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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 February 7th, 2008, 05:12 AM   #1
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Question lens softness

Hi,

I am looking to upgrade cameras soon and need some advice. I have owned the Canon XL1s for years and was pleased with the camera. If I had any complaints, it would have to be that most of the footage shot was "soft". I all ways kept the sharpness with in the camera turned way up to help.

I am wondering if the the newer generation cameras such as the Canon H1 (and hopefully the H2) improves on the sharpness levels any?

Secondly, does any one know how the Sony EX1 compares in image quality to the H1? I definitely want to go tape less for sure.

My hope is the future H2 would give me all I want but Image quality will have to take priority in my next camera.

Any help greatly appreciated!
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Old March 8th, 2008, 08:36 AM   #2
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softness

I shot with my XL1S for four years. The standard lens had a back focus problem that was a disaster. I went to the 3x lens and cleared that up. I am using the XLH1 with the 6x lens and it is ultra sharp (I have sharpness on 4 (of 9) cause I want it even sharper). Sharpness should not be an issue (altho I have not used the standard lens).
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Old March 8th, 2008, 09:58 AM   #3
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Completely different performance than the XL-1s lens. In my opinion it is extremely sharp and works quite well!
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Old March 8th, 2008, 03:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Whitley View Post
it would have to be that most of the footage shot was "soft".
Jeff, I apologize if I'm teachng a duck to swim: Any chance you've been using small apertures? With the XL-series cameras I always tried to keep the aperature larger than 5.6, i.e., the f-values were smaller than 5.6. In practice, you need to set the ND on. Small apertures result in soft images. The effect is significant and easily checked at the wide angle end of the lens.
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Old March 8th, 2008, 06:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jeff Whitley View Post
Hi,
I definitely want to go tape less for sure.
In that case why even consider the XL H1. Simply get your Sony or Pany and get to shooting.

M
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Old March 8th, 2008, 08:25 PM   #6
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Mike,
Let me second Lauri's comment. I just got an XL H1, and was experimenting with depth of field. I shot with a 70-300 zoom. The target was a tape measure set at 50 feet away. I was blown away by the difference in sharpness when shooting at F/5.6 to F/8 as opposed the F/16.
I expected any difference to be subtle. It ain't. The F/16 shots could only be called "blurry". No wonder the 20X lens goes black after F/11. Canon must know something.
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Old March 8th, 2008, 08:30 PM   #7
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Mike,
Let me second Lauri's comment. I just got an XL H1, and was experimenting with depth of field. I shot with a 70-300 zoom. The target was a tape measure set at 50 feet away. I was blown away by the difference in sharpness when shooting at F/5.6 to F/8 as opposed the F/16.
I expected any difference to be subtle. It ain't. The F/16 shots could only be called "blurry". No wonder the 20X lens goes black after F/11. Canon must know something.
You totally missed my point. He wants to go tapeless, so why mention the XLH1, just go with a card type unit. I would not go back to an after market drive. Too many problems with them .

M
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Old March 8th, 2008, 09:50 PM   #8
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I like my Canon

Thanks everyone!

What can I say, I love my Canon. I ordered the CD from Sony which contained some footage and customer feedback on the EX-1. It looks like a very capable camera but honestly leaning towards Canon.

The Aperture could very well be the culprit in the softness, good information on what to look for and how to prevent it!!

Tapes, I have had several occasions in which drop outs were high. Not sure, but have been told this is an inherent problem with miniDV tapes. Not only that but the wear and tear on the drive mech. I think tape less is the way to go.

Anyway, the boss (my wife) has given me permission so get another camera, just want to get the best bang for my bucks and hopefully turn a hobby into something more.

The feedback is greatly appreciated!
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Old March 8th, 2008, 10:08 PM   #9
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Drop-outs is like an "In" phrase around here. But, would you believe that I have never had one? It is true. Using one brand of tape, cleaning the heads regularly and just using common sense works for almost everyone. I buy Sony Premium tapes for about $2.50 each and just stay clean.

Perhaps it is that being clean and neat is foreign to most. If you have never owned a very delicate piece of equipment in your life, how would you know to care for it. The current generation knows nothing about maintaining anything they have in their homes, cars, TV's, VCR's, or anything. Some service guy or gal does everything for them. That is not my generation and it does not have to be your's.


Don't believe the "bull" you read here, clean your camera the day you receive it and regularly thereafter. I have never seen one worn out from cleaning but have heard of many sent for repairs that were not cleaned correctly.

Rumors spread like wild-fire, especially if false.

Buy whatever camera feels good in your own hands and does whatever you want and need it to do. Don't be over brand loyal and just get the one that is right for you.

Mike
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Old March 9th, 2008, 08:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
No wonder the 20X lens goes black after F/11. Canon must know something.
What they know is that the tiny pixel spacing of these 1/3" sensors is smaller than the width of the point spread function for a lens stopped down more than f/8 or so. In other words, the sensor is beyond the diffraction limit if closed down further than this. What you are seeing with the XL-H1 is entirely within the realm of the expected. OTOH the pixel spacing in the XL1s, XL2 is about double so I would be surprised to see diffraction blurring in that camera unless a lens were stopped down to f/16 or smaller. There are lots of things which can cause blurring besides diffraction and some of them have been named here. I always thought those cameras were pretty sharp considering the limitations of NTSC and DV.

Last edited by A. J. deLange; March 9th, 2008 at 01:27 PM. Reason: Correct typo (realm, not real).
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Old March 9th, 2008, 12:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by A. J. deLange View Post
I would be surprised to see diffraction blurring in that camera unless a lens were stopped down to f/16 or smaller.
A.J., You must be right. With the XL1 f16 was the smallest reasonable aperture. With the XL H1 it was around f5.6, if remember correctly. Nevertheless, one can find a good example here:

http://dvinfo.net/canon/articles/article19.htm
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Old March 10th, 2008, 10:18 AM   #12
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I've got an XL-H1 and tested for a couple hours the Sony EX1. It's a little sharper at 35mb/s quality than the XL-H1 IMO.
But the Canon has the advantage of the interchangeables lenses, (which is very important for my work).
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Old May 11th, 2008, 06:14 AM   #13
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Sony !!

Sony has taken a cue from Canon and I'm impressed!
http://www.vimeo.com/882030
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Old May 12th, 2008, 03:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch View Post
Drop-outs is like an "In" phrase around here. But, would you believe that I have never had one? It is true. Using one brand of tape, cleaning the heads regularly and just using common sense works for almost everyone. I buy Sony Premium tapes for about $2.50 each and just stay clean.

Perhaps it is that being clean and neat is foreign to most. If you have never owned a very delicate piece of equipment in your life, how would you know to care for it. The current generation knows nothing about maintaining anything they have in their homes, cars, TV's, VCR's, or anything. Some service guy or gal does everything for them. That is not my generation and it does not have to be your's.


Don't believe the "bull" you read here, clean your camera the day you receive it and regularly thereafter. I have never seen one worn out from cleaning but have heard of many sent for repairs that were not cleaned correctly.

Rumors spread like wild-fire, especially if false.

Buy whatever camera feels good in your own hands and does whatever you want and need it to do. Don't be over brand loyal and just get the one that is right for you.

Mike
Hi Mike, please, can you share your knowledge and cleaning tips - what to use, when and where...please?
Thanks,
Dave
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Old May 12th, 2008, 05:09 AM   #15
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Just a point about diffraction losses. Many cameras offer you the chance to menu-in a 'smallest aperture' to be used because of the softening effects of shooting at small apertures, especially noticeable in HDef work. And it's down the wide end (shortest focal lengths) where diffraction is at its worst and most noticeable.

So use those NDs even before the v'finder calls for them.

tom.
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