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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 October 28th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #1
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XL H1 field focusing

As I near the time I'll have to make a camera decision for my first HD project, I was wondering what most XL H1 owners are using in the field to get the sharpest focus. My HD project is strictly corporate in nature with shots being done in warehouses and factories. I can't imagine dragging a 19" or 21" monitor with me, but what about the small Marshall HD monitors? Or the Canon B&W viewfinder?

No matter what camera I buy, I figure this is relevant information. I've heard that HD focusing makes SD focusing seem like a walk in the park!

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Stuart
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Old October 28th, 2006, 03:22 PM   #2
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I'm probably in the minority on this one, but I don't seem to have a problem focusing with the standard viewfinder. I think it depends on the type of work you are doing, and how much focus "pulling" you are trying to do, but for a typical lockdown type of environment, the standard viewfinder is adequate, although you may feel a larger monitor makes you feel better. I've done a lot of testing, focusing thru the viewfinder and then verifying on a 23" lcd, and I've literally never been "off" focus.

The peaking feature is helpful, as is the magnification. You could also consider a smaller SD monitor if it's just for focus confirmation, I've done this on several location shoots, and it's worked just fine.

Barry
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Old October 28th, 2006, 09:49 PM   #3
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I agree with Barry, I've never had trouble with the standard VF. I don't like it, but I am able to hit focus with it. The auto focus is also quite good and doesn't pulse as my previous XL have. I do have the 7 inch Marshall HD and it is nice to be able to confirm focus with it. Barry
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Old October 29th, 2006, 05:12 AM   #4
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I don't have problems with focus thanks to the peaking it's pretty easy. but exposure, contrast and color are way off, those things are why I don't like being without a monitor if i can avoid it,
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Old October 29th, 2006, 09:15 AM   #5
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Thanks for your replies. I will add the Marshall monitor to my equipment list - no matter which camera I buy. Overall, I lean towards the XL H1 based on image, flexibility, capability, and cost. My other options are the XDCAM HD (330 - still a LOT of money and no lens included) or the fixed lens Canons. Having started in this business with an XL-1 (had one of the first 100 units), I know its benefits.

Stuart
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Old October 29th, 2006, 01:26 PM   #6
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Stuart.. FYI - just saw a short piece intercutting XDCAM footage with H1, results were pretty seamless all-in-all.. They WERE shot at entirely different locations and subject matter, but still, for the money the Canon holds it own...

(I know someone will ask - Canon was w/ the 20x, recorded HDV to tape - don't know how the edit was handled other than it was FCP - I watched it on a 42" Panasonic plasma played from HDCAM deck)...

As for focusing - I have groused numerous times about the finder - what I do is leave peaking on all the time because I'm usually shooting fast, it's easy to switch back and forth though..

As mentioned above, big problem with the finder is estimating what the image is going to be like on tape, because even after meticulously adjusting the finder with a monitor, there are still some situations where it is difficult - particularly low key light - I'm talking about exposure (relative to mood), not focus...
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Old October 29th, 2006, 07:48 PM   #7
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Thanks Steve. I'm hoping to attend either the HD Expo this week or the DV Expo in a couple of weeks to see all of these cameras at once. I'm leaning towards the DV Expo due to all the extra exhibitors, sessions, and attendance. Plus, airfare to LA from Chicago is HIGH on short notice! That kinda' puts the HD Expo on the "maybe next year" list!

Stuart
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