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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 17th, 2007, 02:00 AM   #1
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I need convincing

I've had my eye on the XH-A1 for some time now and was hoping to have that and a DOF adapter before summer of '08 so I can go back to Uganda and shoot a nice documentary about the orphans there. However, I've recently learned that the HDV technology that the cameras on the market today use could be dead within a few short years. Is this true? After I heard this I began to reconsider buying the XH-A1 and aimed my sights on the XL2, but after looking at different footage from each camera, it still seems like the XH-A1 has a much clearer, vivid picture.

Do you guys think that HDV will be obsolete in a few years? (But not in the way that most technology becomes obsolete)

I don't want to drop $3,500 on this and within a couple years be unable to find aftermarket equipment for it...

I appreciate any help I can get, thanks a lot guys! :)
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Old May 17th, 2007, 02:15 AM   #2
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I can't help you decide, you're on your own with that... but I can't understand WHY you would consider a XL2 over any HDV camera. The XL2 is DV! What's going to be closer to being "obsolete" in a few years... DV or HDV, which is obviously superior in image quality over DV.

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Old May 17th, 2007, 02:18 AM   #3
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HDV is compressed HD...

It's only going to get better obviously... but HDV vs. DV... there's really no question...
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Old May 17th, 2007, 02:19 AM   #4
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I don't see HDV going belly up any time soon. What are your sources? What are the alternatives? Yes, the format has its shortcomings; what doesn't? Not every consumer/prosumer will be able to jump into HD-SDI domain anytime soon, and as far as I know, VC-1 and AVC codecs are no more suitable for editing than MPEG2.

If I had that amount of money to spend on the camcorder, I would go uncompressed HD route; however, I would rather have HD now, than wait for several years for some other technology to materialize.

I don't think you need convincing. The choice is yours. Ten years ago in 1997 I got my first DVD player when the format just hit the streets. Everyone was saying that DiVX (not the one we know today as a codec, but a competing Pay-Per-View technology by Circuit City) was going to kill DVD in a matter of months. Yet here we are, in 2007 and I doubt there are a lot of people who remember the big DVD vs. DIVX war back in 1998.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 02:26 AM   #5
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As long as there are Firewire interfaces on computers, there'll be no threat to current HDV cameras.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 02:29 AM   #6
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Yeah, I know the choice is mine. I just wanted to see if it really was expected to die off soon. I think I'll still aim for the XH-A1.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 03:52 AM   #7
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I did the whole worrying about obsolete gear when I was buying digital stills gear - If I buy that Canon 5D will it be obsolete next week? I did it when buying my A1 too and they'd only been out a couple of months!

Stop worrying,the A1 is the best HDV camera in it's price range,the features are excellent and the picture is superb.

All this time wasted faffing around could have been time shooting Oscar award winning footage!
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Old May 17th, 2007, 07:12 AM   #8
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While it shares attributes with Digital-8 (uses the same tape as the legacy Hi-8/8mm format) I suspect it will have a longer market life. For starters, many more companies support the format.

How long will the format have a strong following? Consider the life of other video formats: Beta, VHS, S-VHS, 8mm, Hi-8, DV/MiniDV, and Digital-8 to name a few.

Camcorder is a way to capture video. Equally if not more important is how the video is delivered to the customer/client. What format best supports delivery of the product over the economic life of that product.

But the decision is yours, no one else can make it for you.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 09:44 AM   #9
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Andrew, the A1 is a great camera. Yes it is true, there is always something better around the corner and if you wait you will indeed have better and better choices. But you will always be waiting because the cycle never ends.
So, yes,you are right, in a couple of years there will be much better cameras but do you wanna just sit around for a couple of years?

And just because a better camera comes out, it doesnt make the current cameras obsolete. In fact rarely is there an instant "leap frog" situation in technology. And when there is they will milk it and you can bet you will pay a premium.

I just purchased an A1 last week and its an awesome machine. Its design and flexibility are amazing. I also think that the HD format in general is much closer to that perceptual line where you stop questioning the quality of the image.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 11:10 AM   #10
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I think both tape and HDV are going to be around a lot longer than we think. There's always a new camera, a new format for the camera to record to; but that doesn't make the old one obsolete. People are still shooting with BVW600 Betacam camcorders, even though Betacam is now considered obsolete. The local TV stations here still take Betacam dubs and still use Betacam cart machines. Even as they move to total digital, they'll still have Betacam decks and people will still be giving them Betacam dubs. My feeling is that HDV will probably be around as an acquisition format longer than P2. Sony sold more HDV cameras in a shorter time than they did when DV first came out.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 04:17 PM   #11
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I can't imagine wanting to keep my A1 for more than a couple of years. Sell it for what I can and buy the next generation HD Cam. Panasonic, Canon or Sony.
The technology of all these camcorders is evolving so rapidly I expect most early hd models will be replaced by something far better and easier to work with within the next 2 years. Hopefully it'll be worth half of what I paid for then.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 04:39 PM   #12
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Alright guys, thanks for knocking some sense into me. I'll probably stick with my initial plan to get an A1 and hopefully I can pick up a DOF adapter so the documentary I go to shoot looks as good and professional as possible.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 04:47 PM   #13
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I think when you get in your hands you won't even think twice about the HDV format. Its such an solid cam.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 05:59 PM   #14
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For me the choice was simple - get what I considered the best camera for the amount of money I was willing to spend.
True, I wanted to go HD-SDI, XL-H1, professional jackpack, uncompressed HD 1.5GBits/second, and so on. Yet I was not willing to justify the expense for the camera, new computer, and so on.
So, for the next several years I will shoot in HDV and use my existing system for editing/mastering. Then I will too sell my HDV camera and make a move to uncompressed HD or whatever is the next best when I am ready.
But I would not suggest anyone to wait for the next better thing if they are set on buying. While you are waiting, someone else is shooting in HD.
And I wanted to echo the "once you get it in your hands" remark. It worked for me - once I held the XH-A1 in my hands and played with controls, I fell in love with the camera and did not feel sorry for spending over $4K (so far :) ) on camera and accessories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Richard View Post
I can't imagine wanting to keep my A1 for more than a couple of years. Sell it for what I can and buy the next generation HD Cam. Panasonic, Canon or Sony.
The technology of all these camcorders is evolving so rapidly I expect most early hd models will be replaced by something far better and easier to work with within the next 2 years. Hopefully it'll be worth half of what I paid for then.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 08:24 PM   #15
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Phil Great Youtube footage, I too love to film surfing, what water housing are you using for your cam? And what setting are giving you the best results?
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