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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 November 21st, 2006, 01:49 AM   #16
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Interesting discussion. From what I understand, I should leave the shutter speed at 1/50 whenever possible? I am used to still photography where the iris/shutter is an incredible powerful combination to control exposure. But as I understand, the use of shutter speed as an exposure control is somewhat limited with digital video? What I would like to know is what are the usable settings for shutter speed with 25F and 50i. Is it 1/25 for 25F and 1/50 for 50i or is it 1/50 for 25F and 1/50 for 50i? Thanks for the clarification.
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 08:54 AM   #17
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Hi Floris, I think you could think still image a bit here. 1/25 is a looong time, especially hand-held or with long lens. It can blur the whole image leaving nothing sharp if you don't take the same precautions as for a still camera. However, a long exposure can give creative effects. I used long exposure time (think it was 1/12) to let the couple in a wedding party "flow" in a waltz. Another time I used 1/250 to get sharp pictures of a working automation machine for movement analysis. 25F worked much better than 50i for that purpose.
Then, what is not possible with the still camera or a real film camera, you can use longer exposure than the time for one frame! This makes the camera see quite well in the darkness.
I guess the film will look good and natural if it looks like the sight with a naked eye. We are expecting to see an unsharp image from the legs of a running person. So, let's make the legs a bit blurred on the individual pictures. Then 1/50 s will do it about right. But remember, it is not a fixed time. It is more like a relative movement in % over the screen width/height.
So, go out and experiment and tell us your experience. 1/50 s is probably a good starter for most situations if you are not looking for something special. This fact will make you switch ND filters much more than on a still camera. Then add the fact that most would like to not use apertures smaller than 1:8 for sharpness. And many like a short depth of focus forcing us with small chips to use nothing but the widest apertures. Then we have only the ND filters and GAIN to play with. And many like to set the gain at -3dB. Then you thank Canon they provided us with two built-in ND filters so you can cover at least three different light situations and still leave the knobs and switches at optimum settings ... Video is way more demanding than still photo! / Johan

Last edited by Johan Forssblad; November 22nd, 2006 at 09:31 AM.
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 04:48 PM   #18
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50 shutter is "right" for filmlike blur, but I believe it is wise not to limit one self too much to conventions. Remember this is a creative art. I often use 25 shutter when shooting 25f material, simply because I like the little extra blur and because I find the 25f/50 a little more stroby than actual film. In my opinion you can get away with quite a lot of motion blur as long as someting (that doesn´t moove) remains sharp from time to time. Every sharp detail will work as a sort of perception reference on how sharp the frames really are. So as long as you leave enough of these reference frames in there your home free. In my opinion anyway.

In the end it´s a matter of taste. Also I use TV mode a lot on "shoot and run" stuff. It´s much like the automation of a still camera. Fix the shutter and let the automation do it´s work. Then "lock" for steady exposure and fine adjust iris manually after choosing preferred ND filters. All while keeping an eye on the zebras. It´s fast and reliable.

Thanks to all of you for sharing experience.
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Old November 23rd, 2006, 08:19 PM   #19
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Michael Morcombe

Using XK-H1 for wildlife, especially birds, and obtaining excellent stills taken from the tape. However need to keep to fast shutter speeds whenever possible, so that these still will be sharp. The Instruction Manual for XL-H1, pagw 127 has a chart headed SETTINGS RETAINED AT POWER OFF OR STANDBY MODE. This shows that, on return from POWER OFF or STANDBY, the previous settings should still be retained ,in Tv, Av, and manual. So if I am using shutter 1000 sec, (Tv or Manual) I should returned with that speed still set. (This is usual also in Canon's EOS still cameras) However I am finding this very erratic, and quite unreliable.

Sometime it retains the setting even if switched for days or weeks, other times the setting is lost, reverted to default 1/50, if only off or on standby for a few seconds. I have tried for some 6 months to find a pattern to this behavior, assuming I'm doing something wrong. Have tried switching to standby, and exposure lock, prior to switching off but no improvement.

Seems possible than if camera is swiched back on with lens pointed at adark background or before taking lens cap off, maybe it tries to adjust for low light, but one would not think it would in manual mode. Have tried new backup batteries. Wildlife work requires camera ready at minimal delay, and its therefore bad to have to keep shifting shutter back from 1/50 to 500 or 1000. Maybe its possible to have a default of say 1/500 instead of 1/50 somehow. I imagine there will be other action users (eg sports) who have this need to start at a fast speed without delay. Maybe someone else has observed such behavior, and has worked out a procedure to make it retain settings as shown in the Instruction manual.
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Old November 24th, 2006, 01:28 AM   #20
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Thoughts about Canon video

Hi Michael,
I agree with you. It should retain the last shutter according to the Swedish Canon instruction book too.
Two weeks ago a company had a small video exhibition here with representatives from the major brands like Sony, JVC, Canon etc. I had brought a list with me about XL H1 issues to discuss and perhaps get some features explained to me. The Canon rep. had a display with all the Canon camcorders. Unfortunately, he didn't know much at all about the operation of the XL H1!
In our opinion JVC and Sony did a much better job with people in their booth knowing their tools.
But, he would appreciate to receive my paper with comments, especially if it could be written in English.
So, one week ago Canon Sweden received a six pages long PDF-document with about 22 different matters from me. Most are things which we are discussing here in this forum.
However, I have the feeling that the technicians at Canon are working hard in their crowded Japanese labs. Not many on the outside knows whats going on. Then suddenly, Voila! It's working! is heard from the chief technician. Production starts. And the product hits you and me. Not much communication is going back and forth between the development team and the end users. They didn't have time to sort out the last programming issues (like focus assist while recording) so they simply locked it (and a bunch of other things too), being under pressure from the marketing department tp push out the product.
I think this XL H1 is a "black duckling" (or what you call it in English), standing between the consumer division and the broadcast lens division. Who care about this baby? The pro's and you and me who need to "produce" to get food on the table needs efficiency. The workflow need to work. We don't want to spend a whole day just to recapture a few clips and get that to work as I was forced to do yesterday.
This Canon approach is clearly visible when you see that Canon has yet not delivered any other HD lens than the standard 20x despite the camera has been out nearly a year now. Perhaps 1/3 of its best ages without the ability to change glasses despite it was marketed and sold as a flexible system.
Also the deck issue. My camera was playing back and forth like an idiot yesterday when I tried to recapture with batch capture. I asked on this forum and found others who cannot recapture their material in a good manner either. Who should help us with this? Canon? Apple? FCP?
Canon should look at Sony. When they introduce a new format (again) they nearly immediately sells a suitable deck and have a workable workflow. They think and care more about the whole system.

The Canon XL H1 gives great results when you are using it right or as the Japanese developer thought. But is it made for video professionals? Sorry, I doubt. Canon lacks the service to their demanding users. Or maybe it is well hidden.

The Canon rep. told me they have a special "Canon Professional Service" to address the demands from professional still photographers who are not satisfied with a regular camera shop.

Hey, have you heard about this "CPS"? It is not easily to find. And our dealer didn't know it either! Here it is:

You have to qualify to become a member by owning at least 2 professional SLR:s with at least 3 L-lenses. Thyy are the entrance fee to get professional service with a still camera.

So what about us video folk? The Canon rep. said they needed something similar for the video pro's. Let's hope the market is big enough.
Make yourself heard! / Johan

PS. Don't forget today´s quizz: What makes a XL H1 retain or forget its shutter setting?
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Old November 24th, 2006, 06:52 AM   #21
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Michael Morcombe

Further to my previous post on retention in memory of set speeds:
In fact I use the camera mainly at the 50 fps setting, I can't pick any difference in sharpness between the 50 and the 25 including fast action, eg birds in flight. If that is so, then there are then, with 50 fps, images at every 1/50th sec, 1/50th sec, rather than the long interval of 1/25. A flying bird will move its wing, indeed its body quite a distance in 1/25. If taking off stills from tape, theres twice as many images to choose from at the 50 fps.

Incidently for wildlife am using mostly the Canon 100-400 L seris zoom (EOS 35mm lens) via Canon adapter, and find results excellent. But at 400mm focal length, that s equaivalent to about 2800 mm in 35mm camers terms, so camers shake difficult to avoid even with heavy tripod and good fluid head. The shake doesn't matter with still frames if taken at 1/500 or faster, but hard to avoid on video. Hopefully one usually gradually gets closer to the subject, and the lens is at 100 to 200 length and much easier to control. But I do hope someone has an answer on that problem of retention of shutter speed page as supposed to happen (page 127 iof manual).

I would imagine the various steadiycam type supports could not cope with such long lenses.

Finally, on subject of difficulty of focussing manually on canon screen. I have discovered that this can be caused by the camers setting itself to a very small aperture outdoors in bright light , such as f/16 f/22 ( as shutter defaults to 1/50).

The depth pf field is then so great that turning of focussing ring has little effect, and the image does not snap into sharp focus at the correct setting. Indeed it then seems almost impossible to get it sharp. By opening the aperture to f4 to 5.6 (in case of my 100-300 zoom) the very shallow depth of field will male the sharpest setting far more obvious. Another reason for needing to have sutter speed stay at about 1/500 or 1/1000 sec.

The lens aperture then will set itself to an aperture wide enough to make possible accurate manual focussing. What is needed is an old-time aperture preview button as on 35mm cameras, a button that when pressed held open the lens wide for focussing. Was much used on still camers prior to auto diaphragm lenses, back in 1960's/70's.
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