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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 22nd, 2011, 12:31 PM   #1
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What is a good step up from the XHA1?

I'm looking to get out of tape-based recording and move on to solid-state recording. Within a street price of $2500-$4000 (tops... really more like $3500), what would be a good option to replace my Canon XH-A1? I like both the Panasonic HVX200a and 170, but fear the low light isn't as good as my Canon and that the P2 format is not going to be supported for years to come. Suggestions?
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 04:26 PM   #2
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

I added a used hard drive recorder to my XHA1. It cost me three hundred bucks. Now I shoot tapeless. Well, actually I put a tape in the camera just in case. But so far, I haven't had to capture any of the tapes.

I really like my XHA1. Especially the three control rings. Until I can afford something like the XF300, I'll keep shooting with my A1.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 06:31 PM   #3
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

If you're a Canon die-hard, the 300/305 is the ticket (even against all the other cameras under $8k IMHO)
The XF100/105 are in your price range and are also killer cameras but don't have the full set of manual controls like the 300 or your A1. All the necessary stuff is there but some things are buried in menus. I have used the 105 and if I needed a different broll cam, that would be it.

Sony AX2000 is in your range too. Along with the Panny HMC150. I owned a 150 and it's a nice camera but I don't think it's a step up picture-wise from the A1. Its advantage is being card based and avchd. Price is right though if you want to be on the low end of your range.

I'd do the xf100 if I was in your shoes...then when you can swing it, get a 300 and you'll have a great pair of cameras that match really well.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 06:42 PM   #4
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

Have you looked at the Panasonic HMC-150?
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 07:51 PM   #5
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

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Originally Posted by Robert Turchick View Post
If you're a Canon die-hard, the 300/305 is the ticket (even against all the other cameras under $8k IMHO)
The XF100/105 are in your price range and are also killer cameras but don't have the full set of manual controls like the 300 or your A1. All the necessary stuff is there but some things are buried in menus. I have used the 105 and if I needed a different broll cam, that would be it.

Sony AX2000 is in your range too. Along with the Panny HMC150. I owned a 150 and it's a nice camera but I don't think it's a step up picture-wise from the A1. Its advantage is being card based and avchd. Price is right though if you want to be on the low end of your range.

I'd do the xf100 if I was in your shoes...then when you can swing it, get a 300 and you'll have a great pair of cameras that match really well.
Thanks for the advice. What manual features does the xf100 lack? The Sony AX2000 limits its recording to 2gb at a time, resulting in a loss of about 20 frames when it 'changes' to the next 2 GB (that is my understanding anyways).
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 08:07 PM   #6
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

Wow...that's a bit silly with the Sony. Doesn't seem that they would release a camera like that.

In any case, the 100/105 only have one lens ring and an assignable knob at the front. There is no manual ND filter. It's electronic but works very well. In fact, when I used the camera, it was left in auto everything except color balance and we were very happy with the results. The face detection AF feature is extremely good. The image stabilization is awesome. Easily does handheld! The bottom line is the picture quality and it's superb for a camera in that price range. The codec is really nice and with dual CF cards, it's really reliable.

The one thing that took some getting used to was the size. It's just so small! Which is really nice for lugging around but gives the impression of a far less capable camera.
The 100/105 absolutely blows the hmc150 away. Don't let the size or fact that it's a single sensor put you off. It's the real deal!
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 11:28 PM   #7
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds View Post
Thanks for the advice. What manual features does the xf100 lack? The Sony AX2000 limits its recording to 2gb at a time, resulting in a loss of about 20 frames when it 'changes' to the next 2 GB (that is my understanding anyways).
The Sony AX2000 captures files in 2GB chunks just like any other AVCHD camera. If you are losing 20 frames between 2GB chunks you are doing something wrong in post. The simplest solution is

copy /b 000001.mts+000002.mts joined.mts

as described in this thread from 2008:

Canon Vixia HG10 2GB File Limit Headache
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 11:50 PM   #8
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

When I was in the same shoes, I decided there was no step up in that price range. I don't think the xf100 has the three ring lens. It's also 10x zoom.

A Sony z5 with mrc1k add on will give you a little better low light, has the 20x zoom and has an integrated solid state solution. FireWire addons aren't as nice.

A used ex1 is a stepup that is close to your price range. It's the best lowlight performer in this class and the image clarity is spectacular. It's a 14x zoom but the image is so good you can zoom in post more than you are used to in hdv.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 02:04 AM   #9
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

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Originally Posted by Roger Van Duyn View Post
I added a used hard drive recorder to my XHA1. It cost me three hundred bucks. Now I shoot tapeless. Well, actually I put a tape in the camera just in case. But so far, I haven't had to capture any of the tapes.

I really like my XHA1. Especially the three control rings. Until I can afford something like the XF300, I'll keep shooting with my A1.
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I think this is a great suggestion. Isnt the new Canon 300/305 a XH-A1 with tapeless recording added? Almost looks identical to the XH-A1.
Roger, which hard drive recorder did you buy for $300.

Jeff
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 04:28 AM   #10
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

The XF-100 is in your price range, and lacks nothing important that I can see. It would destroy your A1. 60P alone is nearly priceless at 50mbps.

I've been looking for a conventional videocamera, and it is absolutely the best available in it's price range, nothing else comes close, IMO. The Sony NX cam has left me completely unimpressed, and the kit lens is very slow, not even worth considering for my work.

Phillip Bloom goes on about the camera at his blog below, scroll down to the review.

http://philipbloom.net/2011/07/09/vi...100-and-xf105/
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; July 23rd, 2011 at 07:54 AM.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 07:48 AM   #11
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

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The XF-100 is in your price range, and lacks nothing important that I can see. It would destroy your A1. ,,,, The Sony has left me completely unimpressed, and the kit lens is very slow, not even worth considering for my work.
There's been 3 different models suggested here as possible solids state upgrades. Not sure what you mean by "the Sony". You are right, traditional camcorders in this price range won't have the sensitivity of the DSLRs that you use although I think it's more the sensors than a slow lens.

The A1 is a nice camera....venerable even. It's three ring lens was specifically mentioned by the OP as desirable in a replacement. Since I had and A1, I also know how nice the 20x f1.8 lens was. The XF100 has neither of those but, as you say, apparently has a wonderful CODEC and picture that may offset those....I don't have one (yet :-)) so I can't really say.

Also, the A1 is not a low light camera (something the OP also mentioned) tho and the Sony Z5 is a little better according to this review:
EventDV.net: The Event Videographer's Resource

The EX1 I recommended is also better than the A1 and XF100 in low light plus it has 3 rings and a 14x.

@Jeff Hinson... pay attention to the model of any hard disk or flash attachment and research its compatibility with the A1. I used the Sony MRC1K compact Flash attachment on my A1....lots of threads about it on DVInfo and I posted a video on the sure-fire method for making the two devices talk when they fail to connect properly. For a camcorder, i'd personally, recommend solid state media over hard disk any day. YMMV.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 08:00 AM   #12
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hinson View Post
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I think this is a great suggestion. Isnt the new Canon 300/305 a XH-A1 with tapeless recording added? Almost looks identical to the XH-A1.
Roger, which hard drive recorder did you buy for $300.

Jeff
Jeff, I lucked into a used CitiDisk HDV unit from being in the right place at the right time. Another videographer I know had a friend selling one.

The Sony card based system mentioned by other posters is excellent. Used Firestores are an option, but make sure it's a model compatible with your A1. If you buy something new, the DN-60 units have a good price.
The classified section on the forums here is where I bought my A1, wireless mics, pelican case, lots of stuff. There are recording units that attach to an A1 listed there from time to time.

The Canon XF300 is much more advanced than our A1s. If I had the money, I'd buy one. But I don't, so I'm waiting. What I want, what I need, and what I can afford at the present time are in conflict.

The CitiDisk is a stopgap measure until I can by the XF or something else with the 3 rings. One ring is okay on my B and C cameras, but not the main camera.

Of course, necessity sometimes steps in and plans have to be modified.
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Last edited by Roger Van Duyn; July 23rd, 2011 at 08:04 AM. Reason: tip
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 08:39 AM   #13
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

Les, I was confused and was thinking the NXCAMS were discussed, my mistake.

I highly doubt he's going backwards at this point with the Z5 or even EX1 which is not even close to his price point. If Bill mentioned needing three rings, I missed it.

Z5/FX1000 not bad in low light, but then your going backwards with what is now old school technology.

Again, 60p images are buttery smooth, motion is gorgeous, for the money nothing even close, except DSLR, and he's not going there. It will not have the rings, but he can adapt. At this price point you cannot have it all, but the Canon 100 comes close, IMO.

Edit: having missed Bills mentioned the AX2000, that would certainly be a natural camera to look at, similar in form and function.
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; July 23rd, 2011 at 12:21 PM.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 08:55 AM   #14
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

Bill after taking a quick look, the AX2000 does have lot to offer, I admit I don't know much about it, but it did receive mixed reviews. I never looked at it seriously, but I know some folks do love it.

Does it shoot 1080 or 720 60p? The camera has some quirks or difficulties, I seem to recall, but can't remember the complaints I read about. It might be poorer in low light than some expected, I can't remember.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 11:25 AM   #15
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Re: What is a good step up from the XHA1?

Yep. This price point is difficult coming off the a1. The AX and NX cams are modern and you are right about the z5 being not. But looking at a used EX1 is ballpark pricewise and definately a step up. I found many features of the EX1r addressed limits I hit with the a1.

Last edited by Les Wilson; July 24th, 2011 at 07:25 AM. Reason: grammar
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