1st impressions of 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 July 30th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #1
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1st impressions of XHA1s

we upgraded our 2 XL1s cameras with XHA1s cams earlier this month. I did a fair amount of research, and while I would have preferred going with the XF tapeless series, I knew the price made it "not possible". We shoot weddings, and performances, as well as promotionals, so tape backup a huge plus.

Pros:
Lighter weight camera, nice to have the LCD for handholding low angle shots.
Tons of tweaks available in settings, it'll take some time to learn everything; but I like being able to easily match our 2 cameras by swapping out the SD card!

Cons:
Not very comfortable to hold for long periods of time, will definitely be needing a shoulder brace or support.
Wish the viewfinder was a little bigger.
The camera seems a little more fragile than my ol' XL1s.
Wish the mike adaptor had capability of removing, without leaving open holes exposed. I typically will run a line in, and try to mike things off camera.

Regarding capture, so far, seems to work great importing into FCP. I also got an HV40 to use for capturing, when I needed it. It doesn't seem to work as well with capturing HD as the XHA1s does, at least with FCP

Footage from recent trip to Ukraine was so incredibly crisp! I quickly began to get an idea for what I needed to look for in regards of lighting, at first, I shot a lot that looked good in viewfinder, and well, it was a little too dark. That'll take some getting use to.

Overall, great camera, amazing, and sad to compare the clarity of footage with that of the ol' XL1s.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 11:59 PM   #2
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Hi David .. I'm just upgrading from an A1 to a new A1s .. here's a couple of things that may be of help to others.

For the 'open holes' around the cam body, I tape all of them over with Cling brand low adhesive tape. Yep all of them. Working outdoors, wind not only screws up the audio it brings dust and enough of it will likely cause problems with the camera, especially the tape transport. And that's where tape dropouts come from .. dust and microgrit sitting on top of the cam drops in the tpt when you open it to change tapes. Wipe it clean .. or at the very least blow on it before you open it.

As well, using headphones and any of the LANC controllers means there's 2 rear A1s caps flapping open to the elements and exposing other sockets.

I drilled a hole in both caps to avoid this. It was very difficult to do, and unless you have experience and a well equipped workshop I wouldn't advise it. But there is another way .. unclip both caps, yes they can be easily removed. Put them safely away. Then place a strip of Cling tape over the open sockets, with 2 appropriate holes for the plugs to fit through. Hope this helps others.

NOTE: You CANNOT remove the rear cap from the A1 model.

Cheers.
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Old July 31st, 2010, 12:59 PM   #3
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<i>Not very comfortable to hold for long periods of time, will definitely be needing a shoulder brace or support.</i>

I just got one of these and love it...and they're cheap!
product demo
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Old August 1st, 2010, 11:16 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by G. Randy Brown View Post
I just got one of these and love it...and they're cheap!
product demo
What are they made out of?
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Old August 1st, 2010, 12:49 PM   #5
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Painted PVC with nice sealed foam covers. Spiderbraces are very light and I think the round piece on the shoulder is more comfortable than the corner of a flat shaped one.
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Old August 1st, 2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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Just thought I'd mention...I've discovered other ways to use it even when not using it as a shoulder mount....at least in theory.
August 13th-15th I'll once again be doing the annual Dustball Rally (gimmick rally with lots of very cool cars) with my new XHA1 for the first time (had been using XL1S').
In the years prior to this year I've had to literally hang out of a car window to get some of the shots I wanted. I tried using the Spiderbrace right handle pivoting on the door to get pans and it seems to work great... in my driveway.
I guess I'll find out if the theory works out....better yet I'll post the first trailer asap and we can all decide.
Wish me luck,
Randy
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 08:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
Painted PVC with nice sealed foam covers. Spiderbraces are very light and I think the round piece on the shoulder is more comfortable than the corner of a flat shaped one.
I really need something that I can still keep my hands on the controls, is the Spiderbrace kinda awkward for controls, especially in fast moving situations.... ?

What about the CB-105?
About CB-105 Video Camera Stabilizer Shoulder Support
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Old August 5th, 2010, 06:28 AM   #8
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In the CB-105 demo pix that guy is using the LCD .. could you work that close to it? Seems their videos don't play there.

And to balance the A1 you'd need the 4 or 5lb counterweight, totalling about 10lbs (together with an external mic in the mic holder)

Try resting 1 1/2 standard house bricks on your shoulder for 30 mins .. then type a reply :)

Cheers.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 08:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Stembridge View Post
I really need something that I can still keep my hands on the controls, is the Spiderbrace kinda awkward for controls, especially in fast moving situations.... ?

What about the CB-105?
About CB-105 Video Camera Stabilizer Shoulder Support
What I've been doing is having my left hand/wrist underneath the left handle while I have my hand on the controls. There is also a single handle rig which you may prefer.
That said I haven't seen any stabilizer that I would want to use for several hours like a wedding reception....I think I would prefer a monopod.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 08:27 AM   #10
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GR .. for a monopod, just extend and use one leg of your tripod. Works well.

Saves some bucks and you'll be able to engage your tripod at the drop of 2 legs.

Cheers.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 09:52 AM   #11
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Seems pretty logical but I guess it never really occurred to me.
Thanks Allan,
Randy
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Old August 5th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
In the CB-105 demo pix that guy is using the LCD .. could you work that close to it? Seems their videos don't play there.
And to balance the A1 you'd need the 4 or 5lb counterweight, totalling about 10lbs (together with an external mic in the mic holder)
In combination with a xh-a1 the lcd is too close to the eye so you need a hoodloupe or something similar to attach to your lcd screen.
Wheight can go up to at least 7kg fully loaded, in my case that has been a videolight with big sony battery, a bit oversized wireless audio receiver, a ext mic, a hvr-dr60 recorder and a adapted hoodloupe. Have been using it quite extensively for run and gun interviews where tripod was not possible. I could carry it around for at least 30 minutes continuously (and being able to control my camera manually) but must say that by then my shoulder started hurting. :) I only use it if I need to add too much accesoires to my camera that would be impossible to carry just in my hands for longer then 10 minutes.
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