Initial User's review of the Canon XH-A1 - Page 5 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 November 3rd, 2006, 09:51 AM   #61
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Oh...duhhh...yeah, a slip of the brain there...the camera lens focuses on the ground glass. I knew that. I need more coffee before I post again.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 10:56 AM   #62
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Attachments

Just a note on attachments.

The Bracket1 works fine on the XHA1 to hang your wireless from. It doesn't block the xlr ports nor the mic holder.

There's no way to attach a stud to put a light or monitor on it. Hot shoe only. You could clamp something to the vertical part of the top grip, but the grip itself is chock full of controls, so you can't clamp to it.

The mic holder seems to be 7/8" -- it's smaller than a sony holder, but bigger than a sennheiser shotgun. Time to get out the gaffers tape.

There's a line-in switch for the xlr's, but it seems to be both channels or none -- can't have a mic on channel 1 and line-in on 2. There is a separate attenuator switch for each channel. Volume controls on the audio are marked with those stupid different-size dots instead of being numbered -- it will take a while to remember which way is higher and which way lower.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 11:13 AM   #63
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hey matthew, i'm going to need to fine tune the m2 before i answer your question. i'm inclined to say hardmounting without a small spacer is probably not going to happen. as it stands now, it needs at least the couple of mm distance the rubber hood provides. however, i noticed during zoom in that i clear the motor before the edge of the ground glass. once i adjust the motor vertically so that they disappear at the same time, i may be able to save a little on the zoom and get the achromat a little closer. also, i find i can go slightly beyond infinity on the 35mm lens, which means, for better or worse, i'll need to tweak the position of the ground glass on the motor inside the m2. these adjustments will probably impact how close the achromat can get... as soon as i make these fixes, i'll let you know what i find.

stefan/bogdan, i'll read up on this magnet trick thing again. thank you for the heads up.

my apologies to everyone if this thread has gone a little too m2-centric...
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 12:10 PM   #64
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I have done some low light footages last night in 0db, +6db and +12db. Unfortunately the file size is bit too big for posting here.

If anyone can host them, I can send it to you. I am alos in the process of testing out the internal mic preamp of the camera.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 01:22 PM   #65
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I just finished my first real shoot with the camera this morning. I am creating a short commercial for a pipe fabrication facility. They are a huge company that makes large pipes and fitting for nuclear reactors so there plant is massive and the size of the piping is huge. Anyway.....the plant is dark and dingy and there is welding everywhere you turn. I had my concerns but the camera performed great. I brought in a few 600watt quartz lights and umbrellas and it was not really enough....still it came out very nice.

The thing that scares me is that I am so used to the H1 for finding all of the controls and buttons on the fly.....while the A1 is indeed a mini H1, the controls and feel are different enough to make it hard to adapt to. A big issue for me is the form factor....I know, I know....what did I expect? I knew the design when I bought it. I just didn't realize how accustomed I was to the H1 design. I was worried the handheld footage would be unstable.....

But alas my fears were put to rest....I watched the footage and I was amazed. I could not tell it was not shot on my H1. It looked absolutely like pristine HD that I am used to. Now I just have to get used to the design and familiarize myself with all the buttons. Then I'll be back in business.

Oh...and take this with a grain of salt but, last night I shot some candid, around the house stuff with my 5 year old daughter.....just plain house lighting. My initial feeling is it seems a little darker than the H1 did. I didn't compare footage or anything but I thought it looked a little drab.....but time will tell. If it is different it is not by much. Also....a contirbuting factor to this is the wide angle lens. Let me explain.

The H1 was around 40mm lens (35mm equivalent) At full wide the Fstop was 1.6.

The A1 is around 32mm lens (25mm equivalennt) At full wide the Fstop was 1.6.

Now on the A1 when I zoom to frame things a little tighter I am much further into the "zoom range" on the new camera and therefore the camera stops down a bit. (2.2-2.8). I am losing light simply by zooming a little to get equal framing to the H1. In addition I was used to using the 16x manual lens a lot and that lens hold its aperture all the way to full zoom. So a lot of what I am seeing can probably be attributed to the lens aperture changing and darkening the image.

FWIW.

The footage I shot today looked amazing....but there was sufficient light to allow me to expose properly throughout the range.

Peace!
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 02:13 PM   #66
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That's fantastic - thank you Marty!

One question: did you notice any difference in image stabilizer performance? It's slightly different than IS in stock H1/XL2 lenses, but I hope not a bit less amazing.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 02:22 PM   #67
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The method used for Optical Image Stabilization is indeed different... the XL lens uses VAP (vari-angle prism) while the XH uses Lens Shift... but I seriously doubt that there's any visible, noticeable difference between the two.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 02:35 PM   #68
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Marty, you bring up a question I've always wondered about. How come with a "real" lens (ie., professional, manual zoom) there's little or no light loss from wide angle to full zoom, but on ALL the electronic lenses there is? I wonder why that is...why the electronic lenses do that. Probably has something to do with the production cost--ie., you want a good sharp lens for this price, you've gotta give up something to get it...I dunno. That's one of those things I've been wondering about for 5 years but never bothered to ask anybody or research it.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 03:19 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogdan Tyburczy
That's fantastic - thank you Marty!

One question: did you notice any difference in image stabilizer performance? It's slightly different than IS in stock H1/XL2 lenses, but I hope not a bit less amazing.
That's comparing apples and oranges for me. And I don't mean the 2 types of OIS on these cameras, I mean the camera form factors themselves. I have a hard time commenting on this at this point as I (personally)am not near as steady with the A1 as I was with the H1. You see the H1 is inherently more stable just because of it's mass and it's form factor. So add a camera that is more stable (H1) to a good OIS and you get really steady shots.

The A1 performed admirably but I saw a little wiggle and jiggle here and there. At this point I will attribute that to my own less steady hands. I am still learning the best ways to hold the camera and get steady shots myself.

I can say, in comparison to my experience with the DVX100 and the HVX200 that the A1 spanks them silly as far as OIS goes. My shots were far steadier than anything I ever did with those cameras even after using them for a while.

FWIW

Chris,
with a different OIS design in the A1 will I still see the "dancing balls of light" when I get lens flares in my shot?

Thanks.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 03:27 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik
with a different OIS design in the A1 will I still see the "dancing balls of light" when I get lens flares in my shot?
Hmm... I don't know! That's a good question. I think you should test this and let us know what you find out.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 03:31 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Hmm... I don't know! That's a good question. I think you should test this and let us know what you find out.
I'll see what I can do. Last year I went on a Holiday Train ride and afterword I got some cool extra shots. There was a 2nd train ride after ours, so I went down the tracks and tired to get a shot of the train coming towards me. While the shot was steady enough, the beam from the train caused a lens flare that danced all over the place! It looked weird...like some kind of UFO acitivity!

If I can I will give it a whirl tonight.

By the way? Does anyone else feel like a dummy trying to figure out what all these options are in the menus? Cause I do! I need to read the manual!
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 03:45 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik
...
I can say, in comparison to my experience with the DVX100 and the HVX200 that the A1 spanks them silly as far as OIS goes. My shots were far steadier than anything I ever did with those cameras even after using them for a while.
...
I'm glad to hear that, esp. considering 20x vs 10x zoom lens. Of course, form factor matters a lot. I was just curious how it felt. Thanks again Marty.

Glare and other weird light reflections esp. against strong sources? I dare to say no lens is free from those problems, just like from CA.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 04:24 PM   #73
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Back tomy threadjacking Henry,

Considering this lens is shorter, what is your Fstop when you hit the appropriate Zoom and focus?
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 04:53 PM   #74
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Marty,
Industrial videography? Man after my own heart!
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Old November 4th, 2006, 01:39 AM   #75
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matthew, i hit f2.2 with the iris wide open when the gg in the m2 fully occupied the screen. an observation... after playing around with the a1/m2 a bit, i think hardmounting the m2 on the a1 would be a disservice to the camera. without crunching numbers, the improvement of the a1/m2 combo over the xl2/m2 at first glance are, to me, nominal, probably due to the some inherent image softening in the m2 -- i always thought results from the 16:9 xl2/m2 looked phenomenal, and i was relatively less wowed when first previewing the a1/m2 on an hdtv. that said, the a1 output, all by its lonesome, is beautiful stuff in its own right.

this is all just first look stuff from me, so take it all with a grain of salt. looking forward to rolling some tape this weekend.
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