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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 December 11th, 2008, 07:55 AM   #1
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Viewfinder XL H1A

What's the veiwfinder like on the XL H1A? Is there any focusing aid and dioptre adjustment? I've been torn between this and the EX3 but even the EX3 has it's issues and I already own quite a bit of Canon glass..I don't really want to invest in yet another set.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 08:23 AM   #2
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It has 2 peaking levels as well as magnify option which zooms in on the center of the picture. One thing which I notice in darker light is an LCD smear or ghosting which is not present on tape but it can throw you. It also has the adjustment. Overall it is one hell of a camera.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 08:21 PM   #3
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Dave, as Josh has pointed out the viewfinder has peak and zoom (the later cannot be used while shooting).

The LCD panel itself is small compared to other similar cameras, but the optical viewfinder "barrel" if you like has a dioptere slider that works well (but a little too easy to knock, I wish it could be locked off) and a good eyecup. the whole viewfinder assembly is on a sliding rail which allows you to place the cup at varying distances from the camera body, great for off-the-shoulder.

The optical viewfinder barrel flips up easily revealing a direct view of the panel. This is very handy after you've focused and you can stand up straight and use the panel for framing reference.

I like to shoot our IV's wide open or at 1.8/2.0 (for shallow field) using the ND ring for exposure control, so I've plumped for a small external monitor (just a portable DVD player, see related thread below) for the sole purpose of focus and on-site playback.

When we bought these cameras, I wanted a P2. But I've become really quite fond of our H1's.

Hope that helps some.

Matthew
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Old December 11th, 2008, 09:05 PM   #4
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With the H1A and I think the H1S you can now enable it to also record while doing the magnifying. Keep in mind it will record the magnified image though.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 09:24 PM   #5
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Also, keep in mind the FU-1000 monochrome crt viewfinder. Very sharp, with peaking. Very good for on the shouder work.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 04:41 AM   #6
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I don't think I would want to pay nearly 2000 for a viewfinder...I'd rather spend the extra on getting an EX3.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 08:08 AM   #7
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These turn up used often for far less than $2000. I'd never pay that much either....but I got mine for under $500 used so it was worth it, other than it goes through batteries quicker.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 09:33 AM   #8
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Although every person's needs are different and it is hard to recommend any camera without a laundry list of the shooter's needs, I have both an H1 and a new EX1 that was recently purchased. All I can say is that both make great images, but the low light handling of the EX1, its true progressive cmos imaging, and yes, THE LCD of the EX1 smoke the H1. Canon has sat on its hands for far too long knowing that the H1's viewfinder is poor, and if you don't have sharp focus in HD you should stay home.

I hope that in the coming months Canon surprises us all with a new camcorder that is a less expensive version of RED, but right now, Sony is back on top IMHO.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 11:38 AM   #9
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The EX1 has raised teh bar indeed. However the shoulder mount of the H1 is important to certain shooters also. The EX3 is indeed more of the "peer" to the H1 but the EX1 creates equal imagery to the EX3 so it is a good comparison.

I have an XLh1 and mucho accessories and while I acknowledge that the EX1 can create slightly better images, it is just not worth it for me to sell what I have to get a minor increase in image and features, especially when I don't want to deal with tapeless workflow right now. Don't get me wrong, I like the tapeless part, but I am not in the mood to add "archiving" to the list of things to do to ensure my footage is saved somewhere. For now, I simply go to back to my source tape.

If you can afford it, and you have the means to deal with the archiving involved to secure footage for the future, then I'd buy an EX3. If I was starting from ground zero today that is. Me personally, I am going to milk my H1 for as long as possible. I need to focus on content, not equipment anyway.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #10
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Looks like Canon are getting a thrashing at the moment...with Sony in the Video market and Nikon in the stills market...looks like they need to do something sooner rather than later.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 07:21 PM   #11
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I hope Canon comes out with something soon. I have an XL2, and am geting ready to make the jump...probably in spring...I would really like to stay Canon, but the EX1/3 family is a hell of a lineup, and I just don't see Canon being competitive at this time.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 04:24 AM   #12
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Will...I'm in the same boat..I hope Canon bring something out too as all my lenses are Canon, but if Sony bring out the hotfix to clear up the focussing issue and I can get a baseplate for it I expect I'll be going the EX3 route.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 06:14 PM   #13
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Good evening,

I am making the jump to hd the start of the new year for tax reasons. Have been shooting with my xl2 and gl2, both making great images.

I looked hard at the EX 3 the over cranking to get slow motion to be a real asset for me. However the cmos snsor has its own issues even if it gets better low light images. for me fast pans on fast moving wildlife is deadly important and apparently these sensors do not do that well.

qnother issue is I have a huge number of lenses I already pocess.

After the ten thousand for the ex 3 (taxes included) you then have to buy a lens adapter to use all the 1/3 inch slr lenses. ( I have asked and no one will tell me where or what they cost.) The 2/3 inch canon lenses are way expensive!!! I love the slr lenses!!

with that in consideration: I reckon I will be going to the H1 and using twixtor for slo mo.

Would love some input on this!!!


When I consider
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