Bit dissapointed with the 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 21st, 2007, 05:10 PM   #1
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Bit dissapointed with the A1

Hi all, I finally got my XH-A1 today after months of saving and choosing between it and the Sony V1. I was really torn between these two cameras, ergonomically the V1 was way more attractive to me but the XH-A1 footage just looked so nice that I couldn't be swung by the build of the camera.

Anyway, the A1 came today and I although I was a little disappointed by the build quality of it I was even more down about the video quality I'm getting. I've lowered gain to -3 and switched of auto gain but I'm still not happy with the results I'm getting. I've tried some of the custom presets available on this site but still can't seem to get anything like the quality of samples others have uploaded.

I find that zooming in to subjects increases quality a lot, but at fully wide I'm not getting a very sharp image, everything seems a little wishy washy and fairly noisy.

Does anyone have any idea what I might be missing?

Thanks

paul.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 05:44 PM   #2
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Last edited by Jonathan Gentry; April 21st, 2007 at 08:47 PM.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 05:51 PM   #3
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Great Camera

Here are a few questions to consider as you work towards resolving the issue as to whether or not you have a defective unit. Please give more details.

What are your shooting conditions?
Low light? High contrast?

Did you use manual focus?
Did you use focus assist?

Are you shooting in HDV or DV mode?

What is your monitor for viewing?
Is it the A1's LCD, which shouldn't be trusted?
What is the screeen resolution of the monitor? 500, 800, 720, 1080?
How is your monitor set up? Is it set for 1080i or less?
What is the connection method? Composite RCA or component?

Maybe some one else will have more possible solutions. It's sunny and warm today in Fairbanks, Alaska, so I'm going outside with the kids! (60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is warm enough for the mosquitos to come out of hibernation;-) And yes, my kids are wearing shorts and T-shirts and planning a water fight.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 06:15 PM   #4
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If you're not getting a really nice picture, it's not the camera. The above advice is good--you have to make sure to turn off all the automatic stuff that it defaults to: auto iris, auto gain, auto white balance, auto shutter.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 07:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Lange View Post
Here are a few questions to consider as you work towards resolving the issue as to whether or not you have a defective unit. Please give more details.
Quote:
What are your shooting conditions?
Low light? High contrast?

I'm shooting property videos, both internally and externally. Today was a nice sunny day, there was plenty of natural light coming in through windows etc.

Quote:
Did you use manual focus?
Sometimes, it depends on the situation, when doing focus pulls or tricky angles I switch to manual.

Quote:
Did you use focus assist?
No.

Quote:
Are you shooting in HDV or DV mode?
HDV. I tried with both 25p & 50i and found that 50i was less noisy, which is a shame because I really like the 25p look. 25p might not be suitable for my purposes though, I really need smooth pans.

Quote:
What is your monitor for viewing?
Is it the A1's LCD, which shouldn't be trusted?
I'm using a Dell 2407 LCD, both for editing in PP2 and via component input.

Quote:
What is the screeen resolution of the monitor? 500, 800, 720, 1080?
How is your monitor set up? Is it set for 1080i or less?
What is the connection method? Composite RCA or component?
1920x1200, component.

Thanks for any help you can offer. I'm fairly new to this, i have worked on the editing side for a while but recently given the option to start doing property shoots. Given my needs, if you think another camera would be better suited please tell me, I went for the A1 for it's wider zoom and low light capabilities, maybe a V1 or Z1 would have been a better choice?

Many thanks

Paul.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 10:36 PM   #6
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Dell Monitor component video in

I have the Dell 2407 and I find when I have the camera connected via component video inputs the colours are too saturated as compared to when I have captured the footage and view it. I'm not sure how to calibrate this monitor for a more realistic image. Would love a few hints.

Dave
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 12:08 AM   #7
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The A1 picture quality via component output is much better in my Samsung 3296 32" LCD TV than my Dell 2407. Dell is too saturated and a bit grainy.

John
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 01:41 AM   #8
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"I'm using a Dell 2407 LCD, both for editing in PP2 and via component input."

I think your problem is your Dell 2407, it is pretty bad, in contrast the previous model the 2405 is exellent, for sure it is not the A1, I think it has the best picture quality compared to any camera under 5G.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 02:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Joy View Post
I find that zooming in to subjects increases quality a lot, but at fully wide I'm not getting a very sharp image, everything seems a little wishy washy and fairly noisy.
C'mon guys - Paul is talking about picture shortcomings that have nothing to do with the monitor in question! It may not be the best model on the planet, but if it's picture is too saturated (and I can imagine that - my Fujitsu Siemens also needs some adjustment in this respect, when fed from the component output of my ATI graphics) - then how can it contribute to the A1 video being "wishy washy"?
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; April 22nd, 2007 at 03:28 AM.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 07:27 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the tips guys, I think I'm slowly getting there. Firstly, you are all correct about the monitor, when i watch footage via the component input on it it does look over saturated and contrasty. As Poitr pointed out though, this isn't really my biggest problem, I'm getting weak footage in PP2 too so I know something else is going on.

I think I'm part way to solving it, I experiemnted more today with using some ND filter and trying not to restrict the Iris as much as it was doing in auto, this seemed to let the colour have a lot more freedom than yesterday and I'm getting much richer results. I've been watching my footage on my Sony Wega 32" CRT TV and although it's not HD it does look a lot nicer than on the PC. Would I be right in assuming that the problem was becoming less of an issue as I zoomed in due to the camera having less exposure to deal with and hence more room for getting a better in quality?

So, my biggest issue is that my footage is being delivered both via streaming flash video and via DVD distribution, I plan to be using FCP on a mac soon but until my new business pics up and helps pay for it I'm going to be continuing with my current PC setup. Any tips on workflow to produce nice quality footage that I can both deliver via SD DVD and run through my flash video encoding process would be greatly appreciated.

I'm using the Canon 25p plugin that adobe released for PP2 to setup my project and then capturing using the standard canon setting. After editing I've tried exporting as quicktime and avi with mixed results. Is there a better way?

Thanks

Paul.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 09:02 AM   #11
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One thing I've discovered about these 1/3" cameras is that you never want to stop down much more than f4.. f 5.6 in a pinch.. but pile on as much ND as you can on bright exteriors - or use a good quality polarizer, which knocks about 2 stops off -

Otherwize these cameras look like mush.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 11:12 AM   #12
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Interesting point Steve Rosen, any particular brand of a polarizer you recommend? I know quality is of up most importance since we are dealing with an HD image. Century Optics?
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 01:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Steve Rosen View Post
One thing I've discovered about these 1/3" cameras is that you never want to stop down much more than f4.. f 5.6 in a pinch.. but pile on as much ND as you can on bright exteriors - or use a good quality polarizer, which knocks about 2 stops off -

Otherwize these cameras look like mush.
Very, very good point indeed!
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 01:29 PM   #14
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I use Tiffen - I have a plain and a warm (adds an 812 - takes the coldness out of midday skies)...

Century's Schnieders are good too, some think they're better because of the glass, but I haven't seen a difference...

Don't know about Hoya, I didn't used to like their stuff but they may be better now...

Just be sure you get filters at a reliable store, not a good place to try and save a few bucks...
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 01:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen View Post
One thing I've discovered about these 1/3" cameras is that you never want to stop down much more than f4.. f 5.6 in a pinch.. but pile on as much ND as you can on bright exteriors - or use a good quality polarizer, which knocks about 2 stops off -

Otherwize these cameras look like mush.
They do not look like mush, sound like you have bigger chips camera and just looking down on these small chips camera, what you recommend is only good for day time, what would you do shooting something at night or indoor? avoid going below f4 will leave a pitch black scenes if you don't have thousand of watts of lightning, the A1 has very good picture quality even at f1.6 and they do not loook like mush, of course not as sharp at the optimum midrange apperture but for sure not mush, also there is no need to buy any ND filters, it already has 2 level built in, and a -3 db gain and shutter speed control, buying ND filters for this camera is a waste of money.
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