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-   -   What Camera should I buy? Canon XHA1 or Panasonic HVX200 (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xh-series-hdv-camcorders/145646-what-camera-should-i-buy-canon-xha1-panasonic-hvx200.html)

Sam Hendi March 11th, 2009 10:07 PM

What Camera should I buy? Canon XHA1 or Panasonic HVX200
Hi guys, Iím in need of some help and expertise and since many of you know cameras better than me, I thought id place up a thread for some help.

The camera I have at the moment is a Sony HVR-V1E.
Some of my work can be viewed here: Sam Hendi on Vimeo

Iíve had my camera for about 2 years but recently I havenít been too happy with my camera. Iíve been feeling to change because of many reasons. One of my main reasons is because I donít see that the HVR-V1E gives me professional look like film even though I am using the Letus35 extreme. Its mainly due to the motion of the frame rate and with whatever I do (interlace or progressive) I still see unpleasing results. Iím also trying to stay away from Sony and want to try something different.

So Iíve been researching into these two cameras: XHA1 and HVX200. But Iím not too sure which one would ideally be better for me. In my new camera, I am ideally looking for a professional film like quality with the frame-rate mainly and of course its quality of image.

Iíve found some interesting videos filmed with the XHA1 and the film-like quality that has been shown is amazing, not to mention that the videos are amazing too:
Short film (XH A1 with SgPro) on Vimeo
SIMON (full version) on Vimeo

From looking at those videos, I can see that they have used an adapter and the quality looks amazing. The frame motion looks like a film and the quality of the images also looks like film. This is a large difference from what my Sony HVR-V1E camera will give me using my Letus35 extreme.

Whilst researching the HVX200, I found these great videos too:
Letus Ultimate on the HVX200: First Test on Vimeo
YouTube - Slamdance short: A LITTLE MOUTH TO FEED teaser trailer

Could anyone please tell me the advantages and disadvantages of both the HVX200 and XHA1??
One of my biggest problems is the P2 recording on the HVX200, since id like to keep a backup of my raw files on tape, recording onto a P2 card will be a problem. But im not too sure of any problems with XHA1. Does anybody know any??

Would anyone know of a better camera than these two??

Since I donít actually where I should post this thread, I decided to post it this forum since im edging towards the Canon more than the Panasonic.

Any help would be appreciated.

Jonathan Shaw March 13th, 2009 01:41 AM

If your not happy with the V1 I don't reckon that you will be much happier with A1 or HVX.

I have shot with all three and they are all great cameras and gain in slightly different areas, but I don't reckon that you will be blown away with the difference. The main area is that the A1 and the HVX are better in low light than the V1.

HVX is a great cam but the P2 cards are just ridiculously expensive... I would be looking for an upgrade to the Ex1, heaps better cam, great picture, better in low light and now with the SDHC etc etc media is cheap as chips.

or Scarlet.... it looks like things are starting to move in the RED camp.


Tom Hardwick March 13th, 2009 02:29 AM

I'm with Jonathan - apart from having chips that are a bit larger the Panasonic and Canon don't bring many features to your table that you don't have already with your V1. And it somehow looks like chalk and cheese to have the 200 and XH together as one is twice the price of the other once you have a P2 card loaded.

There's nothing wrong with either camera of course, and their sales success shows you'd be happy too. But I always think that if you're dissatisfied then a leapfrog in kit is better than a sideways step, that way you grow into your new camera rather than growing out of it.

The EX1 will be that leapfrog move for you but although it gives you more dof control than either of the 3 cams mentioned, it sounds like you'll still hanker after the Letus' look and have a lot more weight to lug about.

You ask about known problems with the XH-A1. Well, apart from the tiny side screen those problems have been addressed neatly with the s version recently announced.


Michael Friedman March 13th, 2009 04:51 AM

I went with the A1 because I needed HD tape backup as well. Having said that, I ended up adding a firestore and a Letus adapter and and external monitor... It added up.

When I was shopping for cameras, this video convinced me to buy the A1


no adapter, no lighting, just good shooting.

If I were buying today, I don't know what I would get. Things are changing so quickly right now. If you have to buy now, the A1 is not a bad choice.


Bill Pryor March 13th, 2009 08:56 AM

The higher resolution trailers are now up for the new Crank movie, shot with the XH A1 and a bunch of smaller single chip cameras. Dumb movie, but great looking footage:
Apple - Movie Trailers - Crank 2

Some of the best looking footage I've seen is that clip about the canal boats in the Netherlands (I think) that's on here someplace.

When I got the XH A1 I looked closely at the HVX200 also. I was interested in it because of its slomo capability. But I didn't like having to use pricey P2 cards, the tapeless workflow and the lower resolution of the camera compared to the Canons and Sonys. As far as slomo goes, I've seen some recent excellent XH A1 slomo, shot 24F and slowed down with Twixtor. It was a boat on a river going across the screen. You really couldn't tell it hadn't been shot slomo originally. So that 60 fps is not a big deal anymore for me.

I like the HVX200 itself. It's heavy and seems well built and the lens is good and is as wide as the XH A1 but the XH A1 has a much longer zoom and is overall a more useful camera for the type of things I do. The new upgrade to the original HVX has more resolution I believe but still not as much as Canon or Sony.

Also, I agree with the above posts. If you can't get a look you want out of the camera you have, you're not going to get it out of a new camera either. It's about composition and lighting, not the camera. Any of the 1/3" chip HD cameras will do a great job. The only advantage for you out of a camera with 1/3" chips versus your 1/4" chip model is that bigger chips allow you to use a little less light.

James Hooey March 13th, 2009 04:25 PM


Your "Trunk" short film looks pretty good. It has a few rough edges but works overall.

I shot with the XHA1 and do not get appreciably better results than you from it (although hard to tell given compression on Vimeo). I don't think you would be better served by a XHA1. I've looked over the EX1 and seen some nice footage, it might be a step up but I myself wasn't entirely convinced it deserved it's asking price. The biggest benefits of the EX1 for my needs would be better low light and shallower depth of field. However I too use the Letus Extreme on my XHA1 so I've solved that hurdle.

Sorry I can't offer you anything concrete...nothing in our profession is based on much more than opinion.

From my own standpoint, I am willing to work with what I have for the next year or two and hope that something like Scarlet or another major advance really comes along. 1/2 chips for the EX series cams are not a radical upgrade. A full 35mm chip...well that's another story.

Sam Hendi March 16th, 2009 02:00 PM

Hi there guys, thanks for the replys.

Im not too sure about getting the HVX200 since it will be double the price when i get my P2 card.

But id probably want to stick with the Canon.

Im not expecting a huge difference between my camera now and the canon but i was hoping that i could be able to change since ive had my camera for two years.

I am just wondering, has anyone used Canon XHA1 footage with Sony Vegas?

Thanks for the help.

Chris Light March 16th, 2009 10:20 PM


Originally Posted by Michael Friedman (Post 1027024)

When I was shopping for cameras, this video convinced me to buy the A1


no adapter, no lighting, just good shooting.


this video was great, both content and shooting...would have sold me too, but I saw a stephen dempsey movie first, and like a lot of people, bought one for that reason haha

James Hooey March 16th, 2009 11:24 PM


Originally Posted by Sam Hendi (Post 1028621)

I am just wondering, has anyone used Canon XHA1 footage with Sony Vegas?

Absolutely Sam. Been working with a XHA1 for two years now with Sony Vegas 7.0d and more recently Vegas Pro 8.0c. Also use the XHA1 footage with Premier Pro CS4 and After Effects CS4.

Any specific questions?

John Estcourt March 17th, 2009 02:24 AM

Yep Im a Vegas user as well.
Capture from XH-A1 into HDlink then edit in vegas 8.
No issues with cineform and vegas works with native hdv with no issues either.

Sam Hendi March 17th, 2009 08:50 AM

Sounds good, what kind of rendering outputs do you choose (24p)??

Jad Meouchy March 17th, 2009 01:24 PM

you do have an option of using a firestore with the panasonic as well, to avoid the expense and extreme headache of P2

after using the canon and pana significantly in all different kinds of situations, I'd definitely recommend the canon. The panasonic footage looks cartoony in comparison, and remarkably devoid of detail. The sharpness is similar between the two cams, but the Canon resolves much more detail. And it has significantly better low-light performance, and more accurate color rendition.

The only thing I can't stand about the canon is the full servo lens. At least the pana has a manual zoom.

James Hooey March 17th, 2009 02:24 PM


Originally Posted by Sam Hendi (Post 1029014)
Sounds good, what kind of rendering outputs do you choose (24p)??

Have worked with all 3 of the canon formats 60i, 30f, 24f. Each for different reasons.

For the majority of my stock footage work I will shoot and render in 60i. This is also true if I want to do any slow motion in post, I would shoot in 60i there again. For most television broadcast applications this format is the most universal in North America.

30f I usually shoot and render if I will be incorporating the footage into any motion graphics typically destined for computer display. The motion graphics projects are rendered out as 30 fps progressive.

24f I use for short narratives and actually for most of my wedding work. It generally gives a nice film cadence to the footage and has benefits of lower shutter speeds for lower light situations like weddings and event videography.

All the best,

Sam Hendi March 17th, 2009 04:52 PM

Thanks for the help guys, i am really tempted to buy the canon now (my first choice).
I need to sell my Sony first.


Originally Posted by Jad Meouchy (Post 1029205)
The only thing I can't stand about the canon is the full servo lens. At least the pana has a manual zoom.

What is a full servo lens? What is the problem with this?

Im quite excited to be getting my Canon XHA1.

James Hooey March 17th, 2009 08:08 PM

Servo lens means that the focus and zoom rings drive the optics through a electronic mechanism rather than a manual machine mechanism.

This means two things specific to the XHA1....

Somewhat non-realistic feel to the action of the focus and zoom controls on the lens. This also elimantes the use of barrel marks on the lens for repeatable settings (there are ways around this however). While it's not as nice as a true manual lense it's still quite usable.

With the XHA1 (possibly fixed in the XHA1s), you cannot control BOTH zoom and focus at the same time as they seem to run off a single servo. Typically not an issue but for some things like rack zoom+focus (think Alfred Hitchcock "Vertigo" here) it is not really possible with the lense.

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