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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 April 30th, 2015, 01:14 PM   #1
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Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

I know I have to sell these wonderful cams but where do I go? Which alternative for this event videographer that has all the XH-A1 features with improved low light.
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Old April 30th, 2015, 06:46 PM   #2
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

Which features do you like the most and would absolutely want in a new cam, and is better lowlight the only difference you are looking for or are there some other features that might also be of interest to you?
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Old May 1st, 2015, 06:55 PM   #3
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

Well I am not happy that the CCD is gone but would like any 3 chip camera.
It must have at least a 20 zoom.
It must do great autofocus.
I would prefer, but not a game changer, a camera that records to 2 SD's or Compact flash at the same time.
It must do better in low light.
I got spoiled with my wide angle extenders on my XH-A1's.
Lighter than the XH-A1 would be nice but not essential.
It has to be a camcorder. I'm not going to move to a DSLR and all those problems.
Any suggestion greatly appreciated.
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Old May 1st, 2015, 09:09 PM   #4
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

Gary - I reluctantly parted with my beloved XH-A1 too. I now shoot with a C100 which covers most of the items on your list. I absolutely love this camera.

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Old May 2nd, 2015, 05:37 AM   #5
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

Thanks Art. I do own a 18x135 lens for my 70D. I will experiment with the dual pixel which is on the C100 and my 70D. But This lens is only 7.5 mag when I need at least 20x. The auto focus system using the 18x135 is also a concern but worth experimenting with.
The dual SD is great and I do like the footprint of the C100.
I appreciate opening my mind to an alternative.
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 10:42 AM   #6
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

The biggest drawback for me for both my XH-A1 and XH-A1S was using tape. A lot of my work is long duration, two camera shoots. Changing tapes after 60 minutes was a pain. The 80 minute tapes were still a pain, and much more expensive. Plus capturing tapes took too long. And turning over footage on the spot to a client was not convenient. And, I liked the convenience of cards that I experienced using client's own cameras.

So, I bought two DataVideo DN-60 compact flash recorders with several 32 GB cards that hold 2 hrs. 24 minutes of footage. I've been using them for about 2 years now, without a single problem. Not a single lost frame, not a single drop out. And I get to continue using the two cameras that I'm really, really, really used to. I like the ergonomics of those two cameras. I just wished they used cards instead of tape, like the XF300 and 305s, which I've used. That would be more convenient than the card recorders, but not worth the difference in price to upgrade.

By the way, I'm still driving my 11 year old diesel Jetta I bought new. 7 years without a payment and it's as reliable as a new car. Likewise, both my A1 and A1S have been paid for for a long time, and are very reliable. IMHO, the new cameras are better, but not as much better as the hype says.

Plus, I saved a lot of money over buying a matched pair of new cameras with the 3 control rings, etc. Plus, I saved myself a lot of hassle because there was no need to get a new computer or upgrading the NLE software either. And, the DN-60 can be formatted NTFS so you can have a single, continuous file if you so wish.

So, you might consider keeping your "wonderful" A1. And as for the low light, the lights I've bought were a good investment. Well lit footage looks better than poorly lit footage, whatever camera you use.
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 12:19 PM   #7
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

Roger It is so funny but I forgot to say I also have DN-60's, three in fact for three XH-A1's. The DN-60 is a finicky device that needs you to follow a specific order when starting the A1 and stopping it. The difference with me is I still use tape and only use the Compact Flash DN-60 if I have a problem.
I do have 100 plus new tapes so am good that way. Low light is the major problem but it is not worth the price of the new cameras.
Wait till they die should be my answer.
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 01:31 PM   #8
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

The eternal question - what next.

Within the Canon line:

At a lower end I've found the XA20 to work well for events compared to the XHA1, but it is step down in overall features.

The New XF200 might be a close match for features. While not 3-chip, it is much better than the single chip camcorders from the DV days. If you can, check it out.
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 02:43 PM   #9
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

This XF200 reminds me of my old DVC30 body. Features are good. I am concerned with the single chip in the XF200 but will read the reviews. Thanks.
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 03:27 PM   #10
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

The XF300 isn't exactly new, and it only has an 18x zoom lens, but it's 3-chip and records to CF cards. One of the issues with current fixed lens cams that I am seeing is that the 3-chip models tend to have their own media (SxS for Sony and microP2 for Panasonic). The options are rather limited for those that record to standard SD and CF cards.
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 06:12 PM   #11
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

Of course it is still a bit of an unknown until it hits the streets, but what about the new Panasonic DVX200?
While the lens is a little shorter than you have mentioned you are after, it is 4k so punching in in post would be a possibility. Actually if you are shooting for HD, then the lens could be considered a 26x lens!
My XH A1 sits in the cupboard now, i only ever use it if i need to get footage from a tape. It was a lovely camera in its day for sure. Some of the footage i have captured with it, still holds its own against other newer cameras i own, but its low light performance really does let it down when compared to today's cameras.
I too would look into the XF200, it may well be the perfect replacement for the XH A1? As Don has mentioned, the XA20 lacks a lot of features if you are coming from a cam like the XH A1. It is a heck of a lot smaller & lighter though!
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 06:52 PM   #12
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

Oops, sorry! Just saw the ETA on the Panasonic DVX200. Not until the fall.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 05:27 AM   #13
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

XF200 sounded good until I read the negative low light reviews. If I am to retire my trusty A1 low light recording MUST be better.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 07:42 AM   #14
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Clark View Post
Roger It is so funny but I forgot to say I also have DN-60's, three in fact for three XH-A1's. The DN-60 is a finicky device that needs you to follow a specific order when starting the A1 and stopping it. The difference with me is I still use tape and only use the Compact Flash DN-60 if I have a problem.
I do have 100 plus new tapes so am good that way. Low light is the major problem but it is not worth the price of the new cameras.
Wait till they die should be my answer.
Hi Greg,

My DN-60s were a little finicky when I was using tape, and I still had the problem of needing to change tapes on long shoots. So I decided to try going completely tapeless. Guess what? The DN-60s quit being so finicky. Don't know why. But I don't care either. Just happy to have less problems to deal with.

Good luck on trying to find a camcorder better in low light. Maybe an Ex-1 or Ex-3. People who have them seem to be holding on to them. I upgraded DSLR for stills, and the newer one shoots video. I'm experimenting a little. Maybe in a few months I can use it on paid video shoots. Not in a hurry. Too busy right now trying to turn out the work to practice enough to become proficient using it.

Come to think of it, I did have trouble with an off brand CF card I bought locally when no SanDisk CF cards were available. I had just bought the first DN-60 and thought it was the recorder acting up. Once my order of cards and the second recorder came in I ordered online, I've had NO troubles with the two DN-60s ever when using CF cards on the approved list from DataVideo. I pitched the troublesome card. Over a hundred bucks wasted. (Yeah, it had a moneyback guarantee, from the manufacturer in Taiwan). Live and learn.

I have several boxes of new tapes, just in case one of my recorders dies while on a shoot. I have no intentions of putting a tape in either of my cameras until I need too.

Now I just turn on recorder first, then camera, turn off recorder first, then camera. Units usually synch within 20 seconds or so. Sometimes the A1S takes a second try to synch. So far (two years), not a big deal.
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Old May 5th, 2015, 11:56 AM   #15
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Re: Alternative to wonderful XH-A1

hi everyone...I too loved my XHA1s for nearly five years...even with a broken handstrap! with decent lighting ,a nice picture preset and low gain it sure gave me rich footage- then I got anxious about an upgrade...I looked at the Sony EX1r but the thought of changing all my batteries and using Sony's proprietary recording media discouraged me even if the EX1 footage was better..
finally I bought a used XF300 nearly mint and I can say that with decent lighting and a good picture profile it gives me better footage than my XHA1s- I even used them both in a wedding and the XHA1s footage was a lot softer but I only used it on a wide angle..
But honestly the XF300 is now low light champion but I always use some light-no way around that.
I also got a XF100 and again with a picture preset and low gain it can give good footage. I even found a preset on the net that would match very closely a canon XF300 to a XF100 (XF match?) and that has helped me a lot for those 2 camera shoots (concerts for example). In fact, I will shoot a chorus concert with both the Canon XF300 and XF100 and also a Canon 70D (with the 18-135mm STM lens) this weekend- the stage lights should give me room to use f5.6 or higher on the 70D and if I set it to a wide angle then I can use the XF100 for a medium shot (only 10X zoom) and the XF300 for the close ups (18X zoom)...I just place the XF cameras side by side and leave the 70D unmanned aftter setting up at the beginning...wish me luck!

I have been eyeing the Canon C100- I have used it a few times at the TV station I work for in Toronto and I found the footage crisp and vivid for sure...I just don't like the AVCHD workflow at all... I wish it was
easier to use (I still use FCP 7 but I have Premiere 5.5 on my imac)...
I just can't justify a new camera for my part-time business but if I had to "upgrade" I would go for the Canon C100 mkii with the autofocus and maybe a Ninja recorder...big expense really...can't say that it would increase my business income...it would be awesome!!! oh yes...
so that's my experience...myXHA1s is on my shelf...may try to sell it...doubt I would get much for it...
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