to upgrade, or not to upgrade at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders

Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 5th, 2006, 12:36 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 41
to upgrade, or not to upgrade

Ok, I'm making documentaries...so no possiblity to hook a XLH1 up to a hard drive. I'm recording directly onto tape.

What is the image resolution if recorded directly to tape? Are there really 1440x1080 lines? I called Canon, and they said this was correct (but the guy had to ask his "boss". Hmm.

I'm trying to decide if "upgrading" is worth it from the XL2. I'm currently producing documentaries for three reasons: to play in a visitor's center on a plasma, to play in a visitor center's theater, and to sell on DVD. I hate to buy a camera that doesn't have a lens like the 16x servo.

The word at the last IWFF in Missoula is that "HDV is dead" (we've all heard this before about other formats). I thought that from the very beginning, that it was an intermediary format that would disappear rather quickly...(or maybe just hoping).

So, let's all speculate...
1. Is an upgrade worth it for this particular application?
2. Is Canon going to foil us all and come out with a REAL XL HD? :)

(yes, what i really need is an HD camera...but who can afford one?)
Thanks for all your input...
Tracy Graziano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 5th, 2006, 01:28 PM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracy Graziano
What is the image resolution if recorded directly to tape? Are there really 1440x1080 lines?
It's just like the Sony HDCAM format. It's 1440 anamorphic, which is automatically scaled to 1920 square by any HDTV display.

Quote:
I hate to buy a camera that doesn't have a lens like the 16x servo.
I think you mean the 16x manual lens, but I don't understand. The XL H1 is fully compatible with that lens. Even though it's not officially rated for HD, many people are using it for HD with satisfactory results.

Quote:
Is an upgrade worth it for this particular application?
It is if that visitor's center uses a High Definition display. However, DVD is just standard definition. So you're the only one who can accurately make this decision.

Quote:
Is Canon going to foil us all and come out with a REAL XL HD?
You've foiled yourself if you think that the XL H1 isn't real HD. You need to understand that HDV is in fact "real" HD. If you can't accept that, then you're not going to last on this site. Welcome to DV Info Net,
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 5th, 2006, 01:35 PM   #3
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 4,093
Tracy, there are many XL H1 clips linked throughout this forum. By all means, peruse the forum, download a few clips, and make a judgment. My opinion is that at present, you'd have to spend over $50K to get a picture that is enough better that it would be worth investing more than the $9K that the H1 costs.
__________________
Pete Bauer
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein
Trying to solve a DV mystery? You may find the answer behind the SEARCH function ... or be able to join a discussion already in progress!
Pete Bauer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2006, 11:13 AM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 41
"I think you mean the 16x manual lens, but I don't understand. The XL H1 is fully compatible with that lens. Even though it's not officially rated for HD, many people are using it for HD with satisfactory results."

That's what I mean, an HD 16x manual lens. (not a video lens where the focus and zoom rings spin indefinetly).
Tracy Graziano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2006, 11:22 AM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
I think you mean the 16x manual lens, but I don't understand. The XL H1 is fully compatible with that lens. Even though it's not officially rated for HD, many people are using it for HD with satisfactory results.
...
You've foiled yourself if you think that the XL H1 isn't real HD. You need to understand that HDV is in fact "real" HD. If you can't accept that, then you're not going to last on this site. Welcome to DV Info Net,
Yes, I mean an HD 16x manual lens (not one with focus and zoom rings that spin and spin and spin). I understand that the lens mount is the same, but the current 16x servo lens is not HD.

Slow down there, I didn't mean to ruffle your feathers. Please don't be so defensive. I appreciate any and all comments in regards to this camera, in particularly, views from both sides of the issue. That's what I'm looking for here.

Maybe I should rephrase my question: If you compared footage from a Sony HD750 to the Canon XLH1...?

And secondly, has anyone done a Canon XLH1 blow up to 35mm? or dare I ask, 70mm? How do those compare to a blow up from a Sony HD camera?

I understand the price difference between the Sony and Canon, thanks. In the near future, I may produce films that may end up in a large format theater that has HD, 35mm, 70mm and DVD projection abilities.

Thanks!
Tracy Graziano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2006, 11:41 AM   #6
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
If I seem "defensive" it's only because I have the integrity of this forum foremost in mind. As its administrator, I have a very short tolerance for certain destructive viewpoints, chief among them being the ludicrous notion that HDV somehow isn't "real" HD. I'm not about to argue with anybody who thinks that way; I simply usher them off the site very quickly. And everyone is better off as a result.

Quote:
Maybe I should rephrase my question: If you compared footage from a Sony HD750 to the XLH1...?
How about the Sony F900 compared to the Canon XL H1. That's exactly what filmmaker Scott Billups did recently; his conclusion was that they are in fact very close. Basically it's the law of dimishing returns. Yes the more expensive camera is the "better" one in strictly superlative terms. However the question is really "how much better." If you can afford to spend the $90,000 difference between the two, then by all means do so; but what you're paying for is a very small degree of improvement in image quality. If the XL H1 is within 90% to 95% of the F900's image quality as Billups suggests, then is it worth it to you to spend all that money to get that last five or ten percent. That's a question only you can answer.

As for myself, an F900 or a VariCam or other similar high-end HD camera is simply beyond my reach as far as budget is concerned; so I'm more than happy to settle for the bang-for-buck delivered by the XL H1 at less than ten grand.
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2006, 11:53 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Monterey, California
Posts: 892
I do believe that HDV is (will turn out to be) an intermediate format, primarily because eventually tape acquisition will be a thing of the past. But at this moment, now, in 2006, I don't think anyone with any intelligence (other than perhaps new HVX owners) would say HDV is dead...

But even if it is about to be dead, that is the best reason of all to consider the H1 as an affordable camera.. In the not too distant future tapeless sollutions will probably become viable that will take advantage of Canon's SDI capabilities, or at least the firewire devices will finally work properly...

And, small point but worth considering, the H1 battery mounts on the side and the camera comes with that nice little bracket that screws on the back and makes a nice place to mount future boxes.. Hey, you might have to drill some holes...
Steve Rosen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2006, 12:00 PM   #8
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
Oh I agree with that; tape can't go away fast enough as far as I'm concerned.

HDV is certainly viable while it's here; that's my point.
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2006, 12:50 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Monterey, California
Posts: 892
Not only that, Chris, but when we DO have a tapeless sollution that works, we will be able to back up simultaneously on tape.. That is the biggest fear I have about going tapeless...

And, what I forgot to mention, is that I've been shooting a documentary for six months now in HDV on the H1, and in my opinion the image is more than astounding...
Steve Rosen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2006, 06:05 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Augusta Georgia
Posts: 5,413
I waited a long time before purchasing an XL-H1 for many reasons.

Most of all, I was concerned that HDV would break up on occasions.

I recently returned from a two-week personal trip during which I tested the XL-H1.

Other than whip-pans (which I did not test), I can not find a single case of image breakup. Among other things, I shot a lot of waterfalls and fast running water. I expected these to have problems, but I can not find any.

I do feel that others have had legitimate problems in certain cases, and I expect that I will have a problem at some time. However, all of the tests that I made came out great.

I am most impressed with the camera. The custom presets are great. I loaded all of the custom presets from this great site and found the ones that best suited my needs.

I avoid auto gain at all times, but the light sensitivity with modest gain is great. I found the -3db to be very helpful when I had a lot of light, even more that the on-lens neutral density filter could handle. I shot mainly in minus 3db for the benefit of the lowest possible video noise.



Overall, my concern about HDV was unwarranted.

Others had mentioned that the color viewfinder was too bright as mine was out of the box. I was easily able to adjust to viewfinder to match a calibrated field monitor. Then, in the field, I could adjust the camera (with confidience) to obtain the natural colors that I desired. The ability to dial in a color temperature is very worthwhile and very easy to use.

I realize that the HDV is not as great as direct HD-SDI output, but it is good. I would love to be able to (affordably) capture HD-SDI, but at this time it is out of my budget.

I had learned, before purchasing, that the lens could either focus or zoom, but not both at the same time since it has only one motor in the lens. However, for very slow zooms, in my limited tests, it appeared to remain in focus.

The built in selections of 16 zoom speeds and the zoom preset function worked great. The Focus Preset function needs a firmware update as others have reported.

After all of my reading and research, I was still amazed to find some interesting features of the camera. One was the ability to move the color viewfinder forward to adjust the weight balance of the camera.

At the Nashville event, I asked the Canon experts about "Onion Skinning" (the ability of the camera to compare a previous image to the current image, which can be handy for continunity). Much to my suprise I just learned that the console software supports a split screen mode so that a recorded scene can be compared to the live video.

I would like Canon to make available a HD manual lens. I will be testing a 14x manual with the camera sometime in the future.

I am more than pleased with the XL-H1.
__________________
Dan Keaton
Augusta Georgia

Last edited by Dan Keaton; July 7th, 2006 at 07:53 AM.
Dan Keaton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2006, 09:05 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 658
HDV is a tiny concern of mine, more because of the colorspace.
However, HDV will last longer than it's gonna take for portable HD-SDI recording solurions to come about:

for example: there is a new, cheaper and smaller version of this portable HD -SDI recorder coming in October
http://www.kinor.ru/products/flashdvr/

and there is a Laptop with 2 terrabites Raid & 4 Gigs of Ram with HD-SDI that comes in August
http://www.kinor.ru/products/diskvtr/hdnb/

these ar a bit pricey, but realistically, for Uncompressed HD, they are quite quite realistic...

This is the Very Reason I went with the XL-H1 in the first place,
John Benton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 7th, 2006, 07:43 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
If I seem "defensive" it's only because I have the integrity of this forum foremost in mind. As its administrator, I have a very short tolerance for certain destructive viewpoints, chief among them being the ludicrous notion that HDV somehow isn't "real" HD. I'm not about to argue with anybody who thinks that way; I simply usher them off the site very quickly. And everyone is better off as a result.
I'm not trying to bash the XLH1, here. Please do not misinterpret my questions as criticism. I purchased the XL1 in 1999 and the XL2 last May. I love this camera line, and am astounded of the quality that is possible with the XLH1. I do like the idea of this camera as opposed to the Sony HD Cams because of the size difference. With a 36x lens on a Sony camera, this requires you to use a 150mm ball head in the field--that's 60 pounds of camera and tripod! YUCK! And I mean yuck because we carry our gear for miles and miles in the field. If there is comperable quality available in a smaller camera (and in a line that I trust, from a company that I respect) than HOORAY!

Is the study that Scott Billups did with the Sony and Canon published anywhere? I'd like to read. Thanks!
Tracy Graziano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 7th, 2006, 10:42 AM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Monterey, California
Posts: 892
Tracy: If you like the XL2, you'll love the H1, if for no other reason than they fixed the badly designed iris control, have made the distance settings visible in the viewfinder, have added a manually dialed-in white-balance and have added some menu options.. Keep your 16x manual lens, though.. I didn't and I regret it...

It's difficult decision times for many who want to explore this new "look".. In my case I guess I'm lucky because I had 2 docs (one for a client and another for which I've received grants) and several regional commercials that have more than paid for the camera. Although neither of the docs will initially be seen in HD, they both will be more viable in the future because I can offer that option down the road.

That's the advantage of the H1, really. Because it is somewhat "modular" you can work with it now in SD or HDV and add lenses and capture devices as they become available... If you don't need HD now, wait a while for an "H2"...

But if you're shooting a long form documentary that won't be finished for a year or more, I'd shoot in HDV if I was you, because in the near future the first question people will ask is "Is it High Def?"...
Steve Rosen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 7th, 2006, 10:57 AM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Monterey, California
Posts: 892
I should add, by the way, that I HAVE already run into some snobbery regarding HDV. There is a tendency for the tech-types in broadcasting and production to look down their collective noses at "questionable" formats. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I went through this 30 years ago with super16 and again 8 year ago with DVCAM, and I'm feeling the same resistance now.

There will always be some people who will NEVER accept something like HDV because they don't want to give away the power... DV and HDV are essentially "democratizing" the filmmaking process - and there are, and will continue to be, people who are threatened by that..

I've been an independent documentary filmmaker for nearly 40 years. I'm a UCLA film school graduate, I've directed and DP'd hundreds of national & regional commercials in 16 & 35, I've had numerous documentaries (both filmed and taped) on national television and a couple in theaters, and all I have to say is - stop listening to the nayayers and look at the picture.
Steve Rosen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 7th, 2006, 11:16 AM   #15
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Canton, Ohio
Posts: 1,770
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen
Tracy: If you like the XL2, you'll love the H1, if for no other reason than they fixed the badly designed iris control, have made the distance settings visible in the viewfinder, have added a manually dialed-in white-balance and have added some menu options.. Keep your 16x manual lens, though.. I didn't and I regret it...
I really didn't like the XL2 that much and I love the XL-H1 for all of the reasons stated above. I have now owned the XL1, XL1s, XL2 and the XLh1. In my own mind I will always look back at the Xl2 as the "anomaly" in the series. That model missed the boat for me. The XLH1 is what the XL2 should have been but just SD. I feel the H1 is better in low light, produces better colors and is cleaner. Has the iris wheel back to a wheel. Added the footage readout in the viewfinder and they bumped the LCD to a 16x9 2.7". Doesn't sound like much but it amounts to almost double the image size when compared to the XL2 in 16x9 mode.

For these reasons alone I was PO'ed when Canon announced the H1. I still had my XL2 and was not planning on moving to HD at that time and these features on the XL2 in SD would have made me a happy camper. But alas......I have procured the H1 and am finally a happy camper. Add to all of this my 16x manual lens is almost a permanet fixture on it! Oh happy day!
Marty Hudzik is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:48 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network