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Old June 8th, 2009, 01:37 PM   #1
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XL2 or XHA1 for this situation?

I am starting work on a film project and am looking at two packages at the same price, there is an XL2 package which includes a high quality wide angle and telephoto lens, and there is an XHA1 which is just the camera.

I would be getting a merlin steadicam as well

This is for a creative film project. The appeal of the XL2 package is that the different lens could give lots of different creative options. The XHA1 however is near HD and 'newer' and I heard works better with steadicam? ... so they would be around the same price, which is more ideal? Thanks for any tips!
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Old June 8th, 2009, 02:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Andres Bant View Post
The XHA1 however is near HD
The xh-a1 is an HD camera, not "near" HD. In terms of shaprness compared to a xl2 it's superior but depends on your deliveryformat. If that would be dvd then it would be a close match but in HD on a full hd tv or if you want to deliver to the web the xl2 can't keep up.

Since the xl2 is on your list I expect that HD is not a "must", one benefit the xh-a1 would have then is that you import your hdv footage in a dv project enabling you to do pan, tilt and zoom motions and still have the same resolution as you would have with a xl2. Especially with "creative" projects that might be a benefit.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply,

do you think the wide angle / telephoto lens makes the XL2 better for a creative movie project?

I heard that the XHA1 is better for hand held style / steadicam movies though, which is what mine will primarily be.

but there is also the issue of size, the size of the HD video would probably be much higher and require stronger resources to edit than the DV footage. I am using a macbook pro with 2 GB ram..., is that something to consider as well?
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Old June 8th, 2009, 04:11 PM   #4
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Do you think the wide angle / telephoto lens makes the XL2 better for a creative movie project?
Most cameras can take wide-angle adapter lenses, that while they technically may not be as good as dedicated optics, still produce quite good images.

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but there is also the issue of size, the size of the HD video would probably be much higher and require stronger resources to edit than the DV footage. I am using a macbook pro with 2 GB ram..., is that something to consider as well?
Editing HDV isn't that big a jump over editing DV. It's when you get into AVCHD ( which utilizes much higher compression ), that you will definitely need a kick-ass computer.

If you could live with AVCHD compression, I would also look at the Panasonic AG-HMC150 camera, which is in the same price range as the Canon cameras you are already considering.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 04:11 PM   #5
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If you plan to use a Merlin, you want the XH-A1. The XH-A1 is still near the top range of the Merlin, but it works well.

With the XH-A1 you can shoot HDV and then capture (letting the camera downcovert) in SD, so your editor is not a factor in the choice. And you will have HD footage if you want it. The XH-A1 can also shoot in SD, but in my opinion it's better to shoot HDV and downcovert out of the camera if you want a full SD workflow.

The XH-A1 is the best of it's class (the opinion of many) and it has an excellent lens. It is quite wide on its own and is 20x telephoto. The Canon wide angle converter (fully zoom thru) is excellent and gives an even wider angle. The lightweight .6x Century wide angle adapter (partially zoom thru) is also an excellent addition and is light enough to use when the camera is on a Merlin.

You don't want an outdated SD camera with a number of problems of its own.

The XH-A1 has many, many users, and any kind of practical advice and help you need is just around the corner.

For what you are doing, without a doubt, in my opinion, you want the XH-A1.

Last edited by Jack Walker; June 9th, 2009 at 11:40 AM.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #6
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I have to second what Jack has said. the xha1 is a better choice and even if you are using sd at the moment hd is the future and the camer's life will be longer.

I still use my xl2 in low light for sd projects!!! changable lenses is great but they cost a lot of money too!!
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Old June 9th, 2009, 11:11 AM   #7
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I tried using an XL1s on a glidecam and found it nearly impossible to manage, I don't know if it would be any different with a steadicam.
The A1 was a big improvement over the XL1s I thought.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 11:43 AM   #8
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do you think the wide angle / telephoto lens makes the XL2 better for a creative movie project?
Crank 2, recently in theaters, was shot with the XH-A1
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Old June 17th, 2009, 05:42 PM   #9
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...if you want to deliver to the web the Xl2 can't keep up...
I can't see how footage delivered to the web needs to be HD; or why a top-grade SD cam such as an XL2 'can't keep up'.

If the end product is to be shown only on top-class HD screens or broadcast in HD, then of course go for the HDV model with fixed lens, but otherwise there wouldn't be any difference and the XL2 package would offer far more flexibilty.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #10
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double post

Last edited by Noa Put; June 17th, 2009 at 06:38 PM.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 05:54 PM   #11
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I can't see how footage delivered to the web needs to be HD; or why a top-grade SD cam such as an XL2 'can't keep up'.
You don't need a top class HD screen to see the difference between SD and HD footage on the internet, just a plain lcd screen. If transcoded right SD can't compare to HD, mainly when it comes to sharpness of your image. xl2 footage can't give that "looking through a window" experience, even if it is top-grade SD.

Last edited by Noa Put; June 17th, 2009 at 06:45 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old June 17th, 2009, 06:14 PM   #12
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Unless you are using a pretty old monitor, your computer screen is at least capable of fully displaying 720p.

That said, services like Vimeo do compress the heck out of HD, to the point that image quality is actually somewhat comparable to very high quality SD. (Last I knew, they compressed HD to 1600kbps VP6.) Compare the best image quality you see on Vimeo, to what you get from a well mastered DVD, of a high quality movie from a major motion picture studio, played on your computer. Of course, if you log onto Vimeo and download the originally uploaded video files, they can blow away SD (good ones).
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Old June 17th, 2009, 06:21 PM   #13
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... image quality is actually somewhat comparable to very high quality SD...
Very true.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 06:43 PM   #14
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image quality is actually somewhat comparable to very high quality SD.
if someone can show me xl2 footage on the net that looks like h264 transcoded hd footage then I might believe this.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 07:49 PM   #15
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I don't think I've ever seen XL2 footage (and knew the source). Compare what you see on Vimeo though, to a good DVD movie, and there just isn't a whale of a lot of difference in quality (or effective resolution after compressing the video so hard). Vimeo uses VP6, but if you crush 720p footage (not to mention 1080p) at the same bitrate as Vimeo uses, with H.264, that will very noticeably degrade the image also. Try taking some HD footage, and transcode it with H.264 at 1.6mbps, and see the results.
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