Low light performance of the XHA1 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 June 18th, 2007, 06:10 AM   #1
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Low light performance of the XHA1

One of the things that attracted me to the XHA1 was that it was supposed to be pretty good in low light. I've been pretty disappointed with it's performance on a couple of occasions and wondered if other people had the same feelings.

The first time was filming in a windowless reception room, with lots of tungsten. I just couldn't film without adding some gain. Last week I was filming a conference and the lighting conditions were similar. I'm pretty sure all the settings were as they should be, but I had to add 6- 12db to get a decent image. Also the camera had focus problems at the time. Though I think the focus problems were due to the wangle being a bit loose. Once I put the wangle back on and stuck in on 12db I had no problems.

I haven't experimented much with the presets, do you think this would help? If so can you recommend a good one to use (for a PAL camera)

Thanks.
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Old June 18th, 2007, 08:15 AM   #2
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Kathy,

I'm having the same problems. I'm a wedding videographer and use the camera in lower light situations. I've used the camera for 2 weddings so far, with mixed results. In well lit situations, the camera looks great (Bridal Prep, Ceremony). When I get to the reception, it tends to fall apart a bit. I have a Sony 10-20 watt light on the camera that I used with my FX-1. I never had any problems with grain. I know that the FX-1 even pushed it above 12db.
I've also noticed that the LCD screen isn't always accurate. I downloaded the Lowlight preset and tweaked it a bit. I'm a noob and still trying to figure out all of the options. This camera us much more manual than my FX-1 and I'm still trying to figure out if thats a good/bad thing for my application.
Download the Lowlight preset and work with it a bit in a dimly lit room. I'll post if I figure anything out.

-Chad
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Old June 18th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #3
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Out of the box it will not likely impress anyone in low light. You have to work with the settings to optimize performance for your lighting situations. But keep in mind there is no substitute for adequate light, and 10/20 watt light can be a big help without totally blinding the guests.

You do need to use gain in poor light situations - that is the case with all camcorders (some just do not tell you they are adding gain).

You probably will want to use the presets for poor light situations. The +12 low light dB preset is a good starting point, experiment to see what specific settings work well for you. And heep in mind that using 18 dB gain is better than than no video of an event.

Consider using a slower shutter speed (e.g., 1/30) where the amount of motion does not introduce unwanted artifacts.
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Old June 18th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy Stannard View Post
Though I think the focus problems were due to the wangle being a bit loose. Once I put the wangle back on and stuck in on 12db I had no problems.

.
You say that you did manage to get a decent image by adding gain. So if the problem is noise, you can adjust coring and noise reduction to compensate somewhat for the noise added by the gain setting.

Richard

P.S.

What on earth is a wangle?
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Old June 18th, 2007, 08:46 AM   #5
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Auto focus does need some light, about 50 lux for reasonable performance with the older XL1 series per the Canon specification.
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Old June 18th, 2007, 09:18 AM   #6
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Firstly a wangle is just a wide angle lens. I'm not sure it's a proper term or just slang, but lots of people I know use it.

The focus problems happened even when I tried to manually do it, just wouldn't focus. But as I said already this could be down to the wide angle lens being on a bit loose.

Yes I was more worried about the noise that may be added than what was actually there. Without a decent monitor it's hard to tell on the small LCD. Unfortunately due to some tape problems (see my other thread) I can't play back the footage properly. How do I adjust the coring and such like. I will hopefully download some presets and try them out later on.

Thanks for the help.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 05:30 AM   #7
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same ideas for low light..

you must first use the normal gamma (not g1 or g2), PED set up -3 or -5, color gain +14 or +20. This basic setting can help, more with camlight 10 - 20W. Slow shutter 1/25 (1/30) or gain +12dB you can use for very poor light (if you usually use +6dB, it can be adjusted in post by gain).

I use no noisereduction (it lost details)
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