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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 September 27th, 2010, 03:41 PM   #1
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XH A1 recording to compact flash...a how to?

I'm no expert here but it seems to me that every camcorder following the XH A1 line has been a bit of a downgrade(with increased price)...with the exception perhaps of the XH A1S.

At some point, it would be nice to record to compact flash from my XH A1 so that I could go NLE.

I've already gone NLE on my(sold)5DMKII and my 7D.

I can find few options to do this(record to compact flash on my XH A1) and the ones that I find are exhorbitant in price...to say the least.

I've read about the new Canon XF100-105 line but the lenses on these cameras read to be a big downgrade from my XH A1.

I really don't want to sell my XH A1, but would like to record to flash.

Suggestions?

Tx
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Old September 27th, 2010, 04:07 PM   #2
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What about this:

Turning the Canon XH-A1 and Sony MRC1K into a reliable tapeless kit
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Old September 27th, 2010, 04:27 PM   #3
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Fs-cf

Focus enhancements fs-cf unit will record to compact flash memory and capture the canon 24F and 30F frame rates.
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Old September 27th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info.

Isn't it interesting that you can buy a Canon camera(consumer level)that uses a compact flash card(or sd card)but have to cobble something together for a professional level or prosumer level camera to use compact flash or sd card?

In this case you actually have to cobble together a Sony system to use with a Canon camera. I'm guessing it will work fine.

Turning the Canon XH-A1 and Sony MRC1K into a reliable tapeless kit

Thanks for the info.

Perhaps I'm a bit tired of the marketing games(Canon is the worst)and would like to just get a simple upgrade to my already super camera.

:)
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Old September 27th, 2010, 09:46 PM   #5
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FS-CF Pro, from Canon.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 02:42 AM   #6
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I'm in the same boat.
Currently considering the DataVideo DN-60

Videoguys.com - Datavideo DN-60 DV/HDV Solid State CF card recorder
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Old September 28th, 2010, 06:36 AM   #7
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Thanks all for the responses.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 05:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Martin View Post
I'm in the same boat.
Currently considering the DataVideo DN-60

Videoguys.com - Datavideo DN-60 DV/HDV Solid State CF card recorder
i have one of those; bought it day one, $480 or so shipped. firmware had an issue at first, week later new firmware took care of some small issues (mostly menu related).

i have since thrown out, given away, or sold all my HDV tapes, and bought a second for our other XH A1. and keep only CF cards for the big stills DSLR's and SD cards for the twin T2i's we use for backup/tight angle/low light cameras.

Breathed new life into our XH A1 systems, really. reliable, easy to use and train others with, and CF media is rugged in every way HDV tapes are weak.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 08:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panagiotis Raris View Post
i have one of those; bought it day one, $480 or so shipped. firmware had an issue at first, week later new firmware took care of some small issues (mostly menu related).

i have since thrown out, given away, or sold all my HDV tapes, and bought a second for our other XH A1. and keep only CF cards for the big stills DSLR's and SD cards for the twin T2i's we use for backup/tight angle/low light cameras.

Breathed new life into our XH A1 systems, really. reliable, easy to use and train others with, and CF media is rugged in every way HDV tapes are weak.
I totally concur with Panagiotis' review above. I just used my new DN-60 for the first time last week at a paid shoot and had great success with it. No tape, no hassles, and super-fast transcoding of my files into the Cineform codec. I'm done with tape - and yes, it's brought new life to my XH-A1. I'm sure within a year or two I'll make the switch to a new camera as more options become available and prices drop, but for now the DN-60 makes my A1 very usable. The XH A1 still shoots beautiful footage for a 1/3" chip HDV camera. Throw in Cineform intermediate files and it really shines.

Get the DN-60 and save a few hundred dollars over the Focus Enhancements or Sony options IMHO...
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Old September 29th, 2010, 01:15 AM   #10
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Panagiotis,

FYI, I discovered the DN-60 from your post in another thread about favorite accessories. (Thanks!).

I currently have a nNovia hard drive recorder which uses the same technology, but a compact CF version will be much better. I'll be getting mine soon.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 02:21 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the comments and info. It's very much appreciated.

I'm seriously thinking of the DN-60.

A couple of questions, if any DN-60 folks care to respond.

Since I'm mainly a hobby shooter(although I do make some $$$), I invested in and use Adobe Primiere Elements 8 which works pretty good for me. I will eventually upgrade to Adobe CS.

(1) Would I need additional software(over and above my Primiere Elements) to upload files from the DN-60? I see a Cineform codec mentioned and am not familiar with this.

(2) I see firmware issues mentioned. Apparently the DN-60 ships with all necessary firmware to work with the XH A1?

(3) What size of CF card are you all using? From the info I've gathered, it appears the DN-60 works with all size of cards?

(4) Any trouble keeping the firewire cable secured between the DN-60 and the XH A1 during shooting?

Thanks again. I think this DN-60 just may be the answer I've been looking for.

Thanks again all for responding.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 09:33 AM   #12
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Terry, no problem, after the DN-60 i threw out, gave away, or sold all our HDV tapes; its been a great tool. We also use DSLR's for photography that utilize CF cards, so all of our capturing is done with either CF cards or SD cards; VERY convenient!

Stuart, how did you like using it for the first time? i sync'ed to tape for the first few paid gigs, but the original firmware kept giving me phantom errors that didnt really exist, and i occasionally had an issue where the very first frame was all green, but since firmware R9 havent had this issue anymore.

Roger,
the DN-60 is the cheapest of all the CF, SSD, and HD recorders out there, by a large margin (that i am aware of, and i searched for months). It records HD content to M2T files, which you may or may not have to transcode. I use premiere pro CS5, which supports M2T files natively, so i rarely transcode.

I'll be happy to answer any questions i can about it.

1 - There is some free software that i have used for converting M2T files, to practically any format you might need, its like a swiss army knife. Its Mpeg Streamclip by Squared 5 (Windows Beta version) works fine with the m2t files, you MAY need Quicktime Alternative 1.81, but both programs are 100% free.

2 - It ships with the latest firmware, if not check out the Nnovia/Datavideo section; the latest firmware is always available there. R10 is the latest out; R9 i had a minor issue with not being able to play back media files on the XH A1 after i had used the 'make media files' command, R8 was fine, and R7 had several interface issues (the knob would act erratically) that didnt really affect shooting, they were just irritating. R10, latest firmware, is fantastic.

3 - It will work with any size CF card, but they have GOT to be fast; 30mb/sec or faster. Transcend cards dont seem to work that well, they recommend Sandisk Extreme III cards, i tested several capacities in the below thread...

New firmware release

I would strongly recommend sticking with Sandisk Extreme III's, however. We use 16GB units and get an hour of HD out of each card.

4 - i havent had any problems with the firewire cable trying to sneak out, i use a 1.5' cord and have the DN-60 mounted on the hotshoe with a hotshoe/ballhead adapter i bought for $20. the DN-60 never leaves the hotshoe.

i really dont like to just gush about a product, and i have pretty much ZERO brand loyalty. in fact i have switched from Canon to Nikon and going back to Canon for stills and now backup HD video, same with software, but the DN-60 means we'll likely keep our two XH A1 cams for 2 or 3 years (we have 2 DN-60's as well.)

we use one XH A1 on a tripod by itself, capturing audio via XLR mics, and the second is usually on a big tripod with a Letus, Follow focus, mattebox, and a Manhattan 8.9" LCD for fine focusing at 1:1 pixel ratio, the DN-60, and a nice rail package. The T2i's are backups or odd angle cameras; works fantastic at weddings, and i can literally show people what we shot in an instant from multiple angles.

Also the DN-60 records 60i, 50i, 24F, 25F, and 30F framerates, that is every framerate the XH A1/XH A1s can record in either PAL or NTSC or both. i have one camera that records both PAL and NTSC framerates, and the DN-60 requires no tweaking or settings changes, but you DO have to use a different CF card for each different frame rate (ie no mixing 30F with 24F on the same card) but this is a goof thing IMO; when i first started videography i would dump 24F footage in with 30F and 60i on the same tape, and then spend hours figuring out which was which. now i have cards with 24 or 30 on them so i KNOW which is which and so do my shooters.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 11:33 AM   #13
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Roger:

Adding to what Panagiotis said:

1. One of my Realtor customers has Premiere Elements Plus 8 and it imports as any form of mpeg-2 file which specifically includes the file formats for HDV. It also imports AVCHD. I have no idea if there is a difference between Elements 8 and Elements 8 Plus but, if you've been importing HDV from tape into Elements, it will certainly accept HDV files from a CF card. If you want to be absolutely certain, check the websites for Adobe (or Videoguys or B&H) and confirm that your version of Elements imports HDV.

2. I have been using a Sony MRC1 unit with my XH-A1 since last year. Like Panagiotis I thought I would be shooting both tape and CF cards (the old belt and suspenders approach) but wound up completely abandoning tape.

3. I also use the Extreme III cards, although I have been using the 32g cards rather than the 16g cards. The 32g cards allow for almost-but-not-quite 3 hours of HDV recording. Does not matter so much for weddings, but it is very convenient for the longer events (recitals, concerts, stage performances) and for the legal depositions that I video.

4. When I bought my MRC units, the DN-60 was not yet available over here and Sony was offering some kind of rebate for multiple units. (I was also getting units for my Sony cams.) The MRC works better with my XHA1 than it does with my FX1000.

5. Right now, the DN60 is about $480 at B&H while the MRC is $750. The economics favor the DN60.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 02:15 PM   #14
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i borrowed the Sony HVR-MRC1K as well as a firestore Canon variant, and i really did like them; the interface was sleek and they worked great, but the price made no sense; there is NO reason a CF or HD recorder should cost so much! so i went out on a limb and decided to get the DN-60, thinking i would probably return it. Frankly, its not a very impressive looking unit; it looks dated, the interface is less than ideally sophisticated, and the control jog was (with the launch firmware) a bit buggy. I had the Sony and FS-C on hand the day it arrived, and played around with all three. after about 4 hours, i realized all i needed was a recorder, and i didnt use, want, or need the extra features or bling the firestore or sony offered. plus i could buy two for the same price as the FS-C, AND two 16GB cards.

I have not regretted it yet. worst case scenario, transcode with MPEG Streamclip 5 and edit from there. We edit on both Mac and PC so i HAVE to transcode for the MAC guys; MPEG Streamclip 5 is free and you can even export to iphone/smartphone etc so you can show off demo's or previous jobs to potential clients; its another great little tool. I keep copies of most of my best or trickiest jobs on my iPhone, and have actually landed a few jobs having shown them to people at events we shot.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 02:56 PM   #15
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Panagiotis, Jay and others.

Thanks for all the info.

It appears the DN-60 is the way to go. Even with Adobe Primiere Elements 8, I shouldn't have problems processing .m2t files.

B&H or Videoguys.com?
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