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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 5th, 2006, 09:24 PM   #1
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A1 Low Light is Fine

As good as the Z1, and better in the sense that the Canon optic retains more sharpness at f1.6 than the Zeiss optic.

For comparable noise levels in the image, the gain setting on the Sony is higher by about 3-6 dbs.

Judged from my standard darkened indoor conditions that includes (1) 60 watt and (1) 40 watt incandescent lamps for total room illumination, the 6 db gain setting is very clean, properly exposed and displays an image representative of how the room would be perceived in person.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 09:46 PM   #2
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Pictures?

This is more hearening, but there seem to be so many Lowlight accusations flying about it's hard ot judge without empirical evidence. I am sure that it's jsut as good as any other camera, I think many people are expecting some AMAZING lowlight functions that simply are not possible.

Would love to see some clips.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 02:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Roper
As good as the Z1, and better in the sense that the Canon optic retains more sharpness at f1.6 than the Zeiss optic.

For comparable noise levels in the image, the gain setting on the Sony is higher by about 3-6 dbs.

Judged from my standard darkened indoor conditions that includes (1) 60 watt and (1) 40 watt incandescent lamps for total room illumination, the 6 db gain setting is very clean, properly exposed and displays an image representative of how the room would be perceived in person.
What about 12db and up? Thats where I believe the Canon falls apart.

This is the area where it has always had trouble and I am not sure the A1 is any different.

I really wanted it to be but so far I am not seeing it.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 04:29 PM   #4
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Unless a Canon shooter wants really high shutter speeds in bright light, 12db of gain in low light will produce very grainy video- I've tried all sorts of settings for the last hour and the Sony is noticeably better.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 07:07 PM   #5
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I tend to keep the gain to a minimum even at night and bump the image in post with saphire plug-ins or FCP 3-way color corrector. Canons tend to be more finikee at night. This has been the trick for me in some cases.

Side note...
I should be getting the A1 on Friday...the day before I leave for Fiji to do some video work : ) Too bad I won't have the underwater enclosure yet : (
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Old November 7th, 2006, 09:09 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Daniel Boswell
What about 12db and up? Thats where I believe the Canon falls apart.
Agreed, but 12 db on the A1 seems about a stop faster than 18 db on the sony. That's why I think the gain numbers are not comparable.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 10:47 AM   #7
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Daniel - cameras should produce marginal images at maximum gain. If not the manufacturers should just include higher gain settings. To say the canon falls apart above 12db but at 12 db it is already brighter than the sony at maximum gain is a criticism of sony not canon
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Old November 7th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #8
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So considering that the sony and canons have different standards for db, at 0db with full open iris, what cam has a brighter image, and what one is cleaner.

Also how does to XHA1 fare with the DVX100 with lowlight. Is it about the same?
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Old November 7th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #9
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So considering that the sony and canons have different standards for db, at 0db with full open iris, what cam has a brighter image, and what one is cleaner.
The Canon has the brighter but noiser image. If you equalize the noise levels (so both show the same amount of relative noise) I don't think either one is much if any brighter than the other, just opinion here, no controlled testing. But having owned both, I think they are about equal. You can use the Canon at +6 db gain and it's very clean and noise free, and somewhat sharper than the Sony at F1.6. The Sony is usable all the way +12 db clean and virtually noise free but not as detailed. The Sony Z1 has no setting between +18 and +36 which is the hyper gain setting that is completely unacceptable. Since +12 on the Canon is the same or slightly worse than +18 on the Sony, once you go above +12 on the Canon the noise is bad but the picture is bright. The noise that it does have while very grainy, has less chroma-noise than Sony's hyper gain setting.

Whether these or any cams are ever wholly satisfactory in dimly lit conditions only you can judge, suffice to say +6 db is very clean, and there's enough gain to get you a bright if noisy picture if the alternative is not having one.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 06:40 PM   #10
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I find it hilarious that people are judging this camera as "terrible" in low light because at 18db gain the image is bad. Really 18db? And it looks like garbage? Thats just plain crazy!

What on earth are people shooting on a regular basis that they even need to push it to 18db gain?
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Old November 7th, 2006, 06:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Tibbetts
I find it hilarious that people are judging this camera as "terrible" in low light because at 18db gain the image is bad. Really 18db? And it looks like garbage? Thats just plain crazy!

What on earth are people shooting on a regular basis that they even need to push it to 18db gain?
There are many video applications where the operator has no control over lighting, yet is expected to get an image. Event videography is one example - where getting some image, even a poor image, is the bottom line.

Wedding videographers often have to work in very lowlight conditions, such as reception halls only lit by table candles, and still capture the human events that occur without interfering with that event by using intrusive lighting.

Thus the intense interest, from many videographers, in lowlight capabilities, even at 18dB.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 07:15 PM   #12
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Still photographers use flashes, videographers use lights. 18db would be silly to use for a paid gig.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 08:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Larry Huntington
Still photographers use flashes, videographers use lights. 18db would be silly to use for a paid gig.
I agree with both Larry and Dave. They're paying you a lot of money for a good wedding video (or whatever), so use the lights to make it look good. But, of course it comes at a price because the lights are intrusive. With most people being naturally camera shy, sticking a light in their face just makes it worse.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 08:23 PM   #14
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I've shot in some pretty dark venues I've never had to use gain past 12db on any camera.

At 18db you are always going to get subpar video on any camera you use. If it's just about capturing an image and the client knows this in advance, why worry so much about it at that point?
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Old November 7th, 2006, 08:52 PM   #15
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Sixteen years ago I video'd my parents 50th wedding anniversary in a dance hall where they just kept dimming the lights more as the night wore on. Eventually, it got so dark there was virtually nothing but darkness yet today if someone watches that old video they remain riveted because the sound, the voices were captured, enough that you could make out who was who even if all you could see was the burning end of a cigarette. Many of those people are dead now, all we have are memories captured in time.

Of course, the odds of someone still caring to watch a wedding video are a lot less since only about 1 in 3 couples make it without hating each other...lol.
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