The Canon XH-A1 HD Video Camera is truly awe-inspiring. A few years ago, a professional-level video camera was out of reach for all but the most affluent. Canon and other manufacturers changed that, helped by advances in technology.
When we decided to get the XH-A1, we spent almost a month looking at the range of cameras available. Quality of output and manufacture, size and weight, ease of use were all checked. The clear winner, for what we wanted to do, was the Canon XH-A1 HD Video Camera.
Every time we’ve used it, we proved it was the right decision. Not only is it a great camera, but it looks great – and a great-looking camera can take you a long way.
Originally acquired as a news camera, it has served multiple purposes, including interviews inside and outdoors, police speed traps, DUI checkpoints and a drug haul, plus at sporting, entertainment, city and business events, seminars and keynotes. It was also used to record concerts for the Folsom Lake Symphony Orchestra, the Folsom Lake Ballet and the Folsom Lake Community Concert Association.
Every job was different, but it handled them all with no problems. We even tested it’s night vision capabilities, tracking a skunk in the garden – a cute little beast that had the cats fascinated.
This camera allows shooting in 60i, 24F or 30F mode. We never used 30F and although movies are all shot at 24F, we always used 60i, mostly because there was usually a lot of motion in what we do and 60i Handles it better.
The Symphony Orchestra shoots were demanding, positioned at the rear of the auditorium, some 80 feet from the stage. 60i mode, the Fluorite x20 zoom lens, image stabilizer, autofocus and automatic gain control made it a snap. On one occasion, we had the luxury of an audio feed from the mixer console, and a range of stage microphones. At other times, there was no console and the XH-A1 internal stereo microphones did an excellent job, even back that far.
Most of the time, we used automatic mode, but manual, shutter priority and aperture priority are great too. In manual mode, you can use depth of field to advantage.
As a news and documentary-style videographer, I never intended to do any really fancy edit work, but a few weeks ago, I was asked to video a wedding at short notice. My friend Michael Sato, of Satostudios gave me some tips and everything turned out well.
A few weeks ago, I sent it to the Canon Factory repair center, to have it cleaned and adjusted. They did a great job and it was painless.
Unfortunately, USPS “lost” the camera and turned my overnight next day guaranteed delivery deal into a 5-day ordeal and on the way back, UPS turned the next-day delivery into another 5 day ordeal. I missed two promised shoots thanks to USPS and UPS.
I have to say the Canon XH-A1 is a fantastic camera and I love it, love using it and love carrying it around. I recommend this camera to anyone who wants to create top quality video at a reasonable price.