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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
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Old January 15th, 2007, 03:01 PM   #1
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Different built qualities of the A1?

Hello,

Iwant to buy a Canon A1 in March, but I am a little bit worried of buying a "bad batch".
Here is the explanation of what I mean:
When I bought my first cam, a PD 150, there was a vignetting of the image. It looked like a bad lens, but was electronical. The camera was of course replaced immediately, but the scanner of the replaced camera (i.e the video drum) was much louder.
The pro-company from which I bought the camera was kind to replace the camera again, but the scanner was still louder than the original one. We even tried to track down the original camera at Sony to have it repaired and not replaced but were not lucky.
I took the second replacement to a film school and compared it to older batches of the PD 150, they also were a bit quieter.
But this could also have been the effect of the drum being "smoothed" during a two year use.

Something similar happened, when i bought a DVX-100.
I was lucky to choose between two brand new DVX on the day of the purchase.
I tested them both. The OIS of the Panasonic tends to make a jump, when you make a slow pan. But on one camera, this effect happend more than on the other cam.
I did not look on the serial number but it would have been intersting wether the DVX left the assembly line the same day / week /month.

Somebody told me, that on the prosumer level, cams are not so often controlled when being assembled, maybe only one is being checked from a batch of a thousand, as far as I can remember. So a batch can have differences in performance.

Because I will probably buy my Canon from a consumer shop, there will be no possibilities for testing an choosing "the better one".

So, here is my question:
Did anybody buy several A1 or several G1 at once and notice differences betweem the individual cams? (mechanical noise, picture quality, chromatic abberation etc.)
I do not mean obvious flaws...

Another question:
On the A1, the recording level can not be adjusted for each channel individually.
When shooting with my DVX, i always record in mono and achieve a stereo effect from the mono sources (especially atmospheres, which can be recorded A/B)
Normally, I record with one channel at letīs say almost 0 db headrom, the other at -18db as a safety in order to prevent distortion, using a mono field mixer or sometimes plugging the Mic in directly.
On the DVX, the channels can be controlled individually for doing this, but on the A1...?
Maybe a fixed resistor in the Audio cable would help to achieve this two level recording on the A1 as described? Any Ideas?
Greetings from Berlin,
Salar
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Old January 15th, 2007, 03:09 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salar Ghazi
On the A1, the recording level can not be adjusted for each channel individually.
Incorrect. The A1 and G1 have separate left and right channel audio recording level controls. See attached image.
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Different built qualities of the A1?-leftright.jpg  
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Old January 15th, 2007, 03:21 PM   #3
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Chris, I think that he is saying that you can't do this with a single mic. You can only adjust left and right for two mics, otherwise they are tied together as the same levels. (This is frustrating and I wish could be fixed via firmware).
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Old January 15th, 2007, 04:05 PM   #4
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I've been using XLR Y adapters on 2/3" chip cameras for years, with Channel 1 audio at -20db and Channel 2 down about 5 db in case the talent gets too loud. I'm doing the same thing on the XH A1 with no problem. In fact, this is such a common thing to do these days that you can even buy the adapters from various cable suppliers now and not have to make them yourself.

As far as that build quality issue--I've never seen problems like that on lots of PD150s I've been involved with, and have never heard about it on DVX cameras either. I wonder if you've been getting gray market cameras or cameras that are used and sold as new?
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Old January 15th, 2007, 04:25 PM   #5
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If there are build quality issues, they would only be on the first few batches of any camcorder. Build quality is fairly consisent for most production products, unless changes and fixes are made after the product has been released..

The A1 hasn't had any problems in production yet, and I haven't heard of any consistent problems yet, only anomolies that you shouldn't be worried about. If you do for some unseen reason get a camcorder with problems, you can easily send it back for repairs or to get a new one.

I dont think you should be worried.

As for the PD150's I have heard of only audio problems in the first batches, but they were fixed very quickly, the A1's that I have seen are pretty much clones. THIS SHOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 05:53 PM   #6
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Hey, thanks for the replies!
I did take the review from Adam Wilt wrong - of course you can record with seperate levels, but not record with a combination of internal mic / external mic, right?
The PD-150 and DVX were not grey market, i bought them from the same local supplier, which is specialized in pro gear and also does servicing.
The german term for slight differences in performance as described is "Produktionsstreuung"
Literally translated into English it means "production dispersion" I do not know the right term.
All the best, Salar
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Old January 15th, 2007, 06:00 PM   #7
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Oh, btw using a mono mic directly with a y adapter ,the phantom power supply should only be turned on on one channel?
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Old January 15th, 2007, 06:28 PM   #8
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Phantom power for both channels.

You cannot use the built-in mic to record at the same times as an external mic because it's a stereo mic and uses up both channels. I have a short shotgun mic mounted on the camera I use for ambient audio, and if I want I can run that into one channel and my other mic into the second channel.

That is convenient to do sometimes. For example, I had a shoot where I had to do a lot of interviews and be ready on a moment's notice to grab the camera and get shots of some other action, which required ambient sound. In that case I used a shotgun mic on a boom for the interviews, and left the camera-mounted shotgun on Channel 1. That way, when I unhooked the interview mic quickly to grab a shot, I didn't have to worry about whether I had my ambient sound running.

It's also handy to use that camera shotgun if you want to pick up an interviewer's questions. Generally the camera is right beside the person asking questions, and the camera shotgun will usually pick them up pretty well.
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