A1 as replacement for DVX100a 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 February 8th, 2007, 11:38 PM   #1
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A1 as replacement for DVX100a

Hi folks:

I have a possible opportunity to trade in my trusty DVX100a for some other things, and simultaneously another opportunity to get a good deal on an A1. Obviously the Canon is going to deliver HD vs SD images, but outside of that, is it an improvement in every other way? Is there anyone who made this particular switch that misses certain features of the DVX, and what would those be? How is the motion cadence of 24F vs the 24p mode of the DVX?

Thank you--I know some of this will be redundant to what has already been posted,, but I may have to move pretty fast and might not be able to read everything in time.
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Old February 8th, 2007, 11:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
Is there anyone who made this particular switch that misses certain features of the DVX, and what would those be? How is the motion cadence of 24F vs the 24p mode of the DVX?
I have both cams, so I still havent dismissed the DVX. But its totally redundant and will be sold. The A1 has many more manual controls and functions than the DVX. The only thing I could think of would be the manual zoom control on the DVX, you can snap zoom, the A1 you cannot. The A1 is a far superior and more sophisticated camera. Theres little to no difference in the look of 24p and 24f as they are essentially doing the same thing.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 07:44 AM   #3
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You will also miss the large LCD.

But you'll get over it... the A1 is very nice, and very configurable.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 07:56 AM   #4
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I'm using my A1 for a good deal of SD right now, just got rid of my dvx100A, which I shot with for 3+ years, and overall, no regrets here, but a few things to consider.

Things I miss:

1. Low light performance. The dvx easily has 1 -1 1/2 stops on the A1, so if you're in low light a lot for sd, think about holding on to it.

2. Gain up on the dvx is less intrusive. The A1 is much quieter, so a gain up in low light is more noticeable.

3. The LCD - The A1's is really weak, tiny, inaccurate for color, and difficult for focus.

4. Audio. The A1 has no soft clipping feature, and so overmodulation requires more attention to levels if you're running on manual by yourself.


Overall, the image is actually nicer than the dvx, just as filmic & rich, quieter in terms of noise, and you get HD.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Stu Siegal; February 9th, 2007 at 09:36 AM.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 09:03 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert
<snip>
How is the motion cadence of 24F vs the 24p mode of the DVX?
<snip>
Barry Green did a nice comparison of the HVX 24P and XH A1 24F. Motion rendition is absolutely identical.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 10:52 AM   #6
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Fantastic guys, I really appreciate all of these great notes.

The missing snap zoom feature, smaller LCD and low light performance deficiencies are definitely noteworthy. I'm especially concerned to hear that the LCD makes focusing tough, because that's obviously even more important with HD. Do you guys find that the new autofocus technology that Canon is touting with this generation of camera is functionally better for down-and-dirty shooting (i.e. because it's hard to see critical focus in the viewfinder, does the auto system do a better job)?
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Old February 9th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #7
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I have a DVX100 and XHA1. I matched the XHA1 to the DVX100 look. The 24P from both cuts together just fine.

I prefer the DVX100 for handheld work, it's slightly smaller and lighter. But the XHA1 isn't bad.

As others have pointed out, the DVX100 has a bigger LCD which is easier to manually focus. The XHA1's LCD is usable but is one of that camera's biggest weaknesses. It's also too bad you can't have peaking and zebras both active at the same time.

Auto focus works well on the Canon but I'm still getting used to finding it by feel, it interupts the flow a bit. Manual focus on the lens ring is fine. Since I prefer to run manual most of the time, I'm starting to really appreciate the XHA1's three lens rings for focus, zoom and iris control.

Zoomwise both are usable. Neither can zoom quite as slow as I'd like. The XHA1 is smoother and the lens ring is a great way to control the motor (I'm not a fan of rocker zoom controls). The DVX100 is quicker for shot framing due to the direct manual zoom control.

The XHA1 is better in low light than my DVX100 at 24P even with no gain. For lighted sets I run the XHA1 at -3 gain, very clean.

For now I'm keeping both.

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Old February 9th, 2007, 12:12 PM   #8
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Wow, when I posted what was essentially the same thread, all I got were "rent the camera and see for yourself" and "it's HD so it's better" responses. I guess the determining factor is that I'm a "noob" around here and this is Charles Papert! hah :p

Anyway, thank you for this thread as it finally answered questions I had asked about a month ago.

Cheers!
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Old February 9th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
Fantastic guys, I really appreciate all of these great notes.

The missing snap zoom feature, smaller LCD and low light performance deficiencies are definitely noteworthy. I'm especially concerned to hear that the LCD makes focusing tough, because that's obviously even more important with HD. Do you guys find that the new autofocus technology that Canon is touting with this generation of camera is functionally better for down-and-dirty shooting (i.e. because it's hard to see critical focus in the viewfinder, does the auto system do a better job)?
Well, for what little its worth, here are my opinions on some of the issues you point out:
* Manual focus isn't that bad for me. By using peaking and the distance readout I can focus fairly quickly and accurately. Be sure to adjust the focus ring response though; I have mine set to the slower setting.
* I really have no complaints about the low light at all. You'll want to tweak your own custom settings for low light to suite your tastes. I've shot in some pretty dim areas with -3db gain and gotten good results. I've shot a few weddings with the Sony PD150 and was a bit concerned about dimly lit receptions using the Canon, but I'm not at all worried now.
* Autofocus works very well.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 02:03 PM   #10
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Be sure to adjust the focus ring response though; I have mine set to the slower setting.
You can do that? I must have missed something else in the manual. Are you saying you can adjust things so the focus ring isn't so sensitive when you turn it? That would be very cool indeed. I've got to track that down in the manual.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 02:05 PM   #11
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You can do that? I must have missed something else in the manual. Are you saying you can adjust things so the focus ring isn't so sensitive when you turn it? That would be very cool indeed. I've got to track that down in the manual.
Somewhere there's a setting for the focus ring, yes. I think by default its turned on to the faster setting. The slower setting makes it a bit more manageable, at least for me.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 02:23 PM   #12
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I found it. It's in one of the settings menus. I changed it to slow. Much better. Just goes to show ya...a guy can never spend too much quality time with the manual.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 03:24 PM   #13
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another ex-DVX owner here.

For my part the DVX will not be missed.

The A1 in SD shoots a much much cleaner picture (no comparison) than the DVX with more detail (and of course, much greater SD res in 16:9). The colours can be tweaked to pretty much however you want them. The zoom range is much greater (20x vs 12x) and the iris ring is nice to use.

I much prefer shooting with the A1 in low light because noise in the DVX was, for me, unacceptable. With the A1 you can light a scene as you wish, knowing that noise will not be excessive in shadow areas.

That's not even touching on the camera's HD capability.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 03:28 PM   #14
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Thanks Philip. MY A1 is coming in a few days, but the rather manic response of the focus annoyed me when playing with the camera in the shop. The gain ring seemed to suffer from a similar lack of nuanced control. Anything to be done about that?
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Old February 9th, 2007, 04:00 PM   #15
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As I just discovered on another thread, you can go into one of the custom menus and change the sensitivity of the focus ring. It comes set to fast. I changed mine to slow and it's quite normal now.
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