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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 10th, 2007, 04:57 AM   #1
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Will Z1 HDV tapes play back in the XH-A1?

Has anyone tried playing Z1 HDV tapes in a Canon A1?

When the A1 was launched, and having since played with it, I would have gone for the A1 (or even H1) had I a chance to 'start over'. Well, now that somebody's stolen my Z1, I could have a chance. However, I've got 18 months of Z1 HDV tape to think about...
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Old February 10th, 2007, 01:27 PM   #2
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1080i HDV playback should be perfectly compatible. Hope this helps,
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Old February 10th, 2007, 08:26 PM   #3
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I'll second that, I've found that HDV 60i tapes are pretty much interchangeable between the various Canon cameras and the same goes for the Sony cameras. The common denominatior is 1080/60i HDV.
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Old February 11th, 2007, 04:10 AM   #4
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Thanks, chaps.

Egad, no excuses.

Now balanced on a knife-edge: the 'comfort zone' and great ergonomics of a Z1, or the better lens, better chip block and WAY better focusing of the Canon, whilst having to ditch the Century Optics adaptors? Decisions, decisions. :)
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Old February 11th, 2007, 04:45 AM   #5
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You call the Canon a 'better lens' than the Z1's. By that do you mean 'longer zoom'? I'll admit it has that, but the Z1 with a 12x zoom is more expensive than an A1 with a 20x zoom. Now in this world nothing's for free, so what gives? Something's gotta give.

I agree the A1 has the neat distance measure window to assist the contrast based autofocus, a neat idea.

Better chip block? You mean there's someone who makes better CCDs than Sony?

''...ditch the Century Optics adaptors'' You mean using a telephoto converter on the Z1 to match the A1's 20x zoom? I'm all for ditching converter lenses, so am with you on this one.

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Old February 11th, 2007, 04:46 AM   #6
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You call the Canon a 'better lens' than the Z1's. By that do you mean 'longer zoom'? I'll admit it has that, but the Z1 with a 12x zoom is more expensive than an A1 with a 20x zoom. Now in this world nothing's for free, so what gives? Something's gotta give.

I agree the A1 has the neat distance measure window to assist the contrast based autofocus, a neat idea.

Better chip block? You mean there's someone who makes better CCDs than Sony?

''...ditch the Century Optics adaptors'' You mean using a telephoto converter on the Z1 to match the A1's 20x zoom? I'm all for ditching converter lenses, so am with you on this one.

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Old February 11th, 2007, 05:20 AM   #7
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I haven't tried the A1, but this may be of some interest to those who are about to try matching the Z1 & XL2.
I needed to match some XL2 and Z1 footage for a recent project, and the tapes directly from the Sony Z1 played inside my XL2 perfectly during playback and downloaded -without hiccup or drop-outs - to the computer via Firewire (The Z1 shot footage in HDV and then downconverted to SD).
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Old February 11th, 2007, 11:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
You call the Canon a 'better lens' than the Z1's. By that do you mean 'longer zoom'? I'll admit it has that, but the Z1 with a 12x zoom is more expensive than an A1 with a 20x zoom. Now in this world nothing's for free, so what gives? Something's gotta give.
Well you pay a premium for the Sony badge for starters! Anyway, all zoom lenses are full of compromise. The Canon lens is pretty good. Shows a little fringing on the wide end (on some units), where the fringing on the Z1 is less obvious. And the two motor setup of the Z1 is more flexible than the Canon's single motor shared between zoom and focus. But the extra range on the Canon is really handy.

The lens on the XH-A1 "may" or "may not" be better than the lens on the Z1, but even if it's inferior there's no way of telling because the Z1 has so much less resolution than the XH-A1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
Better chip block? You mean there's someone who makes better CCDs than Sony?
Depends what you consider better. Higher resolution? More sensitive? The XH-A1 has both of those over the Z1.

I have both an FX1 and an XH-A1, and the FX1 really genuinely cannot hold a candle to the XH-A1 in terms of image quality.

I do miss the two preset shot transition feature, though.
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Old February 12th, 2007, 10:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Daviss
Thanks, chaps.

Egad, no excuses.

Now balanced on a knife-edge: the 'comfort zone' and great ergonomics of a Z1, or the better lens, better chip block and WAY better focusing of the Canon, whilst having to ditch the Century Optics adaptors? Decisions, decisions. :)
Go and try them both, and take a couple of your old tapes with you. Just one little thing: you'll save maybe £800 - £1000 if you buy the Canon. What must the Z1 do to be worth the extra (in your circumstances)? Personally, I didn't consider the Z1/FX1, since I could see no advantage (to me) over the smaller and cheaper FX7/V1. I've no regrets about choosing the Canon rather than the FX7...

There have been stories of some older Canon cameras (XL1 particularly?) having head misalignment problems, so they won't play tapes from other cameras, and tapes recorded in them won't play in anything else. This is not a generic problem, but down to individual cameras. It can be fixed (but back-up your afflicted old tapes beforehand!!) I'm not sure whether Canons are really more prone to this than any other similar camera, nor whether they suffered from it from day one, or drifted over time. Presumably if they drift over time you find you can no longer play back old tapes. Maybe the problem gets discussed more by Canon owners...?
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Old February 12th, 2007, 02:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fry
What must the Z1 do to be worth the extra (in your circumstances)?
Thanks for that question - it's making me think... Why would I buy another Z1?

- I appreciate the Z1's audio circuitry, the limiters are good when treated with respect.

- Shot transition is something I use on pretty much every shoot, either for really quick or really slow transitions - love the ability to pull focus, zoom and change the shutter speed all at the same time

- The underscan viewfinder in HDV mode is just obligatory.

- The Hard OIS is very good, and can be used on a tripod with a tele adaptor attached

- You can earn 2 f-stops by shooting with 9 dB gain at 25 fps, and if HDV were downsampled to SD, that's almost a PD-170.

- Doggedly reliable in Ingest mode. If you shot it, even if it's only 15 frames, it's in the can.

Why should I consider something else?

- The lens seems a little soft. If you dial out the sharpening to remove the objectionable black/white outline that's felt-tipped around your image, the image is... well... soft.

- I've worked with DSR-570/450, HVX-200 and Z1 footage, and whilst I could make a Z1 'pop', the HVX and DSR had more latitude in DVCAM. The Z1 was only really breathtaking with HDV edits downsampled to SD), and even then I have to cheat with a gnat's of sharpening and the application of Colorista.

<whine>I want sharp images with a wide range of tones under a wide variety of lighting (or lack thereof), with a safe audio circuit and no more than three battery changes per day of run-and-gun shooting. I really want an XDCAM-HD the shape and size of an HD100 with the audio circuits of a Z1 and the varicam/4:2:2 of an HVX-200, but it's not going to happen because I don't know how to connect a XL-H1 to a 4:2:2 recorder and don't like the XL-H1's viewfinder anyway. :-D </whine>

Oops, sorry... I may have uncovered the real problem here...
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