Short report after receiving my 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 May 3rd, 2007, 07:33 PM   #1
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Short report after receiving my A1

Just received my new A-1 and want to let those who are contemplating the purchase know my impressions. I have shot my video for the past six years using a Canon GL-1 which is a very nice and capable camera. When placed side by side, there is nothing to compare at all. The new A-1 will never leave anyone guessing if it is pro or consumer/pro-sumer. The A-1 definitely says I'm professional. The A-1's mat-black finish and build quality is eye catching. Holding it leaves an impression of solidly built, high quality. I remember Steve Dempsey saying, who switched from a much larger H-1, that it seemed small, but for those of us coming from a G-1, G-2, this camera is big. The lens is slightly smaller than my EF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM lens that I use with my Canon 30D. It's a large lens. I shot a couple of minutes of test footage this morning out of the box with no tweaking in overcast skies and replayed it back over my 1080i big screen and it was impressive. Can't wait to use some of the presets.

Also, I would like to comment on three other items that I purchased to enhance the A-1. The Bogan 501HDV tripod head is a nice piece. I've not used anything better so I can't comment on how it compares with more expensive heads but this one seems very well suited to the A-1. Well constructed, nice features, smooth movement and also painted in Pro-Black. Also, I purchased a Rode NTG-2 mic kit with cables, wind muff, and a 10' Rode boom pole. Good bang for the buck from the DVeStore, one of our sponsors. There hasn't been much said about the boom pole so I just wanted to say that it too is impressive, professional black in color, well constructed, and easy to extend.
Lastly, I bought a VariZoom EZ Rock controller. Although I have only used it for zooming the lens this morning while mounted on the tripod, it works nicely with a variable rocker switch.

I hope that my post is helpful to others who are thinking about purchasing similar equipment.

Don
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 08:34 PM   #2
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What tripod do you use with your 501?
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 10:11 PM   #3
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I use a Slik Pro 700DX which I like a lot. It's another item that does not cost a lot and is of good quality.

Don
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Old May 4th, 2007, 08:35 AM   #4
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I am useing the 501HDV head with my A1 as well and I have been really impressed with it. I am using the Manfrotto 3221WN tripod.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 08:53 AM   #5
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To be honest the only thing I'm NOT impressed with on my A1 is the build quality! Compared to my Sony PD-170 it seems very plastic and flimsy. You only have to brush it with something and it leave a white scuff mark. It's what we call in the whitewater kayak world 'cheese plastic'....

Still,I can put up with the build quality with a picture as good as it is.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #6
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I'd have to agree, the material used looks really nice but it doesn't give you the same sense of solidness as the sony Z1 / V1 etc. The material the lens is constructed from / finished with is similar to that of the sony cameras, it just feels hard, whereas that mat black plastic material marks every time i brush a fingernail past it.

Things like the menu wheel, rocker zoom and control flap on the handle also seem a bit 'creaky' to me too which led to me having to think hard about buying this camera. I'm still glad I did though :)

Congratulations on your purchase, I'm sure you'll really enjoy the camera.

Paul.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 12:24 PM   #7
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How's the 501HDV? Does it give you a smooth pan? Can you move the handle and not have the jagged motion in the video, is that what the fluid head is all about?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Amundson View Post
I am useing the 501HDV head with my A1 as well and I have been really impressed with it. I am using the Manfrotto 3221WN tripod.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 05:09 PM   #8
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I have only had the camera/tripod head for a couple of days now so I don't have any real world shooting time behind it to give an educated answer to your question. The 501 HDV Head does have a nice fluid movement to it in both pan and tilt with the ability to adjust tension to suit the user. It is also spring loaded in both directions to the tune of 5 lbs or so which seems to hold position once you let go. I'm sure that when the camera is zoomed out that any slight motion will be noticeable. There are locking knobs that are easily accessible.

I had not noticed that the textured finish easily shows signs of contact from various things. i tested this a little and find that a small brush seems to clean it off pretty easy. This might be sort of like a black car. Beautiful when clean but ugly when dirty. I've never seen a Z-1 so can't comment there.

Received the Sony eye cup today. Nice addition, a must have in my opinion. Absolutely keeps all light out of the viewfinder. It's very flexible and should conform to anyone's eye area.

Don
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Old May 5th, 2007, 03:35 AM   #9
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Hey Don,

I just received my H1 today along with the Rode NTG-2. Have you attached/mounted the NTG-2 to the H1? Did you get a different shock mount, or are you using the NTG-2 strictly for audio from a distance from the camera? Reason being is the mic's diameter is too small for the onboard microphone holder.

Thanks,
Eric
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Old May 5th, 2007, 03:58 PM   #10
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Eric, scroll back to the top of this page and click on sponsors>DV Creators estore>Rode>NTG-2. There you will see all the components of the kit that I ordered from them. Great service by-the-way. The shock mount is called SM3 and it slides into the, in this case, cold shoe. The Mount is 2.25" in diameter X 2.5" long and positions the mic a bit further from the lens and motor noise than the built in one. This mount does a nice job of holding the mic in position.

Just a thought. You'll need a K-tech fuzzy for wind protection so one alternative to buying a separate mount like the SM3 would be to cut a section of the foam mic sleeve that came with your Rode and slip it over the NTG-2 back to where the built in mic holder will clamp the mic so that the foam will fill the void between the mic and holder. If cutting up your nice brand new shinny Rode foam protector bothers you then Radio Shake should carry something suitable for mutilation. Other materials may work just as well. Warning, I have not tried this. It's just an idea. Let us know what you do.

Don
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Old May 5th, 2007, 05:12 PM   #11
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Thanks for the info Don. Decisions... Decisions... Maybe I will check out Radio Shack and see how a little foam sounds with mic feedback. I will post and let you know how it goes.

I am really just trying to get to know this camera. It does have a learning curve for sure coming from a Sony TRV-25. No comparison, by the way. Hoping to go out and grab some test footage tomorrow.

Thanks again,
Eric
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