SD-Card <-> Cassette Switch at DVinfo.net

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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 28th, 2006, 04:14 AM   #1
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SD-Card <-> Cassette Switch

What does this switch do? (image nr. 6 on page 2, above the zoom speed switch)
I doubt that it will be possible to record on SD-Card... So is it for the photo mode?
How can one save a photo to tape?
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Old July 28th, 2006, 07:00 AM   #2
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Hi Oliver,

If the button you mean is the one with a graphic label for an SD Card to the left and a cassette tape to the right, that's to set which medium the camera will record to:
http://www.dvinfo.net/canonxh/images/imgg1jacksb.jpg

The photo shutter button is barely visible in the picture, just above and forward of the knurled zoom speed roller dial.

In the XL H1, so presumably the same for the XH series, video is always recorded to tape and still photos are always recorded to the SD card. You can press the photo button to capture a still image to card while recording video to tape, playing back a recorded tape, or not rolling tape at all. Some photo features (such as continuous shooting, using a Canon Speedlite flash, and metering mode) are only available when in photo mode.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 04:42 AM   #3
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Okay, i feel a bit stupid but i don't get it...

Video is always recorded to tape. Okay.
Photos are always stored on sd-card. Okay.

So...why do I need this switch?
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Old July 31st, 2006, 06:22 AM   #4
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Well that's actually a good question Oliver. After all, the Rec / Pause button is obviously for rolling tape, right? And the Photo button is obviously for shooting stills. So why would you need a Card / Tape switch on the camera? The answer is that there are two reasons for having it. One obvious, and one not so obvious.

First, the obvious reason for the card / tape switch: for playback. When you power the camera into VCR mode, with the switch set to tape, the camera is in tape playback mode (just like a VCR, right). With the switch set to card, the camera is in card playback mode. Now there's no USB on the camera, so you can't even download images from the camera in this mode. But you can review them in the EVF or the LCD display or an external monitor, which is handy for checking continuity, setting up shots, etc. So it allows card playback in camera.

Second, the not so obvious reason but very important. The still photo mode works in two different ways... it creates either a photograph processed in a color space optimized for photography, or it creates a digital still image processed in a color space optimized for video. The card / tape switch determines which way a still image is processed. In card mode, the camera takes a photograph which is optimized for printing and allows for certain photo-style functions such as flash firing of a Speedlite flash attached to the hot shoe, continuous photo shooting at 3-5 frames per second, and auto exposure bracketing.

In tape mode, with "still image record plus custom preset data" enabled in the camera setup menu, every time you press the photo button the camera takes a photograph which is optimized for video displays. It also includes a metadata file listing the custom presets used to take that image as well as the custom preset file itself, written to the card with the photo. In this way you can bypass the maximum custom preset file limit on the card. So hopefully you can see how that tape / card switch is pretty handy to have.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 07:43 AM   #5
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Thanks for solving the switch mystery, Chris.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 07:50 AM   #6
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wiat, if theres no usb how do you get the images into the computer?
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Old July 31st, 2006, 07:52 AM   #7
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card reader?
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Old July 31st, 2006, 08:11 AM   #8
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I guess the assumption is, if you can afford a $4000 camcorder, then you can afford a $20 card reader. I've never been a fan of tying up a camera for downloading images off the card by USB. Just take the card out and put it in a card reader. These days card readers seem to be built in to everything... desktop computers, laptops, printers, HDTVs, PDAs, you name it.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 08:54 AM   #9
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yeha, but how do you get the tape to the computer? is it firewire? or do you have to buy a seprate deck? I'm just wondering cause i tink you said there was no usb. Or they mean no usb for the card?
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Old July 31st, 2006, 09:08 AM   #10
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Just like all other DV and HDV camcorders, the XH series cameras have a FireWire jack which is used for capturing video into a computer, among other things. It's a standard 4-pin FireWire connector. USB can't carry video from the tape anyway, so the camcorder not having a USB jack is no big deal.
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