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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 20th, 2009, 09:41 AM   #1
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Isn't it about time?

Isn't it about time for the Canon XL-H2 to come out? Any ideas on if it will be tapeless? Bob
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Old March 20th, 2009, 01:39 PM   #2
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The most recent change to the XL line was the introduction of the XL H1A and XL H1S, and that wasn't even one year ago. If you look at the history of the product line, I think you can conclude that based on the established timeline of changes to the XL series, it isn't quite the right time for anything new just yet... but I'd love to be proven wrong.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 01:56 PM   #3
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Previous to-market dates of XL series camcorders:

XL1 -- February 1998
XL1S -- July 2001
XL2 -- August 2004
XL H1 -- November 2005
XL H1S -- May 2008
XL H1A -- June 2008

Source: the Canon Camera Museum
Canon Camera Museum | Camera Hall - Digital Camcorders
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Old March 20th, 2009, 02:25 PM   #4
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It's quite possible to look at those dates and conclude that a replacement for the XL H1 might be imminent. The gap between the XL2 and the XL-H1 wasn't much more than a year.

The XL2 was basically a 16:9 XL1 so not a great leap forward (I know I'm simplifying there!). The fact that the H1S + A aren't radical updates perhaps makes it more likely that something will appear sooner rather than later.

Red are moving forward, Sony are moving forward, Canon are well placed to move forward, so my guess is that we will see a replacement by 2010 at the latest. It will feature CMOS, tapeless, variable frame rates. Hopefully it will also include a choice of capture rates (25, 50 + 100 Mbps), top quality EVF, ND filters built in to body etc.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 02:40 PM   #5
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... and a bigger chip (ccd or cmos) with a high pixel count that do not render the current XL lenses obsolete (using the center part of the sensor only, greater dept of field for some applications) and at the same time allow the use of EOS lenses without to much magnification. Kind of 5D Mark II optimised for video with backward compatibility in mind.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 11:13 AM   #6
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Chris I'm going to respectfully propose that the 3 year product upgrade should no longer be quoted. While history is a great indicator of upgrades, with technology developing faster we really should hold camera manufacturer's to a higher standard. While 10 years ago (or even 15 if you go back to L-1 series) a 3 year upgrade path would have been acceptable, technology is advancing so much now that having a 3 year cycle of upgrades will leave canon behind. Again I'm in no way questioning your presentation of the facts or the history fo the upgrade cycle but as someone who has owned a canon camera (of some sort) for the past 8 years (holy crap I can't believe it's been that long) I think we need to expect/ask more of this company.

The h1 (in my opinion) was a revolutionary camera 3 years ago- the quality and the technology it brought to the consumer market was amazing (in fact with the addition of an hd-sdi port it may have priced it outside of the class they were going for) but unfortunately I think though canon has little interest in keeping the xl series alive perhaps we should just continue to push them to develop the 5d- product line into something that h1 almost was.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 11:51 AM   #7
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I agree with you in principle, Nick, but practicality is another question... in my own personal estimation, I believe that Canon Inc. (in Japan) is a *very* conservative corporation. It's like a large ocean liner cruising the seas at full power... it has incredible momentum propelling it forward, but getting it to make a sharp turn is nearly impossible...

As far as the 5D Mk. II chip and the XL line, I think they're mutually exclusive. That image sensor has an area larger than the XL lens mount can cover. Just like everyone else here, I'd love to see Canon Inc. make a dedicated HD camcorder built around that chip, but unless I'm missing something regarding the laws of physics, I don't see how it could possibly be an XL series camera.

XL is a 1/3rd-inch lens mount... if it's not 1/3rd-inch, then it can't be XL.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 02:05 PM   #8
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Canon is usually that last one to come out with any new product or they simply follow a trend. Since Panasonic came out with P2 and JVC and Sony were using HDV, Canon went with the format that they thought people were using (HDV Tape).

Now that memory prices, especially SDHC cards have fallen so low, they may want to reconsider their capture process. Hell, Canon is developing a new lens for JVC's new camera, why not also use Sony's XDCAM EX codec and shoot to SDHC.

People will flock to the cheaper media any day of the week.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 02:21 PM   #9
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It can be very frustrating at times trying to figure out what Canon's plans are. And they're tighter than a drum, they leak NOTHING.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 04:30 PM   #10
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Chris, the problem is I think we DO agree in practicality, all of the reasons you've stated are exactly why I fear that the xl line will end with h1s. I think they will continue to develop the lower end line and high end glass, but I think we've seen the last of the three year update- I hope I'm wrong but to me it seems the writing is on the wall.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 12:15 PM   #11
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I'd appreciate it if Canon decided to go with a robust codec like Panasonic's AVCCAM that can record to SDHC cards but is actually better at compressing datas than "older" Mpeg2 codecs like XDCAM EX. Mpeg4 codecs are the future, if they ever develop a new Canon XL-H2, I sure hope they follow Panasonic's footsteps and embrace AVCHD!

As for 1/3" chip CCDs, I hope they keep 'em, that's what the XL line is all about. I don't know about you guys, but I really have no love for the rolling shutter effects of Sony's EX series or Panasonic's HPX300. Yeah, CCD has less light sensitivity, but it's not a problem for me. I keep my fingers crossed that Canon will not embrace the CMOS trend and will keep developping better CCDs!
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Old March 26th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #12
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Some of us are hoping for a Full Frame camera. But we're not holding our breath.

As far as the XL series goes I'm not sure what Canon will do. For a while there Sony was sucking up all the oxygen and all the talk had been about 1/2" chips. I'm sure Canon was feeling the pressure to respond.

But that brings up a good question: Does changing the chip size necessitate a lens and lens mount redesign? If so, does that mean it's no longer an XL series camera?

However, does Panasonic's decision to continue to support 1/3" chips with the HPX300 give Canon additional life support for the XL series? Does Panansonic's pricing of the HXP300 force Canon to build a more robust/pro-line version of the XL? Or does Canon continue with the form factor, but at much more competitive price?
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Old March 27th, 2009, 08:13 AM   #13
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Well, with JVC's new HM700 with 1/3" CCD coming out soon with either a Fujinon or Canon lens,why wouldn't Canon continue in this vein? 2 competitors out of 3 go with 1/3", so if, like Chris said, Canon's a pretty conservative company (which I also assume), they'll stick to 1/3" and their XL line. Why waste money upgrading to 1/2 or 2/3" sensors in the price bracket the XL-series is supposed to sit if it means designing new lenses? Of course, with 2/3" sensors, they wouldn't have to since lots of Canon broadcast lenses are already out there and they'd only need to design a new body. but that would raise the price tag by a fair margin.

If I were Canon, I'd either :
1.create a new 2/3" body with CCDs (which would cost lots of R&D) OR
2.keep the XL line and 1/3" CCDs and instead enter a partnership with either Letus Corp. or Cinevate to create a special 1/3" relay lens. Lovers of small DoF like me could fit it onto other competitor's 1/3" camcorders and DoF adapters as well. Both companies know their trade and got the means to do it, so why not try something different? I know, Canon's conservative, that's why ;-)

I know I'd buy one for sure though!

What do you guys think?
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Old March 27th, 2009, 03:43 PM   #14
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If Canon does stick with 1/3" sensors then they need to step up the ergonomic design of the camera body significantly in order to compete directly with the HPX300. Otherwise they'll have to drop the price a lot.

Otherwise Canon has to shoe-horn in some 1/2" chips, keep the price, and compete head to head with the EX3. If they do that then they'll need to modify the lens/mount and it's suddenly no longer an XL class camera.

Or build a brand new camera class, a ZL camera, that has a single Full Frame chip and 2K backend data-centric back end. Which is what I would really like to have. But I recognize that filmmakers represent only a small fraction of Canon's base.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #15
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I think Canon will stick with 1/3". Sony may have upped the game to 1/2" but both Panasonic and JVC stich with 1/3" so I see no reason for Canon to abandon it. Eventually, they will go full-frame but I doubt the time is right for that. So I think bringing out one more 1/3" camera with a good manual control lens, good LCD and better ergonomics will be the best move for them at this moment. In a year or 3 - 4 they can come out with a proper full-frame camera. I do hope that they will announce something at NAB.
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