Canon HV20 vs Canon XH-A1 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 April 4th, 2007, 10:34 AM   #1
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Canon HV20 vs Canon XH-A1

Hello All
I am new to the forum. I have been taking videoswith an old JVC cam for many years, and want to move to HD, with good manual features.
Assume, I re-finance my house ;), get a green signal from my wife, will Canon XH-A1 display the quality difference from the video taken with Canon HV20, to justify the price difference?
I also have Adobe Premerie which came along with AdobePhotoshop CS. Will it recognize Canon Cams?

Where will XH-A1 and Canon HV20 differ in quality?
Does anyone have video to compare?
Thanks.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 03:17 PM   #2
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I have an HV20 and an A1 arriving tomorrow. I will be using both of them this weekend so I will have shots to compare. Time to download the manuals at start reading!
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Old April 4th, 2007, 03:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundar Ramamoorthy View Post
Hello All
I am new to the forum. I have been taking videoswith an old JVC cam for many years, and want to move to HD, with good manual features.
Assume, I re-finance my house ;), get a green signal from my wife, will Canon XH-A1 display the quality difference from the video taken with Canon HV20, to justify the price difference?
I also have Adobe Premerie which came along with AdobePhotoshop CS. Will it recognize Canon Cams?

Where will XH-A1 and Canon HV20 differ in quality?
Does anyone have video to compare?
Thanks.
I'm not sure there is much point in comparing these two cameras. They are very different in size and features. There is not too much adjustment that can be done on the HV20, ie. it has very little pro features, but it takes a beautiful picture! Most will find the HV20 very useful and probably not need more, but it depends on your skill level and what you intend to use it for.

Many who buy higher level Canon cameras, XH-A1 XH-G1 and XLH1, never even get close to using it to its fullest potential. Hell, most still shoot in Easy Mode! I am working on it, but would not claim to be very good at it with my XLH1. It takes much time, much practice and the patience of Joab to learn all that is necessary.

To see if you like it, the HV20 offers a chance to get into HDV for a very reasonable price. If you do like it and need more it makes a great second camera and deck for the others.

If you wish to go pro right from the start then another model is best. Assess your individual skills and your level of commitment, then decide.

You did not specify what PPro you actually have and more info will be needed to decide if it will handle HDV. Does it have an HDV preset? You will probably want to get the CineForm software to use with it if it does. HDV takes a lot more powerfull computer and more RAM to work well. All of this has to be taken into consideration.

Best of luck on your decision.

Mike
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Old April 4th, 2007, 10:55 PM   #4
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Funny this topic came up. I went to a local camera store where I was able to try out both cameras. I was in the same boat on deciding between the two. I have been hearing things how the HV20 is an amazing camera that gives the other high end cameras a run for their money. I quickly learned that is not quite the case.

The HV20 took a great picture. That's undeniable, and I am pleased to see 24p HD becoming a feature on consumer cameras. But, it still is a consumer camera and it lacks certain features that I found essential. The inability to lock both shutter speed and exposure got to me. I forgot if there is a way around this, but I don't want to jump through hoops to do so. Also, gain appeared uncontrollable. Again, I had heard ways of fixing this, but it meant flipping through a couple of menus instead of just flipping a switch. The focus scroller was also a small problem for me. If you're doing work where you keep the focus on one item at a time, you may be fine. But I'd hate to rack focus with it. I unfortunately didn't test the autofocus function.

The XH-A1 on the other hand didn't have these problems. A simple flip of a switch solved my exposure and gain woes. From what I gathered, my only two complaints about the XH-A1 included the zoom ring lacking sensitivity. It was probably one of the worst zoom rings I have encountered, however, my purposes with the camcorder do not include zooming in during shots. I may zoom in for a shot, but not during it, so the zoom function was not a concern for me. My other minor complaint was that it appeared to be a little front heavy, like the weight was concentrated closer to the front. Otherwise, it appeared to be a solid camera.

It will come down to what you're using the camera for. If you're doing a professional shoot of any kind where you need the control, the XH-A1 would be your best bet. If it's for work where you don't mind the camera making adjustments without telling you but still providing a great picture, then go for the HV20. The HV20 feels like a consumer camera. It looks like one and it felt like one. I felt more doors opening up for me when I worked with the A1, but that's because my purpose with it is as an indie film maker. However, the cameras are great deals for the amount of money they are worth.

I'll try and test them out again sometime this weekend. I need to make a checklist of features to try out. I'll post my findings here. My biggest advice is to find a shop that has both and try them out yourself. That's one of the best things you can do to make your decision.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 11:52 PM   #5
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I own 2 Xh-a1s and a HV20. I am using them on a documentary shoot.
The HV20 is great for those "real life" great quality shots and it is somewhat adjustable. But it still has a very home video feel even in the hands of a pro.
The Xh-A1s are great and has features that will challenge the knowledge of a vet! It is larger and hard to hide.
The Xh-a1 shoots 24f andyou can directly capture into a 1080/24p timeline and cut (no rendering). The HV20 shoots 24p but onto 60i so you either cut on a 60i timeline, or remove pulldown (in FCP that means using Cinema Tools for now) and cut on a 24p timeline.
You get what you pay for.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:13 AM   #6
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I own the XH-A1 and the HV10. The HV10 can definitely rival the A1 in bright daylight, although it has slightly more tendency to blow out the highlights. It's also super saturated which pops, but gets a little neon looking at times. The HV10 has much less fringing at the wide end, the A1 does a better job than the HV10 at the telephoto end.

Handling and control differences are obvious, but the biggest picture quality difference is that the A1 is much better in low light, better shadow detail, free from color casts inside the shadows. You can also sometimes see the effect of the bayer filter in front of the HV10's imaging sensor, but that's nit picking. In fact, aside from the low light it's all nit picking. The HV10 is great, and the HV20 should be even better.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 08:06 AM   #7
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I You can also sometimes see the effect of the bayer filter in front of the HV10's imaging sensor, but that's nit picking.
Is that what I am seeing a lot? I was wondering? It seems like there is a 95% transparent photoshop layer with a subtle "texture effect" overtop all the video. I can't see it most of the time but there are moments when it is obvious.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 09:01 AM   #8
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Is that what I am seeing a lot? I was wondering? It seems like there is a 95% transparent photoshop layer with a subtle "texture effect" overtop all the video. I can't see it most of the time but there are moments when it is obvious.
Yes, that's exactly it, an extremely subtle "screen door effect" that I sometimes notice in the bokeh.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 01:54 PM   #9
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I do not want to be the one to "hi-jack" the thread, but I am relatively interested in this topic as well, and hope/wonder that there IS a quality difference between the two and not just the mere fact that you have more manual control over the XH-A1 that makes the difference in choices.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:13 PM   #10
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Technical stuff aside, (and clients could care less about tech really), I wouldn't earn any points if I spent half a day setting things up and then mounted either and HV10 or 20 on my tripod. On the other hand, nor would I drag my G1 into Disney park on the family vacation. The right tool for the job folks.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:52 PM   #11
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Technical stuff aside, (and clients could care less about tech really), I wouldn't earn any points if I spent half a day setting things up and then mounted either and HV10 or 20 on my tripod. On the other hand, nor would I drag my G1 into Disney park on the family vacation. The right tool for the job folks.
It's all relative however. Last year I went to Disney and I took my HVX200. It felt like a nice small camera for a vacation. I had just sold my XL-2 and was glad to have the compact HVX200. The biggest problem I had was offloading the HD stuff I shot. I ultimately gave up and shot most of it SD.

I later sold my HVX200 and got an H1. I personally would love to head back to Disney this year with and A1. That is the perfect size for me. I just don't feel compelled to have to shoot vacation video with a camera that fits in my pants pocket. A1 size is perfect for me.

But alas I have an HV20 as the A1 is just out of my budget.

And just to make it clear. The HV20 or HV10 are not in the same league as the A1 or H1 as far as images goes. They are just missing something and I think it is caused by the CMOS sensor. 3CCDS just make a better image in my mind at this point. Still....the HV10/20 make great affordable HD cameras that I feel will only challenge their bigger brothers when shooting outdoors or controlled sets tailored to make them look good. The H1 and A1 can more easily overcome poor lighting and less than ideal shooting arenas.

IMHO.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 03:09 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for your feedback. I am just waiting for someone to post clips taken in compromised lighting situation with both HV20 and XH A1.
That should clear the doubt for me and others as well.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 06:24 PM   #13
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Waiting for delivery

FedEx should deliver my A1 and HV20 any moment now. I'll have plenty of bad footage to show off by morning;-)
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Old April 7th, 2007, 04:28 AM   #14
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Doug have any footage for us yet?
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Old April 7th, 2007, 07:09 AM   #15
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A bit of good footage would be OK too!
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