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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 May 4th, 2008, 12:21 PM   #151
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6-pin FW

Just thinking about the 6-pin FW ports. A big improvement on the 4-pin in terms of mechanical robustness, but far from indestructible. I haven't seen either of these new cameras yet (and I am confident that Canon will maintain their build quality) BUT I have seen three 6-pin FW ports fail on other gear due to the centre plastic insulator of the port breaking off in tight fitting cables, leaving the port functional but highly at risk of frying the FW bus.

When it happened to me (on an eMac) I just carefully refitted the cable with the plastic insulator still stuck in the plug and left the cable permanently attached. (It still works).

Don't know how many other cameras out there already have 6-pin ports and if anyone else has come across this issue?
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Old May 4th, 2008, 12:28 PM   #152
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In my opinion your concerns are certainly valid, but I believe the general consensus is that the 6-pin connector is much more durable and robust than the 4-pin connector. There are several other camcorders that have 6-pin connectors including JVC's GY-HD200 and HD250, and the Sony DSR250, to name just a couple.

One item worth noting is that the 6-pin connector on the H1S and H1A is unpowered.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 12:39 PM   #153
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In my opinion your concerns are certainly valid, but I believe the general consensus is that the 6-pin connector is much more durable and robust than the 4-pin connector. There are several other camcorders that have 6-pin connectors including JVC's GY-HD200 and HD250, and the Sony DSR250, to name just a couple.

One item worth noting is that the 6-pin connector on the H1S and H1A is unpowered.
Give me a 6-pin any day. I feel have to keep checking the FW cable on my A1 when using a Firestore, even though I route the cable through the mic holder.

Good to hear there's no bus power from the camera end on the new Canons - that should help cut down on electrical problems. I would still use a cable with the bus pins unconnected at both ends just to be sure.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 04:44 PM   #154
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Fully concur on Canon's good move to a 6-pin.

We already had to have our H1 hand-delivered to the Irvine,CA Service Center to have the little 4-pin board/port replaced. (Defective Firestore supplied cable - grrrr!) We were in mid-project. The marvelous Canon Service Center did an OVERNIGHT fix!
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Old May 4th, 2008, 04:55 PM   #155
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I didn't state this clearly originally. I wish Canon would at least make the new lens available as a standalone with the proper statement of features that do not work on the original H1. This at least gives those of us that bought into the XL system the option. The way it is now, Canon is forcing us to by a whole new camera body to have access to a newer lens, that should be compatible, even with limited functionality.

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I thought we already went over this. The new lens *is* backward compatible, with reduced features. Anybody who buys an H1S or H1A will be able to use the new lens on an older H1, with some features disabled.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 05:22 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik View Post
...Canon is forcing us to by a whole new camera body to have access to a newer lens...
Starting to go in circles now. We've covered this ground before. They're not about to sell you the lens separately because there's no single advantage that makes it worth buying for an older H1. The new lens will work with the older body, but there's no real advantage to having it, since many of its improved features require the newer body. You're not gaining much of anything if you use it with an older body. It will fit on an older H1, but there's no big reason to buy it for the older H1.

You're much better off spending the same money that this lens would have cost, combining it with the money you make from selling your H1, and buying the new body with new lens. That way you'll have the best of both worlds -- all of the lens features that would not have worked on the older H1, plus all of the new features in the H1S or H1A camera body. It's the same money, but better spent.

Remember, the cost of the new camera is only the difference between its price and the money you get for selling your old camera, which should be no more than a couple thousand dollars, which is about what the new lens would have cost anyway. Hope that's clear enough.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 05:31 PM   #157
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Chris, I have to agree with Marty on this one. Speaking as an XL-2 user and longstanding Canon "partisan" who might finally make his transition to HD with the H1A unless seduced by some other camera before he's ready to buy, this decision not to sell the new lens separately doesn't make much sense. Granted: yes I would get the lens in question if I bought an H1A, but the idea of not separately offering different parts of a modular system still kind of rubs me the wrong way in principle, and kind of casts doubt on Canon's intentions with regard to supporting their existing customer base. Marty's suggestion that things like this sort of devalue the idea of modularity makes a lot of sense to me. I suppose existing H1 owners will soon be able to find the new lens on a "pre-owned" basis, but the idea of not being able to buy it new without also buying a new camera head is pretty dumbfounding. I suppose the same situation applied to the updated 16x servo lens that shipped with the XL1s back in the day, but that doesn't mean that it makes any sense. :)

I also sympathize with Marty's frustration with Canon's relative lack of development with regard to new HD-sharp XL lenses. As fast as camera technology is evolving today, it seems pretty reasonable to hope that optical R&D would progress at a similar pace. The market life-cycle of cameras today tends to be quite a bit shorter than in 1999, and if a set of flexible lens options isn't achieved within that life cycle, there's really not that much point in buying into a modular camera system. It's sad, because the ability to swap lenses as shooting situations require has always been one of Canon's biggest selling points.

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You're not gaining much of anything if you use it with an older body. It will fit on an older H1, but there's no big reason to buy it for the older H1.
I admit that you make a pretty compelling point here, though. :) There are always differing points of view, and there's often plenty of validity on all sides.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 05:35 PM   #158
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Jarrod, please answer a question for me: knowing that many of its features depend on communicating with the newer body, what particular aspect of the new lens makes it desirable for an owner of the older H1? In specific terms, what exactly are you gaining by using the new lens on the older body that makes it worth purchasing separately?
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Old May 4th, 2008, 05:48 PM   #159
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Jarrod, please answer a question for me: knowing that many of its features depend on communicating with the newer body, what particular aspect of the new lens makes it desirable for an owner of the older H1? In specific terms, what exactly are you gaining by using the new lens on the older body that makes it worth purchasing separately?
I'm sorry, maybe you started writing this post before I edited my last one to include the bit about my seeing your point. You do make a very good point. It's just the idea that the components of a modular system are not being made separately available that kind of seems a little weird to me on principle. The new lens may not provide any new functionality for existing H1 owners, but the whole thing kind of gives the appearance that Canon isn't fully catering to existing users. This discussion is good, because I think these kinds of things need to be hashed out in order to answer people's initial concerns, if nothing else.

The issue with the slow pace of new lens development is something else entirely. :)
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Old May 4th, 2008, 05:51 PM   #160
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Chris,
I have never seen it stated clearly anywhere (doesn't mean it isn't out there) what features will or will not work on the new Lens when coupled with the original H1. I do recall somewhere somebody stating that the glass was much better....but that would have to be proven.

If the lens is severely crippled on the H1 (versus a few features missing) then it would not be worth it obviously.

Still, it is a sore spot that we are forced to buy a new camera to access a better lens. What is the point of buying an XL system camera if not to keep your options open for newer, better lenses? I don't recall the stipulation that after they introduce the "newer" XL model they won't release lenses that are compatible as standalones.

Really, why not buy a fixed lens camera if the best upgrade path in 2.5 years is to sell the camera and pay the difference for the new one? That's not an upgrade....that buying a new camera! Which I do too often already. The camera I own now is great....I would just like a few more lens options....which obviously is not what Canon intends with the series at this point.

Peace.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 05:57 PM   #161
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Disclaimer: I have no knowlege of Canon's plans or insight into their thinking.

It appears to me that Canon would want to please all of the existing XL H1 owners and sell the new lens separately. After all, it is only useful on a Canon XL camera.

However, at best it takes a lot of effort, and time, to reprogram the firmware so that the new lens would work on an XL H1.

In the best of worlds, this would only require a firmware upgrade. But, it may be just as likely that all of the features of the new lens could not be activated on the original XL H1 with just a firmware change. Only Canon knows.

For example, the size of the internal memory on the Canon XL H1 may be just enough for the current firmware and the size of the internal memory on the XL H1s / XL H1a may need to be larger. This presents an interesting case where it would require much more than just a firmware upgrade to update the original XL H1.

Another area is the capability of the new lens to zoom and focus at the same time. Does this require more power to the lens? Has the protocol of the communications between the lens and the camera changed?

I do know that it takes a lot of effort to redo firmware.



It is my understanding that Canon will not be selling the new lens as a separate item. This may be "for now" or may be "forever".

Personally, I love the new features of the XL H1s, but I feel that my existing XL H1 takes amazing images and is just a useful as it was the day before NAB.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 05:57 PM   #162
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Chris, I think that is obvious.

I like more manual control. The old 20X lens is very jumpy when focussing. It is very hard to focus precisely. The ring jumps from 5m to 35m easily, and this seems to be improved in the new lens (four settings for focus speed). This and the new focus rings on the lens makes me want to buy it. And again, I really don't see why this cannot be done by firmware. The 6X came with new firmware, I suspect due to the new iris ring. The same can and should be done for this new lens. Firmware update that enables the iris ring and also enables control over the different focus speed settings for the new lens.

What do we gain?
- Probably improved lens design
- Better focus/zoom rings
- Different speed settings for focussing
- Iris ring (better than the noisy iris dial)

Trading in my XL-H1 is an option but I guess it is not a viable option. If you get $4,000 for your XL-H1, you need to pay another $5,000 to get the XL-H1S. That's a lot of money and the lens improvements are what I like most. The other things are very nice but I can live with them.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 05:59 PM   #163
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Dear Marty,

It is my understanding that the optical elements (glass) of the new XL H1s lens are the same as the original XL H1 lens.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 06:05 PM   #164
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It is my understanding that Canon will not be selling the new lens as a separate item. This may be "for now" or may be "forever".

Personally, I love the new features of the XL H1s, but I feel that my existing XL H1 takes amazing images and is just a useful as it was the day before NAB.
Canon is just not up to their game completely. They should sell the camera's as a body only (why not, modularity hey). There also should have been a manual HD lens already. That's how a modular system could and should be. But Canon thinks differently. Why can't you choose between the kit lens and the 6X wide lens? Why is there still no manual HD lens why everyone has been asking for it since the XL-H1 was released. Those are the questions I have right now. I understand that it takes a long time to develop new glass but two years is a long time and they had plenty of time to rework this lens. There's one good thing about this though: the fact that Canon took the effort to redesign and update the 20X lens makes me believe that they will stick with 1/3" lenses for a while.

I really doubt that the lens mount changed. If you look at their photography business, they have the EF mount and the EF-S mount. But they add new lenses with new features all the time but you can use them on all bodies. That's why I think a firmware upgrade can make this lens 100% compatible with the old XL-H1. You raise a good question about memory but I highly doubt that a focus speed setting will have influence on the memory. I might be wrong though. Anyway, as a loyal XL-H1 customer that has paid $9,000 + accessories into the XL system I think I have the right for an explanation from Canon why I cannot buy/use(to its fullest) this new lens.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 07:04 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik View Post
I don't recall the stipulation that after they introduce the "newer" XL model they won't release lenses that are compatible as standalones.
Of course there is no such stipulation. The 6x HD lens was released after the XL H1. Who is to say there won't be another lens (hopefully a manual one) coming sometime later on after the H1S and H1A.

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What do we gain? - Different speed settings for focussing
Sorry but no the newer speeds will not be available in with the older H1 body.

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Trading in my XL-H1 is an option but I guess it is not a viable option. If you get $4,000 for your XL-H1, you need to pay another $5,000 to get the XL-H1S.
I'm having a hard time understanding why that isn't a viable option, and I disagree with your estimate of the value of a used H1. I think it's closer to $5,000 or $6,000. You guys said you were willing to buy the new lens separately. Most likely it would have cost as much as the previous 20x lens, which had a value of $2,000. So now you're at an amount that's actually higher than the cost of the H1A (body with lens), and within $1,000 or $2,000 of the H1S. If you're willing to spend $2,000 on the lens just to get an iris ring and better spacing and feel on the zoom and focus, then why wouldn't the rest of the body improvements (full-spec SDI, audio, etc.) also be worth that amount or maybe even half that amount?

How long does it take to make this stuff pay for itself anyway?

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Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
I really doubt that the lens mount changed. ...(snip)... That's why I think a firmware upgrade can make this lens 100% compatible with the old XL-H1.
The lens mount has not changed, however, there is no way for any of us to know *exactly* what can or can't be done through firmware on the older H1, and a large number of the new camera changes are physical in nature anyway, which makes a firmware upgrade a moot point (in other words, why bother with it when replacing the camera body makes more sense, as explained above -- why not reap *all* of the improvements). I'm not saying a firmware upgrade won't happen, because I don't know that. I'm just saying it's not very likely.
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