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Old September 14th, 2014, 09:42 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Hinsdale, IL
Posts: 2
A replacement for my againg XH-A1

Hey everyone, I've been using a Cannon XH-A1 as my primary shooting camera for almost 7 years now, yes it's tape based and yes it only does 1080i but for my purposes its been amazing, unfortunately it's getting a little long in the tooth, and after 7 years of hearty use parts of it are slowly but surely breaking down. I've been looking to replace it as my main shooting cam come this winter, but could use a bit of advice. The type of work i do, mostly video documentation for artists and academics puts me in a wide variety of situations where I don't always have a tripod, don't always have control of the lighting and don't always have time to swap out lenses.

a lot of the time have to slap the camera on my shoulder and shoot. The XH-A1 was a great all around run and gun camera for this type of shooting. As the years have gone by I've seen more and more people switching over to DSLR's like the Cannon 6D the Blackmagic Cinema camera and the Panasonic GH4. I've been tempted to go this route as well, because of the compact nature of DSLR's but they are lacking a lot of the features I'm used to on professional camcorders, native XLR inputs for one, and I've heard that the lenses on them don't hold focus during zooms...simply because they are built differently than traditional video camera lenses...

So I've fallen back to looking at cameras like the Cannon XF100, 105 or XA25.

Still I'd like people's advice. Is jumping on the DSLR bandwagon really worth it
With all the additional lenses, adapters and gear that it seems to me one has to get in order to make DSLR's functional video cameras?

when you're shooting video from your shoulder, for clients who mostly want it posted to youtube in 720p?

Or would a traditional small chips camcorder work best, what do you guys think? Note. When I bought my XH-A1 it was brand new and cost about 4 grand. That's where I'm capping my price, and if I could shave a bit off that, that would be wonderful

Thanks everyone!.
Radek Skalski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2014, 10:12 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Miami, FL USA
Posts: 1,499
Re: A replacement for my againg XH-A1

My humble opinion, as a fellow XHa1 veteran, is that anyone who shoots run-n-gun with a DSLR must be a masochist. I have a Nikon D7000 I have pressed into service and find it next to impossible to use for serious work if it is not tied to sticks. And even then it just doesn't feel right. (Expect vigorous objection to my opinion from people who actually like DSLR shooting. My cap is off to them.)

And by the time you add on a digital audio recorder, wireless receiver, matte box, chest support, articulated arms with external monitors, and who knows what else, most DLSR rigs I have seen would put Rube Goldberg to shame.

That said, I am jonesing for the new Sony PXW-X160, which should be in your financial ballpark whenever it finally arrives on these shores. The higher-end version (PXW-X180) has been announced for sale any time now --- B&H is taking advance orders --- but it has advanced features like gen-lock, gps, Wi-Fi, etc, that might not be needed for ordinary production. I'm guessing the X160 will fall around the $4K mark. 3-chip 1/3", 25x zoom, high bitrates, xavc as well as the usual MPEG2, etc. formats, and all kinds of goodies. Takes sxs cards or SDHC cards via adapter, which is provided.

It has been announced in Europe already, so should be here fairly soon, I'm guessing, as soon as Sony can sell a few of the the more expensive model to the early-adopters.


EDIT: actually both versions have gen lock, but the x180 has Wi-Fi, gps and can make lower-res MP4 proxy files for fast and dirty uploads from the field for news shooters....

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; September 15th, 2014 at 11:04 AM. Reason: correct spelling and update
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