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-   -   XL H1 Firmware Upgrade Details (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl-h-series-hdv-camcorders/73850-xl-h1-firmware-upgrade-details.html)

John Richard August 18th, 2006 11:01 AM

XL H1 Firmware Upgrade Details
Had the H1 serviced at Canon factory service center (damaged HDV/DV port) and in the process the service report stated they performed a Firmware Update.

Yesterday, when I tried the automatic rack focus (set a focus point>then focus on a different point>then push focus button to return to prior set focus point), the speed of the rack focus now appeared to be much slower and actually usable. Before, even when set on the lowest (slowest) speed for auto focus in the menu, the rack focus was just almost instantaneous. Now on the low setting, the rack focus is very aesthetic and slower.

Is it just my imagination, or can anyone else confirm this. I imagine very few have had the H1's firmware updated at this early date. Maybe Chris can get info as to what the "Firmware Update" has improved?

Dan Keaton August 18th, 2006 02:25 PM

Dear John,

This is great news!

A. J. deLange August 18th, 2006 02:39 PM

I can't confirm it but this is just exactly the sort of thing that firmware updating allows. Enough people complain about the rack speed so they redo the firmware to slow it down. Or they find a better autofocus algorithm that reduces hunting. The possibilities are endless. The only case in which you would not want to be able to upgrade firmware is the one in which you are absolutely certain all design parameters are optimum when the camera leaves the factory. While this is a thing to be devoutly wished it is not the real world.

It is entirely feasible to let the user do firmware upgrades himself. He downloads a small application which handles the communication between his computer and the camera and executes it while computer and camera are interconnected. The application checks the status of the camera, downloads the new software, checks that the download was successful and then puts the communication port (Firewire) back into normal mode. I have had several pieces of hardware (scanners, audio interface) that are supported in this way. Or you can make it impossible for the user to do this himself (special serial port hidden in the bowels of the device, access keys...). Which way will Canon go?

Jason Price August 18th, 2006 02:57 PM

Hello to all!

I have been on and off the phone all day trying to get the correct answers concerning this upgrade. After talking to 3 different Canon tech. reps. and 2 different Canon sales reps. (who all gave me the same answer BTW) I think I have a clue.

According to Canon the upgrade has nothing to do with the automatic rack focus. They were all rather surprised that this function improved after being upgraded.

The upgrade improves 2 different aspects of the camera. It's primary function is to improve the time code output. Apparently there have been some problems when some of the first release cameras try to communicate between each other.

Second, it will improve your iris control. They didn't have too much information on this, so take it as it is.

In order to find out if your XLH1 will need this upgrade you would need to call Canon Customer Service at 949-753-4200 if you are on the West Coast and 732-521-7007 if you are on the East Coast. Have your serial number ready as that is the determining factor for this upgrade!

Good luck out there and happy shooting!

Jason Price
AV Equipment Sales
TapeWorks Texas, Inc.
866.827.3489 toll free
713.688.2214 direct

Chris Hurd August 18th, 2006 03:25 PM

Good deal -- thanks for the detective work, Jason -- much appreciated! This thread is now a "sticky."

Dan Keaton August 18th, 2006 03:49 PM

Dear Jason,

I appreciate the first class service you provide to all of your customers and to the XL H1 family as a whole.

John Richard August 18th, 2006 04:08 PM

I guess the only other ways to confirm what I am perceiving as a slow down of the low setting for the rack focus are:

- find someone else who has used the auto rack focus on low before and after a firmware upgrade to confirm or deny any change in slower speed.

- get together with someone without the firmware upgrade and compare the low auto rack focus speed of my H1 with the frimware upgrade.

I am certain the auto rack focus in the low menu setting is definitely slower to the point that it is now usable for an esthetic rack focus instead of the slam bam of before.

... or maybe I am going nuts ?

Chris Hurd August 18th, 2006 05:09 PM

John, if you think it's slower, then it probably is. Because "slow" up to now has always been rather fast. Around here in the past, we've referred to the three focus change speed options as fast, faster and fastest.

Dan Keaton August 19th, 2006 11:14 AM

As a software developer, one of the hardest things I do is to get timing on items such as the rack focus just right.

On some computers, there are good tools that you can use to assist. On others it is done by timing loops in which the programmer has to experiment in order to get it right.

Then, in some other area of the code, something changes which affects the timing loop.

So, I completely agree with Chris, the timing has probably changed, and to the better. This could have happened with a programmer changing something else in the code which affected the timing of the rack focus.

Of course, it could have been changed on purpose to make it more useful. It certainly has been discussed before on this site as needing improvement.

Chuck Wall August 22nd, 2006 07:24 AM

Here is the link to the tech bulletin regarding the firmware update.
I stumbled across it on their site



Chris Hurd August 22nd, 2006 07:57 AM

That link includes instructions for checking the firmware version of your XL H1. If your version is, then you're good to go. If your version is earlier than that, then you qualify for this upgrade. Many thanks for posting this, Chuck -- much appreciated!

Chris Hurd August 22nd, 2006 08:39 AM

Following up on Jason's post above, here are some additional details according to the link Chuck provided. Regarding exposure control improvement, the manual iris control has been increased from 1/4 stop adjustments to 1/8 stop adjustments. And, Time Code synchronization continues from an external source when power is removed from XL H1. No mention of the focus speed change improvement though.

Daniel Epstein August 22nd, 2006 09:49 AM

I just called Canon and after a little searching around on their part they told me they would send me a free SD card with instructions for the Firmware update. They had my address in the database based on my phone number

Dan Keaton August 22nd, 2006 10:18 AM


This is great news!

The Canon XL H1's firmware is actually field updatable by the user!

This means that Canon can fix problems, or provide upgrades without having the users send in their cameras to Canon's service centers.

This is what I wanted all along!

Chuck Wall August 22nd, 2006 01:41 PM

The number to call for the sd card is 1 800 828 4040
For automated system say tech support, then xlh1 card
is available and beats 65.00 in fedex costs!

Also I was curious about reading out the hours from the
transport, only possible with their "maint software". If
you ever send in your camera just request that info and
they will print it out for you.


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