My story about migrating through different cams 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 October 10th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #1
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My story about migrating through different cams

First of all I want to thank Chris, Barlow, Frederic and Jonathan (xtream.ne.jp admin) for supporting my service, and Mr. Ryohei Sekiguchi/Appex (Canon professional lens and Vinten dealer in Japan) and Mr. Yamaguchi of Canon Japan to let me use the cam.

When I tried XL H1 last year, I was impressed with the resolution and the ability to shoot well in low light situation, but the form factor did not suit me, because I take my cams to mountains in my Kata bag, riding my downhill mountainbike or allmountain bikes (another words trail bike). I started shooting video seriously with XL1 then tried PDX10, then AG-DVC30, and migrated to HDV with HDR-FX1, HDR-HC1 along with FX1, then switched HC1 to HVR-A1J. Sony HDV cams are fine most of the time, especially FX1, but to me could not beat the footage I shot with XL H1. Then AG-HVX200 came out and I jumped to it expecting its 1080/60i would be not much less quality than FX1 or XL H1. But actually, HVX200’s 1080/60i was very disappointing although its 720/60p was very useful especially for shooting fast motion and overcranking was nice technique to adopt (60 frames over 24p). Then Barlow Elton kept showing me XL H1 footage that he shot and composted with slowmotion effect and rendered to progressive frames. I was trying to shoot better video with AG-HVX200, but I had problems to shoot in the low light situation and worst of all, I started having problems to unload clips from P2 cards most of the time. I missed few opportunity to shoot video with DVCPRO HD format and ended up shooting with DV and although the quality of DV format shot with HVX200 was very good, it was very frustrating that I kept having problems. I sent the cam back to Panasonic but they could not find anything wrong, but I kept having problems. It could have been the problem caused by using the firewire of the front panel of Quad G5 (I hear about the same problems), but since I was quite busy with straighten my business, I was simply could not spend time with this issue. I was not about to spend more money on Firestore, then I started hearing the rumor on XH G1/A1 then I decided to sell my HVX200 quickly.
I also confess another thing. People kept telling me about how well I shot the Makuhari Panorama pan video that I shot with XL H1, so I also tried to shoot as good footage with HVX200 but it was very frustration, I could not get the same resolution nor brightness out of HVX200. Since I could not get a good result, I did not post that clip to assure the reputation of HVX200 thinking I must be doing something wrong.

So out of all of these points, I need a cam that is good for low light situation, small enough, high resolution and able to shoot casts that are going really fast without getting compression rubbish. FX1 was pretty good, but even with some effort to stay well with the fast going riders, I noticed some blocky rubbish around the blurred tires or when riders ride through fast in front of me, also the back ground being trees and grass, I would get a second of bad compressed frames. Some people told me that it is because of the 1/3 CCD, maybe not because of the HDV compression scheme, but I though I had to live with it (Nate, Michael, Heath, Barlow and others stick around with me on iChat to discuss about that). For the compression issue, I even thought of buying GY-HD200 if I won’t get the compression issue, but then again, HD200 is little too large for me.

So, I was expecting lighter and smaller form factor on XH A1/G1 than XL H1, as good controls on zooming and focusing (the iris control is a big plus!), the famous high resolution picture and better performance in low light situation (I’m a naturalist and don’t want to use video light as much) for night street shooting for Xtreme sports. Also, as much as FX1 was good for back lighted situation, I was hoping that XH A1/G1 would provide me the similar quality.

Then I got the G1 for few days, I pretty much had no problem shooting what I wanted to shoot, most of the time amazed with its performance comparing to the headaches I had with other cameras to control the brightness and getting high quality video out of its price range. Chris helped me to get good fucntion control setting like the focus sensitivity, zoom speed and other things which really helped me to just go and shoot without getting puzzled with responsiveness of the functions.

First day, I received the cam early evening, but I had to get used to it, going over the parameters that Chris told me to change. Then after over midnight, I started testing to shoot my balcony. I liked that stone ornament photo I shot before, then since it was raining hard, I thought I should shoot that video to get that subtle feeling. HVX200 did really good with overcranked video of my balcony, too, so I wanted G1 to do the same or do better in low light situation.
I stayed up ‘til 4am in the morning to capture and upload the clips, but I had to catch some sleep hoping the first daylight shooting would be better weather.

Since it was almost like the typhoon the night before, it was clear sky in the morning and said bye to my wife and I went around to shoot some things under the daylight. There are some things that I didn’t post but I was getting more confidence with this cam time after time I shoot various things. I noticed the CA, but I think this is a trade off for this cam being sensitive to the light. It wouldn’t be m2t but I will post some clips from FCP captures later to show you how I liked. Over all, I had the deja-vu feeling because G1 was performing like H1. At night, I had to go to a farewell party of friend of mine (it’s actually James Ishido who demonstrated nice riding of video) and I thought it is a perfect opportunity to shoot in the low light situation, I had no problems getting everyones expressions on their faces, although the place was very poorly lighted. I also shot everyone’s favorite, the night time taxi ride video on the way back. Since I had to wake up early morning to go to Makuhari, I could not send more clips for the day 2. Frustrating knowing people in other forum talking about how little I provided for the first day, but gave up to shoot more with better condition by getting enough sleep.

The day 3, the weather was beautiful although the wind was strong. We took chances to go to Makuhari, combining video shooting session for the Makuhari Panorama panning and bike riding. It is like farewell riding session with James Ishido, so it was perfect. So, I took sometime setting up the Glidecam (thanks to some posts in the Glidecam forum to perfect the imperfection of Glidecam off the shelf), I went full on with rigs hoping that I could show people in this forum good footage. I went for the panorama video and ocean video before bike riding and besides the wind being so strong and shaking the cam, it was so easy to reproduce the same video as H1. I felt doped.

After that I tried the Glidecam, but it was hard to get the final balance in the strong wind, so I could not do too good job with that, so didn’t spend so much.
One thing I regret is that I wanted someone to press on zooming out button on the cordless remote while I go backwards with the cam shooting the riders from the front. I will try that next time.
Then I wanted to have some fun, too, so I switched shooting video with my wife Nancy, she had done many shooting with me, then she shot most of the tripod shots. The tripod shots demonstrate how well the cam performs under bright and dark area at the same time. I also wanted to try how well the auto focus would work because Nancy would not be able to do manual focusing. She will be busy working with the zoom and worrying about panning the cam for the better framing.

I thought we did enough things, a lot more than how much I shot with XL H1 (both coffee shops were closed this time), so for the third day, I spent most of the time selecting the good footage and worked on capturing with m2t format using LumiereHD version 1.7. I also used Matrox MXO provided by Hitachi Hightech Solution and ProVideo Station Shinjuku, to monitor the quality of the footage I shot through Nanao full HD resolution LCP panel and down converted interlaced video on regular TV monitor at the same time (this way, I can look at interlace motion and the resolution on HD with LCD panel).

I can probably do better job with focussing, and be more selective with cinelook and format, knowing that 1080/60i is good for the fast motion stuff and Canon’s 24F format is good even played on regular 29.97 monitoring (because 24F plays without any unnecessary interlace frames through FCP, so MXO can be set at 60i setting to monitor 24F format).

I love this cam. I will but A1 this year and maybe but G1. Knowing Canon, they will keep these models for few years, so I would concentrate shooting than thinking about other cams. I’m committed to Canon now because it shoot the best video. And I was going through the video and found out that the drop pan video, I did not notice bad compression on myself dropping in the 6 feel drop even the back ground is all edgy grass. Amazing. Also, with the tripod video of James and me doing the triple or James doing the triple, I inspected when the riders come in to the frame, all of the edges on the cast is nicely blurred, without blocky noises!! This wasn’t possible with FX1. How did Canon do this? Better HDV compression? DigicII?

So, that is all for my story for now. I’m pretty sure my story is only good until people receive their cams but at least somewhat useful for now since there are not many stories around for XH G1 yet.

Special thanks to all of my friends sharing their rides at Makuhari and sharing the time at the party.

Last edited by Kaku Ito; October 11th, 2006 at 12:05 AM.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 10:24 AM   #2
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Kaku, I did take note that the XH-G1 compression artifacting while fast panning seems better than Sony Z1U. I did forgot to comment about that observation before, but Canon Digic II compression processing seems good.

I share most of the same conclusions as you.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #3
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I have said it many times before, but I really appreciate all your efforts. I am glad the XH-G1/A1 lives up to your expectations.

I hope to hear from you again with regards to future camera's.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 01:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the detailed update Kaku. Glad you finally found a cam you're really happy with!
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Old October 10th, 2006, 02:17 PM   #5
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this is quite an interesting story, thanks for sharing it, because you're one of the few truly disinterested people who has managed to handle all of these cool cameras.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #6
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Nice work Kaku and really appreciate your effort in getting clips to the forum so people like myself can check them out.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 05:35 PM   #7
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Thank you Kaku

Kaku, thank you for your impressions, and all of the video clips. (and to Chris for generously hosting all that bandwidth). Your time and energy is much appreciated. You've addressed all the curiosities that I had up to this point. My next test will be to purchase one and see how it works for my specific needs.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 09:14 PM   #8
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awesome post.

let me know if u get any action sports footage

mahalos
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Old October 10th, 2006, 11:48 PM   #9
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My efforts rewarded

Thanks to every single member that responded in this thread and posting threads. I really feel happy that people actually take time to post their feeling of appreciation.

I will add more info here according to my findings.

Little tips.

Hoodman H300 (provided to me by Mr. Nagai/Bogen Japan) is perfect for the LCD panel. It was very handy for the outdoor shooting.

I was provided to use the wide conversion lens, but simply I had no time to use it, nor I felt the needs to use it (I also care too much about visual distortion with wider lenses. I like to keep how the casts really look, sick and tired of underground sport video with fisheye lens scenes, too).

All of my m2t capturing is done is with LumiereHD version 1.7 running on Mac Pro Quad Xeon 3.0 GHz.

When I made mistake setting the FCP to capture 24F format with 60i setting, it allowed to capture, but had some problems in automatic scene detection and timecode issue when I locate the points of the clips on the tape using the captured clips (naturally). Make sure to check the setting before you caputre each format becase it won't give you any alert.

The old Canon Lanc remote is working fine.

I mistakenly hit the gain switch once and changed the gain position. This happened only once.

I have a Formatte matte box but I could not fit it for now. Mr. Sekiguchi is helping me to build an adaptor.

I was able to fit XH G1 to Kata CC-191 small shoulder case.

Also, Kata FX1 rain jacket worked okay with G1, in case you want to utallize what you have for the former cam that you own ;).

So far, I loved the manual zoom ring of AG-DVC30 the best out of what I tried and owned. Wish G1's zoom ring was little more synchronize with your finger control.

Inspite of what the reviewer on VideoAlfa magazine, the focus magnify does say "focus" display while you are using. There's also menu parameters to set each focus maginification and peaking function to switch to B/W for more precision control. Only problem is that the maginification can't be turned on while you are recording although peaking could be swtiched anytime.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 12:01 AM   #10
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Thanks

Kaku,

I appreciate your time to share this. It has solidified my view, I am getting it! I had some worries when the first clips appeared on the web a while back, but you certainly made those qualms dissapear.

So the lowlight is the same as the XL-H1?

How well balanced does it feel?

Are there any buttons that feel akward?

You probably wont know the answer to this question but I will give it a shot. How many inches is it from the mounting screw to the back of the camcorder? I am building a shoulder rig and want to see it I can modify it to fit before I get the cam.

How fast can it zoom, and also how slow. Does the lens have a nice feel when zooming, focusing and changing iris? Is it as good as the DVC30 in this department?

I think that is all that I have for questions, thanks a billion for your work. i have been obsessively checking the net for any review, and you pulled through.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 12:02 AM   #11
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One more thing

How does the gain look when at full 18db?
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Old October 11th, 2006, 12:08 AM   #12
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oops, my editing missed your question about DVC30. DVC30 is still the best choice for the zoom ring.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 01:25 AM   #13
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Hvx200?

I am in deep worries about words said about hvx200. I have serious plan to purchase one. I have several times asked question about HVX's lowlight perfomance in different communities, dvinfo including. No word about problems. So HVX users can You confirm things said here.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 01:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Hool
I am in deep worries about words said about hvx200. I have serious plan to purchase one. I have several times asked question about HVX's lowlight perfomance in different communities, dvinfo including. No word about problems. So HVX users can You confirm things said here.
One thing seems to be sure is that HDV has more information in the dark area than DVCPRO HD. Even with the black stretch on, I could not set it up to shoot like H1 nor G1 for sure.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 04:03 AM   #15
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Holly,

So the lowlight is the same as the XL-H1?
A:yes, it seems to be.

How well balanced does it feel?
B:it shouldn't be too bad that at indoor, it did not take long to get the balance on Glidecam that explains well balance.

Are there any buttons that feel akward?
I didn't think so. If anything, there were thought after.

You probably wont know the answer to this question but I will give it a shot. How many inches is it from the mounting screw to the back of the camcorder? I am building a shoulder rig and want to see it I can modify it to fit before I get the cam.

A:The screw whole was around the middle of the whole cam, I thought.

How fast can it zoom, and also how slow. Does the lens have a nice feel when zooming, focusing and changing iris? Is it as good as the DVC30 in this department?

A:As I mentioned in the other post. DVC30 is far better. Next was HVX200. The rocker works good with very intuitive speed adjustment next to it. This is great. But the ring can improive in the future.

Also, correction, I do see little bit of compression around the edge on the drop clip but knowing this is one of the worse situation, it is acceptible to me.

I just decied to get rid of HVR-A1j and get equipped with A1 and HV10 for now.
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