Is the XL H1 viable for weddings? - Page 2 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 July 6th, 2006, 07:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Canon XLH1: No LCD panel.
Sure, it has an LCD panel. It's smaller than what you'll find on other camcorders, but it's definitely there, so please don't say it doesn't have one. I use it all the time.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 07:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Sure, it has an LCD panel. It's smaller than what you'll find on other camcorders, but it's definitely there, so please don't say it doesn't have one. I use it all the time.
Chris, have you done any low light comparisons with the XL H1? Or do you know of any on the net?
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Old July 6th, 2006, 08:10 PM   #18
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Okay, it has a small LCD panel you can access by flipping up the viewfinder, which is rather awkward. My apologies for not being clearer on that point.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 08:07 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Good resolution but grainy in low light, similar to earlier Canon video cameras.

As other reviewers have noted, all of these cameras can produce a pleasing HD image when used properly and within their particular limitations. If someone gave me an XLH1 I'd probably keep it, but it would be my third choice of the above four cameras for spending my own money (with JVC last).
Your choices are based strictly on wedding video requiremetns. The oroginal question was is the XL-H1 viable for weddings. And I do believe it is. It however is not necesarrily the best price for a "wedding" only camera. However....I use it for many applications, mostly non-event or wedding. But it factored in heavily that I can use it for weddings when the occassional extra money comes in handy.

I don't see how you would ever choose the HVX over the H1 for event work as it is very limited with P2 cards and storage. Not to mention the low-light issues. When I priced a Cineporter or Firestore for the HVX the cost was so high it pushed me into the price range of the H1. So I opted to go that route.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 08:40 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds
Chris, have you done any low light comparisons with the XL H1?
Sorry, no I haven't; low light has never been a concern for me.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 08:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Sorry, no I haven't; low light has never been a concern for me.
I assume you don't shoot weddings? Lucky devil...

Any chance you or someone else could post some comparisons with other HDV cams and maybe the PD170? Pretty please?
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Old July 7th, 2006, 09:20 AM   #22
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I used to shoot weddings up until about six years ago before I priced myself out of 'em. Regarding low-light performance. Don't let this make or break your purchase decision because there isn't all that much difference between cameras in this regard. Sure there's *some* difference which is quantifiable, but it really ain't all that much of a difference, and so many other factors carry a much greater impact on how you shoot than low light.

For example, compared to the PD170. I guarantee, if you switch from the PD170 to the XL H1, what you'll be cursing isn't the difference in low light performance, but the rather significant difference in weight and form factor instead. Choose the camera which is most comfortable and logical for you to hold and to use. There are ways of accomodating low light situations, but you can't change the weight of the camera. In my book, ergonomics, format, workflow, budget etc. all are far more important considerations than low light performance because there is less of a difference between cameras in low light than there is in all these other categories.

On the XL H1 in low light, just bump the gain up to +12db. It's very clean, more than adequate for wedding work. Shooting in 30F and/or dropping the shutter to 1/30th kicks up the low light performance a notch. Stay at full wide (most of my reception work was always at full wide) and enjoy a max. aperture of f/1.6.

Finally, where there's no light, just add light. I used a 20-watt onboard light for weddings and never had a single complaint about it.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 09:33 AM   #23
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While I agree that all cameras are close when it gets to very low light, not all cameras are close when it comes to "moderate" light. What I mean is I have used cameras (HVX and XL2) that looked hoorible shooting under average indoor light conditions. That is, situations that through the years I have found to produce "acceptable" results when shooting video in them looked unacceptable with these cameras. I am not talking about winning an award for best images. Just good decent looking images given the circumstances. Both the HVX200 and the XL2 performed far below this threshold for me. They looked dark and dingy in these environments and the colors would be so drab. The HVX was particularly noisy also.

However I found that even my old XL1 would produce a better image than these cameras in the same settings. The colors were vibrant and true and the image would be overal brighter. My old DVX was the same. It would produce really good results in these "average" settings. In my opinion the XL-H1 produces images of the same quality ubder the same circumstances. Yet with 2-3x more resolution.

Again....I am not talking about virtual darkness....just situations that border on being a tad underlit. The H1 delivers the best image I have seen in this environment. Would I prefer to add lights to the scene? Of course. But if I don't I still get a darn good image. However in the same exact setting with the HVX200 it looked very dark and noise creeped in as to create a really poor image. I added an on camera light to the HVX to try to get acceptable footage. With the light it still looked noisier than the H1 with no added light.

I really like my H1 as you can tell.

:)
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Old July 7th, 2006, 09:34 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Don't let this make or break your purchase decision because there isn't all that much difference between cameras in this regard.
I assume you're only talking about HD cameras, correct?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
For example, compared to the PD170. I guarantee, if you switch from the PD170 to the XL H1, what you'll be cursing isn't the difference in low light performance, but the rather significant difference in weight and form factor instead. Choose the camera which is most comfortable and logical for you to hold and to use.
With an IDX battery on the back, the Canon would be a perfect fit for me, weight and ergonomics-wise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
On the XL H1 in low light, just bump the gain up to +12db. It's very clean, more than adequate for wedding work. Shooting in 30F and/or dropping the shutter to 1/30th kicks up the low light performance a notch. Stay at full wide (most of my reception work was always at full wide) and enjoy a max. aperture of f/1.6.
Alas, that isn't possible in many situations. For example, a wedding ceremony I shot last year took place in an incredibly dark room, and I was 30' away from the B&G. It just wasn't possible to stay wide. I couldn't use an on-camera light because it would have ruined the atmosphere. My Sony DSR250 was able to produce an image that was acceptable - grainy, but bright enough to see by. My Sony Z1U was so dark, even at 18db, that I could barely see anything -- literally.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik
However I found that even my old XL1 would produce a better image than these cameras in the same settings. The colors were vibrant and true and the image would be overal brighter.
You found the XL1 produced a better image than the XL2?
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Old July 7th, 2006, 10:03 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds
I assume you're only talking about HD cameras, correct?
That's right. Nothing beats the standard definition PD170. Speaking strictly in general terms, among 1/3rd-inch camcorders, SD usually outperforms HD in low light, because fewer pixels covering the same size image sensor means those pixels are larger and therefore gather more light.

For image sensors of equal size:

Less pixels means lower resolution but they are larger pixels which get more light.
More pixels means higher resolution but they are smaller pixels which get less light.

Image quality is always a trade-off for better low-light performance.

But this generalization is offset somewhat by what happens in the camera's DSP. The processor might artificially brighten the image and intentionally oversaturate it.

Quote:
Alas, that isn't possible in many situations. For example, a wedding ceremony I shot last year took place in an incredibly dark room.
Hmm, that's a job I would not have taken. When I did weddings, one of the first questions I asked any prospective customer was where are we shooting and how is the light there. If it was someplace I've never been before, I'd scout it. If it was too dark with no way to add light for whatever reason, I'd tell them that it wasn't right for video and turn them down. I didn't want those kinds of headaches; that's somebody else's problem. When I first started doing weddings, the hardest part of the business was figuring out which jobs to walk away from.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 10:07 AM   #27
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The example I gave was for a wedding that was scheduled to take place outdoors. Rain forced it indoors. There are countless situations like that; you can't always be in a situation to make sure the shooting conditions are optimal. Hence the great importance of a camera with decent low light ability and latitude. The Z1u is poor in both counts IMO. That's why I got rid of mine. I'm hoping the XL H1 is better, but I'm sure not going to spend $9k if it isn't.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 10:17 AM   #28
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Let me answer your question about the XL1 being better than XL2. Quite simply....yes. I am not talking about resolution though....simply it's ability to render rich accurate colors in "moderate" lighting. I found the XL2 had a fast drop-off in color when the lighting started to approach a less than perfect lighting condition. I watched countless videos I shot in the same room under the same lighting (albeit 2 years apart) and the XL1 had a brighter more robust image than the XL2 in this scenario. I am by no means making a statement that the XL1 is a better camera. Just that it is more forgiving in "moderate" lighting.

Last edited by Marty Hudzik; July 7th, 2006 at 10:56 AM.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 11:20 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik
I don't see how you would ever choose the HVX over the H1 for event work as it is very limited with P2 cards and storage.
I wouldn't have thought so either until I tried all the HD cameras side by side, and I suppose I'd think twice about that before spending good money on either the HVX200 or the XLH1. But the HVX200 is more convenient in terms of form factor and could be used as a widescreen DV camera until HD delivery becomes more commonplace, by which time P2 memory cost and capacity will have improved somewhat. And the HVX200 offers options the XLH1 doesn't in terms of recording formats and settings, which some people seem to be using to their advantage. Realistically I wouldn't buy either one just for wedding work due to the price, and I wouldn't get the XLH1 because of the ergonomics.

Lord have mercy, when is Canon going to release a reasonably priced HDV camera based on the GL1/GL2 body design?!? I might still be a Canon customer if they'd done that before I started my HD upgrade...
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Old July 7th, 2006, 11:39 AM   #30
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Kevin,
In addition to the issue that plague the HVX200 and storage for event work I still found it a horrible low light camera. I shot some great stuff while I had it. But all stuff shot in "event" environments was too dark and too noisy. And that is without ever using the gain. So even as a SD 16x9 camera it really is not well suited to an event.

I really think the Sony HDV cameras are the best price/performance for this market. While the H1 will do well in my opinion, it is priced outside of an event videographer budget (especially multicam shots) and really doesn't have a feature set geared to that market either. What I mean is the features that add to the cost of the H1 are generally not features that a wedding videographer is going to need anyway. So for the extra money there can be no perceived value added....if events are your mainstay that is.

Peace!
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