XL H1 vs. HVR-Z1U at DVinfo.net

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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 7th, 2006, 11:26 AM   #1
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XL H1 vs. HVR-Z1U

I recently purchased a Sony HVR-Z1U for our church. I looked at the Canon, but the cost difference was extreme.

Did I make the wrong choice? What did I miss out on by buying the Z1 over the H1?

Just thought you guys might be able to give me some pros and cons, since i know some of you have both.

Any insite would be great. Who know, we may need another camera one day. :)
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Old April 7th, 2006, 01:08 PM   #2
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You did okay.. If you're working on a tripod the Z1 is more than fine. As I posted here in another thread, I hate the design of the thing, but it takes good pictures. And Sony is justifiably respected for reliability - plus the Sony's auto exposure, AGC and auto focus are more responsive than Canon's, which may be important in your setting..

The Canon is better for someone who wants take time to customize the look of the image out of the camera, and it's true that the image quality is noticeably better - but not so much better that you'd notice it if you went from a monitor in one room to a monitor in another. The H1's also more "pro" looking, which can be an advantage or a disadvantage, and it handholds better (with modifications)... Of course it also has interchangeable lenses, but since there aren't currently any other lenses availble that's a moot point. The Sony's wider, probably better for a church. I won't go into the whole 24f thing, because that horse has been beat to death...

I will say one thing about the Canon's auto focus. After I first got the H1, I reported here that it was very sluggish compared to the Sony. It is. But just last night I was in a situation where it was more convenient to use AF:

My response - It focuses slowly, but very accurately - and because it IS sluggish, it doesn't follow focus quickly if someone walks past in front of the camera - so maybe the folks at Canon knew what they were doing after all... would be nice to have a menu setting for it though... Steve Rosen
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Old April 7th, 2006, 01:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Steve. I am working on a tripod MOST of the time. There are occassions where I am asked to film Church events, and YES the Z1 is not the easiest to use that way. I have always been an avid amateur, but never worked with a prosummer model before. I am still very much learning. I am also using a less-than pro tripod and that is taking a little getting used to. The weight of the Z1 is a lot different than my little handy-cam.

I digress....thanks for the thoughts.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 11:18 AM   #4
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Hi Scott. Sitting at a terrible public terminal in the airport writing this as I return from DVinfo's great HD Texas Shootout. Look for lots of comparative info on all the current affordable HD cameras soon. The test were very detailed and Adam Wilt supervised the whole event - lots of fun!

I also have a Z1 and am very pleased with it. The Canon, JVC and Pansonic cameras are also very nice, and each camera has its own strengths and weaknesses. However, just as a general observation, We had the Z1, H1, HD100, HVX, Varicam and XDCAM all hooked up to monitors in a row. Just looking a them quickly it was striking just how similar their images all looked at a quick glance. We had to look a the labels on the screens to make sure we knew which camera was connected to which monitor!

Yes, there are certainly differences between a $30,000 and a $5,000 camera, but this test convinced me that you can do nice work with any of the current crop of cameras and that you should really concentrate on what you're doing with the camera instead of the name on the lablel....
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Old April 11th, 2006, 03:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Hi Scott. Sitting at a terrible public terminal in the airport writing this as I return from DVinfo's great HD Texas Shootout. Look for lots of comparative info on all the current affordable HD cameras soon. The test were very detailed and Adam Wilt supervised the whole event - lots of fun!

I also have a Z1 and am very pleased with it. The Canon, JVC and Pansonic cameras are also very nice, and each camera has its own strengths and weaknesses. However, just as a general observation, We had the Z1, H1, HD100, HVX, Cinealta and XDCAM all hooked up to monitors in a row. Just looking a them quickly it was striking just how similar their images all looked at a quick glance. We had to look a the labels on the screens to make sure we knew which camera was connected to which monitor!

Yes, there are certainly differences between a $30,000 and a $5,000 camera, but this test convinced me that you can do nice work with any of the current crop of cameras and that you should really concentrate on what you're doing with the camera instead of the name on the lablel....
Thanks Boyd. I look forward to reading the info as soon as it's posted.

I am very happy with the camera as well. Not too concerned with the name/brand. I have usually prefered Sony, but I know that Canon makes a great product as well. Glad the quality, at least at first glance, looked similar. That was more my concern. Thanks again!
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Old April 13th, 2006, 05:04 AM   #6
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XL, Panasonic and JVC

Hats of to Boyd for such an accurate answer. I have been shooting with the XL, JVC, Z1 and Panasonic cameras in East Africa where I live. We shoot things from church events to documentaries, and television commercials. When the settings are matched it can be hard to tell which camera is which at a glance on the monitor. Have never received any complaints regarding quality of film or camera used whether shown in Africa, Europe or the good ole U.S. of A. Enjoy your new camera Scott.

Also looking forward to the final results from the shoot-out.

Rand Blair
Big Heart Productions. Uganda
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Old April 13th, 2006, 08:09 AM   #7
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Thanks Rand. I am really enjoying it so far. The picture looks great compared to what I used to use. Thanks for the thoughts.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 11:54 AM   #8
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I just shot some footage of a big motorcycle (roadracing) event this weekend and I agree with some of the comments about the focus on the XL-H1.
The focus seemed slow and I was very disapointed in the follow focus of the camera. I was fully zoomed and the camera had a tough time staying sharp as I panned with the motorcycles, with the bikes coming nearly straight at me it was even more difficult for the camera to stay in focus. I was getting very frustrated and found myself manually focusing alot of the time, even then the electronic focus was much like the focus on our old XL-1.

Bummer.

Cause I really, really liked the footage that I did get that was sharp. I shot mostly in 24P and man, beautiful stuff! Great feel and color.

Cheers,
D
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Old April 19th, 2006, 12:24 PM   #9
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Hi David, the autofocus response is always slower when shooting at slower frame rates such as 24p, no matter what camera it is. Autofocus relies on updating itself from one from to the next, so the slower the frame rate, the slower is the autofocus response. True of any 24p camera that has an autofocus lens. Hope this helps,
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Old April 19th, 2006, 02:11 PM   #10
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Thanks Chris; yes that does help.

On another thread, in this forum, someone was commenting on some artifacting that they were getting at higher shutter speeds . I also noticed the same results when I was up in the higher speeds (100, 125, 200, etc.). When I got back to 24SS to match the frame rate of 24P, man, everything looked beautiful. I loved the look. Awesome stuff!
When I changed back to a higher SS everything started look kind of "plasticly" (plastic like) or very video like and the artifacting was noticeble on the fast moving motorcycles, especially when they were small in the frame.

Why is that?

Sorry about the somewhat rookie question, but coming from the still photo world some of this stuff is greek to me. But, I do have a general concept of the 24 frame film vs. 30 frame video world.

Great site you have here. Been lurking and reading and soaking up the info and debates for quite awhile, thought I'd jump into the fray.

Cheers,
D
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