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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.

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Old January 20th, 2011, 08:08 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Saguenay, Québec, Canada
Posts: 1,051
Anton Bauer batteries - Speaking of balance


I was about to sell my XLH1a but I just got a gig where it can be very usefull for a few months. It involves some long days of shooting and I am looking to buy a better battery solution. I already own the gold mount adapter for this camera. I bought it a year ago, saw a good deal used and decided to take it.

So from what I understand, any of these big batteries will give me enough power to keep the camera powered of a day. The dionic 90 should power the camera for at least 10 hours. So that's enough for me.

But now, I would like to get the perfect balance with my XLH1. I have used an HPX2000 a lot recently for a TV station and it's so nice to have the camera well balanced.

So money is not a factor, I want to get the battery that will balance the camera perfectly.

Dionic 90: 1.8 lbs
Dionic HCX: 2.4 lbs
Dionic 160: 3.4 lbs

If you have tried any of these batteries on your XLH1, please share your experiences!
Jean-Philippe Archibald -
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Old January 20th, 2011, 09:47 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 775
I use a Dionic 90 with the Goldmount on the back bracket mount of my XLH1S with a Nanoflash piggybacking the battery. The combination perfectly balances the camera and rests the camera's weight on my shoulder perfectly.

Seeing how you won't be using a Nanoflash, the slight extra wieght of the Dionic HCX just may do the trick.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 10:17 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,807
My honest assessment is that if money is not a serious factor, a custom rebuild of the battery mount will be more critical than selecting the heaviest battery.

Keeping the center of gravity low is one of the critical factors for a well-balanced feeling handheld camera. As you know, full-size video cameras have a shoulder cutout which helps drop some of the mass below the level of the shoulder. The problem with the stock gold mount for the H1 is that it follows the contour of the camera and places the battery high at the back. The heavier the battery, the higher the center of gravity of the overall camera mass. Yes, it will become more back-heavy which is the more critical axis, but at a certain cost to overall stability.

Probably the easiest and most plug-and-play solution would be to pick up a camera baseplate (Zacuto etc) that incorporates 15mm rods. Instead of driving the rods forwards as usual, send them to the back of the camera, and then use a vertical mounting plate with a gold mount on it (Redrock makes one of these). With the plate inverted, i.e. hanging down from the rods, the center of gravity is significantly dropped and by telescoping the rods, you can dial in perfect balance. At that point, the actual choice of battery is less significant than the length of the rods. Obviously you don't want a four foot long camera, but it won't take that much extension to make even a Dionic 90 exert a lot of counterweight. When you go to "studio" mode, it's a simple matter of inverting the battery plate and sliding in the rods to keep things compact, if desired.

The drawback of this is that the viewfinder will rise relative to your eyeball. It may be possible to swing it down enough but you are then effectively looking up which can be fatiguing on the neck. Obviously getting the lowest profile camera base that you can find will aid in this. As far as a shoulder pad, this can be simply achieved with velcro and a soft pad. A fantastic budget choice of the latter can be found at your local Staples etc; the wristrest found on some mouse pads, just cut it out--it has a flat base ready for velcro, and a soft memory-foam/gel feel, perfect for a shoulder pad. Or you can use a shoulder pad that you wear, such as this.

As far as the batteries themselves: 90's are a perfect choice for small format cameras with relatively minimal power draw. The HC's and HCX's are designed for high current draw so unless you are expecting to work with cameras that draw many times the amps of a camcorder, a bit of a waste. The Hytron 160 is obviously overkill in terms of capacity--do you really need a battery that will run your camera for days at a time! However if you are intending to use an onboard hot light, that is a definite consideration.

Good luck with your configuration! Best choice, of course, is to audition various configurations before you buy, which is more or less difficult considering your location. I don't know what is available in Quebec. Those in NYC are fortunate to have B&H which will have a great deal of this gear at the counters ready to be noodled with.
Charles Papert
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