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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 December 7th, 2006, 01:37 AM   #16
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After playign aroudn with it for a few ddays now here are some thoughts & some comparisons to Sony: (yes another ME TOO review) ;)

The good IMO:
- the lens on wide mode is actually WIDE. Altho I am comparing with my HC1, the HC1 + 0.7 Sony wide angle lens on full wide mode is pretty much exactly as wide as the XH-A1 on wide. I was pleasently surprised. From what I recall when using an FX1, the XH-A1 has the widest lens compared to its HDV competition in its class.

- excellent audio flexibility:built in mic + XLR + Line in (I dont believe there are any competing hdv cameras that have this). I was happy to find out that I can use my trusty rode videomic on this camera, I really didn't want to spend the money on a rode ntg-2 or even an xlr->-line adapter. The sound quality of the built in mic does suck tho, surprisingly the HC1's mic is MUCH better

- beautiful colour - the fx1 has nice colour too but IMO the colour/overall look of the of the XH-A1 is more filmic then the FX1. Finally I konw wut I've been missing in terms of colour when comparing a single chip cam to a 3 chip cam.

- good low light performance, although I haven't done a direct comparision with the fx1, with a 10/20 video light this camera will be fine for me to use @ dim weddings. I have yet to experiment with black stretch/coring so I look forward to further tweaking the low light performance. Without saying the low light performance absoutely BLOWS away the crappy muddy performnace of my HC1 in low light. The XH-A1 @ 1/60 shutter 18 db of gain altho does have grain but is still useable. Compared to my single CMOS cam @ 18 db of gain the image would be pretty much garbage. XH-A1 via 12 db of gain is quite usable and pretty clean after some minor colour correction in post imo.

- instant af works WELL, I may actually use this sometime! No more slow focus HC1 problems.


The bad IMO:
- eye peice rattles somewut? It feels a little flimsy

- lcd although good resolution/colour, and lcd compartment is solidly built, it is SMALL

- peaking/magnification for manual focusing is poorly executed compared to sony's implemntation of peaking/expanded focus. Sony's expanded focus is actually very useful IMO.

- crappy lens hood requireing a cap to cover the lens, Sony's barn door lens hoods like the HVR-A1U hood I use on my HC1 is much better.

- noisey zoom motor, a pretty sad flaw imo. Unless zooming in slow you will PICK up the zoom motor noise in your recordings.

- reduced lens aperature when in telephoto. I can't recall if the FX1 behaves similarly (I assume it does) but HVR-A1U/HC1 does not, so I suppose I am spoiled

- Quite weighty. I think I read that from the specs that this camera is supposed to be lighter then the FX1 but I think it's a tad heavier, even tho the unit is slightly smaller then the FX1.

- Not suitable for long periods of time via Steadicam Merlin. Of cousre I am spoiled coming from using a Merlin with an HC1 but I honestly cannot fathom how a Merlin operator woudl enjoy using this clunky XH-A1 on it. I was able to get it properly balanced (fully open arc, and on the bottom 1 start wieght, 5 mid weights NO finishing weight, and @ the frotn of the arc just one start weight) and ran aroudn for a bit but did notice that shooitng with one arm wasnt fun. Also I dindt use the G-platz which you DEFAINTELY need to reduce vibrations @ the front of the camera. I will try it again this weekend and post some footage. Nevertheless for HDV Merlin footage, I recommend using HC1/A1U and avoid the 5lb cameras.

As for the HVR-Z1 vs the XH-A1, I believe that the XH-A1 is much better value for the money. From a high level view, both have apprxoimately similar video performance (altho I believe XH-A1 is the winner here), both have XLR audio inputs, black stretch as well as the many other quirks expected from 'professional hdv offerings' in this product class. etc etc. I just cannot see the justification for the 1000$+ price differnce the Z1 commands over the XH-A1. I did want the HVR-V1 for quite some time but the 1/4" sensors really turned me off, and although the video output was good, I must admit that the images did not blow me out of the water.

I just ordered the LARGE BP-970 battery + a J-Rod (with 2 shoes) allowing me to mount my 10/20 Sony Video light + Rode VM + a wireless receiver cleanly on the A1. Will take more pix when it all comes in.
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Last edited by Michael Y Wong; December 8th, 2006 at 12:41 AM.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 10:58 PM   #17
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Pix up!

Some pix of the XH-A1, so far (and pretty much capping the XH-A1 specific accessories @ this point) picked up the BP-970 mammoth battery + the J-Rod.

Sennihesier G2 will come later provided I find the work that justifies the added expense
Attached Thumbnails
Another A1 owner from the North! =)-ve-a1-myw.jpg   Another A1 owner from the North! =)-xh-a1-hdr-hc1-profile.jpg  

Another A1 owner from the North! =)-xh-a1-fully-loaded-3-4-profile.jpg   Another A1 owner from the North! =)-xh-a1-fully-loaded-profile.jpg  

Another A1 owner from the North! =)-xh-a1-j-rod-shot.jpg   Another A1 owner from the North! =)-xh-a1-top-profile.jpg  

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Old December 28th, 2006, 08:26 PM   #18
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the XH-A1 is possibly the BEST HDV camera on the market today. It is a lot of value for $3699
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Old December 28th, 2006, 11:27 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Y Wong
Some pix of the XH-A1, so far (and pretty much capping the XH-A1 specific accessories @ this point) picked up the BP-970 mammoth battery + the J-Rod.

Sennihesier G2 will come later provided I find the work that justifies the added expense
What about the Focus FS-C? Are you using one? I order one from Scott at Tapeworks Texas, but haven't receive it yet.
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Old December 28th, 2006, 11:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Strongfield
the XH-A1 is possibly the BEST HDV camera on the market today. It is a lot of value for $3699
100% AGREED! I love the Sony Z1U & the V1U but they do not provide the per dollar value that the XH-A1 does.
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Old December 28th, 2006, 11:48 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Leong
What about the Focus FS-C? Are you using one? I order one from Scott at Tapeworks Texas, but haven't receive it yet.
LOL Anthony my friend, I wish I had the budget for that but I dont.

If you do get one you'll definately be the hero of many XH-A1 owners on this forum. The J-Rod will definatley safely mount a wireless lav receiver + a mic safely so provided that the FS-C is about hte same wieght as a wireless reciever it should mount on teh J-Rod wihtout problems
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Old December 29th, 2006, 02:17 PM   #22
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Michael, If you don't mind me asking... Where did you get the softbox for your sony 10/20 light. I had to fabricate something for mine, that one looks like it was made for it.


Thanks,

Steve
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Old December 29th, 2006, 02:32 PM   #23
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Hi Steve,

Of course its not a problem, I come from a Sony HC1/A1U world and everyone with that setup has this Sony 10/20Light since it shares hte same batteries as the camera. It was on that community where I discovered this softbox:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...u=89908&is=REG

It isn't made for the Sony light but fits fine on top, and costs 17$ USD.

I have yet to test the setup with the Canon A1, but with the Sony A1 it works good, the results will definately be better with the Canon.
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Old December 29th, 2006, 03:41 PM   #24
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Thanks for the info Michael, I am about to order one, looks alot slicker than the setup I had.

By the way, your posts and a few others have made me decide to buy the Canon A1, Ive been looking to jump on the HDV ship and get rid of my old
vx2000. Now I've started saving to get one, hopefully by next month I can get it.

Thanks again.
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Old December 29th, 2006, 05:20 PM   #25
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Mikey Mikey...

I remember when you were all like "Oh, you just love Canon cause you're a Brand lover"... or "Let's wait for the camera to decide!"

And now look at you, convincing people to buy Canon over Sony... my how the worm has turned!


Just kiddin around. Nice pics mike... better than the ones we took :P
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Old December 30th, 2006, 06:01 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Montoto
Michael, If you don't mind me asking... Where did you get the softbox for your sony 10/20 light. I had to fabricate something for mine, that one looks like it was made for it.


Thanks,

Steve
I have seen guys that have used the bottom cut out from an opaque dish soap bottle like "Dawn", which works, but isn't as neat.


Michael,
Nice pics, and glad the J-Rod is working out for your new rig.
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