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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 August 1st, 2006, 12:09 PM   #1
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help me renew my faith in the H1

Just recently converted to the H1 from HVX200. I made my decision strictly on the image quality of the H1 and the cost effectiveness of the tapes compared to P2. I had the stretch myself to the max to buy it. But, it had the image that was worth the cash and nothing under 10K could touch it.

Enter Canon with a $3999 model that on paper has an identical imaging system. All of a sudden my recent purchase of the H1 seems overly inflated. In fact I am down right irritated. I love the image it produces but I am not overly fond of the size of it or of viewfinder. Hauling this huge camera around has limitations but I was willing to put up with them for the payoff off a hi res image.

Now I am seeing I could have saved 5K by waiting. I can't see any features the H1 has that the A1 does not except the interchangable lens and the Jack-Pack which I do not use. I currently own the 16x manual lens and use it frequently but still feel that at the end of the day the new camera is going to potentially create images every bit as good as the H1 for less than half the price. To save that much cash I could probably live without the 16x manual.

So.....can you mention any other pluses of the H1 that merit keeping it over selling it and saving money buying one of the new ones?

Any of the manual controls lost into menus? Any features missing?

Thanks!
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Old August 1st, 2006, 12:15 PM   #2
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Well Marty, at least with the H1 you'll be able to make use of the forthcoming 6X HD lens with an actual iris ring.

You know better than any of us what you intend to shoot and how you intend to shoot it. Those cameras won't be available for a couple of months and if you need it NOW, that won't do.

If you don't want to hang on to the H1, you know the classifieds are just a mouse click away and I am sure you won't have any problems finding a buyer if you offer a good deal.

-gb-
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Old August 1st, 2006, 12:21 PM   #3
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There are many reasons to choose the camera that we each do. Even with these new less expensive cameras, I would still choose the XLH1, and I may get one soon. The use of the 16x manual, and the decent shots with the 3x, and new lens coming is what I feel are more important than a cheap price.

Mike
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Old August 1st, 2006, 12:24 PM   #4
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Greg,
My fear is that the new camera will not actually live up to the image quality of the H1. Then I will be PO'ed that I parted with the H1. But based on the specs it should be everybit as good....the only real question is will the lens be as good.

I do need to shoot a few things in the next 3 months....so I need the camera. But to have identical image quality at less than half the price is it tempting to go that route.

I notice the gain control on the A1/G1 are like the panasonics. L-M-H.....the H1 is better there for instant control....still not an overwelming reason to spend 5K extra though. But at least it is something.

Marty
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Old August 1st, 2006, 12:42 PM   #5
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I have held off buying one because I wanted to see how things will shake out. At this point, I will probably hold off and get the XLH1s which would seem close on the horizon with a few more image controls and audio embedded HD-SDI.

Another thing about the XLH is the Letus35XL if that interests you. It is among the only 35mm adapters that you dont have to use the stock lens.

ash =o)
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Old August 1st, 2006, 12:52 PM   #6
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If you are a working pro, you maybe can have the camera paid back in a couple of months, with what you earn from the things you shoot with it.

If not, it's maybe a good idea to sell the H1 and go for the cheaper versions.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 01:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathieu Ghekiere
If you are a working pro, you maybe can have the camera paid back in a couple of months, with what you earn from the things you shoot with it.

If not, it's maybe a good idea to sell the H1 and go for the cheaper versions.
I do make money using it but not $9000 in 2 months! I work a fulltime job (editing and animations) and do most of my shooting as a side job for extra income and for kicks. I occasionally rent it to the place I work when we need to shoot footage and make a few bucks here and there.

It is hard to get it out of your head that you could have the exact same image quality at less than half.....less than half I tell you! If...it turns out to be true.

Peace!
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Old August 1st, 2006, 01:24 PM   #8
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Yes, I can perfectly imagine your anger, believe me.

Maybe you could just sit down once, write some figures up (what you will earn, how much you would ask for your used H1, cost of the new camera...) and then make your decision.

Best regards,
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Old August 1st, 2006, 01:27 PM   #9
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Hey Marty,

Be sure to let me know if you decide to part with it.

Mike
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Old August 1st, 2006, 02:05 PM   #10
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Mr. Marty..

I seem to remember you having similar angst over the XL2 a few years ago (and god knows I still love you for it!!). Your ability to say what we're all feeling brings a calmness to my world. That said, my take on your dilemma is somewhat different, as I see the opportunity with the A1, to get essentially the same camera as the H1 in a few months to use as a B camera or Backup for half the price.

I recently lost ALL my video cameras to some scumbuckets who unlawfully entered my studio under the cover of night...but lucky me I have insurance and now I get to go HD (I ordered my h1 today). The problem for me is going from 4 cameras to one. The A1 offers me the hope of rebuilding my arsenal sometime down the road.

As far as your concern about image quality on the A1. I think it will be certainly the same...if not a little better. I've always felt that the Gl2 lens beat the one on the xl1s, and that the freedom from designing around an interchangeable system certainly could produce a superior result in a design like the GL / XH. AND I think canon might be trying to say something when they label the lens on the new cameras (not to mention the new wide angle) as an L series model..."Canon reserves the L-Series designation for its highest quality photographic lenses"...a mark notably missing from the stock XL 20x.

I'm interested though in something else you said, and I respect you because I know you probably tore your heart out when you made the switch from the HVX to the H1. I'm wondering what made you jump over the edge. To me the difference is a choice between a camera with superior color and workflow (the hvx) to one with better handling and resolution (the h1)....but to be honest there was no clear winner to me...I essentially flipped a coin cause I couldn't handle the stress. I guess what I want to know is, what about the HVX made you want to switch to the H1?...must have been something.

Barry
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Old August 1st, 2006, 03:13 PM   #11
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Barry,
Yes I remember our talks about the XL2 and still to this day I can honestly say the XL2 never did "it" for me. It was missing something. I had switched over from a DVX100 and other than higher res 16x9 the XL2 fell short. It's colors were muted compared to the DVX and the low light abilities were much weaker. I was very disapointed in the performance. But I kept the XL2 for 14 months before selling it.

Then I bought the HVX200 because it was supposed to be a better low light camera with less noise and a better codec. I figured it would perform like the DVX only 16x9 and HD. However I found that the picture was undewhelming from a resolution POV. Watching on my HD set showed it was better than SD but didn't look anywhere near the HD I was seeing on broadcast. Add to that it responds very poorly to average light. It was noisy and grainy and just looked like a low cost camera in non studio or daylight shooting. It did look very nice when shots were lit...maybe even overlit. But I don't always have the ability to light everything I shoot.

Add to this the P2 card workflow was a huge hinderance to me. It was expensive, the workflow was convoluted at first, there was no built in backup and it was expensive..:) I would have accepted all of the P2 issues that I had if.....if the image had blown me away. But it didn't. It left me wanting more.

I called a few places to get prices on an H1 (to see if it was even an option) and I found a place that sent me a loaner to test for a week. And I did. And I fell in love. The image was so much sharper and so much cleaner than the HVX. I did side by sides with both cameras and the H1 always came out on top. The only thing the HVX200 did a little better was the gamma curves....but I fix that in post anyway. The H1 seemed to be a better low light camera than the XL2 had been and maybe even better than the DVX100....let alone the HVX.

So I sold the HVX200......saved a little cash and bought the H1. I had to put $1500 on my credit card too. So I am in a little debt to have it.

But that was fine. I was loving everything I was shooting. Whenever I watched footage I was still going "wow!" over how great it looked. It had that HD pop that you get when watching Discovery HD or HDnet. It just was so obvious that it was HD.....did I mention it looked like real HD?? :)

So now I am in debt a little, I have a camera that I pushed hard to get and strapped my already limited budget. But hey....that's alright....I can live with the stress cause this baby is best image producing machine out there for under $10K.......

well.....you know what happened next. Canon swept in and created a better mouse trap and is charging peanuts for it compared to H1.

This weekend I went and shot a Hot Air Balloon event and got some amazing, amazing HD footage. I watched it several times and I still go "wow!". But now I think I could have gotten that same "wow" from a camera that is $5000 less. The end viewer would never be able to tell I was shooting on "handycam" type device versus the H1 shoulder style.....the $4000 camera should produce as good or better imagery than the $9000 camera does.

ahhh......the dilema. What's worse is I thought I was making a safe choice as the H1 had been out for 7-8 months when I bought it. My recent track record has been to buy unproven cameras as soon as they are released and I end up finding all the glitches and bugs.

Oh well!
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Old August 1st, 2006, 03:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
Hey Marty,

Be sure to let me know if you decide to part with it.

Mike
What? My firestore wasn't enough??

:)

Honestly it is because of stretching myself so thin buying the XL-H1 that I needed to part with the Firestore in the first place.....Had to get some of my credit card debt eliminated so I could close on our new house. I just closed on it Friday so now I can start spending like a fiend again!
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Old August 1st, 2006, 04:26 PM   #13
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Marty for the record you wouldn't have to make back the entire cost of the camera in two months, just enough to cover the depretion cost and any interest you may have as a result of it. assuming 18% interest and a depretion value of 1000 bucks (maybe 1500) you'd only have ot make 1.5-2k off the camera in the next 3 months. that's 500 to 750 a month, or roughly 2 or 3 rental days a month to break even. then you can sell yoru XL-H1 to mike, and buy the A1. NO harm no fowl, and use the difference to buy a mattebox and followfocus. I'd say you're in pretty good shape with this thing if you really decide you want the other camera instead.

Hey that was post #800!
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Old August 1st, 2006, 04:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik
Barry,

Then I bought the HVX200 because it was supposed to be a better low light camera with less noise and a better codec. I figured it would perform like the DVX only 16x9 and HD. However I found that the picture was undewhelming from a resolution POV. Watching on my HD set showed it was better than SD but didn't look anywhere near the HD I was seeing on broadcast. Add to that it responds very poorly to average light. It was noisy and grainy and just looked like a low cost camera in non studio or daylight shooting. It did look very nice when shots were lit...maybe even overlit. But I don't always have the ability to light everything I shoot.
marty...thanks for your candor on this...I've been unable to try an HVX for myself, but it often worried me that 90% of the footage from it that I saw posted was sized at DV quality, and the other 10% was grainy, and or, soft. Other full sized samples appeared to have excessive noise reduction, and an "uprez-ed" quality that I couldn't handle if it were my footage. For now, I'm going to bite on the XLH1, but I still have worries about its chromatic abberation and skintones. I take heart that the "man who is happy with no camera" has, for now, given it his seal of approval.

as for your dilemma...I'd wait till the A1 is out and you get a chance to play with it...the value of the h1 won't be seriously affected due to it's arrival (I think canon played it smart with pricing on the g1, avoiding any serious price pressure on the flagship.)


cheers

Barry

Last edited by Barry Goyette; August 1st, 2006 at 05:30 PM.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 04:54 PM   #15
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Hi Marty,

Don't feel sorry with one of the very best cameras in your hands!
There will always be cheaper electronic stuff waiting around the corner ...

I do not regret today I bought a HP $200 calculator 1978 even if I can get one cheap competitor now for $4. That 1978 HP 25C is still working and have outlasted several other cheap calculators in the office!

You have the top model. And you can use the x1.6 adapter or get super tele with the EF lenses which can never be used on the fixed lens cameras. Or better wide with the coming x6. Or 100 mm macro lenses for not disturbing butterflies ...

But if you cannot make any money on it now sell it to somebody who needs this camera now and wait for one of the cheaper models.

I have never regret I bought something expensive. But I do regret when I bought something cheap due to a low price or a sales pitch.


Good luck! /Johan
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