Canon XH-A1S 3CCD HDV High Definition Professional Camcorder with 20x HD Video Zoom Lens III (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- Genuine Canon 20x HD video zoom lens with Professional L Series Fluorite; Independent manual focus. zoom, and iris ring
- Three 1/3-inch native 16:9 CCD with 1.67M pixels (1440 x 1080); 1080 HD resolution with choice of 60i, 30F, and 24F frame rates
- Canon DIGIC DV II HD Image Processor
- Complete Customization: Iimage adjustments, display adjustments, custom functions; Nine custom presets and two custom keys
- 2.8-inch Widescreen LCD (207,000 Pixels) and 0.57-inch Color Widescreen EVF (269,000 Pixels)
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|Included Components||Canon XH A1S HDV Camcorder with Lens Cap - CA-920|
|Item Weight||10.85 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Media Format Digital Video||MiniDV|
|Media Type||Mini DV ;SD|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||1.67 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Package Height||9.3 x 10.1 x 17.9 inches|
|Shipping Weight||10.8 pounds|
|Video Capture Resolution||1080p_hd|
Canon XH-A1S 3CCD HDV High Definition Professional Camcorder With 20X HD Video Zoom Lens III.
From the Manufacturer
From the Manufacturer
For the professionals who require a smaller, lighter weight HD camcorder but who won’t give up capability and performance, Canon offers the XH A1S. Our latest in a family of high quality HDV camcorders, the XH A1S delivers advanced features and a wide range of image parameter controls to make your vision a reality- and at a very attractive price.
Starting with the superb Canon Genuine Canon 20x HD lens with Professional L Series Fluorite, the XH A1S adds 3CCDs, each of which is at 1440 x 1080 pixels. It also means you can be sure that your shooting in the field will be the best it can be with Canon’s SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization.
To further ensure that your vision is realized, the XH A1S gives you features that let you make manual adjustments to fine-tune your video- the ultimate in total image control. For those situations in which you need to let your camcorder take care of exposure and image controls, the automatic settings on the XH A1S will expertly assist you.
You’ll find flexibility, versatility and capability in the extensive array of features and optional accessories of the XH A1S. It is bound to meet and exceed your highest expectations.
Canon XH-A1S Highlights
Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Lens III with Professional L-Series Fluorite
The XH A1S comes with a Genuine Canon 20x HD lens that shows why the name Canon is synonymous with optical excellence.
The XH A1S's design gives you equally impressive operational performance. The design lets you operate the zoom using the lens barrel ring, the control on the camera's grip, or the control on the camera's handle. When using the zoom ring on the lens, you can control the speed of your zoom by varying the angle of the ring, or by varying the speed at which you rotate the ring. When using the grip control, you can zoom at 16 different speeds; or you can use the control to operate at a single zoom speed which you preset. When using the handle zoom control, you can operate the zoom at a single speed which you preset. You can also select high-speed zoom to increase the zoom speed when using either the grip or handle control. And, because the lens is designed with a zoom ring, you can operate zoom, focus and aperture using a single hand.
This f1.6 - 3.5, 4.5 - 90mm lens gives you a wide view that - at its widest - is equivalent to a 32.5mm focal length lens on a 35mm camera. It also comes with two built-in ND filters, and can be enhanced with an optional wide converter to meet all your needs.
SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer
The XH A1S also comes with Canon's innovative SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS), which combines gyro- and image-sensors to give image stabilization through a wider range of camera motions. Some image stabilization systems correct one type of camera motion or vibration better than another. But Canon's SuperRange OIS corrects for a wide range of camcorder motion: the fast vibration you'd experience while recording from a moving car; the medium-speed motion of hand-held recording; and the slower motion of body sway. No matter what you're recording and how you're recording it, the XH A1S's stabilization design corrects camcorder shake instantly. In addition, optical stabilization keeps your shot steady without a loss in image quality - something that can't be said for electronic image stabilization.
Three 1/3-inch Native 16:9 CCD Image Sensors
The XH A1S is equipped with three 1/3-inch Native 16:9 CCDs (1.67 megapixels)--the same image sensor that is at the heart of Canon's exceptional XL H1S and XL H1A. They deliver outstanding picture quality, highly accurate color reproduction, and a wide dynamic range with virtually no color noise.
Canon DIGIC DV II HD Image Processor
DIGIC DV II HD is the next generation of Canon's exclusive DIGIC DV signal processing technology. Designed specifically for processing the immense volume of information in 1080i HD signals, DIGIC DV II ensures optimal image quality for HD video.
Tonal reproduction has been increased for high image quality. Color reproduction has also been enhanced for improved color image quality - especially in skin tones, and dark and light scenes. The DIGIC DV ll processor also employs a new, hybrid noise reduction system that integrates two types of noise reduction. This, along with a new gamma system, reduces noise in monotone and shadow areas especially, for high definition images that are crystal clear.
The XH A1S captures 1080 High Definition resolution video at 60i, 30F or 24F frame rates (or, 50i/60i with optional upgrade). It captures a true 16:9 widescreen HD image that's made for your broadcast and theatrical projects.
Image, display and the functionality of the camcorder can be customized to suit your preference or application. This customization ensures that your XH A1S fits your creative, production and personal needs and preferences exactly. Settings can be saved to memory for easy retrieval or downloaded into other XH A1S and XH G1S camcorders via an SD memory card.
A variety of image control functions gives you as much or as little exposure control as you want, and lets you fine-tune your exposures for outstanding video. You get Total Image Control, Exposure Lock for re-composing your shot after setting your exposure, AE shift (+/- 2 levels), Gain Setting, 2 Custom Keys, as well as:
- 7 Program AE Modes A variety of AE modes allow you to take as much or as little control of exposure as you need. Auto and Full Auto modes let you concentrate on your subject and the composition of your shot rather than exposure, or make it easy to maintain exposure during shots with lighting conditions that change. Manual lets you control every aspect of your exposure manually. With Tv priority, you select the shutter to match your subject; for example, you might select a shorter shutter speed for a fast moving subject. With Av priority, you select your aperture; for example, you might want more control over your depth of field. Spotlight gives you the optimal exposure for a brightly lit subject against a darker background. Night mode automatically adjusts exposure parameters to give you the best image possible of video recorded at night.
- 9 Custom Presets With the XH A1S, you can make set a variety of image quality adjustments and store them for later use or for exporting to other camcorders. The adjustments include: hue, color gain, sharpness, setup level, color matrix (Normal/CINE1/CINE2), gamma (Normal/CINE1/CINE2), auto knee/knee, black (normal/stretch/press), G gain, B gain, R gain, NR1, NR2, coring, master pedestal, horizontal frequency adjustment, H/V balance, and matrix settings (R-G/R-B/G-R/G-B/B-R/B-G).
With the XH A1S's Custom Functions capability, you can establish the camera settings best suited to your preference. Three custom functions (C.Fn1, C.Fn2 and C.Fn3) are provided. Each custom function allows a total of 21 main items to be selected. All three custom functions can be recorded on a memory card, and can then be downloaded to another camcorder. Items include: Shockless WB/GAIN, AE Response, High-speed Zoom Setting, Focus Ring Response Characteristics, Ring/Dial Operation Direction Settings, Subject Distance Unit Setting, Color Bar Display, Remote Control Codes, and Tally Lamp Settings.
Fine tuning of Gain can be made from 0dB to 18dB, in 0.5dB increments. And, with the +36dB Hypergain function, images can be captured even in the most challenging lighting conditions.
The Custom Display function lets you set 22 display items to create a custom menu to suit your specific needs. Once set, the functions can be recorded on a memory card, and can then be downloaded to another XH A1S or XH G1S camcorder. Items that can be selected include: Record Programs, Camera Data 1, Camera Data 2, Zoom, Focus, Neutral Density, Image Effects, Focus Assist Function, Customize, Recording STD, DV Record Mode, Frame Rate, Tape, Tape Remainder, Tape/Card, Light Metering, Card, Card Remainder, Audio, Condensation, Battery, and Wireless Remote.
1080 HD Capture with 60i, 30F, or 24F Progressive frame rates
The XH A1S delivers 1920 x 1080 HD, with the three Native 16:9 CCDs and the Genuine Canon 20x HD lens and DIGIC DV II Image Processor. They ensure that the XH A1S delivers the superb, high-quality High Definition video with vibrant color, crisp contrast and great detail - what you expect from Canon HD. The XH A1S also offers a full range of choices in selectable frame rates. You can choose between 60i, 30F progressive and 24F progressive settings to achieve just the look you want.
- 30F Progressive Frame Rate In addition to the standard interlaced video frame rate of 60i, you may choose to set the XH A1S to capture video in 30F (30 progressive frames, recorded in 60i) which is ideal for footage which will be uploaded to the Internet. It is also an excellent choice for capturing fast action shots and sporting events. In addition, this setting gives enhanced quality to still images captured after recording.
- 24F Progressive Frame Rate This setting gives a "film look" to the footage you record as the video frame capture rate is 24F, giving the appearance of the same frame rate as movie film.
With the XH A1S's versatile open-architecture approach, you can even customize your HD camcorder to record in both 60i and 50i (this optional upgrade must be performed by a Canon Factory Service Center).
Industry-Standard Connections & Terminals
The Flash Accessory Shoe of the XH A1S supports Canon EX Series Speedlites, enabling you to use the proper lighting accessory to provide the illumination you need for practically any subject in any situation.
The two built-in XLR Terminals with independent audio level control on the XH A1S helps you to record audio at as high a level as your video. They provide phantom power and 3.5mm microphone and headphone terminals. With independent audio level control, you'll be in better command over the sound you record. You can simultaneously use the built-in microphone of the XH A1S and the XLR input, with individual sensitivity settings for each channel. The XLR sensitivity setting is selectable, from -12dB through +12dB. Line output level switching is provided, along with an audio volume lock to help prevent variations in the recorded sound.
To assist you in making sure that the shots you see are the shots you get, the XH A1S has a number of enhancements in function monitoring. They include a display of remaining recording capacity when using an external Focus Enhancements FS-CV Hard Disk Drive Recorder, as well as an external EVF Monitor Output Terminal.
Improvements have been made to the manual zoom, manual focus and iris ring on the XH A1S to further enhance its operability and which make it even easier to achieve your creative vision.
- Zooming Responsive manual zoom ring with three settings (Slow, Normal, Fast), Three preset zoom speeds (Slow, Normal, Fast), Increased weighting of zoom ring for smoother control, Smooth zoom start and stop, Selectable rotational angle of zoom between Wide and Tele
- Focusing Manual focus capability during zoom (in both Manual Focus and AF Modes), Selectable response on focus ring (Slow, Normal, Fast), Focus Limit (On/Off), Four selectable focus preset speeds
- Iris Ring Improved ring design for better performance is an extremely useful function on the XH A1S. The manual iris adjustment ring allows you to adjust your f-stop with the same hand and in the same manner as you focus and zoom. You can thereby control all aspects of the image with your fingertips, while keeping the camcorder steady. In addition, the Iris limit is selectable.
With HD, focus is more critical than ever. It demands Instant AF: the next generation of auto focus, designed with HD resolution in mind. Because HD resolution is higher, focusing time is longer - it's harder to find perfect focus. Canon's Instant AF combines an external AF sensor with Canon's legendary auto focus system for fast and accurate focus. Together, the two sensors reduce focusing time - even in low-light, low contrast, or high brightness situations - and improve focusing performance on difficult subjects.
The XH A1S gives you a choice of two AF modes for different shooting applications:
- Normal AF changes focus at a speed that appears natural and doesn't distract the viewer
- Instant AF changes focus as rapidly as possible and is designed for applications in which quick focus is more important than other considerations - for example, in news gathering or documentary work
- SD Memory Card/MultiMediaCard Slot (for storing custom presets, custom functions and photos) allowing the sharing of XH A1S Custom Preset files with other XH A1S', as well as Canon XL H1S, XL H1A and XH G1S camcorders
- 2.8-inch Widescreen LCD and .57-inch Widescreen EVF provide you with bright, high-resolution views. The LCD gives approximately 207,000 pixels and the EVF, 269,000. The LCD and EVF can be used at the same time, giving both cameraperson and director a view of the action. The LCD stows in the camcorder body when not in use, and can also point forward for self-portrait work.
- Still Image Shooting capabilities turn your XH A1S into a valuable production tool for storyboarding, continuity and publicity shots, and other applications. You get single image shooting, continuous shooting, high-speed continuous shooting, histogram display, AEB, image quality selection, print order, protect, slide show, and index display. And, digital still images can be recorded in either digital color space or video color space. Image sizes are 1920 x 1080, 848 x 480, 1440 x 1080, and 640 x 480. Still image shooting records images to a MultiMedia Card or SD Memory Card. Metering modes include center-weighted average metering, evaluative metering, and spot metering.
- Support for 9 languages including: German, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Russian, English, Chinese (simplified), and Japanese.
- Analog-Digital Converter lets you use your XH A1S to convert the analog signal from your TV, VCR or analog camcorder to digital. Or use your XH A1S as a signal converter by connecting it between an analog device and another digital device.
- Level Shot and Grid Marker features make it easy to keep your camera level or compose your shot with precision. Simply press the Level Shot Control button, and a horizontal marker appears in your viewfinder. Line up any horizontal lines in your shot - such as the horizon - to the marker and you can be sure your camcorder is level. The Grid Marker feature lets you compose your shot accurately in relation to a precise grid.
- Built-in XLR terminals (2) supply phantom power (+48 dB) and can be switched between LINE and MIC.
- External Microphone Holder lets you attach an external microphone to your XH A1S.
- Internal Battery Compartment
- Flash Accessory Shoe can accept a Canon EX Speedlite flash unit for still photography.
- Letterbox Display during playback allows easy viewing of HD footage on any monitor, even a 4:3 monitor.
- 1 Year Parts and Labor Limited Warranty
- XH A1S Camcorder with lens cap
- CA-920 Compact Power Adapter
- WL-D5000 Wireless Controller
- DTC-1000 Component Cable
- Lens Hood
- SDC-32M SD Memory Card
- Two R6/AA Batteries
- AC Cable
- Tripod adapter base
- BP-950G Battery Pack
- STV-290N Stereo Video Cable
- IFC-300PCU USB Cable
- DC-920 Power Supply Coupler
- SS-1100 Shoulder Strap
- HDVM-E63PR Digital Video Cassette
- External microphone holder adjustment band
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Top Customer Reviews
1) Great Quality! - The L series Flourite Lens does not disappoint. The video comes out great and in well lit environments the picture quality is simply amazing.
2) Easy to get used to (for a prosumer cam) - I have not owned any prosumer cameras before but after reading the manual and watching some youtube tutorials, it does not take very long to get familiar with the camera. That said, I can see how it may be intimidating to many at first. I have not messed with presets up to this point, but I do plan to so that I can achieve a better "film look".
3) XLR inputs - this was one of the main reasons (along w/ the lens) that I went with the XHA1S as opposed to the newer canon options for around the same price range.
1) MiniDV tapes are old tech that are rather inconvenient. While I appreciate having a physical backup that will last for a long period of time, there is concern of eventual mechanical failure (tape load mechanism or tape heads becoming damaged). That being said, it is possible to record straight from the firewire output into a computer or laptop. I had to go from 6 pin firewire to 9 pin to thunderbolt. This is what I had been initially doing until I got annoyed with being physically tethered to my iMac5K. I import into FCPX, however, because the camera is not rolling while being imported into FCP, it auto-stops after 4 mins and 15 sec. This gets really old really quick, as I have to shut the camera off, and then restart in Aperature Priority or other mode so that FCP will recognize and allow for import of another 4 mins 15 secs. One solution is to just record to tapes, but that then requires one to capture the recorded film onto FCP in real time, again another downside.
2) Battery limitations - The battery can last quite a while but it takes a few hours to charge and if you do not have an extra battery, this can limit your recording abilites, such as when travelling.
3) Aperature/DOF limits - If you are not tethered to a computer, and if you have enough space to zoom in from afar you can achieve a nice DOF look, however, since you cannot change out the lense, unless you are willing to add on an aftermarket adapter, its one of the biggest downsides that a DSLR can achieve much easier and more cheaply.
My personal suggestions if you plan to get this awesome camera:
1) Get a DTE device, as this will allow you to capture your recordings straight into the format of your choice and then directly upload to your computer for editing. These are pricey but if you can snag a used one or get one on sale it is well worth the investment. This eliminates the need for recording to tape and is the best way to go for this camera imho. Figure the cost into addition of the camera price when considering your options.
2) Search for and purchase the original canon power adapter charger (CA-920) to include the power cord and DC Coupler. This will allow you to run the camera straight from the wall to your camera without using the battery.
3) A helpful tip, if you plan to import straight from the camera into FCP X, you will need to insert a camera into the tape. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out why I could not capture straight from the camera into my iMac and tried countless capture softwares only to get trashy grainy images. I did everything from multiple firewire cables, adapters, etc. Save yourself tons of headache and time by purchasing a miniDV tape to keep in the camera regardless of if you plan to use it or not. That being said, I also ran a 25' firewire cable to the 2 adapters into my iMac5K with no issue in camera quality.
I hope this review helps a few out. Buying this camera now with a few additional components can allow for some amazing footage, but again it all depends how much you're willing to spend and what you are looking to get out of it compared to a DSLR or newer HD Camcorder.
I've used this one in about a dozen weddings and other special events and a couple of documentary/interview videos and other mini projects. If you want a run and gun camera that you can get down and dirty with but still want to retain some semblance of a film quality look, this is definitely the camera to get. Obviously this also isn't your granny's camera. This camera is for people who want to devote part of their life to video. This camera is also for the guy new to video but wants to learn and get somewhere.
Overall I give the cam a solid 4. Here's why.
Easy to use in auto/easy mode. Great camera that you can pick up and start shooting on a short moments notice and that's why I call it a run and gun cam. But it will take you good while and a lot of practice to master to get the most out of it.
Physical Looks - Its big enough to let other people know you mean business but small/versatile enough to be able to handle in crowded or confined areas. For example when people are dancing I like to hold the camera up in the air with one hand to get a overhead view. Just because its not shoulder mount doesn't make it unstable. I can keep steady shot if I have it close to my body and zoom with my feet. Kids also tend to always want to jump in the video since its such an obvious camera. Its also an obvious enough camera where you might get told something if you're shooting inside a mall or something lol but as one of my mottos says 'its best to shoot first and ask questions later'.
Really good video, especially if you can drop the background. I love watching my videos over and over again. Video is also very customizable and you can save about 20 custom video presets. Note: it seems to me that there will always be some gainey spots here and there, even when you drop the gain to -3 (which is the lowest). But I don't except it to shoot the same as a red or something..
XLR inputs are really useful. I use them for run and gun interviews and they are great when you have a boom operator. I also know indy film industries require you use xlr inputs.
Control configuration is similar to professional cameras which I thought was really neat.
The LCD screen is too small to know you have a good picture when you go in full manual. Even when I use pecking or zebras or whatever. I wish it was a 4-5 inch instead. I feel like you need to buy a 7 inch monitor to get the most out of full manual or choosing the right preset. But maybe I am asking for too much?
Would really love to have an HDMI output signal but I guess during 2006 component was the norm....?
Not a very good internal microphone, (this might be normal for prosumer cams..?) **definitely get a shotgun microphone** I bought one for 150 dollars plus mic and it made a world of difference. Now I can pick up conversations in weddings which make your video all that better.
Low light performance isn't the best. I didn't put this as a con because I feel this is normal for most cameras around this price bracket. I find myself having to crack up brightness for a lot of my low light videos in post. It should also be noted that anything over +6 gain settings on the cam makes the video look gainey.
Tape Technology - This is old technology and other people will tell you it is but it still gets the job done. I didn't have any problems playing back video to my computer via firewire. Also as far as the tape mechanism goes I've had to reinsert the tape about 2-4 times in the last 50 tapes I've used.
Auto focus sometimes takes a while to focus on something... But I feel thats expected of these cameras. You also sometimes get a bouncy auto focus when front subjects are moving in and out of frame. It is best to practice your manual focus.
Don't use this camera if you're feeling nervous or don't let someone who's nervous use this camera. I tend to drop s*** when Iam nervous and this camera looks like it'll be very expensive to fix once its dropped..
Doesn't have the same DOF as a 35mm DSRL but if you ask me I will still take this cam over a lets say 5d mark 3 when it comes to shooting video. I feel like the XH1As is easier to shoot wedding video compared to a DSRL which I also happen to own because of the auto focus and handling. But you can still get great DOF if you us it right.
I wouldn't take this thing in some shady area part of town unless you got friends with you or something lol. It does look like an expensive piece of hardware.
Weight: If you hand held this things for a couple of hours your whole body will feel it. Your chess/back will hurt and at the end of the day you will be very tired and relieved which is also a sign that you're working hard and probably doing a good job. So be sure to have some strength in you if you're getting this camera. It wouldn't hurt to work out a little and have some endurance. Definitely have a good strong metal tripod around.
Get this camera, or a camera like this, if you don't like shooting videos using DSLRs. I personally dislike shooting videos using DSLRs. Get this camera if you can't afford memory card technology cameras but know that tape technology is old and can be, nay, IS inconvenient. One hard part about tape technology is transferring your video to a client. Lets say you get hired to shoot video, well with a memory card camera you can transfer video on the spot after youre done. With a tape base technology camera I have to take the camera home, play it back on my computer, record it to external memory device and drop it off like the next day to my client who lives an hour away. Also with memory card technology you don't have to wory about changing cards for 3 hours at a time. With tape tech you have to worry about changing tapes every hour. There will be times when you will get nervous because you only have 4 mins of tape left yet there is a very important speech that is coming up within the next 30 secs.
It is possible to use the cam in full manual using the LCD screen by using zebras and pecking.(which are features dslrs don't tend to have)
Don't buy new as well. They are a rip off at 4.3k. These cameras are also getting hard to sell so if you see a potential buyer try and knock down the price a little. Here in Dallas for example a guy was selling his for 1.8k along with a video recording memory device and a whole bunch of other goods.
The only thing on this camera that I miss from the original XH-A1is the lack of a standby switch. But that's what happens when you get a million complaints and returns from confused masses who can't figure out why their camera isn't turning on when they twist the dial.
All that aside, the microphone is drastically improved, and the ability to focus and zoom simultaneously is pretty sweet too.
This is an excellent Camcorder for any professional to semiprofessional film maker looking for mobility without losing quality.