First field impression of XL H1 in real conditions at DVinfo.net

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Old January 6th, 2006, 05:30 PM   #1
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First field impression of XL H1 in real conditions

I've now been filming real wildlife material with the XL H1 for some days near the arctic circle in Finland. The wheather has been cloudy and foggy, and the amount of light has been very limited.

At first, I spent time in a hide working with a good friend -a world wide well known professional in still photography. This colleague and friend of mine was very surprised when I showed him, what I had taken. He knew that his images(on Fuji film) are going to be blueish although he tried to compensate the conditions with several flashes. Having this in mind, he found the beautiful colors of XL H1 amazing, natural and vivid. And indeed, I was rather surprised myself. The outcome was very very pleasing; For example, both the white snow and the black feathers of woodpeckers had tones.

The main drawback I've noticed so far is the chromatic abberation in the wide angle end of the 20x lens. In filming white snow fields, there's occasionally either a magenta or greenish tone in the corner regions. Second, the XL H1 takes time to adjust. I spent three days adjusting the camera just before this trip, and still, I have not been able to get it completely right. Today, when everything appeared grey, I ended up having a brownish tint. For example, the slight brown tone of a Great owl appeared rather strong, and then had to spend another couple hours trying to adjust the camcorder. On the other hand, when I shot some landscapes of a river (without any brownish details), the snow, grey ice and black water all came out as they should have, and the dynamics of the gray tones was very appealing.

Third, don't know whether this is a drawback, but in the 25F mode the image is less sharp than the 50i mode. It's difficult to describe the difference in words, but anybody who has experience, will notice the difference. (In case of XL2 it was the other way around: The progressive image was sharper than the interlaced one.)

Finally, so far have not found any problems with the EF-adapter. But, should add, in Europe there's not yet 50i monitors available with 1080 vertical lines. For example, all the so called HD ready TV's have 720 lines due to the EBU standard. So, there is a chance one needed a HDV2 monitor to observe the difference between the standard lens and the EF-lenses. Still, on computer screens or on TV monitors I have not observed any problems.
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Old January 6th, 2006, 06:04 PM   #2
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Lauri, I must thank your for your input to these forums.

Have you tried any Nikkor ED lenses on your H1 (as this uses no extra glass with the converter)?

How much of an improvement in actual overall image quality have you noticed between the XL2 and the H1 for outdoor wildlife subjects?
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Old January 6th, 2006, 08:22 PM   #3
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Lauri,

It seems you are our only reliable "researcher" for outdoor video. It's a shame we have to grill you this way since Canon does not care. We do appreciate it. Back to Tony's comment, I too am awaiting a definitive answer between the XL2 and H1 using the same lens. What do you see on a SD tv, which most of the general public still owns? I am really interested what you find outdoors in good light with long lenses... the typical wildlife application. I can adjust just about anything in post, with the XL2, to look close to the X1 (dvd applications) except resolution. Using the same subject, same light, same lenses etc, what is the difference?
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Old January 7th, 2006, 02:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Taka
Back to Tony's comment, I too am awaiting a definitive answer between the XL2 and H1 using the same lens. What do you see on a SD tv, which most of the general public still owns? I am really interested what you find outdoors in good light with long lenses... the typical wildlife application.
Bill, Tony, let me first answer Tony: I have not tried Nikkor, for I have only Canon gear.

On before hand I also wondered how the XL H1 image will appear in ordinary SD tv, for that's how my programs are also going to be broadcasted. The answer is, the (PAL) SD is image just fine. Nothing to complain. Compared to XL2, the H1 footages are at least as sharp, colors are perhaps more vivid, and the noise level is very low. In short, XL H1 is a very good SD camera, and the new 20x lens is an improvement. I don't have the XL2 anymore, so not able to compare the two.

Outdoors in good light: It has been cloudy for some time, so have not had a chance to try. The Christmas day was bright, but at that time the adjustments of my XL H1 were off. (So, the winter scene footage on my webpages is only preliminary.) What I've seen so far, I believe the XL H1 and long lenses will produce just a wonderful image in good light. The color matrices is a helpful tool in adjusting the camera, and they do help in getting proper colors. But in lack of precise specifications, it takes an effort to fine adjust the camcorder.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 01:36 PM   #5
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I'm sure you know Lauri that there's a queue including me waiting for your next report, weather permitting of course.

In the meantime I'd love to know what EF lenses you find effective for long distances with XL H1 and any chance of a few sample wildlife shots with XL H1 on your website? Your recall of approximate distances from targets would also be helpful?
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Old January 27th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #6
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Brendan, thanks for your comment. I've been uptaken in making my living, but will try to provide you with the information you asked during the weekend.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #7
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Lauri,

Would it be possible to share some of your presets for the outdoor environment?
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Old January 28th, 2006, 02:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Taka
Would it be possible to share some of your presets for the outdoor environment?
Sure, there are no secrecies here. My basic settings are

GAM 1
KNE L
BLK M
PED 0
SET 0
SHP 0 or 1
HDF M
DHV 0
COR 0 or 1
NR1 off
NR2 off
CMX N
CPH -1
RGN 0
GGN 0
BGN 0
RGM -4
RBM 1
GRM -4
GBM 3
BRM 1
BGM 2

These presets seem to give in my XL H1 a neutral image. Settings GAM=1 and KNE=L are to manage with the white end. The bright tones become outdoors easily too bright.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 02:48 PM   #9
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Thank you Lauri

I hope your winter filming is going well. I will try your presets for my area. I live at Yellowstone National Park and last week I was lucky enough to video a Bobcat for 5 hours and yesterday a Great Gray owl captured 3 voles in deep snow ... very good stuff though took some adjusting with the sun rarely peeking through. Thanks again
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Old January 28th, 2006, 02:51 PM   #10
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Oh, for an XLH1 of my own !
And until I get one I'll moan & groan
But meanwhile, our Lauri, from Finland, our sage
Will show a test sequence upon his Homepage


Now wouldn't that be a lovely surprise when I get back to my pc in a week or so ...
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Old February 5th, 2006, 09:18 AM   #11
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There's now some material posted on my web pages taken on a bright daty with the XL H1, EF-adapter and the EF400mm lens. The 160 Mb file can be downloaded from

www.luontovideo.net/XLH1-25p-EF400mm.m2t

Haven't yet decided the question of a deck, neither that keen in using the camcorder as a deck, so hope you don't mind that some clips are not completely steady. To find the steady clips I should have winded the material back and forth. The colors are not completely right -interestingly enough each lens seems to call for its own custom presests- but hopefully for the time being the sample gives an idea of how the EF adapter works with the XL H1. Right now I'm uptaken with editing three programs.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 12:21 PM   #12
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Lauri

I downloaded your clip, which was only a little over 16 mb instead of 16o mb for some reason. Had to laugh when it played because the first thing I filmed when I received my XL H1 and stuck a ef 100-400 on it, was a spruce tree with snow all around it out my front window...lol. Looks like your wb was off a bit. If you need some more outdoor presets, let me know. The deck issue is a problem for me. Apparently I am getting conflicting reports in the Firestores compatibility with the XL H1, FCP5 and Quicktime. Will wait until April for all that to work out. In the meantime, I will collect my Hd filming winter scenes and wildlife for the next few months.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 04:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Taka
Looks like your wb was off a bit.
Yes, you are right. I observed two things yesterday. First, the EF400 needs different color correction than the standard 20x lens. Second, the manual adjustment of white balance is handy. Yesterday controlling the white balance was very difficult as there was simultaneously warm sunshine and cold blueish reflection of the sky.

After taking the shots and removing the bag around the camera -the real temperature was also really low around -25C, i.e. -13F- I made some experiments through the window and realized that the only way to get the white balance right is to set it manually.

Bill you mentioned at some point that you've been filming in Yellowstone. One of my dreams is to visit the national park at some point.

BTW, the file is 163 MB

Last edited by Lauri Kettunen; February 6th, 2006 at 09:29 AM.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 12:08 PM   #14
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The clip doesn't seem to download fully (It downloads for a while and then stops, and I only then get a few seconds of the snow scene if opened in VLC). Are Lauri's clip files fully downloading OK for others?
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Old February 6th, 2006, 12:38 PM   #15
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No luck here either, a couple of minutes into the download and the connection fails

Regards

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