My thoughts on the XHA1 - Page 2 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 March 14th, 2007, 11:01 AM   #16
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The, of course, H1 has other advatages.. I too have the 16x and the new 6x.. they make a great combination..

But the A1 is a really good middle-ground camera because the lens is slightly wider, making it very useful for tight spaces like in cars and fishing boats and airplanes.. And it's true that it doesn't attract as much attention (although that unconscionable a__ h___ that made BORAT has totally ruined it for verite style documentary filmmakers, probably forever)...

And if you've got a client-presentation issue, the A1 with a Chrosziel mattebox and a Marshall monitor looks pretty acceptable... Of course you don't have to tell them that the bulbous built-on mike makes it almost impossible to change the back filter, and that the (admittedly excellent) external focus sensor makes the use of a follow focus out of the question...
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Old March 14th, 2007, 12:55 PM   #17
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The, of course, H1 has other advatages.. I too have the 16x and the new 6x.. they make a great combination..
Whenever I consider ponying up for the 6x wide for the H1, I always tell myself I could just spend a few more bucks and buy the A1. Then I have a wider FOV and a 2nd complete camera to compliment my H1. I do realize the 6x WA for the H1 is wider, but it's hard to fork out $2600 for a lens only when an A1 can be had for another $700 when you take rebates into consideration.

I guess there are things that I didn't really care for in the H1, and most of those are in the lens design. These same things are more or less still present in the A1 lens and cannot be overcome by adding a manual lens.

The one other area that others are not addressing and that I "personally" have problem with is the non-fixed iris when zooming. It will not be an issue with well lit scenes and it will not be an issue with shots taken at full wide. But when you do need to zoom and you also need to have your iris wide open for proper exposure, there is a more significant drop in iris than on the H1. I found that I had to zoom more often to frame subjects properly. The A1 seemed to drop more light than the H1 zoomed the same amount (not zoom ration but actual 35mm equivalents).

I spoke with Barlow and he seemed to notice the same thing. In some tests I found the H1 didn't significantly change iris exposure until into the 90s on the zoom meter. That gave me a large range to zoom around in without seeing any effect on my exposure...or minimal effect to be correct.

On the A1 I was seeing serious light loss even when zoomed 40-50. It was significant. I had to put the gain on +6 to compensate for this. The results were footage that is far more noisy and less colorful than the same footage shot on the H1 in the same exact settings. To be fair this really only becomes an issue when shooting interiors with available light. But I personally run into this a lot in my line of work.

This was the "main" contributing factor in returning the A1 and keeping the H1. Add to this the 16x manual has no light loss at all when zooming. So it is the most practical in low light scenarios. In fairness, the 16x manual becomes a little soft when zoomed to max and iris is left at 1.6. However, when I back it down to 3.2 the images sharpens up significantly. So I at least have the choice of getting good exposure but a slightly softer image, or too dark but sharp. And I should mention that when I say softer, I mean on the magnitude of a 35mm adapter....not blurry or fuzzy but dare I say...kinda filmic? The DOF is super shallow too so it can used to get a 35mmish type of look.

Peace!
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Old March 14th, 2007, 02:00 PM   #18
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The iris thing drives me nuts.. on the A1 it is down to 2.6 at the zoom setting I use for the M2 adapter.. AND when you consider the M2 loses almost 2 stops AND the Nikkor lenses are best at around f4, that doesn't leave much bottom end to work with..

The very first post I wrote after selling my XL2 and buying the H1 was - boy do I miss having f1.6 thru the entire zoom range - ultimately that was as important a factor as manual focus when I decided to buy another one...

With the 6x, it doesn't bother me as much because when I put that lens on I treat it like putting a prime 10mm on a super16mm camera and only zoom in occasionally -

But the A1 loses a lot of light through the zoom range - if I remember correctly it's around 3.4 at full telephoto... It is undoubtedly the weakest point with this camera.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 02:05 PM   #19
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But the A1 loses a lot of light through the zoom range - if I remember correctly it's around 3.4 at full telephoto... It is undoubtedly the weakest point with this camera.
thank you Steve. I thought I was going crazy!

I guess with a 35mm adapter that would not help much either. Have you ever used a Letus or anything like it on the H1 that mounts directly? Less light loss I would assume if any, other than the light loss from the actual lens in use?

Thanks
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Old March 14th, 2007, 04:50 PM   #20
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All the electronic lenses stop down when zoomed in. But if you're using a Letus or any of the other spinning ground glass devices, I don't think you'd be zoomed in. Most of them seem to eat up a half to a full stop, and then you add that to whatever lens you're using on the end. I think you'd probably shoot wide open or nearly so with the built-in camera lens.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 06:23 PM   #21
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All the electronic lenses stop down when zoomed in. But if you're using a Letus or any of the other spinning ground glass devices, I don't think you'd be zoomed in. Most of them seem to eat up a half to a full stop, and then you add that to whatever lens you're using on the end. I think you'd probably shoot wide open or nearly so with the built-in camera lens.
Bill. I was led to believe otherwise. Most 35mm adapters that attach to the end of an existing camcorder lens would require some zooming to frame the "ground glass" properly. I think on some camera this can be significant. I thought a major benefit of using an interchangable lens system was to avoid some of this and all the extra glass that the light must travel through.

I am not sure what you mean by electronic lenses......do you mean servo driven lens? The 16x manual lens from canon is manual but it has an electronic controlled iris. The zoom is electronic but it is technically manipulated by an external motor that can be disengaged.

Someone who has more experience with these 35mm adapter can clarify the first part.

Peace.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 12:08 AM   #22
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loosing light?

must admit this was the norm for still cameras to loose about a stop from one end of the zoom to the other, thats with cheap lenses though, the good ones maintain the f stop throughout the range.

I haven't noticed this happen with cams like the HD101 with standard fujinons over whole of the zoom. I might be wrong? But it would obviously be undesirable
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Old March 15th, 2007, 10:51 AM   #23
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Yeah you gotta zoom in about half the lens range using the M2.. I don't know about other devices, because I bought this one (RedRock) sight unseen because it's affordable and I needed a specific look for dramatizations in a doc I'm producing now... Honestly, I'm not crazy about it, but with a lot of patience it does work.

This may not specifically be an A1 topic, except that the A1 has the presets for zoom and focus, and boy would using the M2 be a pain in the a__ without that feature...

I was disappointed that the area of the zoom forces me to shoot with the A1 at f2.6.. it has forced me to totally rethink my lighting plan for these sequences (I had intended to do it simply - use only my 1x1 LitePanel - now I'm having to drag out my old Mini-Brute 9 Lite and run cables everywhere)...
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Old March 15th, 2007, 10:57 AM   #24
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I didn't think you had to zoom in that far. That changes things a bit, doesn't it.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 10:59 AM   #25
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Now look what I've started....sheeesh.

:)
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Old March 15th, 2007, 11:11 AM   #26
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I wonder if all the adapters require that much zooming. If you're at f2.6 with the camera's lens...with the adapter that'd be about an f3.5...add one of my sharp but slow Nikkor lenses, a 2.8 on the 24mm, and now we're up to about an f5.6.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 11:14 AM   #27
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Seeing as we have gone completely off topic here, I would recommend you guys start a new thread because I think what you are discussing is important and it will get lost in this thread.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 11:30 AM   #28
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i have to second what steven is saying...he's an outdoor shooter, and his thoughts on the XH A1 are going to be geared that direction...not too many outdoor shooters are working with M2 adapters because the distance of the camera from the object is substantial, and shallow DOF is achievable with the right combination of wide aperture, ND filters, and manual focus.

seems like a useful discussion deserving of its own thread re: the A1 aperture limits and 35mm adapters....
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Old March 15th, 2007, 02:22 PM   #29
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Thanks

i just want to thank Steven Dempsey for helping me with a issue and let all know that this is a very standup individual. I know that this is a forum to exchange ideas and support, but when someone goes above and beyond, I really appreciate it and wanted to publicly acknowledge it. Thanks Steven.( I'm on now)
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Old March 15th, 2007, 05:35 PM   #30
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I would recommend you guys start a new thread because I think what you are discussing is important and it will get lost in this thread.
Don't worry about that -- I'll probably clean it up by splitting out those posts into a new thread. Thanks as always, Steven!
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