Dirck Halstead's XL H1 review 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 16th, 2006, 12:31 AM   #1
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Dirck Halstead's XL H1 review

Photographer / Digital Journalist / Austinite Dirck Halstead's review of the XL H1 is now up on his site:

http://digitaljournalist.org/issue06...eracorner.html
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Old April 16th, 2006, 03:16 AM   #2
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A bit too glowing, IMO. That the EVF is bright is surely nice, but its colors are too cool for shooting under tungsten light. The flaws associated with the 'professional' jack pack (no TC and audio in HD-SDI, TC-sync lost on power down, etc.) are not mentioned, and probably weren't tested, I assume. And HD editing from tape surely is possible, as long as its 50i/60i. Looks a bit like promo material to me. I can read the Canon brochure myself, thanks...
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Old April 16th, 2006, 06:47 AM   #3
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Is it me or is the last sentence implying that a GL HD camera is in the works?.?
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Old April 16th, 2006, 06:54 AM   #4
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In Mr. Halstead's defense, although the article is labeled a review it is really a brief introductory "Camera Corner" piece for the readership of his web site rather than an in-depth review. I don't see a point in giving it harsh words on that basis. I'll agree, though, that it does have some inaccurate info in it (eg the new stock HD 20x lens is just slightly wider than the previous 20x lens, not anywhere near as wide as the 3x).

Then again, none of us is perfect; I didn't know it should be a problem to shoot HD video under tungsten using the H1's viewfinder, so I've been happily doing just that since December. ;-)

I can verify that PPro2 + Cineform captures and edits all modes (24F, 30F, 60i) of HDV from the XL-H1 easily. Looks from his article that Dirck is a Mac user. Maybe a FCP user or two can clarify...as a non-Mac person, I'm under the impression that the F modes via HDV are still not supported on the Mac and that you need to do HD-SDI out via AJA Kona to ingest and edit in FCP? If that's essentially correct, the article comments, though incomplete, would be correct on the Mac platform.

He was dead-on about this camera being targeted the broadcast market (with a nod to indies with the 24F, of course). No question in my mind that the SDI and time synch feature-set is intended as a barebones, low-cost offering to make the camera an attractive upgrade for broadcaster wanting to move up to multi-cam HD without breaking the bank.

Richard, nothing is announced but I think it is just a matter of all of us confidently assuming that Canon will extend the GL line into HDV at some point in the not too distant future. But then, I guess that issue is well covered in the Area 51 forum, eh?
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Old April 16th, 2006, 07:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Bauer
Richard, nothing is announced but I think it is just a matter of all of us confidently assuming that Canon will extend the GL line into HDV at some point in the not too distant future. But then, I guess that issue is well covered in the Area 51 forum, eh?
I know everyone has been talking about a GL HDV model that would probably be released...but his last paragraph made think he has some inside info. BTW, What's a platypus???
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Old April 16th, 2006, 07:47 AM   #6
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Old April 16th, 2006, 09:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Pfister
The flaws associated with the 'professional' jack pack (no TC and audio in HD-SDI, TC-sync lost on power down, etc.) are not mentioned...
I don't think you can properly consider these as "flaws." By definition a flaw is a defect, and there's nothing defective about the lack of TC and audio over SDI. Canon left those features out intentionally.

Frankly I think the decision to leave Time Code and audio out of SDI was a political one. This camera already "steps on the toes" of the big camera manufacturers who give a lot of business to Canon's broadcast video lens division. So the decision not to include TC or audio over SDI was (in my humble opinion) a concession to the pro shoulder-mount market. Look at it this way, you're getting uncompressed video out from HD-SDI at less than half the cost of the formerly least expensive SDI-equipped HD camera. Considering the incredible cost savings that represents, I don't think anyone has a right to whine about TC or audio over SDI. After all this is a $9,000 camera from which you're getting HD over SDI. Isn't that amazing by itself? Can't you live without the other SDI features at that impressively low price?

Canon's official (read: non-political) position about the lack of TC and audio from SDI makes acceptable sense on its own. You've got TC in and out on the camera already. It might not be embedded in the SDI, but it certainly is on the camera, and no other HD camera in this price range offers TC in/out anyway. As for audio, Canon assumes that if you're going to the trouble to record uncompressed video over SDI then most likely you're recording (or should be recording) double-system sound as well. And I can easily agree with the premise of that assumption; after all, the camera itself is the single worst place from which to take audio. If you're using the XL H1 as an HD camera head feeding video out over SDI, then shouldn't you also be doing double-system sound away from the camera as well? Synced by Time Code output provided from the H1? Considering these features, especially at the $9,000 price range, I don't think anyone has room to complain about the H1's lack of TC or audio over SDI.
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Old April 16th, 2006, 03:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
...I don't think anyone has a right to whine about TC or audio over SDI. After all this is a $9,000 camera from which you're getting HD over SDI. Isn't that amazing by itself? Can't you live without the other SDI features at that impressively low price?
Well said, Chris. It is amazing, and either as a filmmaking tool or an HD camera head, getting quality HD-SDI from a sub-$10K camera is pretty much insane. I agree that it's not really a big deal when one is going to the trouble to tap the SDI that one would go dual system and take timecode feeds separate of the SDI too.

I also agree that there might've been a minor polititcal concession to the big boys in not embedding TC and audio in the SDI. Big deal. It works as is, it's just not ultra convenient for those who want SDI with the simplicity of Firewire capture.
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Old April 16th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #9
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Chris, while I agree fully with all your points, I take issue with the fact that fixing all the limitations mentioned by me would hardly add to the cost of the camera. That's what bothers me - when marketing limits the capabilities of a product for political reasons. And in my view the XL-H1's lack of audio and TC in HD-SDI stream will take on a whole different meaning when SDI-based DTD devices become available.

I agree that the XL-H1 produces fantastic images at a very reasonable price, there's no question about that...
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Old April 16th, 2006, 03:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Bauer
I didn't know it should be a problem to shoot HD video under tungsten using the H1's viewfinder, so I've been happily doing just that since December. ;-)
Sorry, my wording was a little weak. English isn't my mother tongue, after all. It should have probably read: ...but the 'cool' color does not accurately represent what's recorded, particularly when shooting under tungsten light.

Have you tried to dial-in WB on the Kelvin-scale using the EVF for guidance? Good luck!
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Last edited by Ron Pfister; April 16th, 2006 at 04:14 PM.
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Old April 16th, 2006, 04:12 PM   #11
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Hi Ron,

I do agree with you completely, it is "cripple-ware" for purely political reasons. It's too bad they have to do that. All of the major manufacturers are guilty of such practices. Although I can understand why those limitations are in place, I certainly don't agree with them. This is why I'm such a fan of the forthcoming RED camera concept; its developers are independant and have no qualms at all about introducing disruptive technology which should shake up the industry quite a bit.

You're right about dialing in degrees Kelvin on the H1... the EVF is inadequate for that.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 07:04 AM   #12
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The lack of TC and Audio over SDI was strictly budgetary. The licensing cost for embedded audio and TC would have added around $1500.00 per unit.

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Old April 17th, 2006, 07:22 AM   #13
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Very interesting, Vince! Who is the license holder of the (HD)-SDI spec?
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Old April 17th, 2006, 08:26 AM   #14
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I believe that it falls under SMPTE. That is the info I received from inside Canon. I also think that it's the standardized stream, 259- 292 etc, that require the license - not the interface.

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Old April 17th, 2006, 11:26 AM   #15
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Just some thoughts on the SDI-licensing rumors. Let's assume that embedding audio and TC into the SDI-stream would cost USD 750 each - totalling USD 1500 as Vince mentioned. Now take a look at a device like the AJA HD10AMA analog audio embedder/disembedder:

http://www.aja.com/hd10ama.htm

By the above logic, such a device would cost dealers a fair bit more than USD 750. B&H currently sells it for USD 1190. Assuming a 25% profit margin for B&H, this would leave AJA with a total of USD 142.50 for cost of R&D, materials, manufacture, marketing and profit margin per unit sold. Does this sound reasonable?

Interestingly, AJA does not seem to offer a TC-embedder product (I have no idea if such a device would even be technically feasible).

Any thoughts?
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