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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 23rd, 2007, 06:07 AM   #1
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The weight of it

Don DesJardin has drawn attention to the focal length of XHA1 ...

"Focal Length: 4.5mm - 90mm (32.5mm - 650mm; 35mm photo equivalent)"

and he added ..

"I don't know for a fact that this is the same for the XL H1, but if I
had a 650mm lens on my 35mm camera, it would be good enough for most
flight shots."

So even though I don't fully understand the significance of focal length, I can, thanks to Dan Keaton, look up and understand the resolution/HD specs for the XHA1 and see they are just as powerful as the XLH1. Good news, sez I, if the price is right ... and lo and behold XHA1 costs less than half XLH1 !!! And then I read on Canon's website that XHA1 weighs 2.33 kilos (5.2lbs) fully loaded ... while the XLH1 weighs 3.7kilos (8.3lbs) fully loaded.

The XHA1 is now very interesting, especially for handheld work ...

I can't yet find any discussion or comparison of the 2 viewfinders except from the Canon brochure ...

XLH1 offers 215,000 pixels on ???" ... please fill in
XHA1 offers 269,000 pixels on .57" screen

my XM2 has 180,000 on .44" screen

What else am I missing? Why would I need SDI, Genlock & Time Code connectors?

All comments welcome ..
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 06:28 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell View Post
Why would I need SDI, Genlock & Time Code connectors?
Brendan,

Personally I cant see you needing these features, they are more for people doing multi-camera shoots.

Bob
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 07:36 AM   #3
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Dear Brendan,

The built in lens of the XH A1 is wider than the XL H1's standard lens at full wide, and not as long in full telephoto.

The XH A1 is a nice option for your to consider. You do lose the ultimately flexibity of adding other Canon still lenses via the Canon EOS adapter.

So, although I am a big fan of the standard XL H1 20x zoom and even more so of the Canon 6x zoom, you will lose the ability to put a nice EOS lens on the camera and then have extreme telephoto.

If you attach a Canon EOS lens, using the EF adapter, the effective focal length of the attached lens is multiplied by 7.2, so a 300mm lens becomes 2160 mm! You will need a tripod if you use the EF adapter.

So for long distance camera work, the XL H1 is better and it give you the option for extreme long distance camera work. Please remember that the air must be clear if you are using these "telescope" focal lengths.

Branden, the XH A1 is a fine camera and may fit your needs.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 08:13 AM   #4
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Thanks for clearing that out of the way Bob.

Dan,
You have raised 2 points I need help to understand ...


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Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post

The built in lens of the XH A1 is wider than the XL H1's standard lens at full wide, and not as long in full telephoto. .....

.... So for long distance camera work, the XL H1 is better and it give you the option for extreme long distance camera work. Please remember that the air must be clear if you are using these "telescope" focal lengths.

.
I think both these comments are about focal length, so I look up a brochure and it tells me ...

XLH1 5.4 - 108mm
XHA1 4.5 - 90mm

XM2 5.4 - 108mm (That's what I'm used to)

Don is quoted at start of this thread as saying in relation to XHA1 focal length .... "if I had a 650mm lens on my 35mm camera, it would be good enough for most flight shots."

I need experienced observations about the impacts on field of view/image quality/extra resolution/autofocus/handheld footage of bird flight at 50 to 150 yards (or metres) caused by the differences in the focal lengths between XHA1 and XLH1 ... please

Really long distance clips or stills are not high on my list of priorities. There are better machines working on this and more power to them.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 09:08 AM   #5
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Brendan,

I hate to throw another unknown amongst all this but you must remember that currently most of the videographers shooting HDV are finishing their work on SD as there are no means of getting the HDV to DVD.

Maybe you are better with a XL2 camera and shooting 4:3 or 16:9 and using Canon long lens 300mm or greater. The cost difference between the Canon XL2 and XH A1 is not very great, but with the XL2 you have the opportunity to use long lens.

One thing to remember is that using long lenses will definitely require the use of a tripod, so it will be a different style of filming to what you are used to

Bob
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 01:58 PM   #6
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I'm fairly sure I will not want or need to shoot long distance, Bob and I just can't see myself getting much flight footage along a equi-distant flight path so the interchangeable lens option is only of remote advantage ...

I may have found some of the answer to my last question on Chris Hurd's XHA1 F.A.Q's ....

"The 20x HD lens on the XH camcorders has a wider field of view than the stock 20x HD lens packaged with the XL H1. On the XH series camcorders, the focal length of the 20x lens is 4.5mm to 90mm, which translates in 35mm still photo terms to 32.5mm at full wide angle to 650mm at full telephoto. In comparison, the focal length of the stock 20x HD lens packaged with the XL H1 is 5.4mm to 108mm, which in 35mm still photo terms equates to 38.9mm at full wide to 778mm at full telephoto."

I would still ask Dan to correct me if I'm wrong in translating his "The built in lens of the XH A1 is wider than the XL H1's standard lens at full wide, and not as long in full telephoto." as follows:- "When I zoom fully out on XHA1 I see a wider scene than I would if I zoomed fully out on XLH1 and When I zoom fully in on XHA1 my target is less magnified than it would be if I zoomed fully in with XLH1? "

Have I got that right or wrong Dan, please? And if I'm right how come both machines are credited with X 20 zoom?
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 02:59 PM   #7
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XH series: 4.5mm x 20=90mm.

XL-H1: 5.4mm x 20=108mm.

By the way, even though heavier the H1 is likely to deliver better handheld footage than the XH series, because it can be braced against the body. A 3rd party handheld bracket will improve both camera's handheld stability immensely.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 03:16 PM   #8
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Charles,

Thank you for showing me how to do my sums.

Please tell them if any of the several handheld brackets that "Search" function reveals are suitable for zooming in and out of bird flight across 180 degrees and above and below eye-level.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 05:54 PM   #9
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Dear Brendan,

"When I zoom fully out on XHA1 I see a wider scene than I would if I zoomed fully out on XLH1 and When I zoom fully in on XHA1 my target is less magnified than it would be if I zoomed fully in with XLH1? "


Yes, you have that right. However, that applies to the standard 20x XL H1 lens. If you also consider the XL H1 with the optional 6x wide angle zoom, then the XL H1 will go (approximately) as wide as the XH A1.

The Canon 6x wide angle zoom gets rave reviews. I have not purchased one yet. ...So many toys, so little time (and money)...

Considering all that has been said so far:

Both the XH A1 and the XL H1 will probably suit your needs, if you also get a decent shoulder mount. The XL H1 will give you far more flexibility which is an inherent advantage with an interchangable lens camera.

Now, have you considered the much less expensive Canon HV-20? This is not in the league of the XH A1 or XL H1, but has some advantages in that it is very light.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 08:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
....

Considering all that has been said so far:

Both the XH A1 and the XL H1 will probably suit your needs, if you also get a decent shoulder mount. The XL H1 will give you far more flexibility which is an inherent advantage with an interchangable lens camera.

Now, have you considered the much less expensive Canon HV-20? This is not in the league of the XH A1 or XL H1, but has some advantages in that it is very light.
About shoulder mounts, Dan, I have the impression that they are for resting the cam on in preparation for shooting, but not while actually shooting, unless your target is an event at horizontal level. As I never shoot bird flight at one particular level for more than a second or two I can't see how to take advantage of a shoulder mount. Please tell me what I'm missing. Any image of a suitable shoulder mount that would allow me to twist and turn and zoom with eyes glued to the eyepiece would be a help.

The absence of an interchangeable lens facility I have never noticed shooting bird flight with my XM2 for 2 years.

The HV-20 is a revelation, so much so that my wife and I spent the morning researching it and agreeing that she would enjoy using it enormously ... while I'm using an XH A1 !! Thank you kindly for spotting the potential there and for letting us know.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 09:35 AM   #11
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Dear Brendan,

The shoulder mounts are for shooting, not resting the camera.

They are a way to hold and point the camera, while using your shoulder to carry some of the weight.

Yes, most people use them for horizontal shots, as this is what most people shoot.

You need to tilt up and down as well as pan. You are limited by the flexibility of your body (and your balance).

Try this test:

1. Stand up.
2. Hold both hands out in front of you (about 8 to 10" from your chest and a comfortable distance apart), with your hands grabbing imaginary grip handles.
3. Keep you elbows pressed into your sides (optional) or just loosely by your sides.
3. Twist your body left and right.
4. Then reposition your feet as you imagine tracking a bird in flight.
5. Then tilt up and down imaging a bird in flight.

In my opinion, you can point down towards the ground fairly easily.
Pointing up is easy, but you can not point up more than a certain amount.

This would be your limits using a shoulder mount. A tripod will allow a greater degree of motion.

Note that you can twist comfortably through quite a wide angle. Also, when you have to adjust your feet to obtain a higher degree of pan, you lose some of your stability, the image will not be as stable.

Also, please try this test when you are out in the field.

I do not know if you have to hike very far to your shooting locations.

I would do the following, if I did not have to hike very far.
(But remember I already have a good Sachtler Tripod so cost is not the issue.)

I would use the XL H1, with the 20x lens mounted on the Sachtler DV8/100.

I would set the drag as appropriate for the speed of the bird. I usually set the drag to 5, maximum drag, in both horizontal and vertical. This makes for the smoothest pans and tilts, but limits the maximum pan and tilt speed. A lower drag may be more suitable.

I would set up a monitor on a stand, with a good monitor hood or a black drape over my head and the monitor.

I would then stand by the tripod and watch the image on the monitor. In this way, I can move my arm, controlling the tripod (to a limited degree), and never take my eyes off the monitor.

Brendan, please remember that the above is not a low cost solution, nor easily portable. But, I do not have to support the camera myself.

For you, a shoulder mount seems much more practical, and much more economical. Also, the shoulder mount would be better when the ground space is limited or rough.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 02:11 PM   #12
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Having an XL-2, I can flaty state that the camera is FRONT heavy and not balanced like my XH A1 with a spider brace.

LOU


Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
XH series: 4.5mm x 20=90mm.

XL-H1: 5.4mm x 20=108mm.

By the way, even though heavier the H1 is likely to deliver better handheld footage than the XH series, because it can be braced against the body. A 3rd party handheld bracket will improve both camera's handheld stability immensely.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 05:41 PM   #13
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To me, a balanced camera is one that does not place any significant weight in the hands, i.e. its center of gravity on the middle of the shoulder. Virtually none of the cameras in this class achieve this (the JVC series comes the closest, and although I haven't hoisted one, I would guess the HD250 with its extended back might just be truly balanced). By definition then any camera that must be held entirely or partially in the hands is "front heavy", which definitely includes the Canon line. As I said, the H1 can at least be pushed against the shoulder like a gun barrel, which gives it another point of stability, but of course it is also heavier than the A1 which might negate this. I know that many people are fans of the various rigs which extend the mount rearwards over the shoulder, some of which involve ballast at the rear (battery etc) to shift the center of gravity and others which sport waist-mounted stabilizing poles to support the front-heaviness.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 03:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Having an XL-2, I can flaty state that the camera is FRONT heavy and not balanced like my XH A1 with a spider brace.

LOU
I'd love to know more about your spider brace, Lou, please?
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Old June 26th, 2007, 03:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell View Post
Charles,

Thank you for showing me how to do my sums.
forgot to ask about this Brendan--can't decipher your tone here. Was I pointing out the blatantly obvious, or actually helping? i thought the latter, based on your question that prompted the response.
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