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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 25th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #1
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XL H1A Tape Dropouts

In December 2008 I took delivery of my new Canon XL-H1A, replacing my well used and ready to be retired XL1s.

I'm blown away by the performance of this camera, although I have a nagging problem which is getting really annoying. I've only ever used NEW Panasonic Master Quality tapes but i'm getting at least one dropout say every half an hour.

I've done two jobs today, the first amounted to 12 minutes, the second amounted to 19 minutes, both are on different tapes (brand new Panasonic MQs) and both have a significant dropout, resulting in about 1 second of lost footage, which is quite unacceptable as I may have to contact both clients and re-shoot the footage, which is far from ideal.

I'd previously run a Panny head cleaner through and the camera has done probably no more then 20 hours since new.

The last thing I want to do is box a 3 month old camera which has cost me a small fortune and send it off to Canon.

Also, I cant afford the Firestore option, although at the moment i'm toying with the idea of buying a laptop and recording straight to it, but this is far from ideal, especially when it comes to such work as weddings.

Just wanted to know, is this level of dropout normal ?? Is tapeless the recording the way forward ?
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Old March 25th, 2009, 03:28 PM   #2
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I have two XHA1's and I have noticed the same thing with specific tapes, including Panasonic Advanced Master tapes. I ran record/playback tests with different brands and I was amazed at how poorly some of the better HD tapes performed. My best results have been with the Sony DVM-60PRL 60 minute Premium the Sony DVM-63HD tapes. Surprisingly, the DVM-60PRL, not an HD tape, performed better than other HD tapes. With the DVM-63HD, I have never seen a dropout. I'm thinking there may be a compatibility issue with some tapes.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 04:29 PM   #3
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Yeah, I'd stick with the Sony tapes too. I had problems with Panasonic tapes in my XLH1. I had to clean the heads and switch back to the Sony tapes. Since using Sony tapes exclusively I've had zero drop out issues.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 08:36 PM   #4
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I have used the Sony Master HDV tapes from the beginning...and have only had VERY few dropouts...over 4 years. I use the SO-PHDVM63DM they're more expensive...but...you get what you pay for !

I also like the larger "album case" for holding the small hdv tape....!
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Old March 25th, 2009, 08:59 PM   #5
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Those are the exact same tapes I use too.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 09:55 PM   #6
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Hi Carl

Sorry to hear about the dropouts you're getting. I've had great success using the Sony Digital Master tapes which I believe were made for HDV. After nearly 3 years of wildlife shooting ( nearly 200 hours ) with the XLH1 I've yet to experince a single dropout. I also am still reusing my original 20 tapes over an over again. I simply archive about 5 percent of my footage ( best clips ) on brand new tapes. They are worth their weight in gold. I also never use the camera for playback ( except for watching a special shot in the bush ) but use a Sony 25U deck.

Leon Lorenz
Canadian Wildlife Productions: Grizzly Bears, Bighorm Sheep in Alberta & BC Rockies DVD Videos
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Old March 26th, 2009, 02:22 AM   #7
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wow....thanks guys, think i'll order some Sony tapes and give them a try straight away. Cheers !
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Old March 26th, 2009, 09:55 PM   #8
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Carl,
Is there any pattern to when the dropouts occur? Near a tape stop start? beginning or end of the sequence? 1 second is an awfully long time for a dropout and indicates more a loss of signal either on playback or in the original recording. Have you tried running the tape on another machine which can playback the format you recorded in. You might have a small tension problem not a clean head issue. Changing tapes could help this as different manufacturers have slightly different tape tensions which the machines adjust to. Call up Canon and ask as the camera is still under warranty. Maybe they can send you a loaner while yours is away
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