HVX200 vs. XHA1 - some initial impressions at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 30th, 2007, 11:53 AM   #1
Disjecta
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 937
HVX200 vs. XHA1 - some initial impressions

I finally had a chance to play around with an HVX200 this past weekend. A friend of mine owns one and we went shooting together for fun and also to compare the two cameras.

Here are some of my initial thoughts:

1. I can see why people prefer the focus ring although it felt odd to me when I used it first, not completely smooth. I soon got used to it, however, and I can say that it is far superior to that of the XHA1.

2. The LCD is really bad on the HVX. I'm not sure how anyone can use it to focus reliably even with the focus assist function. It looked like the kind of quality I would see in a really cheap LCD. The XHA1's LCD is way better and easier on the eye. It feels like it is much higher rez also.

3. Despite the bad LCD of the HVX, the viewfinder is good and the focus assist works very well in this mode.

4. The variable frame rates of the HVX are amazing. I wish there was an easier way to flip into that mode instead of wading through menu options. We shot some eagles in flight using slowmo and it was a beautiful thing.

5. I was really skeptical about the P2 workflow but I have to say, I am a convert and see the huge benefits of no moving parts, no play head to worry about wearing down, instant record and instant non-linear access to recorded clips.

6. We did some resolution (real-world scenes, not charts) to see how the HVX performed in 1080 mode. While I was impressed with what I saw, the HVX falls short of the mark for me. The frame of the XHA1 just looks like the kind of HD I see on Discovery HD Theater and the HVX frame looked like a larger DVX picture. Not a big deal to most people but it is to me.

7. The physical appearance of the HVX is very cool. This thing looks like it could be dropped from a ten storey building and survive (don't try this at home, folks). It feels and looks robust and, being a DVX user, I had no trouble locating most buttons and switches instantly.

8. One of the other things I thought was not going to be a problem with the HVX because of its 4:2:2 colorspace was vibrating reds and neon oranges. In my tests, certain reds and orange street signs pulsed just as much as the XHA1.

9. Noise was surprisingly distracting on the HVX and there was a lot of it even in well lit scenes. The "grain" of the Canon was a lot more pleasing and reminiscent of fine film grain compared to the HVX's clunky digital noise. The Canon did not display as much noise in well lit scenes.

My overall impression is that I'm glad I got the Canon over the Panny. If the HVX had the same apparent resolution as the Canon, it would have been a no-brainer for me, even with the relatively low capacity of the p2 cards. Noise did concern me but I didn't have the camera long enough to do further tests. When we played the footage back from both cameras for some non-technical people, the XHA1 just got more wows in terms of the stunning resolution and clarity.

I'll be posting some footage and stills soon.
__________________
Try my Digital Therapy: http://www.pinelakefilms.com/digital_therapy.html
Films on ExposureRoom: http://exposureroom.com/members/disjecta.aspx/videos/

Last edited by Steven Dempsey; May 31st, 2007 at 12:47 AM.
Steven Dempsey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2007, 12:49 PM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ens, The Netherlands
Posts: 198
He Steven,

The Panasonic works with P2 cards only? Is that right?
Of course both users (Panasonic and Canon) can use a harddrive unit, but what is the maximum cappacity of the P2 cards?

I saw the Panasonic in a nearby shop. I agree...it looks like a long camera which fell on his lens from a very high building. But it looks very robust.

I'm very curious about the results.

Thanks for the nice report.

In June a friend and I are going to visit London. For almost a week. We're going to make recordings of three concerts and also will add footage of London. We are really looking forward to that trip. Also hope to have good weather then.

We're going to use two Canon camera's: XM2 and XH-A1.

Looking forware to see the footage of that slow motion Eagle.

Groeten,

Gert
__________________
http://www.hdvinfo.nl The Dutch forum and website about HDV & Canon XH-A1
Gert Kracht is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2007, 01:26 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 157
They make 16GB P2 cards now, so storage is not really an issue - you can get roughly 35 minutes of 720p HD on one card, so 70 minutes on two.

You can record on Mini DV tape in SD DV mode only.

I've used the HVX on several jobs and I like it, BUT with several caveats. It needs A LOT of light. Considerbly more than my A1 I've found. Also, if the light is low, the video noise is really noticeable and quite bad.

If you're talking bang for the buck there is no comparison. The A1 cost you $3250 or so (with rebate). HVX is $5000 for camera only, then $900 for each 16GB P2 card - so $6800 (approx.).

That's double the cost of an A1. Get a Firestore FS-C for $1200 and now you've got an all digital workflow (like P2) and still save money.

The HVX variable frame rates do rock though. :)
__________________
Mainly dabble in features and WebTV:
www.pinktheseries.com | www.facebook.com/continuumtv | www.killingdown.com
Blake Calhoun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2007, 01:32 PM   #4
Disjecta
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 937
Yes, noise was an issue, I amended my post with a #9 on that.
__________________
Try my Digital Therapy: http://www.pinelakefilms.com/digital_therapy.html
Films on ExposureRoom: http://exposureroom.com/members/disjecta.aspx/videos/
Steven Dempsey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2007, 01:38 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: South Bend, IN
Posts: 179
Thanks for the info. If anything, it makes me feel better about my choice of the A1 over the HVX. I love all the bells and whistles of the HVX, but when I think realistically about my NEEDS and not my WANTS, I couldn't justify the difference in price.

One thing that REALLY intrigued me about the HVX though, was the DVCPRO HD format. Intraframe compression is a good thing.

In the end though, the image is what counts. Your comparison sounds like it reached the same conclusions as many sites I've visited. Most say the HVX has better colors, but that the A1 has a sharper image. I figured I'd go for the sharper picture and fix colors in post if I can't get a CP on the A1 set to my liking. Besides, I don't ever plan on pulling any keys.

Although, you gotta love the idea of a $5k VariCam...
__________________
Woz
Ken Wozniak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2007, 03:24 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ens, The Netherlands
Posts: 198
Next on my list is a Firestore indeed. I'm very pleased with my A1.

But....I always like to compare and look at other camera's footage.
__________________
http://www.hdvinfo.nl The Dutch forum and website about HDV & Canon XH-A1
Gert Kracht is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2007, 05:47 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 50
I've touched every HDV camera on the market.

I've gotten my fingers all over all of the prosumer and high-prosumer (XLh1 and the HVX200) and I can honestly say, nothing really beats the XHA1/G1 configuration.

The cameras are great, and they take a great image. There is no way around it, with the good glass and imaging sensors that seem to work, there is little to complain about.

Now, if I had my choice, I would go with the XLH1, and just kick it with that, it has all of the features that I want on a camera, in a form factor I'm used to (I am a Beta SP/SX DVCPro shooter by trade), and I think XLH1s are perfectly customizeable for speed shooting. They do great.

Still, the HVX is awesome, but I think it falls flat on imaging for me, it didn't blow my socks off, and the P2 card expense sealed me away from what I could really do with it. Yes, I know that the edit workflow is great, and fast as it gets, still, it just didn't leave me in a sub-10k position, I would spend all of my money on the camera.

Right now, the Canon is the new great choice.
Alex Lucas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2007, 05:57 PM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 48
I owned both. I recently sold off the XH-A1 due to HDV and mini tapes.
P2 to hard drive is nice and "neat".
(no more little tape stacks cluttering up the edit bay)
I also had a problem with poor color from the Canon and the look of 24f.
I had a hard time "fixing" the colors in post on the Canon since there was so little to work with.
I have read many times that there is no difference between 24f and Panny 24p- but to my eyes there is. The Canon 24f stutters in a strange way.

I did prefer the actual build of the Canon over the Panasonic.
It was not as clunky.
And I agree- the Canon's LCD blows away the HVX.
To each his own.
I wanted to love the XH-A1- but mini tapes and HDV is not for me.
Randolph Duke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2007, 06:45 PM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Hermosa Beach, CA
Posts: 163
Good thread, as always you can never get the perfect solution but depending on your needs both are incredible camcorders.
Mike Gorski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2007, 07:16 PM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randolph Duke View Post
I wanted to love the XH-A1- but mini tapes and HDV is not for me.

I hear ya i've got over 100 tapes on my desk it's always a mission finding what i need when I need it..
Sam Ren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2007, 09:06 PM   #11
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
How do you archive your P2 footage?

If you weren't getting good color and getting stuttering in 24fps, it wasn't the camera. It takes quite a bit of setup before shooting. And the 24fps stuff captured with FCP's 1080p24 setting and edited in a 24p timeline looks just like any other 24p footage, whether it comes from film or tape, in terms of the motion.

I guess everybody has different opinions, which is why there are different cameras. I actually like the clunkiness of the HVX over the way the Canon feels, but I like the images from the Canon better, and the lens. To me the HVX is better balanced and feels even more solid than the Canon. I like the viewfinder too, but like Canon's LCD better. The main thing I liked about the HVX was the ability to shoot slomo. But I couldn't make P2 work for me because of the need to shoot up to 10 or 12 hours of footage a week when on the road and no way to easily transfer the data to something reliable like discs or DLT tapes. Still that slomo capability really tempted me. I spent a lot of hours trying to figure out a way to make the system work but I had to go for the Canon, which I like a lot. But I also like the HVX camera itself.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 31st, 2007, 12:52 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Miami, Florida, USA
Posts: 479
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randolph Duke View Post
I owned both. I recently sold off the XH-A1 due to HDV and mini tapes.
P2 to hard drive is nice and "neat".
(no more little tape stacks cluttering up the edit bay)
I also had a problem with poor color from the Canon and the look of 24f.
I had a hard time "fixing" the colors in post on the Canon since there was so little to work with.
I have read many times that there is no difference between 24f and Panny 24p- but to my eyes there is. The Canon 24f stutters in a strange way.

I did prefer the actual build of the Canon over the Panasonic.
It was not as clunky.
And I agree- the Canon's LCD blows away the HVX.
To each his own.
I wanted to love the XH-A1- but mini tapes and HDV is not for me.
I totally agree with you.

I own the FX1, A1, HVX and HV20 and they excel in at least one of their features.

It is not one fits all kind of thing.

I used the A1 this week for a 3 hour seminar where I needed the 20X zoom. I forgot to take the 24f off. Even though it was set on a tripod fixed the motion from the speaker looked different from the 24P of the HVX.

Here is a clip of the A1 left and FX1 Right. Capture DVCPROHD 1080i http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FimirGcSN_c
This is a chroma key with the HVX P2 720p24 SEE ATTACHMENT
This is the A1 at 20X 6 db gain capture DVCPROHD 1080i. You can't see the 24f effect unless you are seeing it in a 42" Plasma. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRRddB0U9hY
Attached Files
File Type: mov ChromaKey-H.264 800Kbps.mov (953.6 KB, 7171 views)
__________________
Douglas Villalba - director/cinematographer/editor
Miami, Florida, USA - www.DVtvPRODUCTIONS.com

Last edited by Douglas Villalba; May 31st, 2007 at 10:19 PM. Reason: NEW CLIP H264 CHROMA KEY
Douglas Villalba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 31st, 2007, 01:55 AM   #13
Disjecta
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 937
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randolph Duke View Post
I have read many times that there is no difference between 24f and Panny 24p- but to my eyes there is. The Canon 24f stutters in a strange way.
Okay, let's do a little side to side, apples to apples test, shall we?

The HVX is on the left and the XHA1 is on the right:

http://www.pinelakefilms.com/XHA1/compare.wmv

Don't worry about the resolution or color grading, just concentrate on the motion. HVX is set to 24p, XHA1 is set to 24f
__________________
Try my Digital Therapy: http://www.pinelakefilms.com/digital_therapy.html
Films on ExposureRoom: http://exposureroom.com/members/disjecta.aspx/videos/

Last edited by Steven Dempsey; May 31st, 2007 at 02:08 PM.
Steven Dempsey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 31st, 2007, 09:39 AM   #14
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
How did you capture the footage?
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 31st, 2007, 09:48 AM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Miami, Florida, USA
Posts: 479
There is really no fair way of comparing cameras. I can make either one look better.
I personally use Steven's VIVIDRGB on the A1. (thanks for the time you saved me Steven)
__________________
Douglas Villalba - director/cinematographer/editor
Miami, Florida, USA - www.DVtvPRODUCTIONS.com
Douglas Villalba is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:37 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network