Positive: This model has amazing video quality, fast focus and it’s lighter than most. In addition it has excellent lens as well as optical stabilizer, furthermore most users will appreciate how easy it is to customize.

Negative: Its LCD is less than admirable with low resolution that may appear course as well as its recording ability lacks a 720p.

What you get: Independent filmmakers will get an overall great camcorder at the best price performance ratio in its class.

If you are a documentary or independent filmmaker looking for a camera that gives you great value for money and get the job done then you should take a look at the Canon XH A1 model. This HDV model is one of two that Canon has created to appeal to professionals of the entry-level market and is developed with similar technology as the XL H1 with the exception of a more affordable lens system contributing to its highly competitive price. This camera offers a 20x zoom lens that has a 32.5mm-to-650mm angle view and an excellent focusing system. However the G1 model does have features next to that of the XL H1’s such as Genlock synchronization, output for HD-SDI plus a cluster of connectors for individuals who are interested in mixing several video input sources.

The XH A1 is a comfortable, relatively light weight camcorder; its logistically placed controls and buttons makes shooting without looking possible due to their reasonable sizes. It has the ability to support SD cards of minimum 2GB which allows you to accumulate 1920 x 1080 stills or to transmit from one XH model to another your customized settings. It also sports functional locks such as the one that inhibits the camcorder, while in standby mode, from turning on. The numerous options of a FireWire 400 (which enables you to record to a disk directly), BNC video link, LANC as well as composite and component output, makes this model extremely functional even though it lacks the Jackpack necessary for multi-camera work. If this is a requirement of yours then the other HDV model, the G1, provides a reasonable solution as it has Genlock input and other compensatory features.

The focus, zoom and iris are operated by rings of varying sizes and textures found on the barrel of the lens which allows the user to manipulate such operations easily, and additionally to make changes in exposure plus white-balance adjustments. The Slow speed feature added by Canon is a good solution to previous complaints regarding the instability of the focus. It has a native resolution of 1440 x 1080 and three 1/3 inch CCDs that enables it to records at frame rates of 30F or 24F.  The lens has great quality edge-to-edge sharpness and center focus although it sometimes displays colored irregularities on the sides. The manual focus and the auto focus are both quite fast, although in the 24F and 30F users may experience some decrease in speed but this should resolve itself over time and with frequent use. The low resolution LCD may cause you to depend on the Peaking and Magnify aids which have been moved by Canon to the camcorder’s body.

At the lowest of the seven gain levels it has video quality is exceptionally smooth and with comparatively little noise at gain level 3dB in decreased lighting. Also the on-camera mic functions fine especially for close proximity shootings plus there are options for adding on more sophisticated equipment.

Compared to its other competitors the Canon XH A1 camcorder is very affordable and so far has had relatively good reviews from users as well as experts. The overall features with great image quality and attractive price makes it a great purchase choice and a solid investment.

Video review Canon XH A1

Photos Canon XH A1

Canon XH-A1 right

Canon-XH-A1 ports rear

XHA1 Detail details

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