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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old August 29th, 2007, 07:06 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Chris Klidonas View Post
its not easy to find them all in rental, so some real world experience of what people who use them for some time would be great in pointing out, if nothing else little things to try or look for when doing a brief tryout.
Unfortunately taking the word of a bunch of folks on the internet (like myself) is no substitution for putting these cameras through your own testing.
It sure is easier, but not nearly as good as having them in your hands to see what they can really do.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 08:02 AM   #17
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Many of these things cannot be fully explored in a brief tryout... its not easy to find them all in rental...
Actually yes, if you plan carefully and maximize your time, many of those things can indeed be fully explored in a brief tryout. Plus, you're listing one of the biggest cities in the world as your location. All of those camcorders are in fact easy to find in rental. And two of DV Info Net's trusted site sponsors in NYC are B&H and Abel Cine Tech; both of these outfits feature all of these camcorders in a hands-on, try-it-yourself demo area and are staffed by knowledgeable salespersons, so in your particular case it is a relatively simple thing to do.

The more you just read on the internet, the more you'll sink into Analysis Paralysis. That's true even for this site, considering how long it'll take you to read through our database for each camera, because we're so huge. Go downtown and get your hands on this gear. Try before you buy. That's the *only* way you're going to make an intelligent purchase decision.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 10:10 AM   #18
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"Analysis paralysis"--love it. That's almost as good as "measurebators." But it's very true.

I had some hands on time with the HVX200 but ended up with the XH A1. I like the HVX camera but can't make the tapeless workflow work for me.There are lots of things to consider with a camera other than image quality. In fact, I think it's safe to say that all of the 1/3" chip HD cameras are pretty much equal in the images they produce. They're a lot more similar than they are different. So for me it gets down to other factors.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 10:28 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
"Analysis paralysis"--love it. That's almost as good as "measurebators."
Both terms come from Ken Rockwell, I think. I found them via Robert Lane.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 11:00 AM   #20
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What else is in the same 8000.00 pricepoint and HD that should be considered?
At that price your only other option today is the JVC HD200U, which has a shoulder-mounted form factor with an interchangeable manual-focus lens and records HDV at full 720p resolution to tape. Sometime soon Sony is expected to release their 'XDCAM EX' camera, which will record in the XDCAM HD format to a new type of solid-state memory called 'SxS'. This will be the most direct competitor to the HVX200 and will have some advantages and disadvantages which can't be fully evaluated until shipping cameras and pricing are announced.

As Chris H. said, the best thing you can do is get your hands on the cameras you're interested and test them in person - even if that's only for a few minutes. When I've done this with various HD cameras over the past couple of years I've been quickly able to tell what I do and don't like about each model, most of which are significantly different from each other. If you like shoulder-mounted cameras take a close look at the JVC I mentioned above; if you like 'film look' consider the HVX200; if you want a camera you can use for hours of 'run and gun' shooting I'd recommend either the Canons discussed above or the Sony Z1U.

In regards to the technical question about the resolution of the HVX200, it uses a 960x540 sensor to generate either 960x720 or 1280x1080 pixels of recorded data in the HD modes, and the real-world measured resolution is ~540 TV lines. So the resolution isn't particularly good but the overall 'look' of the images it produces can be quite nice.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 12:37 PM   #21
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Someone up there asked my opinion of the A1.. I'm afraid that, other than some comments posted elsewhere about the fantastic menu options it has (better even than the H1), I don't have much of an opinion because I bought it to use exclusely with the M2 adapter, and have only used it twice on it's own..

I like the HVX control layout better in that regard, and it seems to balance better when handheld, and the LCD is bigger and the info is displayed around the edges and doesn't block the screen as much - And I like the blocky build of the HVX - it reminds me of the old 16mm Mitchell cameras we used in film school back in the late 60's...

But for use with the M2, the A1 is better because you can set focus and zoom into memory so you don't have to dick around with them every time you put the rig together...

As for the A1's image - same as H1 - virtually indistinguishable...

I actually just sold my A1 to my soundman, and he loves it...
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Old August 30th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #22
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Well I guess I need to chime in.

I originally wemt with the HVX because of my previous experience with the DVX100. While I generally liked the features of the XL2, the DVX100 just had that elusive "mojo" that everyone at the time was in love with.

However the HVX disapointed me on several fronts. The one area, that it absolutely rules is the variable speed formats. You just cannot get this with any other camera in it's class....period. If this is important to you....then the HVX is king.

However, I felt very disapointed in the image quality of it. The colors were great but it seemed noisy, and not very sensitive to low light shooting. The DVX100 had stomped the XL2 in sensitivity so I was anticipating this with the HVX, especially with Panny really pushing the whole pixel shift thing as a way to increase sensitivity and latitude over Canon's more dense CCD. The general rule at the time was more pixels packed on a 1/3" CCD meant poor latitude and less sensitivity. That is why the HVX seemed so inviting.

After owning the HVX for 4 months and struggling with the P2 work flow ( I had 2 4gb cards so only 20 minutes at a pop in 720P) I began to feel frustrated with the results. The image, when viewed on my 32" CRT HDTV was just not "wow" HD material. Did it look better than SD? Certainly. Did it look as good Discovery HD theatre? Of course not. But....it wasn;t even in the ballpark to me. I had friends (non measurebators) watch stuff and think it was in SD and ask me if it was HD or not? That was upsetting since I was jumping though virtual hoops to deal with this awkward workflow and not really finding a good payoff in the visuals.

I was able to get a loaner XL-h1 for 3 weeks. I know someone in the industry who hooked me up. Canon was trying to increase awareness of the H1 and put many loaners into dealers hands for customers to sample.

Quite frankly....I was blown away. The difference in the HD image between the 2 cameras was staggering to me (your opinion may vary). It just felt like "wow" HD. Granted the cameras colors were not as filmic as the HVX but the actually clarity if image was stunning. HOw was a camera with this many pixels packed onto a 1/3 CDD able to be so sensitive in low light? Canon had pulled a rabbit out of there hat and broken the general rules regarding CCDs and sensitivity.

Needless to say, I had originally come into this hoping the H1 would not impress me, as I was not financially equipped to make that investment. Despite my "not wanting to like it", it stole my heart! I sold the HVX to a great guy here on DVinfo and made the addittional investment....never regretted it (except the credit card statement!).

Anyway, once you get past all that "image quality" nonsense, the form factor also won me over. I find shooting with the H1 and OIS turned off get's me shots that are equally stable as the HVX with OIS on. The ergonomics and weight just make the camera more stable. Add to this I use the 16x manual lens at least 60% of the time for it's superioir focusing capabilities. Althought this is going to sound lame, you also need to consider how the camera looks. I know, and you know, size doesn't really mean anything to the image quality, but I deal with a lot of clients that pay me the big bucks because I bring in professional looking equipment. Lame....I know....but you have to consider this because it might actually matter to some clients.

Still....all of that being said, I'd love to add an HVX to my arsenal for the times that I need slow mo.....especially for music videos where I can shoot at 26 or 28 frame per second and get that subtle effect that is just not achieveable with the H1.

Peace!
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Old August 30th, 2007, 10:52 AM   #23
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Marty: That's pretty much exactly my opinion and, as a matter of fact, even though I have my H1 for sale, I'm considering not selling it..

One thing of interest... my current project funder, a guy connected with the industry, required 24p for this feature length documentary... and, as I've already mentioned, he requested DVCPRO HD because he had heard many negative reports about HDV (undoubtedly from reading comments by internet gurus and lab techs who haven't actually worked extensively with it)..

My personal working experience with HDV is that it is freaking amazing that you can get so much image quality into a file size that's actually smaller than DV.. Sure, if you look at it frame by frame, you see artifacts - but, come on!!! it continually blows my mind - AND, the long GOP is a non-issue if you handle it correctly (ie, good quality tapes and a card like the DeckLink)...

But here's the other thing. On my current film I have intercut footage from the HPX500 (shot at 720/24pn) and footage from the H1 (shot at 24f) and no one has noticed the difference (I can see it, mainly in color variation - 4.2.2 does mean something - and gamma differences)... I'm working in FCP6, which is amazing in itself - all real time (I do have 6gb of memory)...

Bottom line - I should have lied to my funder, shot with the H1, edited in a 720/24 timeline in FCP6 and never copped to the fact that it originated on HDV.. Then I wouldn't have all these damned harddrives piling up in my office...

I do like the HPX500 though - it's good to have a "real" camera on my shoulder again - even if it is as heavy as a Volkswagon...
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Old August 30th, 2007, 11:16 AM   #24
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Steve,
Did you ever consider shooting and taking the SDI out to some type of DVC-Pro device? I am not an expert at this but I know it is an option. Then you get the better resolution of the H1 CCD block and the superior codec that is DVCpro HD. Right?
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Old August 30th, 2007, 11:34 AM   #25
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..to add to all that I must say that we are really using the timecode and genlock these days. It makes syncing a multicam shoot SOOOO easy.

And if you shoot to a DVCPRO deck you aren't lying!
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Old August 30th, 2007, 11:58 AM   #26
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...SDI out to some type of DVC-Pro device?
That device would be a Pansonic DVCPRO HD deck. Or any other VTR equipped with SDI input, including Sony HDCAM decks and other VTRs in a variety of standard definition and high definition formats.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 12:09 PM   #27
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That device would be a Pansonic DVCPRO HD deck. Or any other VTR equipped with SDI input, including Sony HDCAM decks and other VTRs in a variety of standard definition and high definition formats.
Sorry Chris! What I meant to say was SDI out to some kinda of "wavelet" device recording to Cineform or another quality HD codec. Are we getting close to something portable or are we still talking about hauling around a workstation caliber PC/MAC with giant RAID arrays? Personally I helped justify my H1 purchase by knowing that eventually when I outgrow HDV, there should be some other better acquisition device to capture higher quality than HDV....thus adding to the lifespan of my H1. Theoretically.

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Old August 30th, 2007, 05:56 PM   #28
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I shoot documentaries and just getting the camera and audio gear handled 10 hours a day is enough for me... If I had the time and energy I'd explore other options with the H1, but it would only be for exercise...

I image that there will be many after-market options appearing in the next few years.. I'll wait for the dust to settle though..
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Old August 31st, 2007, 08:57 AM   #29
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Steve,

I hear you. I have no interest in complicating the shooting process either at this point. I guess I was assuming you are shooting a narrative where you can control everything, thus allowing for a different process of ingesting HD without too much additional hassle. I guess if you could shoot on a higher end DVCpro HD camera that would be superior anyway.....but the HVX leaves me a little flat It just doesn't the res and clarity that I look for and that the H1 delivers in spades, especially when compared with higher end cams.

Marty
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Old August 31st, 2007, 10:43 AM   #30
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In my case. shooting with the HPX500 as my "A" camera, I thought I should keep everything in the same stable and got the HVX for shooting in cars and for use with the M2 adapter... And when I need to travel light, I can just take the HVX, matte box, a few filters and my four 16gb P2 cards and get on an airplane - in fact that's exactly what I will be doing in a few weeks, heading to NY and DC...

But, relative to the point of this thread, after a year and a half of shooting with the H1, I wish I was more impressed with the HVX.

To make an increasingly long story short.. if I was told I could have one, and only one, camera, it would be an XL H1 - with the 20x, 16x and 6x lenses - which is, coincidentally, exactly what I have sitting in my locker.
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