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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 September 17th, 2006, 02:03 PM   #1
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XL H1 Ideal for weddings?

Hi at the moment Im using 2 Sony pd170s to shoot weddings. Im thinking of getting a XL-h1 as I want to upgrade to HD. Do you think it will be suitable for weddings?
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Old September 17th, 2006, 02:11 PM   #2
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Remember, two smaller, lighter, cheaper Canon HD Cameras are on their way to the market right now. From having shot a movie on the XLH1, I can tell you lugging it around is no picnic, especially if you are used to the PD 150. I had to rent a heavy duty tripod b/c the H1 lens kept tipping over my Bogen. I advise at least waiting until the smaller units come out before taking the leap. I think, in general, buying a camera now is tricky, as the techological shift keeps leaning towards HD, yet the general consumer is (as always) slow to catch up.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 02:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Schreiber
Remember, two smaller, lighter, cheaper Canon HD Cameras are on their way to the market right now. From having shot a movie on the XLH1, I can tell you lugging it around is no picnic, especially if you are used to the PD 150. I had to rent a heavy duty tripod b/c the H1 lens kept tipping over my Bogen. I advise at least waiting until the smaller units come out before taking the leap. I think, in general, buying a camera now is tricky, as the techological shift keeps leaning towards HD, yet the general consumer is (as always) slow to catch up.

Thanks Brad

Thats a good point, those cameras do look interesting.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 04:30 PM   #4
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There are already smaller, lighter, cheaper HDV cams available from Sony. The big difference between the XLH1 and the others is ergonomics. The XLH1 is a shoulder mount cam. Personally I prefer the shoulder mount especially in run and gun type situations. My hands are on the controls where they belong. From my point of view the big drawback of the XLH1 for weddings is the price. If you need 2 (or even 3) cameras then it's unlikely you would go with XLH1s. Having said that I do weddings and I have gone with the XLH1.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 07:13 PM   #5
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The comment about the pros going for the HD and everyone else staying behind is very relevant in my opinion.

However, keep in mind that the XL H1 has great SD output, all the nice features of the XL2 IIRC...

-Derek
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Old September 17th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #6
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Doug hit the nail on the head. There's more than just resolution (which it has penty), yours is a question about useability and being able to adapt in changing, often unpredicatable environments. I use an XL1s and it's also forward heavy and similiar to handling as the H1, but can be managed with practice and the right shoulder rig (varizoom has a few good ones).

I've done a few weddings, for friends and family, but mostly corporate training stuff, and I'm constantly on the go.

I've tried smaller handycam sized units and I quickly missed the external manual controls. Even so, when the day's shoot was done, my sore shoulders were replaced with frustration. Many times I didn't get the shots I wanted due to a lack of these external controls.

You have to be in shape for the XL series. The weight also tames much of the shake you'd get from smaller/lighter cams. In the case of smaller cams, I would resort to weighing them down to get similiar performance, especially when following someone. I don't care how good the stabilization, if I didn't add a ten pound tripod and carry it that way, the image was simply unwatchable.

The other issue, though an unfair one, is in the looks department. The XL series of camera's command much attention and lend credit towards earning higher fees. I had this happen with an HC1 vs. XL1s. Only when I added a three point shoulder rig, a light, a shotgun mic and an 6" LCD did the HC1 command the same respect from a stripped down XL1s. In fact, when I had both camera's along for a shoot, and I pulled out the XL1s, I'd hear comments like: "Uh-Oh, he's getting serious.." (When in fact, the HC1 had 2.5x the resolution).

I thought long and hard about getting two Z1U's, but opted out for an H1 (can't wait for the approval). Yes it's a beast, but I can't afford to miss a good shoot, and if I have to continue on being a pack mule, then so be it. The client wouldn't bother with an excuse.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 01:07 AM   #7
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Stephen,

I have an H1 and don't consider myself a wedding shooter. In fact I was going out of my way to avoid it. I did shoot a family wedding a couple of weeks ago with the H1 and was simply blown away by the images.

I first battled stark, harsh lighting out in the mid afternoon sun. Then beautiful filtered light during photos, then went to +12db at times during the reception. The H1 shot so well in all conditions, I actually thought about shooting more weddings. I shot HDV and d/converted to SD and was still mighty impressed with the images.

As mentioned the 'pro look', the external controls, the OIS, the shoulder mount, HDV masters, native 16:9, etc., all lend themselves to a great wedding cam.

I guess it depends on your budget, but I think if you plan well and can shoot well, you can shoot a great wedding on a single cam. Or the new Canon HD's would make a great B-cam. Even at $1k per shoot, it doesn't take long to pay for a 10k cam that will take you years into the future.

As far as HD goes, the practical workflow for lower end (weddings) productions is still evolving. At this point, I wouldn't go HD if I was only thinking about shooting weddings. The HD masters though are good to have for when HD workflow streamlines. HD also means high debt.

In the meantime, for DVD viewing, the downconvert from HDV still provides awesome results.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 01:32 AM   #8
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Xl H1 for weddings

`As mentioned the 'pro look', the external controls, the OIS, the shoulder mount, HDV masters, native 16:9, etc., all lend themselves to a great wedding cam. `


Thanks for all your replies.

I agree the look of the camera helps in projecting a `pro` image!

I think I will aim to get the H1 as the main camera and one of the smaller cameras as a secondary cam when available in November.

PS Wish I registered as Steve Vallis, I feel that I am being told off by my mum when you reply!
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Old September 18th, 2006, 07:47 AM   #9
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I tested an XL-H1 and wasn't impressed with it for event videography purposes, partly because of its awkward front-heavy design and for other reasons including the high price. The XH-A1 and XH-G1 sound more promising to me and show that Canon has figured out some of the shortcomings of their GL1/GL2 series, like lack of XLR inputs. I'd recommend waiting until those models are shipping in a few weeks before making a purchasing decision for an HD camera.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #10
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Kevin I hate to appear ungrateful I realize that you did those tests for no reward, but the clips you have posted and the conclusions you draw are not very useful.
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Old September 19th, 2006, 01:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Schreiber
Remember, two smaller, lighter, cheaper Canon HD Cameras are on their way to the market right now. From having shot a movie on the XLH1, I can tell you lugging it around is no picnic, especially if you are used to the PD 150. I had to rent a heavy duty tripod b/c the H1 lens kept tipping over my Bogen. I advise at least waiting until the smaller units come out before taking the leap. I think, in general, buying a camera now is tricky, as the techological shift keeps leaning towards HD, yet the general consumer is (as always) slow to catch up.
What he said...

BUT...
if ur shooting weddings with a H1, u may as well get an EF adapter with a couple of prime lenses... take advantage of the fact that you can use otehr lenses and u wotn be wasting ur money.. BUT a cheaper option... for tape acquisiton is the A1...

fr me now, its how useful i can make teh H1 to take advantage of all its featurs, as i certainly dont need SDI...

I was thinkin about the HVX as it offers true slowmotion, but P2 is really slow at coming out and for longform.. p2, just doesnt cut it..
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Old September 27th, 2006, 01:01 PM   #12
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Pete nailed it. The XLH1 is not ideal for weddings because you are paying for some features you don't necessarily need. But as most XLH1 owners would tell you under $40K the XLH1 is the best camera for wedding video on the market. Nothing under $10K even comes close.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 12:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Bennett
Kevin I hate to appear ungrateful I realize that you did those tests for no reward, but the clips you have posted and the conclusions you draw are not very useful.
If you're referring to my camera comparion web page, I never got around to posting a detailed summary of my conclusions. The main thing I learned from testing several cameras is that differences in the way the cameras handle and operate may be as important in choosing between them as differences in image quality, at least for cameras in the same technological class (e.g. HD or SD).

As far as the XL-H1 in particular is concerned, I found it to be impractical to hand hold for any useful length of time, and I don't like the lack of a proper LCD panel. Factor in the steep price and I can't see recommending this camera for shooting weddings, especially now that the smaller and less expensive Canons are about to ship. I also found the XL-H1 image to be much grainier than Sony HDV in dim lighting, but it's debatable which is more useful in that context. Once the Canon XL-A1 and Sony V1U are both shipping we'll see which one is favored more by event videographers; either one should be fine when used properly with respect for each camera's unique characteristics.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 10:50 AM   #14
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used it for a wedding this past year.

i think it's a GREAT cam for anything really... but the captures are nice. and it is damned heavy!!! make sure you are in shape for this so image won't shake.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Yi Fong Yu
used it for a wedding this past year.

i think it's a GREAT cam for anything really... but the captures are nice. and it is damned heavy!!! make sure you are in shape for this so image won't shake.
I agree it is heavy but I find it harder to use "handycam" shaped cameras even if they are lighter. Even thought it is heavy I have found that to eliminate shake. More mass equals more stable.

I have found myself getting equally tired holding a DVX100 or VX2000 out in front of me. It is a different muscle group that fatigues but it still happens.

IMHO.
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