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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 26th, 2007, 01:11 PM   #1
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Possible to upgrade A1 to G1?

Scuse the maybe stupid question, but I was wondering...

Would it be possible to retro-fit the pro jack pack to the A1, and flash the firmware, making it a G1?

Right now I have the A1 and loving it, but I can see the need for Genlock in the future... hence the question.
I didn't have the budget to stretch for a G1 right now.

If not, wouldn't it be great if that were possible?

Cheers and thanks for having such a great board guys!

Arthur
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Old January 26th, 2007, 01:25 PM   #2
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Nope, can't do it.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 01:27 PM   #3
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Dang, woud've been great though, no? :D

Cheers
Arthur
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Old January 26th, 2007, 01:30 PM   #4
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Your best upgrade path is to simply sell the A1 and put that money toward the G1.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 02:19 PM   #5
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Or maybe G2... Who knows :)
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Old January 26th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #6
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I've wondered myself how different the internal electronics are. Do they use the same boards, and just not add the interface? Or are they using different boards?

I know that the addition of the jacks doesn't actually cost $3000, so it's interesting to me that it is basically a "charge the amateurs this much, and the professionals that much" kinda thing. Airlines have been doing it forever.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #7
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Doubtful anyone is willing to tear apart their XH A1 to find out, but actually I'd guess the jackpack circuitry is separate from the mainboard. From what I understand second-hand, putting SDI in cameras actually does cost the manufacturers quite a bit. It isn't just the jacks but the engineering and licensing. Maybe there's more profit in the G1 than the A1, or maybe there's not...don't know. It costs what it costs.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 05:21 PM   #8
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It's a value proposition. What is it *worth* to you? That's what you're paying for.

Pete is right, a substantial chunk of that extra $3000 is SMPTE licensing.
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Old January 27th, 2007, 12:51 PM   #9
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HD-SDI adapter?

You beat me to it! This was my burning question for the last four days waiting to be approved so I could post here.

OTOH, if the answer is indeed "No" (although I still wonder if some third-party possibility might turn up...) why not one of those component to HD-SDI converters, like this one:
http://www.aja.com/html/products_con...s_HD10AVA.html

I think this one is about $900, but that's a good bit lower than the additional G1 cost.

We're looking at getting 2-3 XH A1/G1's and a mixer for big screen concert projection and event coverage and were thinking of the Edirol SD/HD mixer, but with the price of the new Panasonic AV-HS300G HD-SDI mixer at $8000 (!!!!), this sure seems like a more forward thinking way to go.

...actually I'm thinking you need some sort of "box" sitting on (or near) your camera anyway, as analog component HD over 100m of cables probably needs some help either in an amplifier or a Cat5/6 interface.

I'd be interested to hear of other's experience in using the A1/G1 with a switcher.

Russ
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Old January 27th, 2007, 09:54 PM   #10
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Well, I'm shooting with a G1 and going HD-SDI ingest via AJA on Cineform. I can tell you that shooting the same scenes with both HDV and HD-SDI, the results of both are pretty close. It's not a great divide, in my opinion. There is more data in the image, and the colors do shift slightly for HDV. There are times where I couldn't tell which mode I was shooting in.

I've had this camera for a month now and have yet to shoot a keyed or green screen set. Too busy at the moment.

However, to get the real benefit from the SDI pipeline, I'd have to be tethered to something heavy, and use a large production monitor on set. Which is ok for fixed shots and the one-man band.

It's also 'catch 22'. That is, if you're going to be shooting 4:2:2 HD-SDI all the time, and investing in all the extra supports, it's more than just a $3000 camera upgrade. More like $10,000, (until a lightweight on-camera solution is available). In which case most folks would just either get an H1 for the lens' options, or something much higher end. When you factor in all the extra time, gear and hands needed for that format... It's kinda like dressing up in full armor and then bringing a pocket knife to go into battle with.

My deal is that I shoot HDV for the most part, but occassionally require 4:2:2, and the G1 fits the bill. I don't have to own or rent a higher end camera that will rarely leave it's case, so I can use the G1 on all my jobs and have the satisfaction knowing that it can do more when needed.

Which applies to you?
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Old January 28th, 2007, 09:34 AM   #11
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The only situation I can think of when I would like to capture 4:2:2 would be compositing, and even then, I've heard that well lit 4:2:0 can do a fine job, so it's not so much capturing HD-SDI for quality issues, it's trying to decide what camera+switcher direction to go for HD large screen projection and event production (like covering a conference providing IMAG and selling DVDs of the event afterwards).

As far as portability, the AJA converters look pretty good; run off 5vdc, about 6" x 3" x 1", minimal line delay (HD10A component -> HD-SDI in <1 usec!)

The choices I'm seeing for a low-budget compact solution for us are:

A) 3 XH A1's --> Edirol V-440HD ($22,000)
B) 3 XH A1's + converters --> Panasonic AV-HS300G ($25,000)
C) 3 XH G1's --> AV-HS300G ($29,000)

Other issues:
- HD-SDI cabling would probably be easier than the 3 conductor HD analog, wouldn't it?

- In-field monitoring is slightly more expensive for SDI (either a 15" with Quad splitter or 4 rack mount LCDs, both easily available from Marshall, for instance).

- Need some sort of VTR to record the mixer output, with either HD-SDI, component or VGA inputs.

Anybody done anything like this?

Russ
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Old February 14th, 2007, 05:18 AM   #12
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Hi,
to be frank, I think, an upgrade should be easily done.
The simple reason is, why running two assembly lines/designs and raising cost, exept the ones for the extra circuitry needed?
A - maybe - bad example of what I mean:
I once bought a High End CD-Player (a Nakamichi), which was available in two versions:
The difference was Remote/no remote, programmability / no programmability.
and a headphone jack. The extra - price for those gadgeds was 500$
I bought the cheaper one.
When I bought the service manual some years later I found out that on the main board, which was identical in both players. everything was already prepared for the extra gadgets. The connections were left open, but the socktes were already soldered in.
Even if I bought the -passive- circuit boards needed + remote as spare parts, I would have only paid half of the price.
Okay, maybe apple to beans, but I guess, things will not have changed.

But Canon is very strict about service manuals. You can purchase SM from Sony or Panasonic, but not from Canon to take a look.
As one example, when I had a XL-1s, Canon did not give any information about the type and manufacturer of the CCD.
All te best,
Salar
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Old February 14th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #13
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Salar,

My assumption is that the boards are the same as well... it doesn't make much sense for them to do it any other way.
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Old February 15th, 2007, 10:47 PM   #14
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I would agree that the production line probably makes A1's until the last step when the SDi ports are added.

...So maybe some brave A1 owner will pop open that hatch area (where the sdi out is on the G1's) and see whats under there?
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Old February 24th, 2007, 03:11 PM   #15
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I agree that it is quite likely the same circuit board between the A1 and G1 and the jack pack is actually an additional board element with connections between them. The cover is there right in the spot where the jack pack would reside. The issue of firmware to support the jack pack I guess would be the other issue. You gotta have the menu choices to activate the functionality of a jack pack and the A1 certainly wouldn't have that buried in it's OS.
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