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Old October 21st, 2006, 11:26 AM   #1
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Panasonic DVX100b or Canon XH-A1?

Hello people,

While looking for a camera I've narrowed it down to either the DVX100b or the XH-A1. I can get the DVX100b NOW for about 2700 euro's or the XH-A1 when it's available for somewhere in between 3400 / 3600 euro's.

As far as I can see, both camera's share the same major features, but of course the XH-A1 is a widescreen 16x9 High Definition camera which gives much more resolution and the DVX100b loses some in 16x9 mode...

The "problem" is that (most) of my final output is just a normal DVD in 16x9 aspect ratio.

So the question arises: "How much better wil the downscaled 16x9 footage from the XH-A1 versus the DVX100b look?" If it's just a little bit sharper (meaning my mother wouldn't even notice if I didn't tell), then I'd rather save 900 euro's. Maybe there are some comparision pictures / video's somewhere?

Secondly: I suppose both camera's (aside from the resolution) give comparible image quality regarding low light, colour and dynamic range etc. However if they don't, that'd be something i'd really like to hear!

Thnx in advance,
Bram
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Old October 21st, 2006, 01:42 PM   #2
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If your main thing is 16:9, why not look at the Canon XL2? It's standard definition but has 16:9 chips, and also 24p. It's in the same price range as the DVX100b.
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Old October 21st, 2006, 03:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
If your main thing is 16:9, why not look at the Canon XL2? It's standard definition but has 16:9 chips, and also 24p. It's in the same price range as the DVX100b.
I second what Bill is saying. I had two DVX cameras before moving to the XL2. Not only will the XL2 give you way more detail in 16:9, it produces a noticeably cleaner picture. If you want to produce widescreen DVDs, the DVX will disappoint IMHO - not because it's standard def, but because of the 4:3 chips and noise in shadow areas. The XL2 is no better than the DVX in low light, but you can apply 6db of gain without killing the picture, which you can't do with the DVX. For me the DVX was insufferable because of noise, but this doesn't seem to bother everyone.

If I were buying a camera now though, I'd go with the A1. The iris ring on the lens is a nice addition, as is the LCD screen, and of course you've got the ability to shoot HD. But if your main purpose is producing DVDs, I wouldn't bother downrezing from HD. Shooting 16:9 SD in the A1 will produce a much sharper image than the DVX... not that your mum will notice.
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Old October 21st, 2006, 05:17 PM   #4
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Thnx both for the advice!

For some reason the XL-2 retails here for the same price as for the XH-A1!

So for the same amount of money I can get high definition, a wider wide angle and the same or better overal image quality (I suppose).

In the past I used a XL-1s and a XL-2, but I didn't really like the front-heavyness and not having a flipout LCD. Count to that that I'm currently not very pleased with the not-so-wide wide angle on my VX2000 (and the XL-2 isn't better in that respect)

Of course one can switch to the wide-angle lens for the XL-2, but that sets me back several hundred euro's! (I just don't have the money for that) And not including the 20x stock lens makes up for that, but that limits me to 3x zoom!

So choosing between A1 and XL-2 is a simple one: That would be the A1. But I can get the DVX100b for less money... which on the other side gives me no true 16x9, more grain and no high definition...
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Old October 21st, 2006, 05:50 PM   #5
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It's really no contest, except for a minor price difference.
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Old October 21st, 2006, 06:02 PM   #6
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If the money is critical, of course get the camera you can really afford. But assuming the following points are ones you find worthwhile, my thought is that the XH A1 would be your best value for dollar -- sorry, Euro -- of the three cameras:
- much greater flexibility of shooting in HD for final SD (ability to pan-n-scan, and although others have had opposing results, I've found that XL H1 HDV footage looks better on DVD than my XL2's footage).
- being able to archive your footage in HD for future use
- really great feature set of the XH A1 (instant AF, massive custom preset capability, etc, etc.).
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