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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 5th, 2007, 09:33 PM   #16
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Somebody mentioned wildlife shooting. The HV20 only has a 10:1 lens. The XH A1 has a 20:1, which would be better for shooting birds and things.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:19 PM   #17
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"Hello. BH Photo? I want you to ship me the A1! AY VUN! Like the steak sauce! No! I'm not putting it on my steak! After this,I can't afford steaks. Thank you."


see this article on the H1, most of it still applies to the A1 except uncompressed HD:

http://dvinfo.net/canonxlh1/articles/article13.php
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:20 PM   #18
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i want to thank everyone for the input on the matter, i think the only thing that was "hindering" my choice was that i couldnt "understand" the price difference. But now that its explained out, its outweighed the same way i did with my camera. The ability to perform with the know how behind it. is where it shines.

Thank you all again.

to add another question here.

If i dont have a "tripod" or "lights" to setup and i do nature video, will my quality hinder with the A1 down to the hv20 quality?

I believe its Steve Dempsy who shoots those awsome shots of nature in the morning. and he uses an A1. but he uses a tripod. So i wonder if it would be the same "quality" just more jittery per se.

Last edited by Eric Sipe; April 5th, 2007 at 10:48 PM. Reason: another question
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Old April 6th, 2007, 01:19 PM   #19
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LOL! I think you wanted someone to agree with your decision up front to get the A1. Ha ha You will enjoy it but there will be a learning curve.

Have fun
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Old April 6th, 2007, 01:41 PM   #20
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Whether you are doing extreme closeup macrovideography (e.g., insects), or long range shots (e.g., tigers. At least I hope you shoot tigers at long range!) a tripod will improve your shots.

You really need something to provide a sturdy platform.

Lights won't make any difference unless your subject is within, say, 20 feet or so. Not so important unless your wildlife shooting's done underwater.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 02:50 PM   #21
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So which way are you leaning?

I am inclined to recommend the A1 over the HV20 also as it really allows you to learn and understand the physics and relationships between shutter, iris, gain and focal length. Understanding these and being able to control these will make you a better "image" catcher. Barry Green is currently pulling his hair out trying to figure out how the HV20 works using all of these options. You cannot really control them on this camera. You can set the iris, but the camera picks the gain. It is a gamble. Just like a point and shoot digital camera except they use flash to get proper exposure most of the time. Video cameras add gain....

As a point of reference, I have an XLh1 over an A1 because I wanted all the belles and whistle to be at my fingertips. I want all my gain settings on a dial and all my WB settings right there. I also like changing lenses often and I really like the form factor more. However, the A1 is just as good as the H1 except for in certain shooting environments.

The truth is, I felt I could shoot better footage with the H1. Not because it is technically superior...but because it feels really right in my hands. The A1 felt toyish to me. Now the HV20 feels even more toyish.

I hate to say it but you may need to get your hands on these cameras and see how they feel. The HV20 is so small and has solittle mass it just feels like...well...nothing! Personally, I just can't see doing anything professional with the HV20 other than using it for a backup or for B roll. Maybe behind the scenes footage?

Still, you could get away with it in certain environments but if you have someone paying you for your work then it might not have the right image. (physical appearance to client).

Oh.....to be blatantly honest the HV20 will not cut it as a main wedding camera. If you want to do anything remotely professional you need to be able to manually control your camera. Weddings are one of the hardest things to shoot because nothing is scripted, nothing ever goes as planned and the lighting almost always yanks. This is where professional features are really important because you do "not" have the ability to manipulate your environment to make your camera look good. You have to get the best image you can using the tools you have. I just don;t feel the HV20 is the right tool to try and pull decent imagery out of poor shooting environments.

Sorry for the ramble!

Peace!
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Old April 6th, 2007, 05:09 PM   #22
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Marty, your ramblings are well worth it. I want to hear things from all aspects.

Me, i was leaning towards the a1 from the start. then people saying that i should LEARN with the hv20 made me go that way. Then seeing the quality out of the hv20 made me move further than way, then reading about what you just posted made sense as well.

I guess in the end i should plan on getting both of them.

But should i get the hv20 first, learn with that, then move to the a1? or get the a1 first then move to the ......by then maybe hv30?

Last edited by Eric Sipe; April 6th, 2007 at 06:21 PM.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 05:50 PM   #23
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First, having shot only a few wedding, I agree the HV20 is no wedding cam... except maybe in as a third choir loft or fixed camera.
Its simply to hard to dial in a proper exposure on the fly.

Second. I believe there is a bit more control than you are indicating. You can go shutter priority, to set a shutter speed you want, or go aperature priority to set the f stop you want. Then you adjust your exposure form there, up or down. You are right that you aren't sure what is happening at that point, but my assumption is that before the high gain is reached, the camera will try to adjust in reasonable shutter speeds and/or f stops, depending on priority selected. And if in the manual mode, you select AE, you will have the camera selecting both. I think Canon is concerned enought that it would be leaving heavy gain setting to the lowest light situations.... just my opinion....
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Old April 7th, 2007, 12:00 AM   #24
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Chris,
I was being brief in my description of what control you have. I was citing one example. The fact is, there does not appear to be a way to control all aspects. You can set some, but other are always automatic. So yes...there is a mild ammount of control but nothing approaching A1 type control.

And I agree with you agreeing with me! This camera will only serve me as a balcony/choir loft type of shot that I might cut to if the other main cameras have screwed up footage. It just does not cut it as a main camera....at least not for event work.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 12:13 AM   #25
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I moved from using a little Sony DCR-TV33 (handycam) with everything buried in a touch screen menu - and not enough control, to buying the A1 based on lots of research, gut instinct and a good understanding of manual controls (albeit not much actual practice).

I think I have learned so much so fast with the A1 that I would recommend it to almost anyone with the desire to learn and make excellent video.

I think I would have been dissapointed if I went with anything less. Having come to terms with the camera I am now eagerly looking forward to expanding on it's capabilities with more filters and a lens adapter like the M2 or Brevis.

A1 ....it's soooo good. :)
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Old April 7th, 2007, 12:55 AM   #26
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[QUOTE=Marty Hudzik;655573]Chris,
I was being brief in my description of what control you have. I was citing one example. The fact is, there does not appear to be a way to control all aspects. [QUOTE]

Marty, Regarding HV20:

While I agree you may not know what the setting is in a read out, I think this does give a bit of a false impression. If you set to one of the priority modes, you absolutely control that mode. Then when you switch on the joy stick access to the exposure control, you clearly get direct control of the remaining means of altering the light imput- by nudging that toggle either plus or minus. This is no different than my FX1 or the A1, in that if, for instance, you set your shutter speed. Even gain in the FX1, and I think the A1, has an automatic component that must be physically disabled.

The impression you are also giving is that the exposure, in no matter what mode, will continue to adjust automatically. My experience is that is not so. Once you toggle on the exposure control with the joy stick, that locks the exposure until you move out of that mode.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 10:01 AM   #27
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The bottom line is that you can only take control of exposure once the camera has determined its auto settings. I want to be able to turn off gain and visibly see that it is not on. It is a crap shoot to determine when it is on or not. Barry Green is deriving some formulas to try to determine when it is on or not. It is a complicated set of numbers that change based on the light available at the time you hit the exposure button.

So while you can control the overall exposure, you have no control of how the camera chooses to engage the gain. It is a good camera. But it has serious limitations.

And you hot the nail on the head on one point. You said the A1 and FX1 both have this "auto gain" feature that you have to disable. That is the issue. You cannot disable it on the HV20. The camera always decides how much gain it wants to add. It takes a lot of trickery and knowledge to get it tricked into a setting where it is not engaged. This is all avoided on cameras that allow you to contorl the gain yourself.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 10:54 AM   #28
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Gain on HV20

I ordered both cams (XH A1 and HV20) from Zotz on Monday and got them on Thursday. I used both cams to shoot a ballet performance Friday night. The HV20 was locked down for a wide shot and I used the A1 for my mid shot pan and zoom. I discovered the HV20 turns off the auto gain in "spotlight" mode. So my blacks were black with no noise from excessive gain. I also put the XH A1 in "spotlight" mode. The video from the two cams will cut together very well with this setting.

The HV20 is no low light performer, though. I tried to use it at the cast party as I didn't want to be in anyone's face with a big cam. Too much noise to be useful in the dimly lit room. I gave up and decided to enjoy the food instead of pulling out the A1:-)
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Old April 7th, 2007, 11:15 AM   #29
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However, if it's control you want

The HV20 lacks the controls. Although I've only had my XH A1 for 36 hours, I'm loving the control it affords. Even so, it is easier to control than my PD150. I like the layout of the manual controls and the focus- zoom-iris rings.

However, when I go to Italy this summer, do you think I will take my XH A1? Never! my wife would leave me on the street corner and go shopping! I will be quite happy to take along the HV20.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 01:19 PM   #30
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Try shooting in Tv mode for example, & if you can find a scene you know the auto gain wouldn't kick in, then at that point hit the EXP (Exposure Lock) button... then the auto gain will be disabled IF you stay in EXP. The second you hit the EXP again to take it out of that mode it reverts back to auto gain when it "thinks" it needs it. The A1 works the same way as well & I would assume the HV20 would also.

The only thing with this method though is that you're now forced to using the cumbersome scroll wheel for aperture control.

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