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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 July 6th, 2007, 07:09 PM   #1
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Hey, I'm looking into getting this camera

I'm an amateur filmmaker, trying to make it big someday. Right now I have a cheap camcorder that I've been using for years, but I feel now is the time to dive into professional camera's. This camera seems really good quality and a really good camera for beginners like me (as far as being the main camera operator). So I have a couple questions:

1: How good is the SD filming on this camera? Is it just as good as a SD professional camera, such as the DVX100B? That is my option IF I decide to go for SD...

2: Should I go HD? I have been told yes, because it's the way of the future. But is it worth it? I have a monster 8-core Apple with 5GB of RAM, so I'm not really worried. But it seems like a big hassle going to HD when SD is still pretty good. What are your overall thoughts?

3: Is the onboard mic very good? Where can I get one that fits in the slot on the camera, like the XL-H1?

4: If I had the money (which I might, graduation present from rich person), should I go for the XL-H1? I'm not sure the price range, but it might be bigger and I could afford the Xl-H1. However, I'm a little hesitant since it is old, there is a tiny LCD display which is actually IN the viewfinder, and the complexity. What are your thoughts on this?

Those are my questions for now. I've searched through many threads, but none seem to specifically answer the questions I have (although some come very close..just not quite). THanks for your time.
Mark Davies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2007, 08:00 PM   #2
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#1) Run, don't walk to HD. The A1 is a fantastic camera but if you can afford it, maybe you should go to the G1. Better yet, get two A1's and deck them with a Leitus 35m adapter each. You could probalby do that for nearly the price of a single H1.. HD downcoverted beats the pants of SD and HD is secure for the future with true, native 16:9.

#2) The onboard MIC is not horrible, but certainly not good enough. Considering moving to the Rode Video-Mic. $150 and change and it does a damn good job.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 09:54 PM   #3
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Mark, the only serious advantage of the XL H1 over the XH A1 is that the H1 has interchangeable lenses. However, the XH A1 is significantly wider than the standard lens on the H1, and also is a 20:1 zoom. So you really don't need a wide angle lens with the A1. The only reason for having the G1 is if you do multi camera shoots or want to record directly to a computer.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 09:25 AM   #4
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Hi Mark and welcome to DVinfo,

Which of these cameras you should exchange for your hard-earned dollars is ultimately a personal decision, but there is a TON of information here on DVinfo, so grab a coffee and dig in.

I have been shooting with both the XL-H1 and the XH-A1. They are both great cameras. The H1 has been out about a year and a half, vs about 7 months for the XH cameras, so I wouldn't describe it as "old."

The biggest hurdle in going from SD to HD is not really the camera, but the computing power and software to handle the HD files. You're already in good shape there. My understanding (being a PC guy) is that either FCP or PPro CS3 will work on an Intel Mac. With 8 cores, you're off to the races as capture and editing is identical for the XL and XH. Once you start shooting HD, it is really tough to go back. I honestly have NEVER YET shot a frame of SD since getting my first H1, even if the end product was DVD.

I'm one of those who actually prefers the H1 for form factor, less need to go into menu for common settings, and interchangeable lenses. Others prefer just the opposite. The decision between these two cameras primarily comes down to personal preferences and budget. The XL H1 is much costier, especially if you add the 6X wide lens (which I certainly would encourage; nice lens). The XH A1 is much less expensive, does also have a separate wide angle adapter to get those really wide shots, and has a smaller form factor, and some nifty digital processing and custom functions that the XL H1 doesn't have.

Now, go grab that cup of coffee and pour through the forums. Then, most importantly, get your hands on each camera and try it out!
Pete Bauer
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Old July 7th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #5
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The A-1 is a GREAT camera.
The A-1 requires quite a bit of learning to use effectively.
No matter how great a $4000 camera is, it's not a $100,000 camera.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 10:23 AM   #6
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I bought the A1 back in February to do wedding and event videos, and some corporate work, and was a great camera. I went through some slow rough times with my business and decided to close it and sell everything, the A1 was the first thing to sell unfortunately. Now, two months after I sold my first A1 I bought another because the SD camera I had seemed so insignificant to the A1!

Bottom line, you won't regret the purchase of the A1, I know I haven't. I've made video that I think compares to some high quality production material using the A1. The custom presets are amazing, and when you couple those with some good lighting you'll be blown away by the results you can get.

For the XL H1, all I can say is manual lens, that's one thing you can never have with the A1 (unless you go 35mm adapter). I had an old XL1s a while back and I purchased the 16x manual lens for it from Canon... and WOW, I absolutely fell in love with it. Now going back to the servo controlled lenses like the A1 it just feels like there's something missing because I loved that manual lens so much. BUT, the A1 does have its own iris ring that compares to a real iris ring on a real lens, even the 16x manual lens didn't have that. I'm sure you'll find many posts around here praising the iris ring. I love it because its functional and doesn't make huge steps when you change f-stops, its more fluid like a real lens.

Also, I'd like to add I have the old dual-core 2GHz Mac G5 with 3GB of RAM and it edits HD from this camera, even at 24F, just wonderful with FCP 5.1. I'm using the digital cinema desktop option to preview my HD on an old 17" LCD that isn't true HD, but it gets the job done. Because of the compression too, the drive space isn't that much different from the SD I was editing. It's a little more when you export a full quality file, but the normal capture in FCP and the render files are about the same.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 11:09 AM   #7
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You can edit 24f on 5.1, not 5.1.2? Just wondering because i'm about the buy the camera and only have 5.1

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Old July 7th, 2007, 11:44 AM   #8
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In order to edit 24p in FCP you should by now have bought the $49 upgrade to Universal. Once that's done you can go on line and download the free 5.1.4 (I think that's what it is), and that gives you the ability to do 24P(F) as well as XDCAM HD and other cool stuff.

The $49 upgrade when on for about a year, and I heard it was going to have a cutoff point. So it's possible it will cost more today, but I'm not sure. It's not something you can download--you have to send in some of your discs, but not all, with your check. Then they send you new discs but when you install them you have to also use the ones you didn't send in. So read the fine print carefully. You can download the form from the Apple site but it may be difficult to find today.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 12:45 PM   #9
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Bill I'm pretty sure the crossgrade completely cutoff back in March, but if he has 5.1 I think that is the crossgrade version, 5.0 is not, but I could be mistaken. Here's an old topic about 24f in FCP 5.1.2

I'm running 5.1.4 and having no problems with 24f
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Old July 8th, 2007, 12:11 AM   #10
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I've done the upgrades to 5.1.4 also; no problems at all in 24p.
You may be right about the 5.1 being the Universal. If that's the case, he's in good shape. I lose track of both predatory cats and numbers after awhile in the Macworld.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #11
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I've shot a ton of stuff in SD with the A1 and it looks great! Check out the custom presets sticky on this forum for quick, simple ways to tweak the image in-camera. You can get all kinds of looks this way with just the push of a button.
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