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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 16th, 2011, 11:09 AM   #46
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

Brilliant, I'll rather opt for the heavy duty stuff, rather overkill than be sorry...

Thanks for all the info!
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Old March 17th, 2011, 02:43 AM   #47
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

Quote:
Originally Posted by Didi Schoeman View Post
Hi Simon
Normally we rent in HDCAM equipment for projects destined for HD broadcast, but this is the first HD documentary I am bankrolling myself and I definitely do not have the budget to rent or buy the higher end equipment I would normally use on this type of project. Obviously my end goal is to distribute internationally, which makes things tricky as I still want to produce the quality necessary to fall within the requirements set out by high-end broadcasters, e.g. Discovery and BBC. I know that if the specs of my project passes their minimum requirements I should be in the clear for any potential broadcast market.
The only 1/3" camera that currently meets the BBC HD requirements is the Canon XF 305. I know they've been buying them for in house use,

If you want to play safe using a Nanoflash on a possible BBC production the other option would be one of the EX series cameras.
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Old March 17th, 2011, 08:10 AM   #48
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

True.

The BBC has passed the XF for certain types of independent programming, that have been specifically contracted and authorized. That's not to say you can just rock up with footage and expect it to be accepted.

The XF was passed because of the quality of the lens and the quality of the (50mbs) codec. The XL range of cameras have similar quality L series lenses, and with the nanoflash you have a similar 50mbs codec. Again, that's not to say you can cold call them and expect them to accept it.

However, the XL range allows you the option to change lenses, which is invaluable for wildlife filmmaking (which it appears this poster is doing). I seriously doubt anyone is going to try and film wildlife documentaries with the XF camera as there is only the standard lens which is unsuitable for a wide variety of shots.

I think the filmmaker in this case is filming the documentary without any contract with broadcasters, so the higher quality codec will only increase (but not guarantee) a wider acceptance with potential broadcasters when he cold calls them (while bearing in mind that a good deal of broadcasters are willing to accept standards that fall below the standards of the BBC). The higher quality codec will allow potential broadcasters far greater latitude in post-production than would have been possible with the HDV codec on the filmmakers existing XLH1 set up.

I'd love to see a side by side comparison of footage from the XF with the XLH1+nano to see what the real world difference is.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 06:02 AM   #49
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

Simon,
I used both XL-H1+Nano and XF300. The lens of the XF300 is much better thanks to the chromatic aberration electronic correction. BBC guys would certainly be able to see the difference.

It's really a shame that Canon doesn't want to release an interchangeable lens version of the XF305. That's why I think now the best "low cost" solution for wildlife would be the EX3+Nano.

However, I'm sure the interest of your subject is more important than the camcorder you use, if you're close to the technical specifications.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 10:31 AM   #50
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

Hey Ronan,
Interesting - you say there is some electronic correction in the XF?
Were you using the 20x or 6x lens? I have to say the image from the 6x lens is superior to the 20x - but that was all down to the glass I'm sure (nothing electronic)...

I'd be pretty happy if Canon were to release a new XL-F camera with the new codec (that would accept the old lenses and accessories) - but it looks like it will never happen at this rate.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 12:44 PM   #51
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

Simon,
Yes, the XF300&305 are able to detect CA and to erase it from the picture before the video output or recording, if I understood well.
The truth is that even at full zoom (18x) on a very contrast subject I didn't saw any CA on the XF305. Look at this test I used to make with the XF305 at full zoom : the white ropes are free from CA, even on the black. I'm sure that there would have been some CA with the 20x lens of the XL-H1 (which I own).

So I really think that if BBC accepts XF300 footage it's because it offers a good mix of 3 things : a good sensor, a good codec and a very good lens.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 08:38 PM   #52
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

I actually think the camera isn't doing CA correction... the lens itself was made to exhibit virtually no CA.

I hear the 6x lens for the XL cam is of similar grade. Simon, in your experience with it, is that true?

I have Canon Pro Video coming into where I work in a week to demo their whole pro line. I will ask them more about this then.
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 03:13 AM   #53
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

Yeah, the 6x lens is astonishing. The images are super sharp, and very little chromatic aberrations. I was shocked at how heavy it was too - a lot of quality glass in there! When Canon released this lens there was a lot of literature about it at the time saying just how good it was. The retail price reflected that, but now that the XLH1 has been discontinued you see these lenses coming up for sale at low prices. I had been scanning ebay for months until I found mine (a brand new lens at nearly 1/6th the price).

That said, I've always been pretty pleased with the quality of the 20x lens, but the 6x is better all round and there is a noticeable difference in quality. I use the 6x lens as standard, and only swap out to the 20x when I need some extra reach (which frankly is not often unless I am filming wildlife).

I'd really like to get my hands on an XF and have a look though....
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Old March 26th, 2011, 04:55 AM   #54
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

I need to see a sample in MXF 100Mbps Long GOP at 25p of nanoflash footage from the XL-H1. I need to know if the sensors being 1440x1080x3 is worth some quality loss over the EX1 or EX3.

Preferably, a bright day with complex landscapes would work.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 05:34 AM   #55
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

I would do it for you except my internet connection is way too slow.

You ought to contact Dan Keaton at Convergent Design (he posts regularly in the Nanoflash pages), he is always very helpful with queries. I believe they have an XLH1 that they use for testing in their lab, so they must have a lot of footage available. Worth a shot.
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Old April 29th, 2011, 06:04 PM   #56
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

After a lot of research we ended up ordering XF305 cameras for the series...

I had a few concerns with the XLH1 combined with a NonoFlash as a shooting option. For one, due to the lack of sound and timecode on the SDI the rig requires way too many cables which increases the risk of them getting caught by branches etc. while on a run and gun styled shoot in the bush. Truth be told, even with one cable the risk of it or the NanoFlash getting caught and being ripped off is just too big a concern on the type of filming that we are doing in this specific series. In a more controlled slow paced shooting environment, no problem, in a fast paced run and gun environment in rough and unpredictable terrain... not an ideal setup. (That pretty much also counted against going the EX3 with Nano route.)

Another concern I had after talking with one of our cameramen that had just completed a 6 week shoot with a NanoFlash and EX3 camera was mishaps that they had where the Nano didn't record... mostly due to camera operator mistakes, e.g. loose cables, flat battery, forgetting to switch the Nano on etc. In a fast paced shooting environment like ours the risk of operator mistakes is bigger when compared to that of a more controlled shoot and that also counted against the NanoFlash for this specific project.

The deciding factor for me came down to the actual hardware inside the cameras. You can exchange lenses on the XLH1 to make up for glass quality, but you can't change the CCD chips. The NonoFlash will not be able to make up for the shortcomings of the XLH1 1/3" CCD's... It looks like they simply can't match the output of the 1/3" CMOS sensors in the XF305 or the 1/2" CMOS sensors of Sony's EX3 range when hooked up to a NanoFlash.

I still think the NanoFlash is an awesome product with an incredible service orientated company backing it... but I don't think it will give my XLH1 the added quality boost I need for this series and thats due to the 1/3" CCD's of the camera.

I would like to thank everyone for their advice, it's been invaluable to me in deciding what route to take. I would still love to see a comparison of footage shot on an XLH1 with NanoFlash and a XF305 out of pure curiosity... would be interesting to see how they match up.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 03:39 AM   #57
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

Hey,

How many of the XF305 cameras did you order? They seem to be a really popular camera (and to think that before Canon released them people had begun to think there would be no more 1/3 chipped cameras coming out in this end of the market!). I'd be interested to hear how they work out for you, especially in the kind of harsh environment you will be filming in.

How about the form factor; I'd hate to give up the shoulder support design for documentary work (will you be getting some kind of shoulder support rig)?

Of course, you may yet still decide to get a nanoflash for the xlh1 at some point in the future - that would bring it up to the same workflow (and similar codec) to your new cameras - and an extra camera is always handy...
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Old April 30th, 2011, 04:55 AM   #58
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Re: XL-h1 and convergent design nanoflash

Hi Simon

I bought one from B&H 2 days ago together with a whole bunch of kit, eg wide angle lens, camera light, CF cards, rain cover, batteries etc. Should have that in a few weeks when the camera has had the software upgrade that allows both PAL & NTSC frame rates. I have a second one on backorder here in SA for delivery in July depending on how the first one preforms. Ideally I hope Canon will launch a 1/2" version with interchangeable lenses to match Panasonics AF100 towards the end of the year for a third camera... at this point the AF100 with Nano looks like an interesting option for the more creative, controllable scenes, but who knows the XF305 might just surprise me.

As for egornomics, I have to agree giving up the shoulder support is a concern... What I do get from this forum is that you can shoot with the cam on your shoulder if you use the LCD as your main "viewfinder" and that the camera is well balanced in this shooting position, guess only time will tell.

Will defnateley give you feedback as soon as we've put the cam trough it's paces!
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