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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 April 5th, 2006, 06:23 AM   #16
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Victor, if you could afford to wait half a year, I would urge you to do so. At the moment both the XLH1 and the HVX200 have flaws which prevent me to buy either.

These are just my personal impressions, others think and feel differently of course. I just list the bad things here.

XLH1:
* Viewfinder almost unusable for exact HD focusing. I would not start working without a Marshal V-R70P-HDA (extra $1,250).

* The lense, also called a "wet noodle" by many, is a pain for me to operate. Many people got used to it from their XL1/2 and it is not an issue for them - for me it is.

* Dynamic range, which seems to be even lower than on the HVX. You have to keep this in mind when you set up your scenes. If you do, you can work around it in most cases.


HVX200:
* Low-Res. The HVX is the hell of an SD cam but the 960 x 540 with pixelshift is far away from what I want to see from 720p footage (I don't even mention 1080p). It looks ok on a CRT HD monitor, but looking at the footage on my Powerbook or LCD screens ruled the cam out for me. Color and dynamic range are good, but for me res is as important or I can stay with SD right away.

* Block Noise. No idea where this comes from because the DVCPROHD codec is known *not* to cause this behaviour. But if you look at the darker areas of the footage you will see 2x3 pixel blocks of noise dancing all over the place. It looks like a JPG at very low quality. Just look at the stuff posted over at dvxuser.com. I can live with the fine grain noise of a XLH1, but not with this. This is a nightmare in post. There are several ways one can work around this, e.g. by using a lot more light, but for me this is not practical.


In half a year the situation might be quite different, at least the prices will come down. Canon will hopefully offer the Body-Kit only for the XLH1. I have not tried the Sony PDW-F330 / PDW-F350 but they are quite expensive and will not be that much better than the XLH1 I assume.

My ideal setup for the future looks like this, just to give you and idea.

Nikkor manual lenses -> Cinemek G35 -> Cinemek relay lense -> XLH1 body (with mouted Marshal) -> HDV (outdoor) / HD-SDI (studio) -> Cineform Codec -> PP2/AE7 with "Dynamic Link"

This is the best setup/workflow I can get in the 20.000 Euro range (don't forget lighting, sound, dolly, ...) in my opinion.


If you cannot wait and need a HD cam right now, make sure you try out both (I also tried the JVC which has the best handling but did not like the cheap lense (with no real alternative) and the footage in general). Canon is not selling the XLH1 too well I think so it was absolutly no problem to get one to play with over the weekend. And you can rent a HXV200 for one or two days.

Do not make your decision by just reading these forums. They are a good resource, but you have to try the stuff yourself.

Jack
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Old April 5th, 2006, 07:24 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Burdiladze
I'm also considering the fact that the prices on P2 cards are dropping - it was $2000, now it is $1400...
Yes, but that's $1400 for only 8-20 minutes of HD recording time depending on what mode you use. That might be fine for doing short movie or ENG takes and then stopping to download to a computer, but not very practical for any long-form recording. For that you'd either want a hard-drive based recorder or switch to DV recording mode on miniDV tape. If P2 prices drop by a factor of 4 per year, it will still take about 5-6 years for them to get down to levels competitive with recording HDV on tape. (In terms of being able to use P2 cards as a permanent recording medium.)
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Old April 5th, 2006, 08:24 AM   #18
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You can also get uncompressed from the HVX200 by using the analog component outputs and a card with component inputs. It might not be as clean as SDI but it should be uncompressed. The interesting thing however is that I do not think you would gain any extra detail from the HVX200 due to the smaller resolution chips. I think the detail level is already getting maxed out on the P2 cards.

With that said right now I didn't go with the HVX200 because of the P2 thing. While P2 is great for short shots it blows for long form shooting such as concerts. Yes you can swap cards but unless you want to leave the camera locked down and walk away and miss a shot you will have to hire somebody just to swap cards and download them to something else. If you shoot 1080i then you better have 3 cards because the transfer time is slightly greater than the recorded length of 1080i on each card. That means after the first card is full and you pull it out to transfer it will not be finished before the second card is full. You will have a short gap there. A third card will be needed to keep shooting bumping the cost up another $$$$ or so.

The firestore is nice but what if it fills up? What if it breaks? Will you buy 2 of them at $$$$ a piece.

If in the near future when the cineporter device comes out I might consider the HVX200 as a next camera. The cineporter can have up to a 240 GB drive which means 4 hours of 1080i video.

HDV still has a slight advantage however. You can buy a firestore type device and record to tape at the same time. This gives you easy to edit instant footage plus a backup just in case the device dies or just a backup for the future.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 09:22 AM   #19
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I have to agree with all three of you (Jack, Kevin and Thomas); Low cost HD/V needs more improvements and perhaps I should wait little more before buying a new camera. After all, my XL2 still delivers very good results.
Jack you mentioned Nikkor manual lens, could you specify which one did you mean. Or if you have time, could you indicate some website links I could go to for, let's say cinnemek G35... and the rest.

thanks everybody
Vic.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 11:10 AM   #20
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Jack,

Have you shot with an H1 yet? I understand the instant "wet noodle" response to the feel of the lens, particularly when you're used to broadcast manual lenses...but it isn't the old XL lens. It may be a free spinner but it has some very nice features to help you achieve focus. Peaking, even with the low res VF helps me a lot, and then if I have any doubts at all (and I'm not rolling tape) I use the magnifiying feature too. If I want to pull a rack focus I turn on the distance readout feature and follow the numbers in feet/meters and even fractions of the aforementioned. Works great and it's repeatable. And if you're unsure of your ability to do the focus pulling, you can use a position preset and have the camera do it for you accurately and repeatedly. I rarely use it because I like to pull focus myself at whatever speed I feel like. The presets can be a little too fast, but they're great if you want a whip fast rack.

Have you tried the 16x manual lens? Great product and it still looks great in HD with the H1. Have you tried the FU-1000 CRT VF? That helps tremendously if you can't deal with the LCD EVF (which I happen to think isn't so terrible).

Dynamic range? The HVX and H1 are very close.

btw, I often shoot SDI from the H1 into DVCProHD and never get any of this "block noise". That's an inherent flaw in the way that camera processes the image and renders to the codec. Here's a raw DVCProHD 1080i panning sunset shot from a few months ago, captured into the G5/KonaSDI combo. Intentionally exposed for the sky and let the foreground go dark. Do you see the same block noise?

Just a very basic shot to test the cameras image from SDI into other formats. It's an FCP DV100 QT clip called "pansunsetSDIDV1001080i.mov"

www.homepage.mac.com/mrbarlowelton
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Old April 5th, 2006, 02:10 PM   #21
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G35

Hi Elton,

I think you and me had this wet noodle discussion before and I agreed with you that for many it is not an issue. If my conclusion that having used a XL1 would have helped with this is wrong, I'm sorry. Another thing I dislike about the free spinners is, that i cannot imagine how a follow focus would work here. Because if I turn the wheel a bit to far, my markings would be off.

Peaking is a good assist, but I still find it hard to tell if I'm in correct focus. It is sad that the magnifying features only works when paused. _That_ would be even more help than the peaking. So again, I think one has a much, much easier job with the Marshal (at least I hope so). Or the FU-1000 CRT VF. I didn't have a chance to try that.

I haven't tried the 16x manual lens, but as I stated, I'm really looking forward to the G35. So I don't think that I need any regular lense.

As you might have noticed, I found workarounds for all the XLH1 "shortcomings" that bother me during my test shot. For the HVX this is not possible. That is the reason I think I will get a XLH1, as soon as the body only kit is available. Or even sooner when my G35 arrives and I cannot stand the tension.


Vic,

sorry if I have confused you a bit. Here the additional explanations.

The Cinemek G35 (http://www.cinemek.com/ costs ~ $1300) is a device that allows you to mount standard SLR lenses (or Cine lenses) onto your video cam. Instead of directly projecting the light onto the video cam's CCDs the picture is displayed on a 35mm (opal?) ground glass inside the G35. And the video cam is shooting that ground glass.

This has two major advantages. First, you get the amazing shallow dept of field (DOF) that you get with your 35mm still cam. You can really put the users attention on the subject and keep the background out of focus. This works with the XLH1 stock lens as well, but only to some degree.

Second, it magically seems to expand the dynamic range of the video cam, making the resulting material looking unbelievable like film (nobody yet has been able to explain this logically but I can simply see that effect with my own eyes). There are other 35mm adapters like the M2 (http://www.redrockmicro.com/micro35.html costs ~$1,000) or the Mini35 (http://www.pstechnik.de/en/digitalfilm-mini35.php costs ~$10,000) but non of these other adapters generates an image that is as beautiful as the G35 - at least to my eyes.

The disadvantage is that the G35 loses light. There is one version that loses 0,5 stops and another version with better Bokeh (http://www.bokeh.de/) rendering that loses 1,5 stops. Another disadvantage is that you cannot use autofocus but a lot of people prefer manual focus anyway. Further I have to go with fixed focal length Nikkor lenses (http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=5 look at the manual lenses, got 5 lenses on eBay for $1,300), because I cannot afford the extremly expensive fast Canon zoom lenses. And using a follow focus with these lenses is a good idea (http://dandiaconu.com/gallery/albums...anavision.wmv), cinemek will offer one later.

Ok, cutting to the chase, this is what it can look like if you use a G35 if you make everything right. This was shot with an old DVX, imagine the HD resolution of the XLH1.

http://www.mysimilo.com/

More footage on the cinemek site. One bad thing is, that cinemek will only generate 200 units in the first run and they have all been preordered within two days or so back in January, I will get unit #84 ;)

If this approach would work for you, I do not know, because it is more for narrative storytelling and I do not know if that is what you are after.

Sorry to get a little bit off topic, but you asked for it.

Jack
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Old April 5th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #22
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Jack, what you wrote will help me enormously because narative storytelling is what I'm after in the first place.
Thanks
Vic
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Old April 5th, 2006, 02:45 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Foley
Hi Elton,

I think you and me had this wet noodle discussion before and I agreed with you that for many it is not an issue. If my conclusion that having used a XL1 would have helped with this is wrong, I'm sorry. Another thing I dislike about the free spinners is, that i cannot imagine how a follow focus would work here. Because if I turn the wheel a bit to far, my markings would be off.

Peaking is a good assist, but I still find it hard to tell if I'm in correct focus. It is sad that the magnifying features only works when paused. _That_ would be even more help than the peaking. So again, I think one has a much, much easier job with the Marshal (at least I hope so). Or the FU-1000 CRT VF. I didn't have a chance to try that.

I haven't tried the 16x manual lens, but as I stated, I'm really looking forward to the G35. So I don't think that I need any regular lense.

As you might have noticed, I found workarounds for all the XLH1 "shortcomings" that bother me during my test shot. For the HVX this is not possible. That is the reason I think I will get a XLH1, as soon as the body only kit is available. Or even sooner when my G35 arrives and I cannot stand the tension.
Hi Jack,

Sorry, I forgot you were the guy from Austria that posted that rooftop action movie test stuff. That was actually pretty fun to watch!

I look forward to seeing whatever you do with the Cinemek down the road.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 03:42 PM   #24
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FWIW, you could also combine the HVX200 with the Focus FireStore FS100. It's not yet shipping, but I'd guess that it would be less expensive than 3 P2-cards.

http://www.focusinfo.com/solutions/catalog.asp?id=150
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Old April 7th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #25
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Check out this XLH1 review by Adam Wilt
http://www.dv.com/reviews/reviews_it...leId=184429497
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