Whether you are working as a documentary or broadcast producer, commercial or feature videographer, this Canon XL-H1 Review will show why Canon XL-H1 is the perfect camcorder for you! With the various camcorder options out there, why still go for XL-H1?
Well, for one, it doesn’t only have superior image processing and exceptional Canon optics that gives brilliant HD images, but also features uncompressed SD-SDI and HD-SDI outputs. With its SMPTE time code input and output as well as its Genlock input, multi-camera shooting has never been made so easy and desirable. Aside from its customizable open-architecture approach, multiple output options and selectable frame rates, it’s 20x optical zoom option will certainly get you thinking how it’s the best video camera for both amateurs intending to go pro and for professionals themselves.
Video and Image Quality
Canon XL-H1 3CCD Review Test Footage[vimeo height=”500″ width=”820″]http://vimeo.com/9462026[/vimeo]
HD Resolution and Selectable Frame Rates. XL-H1 captures images in 1080i HD resolution. It has selectable frame rates of 24F, 30F and 60i. If you are intending to shoot high-speed subjects, you’ll find that the 30F option will give you the spectacular clarity you need. The 24F, on another note, delivers the motion and look of film.
20x HD Lens
XL-H1 has a 20x optical zoom video lens that provides outstanding contrast, color reproduction and resolution. What’s more, this lens, sized 778mm, is integrated with Canon’s Super Range OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) System. The system primarily corrects camera shaking for much steadier shots especially when used to shoot in motion or when hand-held at extended focal lengths.
Still Image Recording
Other than the outstanding capabilities and features expected from a standard Canon camcorder, XL-H1 also provides flexibility in that it can be used to capture clear and crisp full HD still images with custom settings. With the lots of pre-production, post-production, and continuity applications such as storyboarding, still image shooting is si
mply another aspect in which the XL-H1 lives up to its versatility.
3CCD Image Sensors
This HD camcorder has been built on the high image quality of the market-leading Canon XL Series. It comes with a 3CCD system that has separate native 16:9 CCDs for every primary color. Each 1/3 inch CCD is of 1.67M pixels. As a result, the output is of higher resolution with precise color reproduction and wide dynamic range without color noise that makes for an outstanding image quality.
XL-H1 is integrated with DIGIC DV II image processor which is Canon’s next generation of exclusive image processing technology. Although still and video images have varying color requirements, with the DIGIC DV II digital processing, optimal picture quality both for HD still and video images are guaranteed.
Total Cine Control
The XL-H1 makes possible the fine-tuning of all essential picture settings for users to control how they want the overall look of their videos to come out like. The crucial image settings to adjust are as follows:
- Master Pedestal
- Setup Level
- Horizontal Detail Frequency
- Noise Reduction 1
- Noise Reduction 2
- Color Gain
- Color Matrix
- Master Blue Gain
- Master Red Gain
- Master Green Gain
- RGB Matrix
Canon’s XL-H1 can record and play back HD images through DV cassette tapes. It can record in HDV1080i as well as uses Frame Rate dial and Mode Select to choose frame rates and SD or HD signals.
Low Light Test and Review[youtube height=”500″ width=”820″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mne7eLBt1-Y[/youtube]
LCD and EVF Panel
Whether you are shooting documentary footages or gathering news in motion, the wide and bright 16:9, 2.4-inch Electronic Viewfinder will make it much easier for you to operate this HD camcorder. Regardless of the style you shoot videos, you will get the shots that you need. Depending on user preference, the Electronic Viewfinder works in LCD mode and EVF mode. Adjustments can be made, from the left to the right, from the front to the back.
With the B/W mode, Safe Area Markings, Aspect Ration Guidelines and Zebra Pattern, framing and checking exposure is now made easier. Magnifying and Peaking Focus Help will also assist you as you compose your shots in an attempt to achieve the exposure you desire.
SD-SDI or HD-SDI, Genlock and Time Code
For professional videographers, Canon XL-H1 is a camcorder that transcends all others of prosumer level with its distinct capabilities. No matter the facilities and the job, it is a device that will give you what you need. Multiple-camera shooting will be no problem as it has Genlock synchronization and SMPTE time code input and output. Additional provisions are uncompressed SD-SDI and HD-SDI outputs. Bringing these capabilities all together are the XL-H1’s standard terminals which can also quickly and easily make the connections you need.
Custom Keys and Presets
Retrieve your previously defined camera and picture settings with the XL-H1’s 6 custom presets and 2 custom keys. It’s quick, convenient and more importantly
The 6 custom presets will allow saving of different camera adjustment settings including color phase, setup level, sharpness, color gain, V detail, gamma, color matrix, black stretch, knee and skin detail (gain, Y level, area, hue). Once saved, these presets can easily be retrieved to duplicate a look that has been previously defined.
With the use of the MultiMediaCard/SD slot, up to 20 custom presets can be stored and even easily transferred to another Canon camcorder. With the Console software as well, which is optional, camcorder function adjustments and the transfer of custom presets from and to another camcorder will become more convenient. Presets may even be sent to another user through Email.
The XL-H1 can also be defined with 2 custom keys, both in VCR mode and camera mode. This gives users customized shooting modes which can be quickly retrieved when necessary.
This Canon professional camcorder has been integrated with a Clear Scan feature which allows users to match their camera’s scan rate to that of their computer monitors. As a result, horizontal band effects included in the shots will be eliminated from the monitors, giving very clear visuals of the shots.
This camcorder has been equipped to handle any kind of professional-grade attachment that users may throw at it. Canon has made available a variety of compatible accessories and supplies that will enhance user experience with their XL-H1. Optional expandable batteries, portable microphones, filters, memory cards, and lenses are available for optional purchase and all are guaranteed to be user-friendly.
Compared to standard professional video cameras which always come heavy and bulky, the Canon XL-H1 is rather small to be used comfortably as a shoulder camera. However, it is still much larger than your portable consumer camcorder. With its easy-movable controls, this model seems more accessible and ergonomic as compared to other Canon professional camcorder models.
Camera wobbles can be noticed more in HD videos than in SD though so it’s crucial that users are able to maintain a steady hold. Otherwise, it may be necessary to make use of tripod attachments or accessories. The Canon XL-H1 is very flexible too in that it can be held over the head, low on the ground with carry handles or, for more stability, pinned underarm.
Weight and Size
With a width of 8.9 inches, height of 8.7 inches and a depth of 19.5 inches, Canon XL-H1 is not an ordinary portable prosumer camcorder made for everyday use. It has a body weight of 5.4 lbs and with the lens plus battery, it’s at 8.3 lbs. It may be a bit too heavy for the ordinary videophile as it has been primarily designed for heavy duty, hardcore professional use.
Canon XL-H1 is available at a list price of around $11,000 but can be bought at a cheaper cost of around $6,000 on prominent online auction sites. It is indeed a bit more expensive than standard industry camcorders but is one that can offer worth far more than its monetary value. For professional videographers, this is a device certain to be worth investing in. It simply is a serious camera for a serious work.
Canon, even after having produced a lot of the hailed top ten camcorders over the past years, has definitely done wonders again with another remarkable product under their brand. The entire package is incredible. Canon XL-H1 has a jack-of-all-trade system that’s useful for almost everything. Reporters and documentary filmmakers are certain to enjoy and make most of its comfortable and compact form element, long-lasting battery life, and run-and-gun lens.
Television producers will find ease in running the HD-SDI signals directly into their vision mixers and using the timecode as well as the gunlock options for syncing up other HD studio camcorders. With the superior image quality outputs, hobbyists who are able to afford will also find a lot of room for their videography skills to grow. XL-H1 is simply the best camcorder for amateur video enthusiasts and professionals alike.
Those intending to buy video camera for digital cinema production use may be hampered by its crummy viewfinder, HDV recording and automatic lens but this is nothing that cannot be solved by using on-set monitors, hard drive recorders and lens adapters. The XL-H1 comes with a state-of-the-art CCD array, removal lens, controllable image processing system, timecode sync and uncompressed outputs, rendering it an industry-leading digital cinema camera head of endless capabilities. Since it has already been in the market for about a year, it’s already well-supported and even battle-tested by many.
Indeed, the Canon XL-H1 is one of the top 10 video cameras leading in camera technology industry these days. It is definitely a device worth considering when you plan to purchase a new one.
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