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Old October 9th, 2009, 01:18 AM   #1
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EX1 or XL_H1A

Hi,

I do wedding video productions with my partner, we are used to XL1s, PC, Canopus and Premiere 1.5. We are changing to HD but after doing lots of research and investigation we got more confuse, which one to buy?

Canon XL-H1A or EX1? Considering the price and quality, size, etc. is XL-H1a a worth while camera? We already purchased one XL-H1a but we need the second one now, should we stay with it or buy EX1 as second camera? Is Canon XL-H1a a good camera, why it is not as popular as XL1 used to be? Is Canon pro video camera series losing it?

When I talk to Canon suppliers they say definitely XL-H1a, Sony will say EX1 and JVC is talking about the JVC 200 or 700 one of them.

Can some one please tell me all advantages and disadvantages of both cameras to me also if there is a better choice rather than these two!

Please help
Regards
Mitchell

Sydney Wedding Videos and DVDs - Icon Film Productions

Last edited by Mitchell Yazdani; October 9th, 2009 at 01:51 AM.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 02:56 AM   #2
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Plenty of info on both on the forum, you could do a search.
EX1 Pros: Sensational image quality, progressive and interlaced modes, under and over cranking 1-60fps, LCD screen is excellent (better than the mega bucks Sony and Panny models!), built in lens very good quality and has proper focus, zoom and iris controls (nice)
Cons: Viewfinder crap, rolling shutter can be problem with motion, and definitely with flash guns (though I gather there was a firmware fix to help this?)

XL-H1 Pros: Decent image but not on par with EX1, interchangeable lenses, standard lens good quality but has the stupid continuously rotaing focus, crappy zoom ring and iris on the camera body
Cons: ND filters on lens rather than body so if change lenses can't use them, crappy viewfinder

Also massive difference is one is tape the other is cards

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Old October 9th, 2009, 08:17 AM   #3
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Quote: but has the stupid continuously rotaing focus, crappy zoom ring and iris on the camera body"

Not true. On the XLH1a, the focus and zoom rings are improved a lot and the lens now include an iris ring.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 08:56 AM   #4
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So the lens has a stop at each end rather than just rotating? I've never seen an H1A, so my apologies.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 09:03 AM   #5
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They don't have stops, but as Jean-Philippe says, they are *significantly* improved compared to previous versions. Plus the iris ring is on the lens barrel, as he has already pointed out.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 10:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean-Philippe Archibald View Post
Quote: ...On the XLH1a, the focus and zoom rings are improved a lot and the lens now include an iris ring.
Not only with the XL 20X HD lens. The Canon XL HD 6X lens also has an iris ring on the barrel; and if you want iris f/stops clicks on a ring that locks at widest and smallest aperture without rotating, you can also choose the Canon FD and Nikkor lenses via a simple adapter.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 02:40 PM   #7
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I would think that since you have an XL H1A, getting another one to match would be best.

I currently own the XL H1S and once had the EX1, and both are excellent cameras. I found the Xl\L image to be very good, and have stayed with the line since.

I think for workflow, it would be best to stay with the XL.
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Old October 10th, 2009, 05:59 PM   #8
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I had an XL-2 for SD and loved it, crappy focus rings and all. For my HD camera I went with the Sony EX3 because of its form factor and its image quality. I do not do weddings.

If I were to do weddings I would probably go with the Canon XL-H1a instead. The EX3 has it in every category except for what really matters in weddings. I know, I don't do weddings so how do I know?

Weddings are one off never to be able to be re-shot never can fail situations. In this case it is my humble opinion that tape still has it over solid state in that tape is its own backup. Capture the event on tape and then capture from the tape for editing and final production. Put that inexpensive tape on the shelf and know it is good for many years without issues. The same can't be said about solid state yet and archiving it is definitely not as easy, or it isn't as cheap.

The next way the XL-H1a is going to be better is in representation of black synthetc fabrics, such as are liberally used in weddings. Use an EX camera without a filter and you will have lots of unhappy shoots. There is a filter just released that is not yet in the retail channels that will correct the black problem, but it will not fit underneath a wide angle adapter. So if you want proper blacks all the time without buying a matte box and rails and a filter for the matte box to correct for the blacks, the XL-2 wins again.

It has already been mentioned that flashes from cameras will look bad on an EX camera. I seem to remember flashes going off at weddings all the time. There might be post production fixes for this, but it's extra work. That extra work won't earn you a dime.

The flash problem comes from a rolling shutter effect. This rolling shutter effect will also show up in fast pans and many unplanned shots, again common in wedding shots when trying to capture a moment in time. XL-2 wins again I think.

If I were to pick up wedding work, it would be an XL-H1a over an EX1 or EX3. That doesn't mean I would give up my EX3 though!

The EX3 is superior in image quality in ways other than those I have already mentioned. Is this image quality superiority more important than the EX3's problems I have mentioned? I think no. Go with the XL-H1a.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 02:55 AM   #9
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I believe the "black fabric problem" is caused by infared light affecting the sensor. So visible black is not always recorded as black b/c infared light is stimulating the sensor. I know the Red camera also has this problem.

There are a number of filter soultions for this, but none seem to be perfect, FWICT.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 04:07 AM   #10
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First time i've heard about the blacks issue. Will have to look into it.

I don't know why people make a big deal about the backup stuff. Sure you shoot on tape and digitise and there's a backup (tape) as well as the digital material. But after you've cut you ditch the digital copy right? So there's a DVD but one copy of the original footage.

If you shoot SxS and copy down the footage to a raided hard drive it's rock solid. Then backup to either hard drive or DVD/Bluray disks and there's your backup.

Tape stock is what....$10 or so ranging to $40 per hour-ish. Not a real cheap option for backup if you are keeping those tapes forever.

For a couple of hundred I can have 1 Terrabyte of raided backup or $30 for a huge spindel of DVD's. For the cost of 1 tape I can have 10 backups.

But I agree with another poster that if you've already got a tape workflow and a Canon then get another Canon for ease and consistency.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 08:04 PM   #11
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Perhaps I should have said "tape is its own archive" rather than backup. Optical media is a rather poor archiving media as far as its track record shows. RAID is OK, but it also is not as foolproof as tape IMHO.

Please keep in mind that I am an EX3 owner and love the work flow of the memory cards.

Hand me an EX3 and an XL-H1A to shoot a wedding and I will use the XL-H1A. No problems with black fabrics, almost foolproof storage, and no rolling shutter and flash problems. It just all adds up in favor of the XL-H1A for weddings.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 09:44 PM   #12
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Thank all of you, very informative information, it will help me make a decision easier.

One of the great advantages of tape for wedding is that most times we do two weddings or possibly three wedding on a weekends, so by the time we get home after a Sat wedding is 1:00AM Sunday, now to go to the computer and back up all of the 4 hours footage to hard drive (twice, to be sure for back up), and then go to the next wedding in a few hours time is very hard.

We have to store the tape or files for as long as it takes the bride and groom to get their act together and supply us with their music and all relevant information so we start the post productions, some couple take 3-4 years to come back to us with the relevant information.

With tape we just dump the tapes in the safe and forget about them until the couple decide that they want their video.

By the way is it me just imagining or no, Canon XL-H1 series are not as popular, I even noticed Cheaper Canons, XH ones more popular, is it just price factor or they are better than XL-H1?

I can get XL-H1a around $7500 and EX1 for $9500 including a small card, which one is better value for money.

Thank you
Mitchell

Last edited by Mitchell Yazdani; October 12th, 2009 at 01:18 AM.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 04:07 AM   #13
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The XL-H1 is kind in no man's land for many people. The imaging block is the same as what's found on the XH-A1 and G1. And the A1 is less than half the price, and I believe has a slightly more advanced autofocusing system.

Most HDV 1/3 chip shooters don't need timecode, HD-SDI or think they need interchageable lenses, so they opt for the A1. The form factor is obviously different.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 04:33 AM   #14
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EX1 for sure. After using an XL-H1 a couple of times, and owning an XH-A1, I am EXTREMELY happy that I chose the EX1 as my workhorse. Incredibly superior to the XL-H1 and XH-A1 in my opinion.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #15
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Well, I am well confused now.

What bothers me is that Canon has got the technology to come up with such a good video in the DSLR cameras (5D MII) but they can not use that knowledge and technology in their pro video cameras. Wondering if they do deserve our support.

Cheers
Mitchell
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