Canon A1/G1 press event notes 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 11th, 2006, 11:41 PM   #1
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Canon A1/G1 press event notes

Hi,

Once again, thanks to Chris Hurd, and the people at Canon, I was able to sit in on a Canon press event here in NYC with Pete Bauer. Most of the information they covered is already out on the net, or being discussed here, so I'll just post the information that struck me during the presentation.


MANUAL CONTROLS
[*] Shockless controls - these are settings that allow you to customize the changes between apertures, shutter speeds, etc. so that the look of the video doesn’t “change suddenly” while shooting, even though it actually is changing.
[*] You can customize the direction of the focus/aperture ring.
[*] The ND switch is mechanical - actually moves glass (not electronic)
[*] You can preset a zoom OR a focus point BUT you cannot preset a zoom AND focus point
[*] The settings for the zoom rocker on the handle can be set in the menus. While the settings for the zoom rocker on the body can be set with hardware switches on the body.

LENS
[*] The A1/G1 lens was designed as a new lens. It's not just the H1 lens re-packaged.
[*] The official Canon wide angle adapter will be 0.8x / 20mm wide with a 72mm filter. It should retail around $500 and is full zoom through. It was designed at the same time as the A1/G1 and is not an after thought.

OPTICAL STABILIZATION
The optical stabilization uses two systems which work together:
[*] - Major shakes are handled by a solid state gyro.
[*] - Subtle/minute shakes are handled by a vector based system.

AUDIO
[*] Mic Attenuation is 60db
[*] Plugging something into the mini audio jack kills the on-board stereo mic. A dead plug might be a useful accessory.

NOISE REDUCTION (on board stereo mic)
[*] Noise reduction is done through equalization.
[*] There are two settings, voice and windscreen.

REMOTE
Every Canon camcorder uses the exact same frequency for their remotes. Which means your remote will work on any Canon camcorder - a good reason to turn off the remote sensor.

AUTOFOCUS
[*]The new Instant AF is really two systems working together. The new distance sensor next to the lens helps the traditional AF by feeding it distance info to get it into the ball park faster. This gets rid of the hunting that can occur with traditional AF.
[*] If you block the new AF sensor with something like a matte box, you need to turn off the new AF sensor in the menus.
[*] The AF button on the side of the camera overrides to Instant Auto Focus.
[*] Focus Assist (magnify) turns off when you hit record.

FRAME RATES
[*] Changing frame rates in the menus re-boots the cam's software. You can actually see/hear/feel the cam re-boot.
[*] The option to change frame rates was moved from the hardware to the menus because Canon figured it's very rare that you'd change the frame rate while shooting. They used the extra real estate for other things.

CONSOLE 1.1
[*] The software will only allow you to use features that your camcorder has. So you’ll get different functionality depending on which cam you plug in: XL2, H1, A1, and G1
[*] There is a brief delay when adjusting hardware (zoom/aperture etc). You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to get a very finely tuned zoom.
[*] The software is PC Only but does work in Intel Macs & Boot camp


OUTPUT
[*] Canon took special care to make sure all the G1's jackpack connections are up to SMTP specs.
[*] If you get the $500 upgrade to PAL - they will all be upgraded to IBU spec.
[*] Analog component output is 60i only
[*] Tape output is 60i, 24p, or 30p
[*] Firewire output is 60i, 24p, or 30p


PROGRESSIVE
Pete and I tried to clarify what exactly was going on. The answer we got is:
[*] The chips are interlaced but the cam is reading the chips progressively.
[*] They are pixel shifting the green CCD.
[*] They are slowing down the CCDs as they change the frame rate.

Quote: It's a full frame not 1 1/2 like the XL1s"

BAYER vs. DIAGONAL PIXELS
They pointed out that Sony's diagonal pixel placement on the V1U is more likely to cause moire than traditional rectangular pixel placement.

DIGIC II processors -
There are actually two DIGIC II processors: one for video and one for photography
[*] If you take a photo while shooting video, it is processed through the video processor, so that you get exactly the same settings, look, and metadata as the video.
[*] The DIGIC II processors were designed for HD at 1440x1080

PHOTOGRAPHY
Canon Speedlite Flashes will work with the hot shoe of the A1/G1.

CMOS
[*] The XH series uses CCDs because there is s 3-4 year development time for camcorders. But they are leaders in CMOS production, so we can probably look forward to that.
[*] In addition, Canon will only move to CMOS when they can achieve -3db base image with a CMOS chip.

CANON
Canon grows their own fluorite crystals for their lenses. They passed one around during the presentation. It looked like something out of Superman. The mineral grows as an octahedron and is extremely clear even in its’ natural state. (yeah okay useless info, but I thought it was cool)

Thanks again, to Chris Hurd and Canon for such a great presentation. And it was really great to meet Pete in person!
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Old November 12th, 2006, 01:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski
Hi,
[*] Analog component output is 60i only
[*] Tape output is 60i, 24p, or 30p
[*] Firewire output is 60i, 24p, or 30p


PROGRESSIVE
Pete and I tried to clarify what exactly was going on. The answer we got is:
[*] The chips are interlaced but the cam is reading the chips progressively.
[*] They are pixel shifting the green CCD.
[*] They are slowing down the CCDs as they change the frame rate.

Quote: It's a full frame not 1 1/2 like the XL1s"
So it is Progressive after all..

Is there a way to submit feedback for this camera.. regarding the things we really do like as well as those we just dont?
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Old November 12th, 2006, 06:23 AM   #3
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Excellent summary of a lot of information, Michael W! Great to finally meet you in person but too bad time was so short.

Michael P, Here's a direct link to a page in the camcorder area of Canon's web site for contacting them:

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...ontactCanonAct

Even easier, just post on DVinfo. I've never seen a Canon rep post on DVinfo so it is pretty obvious the company has a policy about that. Because we don't see them post back when we gripe, it may give the impression that they don't listen or don't care. But, I'm quite certain they do watch message boards closely. At the press event the other day, they emphasized that they DO listen and regularly make changes in future camera plans based on customer feedback, and in my occasional direct contacts with Canon reps, more than once there has been an off-hand reference to something that I've posted on Dvinfo about their cameras. They're reading, so be nice! ;-)

Ok, inquiring minds want to know...F Modes. What they presented was that the CCD is an interlaced chip, but that they do (somehow) cause all 1080 lines to be "read and output" at exactly the same time, clocked to the frame rate the user has set. The superficial description of the process was that of being purely progressive, using not only the horizontal pixel shift that all the cameras in this class do, but also vertical pixel shift. Canon say that they use "F" instead of "p" because the part number for the CCD is that of an interlaced chip, unlike the progressive chips in the DVX100 which pioneered 24p in the affordable market space. After the presentation, I asked about the slight decrease in vertical resolution in the F Modes as compared to 60i because the presentation didn't give any information that would explain why it happens. That was one of those "I'll have to get back to you on that" moments. Something is missing, because by the way it was described there should be no vertical rez loss, and even though the pictures are still stunning, it is unquestionable that F-Mode doesn't quite have the vertical rez of 60i.

Unless anyone else attending the event picked up any further tidbits, that's about it for now on F Modes. I do ask that we NOT turn this into yet another thread speculating on F Modes; there's too many of those already. We will seek further details and when we have facts, we'll pass 'em on.

One autofocus gotcha: using either manual focus or normal AF (with Instant AF turned off in menu), the Push AF button uses Instant AF. If you're using a wide angle adapter, the Push AF sensor is obstructed and it won't work; the manual actually advises to not use the Push AF button when you have a wide angle adapter on the camera. I suppose that as a practical matter, getting sharp focus will usually be less challenging at extreme wide angle, which is why you'd put on the wide angle adapter in the first place, but it is something to be aware of. I don't have the wide angle to test (maybe someone can try this for us?) but I'd guess that Instant AF would cause focus to jump to near zero distance.

I do want to say a special thanks to Chris Hurd for setting up my participation in the Canon press event, and to all the folks at Canon for making it a most worthwhile and classy, fun time. This being a press opportunity, they did send me home with some loaner hardware for review; y'all can expect an article in a few weeks after I've put it through the wringer.
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Old November 12th, 2006, 12:07 PM   #4
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thanks pete, michael & chris.. great info!
Thanks for the link.. I'll be very clear & pleasant in my feedback!
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Old November 12th, 2006, 08:27 PM   #5
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About that focus preset--is it like the Z1 in that you can set a beginning and ending focus and adjust the time it takes for the lens to shift?
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Old November 12th, 2006, 09:40 PM   #6
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The focus preset OR the zoom preset is a single point. If you want to rack, you set the ending point, then manually go to the starting point, roll tape, and then press the button to tell the camera to go to the preset. In menu you can set low, medium, or high speed. Haven't tried it on the XH A1 yet, but on the XL H1 it was more like "fast, faster, and fastest."
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Old November 12th, 2006, 09:55 PM   #7
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Three levels of focus speed and sixteen levels of zoom speed (when the zoom speed switch is set to Constant "C")
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Old November 13th, 2006, 09:22 AM   #8
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Thanks, Pete. That's what I meant--set the end, then go back to your beginning focus manually. Sort of an electronic focus puller. I wonder if those three preset speeds are adjustable in the menu someplace. This is a great feature, in my opinion, because I use a Spyder dolly with Flextrack a lot, and I can pretty much do lots of dolly moves by myself with no need for an assistant, except for the follow focus part.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 09:35 AM   #9
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The focus preset speed is adjustable within the Camera Setup menu.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
I wonder if those three preset speeds are adjustable in the menu someplace.
Bill, this feature first debuted in the XL2's 20X lens and although it was menu adjustable for speed, most folks (myself included) felt that even the slowest focus speed setting created too fast of a rack focus.

Here's hoping they have made the slowest setting much slower in the new cameras.

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