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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 August 10th, 2011, 07:32 AM   #1
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Question to Sellers

Why have there been so many Canon XHA1 cameras for sale? Finally ready to move to HD? Looking
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Old August 10th, 2011, 08:57 AM   #2
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Re: Question to Sellers

As a happy XH-A1 owner who bought it used on this very forum a couple of years ago, I think it's like when someone decides to buy a new car. They either trade in the old car, or sell it, then buy the new car.

The guy that sold me one of his A1s had simply upgraded. It wasn't because the A1 was a poor product.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 09:18 AM   #3
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Re: Question to Sellers

+1

I simply moved to another camera, you should be able to find a good deal. Maybe an xhG1 for sdi!
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Old August 10th, 2011, 09:32 AM   #4
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Re: Question to Sellers

Thanks guys. Would like more imput. Have always used Canon. Wondering if their HD was up to par with others?
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Old August 10th, 2011, 01:11 PM   #5
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Re: Question to Sellers

The XH-A1 is an exceptional camera and has been used to make a few feature films.

Crank and Crank 2 I believe...

"Crank 2" shot on XH-A1
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Old August 10th, 2011, 03:11 PM   #6
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Re: Question to Sellers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Sellars View Post
Thanks guys. Would like more imput. Have always used Canon. Wondering if their HD was up to par with others?
I'm not sure what you mean by "up to par with others." Since you are looking at a used XH, I'm assuming that you won't be comparing it with higher-end cameras like the Canon XF300/305. But it would help to know what you want to compare the XH to. Are you looking at newer prosumer/consumer units like the Canon XA10? Are you maybe considering a Canon XF100? Or, are you looking at other older cams like the Sony V1 or Z5. Maybe you are considering a Panasonic HMC150?

What is your standard of comparison? Are you a pixel peeper who watches your video frame-by-frame and who will be frustrated if each frame does not look like a still shot by the likes of Ansel Adams? Are you obsessive about very shallow depths of field? Will you be shooting in a studio or using a Nanoflash for which you need HDMI or SDI-HD output? How much will you need/use the full range of manual controls available on the XHA1 and how much will you be shooting run-n-gun situations where full auto modes will be important?

Without knowing the answers to any of this, my general response is that the XH video is hard to beat when you can take advantage of the camera's manual settings and you recognize the camera's limitations when it comes to keeping gain settings down and not working in dim lighting..

Here is my frame of reference. I have had an XHA1 for about as long as they've been out. I still use it in my mutli-camera event shooting. I usually have time to set up manual settings. Properly set-up, the camera can often yield HD footage as good as I get from my other, later cameras which include a Sony NX5. That is why I kept my XHA1 rather than trying to sell it when I got the other cameras (although I did have a few discussions with folks interested in buying the XH from me and still might consider an offer.)

The XH gives you tremendous flexibility in how you set it up. There is a huge library of downloadable presets available here. It has very good glass in the lens system. As Jordan points out, XH cams have been used for feature films. They also have been used for documentaries, events, ENG, and a lot of other things. They are still being used for those things. You can shoot 24p with it if you want to get that film look.

The problem with tape is the dropouts that plague most HDV tape recording. This is easily avoided by recording to tapeless units, the least expensive being the Datavideo DN60 and the Sony MRC. I've happily used the MRC with my XHA1.

But getting one of these units pushes your budget into the XF100 range. So, how much do you want full manual control? The XH allows for separate control of gain, focus, zoom. iris and shutter speed, neutral density filters, and etc. The XF has fewer controls but does a pretty amazing job in auto and semi-modes.

The big issue with the XH is the grainess/noise which turn up with hgihger gain settings that are needed for low light settings (and the common limitation that all older model HDV cams have with a limited reach into dim lighting.) There are dozens of posts about settings and work-arounds. Basically, if you avoid higher gain settings, you avoid the graininess problem. "Low light" is one of those things that mean radically different things to different people. For me, it means surveillance video conditions, club shoots, and the near-darkness of some "romantic" wedding receptions. My Sony cams will go deeper into this kind of darkness than my XHA1. Frankly, the consumerish Canon XA10 and the Sony NX70 have better programming which deals with the graininess issues and pretty much allow you to shoot on full auto-modes. Heck, I've got a pair of teeny Sony CX550 cams that do this as well. They go deeper into dimness than the XHA1 but not as deep as the NX5, and have less noise in the dim pictures down to near the limits.

Does this help answer your question?
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Old August 10th, 2011, 03:40 PM   #7
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Re: Question to Sellers

Thanks Jay. You're way above my head. We film an outdoor fishing show. We shoot auto. We've been using the XL's. Are the XL HD's still available? I personally like the larger camera for its' balance. You answered a lot of questions. We're not "technical", just want good, clear, dependable, auto filming. We have used camera operators with different aspects of experience. Simple is better. Any help would be appreciated!
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Old August 10th, 2011, 05:40 PM   #8
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Re: Question to Sellers

XLH1 cams are only available second hand these days. Canon is still supplying the "s" version of the XHA1.

With you using the XLH1 cams, you would find a lot that is familiar and comparable in XHA1s. It should match up very well with your XLH1 footage. Presets can be translated from one camera to the other so the footage can be very close if you are shooting multi-camera productions or simultaneously shooting different locations of the same event or locale. The XHA1s is smaller and considerably lighter, so I'm not sure how that plays into your preferring "larger" cameras.

With your primarily shooting in auto and with you having the "simpler is better" preferences --- all valid criteria, by the way --- you might find the XF105 a better choice. It is almost exactly the same price as as the XHA1s and is definitely set up for auto shooting modes. Check out the commentary in the XF forum. I recall reading several recent threads from folks who were using an XF100 for shooting shows and were very impressed with the auto capabilities.

Are you anywhere near a rental shop? Renting a unit is the best way to find out what will work for you.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 06:50 PM   #9
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Re: Question to Sellers

Tony - I upgraded about 1.5 years ago to an XL-H1A , luckily just before Canon pulled them... :)

I LOVE the image it produces... having an XL2 previously that I continue to be impressed with , for those jobs I still shoot in SD.

Matter of fact.. I just this week purchased an XH-A1s from B&H for a second camera with my H1A, along with its wide angle adapter from Canon.. (man that thing is a beast! Web pictures do NOT do it justice :))

I expect after tweaking and setting presets I will get stunning output from my new XH-A1s just as I have with my XL...

I think you will be very happy with the XH series...
I really was tempted to pull the trigger on the XF-300 , and had I found one in stock I might have gone over the edge... but for now the second XH should serve me fine.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 07:10 PM   #10
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Re: Question to Sellers

We have prev. used XL2's. Now time to upgrade. We like the size and physical balance of the XL2. Since the XL HD's are no longer available- here's my questions. Does the batteries from my XL2's fit the XH, should I look at other brands?- most filming done in auto and hand held. Very little tripod. Keep it simple.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 07:51 PM   #11
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Re: Question to Sellers

Yes, the Canon BP-9xx series batteries are fully compatible among the entire range of Canon XL, GL, XL H, XH and XF series camcorders.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 10:18 PM   #12
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Re: Question to Sellers

Keep in mind, in order for someone to sell an A1, someone has to buy it. So there are just as many people currently buying A1s as selling. As a matter of fact, I just bought a used one a couple of months ago. I own a couple of XLH1s and I have rented XH A1s several times over the years, and finally just decided to buy my own, now that the prices have come down so far. It's still a great little camera.
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