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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 January 3rd, 2007, 12:04 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
A tiny piece of carefully placed black electrical tape should fix that.
I did that with gaffer's tape years ago on my XL1. Some things never change.

Steve, great review! Can you maybe put some video showing the flickering between the gain set up at 0dB and -3dB?

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Old January 3rd, 2007, 12:22 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
It's not as if you don't have a choice of viewfinders. The color LCD that comes with the XL H1 is a freebie. The monochrome CRT is a much better choice, and no more expensive than other EVFs of its type (it is after all a re-badged Ikegami unit).
Yeah, I am fortunate to have the B&W and have used it back from the XL1s days and used it 99%of the time with the XL2. I somehow don't think the Color VF is quite a freebie with the H1 though, but even if it were, it would have been nice if Canon would have upgraded it to match the camera and charged accordingly. I have not had the chance to work with the JVC or HVX, do they also suffer from poor VFs? As far as I know, you truly are stuck with those. But if they are suited for the task then...
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 12:46 AM   #18
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Matthew is right. One thing I like about most cameras is the ability to go black and white on the viewfinder and keep the LCD in color, so I can triple-check that everything's looking good. Of course, I'd prefer to use a calibrated monitor, but with run-and-gun style of shooting, it's impossible, so a great viewfinder and LCD are a strong asset.

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Old January 5th, 2007, 03:13 PM   #19
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Tascam HD P2 & XL-H1

Hi Steve,

I too have both... but have only had the xl-h1 for a relatively short time... one of the main reasons I bought is was that it was one of the only cameras I could (barely) afford that had LTCs, and I figured as I am trying to do some documentaries that are pretty heavily involved with music, 24 bits @ 192K would really add alot.

As I have so far only established that I can trigger the Tascam on and off with the LTCs, I now have to figure out what is "optimum" setting. As the Tascam offers you about a million permutations to trigger on LTCs, etc.... I was wondering if you had any standard settings you use..

As I don't have the Tascam in front of me at this moment, I can't really remember everything that is a choice, but was wondering a few things you could clue me in on..

(1) Basic Settings.. any whys? or just because it works...
(2) FCP - I've been digging.. I haven't found it if it exits yet, but knowing FC, I know it has too. Is there any automated way to sync up the tracks by dumping the Compact Flash and Video? I've gotta believe that there is some magic setting to make them all recognize and sync up with each other.
(3) Any general Cavetes or special knowledge you've gotten using these two devices?

Thanks!

Brian

BTW: Maybe you find it a bit anal.. but I bought this flexible rubber PC keyboard on ebay..cheap..don't remember.. Its great for putting text info to the tracks, and file naming in the field.. it rolls up pretty tight.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 07:43 PM   #20
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Brian: I wish I could help you out, but to be honest I let my soundman do it all... I will tell you that I'm not very techy, so we often use traditional syncing methods like a tap on the mike (as I've said before, I'm kinda an old dog)... I do leave my nose-mike on all the time for a sync reference as well...

I had TC go south on me once on a super16mm camera and have never been comfortable trusting it since... I recommend posting your question in the audio forum, there must be someone there much smarter than me...
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Old January 6th, 2007, 01:44 AM   #21
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[QUOTE=Chris Hurd]The color LCD that comes with the XL H1 is a freebie. QUOTE]

If it's true that there is no such thing as a free lunch, then there's certainly no such thing as a free viewfinder.

I'm with Matthew Wilson on this - the viewfinder is poor and given the price difference between the H1 and the XL2 I think that Canon should have provided something better.

Steve's point about the gain settings is also a good one. As he says it's not the end of the world, but it is irritating and confusing.
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Old January 6th, 2007, 10:06 AM   #22
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Brian: Forgot to mention, the other thing I regularly do when working double system is back-up the audio on the HDV tape.. We use the Tascam with a Shure mixer, which has two outputs - one goes to the deck and the other to a Lectrosonic wireless transmitter - that way I have the nose mike on CH1 for sync refernece and the wireless on CH2 in case I need it...

As I said above, I am often able to use the HDV recorded audio, but have the comfort of knowing that a higher quality version exists on the Tascam's flash cards...
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Old January 6th, 2007, 11:07 PM   #23
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6 months of great filming with XLH1

I'm Leon Lorenz wildlife filmmaker from British Columbia. I started filming in 1991 with the Canon L1 in Hi8, used the camera for 6 years in my spare time to produce volume 1 of my series. In 1998 I started filming full time with the XL1 to produce 5 more films ( vol.6 to be released in the spring ).In July I again went with Canon and am getting great results using the XLH1. I've shot about 50 hours of footage from the tiny water shrew to mountain grizzlies and I must say I am not disappointed with the camera. As with the XL1 I archive only the best footage. Using the Sony 25U deck for playback I firewire the best footage back into the camera on new Sony Digital Masters. I saved 5.5 hours from the 50 hours and never had one dropout using these tapes. Even in very cold weather -40 C. filming the bighorn sheep rut the camera performed. As on the XL1 I use Canon's 1.6X extender and Century Optics's 1.6X teleconverter and the .6X wide angle adapter for stunning results. This setup requires lens support rods.

Some things that I wish were better.

1. tape transport release switch can get bumped wearing gloves. Canon could you please move this to a better spot in future models.

2. Mic is no good for quiet recording areas for picking up bird songs etc. Easy to upgrade though.

3.Viewfinder could be better, though I'm used to it now. I find it very easy to get the proper exposure and focus. I use manual for everything and 120 is my favorite shutter speed. I double check everything with just the LCD, wish it was bigger.

It seems to be the best camera for me for now and I hope to produce a number of wildlife programs with it. I believe the HDV format is solid and hope it gets fully accepted into the broadcast world. The big full size cameras are too heavy for solo filming in the mountains for me when everything is carried on my back.

Thanks to Chris for this forum and the informative info that everyone has shared here. I came accross this site about a year ago and enjoy logging on when time permits.

Happy New Year Everyone,

Leon Lorenz
Filmmaker / Producer
www.wildlifevideos.ca
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Old January 6th, 2007, 11:28 PM   #24
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Leon,

Welcome, and be sure to check out this thread.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=144

It will be right up your alley, and I look forward to seeing some of your work. Love My XLH1 too!

Mike
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Old January 7th, 2007, 03:02 AM   #25
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Thanks Steve, nice to hear your feedback.

I also picked up a CANON XLH1 PAL over one year ago. ( We are mostly doing documentaries, commercials, corporate films and TV. )

We were always renting; Digibeta, XDCAM DVcam etc. But we felt that we sometimes and maybe often could use own gear to an advantage, and after intensive tests and lots of feedback from our great DVinfo community that have given me so much info and feedback, thanks. Chris Hurd you rule. We have used lots of DV cams in the past and they
worked good, but NO one could compare what we found in the XLH1.

Anyway, after great inputs from the DVinfo net, intensive comparing and reading between; the Canon XLH1, HVX200, JVC & Sony there was just one camera then that mached our needs. We needed a long telelens with good quality, changeable lenses and getting autofocus and O.I. stabilizer was a great bonus since itīs still a small and handy camera, and have become
really helpful. And just after a week we got the chance to test the HD-SDI output for two music videos with lots of keying. It worked great and the directors really wanted to compare the XLH1 with Sony Cinealta that we used before, and I can say they/ we where blown away!
That was like the extra bonus for us that comes with the cam. A really nice and good option.

Everything is relative; we felt we could not really compare this small cam with big cams like Digibeta and XDcam...or could we... so we did our tests and the XLH1 image quality impressed really. We saw new markets and possibilities right away...It was out of the box not better, but a cool and good alternative for sure, with good possibilities. Ok itīs always easy to start picking and looking for problems like; cam is front heavy, have bad VF etc; but instead we focus
on the picture quality for such a small camera; that is for me the only thing that counts in the end. Things the XLH1 was good at and concentrate on that. So the thing was to just get used to the handling as the productions just went on, and that was easy.

When we rent Digibeta cams etc. there is not always time for tweaking the pictures etc, we have to do that more in post. Ok you can tweak them too, but you need time and same type of cam, lens and cameraman etc. So we saw the possibilities to have a own cam with over 20 tweaks we could do with "Custom Presets" that we love and become really interested
and inspired by the challenge in getting a great picture from a small cam like the XLH1 than a average picture from a Digibeta for example that anyone can get. It was and still is a really fun challenge and it works both in DV, HDV and HD-SDI. Itīs a fast and easy working cam, easy to
travel with and really cheap compared to big ENG cams like a Digibeta, XDCAM etc.

The really good thing about the camera is also that it can be quiet small inside cars and tiny places and still look and work professional, and you can easy build out to a more professional kit; as Steve we also use the Chrosziel 3x3 and 4x4 with rods and they work great as on bigger cams. So we are really stoked by this little/ big XLH1, a small camera with heavy outputs that fit our needs perfect. A really good alternative to the big cams.

Thanks!
Carl

Last edited by Carl Ny; January 8th, 2007 at 02:42 AM.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 10:29 AM   #26
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Carl: I haven't had the chance to try the HD SDI thing yet, I hope to be able to do that sometime soon... (I have an hour doc coming up soon that will have some reenactments that I will shoot with the Redrock M2, and SDI would be nice for that).

I make documentaries and commercials (mostly doc style) and handhold most of the time, so tape is the obvious recording method for me, although I will add a Firestore eventually... But with no dropouts, I haven't been motivated to do that yet...

As long as we're wishing for changes on future models - One small relatively insignificant thing I would like to see changed...

The White-Balance button is right next to the SLEEP button.. when working fast, which I do often, it is easy to accidentally put the camera to sleep when balancing.. I've avoided the problem by using the manual WB dial - and have I put a piece of gaffer's tape over the SLEEP button - but it would be nice to have it gone... I mean, I never use it anyway...
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Old January 7th, 2007, 12:17 PM   #27
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Steve; the HD-SDI is really nice,
and so is the HDV quality that we use most of the time.
A lot easier to get a good looking filmic look right out of the XLH1 compared to some big cams.
A big advantage! Looks really really good thanks to the custom presets and tweaks.
When showing HDV footage on a Cinema display or HD reference monitor the clients just
get blown away ( cool for that price of a cam ).
As you said, the market really have to make HD-DVD/ Blueray etc options faster!

Yes a Firestore would be convinient and nice, we also have to try that.
Good info about the whitebalance, never thought of that, thanks!
Future will bring us even better ones...until then we got a really good one...
Imagine a small portable/ on-cam HD-SDI drive solution with sound ;)) ..RED maybe

All the best, will be interesting to hear what you think about the XLh1-M2 adapter combo.

Carl

Last edited by Carl Ny; January 7th, 2007 at 01:36 PM.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 07:26 PM   #28
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Thanks for the Wecome, Mike. For just having dial-up for internet service which is slower than molasses in January in my part of the country, I'm unable to watch or send a video clip to anyone. To view my work and play clips of my series please check my website.

All the Best,

Leon Lorenz
www.wildlifevideos.ca
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 03:06 PM   #29
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EVF delay

After using the XL H1 for 13 months discovered today there is a rather considerable delay in the EVF of XL H1. Somebody raised the issue in this forum quite soon after the camera came out, but at the time, if I remember correctly, it did not raise much attention.

Here's how it can be easily observed. Make a pendulum from some wire, say about 0.5 m/1.5 feet long having a massive object in the other end. Then set the pedulum to swing, and follow the EVF and the pendulum simultaneously. I suspect many will get surprised, if they make such an experiment.

The delay can then be rather easily estimated. First count say ten cycles and measure the time how long it takes and approximate the time of one cycle. Then, estimate the difference in the angle the EVF lags behind the pendulum and calculate the ratio between this difference and the angle the pendulum swings. Once this is multiplied with the cycle time, an estimate of the delay is obtained. If I made it right, the delay is around 0.1-0.2 seconds.

Last edited by Lauri Kettunen; January 24th, 2007 at 02:08 AM.
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