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    Canon A1 and G1 - Footage on tape...
    #1
    Steadi-Guru mikkowilson's Avatar
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    Checked out the Canon A1 and G1 HDV cameras today.

    Overall I'm impressed, however the camera lacks in low light.

    The manual lens controls are very good - not true manual, but still very responsive. They are not velocity dependdant - 10* on the ring is always the same focus change, however fast you spin it. The rings however arn't indexed or have end stops - as normal.

    The iris ring is a ncie adaition, thoguh a little loose for someone who's used to the stiffness of true manual Iris rings.

    The autofocus, the settings of which I didn't check, was VERY fast. I'd quickly change framing from somethign in focus to something at a different distance. The camera wouldn't do anything for a moment, seemingly not noticing anythgin was wrong - probably evaluating the situation. Then it would suddenly snap into perfect focus without any hunting.
    It would look very bad "on the air" but for achiving focus the "pause & snap" might be faster than the continuous hunting & wandering.


    The A1's LCD is also viewable form the right hand side of the camera.

    The LCD.
    It's a little strange, but I like it. Tucking the LCD into under tha handle and leaving all the important buttons uncovered on the side of the camera is a nice touch. Up higher in conventional mode is nice - not as high as the FX1, but I like the LCD furthur forward. Facing foward the LCD swings to almost the normal position. But it's the other positions that are clever! The LCD can be flipped up so that you can see it THROUGH the handle! That's clever.
    You can also leave it out sideways on teh left hand side, but it won't go flat against the body, but instead can tilt up to flat actually better if you are using the LCD with the camera on a table.

    The camera's picture is nice and clean, however it's lousy in low light. The gain switch should be called the "noise" switch.
    At 6db the image is grainy enough that you probably wouldn't want to use it. At 9db I wouldn't use it unless it was the sole footage of Barry recomending a Sony camera. It's that bad. It would work for survalance, any MAYBE news if you had to.


    On the workslow side, Apple's new release now supports Canon's 24F and 25F modes - but not 30F! (go figure!)


    Good cameras, as long as you arn't shooting at night. Best home in the studio, especailly with the jackpack.

    - Mikko
    Mikko Wilson
    Steadicam Owner / Operator - Juneau, Alaska, USA
    +1 (907) 321-8387 - mikkowilson@hotmail.com - www.mikkowilson.com


     

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    Hey Mikko,

    Could you tell if the low light performance was any worse than the XL H1? I know the IBC showroom isn't the best environment for critical viewing, but I thought I'd ask anyway.

    I'm curious because I'm assuming the XH cameras use the same imaging block as the H1.

    Anyway, thanks for all the updates!

    Juan


     

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    #3
    Rockin the Boat
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    What difference does it make? I mean, if it's unacceptable, and you can see that immediately, then I personally don't care if it's similar to or different from H1... all that matters is that it falls apart in low light... I don't think it would make anyone feel better to be told "yea, it sux, but it's the same as camera x, y, or z"... the key point is: it's unacceptable performance.

    Let's wait for the tests before we make up our minds. I'm not saying yay or nay until then. I will note however, that this is not the first time we've had a report from someone holding an A1 and being absolutely devastated by the low-light performance (I think it was someone who saw it during a show in Las Vegas some weeks ago). This is disturbing to be sure, but I'll wait for more formal tests... and the low light will be an area I'll watch like a hawk.


     

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    #4
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    So why is everybody raving this camera again? This preview sounds like the G1 isn't much more than a GL2 with better glass and HDV video?
    Last edited by John Kary; 09-10-2006 at 06:26 PM.


     

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    #5
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    Don't forget this:-

    Both XH series camcorders share a lot of Canon technology in common with the older, larger XL H1. All three camcorders (XL H1, XH G1 and XH A1) utilize the same 1/3rd-inch 16:9 CCD block, as well as the same DIGIC DV II digital signal processor and 30F and 24F Frame modes in addition to standard 60i recording.
    (from dvinfo.net)
    I'll be shocked if this camera is noisy (meaning, demonstratably noisier than the H1, which is regarded as being good in low-light)... But this certainly has me nervous- I was looking to pick up two A1s.
    www.mothcatcher.co.uk Mothcatcher/ The Hold, Edinburgh, UK


     

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    #6
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    The reason I was asking is because since I'm familiar with the performance of the XL H1 I can quantify what Mikko means by noisy. Everyone's definition of "noisy" or "unacceptable performance" is different, but if the camera performs similarly to an XL H1, well then, I know what that means. Ultimately the real proof will come when we have some footage to look at, but until that happens, the best we can do is glean the most out of other people's experience with the camera. That's essentially what we do when we read product reviews.

    I certainly won't be making up my mind until I see some footage myself and have played with the camera personally, but I think my question was a valid one.

    best,

    Juan

    Quote Originally Posted by OldCorpse
    What difference does it make? I mean, if it's unacceptable, and you can see that immediately, then I personally don't care if it's similar to or different from H1... all that matters is that it falls apart in low light... I don't think it would make anyone feel better to be told "yea, it sux, but it's the same as camera x, y, or z"... the key point is: it's unacceptable performance.

    Let's wait for the tests before we make up our minds. I'm not saying yay or nay until then. I will note however, that this is not the first time we've had a report from someone holding an A1 and being absolutely devastated by the low-light performance (I think it was someone who saw it during a show in Las Vegas some weeks ago). This is disturbing to be sure, but I'll wait for more formal tests... and the low light will be an area I'll watch like a hawk.


     

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    #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikkowilson
    unless it was the sole footage of Barry recomending a Sony camera. It's that bad.
    What the -- grr.

    I've recommended Sony cameras many times. Back before the DVX came out I was an ardent supporter of the PD150 and DSR300 and DSR500. MPEG-IMX is a great format. DigiBeta is sweet. The F900 is sweet.

    I just don't like the HDV lineup (including XDCAM-HD), but even then I've frequently recommended the FX1 as an amazing picture for the price as long as you want the 60i look, and for tiny size the A1/HC1 can't be beat. And I can't stand their current proprietary-at-all-costs attitude. But heck, my next laptop is probably going to be a Sony. The company can make excellent products if they'll just pull their head out of their proprietary/DRM rumps. And the V1 looks rather interesting with its 3-CMOS and actual progressive scan, I'm quite intrigued to see what the US version offers.

    As for the A1 and low-light performance, I wonder if it's due to a smaller-diameter lens? If it can't get as much light in, they may have boosted the internal gain to compensate, and that might explain the added noise? You'd really have to see an XLH1 side-by-side, on the same settings, to determine if the A1 is actually noisier or dimmer in the same environment.


     

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    #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry_Green
    As for the A1 and low-light performance, I wonder if it's due to a smaller-diameter lens? If it can't get as much light in, they may have boosted the internal gain to compensate, and that might explain the added noise?
    The reported high noise is baffling. This other poster reported the same thing at the WEVA show but he wasn't sure if it was just the LCD that was noisy:

    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.p...&postcount=383

    But I don't think the lens is the problem. The maximum aperture of the A1/G1 is identical to the H1 (f/1.6-3.5).

    Also, according to the Canon press release, it's suppose to have a new noise reduction system and a new gamma system to combat noise. Canon would look pretty bad if they hyped the low noise and it turns out to be noisy:

    "The XH A1 and XH G1 camcorders feature Canon's DIGIC DV II proprietary digital signal processor...found also in Canon's flagship XL H1 HD camcorder...A new noise reduction system, combined with a new gamma system, helps to reduce noise in monotone and shadow areas."

    I guess we all should wait until more footage comes in. But it is extremely baffling that the performance would be worst than the H1 given the lens is nearly identical and the imaging system and processor is suppose to be identical.


     

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    #9
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    Got to see 'em both side by side, on equivalent settings, to know if one's worse than the other. Could be noise on the LCD, could be high peaking, or it might be actually noisier. Are the "noise" reports saying that it's on the attached monitors? Or just on the on-cam LCD?


     

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    #10
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    I agree, you need a controlled test if you want to make a comparison.

    The report at WEVA was only what he saw on the on-cam LCD. The camera was not hooked up to an external monitor. I don't know about Mikko's report. But from Mikko's IBC photos, it looked like the cameras were being fed live to an external monitor. So which monitor did he see noise in? Dunno, maybe he can clarify.


     

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