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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 9th, 2006, 03:44 PM   #1
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Used XL-2 or new A1? Cast your vote

That is the question. Used XL-2 @3K or new A1 at 4K.

What I see so far:
HDV- quasi HD, difficult to edit, HD-DVD in it's infancy, i.e. no DVD distribution as yet. Camera is hand-held. New electronics, powerful computer.

XL-2- form factor is shoulder mount. Eyepiece flips up for viewfinder operation. elecellent specs. Design is probably 3 to 4 years old. I currently own a GL-2. Batteries and other accessories interchangable.

Concerned about manual focus drift. The XL1s has problems with this. When zooming tight, focusing and then pulling out and in again, the XL1s focus goes soft.

I typically shoot multi-camera. I see the XL-2 as a rock solid center camera. Also looks more professional (yep, it counts).
I would end up owning an XL2 and a GL2. Third camera could be borrowed. Probably an XL-1s.

Any votes?
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Old December 9th, 2006, 04:15 PM   #2
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I jsut sold my XL2 to pay for my A1... I loved it. best SD camera out there. If you want to impress with the cam's looks and image quality, go XL2. If you want to blow minds with the image quality and buy yourself a shoulder-mount, go A1.


I did.

Besides, the A1 SD image trumps the XL2 image
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Old December 9th, 2006, 09:14 PM   #3
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I would go for the A1 and buy a shoulder mount if you want that. Get a matte box too if you're concerned with a more professional look.

I've shot quite a bit of handheld stuff with a friend's XL2, and while it is probably the best looking SD 1/3" chip camera out there, it is a pain to use. It is not shoulder mounted--its back edge rests on your shoulder and all the weight goes forward onto your wrist. It's very difficult to hand hold for long periods. I also had trouble with the lens, as you mentioned, although back focus was not the problem. I found the auto focus button worthless when shooting 24p, and manual focus very difficult because the ring is so touchy.

HDV is not quasi-HD--it's HD with an MPEG2 compression. It looks great. It's easy to edit with FCP and I think now with Avid too. My experience with HDV (from a Z1) is that after it's edited and then downconverted to DV, it still looks better than some more expensive, bigger chip cameras shooting DV. Also, we had a film at our festival here this year, "Mojave Phone Booth." I just found out last week it had been shot in HDV, with a Z1. I couldn't tell by looking. I thought it was 16mm.
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Old December 9th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #4
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Go for the Canon A1.
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Old December 9th, 2006, 11:16 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=Bill Pryor]
HDV is not quasi-HD--it's HD with an MPEG2 compression. It looks great. It's easy to edit with FCP and I think now with Avid too. My experience with HDV (from a Z1) is that after it's edited and then downconverted to DV, it still looks better than some more expensive, bigger chip cameras shooting DV.


Bill, thx for the reply.

I do a lot of theatre work. Zoom and pan a lot. The lighting changes constantly. Motion and Mpeg are enemies. In addition, I don't want to invest in a HDV machine and monitor. You can't see your work in real time otherwise (using FC PRO).

How do u get around 16 x 9 letterbox look when you downconvert to 4:3 SD? I don't want to submit my finished work this way as a lot of people still use 4 x 3 TV's out there.
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Old December 9th, 2006, 11:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Morgan
How do u get around 16 x 9 letterbox look when you downconvert to 4:3 SD? I don't want to submit my finished work this way.
Both the XL2 and XH A1 offer a 4:3 guide in the viewfinder display so that you can protect for this aspect ratio when shooting 16:9. Or if you want, just shoot 4:3 DV, because both cams will do that too.
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