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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 April 17th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #16
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Sony's shot transition feature is definitely better because you can set the speed to what you want. However, it's something I'd rarely use. I also like Sony's positioning of the LCD screen up on the handle, and I think it's better balanced. But I bought the Canon because I like the way the 24p footage looks, and I like the nice and wide and nice and long lens.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #17
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in defence of the Z1

if I may be allowed to play devil's advocate here...

the Canon A1 is a great camera and terrific value for money but..
as someone who has been considering purchasing it and watching the A1 forums, I do have some reservations. In no particular order these are:

the audio options are much more limited on the A1 than on the Z1. The Z1 is much more geared up towards professional broadcast standards. I'm used to using a Z1 at work and it's great to be able to set 2 different levels for a mic plugged into the XLR - (for safety in case the louder setting peaks). As I understand it, you cannot do this with the A1. With the Z1 you can assign a mic plugged into the XLR, to one channel and the built in mic to the other (useful as a 'backup' sound source). I believe this isn't possible with the A1 which allows only one source to be recorded at one level only. (I'm going by what I have read - so please correct me if I am wrong). The A1 also seems to have issues with levels when used with mixers.

build quality
I've read a lot of things on the A1 one forums about bits snapping off / falling off / falling inside the A1. The Z1 on the other hand is built like a tank and has been proven as a robust camera over the last couple of years. Judging by some of the A1 stories, I wonder if it will last a couple of years.

the near infinite customisation of the picture look
a good thing, yes, but on the other hand I'd rather have a 'look' which is pretty much there out of the box and can be tweaked in post, rather than faffing about forever adjusting a huge number of settings - a lot of which are quite baffling as regards to what they actually do. I've followed a thread on here recently which seemed to go forever with people trying over and over to find a decent vivid daylight setting without a cast. It seems to me to be a bit of a nightmare. I think if I bought a camera which is infinitely tweakable, I'd be in danger of spending an infinite amount of time tweaking it (that's probably just me though)
There are published BBC recommended settings for the Z1 to give a broadcast quality standard. I think that will do for me.

broadcast quality
the Z1 was bought-up by the BBC by the lorryload and became a standard replacement for the outdated DVCAMs they used previously. The Z1 is already well 'bedded in' to the broadcast industry (though HDV generally isn't considered adequate for more than a small percentage of HD output).
From a UK-centric point of view, those seeking to do work with production houses may have to match the Z1 look (best done with a Z1 in my opinion)

that teensy LCD
yes I'm sure I could get used to it but that 'batwing' design does tend to make it look like something you'd find on a Fisher Price toy. What is it with Canon and LCDs?

the button layout
maybe it's just because I'm used to the Sony layout but I'm not so keen on the Canon arrangement. For example 5 buttons to control white balance? Also I found myself having to fumble for the pimple sized Push AF button on the A1 - a button I use a lot.

the recently announced Sony EX HDCAM looks like a 'must have' for me when it comes out and it has made me decide to stay within the Sony family in the meantime and go for an Z1 instead of the A1.(unfortunately the V1 didn't live up to expectations)

Please don't think I'm anti-Canon/pro-Sony. I'd rather take the Canon A1 over the Sony V1 anyday. (I'm hoping Sony won't mess up with the EX like they did with the V1). The A1 is an excellent camera - excellent value for money - with a better lens than the Z1 and better chips than the Z1. And of course it has the frame mode/ progressive look which the Z1 doesn't (yes, I know the Z1's cineframe is rubbish in comparison) but for all the reasons outlined above I'm going to go with the Sony Z1.

(Had I the budget though, I'd buy a Canon A1 as well!)
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Old April 17th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #18
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Valid points Keiran.
Similar thoughts went through my mind before i bit the bullet and went with the A1. So far i'm really happy with it, though i am looking forward to settling on a couple of presets that do the job for me. I know what you mean by all the faffing around. Some of the presets i've downloaded off this site make me wish i'd bought a Sony. I now have more than 25 presets in this camera and am thoroughly confused. Thanks to Steven Dempsey and a couple of other people I now have 3 or 4 i really like, but the sooner i jettison the rest the simpler my life will be.
Also, i shall be upgrading to FCP 6 shortly and be getting into the new Colour program, which ought to make stylised looks in post even more interesing than it is at the moment.
Even so, as appealing as the Z1 is, the only real contender for me was - and is - the HVX200, in fact had the Panasonic been shipping with 2 x 32 gig P2 cards it would be in my camera bag now.
Maybe next year.
In the meantime the A1 is a fabulous camera that i'm sure will pay off with a bit of perseverence, and with a considerably lower price tag than the Sony i still think its the best buy HDV camcorder around.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 01:57 AM   #19
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yep, the A1 is constantly mentioned in reviews as the best current HDV camera out there and a (relative) bargain for the price too. I went to demo it at proav but it was out on loan - otherwise, who knows I might be a proud owner of one now. Then I decided to hold out to see what was announced at NAB. If sony hadn't have pulled the EX HDCAM out of the bag then I would probably still be going with the A1. I don't want to wait til the end of the year before buying a camera though, but I do want a camera now which will work with the EX in terms of a similar/consistent look, hence the Z1.
Of course if the EX HDCAM is CMOS based, maybe the image won't be as similar as I imagine. Also I suppose I'm staying within my comfort-zone with Sony (I never really got on with the XL2 when I used it a few times).

The A1 is a superb camera though, and I've seen some stunning footage here from it - particularly from Steven Dempsey and Joe Simon.

Last edited by Kieran James; April 18th, 2007 at 02:00 AM. Reason: typo
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Old April 18th, 2007, 04:03 AM   #20
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do they have a price estimate for the ex hdcam
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Old April 18th, 2007, 04:50 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by William Becker View Post
do they have a price estimate for the ex hdcam
You can find some info on the new XDCAM EX here:

As mentioned there, the availability is this fall, and the price - below $8.000. Also, a nice high-rez picture is available here:
Sony PXW-FS7 | DaVinci Resolve Studio; Magix Vegas Pro; i7-5960X CPU; 64 GB RAM; 2x GTX 1080 8GB GPU; Decklink 4K Extreme 12G; 4x 3TB WD Black in RAID 0; 1TB M.2 NVMe cache drive
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Old April 18th, 2007, 11:19 AM   #22
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William, it's an XDCAM HD format, not HDCAM.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #23
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I have had Z1/FX1 for almost 2 years and now I have been using A1 for about 5 months and the only thing I missed is the built in lens cap of the FX1. (-:
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