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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).

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Old June 16th, 2011, 01:08 PM   #1
Inner Circle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 2,237
New owner

Just placed an order for the A1S at a very good price (in the UK, at any rate - and it's not grey imported stock which I avoid like the plague). I have grown from the XM2 (GL2) many years ago, through the XL2 and have finally succumbed and gone HDV. In fact, because 95% of my output ends up on clients' websites, in poky little windows, I have been able to hold out until now by careful framing of shots. But the XL2, lovely as it is, is beginning to creak and I felt it was right to change.

I decided against the XL-H1A primarily because in all the years I've used the XL2 I have never once used the interchangeable lens facility. Nice to have, yes, but for me not a necessity. Other than the shoulder mount there isn't really anything else on the H1A that I need that isn't on the A1S. The smaller size and weight are big plusses, which I discovered recently when using a friends Sony HVR-5 (I think) on some overseas shoots. Much easier to pack and lug around airports. My poor old XL2, even in its camera specific Portabrace bag, got knocked about a little too much, whether or not I dismantled the viewfinder and mic.

Anyway, you guys know all this already. I was really posting just to say hello and thanks for all the informative posts that have played a massive part in my decision to move to the A1S.

I'm kinda excited about it!
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Old June 17th, 2011, 08:41 AM   #2
Major Player
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Lakeland Florida
Posts: 687
Re: New owner

I love my XH-A1, and the WD-H72 wide angle adapter from Canon. I've added a CitiDisk HDV unit that allows me to go tapeless if I want, but usually shoot both to the drive and to tape concurrently.

Believe it or not, I still get jobs that are simple turn over the tape gigs. Tomorrow, the client even wants SD widescreen, not HDV. The XH-A1 allows me to take those jobs that I would have missed, had I bought one of the card based cameras I was considering back in 2009 when starting up my business.

You have to deliver what the client wants. You might consider adding some type of external recorder to your XH-A1S. It does save time transferring files over. Of course, some jobs that have editing involved you need to look at the footage anyway, so you don't save time overall because you can view all the footage while capturing from tape if you hook a monitor to the camera.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 06:23 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: roseville, ca.
Posts: 4
Re: New owner

Welcome Ian,
I am a new A1s owner too!! This vast knowledge and info made my decision on the Canon easier over the Sony. I am still discovering new things to shoot with my camera, still love recording on tape (call me old school) but probably will switch over to hard drive down the road or switch over to a new video camera once my skills is improved.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 02:34 AM   #4
Inner Circle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 2,237
Re: New owner

It arrived yesterday (actually I collected it, I was that excited!). I have one day to familiarise myself with it before flying to Norway at 7am tomorrow to shoot a corporate.

First glance tells me this is very similar in operation to my trusty XL2 but with some very appealing additions (magnify/peaking, Push AF, Push AE etc, oh, and the iris ring - joy!). I was delighted to find that some of the functions I rarely used on the XL2 (Aspect Ratio, Frame Rate - the things I would typically only use one time per shoot, if ever) are now in menus rather than on buttons or switches, giving way for things I use with much more frequency (eg SMPTE bars and tone).

I think I'm going to like this camera.

One thing I am trying to work out from the manual is to what extent I can customise the EVF/LCD/external displays. I don't mind all three showing the same info, but what I would like is to scroll through displays that show a) everything EXCEPT guides, b) only guides and c) nothing.

Re the external recorder suggestion, yes indeed. It's on my list. I've used Firestores a fair bit and I think they are the best. Just waiting for the Financial Controller (Mrs Stark) to recover from the shock of the new camera. Oh, and the Glidetrack. Oh yes, let's not forget the couple of LEDs for interview lighting. Hmmm . . . and the replacement Sennheiser wireless rig. As you can tell, I've had a bit of a clear out - getting rid of a lot of ten year old gear, most of which was cheap start-up stuff from ebay, and replacing it with shiny new toys. In the early days it was a means to an end, but having been doing this quite successfully for a decade I thought it was time to re-invest.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 05:09 AM   #5
Inner Circle
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,878
Re: New owner

Yes you can customise the displays.

If you haven't left for the airport yet .. carry the camera on board and the manual to study their operations. It's a steep learning curve for some new owners but you sound like you're off to a good start.

Hope you're taking a good external shotgun and a 2nd battery. Confirm all footage right after the shot .. and have fun. :)

Drink more tap water. On admission at Sydney hospitals more than 5% of day patients are de-hydrated.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 05:21 AM   #6
Inner Circle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 2,237
Re: New owner

Working my way through it now, Allan!

Yep, I have a plentiful supply of batteries from my XL2 so I'm good there. I'm actually just shooting interviews (that require audio) so I use the Sennheiser wireless mic which is perfect. I'm also doing a ton of product and b-roll but I won't need audio so the shotgun(s) stay at home on this trip.

One of the things that I am looking forward to is the considerably more manageable size, shape and weight of the A1S compared with the XL2, particularly when it comes to aircraft. I do a fair number of overseas shoots and although I have never lost the battle, on numerous occasions I've been asked to check the camera bag in the hold (I always manage to blag my way round it though!).
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Old July 31st, 2011, 06:51 AM   #7
Inner Circle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 2,237
Update, 6 weeks on

Well I've now had the camera for about six weeks and I am still delighted with it.

Most of my work is business to business video, with some documentary, charity etc thrown in. Typically my output ends up on my customer's websites but increasingly it's being used at conferences, exhibitions, lobby displays etc. For a number of years I have very happily used an XL2. It served me very well and fit me like a glove in terms of what I needed in a camera. However, for quite a while I knew I needed to step up and join the rest of the world by at least moving to HDV, plus my trusty XL2 is showing signs of age.

Since owning this camera I've completed two overseas shoots (one in Norway, one in Denmark) and several UK shoots (conferences, interviews, b-roll, demonstrations, typical business to business fare) and I haven't really got one major gripe to make about the camera.

I had a slight issue with a third party BP945 replacement which got stuck in the battery compartment, and I am still sometimes getting some rather soft shots when I'm not able to use an external monitor but apart from that everything has gone very well indeed.

I really am getting the most out of Push AE and Push Focus for my typical style of shooting, plus the size and weight (and shape) of the camera is a whole lot better than th old XL2.

Finally, I have pdf manual on my Motorola Xoom which means I'm never far away from instructions!

So, I'm a very satisfied customer and very pleased I stayed with Canon as the learning curve has been ridiculously gentle.
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