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-   -   XH A1 vs. XH A1s (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xh-series-hdv-camcorders/138944-xh-a1-vs-xh-a1s.html)

Brian Lakusta February 4th, 2009 09:14 PM


Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 1006709)
Keep in mind that the S models are replacements, not additions.

So it's really a matter of choosing a used XH A1 vs. a new XH A1S.

Yes, my thoughts of this idea are for the place like B&H that still has the XH A1 in stock.

OK, got an idea for people.

Checking some accessories out I seen that Vistek is selling the XH A1s for $3879 Canadian.

With the current conversion it works out to $3162.40 US funds ( your visa exchange might be a bit different )

3,879 CAD
(CAD = Canadian dollar)
Date: USD = U.S. dollar (noon) Exchange rate:
04 Feb 2009 3,162.40 USD 0.8153 (1.2266)

So, that price works out to $150 more then the XH A1 price in the USA

Here is the link

Canon XH A1S HDV Camcorder Kit Pro Camcorders 3238B001 HDV10 - Vistek Canada Product Detail

Shipping looks like $50 Canadian so about $40 USD.

Canadian and US Shipping Rates and Frequently Asked Questions - Vistek Camera Store - Toronto, Calgary Canada

Vistek is a big company and I have bought from their local store in my city.

Some may want to maybe order here and save $800 USD on the camera.


Curt Fargo February 5th, 2009 02:32 AM

Not a bad price as most everyone here in the US is still sitting on "A1"s so they won't discount the "A1s"s. I got a great deal from Sammy's but even after freight that is $200 better than I did.

Shaun Walker May 22nd, 2009 01:24 PM

No hdmi?!?!
I'm waiting for a memory-card-based but hopefully not ACVHD version of the A1s ... OR just getting the different but probably great little JVC HM100 because of the wonderful, modern, digital-age features ... Tapeless, convert-less .mov recording to cheap SDHC cards, HDMI out (hellooooo Canon?!? It is the 21st century!!!), and the smaller size will be nice sometimes.

Ah, how I long for next year's 20x zoom high-quality memory card prosumer cams ...

Taky Cheung May 31st, 2009 08:39 PM

After reading all these, I'm sold. For what I did (wedding videography), the ability to turn on/off OIS with a button, better sound, and the Zoom/Focus enhancement is enough for me to get one.

I'm going to get the XH-A1s. I am currently using XH-A1 as the main cam and HV30 as B-Roll. Now will use the XH-A1s as main cam and XH-A1 as second. Will sell my HV30 afterwards :)

Chris Hurd May 31st, 2009 10:06 PM

I think you should keep your HV30!

Taky Cheung May 31st, 2009 10:29 PM

Chris, I have two HV30s right now. One is for B-Roll and second one on Steadicam. I think I can sell one and keep one. What would you be reason you recommend me to keep the HV30? I know HV30 price been up lately.. that's odd!

Rodger Smith June 2nd, 2009 10:52 PM


Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 1151563)
I think you should keep your HV30!

As long as the light is good the HV30 makes great images but when the light goes to pooh this camera will make images that is down in the low class DV image because the AGC cranks the image gain up to maybe somewhere in the -50's or so, maybe even -100db I mean this HV30 will practically make light out of no light BUT wow, how about grain? Looks like an old VHS with low light. Now if anyone can tell me now to turn the AGC "O-F-F" I'd really be appreciative. Moreover, I'd like to know how to turn it O-F-F on the XH-A1 . . and not by turning the switch off but by defeating the switch.

Anyone know how to do these things?

Also, on the whole of it, I'm not going to update my camera to the A1s even though the price has seemingly dropped to 3399 or 3499 I think I saw over at B&H just cuz who knows what will come out this fall. As for the better light supposedly of the HVX200A and HMC150 sensors . . hmmmm, had 'em and the XH-A1 does a better job for me in low light than they did.

Taky Cheung June 2nd, 2009 11:04 PM

There is a light trick (or cell phone trick) to do with HV30 to lock down gain. HV30 isn't good in low light condition but by locking the gain with the light trick, you got a clean video in low light.

Do a search or google on light trick or cell phone trick, you shall see. You also need a mini-SD card to do the trick too.

XH-A1 has a dedicated button to turn on/off gain and have 3 level switch to set gain db level.

You can get Live cash back 5% to buy Xh-A1s at JR.com (a legit reseller) end up $3329.

Shaun Walker June 2nd, 2009 11:27 PM

How do you guys like the main controls (especially for zooming with lens rings and main rocker, iris ring, focus ring/assist?) on the A1 series?

What about versus the Sony Zs and Vs?

For the record, my JVC HM100:

-- zoom rocker is too sloppy/imprecise/slack-laden for my demanding self ... and it's clearly a multi-stepped zoom speed control, too, not closer to or actually more finely variable

-- iris has a tiny little push-dial in the back, haven't tried it much yet at all but I don't like the concept and location

-- manual focus ring (it switches between focus and good zoom control, which is nice due to the first gripe) is quite nice and the focus assist is truly great ... it turns the viewfinder and/or LCD to gray and then color-highlights sharp edges in the scene as they appear (you can choose from 3 colors)

-- metal little gain switch is great (Lo/Med/Hi each user selectable 0-18db) and likewise for the adjacent White Balance w/ 3 Presets or two plue something else (you can choose daylight/3200/etc. or full auto for one button, too)

... and video/color/w.balance and audio quality and control is truly superb, though I still haven't seen it away from a computer screen or SDTV.

Bruce Pelley January 9th, 2011 11:08 PM

A1 or A1s better?
This may seem on the surface to be bordering on dumb, however, before I invest in excess of 3 grand for the camcorder and a few basic accessories, I want to make an informed decision and be satisfied with it. I bought my last camcorder (a GL-2) real close to 5 years ago, so itís about time I upgraded!

This query is specifically addressed to those who either:

1) Had an Canon XH-A1 at some time then moved up to an A1s or:
2) May currently still have both models in their arsenal.

Iím very seriously considering buying an A1S in the near future.

1) Do the models have the same optics, share the exact same lens and picture quality?
2) Is there any discernable difference particularly in regards to the sharpness between the 2 models one way or the other?
3) Did the A1s model perhaps improve on the A1ís low light performance?

I only bring this up because (rightly or wrongly), several places online scored the A1 as somewhat superior in both the low light and the sharpness categories.

To me that doesnít quite make sense as I would certainly hope the A1ís successor was equal or better in those 2 key areas. From experience, I know the A1 can be quite sharp!

Any feedback, opinions or comments are welcome.

Do you see the price of the A1s possibly going down once the XF-100/105 and the XA10 are released?

Thanks in advance.

Renny Hayes January 11th, 2011 05:48 PM

Regarding the "Scores" given to the A1: people hold older cameras to a lower standard. If you go to Slashcam, you'll find that the XH-A1 subjectively supposedly outperforms the Xf300 resolution-wise. Clearly, it doesn't, but the A1 wasn't up against such sharp competition in its hay day.

I own neither camera, but I can tell you that there's an unreasonable number of threads out there asking for the differences between the A1 and A1s. The majority are cosmetic, but there are some things that may interest you:

Split Internal/external recording with 4 audio tracks (only on the A1s)
Shotgun mic holder improved on A1s
6-pin firewire on A1s (the 4-pin on the A1 is known to break easily, and cost $220 in labor to replace, plus $40 in materials)

This is just off the top of my head. There are much more comprehensive lists out there. Just remember that the $3000 A1s is still in production, and pretty expensive compared to the A1, which is easily found for under $2000. Personally, I don't believe the minor upgrade or "in production" status warrant such a huge price gap.

Bruce Pelley January 11th, 2011 06:29 PM

Buying an A1 used could mean using a unit which has seen heavy use and potentially over 4 years old and more since its release was in 2006.

Also, my wife would not agree to this purchase buying one used as one never knows how the camera was treated,maintained and cared for.

It's a real shame Canon decided to drop the long standing 20x lens and pedal backwards to a 10x.

Although they tried to compensate a little and close the gap to some extent by making the TL-H58 tele- converter.

Allan Black January 11th, 2011 10:16 PM

I've got the A1 and A1s. Canon added improvements to the A1s based on user reports with the A1. If you Google A1s improvements on the A1 .. you'll eventually read them all. It's all good :)

A couple of handy ones are, you can assign the OIS to a Custom Function button on the body and the A1s has audio limiters which take away the necessity of glancing at the audio meters every few seconds. And the A1s comes with the improved hand strap supports, you'd have to send a new A1 in to the dealer for the free upgrade.

IMO the more expensive price for the A1s is worth it and obviously when the time comes to trade up, you'll get more. HTH


Chris Hurd January 12th, 2011 12:00 AM


Originally Posted by Bruce Pelley (Post 1606603)
It's a real shame Canon decided to drop the long standing 20x lens and pedal backwards to a 10x.

Sorry but this statement doesn't make sense. If you're referring to the XF100, Canon has not "pedaled backwards" and they haven't dropped anything. It's a simple matter of camera design. The XF100 is a compact version of the XF300. Since it's compact, it has a shorter lens barrel and therefore a smaller zoom ratio. If you want a long zoom on a small body then you're looking at smaller chips (think 1/4" like the GL2). Better to keep the 1/3" chips. If you want a long zoom, you've got it -- 18x on the XF300. Choose the right tool for the right job...


Originally Posted by Allan Black (Post 1606655)
Canon added improvements to the A1s based on user reports with the A1.

The A1S was a direct result of this thread:


-- that particular discussion was the primary driver used by Canon to update the XH A1 / G1.

Bruce Pelley January 12th, 2011 02:34 PM


Thanks for pointing out the sticky on the "wishlist" which directly contributed to the A1s existence.

Canon, going way back to the GL-1's and 2's (which I've owned or still own) consistently made it one of the specs through & until the XH series to incorporate 20x lens which was appreciated as I shoot from a considerable distance away in a large sanctuary from the "action".

The XF-300/305 duo are expensive and several times the cost of the A1 or A1s. I can't jusify their cost and believe I'm not alone in regards to that thought.

The 3 newer models probably will be very nice but have yet to be released, tested ,evaluated and proved.

A 10 powered lens does not offer the range needed.

I would hope that Canon chooses to revive the lens strength at some point at a more affordable pricepoint.

Allan and Renny,

Thanks for pointing out those upgrades/features.

The audio limiters heads up was especially appreciated as smooth, level and consistent audio has been an issue.

Is it worthwhile to get the handstrap upgrade or could it be assumed that a brand new one hopefully would already have it?


Allan Black January 15th, 2011 07:35 PM

Hi Bruce,

yep the A1s audio limiters while not Sound Devices quality, are great and the biggest improvement for the work I do. I can run the audio levels slightly higher and not worry (too much) about whether I'll get overload distortion or tape hiss. But they can be a trap and you can't become complacent and totally rely on them, you STILL have to check your audio levels regularly.

From the start A1 models came with less robust hand strap supports and some users reported their front one was breaking off under stress .. so Canon offered a free upgrade but they had to send their A1 into their nearest Canon repairer. I'd say the offer is still good, but call first.

My A1 still has the old supports and examining them, they'd need a good thump to break the front one off.

If I was looking to buy a used A1 and the seller said he'd had the supports replaced because the front one snapped off, that's probably an indication of how he looked after the cam .. and I'd pass.

Later in the XH-A1 production run new A1 models DID come with those new supports, and ALL the A1S models have them.

The HV40 and the A1s are the last DV TAPE cams by Canon .. and a couple of real beauties to go out on.

Cheers to the guys and gals at the plant :)

Bruce Pelley January 15th, 2011 11:40 PM

Hi Allan,

I've had the new A1s starter kit for just over a day.The audio improvements certainly are nice & comprehensive compare to the A1. There were suggestions that I in essence dump Canon (their "issue" was brand loyalty) and move on to Sony however my experience with the A1 was very positive and the transistion to its sucessor should be relatively smooth although I'll post some questions here in the near future.

My main problem was I live in a part of the world where I have to rely on online advice,reviews and anyhing other informations I can gather and glean from the web as their are no stores that stock pro/pro consumer camcorders nearby.

Even though its not 1920 by 1080 and doesn't have solid state built-in I can live with that!

Someday I may pick-up a data recorder and soon a onboard light.

Allan Black January 17th, 2011 02:46 PM

Cool Bruce .. have fun :)


Matthew Amirkhani January 17th, 2011 08:16 PM

Hey Bruce,

Glad you got the A1s. Enjoy it.


Christopher Icha February 7th, 2011 04:47 AM

A1s Standby switch question
I read somewhere that the A1s doesn't have the "standby switch" next to the record button, like the original A1. Is this true? If this is the case, why hasn't anyone mentioned it in the comparisons? It's quite a big deal for me as I use this switch extensively. I've been trying to look at pictures of an A1s but that part always seems to be blocked by the jackpack.

Gerald Webb August 24th, 2011 04:39 AM

Re: XH A1 vs. XH A1s
hey people,
Just weighing up the purchase of an XHA1s against an XF100, always wanted the XH and passed a cpl of times now for different cams. The XF 100 is making me think twice except I really wanted the 20x zoom,
Is there a way to get the same length of zoom out of the XF100 for live events?
A zoom lens that wont trash the quality of the footage maybe? how much is that worth roughly?
Thoughts and opinions really appreciated.

Rodger Smith August 24th, 2011 08:47 AM

Re: XH A1 vs. XH A1s
i know for me i can say this . . we use the xha1 and xha1s in over 100 productions annually (155 to 180 a year) and we have NO PROBLEM with them. the long zoom is a godsend, the quality of the picture in low light is amazing, even when it fails in light its still awesome compared to the panasonic and sony cameras we had plus there are no flash issues like we had with the sony's.

so all in all, the canon's have been awesome to us. we got rid of all our sony and panasonic's and got the cheaper feeling but superior imaging xha1 and xha1s. in fact, we liked the canon lenses in these cameras so much and the simplicity and functionality of the canon line so much we replaced BOTH our nikon pro still digitals with canon 5dm2 and canon 7d. :-)

Gerald Webb August 24th, 2011 02:22 PM

Re: XH A1 vs. XH A1s
thanks Rodger,
Now I have another choice, I found a Sony Z5 with minimal hrs on it for about the same price as what I can get the XH for.... I hate decisions lol.
Is the rolling shutter of the Sony really an issue in the higher end cams?
I know I see it in my old HV20 with strobes and camera flashes, is it the same right through the range?
Anyone capturing to hard drive or flash with an XH.... can you?
Ive got more googling to do :)

Rodger Smith August 24th, 2011 03:43 PM

Re: XH A1 vs. XH A1s
our experience with the z7u was not just a yes on the rolling shutter but an emphatic "yes." it was so bad that at times on events and special personality shoots, we would have to rent a camera (which btw happened to be a canon xha1) because when a governor or senator shoot there number of flashes will make the video just totally horrible. also, if you happen to do skate boarding or follow moving objects much, the "jello" or "wobble" is atrocious and actually funny. the first time i saw it i laughed so hard everyone thought i was watching a comedy video and when they realized it was "our" video the looks on their faces was worth recording :-)

Gerald Webb August 24th, 2011 03:59 PM

Re: XH A1 vs. XH A1s
Wow, disappointing ,
So I suppose it's the same with Z5 "P", which is what I'm looking at.

Rodger Smith August 24th, 2011 04:32 PM

Re: XH A1 vs. XH A1s
i couldn't say for sure, but it would be my guess since other than the removable lens on the z7u i think it and the z5 are basically the same camera and from what i understand its really a cmos issue. i know it was the rentals that sold us on the canon xha1 camera. we had panasonic dvx100b's and hvx200's the latter being replaced with the sony z7u because of low light issues with the hvx200's AND file size with the p2 .mxf files.

so when we rented the xha1's we just began renting them more and more as we went to 4 and 5 camera shoots and next we knew we wanted one camera to do it all, which naturally put us with the z7u or xha1 and so we sold off the panny's and bought the canon's for sd and hd and found that we loved the look and feel of the xha1 and when we discovered the presets . . WOW. we then fine tuned the camera to our own vivid looks and a tv one and an outdoor one and that was it, we were sold on them 100% and have no intention of replacing them anyways soon at all.

and as i said, we finally started using the canon lens with pristine quality hanging on the front of the xha1, we found that same lens in a still lens and in the process just slowly sold off all the nikon (which i had been a nikon only photographer for over 30 years) and went with the canon 5d mk 2 and 7d.

btw . . . regarding the 5dm2 and 7d if you are only shooting short videos, the two latter cameras are a great camera but if the venue is really strong video then by all means don't even consider them, they are not really video cameras they are still digial cams with video capability. great for movies but lousy for tv and wedding multicam shoots . . therein . . stick with video cameras and by and large you can't go wrong with an xha1 or preferably the xha1s just because its newer and the zoom and focus at the same time is NICE.

i think the biggest selling point for me on this price range camera is 3 fully functional rings, zoom, focus, and shutter, that is wonderful and a powerful pro feature. also, the "s" model they all work at the same time on the non "s" they do not and the audio set up on the "s" is WAY better, not just a little but a LOT. however, one feature they took OFF the "s" model that ticked me, was the standby switch at the record button. we used those religiously and now i have 'em with and without standby's . . perhaps the model number having the "s" means NO standby :-)

EDIT . . BTW if you want a strong review of the camera from someone that uses it for over 100 productions annually, just PM me and I can chat by phone if you like. im here to help others. ive been in the business for a LONG time and slowly working my way out, i help to make all the great videographers i can :-)

Gerald Webb August 25th, 2011 04:52 AM

Re: XH A1 vs. XH A1s
Thanks for all the help Rodger,
I ended up getting a great deal on the Z5, couldnt knock it back.
Was hard researching this, for every one that loves the cmos sensors, there is another person that cant stand them.
I hope i'm not back here crying about it in a month, lol.
thanks again for all your input.

Rodger Smith August 25th, 2011 09:11 AM

Re: XH A1 vs. XH A1s
no problem, we do what we gotta do. i know for me, if i had to go with a cmos, i would, but if i could avoid it i would. i think the real seller for me on the xha1(s) was the "hidden" customizable presets that almost no other camera on the market has through call up menus. i mean most all are customizable but few have the ability in that genre of camera to load them and call them up via sd cards. in fact, all the presets im using, i downloaded from a board much like this then tweaked them for our particular purpose and therein make all the cams look exactly alike which i really like. :-)

hey enjoy your cam and have fun and hope you have NO prob's with it. :-)

Chris Hurd August 25th, 2011 10:12 AM

Re: XH A1 vs. XH A1s
Wherever you got your presets from, I guarantee they got them from us -- we're the top resource for XH presets:


Rodger Smith August 25th, 2011 10:49 AM

Re: XH A1 vs. XH A1s

Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 1677582)
Wherever you got your presets from, I guarantee they got them from us -- we're the top resource for XH presets:


could very well be although i don't really remember . . was about 3 years ago as i recall :-) but this i can say, the camera is about the most customizable i've ever touched which includes about 16 to 20 different models, the best priced in its class, and the MOST FILM LOOK of any hand held video camera and that includes cameras costing 3x the XHA1s.

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