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Old December 9th, 2007, 01:38 AM   #1456
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Sony Z1, V1

I've been shooting on a Sony Z1 lately and it handles low light beautifully. The curves can be tweaked to look quite cinematic and the autofocus drastically outperforms the Canon XL series. I love it, but I'd rather have a Panasonic HVX 200 with a few GB of P2 cards, but for a lower budget I really recommend the Sony HD Z1 and V1 lines.
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Old December 9th, 2007, 11:55 AM   #1457
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If I need a lowlight camera with good sharp video I always grab a VX 2100 ...those are still great DV cameras to use. I'm still blown away by this old camera and how sensitive it is to light.

Not the widest angle lens on it but its good for anything else.
I shot a tv pilot with it back in Jan 07 and only had to bump it to 3 db under street lights....and these were not the brightest lights.

I used the xl H1 this weekend outside and in one bar scene. Still testing on it.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 02:23 PM   #1458
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Hey,

For the past 18 months I have been using Canon XM2's and a XL2 to make some promotional videos. Although the XL2 is an impressive camera I found myself more fond of the XM2. I liked the way it was no bells and whistles.

With myself soon to be without a camera (the ones I have been using were owned by the people I had been making the videos for) I am looking to buy a new camera. My maximum budget would be around the 2000 mark and am wanting something in the same style of the XM2 but with HDV. Am I right in thinking the XH-A1 is as close as I am going to come to getting what I want, or is there something else around that I could pick up?
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 02:29 PM   #1459
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You'd not go wrong by choosing the XH-A1 in my view. Its hot competitor is the Sony V1 but it's dearer and has smaller (CMOS) chips. You're spending a lot of money, so I'd get to grips with them both before you hand over the sweaty lolly. And read the reviews where all the little twinkly menu options come to light.

tom.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 02:35 PM   #1460
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Wow, that was a quick reply! Thanks :D

I will certainly be trying to get my hands on the camera's mentioned before I part with any cash and have been reading some of the good reviews on them. The only problem being that not many places around me seem to actually stock these sort of camera's so I want to know two or three that I can try and track down and have a go at.

What I guess I was trying to get at, was whether the A1 had the same sort of feel and interface as the XM2. It had a no nonscence approach that I really liked. Could it be seen as a pretend XM3 (if you know what I mean?) :)
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 02:46 PM   #1461
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The XH-A1 as an XM3? Not really James. It's a complete redesign and rethink and better in every single way. You may find that Canon have had to move away from the 'no nonsense approach' just to keep up, and the XH will keep you digging in that multi-layered menu for days. By comparison the XM you could figure out in 20 minutes.

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Old January 8th, 2008, 02:45 PM   #1462
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Greetings all,

I am in the process of planning my first ever project incorporating video. Up until this point, I have worked exclusively with 35mm and DLSR's for projects as a nature and wildlife photographer. I am now in the planning stages for an upcoming project incorporating video with still photography. Essentially, I will be documenting the work of a plant ecologist as he studies the effects of global warming on the tree canopy of Costa Rica's Monteverde Cloud Forest. My job will be to take his work and through photography and video, create 5 mini curriculums that will be used in classrooms across the US and Costa Rica to promote whole ecosystem conservation.

I am a bit of a perfectionist and always want things to be in the highest quality possible even if I am not going to be distributing on Blu-Ray or HDDVD or the like. Probably, this will be distributed either through internet downloads or via a DVD for a very minimal charge (likely just shipping). So for that, I probably don't need to shoot in HD but I really want to. We also are planning a traveling exhibition of photos and I would love to include some video as well and I want that to be displayed in HD. Basically, I have decided to shoot in HD and then convert to SD before burning DVDs.

So, the camera will be used to film some documentary style work. Lots of interviews with scientists and researchers. Lots of work in the tree canopy. That means I am going to be dangling from a fixed rope in the air, no tripod. I love time lapse work and will be doing some of that but using a DSLR for that portion of things.

I was looking at the Canon XH A1 as the quality looked great and had many professional features. My hope is this will essentially be a pilot project and I can continue projects like these with researchers around the world in the next few years. So, while the XH A1 is probably overkill now, I am looking for something that will serve me well for say the next 5 years.

One thing I am worried about is handholding some of the smaller cameras. I am used to a heavy professional DSLR and feel like smaller cameras are much more difficult to hold steady.

So, what would you all recommend. If it matters, I will be doing all my editing work on a MacPro with Premiere CS3.

I look forward to hearing your opinions.

Best,
Drew
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Old January 8th, 2008, 03:20 PM   #1463
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Drew...

I spent 24 years as a newspaper photographer so I know where you're coming from.

One of the problems with the smaller video cameras such as the HVX-200, PD-170, etc. is that they're small.

The short bodies means it's easy to pitch, roll and yaw them with the slightest movements. And that translates into unwanted shake.

What I do is attach the cameras to a shoulder mount. What a shoulder stock does for a rifle is the same that a shoulder mount does for a camera. It makes the whole assembly longer and easier to stabilize. Having it braced against your body is also a big help.

As a test, get a stick that's about 2 feet long and duct tape it to the back of the camera. Brace the stick against your shoulder and you'll see that you'll be able to get a much steadier picture since the camera's now much more resistant to any unwanted tilting or rolling.

The only drawback is that it's less compact.

As for cameras, it's a pretty wide field out there. I'm currently using a Panasonic HVX-200 but am in the process of getting a Sony EX1 to do long-form work.

Good luck with your adventure!
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Old January 8th, 2008, 08:12 PM   #1464
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Drew,

The XH A1 will serve you well, and the 20x zoom might come in handy, but I've found it difficult to hand hold for long periods of time, and that's standing in the street, let alone hanging from the tree tops. Unfortunately, the XH-A1's weight distribution makes it tilt very easily to one side, this is more so than most other camcorders in it's range. I've found the Sony V1U ergonomically much easier to hand hold. Get some hands on to get a feel to see if it works best for you.

For my XH A1, I use a DV MultiRigPro which solves the hand holding problems very nicely. With a quick release adapter, it's very easy to switch between handheld and tripod.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 11:33 PM   #1465
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Canon XH A1 (Sell or Keep) vs. Sony PMW-EX1

I am a newbie with multimedia production experience who splurged and bought a camcorder beyond my comprehension - XH A1. I don't care for its quality because I see a lot of dull grays and lack of sharpness. The Sony EX1 is an option, but it's obviously more. People I've spoken with have told me to get more familiar with the XH A1, and I will. However, is the EX1 comparable other than the way it records to flash drive media and the fact that it records in High Def only? Would you sell your A1 for the EX1?
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Old January 9th, 2008, 03:42 AM   #1466
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Hopping from an XH-A1 to an EX1 is a good move, not the least of which is demonstrated by the fact that the EX1 is more than double the price. Hopping from the A1 to the Z1 wouldn't be worth while simply because both cameras are after the same client.

I'm slightly concerned that you view the Canon as giving poor blacks and poor sharpness Lillian, but somewhat relieved to read that it's 'beyond your comprehension'. Once you comprehend it, the high quality will reveal itself.

Same goes for the EX1. It won't give you better quality out of the box. It takes a great deal of time, effort and understanding.

tom.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 12:08 PM   #1467
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Fulton View Post
I was looking at the Canon XH A1 as the quality looked great and had many professional features...
Another option is the Z1U from Sony - while some wildlife videographers go for the Canon A1 mostly for the x20 zoom, depending on your other requirements the Z1 might be a viable alternative for you. The Z1 has better low light capabilities, in handheld situations is more stable (one of your concerns), and since it sounds like you will work all over the place, shooting in PAL might be a requirement at some point. Either way, you won't go wrong with either one of these cams.

Keep us posted on your decision!
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Old January 9th, 2008, 04:30 PM   #1468
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Where's the $1300?

Please tell me the differences in performance capabilities that account for the big difference in prices between these 2 camcorders ....

Sony HVR-V1P HDV 1080i/1080p, 50i/25p PAL @ $4700

Canon XH-A1 3CCD HDV, 1080i, 16:9, 20x Lens, 24f Mode @ $3400
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Old January 9th, 2008, 07:46 PM   #1469
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............

Last edited by Kelly Goden; January 10th, 2008 at 11:04 AM. Reason: got info
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Old January 10th, 2008, 03:58 AM   #1470
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Brendan, the Canon XH-A1 and G1 straddle (pricewise) the two Sonys - the FX7 and the V1, so you can see how far your money goes. I think you really need to have both cameras on the table in front of you to come to an informed decision, but of one thing you can be sure - whichever camp you join you'll not be disappointed.

Me? I rather like the Canon's bigger chips and more wide-angle to start with, and the money saved can go towards a stack of tape this high. It's shooting lots and lots of footage that will get you the best results, regardless of which camera you choose.

tom.
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