XL H1S - really a worthwhile upgrade! at DVinfo.net

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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 18th, 2009, 01:18 PM   #1
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XL H1S - really a worthwhile upgrade!

So I used my XL H1S along with an XL H1 on a shoot this past weekend.

I've had upgraded to the 'S' version when it came out cause I had to shoot a feature with it last fall and needed the embedded HD-SDI option for live capture.

Although I thought the upgrade was worth it when I did it, shooting the the original and the 'S' version this past weekend allowed me to see and appreciate how much the 'S' version really is in terms of an upgrade. All of the user enhancements really are appreciable.

I know we (including myself) tend to get hung up on an upgrade being a technical one. I remember when the 'S' and 'A' were released and a lot of people saw it as a minimal upgrade.

But all the refinements totally made sense, especially after having the cameras side by side. I for one, see it now as a great upgrade.

Just thought I'd put it out there. Now where's the H2?

:)
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Old March 18th, 2009, 01:50 PM   #2
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Thanks Michael -- the same thing goes for the XH series upgrades as well...
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Old March 18th, 2009, 05:56 PM   #3
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Good to know Michael.

It'll be interesting to see how Canon responds to Sony's EX3 and Panasonic's HPX300. Or, more importantly, how Canon reacts to the "5D phenomenon".
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Old March 19th, 2009, 07:26 AM   #4
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Thanks a lot Michael. I have been telling myself my old H1 is still a great camera and I don't need to upgrade. Now....you make me want to spend more money! :)

Seriously, I like some of the ideas of the new camera features but I cannot justify the price difference when you consider sellling my H1 and they paying the difference. I've all but convinced myself that the H1 is still too good of a camera to sell for peanuts. 90% of everything I shoot works perfectly on the H1 and theoretically I'd see minimal increase in performance for maximum dollar. I'm thinking my next move would be to add to my camera arsenal, getting a camera that compliments my H1, not replaces it.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 07:40 AM   #5
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Not sure what you mean... are you saying your H1 hasn't paid for itself yet?

If used for business purposes, a camera like the XL H1 should pay for itself within the first year of ownership (if it takes longer than two years, then something's wrong with the business model). Then it doesn't matter how much or how little it sells for, because that money is pure profit and should be looked at as a discount off of the purchase price of whatever camera replaces it.

Of course there's certainly nothing wrong with hanging onto an older XL H1 for nostalgia's sake, or if it isn't being used to generate an income (at which point it becomes a luxury item instead of a business tool). Generally speaking, though, these days it's a good idea to replace the hardware every three years or so. It's been that long since the XL H1 was first introduced. If you're just plain happy with what you've got, that's great -- but the perceived cost difference really isn't a difference at all if the older camera has paid for itself, which it should have done by now.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 08:07 AM   #6
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Chris,

The camera has paid for itself for certain, however, with the economy like it is at the moment, I can't afford to eat into the profits any further by investing in new, unnecessary upgrades. Every gig I work on is almost 100% profit and the job's don't require anything more elaborate than this camera. There are features that I would personally like to have that some of these new cameras offer, but unless I am making money hand over fist, then these are luxuries I cannot afford at this time.

And honestly, I don't think we have reached the point where the H1 is a "nostalgic" camera....it has a lot of life left in it and is arguably still a very high end camera. Also, I have typically replaced my camera about every three years but with the economy like it is, I cannot afford it at this point.

Also, to be clear, I was just having a little fun with Michael.......the H1S is obviously a newer, more full featured camera. I have chosen to stick with the H1 for financial reasons
at this point in time, even though in a perfect world I would like to upgrade.

In some ways Chris, you should be proud of me. I traditionally have to have the newest toy, and will sell off all of my current equipment at garage sale prices, then pay a premium for equipment I really didn't need and financially can't justify. Then, as the icing on the cake, I would find all of the anomalies and quirks of the new equipment first, and be un-happy with the changes, and regret all of it to the point of having a nervous breakdown!

This is the most responsible me I've ever been! :)
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Old March 19th, 2009, 09:00 AM   #7
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Hey Marty.

Definitely, the original H1 is still an excellent camera, with lots of life left in it. Again, I think I started this thread just to say that an upgrade doesn't necessarily have to be a technical one for it to be justified or worth it. The XL H1S is mainly a usability refinement upgrade, but well worth it in my opinion.

It was like when the Sony EX series came out. I thought at first that I would seriously need to think about switching. But ultimately I stayed with the XL series cause I found it to be more for me. Stick with whatever works for you.

I for one was reminded about the wonderful world of CMOS yesterday at B&H. They were showing me footage they just shot with the Panasonic HPX300 and it was riddled with skew and had a noisy picture, even at 0db gain. I am curious and will stop by again soon to analyze further.

Personally, I think the XL is really an under-appreciated camera these days. I think it still ranks very much high up there compared to the competition.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 09:39 AM   #8
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That's okay, Marty -- you've stated over and over on this forum, to the point of endless repetition, just how "unnecessary" you think the upgrades are in the H1S and H1A, despite never having used them -- so I would have been surprised if you didn't feel compelled to say it yet again. And of course I'm glad to hear that your H1 has paid for itself.

The point here is that someone else who is actually using one of the new models thinks the upgrades are worth it. That's the kind of valuable feedback we like to see here. Naysaying really isn't worth very much; what counts instead are the reports from folks like Michael that are willing to take the leap and who find out it's well worth it.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 09:59 AM   #9
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My 2 cents...

and if you are using an XDR flash recorder, you have 1 simple SDI cable from camera to XDR instead of all the timecode and XLR cables required with the original H1.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 11:02 PM   #10
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Great comments from everyone. I've been playing the wait and see game for a year now as I continue to shoot and archive wildlife footage using the XLH1. Way back in 1991 I started filming wildlife in my spare time using the Canon L1 in Hi 8 which I used for 6 years to shoot my first film. When the L2 came out I didn't go for it. In 1998 I bought the Canon XL1 ( 3 minutes of footage of a leghold trapped wolverine paid for the camera) and now filming full time since the release of my first film in 1997 I shot 5 more wildlife films. Again I never rose for the XL1s or the XL2 as my sights were now on HD. In 2006 I purchased the XLH1 and have been very happy with it for most situations. As HD cameras continue to mature I will keep shooting stunning stuff on a great camera. I hear rumors of Canon working on a exciting professional camera to be released in 2010 and I may upgrade than.

Practise, practise, practise is the name of the game.

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Old April 25th, 2009, 08:57 AM   #11
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I hope that you don't mind me asking Leon. I take it that all your footage is being down-rezzed to SD for both TV sales and normal DVD sales? Or is some of the XL-H1 footage being sold in HD format for broadcasting and as Blue-Ray DVD sales?
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Old April 26th, 2009, 08:35 PM   #12
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Hi Tony

For nearly 3 years I've been archiving HD footage for 2 wildlife films with the first one being released next spring ( however I still need some cougar footage). It will be Volume 7 in the series and the first for me in HD. At this point I'm not sure if I'll release it on Blu-ray, DVD or both. I've sold non-exclusive HD footage for programs which was broadcast in HD and the programs were down - rezzed to SD for DVD. I must add that the wildlife on grizzlies, lynx, etc. that I shot with the XLH1 was some of the sharpest in the films, even when watched on SD DVD.

Best,

Leon Lorenz
Canadian Wildlife Productions: Grizzly Bears, Bighorm Sheep in Alberta & BC Rockies DVD Videos
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Old April 27th, 2009, 05:46 AM   #13
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Thank you Leon, for your answer.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 08:54 AM   #14
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Leon,

Do you use the standard viewfinder? Or a external screen or Ikagami viewfinder? The viewfinder and the lens controls are really my biggest issues with this camera.

Image quality is truly superb.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 02:00 PM   #15
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Hi Floris

I use the standard viewfinder, it is certainly is a weakness with the camera, however, with almost daily use I usually can grab a sharp focus quickly if I zoom in, focus and than frame the shot. I tested out the Sony EX3 last year, same type of design but with a huge jump in resolution, hopefully Canon will improve on their new release. Same thing with lens control, lots of practise will give butter smooth results, cold weather filming with gloves on is more challenging. Gloves with some rubber on the palms will help.

Happy shooting,

Leon Lorenz
Canadian Wildlife Productions: Grizzly Bears, Bighorm Sheep in Alberta & BC Rockies DVD Videos
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