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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 28th, 2007, 10:50 AM   #1
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XL2 User Thinking About XH/A1

Hi Guys,

I currently use my XL2 for any client video needs. I have several clients that would like HD footage. I'm about to order an XH/A1 but wanted to run it by the expertise here first. How will the two cameras compare in capture quality? Do I need to bite the bullet and get the model with time coding, etc?

I shoot quite a bit of aviation, air to air footage and the smaller unit would be a big help in some of the tight spaces i find myself. The tail of a B-25 is pretty tight and the XL2 presents a larger surface for wind buffet.

I guess what I'm asking is, will i be blown away with the versatility and quality of capture on th A1? I'm happy with my XL2 but want hi-def and smaller unit.

Thanks in advance for you expertise!

Jim Wilson
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Old March 28th, 2007, 11:11 AM   #2
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I am sure this thread will get moved but I am going to reply here.

James,

I think the XH-A1 would be ideal for your requirements. IMO the XH_A1 is the best of the current compact HD cameras and is capable of simply stunning images.

My advice would be go buy one. I don't think for one moment you'll regret the decision. I fully expect you to be blown away by the camera.

All the best

TT
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Old March 28th, 2007, 11:23 AM   #3
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I've been helping a friend out on a documentary, and he has an XL2, which I've used for shooting numerous interviews. When I got my XH A1, he wanted me to shoot with it, in 24F SD mode, not HDV. Even in SD he says the footage looks significantly better than the same types of shots from his XL2. He just bought an XH A1 because of that, but he's keeping his XL2 for backup and second camera use (he's going to stay in SD until the current project is finished).

In addition to the higher resolution, I think the lens of the XH A1 is better than the standard XL2 lens most people use. We always had trouble with his XL2 on interiors because the lens wasn't wide enough.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 09:54 PM   #4
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I appreciate you guys!

Thank you for taking time to respond to my question. I am primarily a commercial still photographer. About half my work is aviation related, everything from The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds to biz jets and general aviation aircraft. Lots of air to air assignments that the smaller camera profile would be great for.

Once again, you guys are wonderful to take time to add your expertise and reassurance.

I'll order my A1 tomorrow!

Sincerely,

Jim Wilson
www.jimwilsonphotography.com
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Old March 28th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #5
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Just curious Jim, since you mentioned B-25s, if you're planning to attend the 65th Doolittle Raiders reunion in San Antonio coming up in April -- it would be nice to meet you there. Like everybody else, I too think the XH A1 is the right way to go.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 10:21 PM   #6
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Hi Chris,

I'm not booked for that event but I'm one of a select group of photographers chosen to cover the Gathering of Mustangs and Legends in Ohio this fall. 65 Mustangs have confirmed, we're working on the largest formation shot of Mustangs since WWII.

I'll get back with you if it looks like I'm going to be at the Doolittle event. Thanks for the great forum, ya'll haven't steered me wrong yet and I appreciate you!

JW
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Old March 28th, 2007, 10:27 PM   #7
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Thanks Jim, it's great to have you here. It took me a quick minute to realize after checking out your online portfolio, that it's your calender that hung on my office wall last year (we had met at Imaging USA 2006 in Austin). Really looking forward to seeing what you can do with an A1. Can't wait to see your photos of a sky filled with Mustangs!
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Old March 28th, 2007, 10:38 PM   #8
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I look forward to seeing you again soon! I'll be shooting the A1 air to air Saturday at dawn and dusk and Sunday at dawn. I'll let you know how I do. Is there anything you would recommend above the out of the box profiles? I'll be reducing shutter speeds to 60 or less to keep the props from slowing and looking goofy. Looks like I'll be scrambling Friday afternoon and evening to get familiar before putting it to work.

Next time I'm shooting in Austin I'd be honored to buy lunch at Rudy's.

JW
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Old March 28th, 2007, 11:00 PM   #9
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Jim this may sound pretty basic, but... just to be on the safe side it's always worth repeating:

1. Run a head cleaning cassette first thing, for about five seconds, before inserting and recording on your first tape.

2. Locate the AGC switch and set it to "off." Likewise with the AWB switch if desired.

3. If you're not using an external mic -- if you choose to record audio using only the camera's built-in mic -- then unscrew and remove the external mic holder. Otherwise it's the first thing to break off. Especially in a cockpit. Also, the built-in mic should wobble slightly when you put pressure on it. It's shock-mounted and the movement is normal.

4. OIS is turned on and off within the menu, unfortunately.

5. Colors are a little flat out of the box. If you're using a favorite Custom Profile in your D-SLR, then the challenge will be to match the A1 to it. Look for Steven Dempsey's VIVIDRGB and PANALOOK downloadable Custom Preset files here in this forum for some examples of the A1's color tweakability.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 11:06 PM   #10
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Thanks Chris!

JW
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Old March 28th, 2007, 11:54 PM   #11
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JW,

I am not at the level of expertise as the posters above,
but,
I know what I see, and this camera is capable of
shooting some incredibly beautiful material.

Now, has anyone spoken to you about the HDV workflow?
THAT is an interesting learning curve.

but get an A-1...

David
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Old March 29th, 2007, 08:17 AM   #12
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given that you work in such tight spaces, i'd add an HV20 to your toolbox soon (and since you probably don't care about sound much, an HV10 would be a cheaper but also useful thing to have if dollars are tight)
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Old March 29th, 2007, 08:50 AM   #13
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James, if you're ordering your camera today, check Tapeworks Texas, a sponsor on here. I'm not sure if it's still going on, but they had a deal where you get a free Camrade bag with the camera (a deal I missed when I bought mine, dammit).
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Old March 29th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #14
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Hi Guys,

I'm afraid I am way behind the power curve on editing. I shoot about 4 Terrabytes of RAW files annually in still and some 4x5 film. Keeeping up in Photogshop is tough enough, and now CS3 is about to be released. I've got Final Cut Pro but haven't waded into it much as of yet. Fortunately the clients I shoot video for all have fairly sophistcated editing departments so they are happy with high quality raw footage. I did get a great DVD tutorial on Final Cut, watched about 15 minutes of it and became so lost that I decided I'd tackle it another day.

The HV10 and 20 look like great cameras. I might consider one of those for applications where the camera is mounted somewhere on the airframe outside.

Bill, thanks for the tip on the free camera bag!
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Old March 29th, 2007, 09:27 AM   #15
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I still have my 4X5 gear in the basement but haven't used it in years. Could I interest you in a Schneider 90mm Super Angulon? heheheheh
Or perhaps an historic Crown Graphic.
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