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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 March 8th, 2009, 08:22 PM   #1
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What a horrible disappointment

the XLH1 I bought 14 months ago has been. No auto focus basically at any focal length beyond dead nuts zero. I picked up the 6x lens with the body. After having shot with the XL1-S and the standard 15x lens with the soft back focus for 9 months before figuring out it wasn't me and getting the 3x lens I thought for sure Canon would fix the auto focus on my brand new XLH1. What a $8000 joke it has been over 14 months and about 75 films. I still make money on my movies and it is not just the camera that makes the movie (thank God). And don't tell me pros shoot using manual as I shoot in a contained environment with 1500 watts of softbox that any hand held out of the box could hold a focus to. I'm moving to Sony as soon as I can round up another $10k and start over. It is just sickening to zoom on somebody's face and, with the slightest movement have a blur. Goodbye Canon hopefully soon. I've done 5 years with ya.
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Old March 8th, 2009, 09:38 PM   #2
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sorry to hear your displeasure ...

To be fair, it must be a case with your specific camera. I've owned and used XL cameras for many years and currently own the XL H1S. I've never had an issue with it's autofocus capabilities.

Except for the fact its a little slower than what I'd like it to be in 24F mode. But its always spot on for me ...
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Old March 9th, 2009, 03:18 AM   #3
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FWIW, I would immediately get your cam into a Canon service center and have them take a look at it.
You should be able to shoot full automatic if you so desire and get a quality result. What you are describing does not sound at all typical of the cam, so I'd let Canon have a shot at correcting the problem for you, before you dump it for Sony. That'll cost some serious coin so give Canon a call first. I have had great luck with Canon in Irvine California.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 08:43 AM   #4
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My XL H1 has great auto focus in all modes except 24f. It can't process the signal fast enough in 24f so the auto focus lags badly. That said we use a follow focus wheel as if it were a film camera in 24f with no problems. If I'm shooting a documentary I just don't shoot in 24f, and I let the auto focus to it's thing with great results.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 07:48 PM   #5
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Sorry to hear you've had such a rotten experience with your H1. I've had the opposite. I don't know if I got a camera from a good batch but it's performed pretty much flawlessly. We put through the rigors of a feature film shoot and it never missed a beat.

Granted the focus on the stock 20x and 6x lenses is a little spongey, but we still managed to shoot a razor sharp image.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 06:25 PM   #6
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Steve,

With my rpior cameras i thought sony had a better auto focus system than Canon. However my xl2 seemd pretty equal. I purchased the xlh1a in January and I was pleasently surprised to find the auto focus on it was superior to my xl2. I feel it is really quite good provided you have the subject centered.

I would say you definitely are in need of repairs!! I heard the smaller lens was even better!!!

Save ten grand (thats what an ex 3 will cost) and get it repaired!! Mind you, I would not mind having an ex 3 as well!!
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Old March 10th, 2009, 07:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Graham View Post
And don't tell me pros shoot using manual as I shoot in a contained environment with 1500 watts of softbox...
Pro's shoot manual, regardless of lighting setup.
Surely in your "contained environment" you are monitoring on HD and are able to see critical focus. But I just don't get why you want AF on for indie production. It is designed for news gathering and shouldn't be relied upon for film production. It's the first thing I turn off on any camera.
Just my 2 cents.

-C
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Old March 12th, 2009, 02:47 PM   #8
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You did check the backfocus right (you have to set it in 60i mode it's called flange back)? and yeah this would be the only pro I've heard of that uses the green box mode to shoot movies, of course if you're making money with it then rock on I guess.

BTW I'm not trying to defend the camera I think there are many reasons to abandon canon, it would just be unfortunate if it was a fixable problem that caused them to abandon the h1.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 07:56 PM   #9
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I would agree with Nick here. My XLH1 seems rather antiquated right now. Don't get me wrong, the camera served me very very well. I shot three large project on it. It's paid for itself already.

But compared to some of the new offerings out there right now the H1 doesn't hold up anymore. The EX3 sorta took Canon's trademark form factor right out from under them and made a superior camera (albeit with a few shortcomings). And the new Panasonic 300, at that price point, makes buying the H1 much less appealing.

I'm wondering what Canon announces at NAB.
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