My impressions from DVExpo at

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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 December 8th, 2005, 02:05 AM   #1
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My impressions from DVExpo

So many things to say, but first off...kudos to Canon! Their booth with the watchmaker set was very classy . A nice place to play with the many H1's available for testing and putting through the paces. By contrast, at least at the beginning of the show, Panasonic had only one(!) HVX200 at their booth. To be fair, there were HVX's at other booths, but it seemed silly that there was only one to play with at the model set.

The Watchmaker demo was quite impressive. Canon had a small kiosk with a broadcast-grade 1000 line Sony HD CRT playing back H1 footage off of a Panny 1200a DVCPRO HD deck. Watchmaker footage was recorded SDI to 1200a. There was also footage from Italy (mostly scenics) that were recorded to HDV tape and then transferred to DVCPRO HD via 1200a...and I swear, it was unbelievably clean. Very few artifacts, if any. Much better than anything I've ever seen from an HDV camera. The clarity and cadence of the 24f scenes was truly astounding. Very Cinealta-like. Anyone who questions whether that camera can create a true progessive image needs to see this stuff. In the end, I really don't care how the camera produces the image, as long as it's gorgeous and film-like (when that's the desired look) and to these eyes, the H1 delivers--in spades!

I was able to play around with the camera for awhile, and again, it's quite nice. Focusing with the standard HD servo lens was much more accurate and responsive than I expected. The programmable focus pulling is kind of nice, but seems to be too quick. I hope it's adjustable, because it could be quite useful if you could vary the speed. In addition, focus assist via 2x magnification worked well. The viewfinder was ok--for an LCD. To my eyes, it looked alot like the Z1U's resolution (240K pixels?), which is barely adequate, but oh well. In all, I think you can trust your focus, albeit with a little help from the focus assist button.

To sum it all up...Canon more than exceeded my expectations with the H1. A very nice presentation for a very impressive product. Edit: On a related note, a Canon big wig at their both told me that the H1 has actually been certified by the Discovery HD Channel as one of their approved production cameras...even on HDV!

I'll post my impressions of the HVX200 later on in the HVX forum, but let me say this: Not so impressive. I believe it's noisier and actually more artifact plagued than the H1--SDI or HDV! I have some 720p and 1080i footage from the camera shot on the expo floor and dowloaded from a 4gb P2, (ugly lighting conditions, granted) shot at 0db, and it's not pretty. Blocky and highly compressed looking. I went to the show thinking this was the camera to beat, but now I'm not so sure.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 02:53 PM   #2
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Thanks for the report, Barlow -- it was great to finally meet you yesterday!

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Old December 8th, 2005, 11:08 PM   #3
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First off i agree. The canon booth is amazing. And of course the camera is amazing. I want one now more than ever. I'm learning so much about HDV while I'm here, I actually understand it now.

Second, Chris your here? Where are you going to be at on Friday?
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Old December 8th, 2005, 11:10 PM   #4
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Great to meet you too, Chris! Any thoughts on the H1?

One other obscure tidbit about the H1: It turns out the SDI output is actually 10 bit, but only because it is SMPTE compliant, which is cool, but the reality is the DIGIC processed signal is quantized to 8 bit. Bummer...or is it?

Is this similar to F900 and VariCam, or do those cameras actually give you true 10 bit final images before hitting the SDI output stage?

Last edited by Barlow Elton; December 9th, 2005 at 03:33 PM.
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