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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 30th, 2010, 08:12 AM   #1
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Out with the XH-A1, in with the new?

Hey DVInfo!
I currently own a Canon XH-A1 and have been using it with a Letus Extreme adapter. (See attached pic) I'm extremely familiar with the layout of my xh and love using it, but after working on more projects with more people, using a tape workflow just doesn't cut it anymore.

In an attempt to go tapeless, I purchase a FS-4 HD, not realizing that the format was .m2t, so editing in fcp stinks. I could sell the FS-4 HD, and purchase a FS-C or FS-4 Pro HD, but the issue now comes down to weight of my rig. I shoot more than half my stuff handheld aka shoulder-mounted, and with the xh, letus, mic accessories, firestore, and soon-to-be-attached Manhattan LCD monitor, the weight is getting up there.

My next plan of attack is to get a tapeless camera, probably used. I was looking into Panasonic's line of SDHC and P2 cameras. I want a camera that'll produce the same or near same image quality as the xh, and to be under 4k used. I looked into the HMC40, but I need variable frame rates so that's out. Then I looked into the older HVX200, but it seems that the low light and image quality don't compare. I then looked into Panasonic's newer line, the HVX200A and the HPX170.

The HPX170 caught my eye because it's smaller and lighter than the xh and hvx200, it runs P2 card, making file transferring fast and easy, and there seems to be no issue with editing directly to fcp. So, I began studying the HPX170.

At first, all the reviews, forums, and comparisons I read raved about the ease-of-use, size, weight, and quality of the HPX170. I finally came across a forum that did a side-by-side image comparison with multiple cameras including the XH-A1, HPX170, EX1, HV20, and XH100. In conclusion, most people concluded that the HPX170 didn't step up to the quality of the xh-a1.

Also, I came across this link - HD camcorder reviews/tests and comparison of Canon XH A1 and Panasonic AG-HPX170 (AG-HPX171/ AG-HPX-170) Best values highlighted sor

It seems that the XH-A1 beats the HPX170 in most important categories including image sensor effective pixel count, mix & max shutter time, lcd quality, viewfinder/lcd features, etc.

For the people that may say, "well, it depends on what you're shooting," let me give you a little detail about me life. I'm a film major. I shoot projects almost every weekend. I love using my Letus Extreme. I mostly shoot shoulder mounted. I want something lightweight and tapeless WITHOUT the need to transcode or convert footage. Most of the stuff I shoot is indoor with professional lights or outdoors on sunny days with a crew of other students. I use FCP and Adobe Premiere CS4. I haven't uploaded any new footage recently, but here's something I shot in 2-3 hours. YouTube - Kevin Sawicki Loaded Tripod Video Comp
Hope that answers a lot of questions :)

In conclusion, I want a camera that is fast to move files, but won't take away from the image that i've been producing with the xh-a1. Will the HPX170 compete? If not, what are my options? Should I suck it up and stay with the XH-A1? I really can't be adding more weight, my back's been killing me lately, but I will if I have to.

Any other suggestions, comments, and questions will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
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Out with the XH-A1, in with the new?-xha1-letus.jpeg  
Check out my blog at KevinSawicki.com
Kevin Sawicki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 30th, 2010, 12:05 PM   #2
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Location: New York, NY
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Honestly, I think you should try to go for one of the new Canon/Focus Enhancement CF recorders and find a way to mount it to your camera. You're used to your system now.

You can try for the going to the HPX170, but I tend to agree that the image isn't quite as nice. But the tradeoff would be a more compact setup with less peripherals.
Michael Galvan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 30th, 2010, 05:44 PM   #3
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Location: Sydney.
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+1 .. and I'd wait and see how the Pana AF100 is received. There's so much hype around it now, pounds to peanuts there'll be a few for sale soon from folk who got caught up in it.

Also follow the used prices of your current rig, that may have something to do with it .. there's many ppl in your situation.

30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 31st, 2010, 05:41 AM   #4
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Location: Jacksonville, FL
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Kevin, it sounds like a used EX1 would be perfect for you. If you look around, you can find them for about $4,000, usually with an SxS card included. Sell your A1 for around $2,000 and you're halfway there.
The EX1 records to SxS cards, and they're generally cheaper then P2 cards. It has full raster 1920 x 1080 1/2" imagers, so it will be much better in low light and depth of field control. You may not even need your Letus rig anymore. The image will be sharper and all around better than the ones from the A1 and the Pannys. It has variable frame rates, everything you're looking for.

Here's an EX1 for sale from a fellow forum member. I don't know how close NJ is to Connecticut, but it might be worth you taking a look at it:

Glen Vandermolen is offline   Reply

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