the analog output, convert to SDI and then feed to the nanoflash. In a studio it would be fine, but given the power rqmts and other factors, I decided to go a different route and wait for other options (esp. since I was mostly interested in 50 megabits, not the 200+ possible with the nanoflash).

Again, depends on your needs / workflow (I have been using my A1 with a firestore, and although only HDV, I have been very satisfied..tapeless is very nice, and I like the tape transport when I need it).

So, just another angle and way to look at it.

Hope this helps!
Dave Stern is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 30th, 2010, 07:58 PM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
For a lot of folk I'm sure it does Dave.

There are 2 groups of users, people running a business and prosumers. Most business users need 2 cams and 2 XF300s are out of reach. cheers.
__________________
30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 30th, 2010, 10:04 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 339
Sorry for the delay in this reply,

Thanks for all of the input, advice given and thoughts expressed in your responses. Some brief background on myself to put things into perspective. My entire experience in video-making has been in church ministry as a volunteer for the past 12 years utilizing 1st Super VHS & thereafter mini-dv tape in SD. Ive acquired a true appreciation for tape as as fairly reliable back-up as hard drives will & do fail. My resources, knowledge & equipment are limited which directly affects my viable choices. HD video is the next logical step!

Fortunately this coming Saturday, my local cable station is going to permit me to borrow an A1 so I can get hands on HDV experience on the unit in the venue I record in most every week. Ive had that unit on occasion in the past, however because the rest of the AV crew was shooting in SD with old and aging Canon GL-1s & 2s, that cam also recorded in SD.

I cant find enough positives & upgraded features I cant live without to justify another $1,300 for a brand new A1s. The Panasonic alternative in the same price range was interesting, however, Im not prepared to deal with AVCHD and no tape.

Been looking on Craigs-list, E-bay and DVInfo.net to see whats for sale there. I live about 40 miles from Boston where youd think thered be some opportunities to check out a unit up-close & personal, however nothing yet. Probably be better off if Chicago, LA, SF or NYC was nearby. Once upon a time I and another person got burnt on E-bay for 6 grand where we were bidding for 3 XL-2s which were never delivered not was the money returned so I need to be careful. Being forced by circumstances & location to buy used gear in blind faith, sight unseen & hoping for the best is what my best option is.

If any of you gents happen upon a reasonable deal (around 2k) which includes a case that youd buy yourselves if you were in the market for an A1, please let me know. In light of the above & considering my heavy background in SD as I own multiple GL-2s, being able to get quality down-conversion from HD to SD is important too so that all of my cameras footage would match and be in the same format.

All the best & thank you.

Bruce
Bruce Pelley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1st, 2010, 12:14 AM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 33
Bruce,

I do event videography (mostly weddings) but also work as volunteer videographer for my church. As mentioned in my earlier post, I recently purchased a used XHA1 and couldn't be more happier, but that purchase was for my own use. As I believe your focus in on doing video for your church, this post will deal with that. My assumptions are as follows:
1) You are taping the services from a fixed location
2) You deliver the finished product on DVD (standard def of course), without editing
3) It's an older church building, and lighting is not the best

Based on those assumptions, I think you would be better served by looking into an older broadcast camera with at least 1/2" sensors. We use an old Sony DSR 300 that works great. We take the video out and record directly to a DVD burner, then make copies, and sell them right after the service. I recently found an excellent deal ($350 on local Craigslist) on a JVC GY-DV500 to use as 2nd camera at our church. Because of the our setup (bad lighting, camera in all the way in back of church, standard def DVD delivery, both of these cameras are better performers then the XHA1. Again, that's based on our use and environment. Just another option you may want to consider that could better meet your needs and save you money to boot.
Coral Cook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1st, 2010, 06:16 AM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 1,259
Brude, don't forget to check the classifieds here on DVInfo.net. The deals seem good and the sellers very reputable.
__________________
Avid Media Composer 3.1.3. Boris Red and Continuum Complete. Vegas 8.0c. TMPGEnc Xpress Pro 4.0
Peter Moretti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1st, 2010, 10:23 AM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 339
Coral:

In regards to your 3 points:

Generally speaking I film from a fixed point/stationary position except for those times when the audience directly in front of me stand up to sing (or whatever) and directly block my shot of what's going on from the platform. Then I scurry over to the aisle, quickly reposition myself and hope not to lose too much continuity. I takes others footage to cover that gap. I film from the back of the church which doesn't help quality being probbaly 100 feet away from the action.

I do the whole post production process (in SD by necessity) from start to finish myself, at home on the computer from scratch using exported material from FS-4's and tape. After compression it goes out to my local cable station as a MPEG-2 dvd compliant file for broadcast. Many hours is invested each time I record a service.

The church interior is huge with a lot of ambient lighting which HDV needs & about 25 years old.

Thanks for your camera suggestions which will be looked into.
Bruce Pelley is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:59 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network