XL2 to XH-A1 Converts 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 January 16th, 2007, 10:57 PM   #1
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XL2 to XH-A1 Converts

Any A1 converts from XL2 or XL1/s... I'm seriously toying with the idea of selling off my XL2 and am curious to know if the feel of the A1 is similar.

Obviously the cam is much lighter and doesn't shoulder, but as for controls, is it any easy migration or is it going to be a major annoyance and should I just hold up and wait for the H1.

Thanks - Miguel
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Old January 16th, 2007, 11:24 PM   #2
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I just got rid of my XL2 for the A1. I didn't like the XL2 form factor for all around shooting so the A1 will be right up my alley. HD picture, minus lens changable (big deal, never used it anyways), more manual control, bigger LCD, solid body form factor, more rugged for all around usage. I think its just a better choice and price is incredible. $3500? Helllz yea. I lost a ton of dough selling my XL2 since the A1 price is so damn close to the XL2's New price also. It made my XL2 terrible to sell at teh moment. I got 2500 for it and ive only used it for 2 months.

- Kyle, who says get rid of it now or good luck later.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 09:20 AM   #3
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I shot quite a bit of documentary footage for a freind over the past few months with his XL2. He always wants hand held stuff, and the XL2 is not very well balanced for that. I can actually do a much better, steadier hand held shot with the XH A1, even though there's no shoulder brace. I find the XL2 difficult to focus when shooting 24p--when you push the auto focus button it takes way too long, and the lens focusing ring is overly sensitive and very difficult to focus. The A1 solves all that. Also the lens has a regular aperture ring instead of the little wheel on the side that is so annoying. Ignoring the fact that it's HD, the XH A1 seems a lot more user-friendly to me than the XL2. I'm not bashing the XL2--I think it turns out the best picture quality of any of the 1/3" chip SD cameras.

One point about hand-held shooting with a "handycam" type camera versus the XL2. I shoot a lot of hand held with a DSR500, and even though it's bigger and heavier, I get steadier shots than I do with the XL2, because of the balance. I was a bit apprehensive to go with the XH A1 because I knew I'd be doing quite a bit of hand held work with it. However, with its very good OIS, I'm getting very steady stuff. And there's one advantage to that form I hadn't thought about. For the hand held interviews (I shoot all my interviews on a tripod, but my friend wants everything hand held), it's much easier to change the angle with a "handycam" form. I can hold the camera up at eye level, then pull it down and move to a lower angle while the interviewer is asking a question, and the move is smooth enough to use if he wants. With a shoulder mount camera you have to take it off your shoulder then recompose, and you lose that move. This form is also good when following a person around--you can just start walking with him. With a shoulder mount camera, you have to take it down off your shoulder, and that part won't be useable. If that makes sens.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 08:05 PM   #4
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Sold 2 XL2's and got the A1

The XL2 is a great camera. I got used to it's flaws- the stepping iris to the flip up LCD....but I do miss the audio section of the XL2 and a couple buttons ommited from the XL2.

I have had nice results with the A1 however despite a couple flaws...

audio: I still haven't found a way to have one channel of XLR and 1 channel of the the internal mic. Is this possible? I don't even know if the XL2 did that.

I have found that it is easy to bump the iris wheel accidentally when I am running and gunning....I sometimes find my shutter at 1/100 when it should be 1/48th.

Other than that, I am really stoked about the technology that I have with the A1.

Sometimes I do miss the shoulder ability of the XL2, but I happen to have a shoulder mount that works great (I originally bought the mount for my Canon L1 back in the day).

So all in all- I love both for different reasons. The XL2 forced me to get closer to the viewfinder, which allowed me to be more a part of the camera. The viewfinder on the XH-A1 is ok, but it is not as inviting. If I have to depend on the flipout screen, I have to be more attentive to focus and exposure.

I LOVE HAVING THE FIXED LENS. Changing lenses was a total hassle with the XL2 when doing live shoots. I am glad that I have an excellent lens that is wider than the XL2 and just as long. It really is a versitile setup.

The MAIN thing I miss from the 16x Manual Lens is the MACRO function and back focus. I looked in the manual for MACRO function of the A1 and I did not find any mention. Anyone out there have a MACRO secret for the A1??

Peace, Larry
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Old January 17th, 2007, 09:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Huntington
Anyone out there have a MACRO secret for the A1??
stay wide... open iris... move close... focus :)
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Old January 19th, 2007, 08:34 PM   #6
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Thanks guys between this post and one other, I'm getting the XL2 ready to sell and ordered the A1 today, will be here Monday, reading the manual now and getting ready for a new learning curve!

ML
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Old January 20th, 2007, 07:20 AM   #7
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Miguel,
I recently sold my XL2 and went with a "pre owned" XLH1. I like the size and feel of the XL series and found that putting an Anton bauer battery on the back really helps with balance. You should try to get Marty Hudzik to weigh in on your question. He sold me his H1 thinking that the smaller, less expensive A1 would work for him. He returned it because he missed on cam access to certain functions, and didn't like having to go into the menu.But he and I both do weddings, and there is NO TIME to fiddle around with settings on that type of event.
I haven't seen an A1, but I'm sure the image is excellent, and it has a few upgrades on the H1 features. if I started getting enough business to justify it, I would sell my Sony FX1, and get an A1 as a second camera. it would be nice to match the two cameras and not have to do it in post.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 08:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Huntington
audio: I still haven't found a way to have one channel of XLR and 1 channel of the the internal mic. Is this possible? I don't even know if the XL2 did that.
I don't think that is possible because the internal mic is stereo which needs both channels. a solution might be to get a XLR mic on camera for one chan and then have the other feed on the 2nd XLR.
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Last edited by Josh Chesarek; January 20th, 2007 at 12:41 PM.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 10:01 AM   #9
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Josh wrote: "I don't think that is possible because the internal mic is stereo which needs both channels. "

I don't buy that oft-repeated excuse.

For example the DVX100 has a stereo mic but still offers the option of an external mic on one channel and the internal mic on the other channel. I don't know if the DVX100 just uses one channel from the internal mic when doing that or sums the stereo signal to mono, but it works fine.

To leave that feature off of the A1 is a choice by the designers, rather than a necessary limitation of using a stereo internal mic.

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Old January 20th, 2007, 11:30 AM   #10
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Call it whatever you want, but that's the way it works. It's not an "excuse," it's simply how the camera operates. The question was, can you record with the built-in stereo mic and an external mic at the same time. The answer is no you can't, because it doesn't work that way. My very strong advice is, if that's a feature you need, then buy some other camera.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 11:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
Miguel,
I recently sold my XL2 and went with a "pre owned" XLH1. I like the size and feel of the XL series and found that putting an Anton bauer battery on the back really helps with balance. You should try to get Marty Hudzik to weigh in on your question. He sold me his H1 thinking that the smaller, less expensive A1 would work for him. He returned it because he missed on cam access to certain functions, and didn't like having to go into the menu.But he and I both do weddings, and there is NO TIME to fiddle around with settings on that type of event.
I haven't seen an A1, but I'm sure the image is excellent, and it has a few upgrades on the H1 features. if I started getting enough business to justify it, I would sell my Sony FX1, and get an A1 as a second camera. it would be nice to match the two cameras and not have to do it in post.
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Bruce thanks, in the end however I had about 6k to spend and it went to the A1 and a new Sony M15 deck, there was one H1 in the classified section that I tried to get the wife to go for it, but she stopped me and reminded me that I had some gear to sell to get new gear so for now it's an XL2 (FOR SALE) and the A1.

Got the new cam today and currently playing with it to get used to it, it's really a nice feeling cam, very much like the XL2 in some ways and my old GL2 in others. I've been shooting all my HDV on a Sony HC1 so this is a huge cam compared to that one, and I keep wanting to hit the screen to change settings like I can with the Sony but the touch screen just isn't there!

Either way, in the end I'll end up with an H1 someday, just not now, BTW I'll be down your way from Feb 4th to Feb 9th, the company has me doing some training down at 8000 W Sunrise (my real job). Might have to look you up while I'm down there, it's been 6 years since I lived in Broward and 2 since I've visited.

Miguel
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 11:07 PM   #12
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Miguel,
Congrats on the A1. Please call me when you get down...let's get together.We'll tell some Fred Rubin stories.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 11:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Chesarek
I don't think that is possible because the internal mic is stereo which needs both channels. a solution might be to get a XLR mic on camera for one chan and then have the other feed on the 2nd XLR.
XL2 does it and very well, the A1 can't based on what I've found due to the bitrate of the audio encoding, it's not as simple as 32k 4 channel, you only get 1 384k bitrate, but according to the manual, channels 3 and 4 are free?

Not a major issue, I can run 1 XLR to the wireless and 1 to an external shotgun, the only reason that I did 4 channels on the XL2 was becuase it could, no actual technical reason... just allowed me to have the stock and my mics active at the same time without having to switch anything.

Miguel
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 11:57 PM   #14
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I'm one of the XL2 -> XH A1 converts also. In my opinion XL2 is the best 1/3" MiniDV camcorder. Saying goodbye wasn't easy. There were only two things that bothered me about it: the viewfinder and the fact Canon released XL2 so late, at least half a year too late.

Using the XH A1, I find focusing and controlling exposure easier than with XL2. OIS is the best in class imo, but I can't wait for link to Custom Key that controls it. I have no problem with the structure of audio section. I either use built-in mic or external mics and keep small digital audio recorder handy in case I need extra 2 channels. The first positive impressions about XH A1: great wide angle lens, OIS and very good low light performance. Major negatives: none, but there is room for improvement. If Canon listens to our suggestions regarding firmware update, A1/G1 will get real close to HDV perfection.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 01:52 AM   #15
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Chris wrote:
"Call it whatever you want, but that's the way it works. It's not an "excuse," it's simply how the camera operates. The question was, can you record with the built-in stereo mic and an external mic at the same time. The answer is no you can't, because it doesn't work that way. My very strong advice is, if that's a feature you need, then buy some other camera."

Yep, certainly.

What I meant with the "excuse" comment is the implication that there's just no way a stereo mic could be made to work on one channel. Josh said "I don't think that is possible." And in fact it IS quite possible to design audio switching so that the mic either sums to mono or just uses one of the two channels from the stereo mic to run mono, had the designers thought it was important to do so. That the A1 lacks that feature is simply a design choice, not an impossibility.

Maybe it made the camera cheaper to build and sell to hit the market they wanted to hit, but for whatever reason, if you need that handy feature then you'll have to get a different camera.

Cheers,
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