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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 June 27th, 2011, 08:38 PM   #1
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good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

I'm having a blast with all the filming I'm doing and I'm now in the market for a b-roll/back-up camera. I'm wondering what a good camera is that would pair up nice to my XLH1. I was thinking about a HV40 since i can use it for a capture deck for the big one, and because it's very small which is a benefit at times. I'm wondering if I'd be better off however buying something else. I like the credibility a pro camera gives me along with the durability and features. I'd really like an XH A1 because it takes the same batteries and all as my XLH1 and I could still use it as a capture deck but they seem to be going for around $2100. I have about $1100 to spend. What are other good options?

Thanks!

Paul
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Old June 28th, 2011, 03:00 AM   #2
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Your first choice, the HV40, is the best one. It makes beautiful images (and the small size factor means you can get it into places the XLH1 and XHA1 cant get to; inside cars and so forth). As you say you can use the HV40 as a deck so you can spare the heads on your main camera; and obviously both are shooting in the same codec so there will be no problem mixing them in post.
The XLH1 is a beast to carry around, as you know, so the HV40 would be easier for some situations where you want to be discrete.
There is a wide angle lens adapter for sale for the HV40, as well as a number of fairly inexpensive static 35mm adapters which means you can have endless experimentation.

I might point out that I dont actually own an HV40 (though I have used them).
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Old June 28th, 2011, 10:37 AM   #3
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Thanks Simon. So you don't see a problem with it being a consumer grade camera? With me just getting started I'm looking for all the help I can get. It is impressive how much more people seem to respect me with my Canon then they did with my old Sony Handicam.

I'm sure I'll end up getting the HV40. I'm just curious of other options with similar benefits.

Thanks again!

Paul
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Old June 28th, 2011, 11:03 AM   #4
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Paul,

I have an H1 and an HV30. The HV does make a nice cheap capture deck....but you didn't say what you are primarily shooting. I went DSLR as well and I mix the H1 with DSLR (5d2) alot. I will also mix in the HV, but I'm usually not happy with it. In a pinch, its OK, but other than as a playback deck, I find i rarely use it.

You may want to think about the T2/T3i or 60d.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 12:06 PM   #5
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Right now, I'm trying to find my way. I'm shooting everything that moves. Gigs I've been paid for include Lacrosse games and on the water sailing footage, and classroom style lectures. I have done a wedding (for free to build experience), I'm doing a concert (again free for experience), a series of short promo clips of each activity area at a camp I'm on the board of (donation), and I'm quoting a job to do a Sailing coaching DVD. I'm also bartering with my daughters ballet school to film their recitals in exchange for her classes.

As you can see, aside from documentary or nature video... I'm doing just about everything I can to learn. Ideally I really want to do Sailing Videography for my specialty. Filming training/tuning DVD's, events, and the like. However I'll never (in my area) be able to survive on that alone.

I'm looking for a second camera to use on the water and on things like Zip-lines (where my H1 is just too big and expensive), to get b-roll at events, and if it would work to use as a capture deck for the H1.

I'm not so worried about low light in that most what I'll be doing is outside. I am worried about durability and image quality. Especially with sailing videos... the bar that I'm competing against is VERY low for these training dvds so I'd like to differentiate myself with image and audio quality.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 12:12 AM   #6
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Paul,

Sounds like you would be ok with the HV then. My biggest issue is with menu based controls, which is the problem with any lower end cam. Give me dials, switches and buttons.You could probably include the HV30 as an option to the 40. I've had mine a couple of years rarely use it as anything more than a playback deck. I'm sure there are a few good ones out there quite cheap.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 12:41 AM   #7
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

A Canon HV will pair nicely as a locked down b cam. I used an HV20 with XHA1 for a number of years of shooting dance recitals and concerts as well as weddings. I can vouch for their compatability.

By the way, the "save the heads" business is not something you need to worry about. For one thing, your cam has separate playback and record heads. So, playing back while feeding to a computer (or otherwise) is not going to cause problems with shooting For another, record heads are a lot more durable than several decades ago, back in the last century when the "save the heads" idea had some merit. Chris Hurd used to regularly swat the "save the heads" statements. He used to get pretty cranky about this.

So, basically, you use an HV as a "deck" because it then frees up your other cam so you can keep using it for other things. You also get an HV because they are tiny and therefore more convenient at times (as noted above), and because its footage matches well when used as a locked down "b" cam. All excellent reasons.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 10:31 AM   #8
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

So, worrying about my camera's heads is an old mindset? That makes me feel much better. Even if it's only part true. I was kind of feeling like I was holding a time bomb and it was just a matter of time before they went bad and I either had to pay for them to be repaired, replaced the camera, or buckled down and got a DTE recorder. I spent a lot on that machine... I'd really like to keep it nice (at least till it's paid off). It shoots beautiful video. I'll be buying my HV40 this weekend (thanks to another DVinfo'er). Now I'm turning my wallet to audio equipment.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 11:32 AM   #9
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Well, heads can still go bad or out of alignment, and some will do this sooner than others. But that is true of every electro-mechanical product. Also, with HDV tape, you can run into the odd drop-out long before the camera needs servicing. That is what pushed me into going tapeless.

It is pretty easy to go tapeless with both XHA1 and an HV unit. DTE units --- where you can edit directly from the unit itself --- are indeed expensive.

I would guess that you have looked into things like the Nanoflash which can record direct from the cameras' sensors (via SDI on the XLH1 and the HDMI on the HV cams). These may not be cost effective for you.

At the bargain end of the price range are the Datavideo DN60 (about $459 $US, I think) and the Sony MRC1 (about $750 new, I think). These are not DTE since they record to a flash card and you generally want to transfer the files to a computer hard drive for editing. (Generally, there is not enough throughput for editing HDV from the recording unit or its card. Also, these units record in a series of files that need to be stitched together for editing and that is done in the transfer process). I got a Sony MRC1 unit for use with my XHA1 and that has worked very well. (Biggest thing for me is very long recording times and no drop-outs, plus much quicker computer ingest.) I've seen second hand MRC units on offer and got a nearly new one (a customer return) for use with my old HV20 for about half price. (Probably about the same cost as a used HV40). With the HV cams, the unit will be awkward if mounted on the camera's shoe. That was not a problem for me as my HV is always used on a tripod.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 11:54 AM   #10
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay West View Post
Chris Hurd... used to get pretty cranky about this.
What do you mean "used to?" I still do! Heh.

For Paul, yeah, the HV40 or HV30 is definitely the way to go in this case.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 12:04 PM   #11
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Thanks Chris, I'm paying for one today. Hope to have it next week. I'm really excited.

Thanks All for the help and advice!
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Old July 1st, 2011, 01:31 PM   #12
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
What do you mean "used to?" I still do! Heh.
I only said "used to" because I hadn't see this topic for a while. Next time I'll make a point of saying "still gets cranky about this."
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Old July 12th, 2011, 10:41 AM   #13
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Thank you guys for all the advice on this. I got the camera last Thursday and it's perfect for what I needed.

I appreciate the input.

Paul
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Old July 12th, 2011, 12:39 PM   #14
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Re: good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Congrats on your purchase! You have proved this thread's prediction incorrect Possibly the last proud new HV40 owner here... but I'm quite happy with that.

Since I posted that I've added a Rode Videomic Pro and a Kata CRC-17 raincover to my kit and completed a few multicam HD projects with the HV40, an HV30 and my XH-A1 as main camera. The footage matched well.

Last edited by Colin McDonald; July 12th, 2011 at 12:48 PM. Reason: Added a bit
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