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Need to buy new camera

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Johnny Laty
Need to buy new camera
on Apr 10, 2017 at 3:57:44 am

I have a canon xlh1 but the firewire port is broken.

I am also looking to record on sd.

I'm shooting a movie out in the mountains this summer and I was thinking selling my camera and buying a different one.

Which camera is the best deal?


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Todd Terry
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 10, 2017 at 5:07:52 am

Well, it's hard to suggest a camera based on just a "movie in the mountains"... not sure what level you are looking to work at, your budget, what any of your shooting requirements are, or anything like that...

As a very general and broad recommendation, though, I'm a huge fan of everything in the EOS "C" line... everything from the C100 up to the C300 Mark II... they are all fantastic cameras (I've shot with the C300PL since they first came out). There's a wide variety of costs there, too, but all are great cameras.

I, too, shot with the XLH1 from when they first came out up until the C300 was released... I guess that was about five years or so (I also loved it, my favorite camera ever up until that point). I know you said you were going to sell it, and you can likely find a buyer... but unfortunately (like all video cameras) don't expect to get a great deal for it, especially since it needs a repair. When we went to the C300 I was going to sell our XLH1 and P+S Technik lens converter (a combo we'd paid about $23,000 for new). At that time on the used market the H1 was getting about $1000 (down from $10,000) and the lens converter getting about $650 ($13,000 new), so I decided to keep them rather than practically giving them away. I'm actually glad I've kept them, we've ended up using them a few times.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Johnny Laty
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 10, 2017 at 11:18:37 pm

I was thinking of spending less then $1000 on the camera.

Is there any camera i can get which can use the lens on the xlh1? that way i can save money on that?

Or you think my best bet is to fix the xlh1 cause nothing else would be as good quality for that price?


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Gary Huff
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 12, 2017 at 12:51:51 am

[Johnny Laty] "Or you think my best bet is to fix the xlh1 cause nothing else would be as good quality for that price?"

You might be able to purchase a HDV tape deck on eBay cheaper than to fix the XLH1 or buy a new camera.


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Todd Terry
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 12, 2017 at 5:26:53 am

That's a good suggestion.

I'd definitely recommend either finding a deck or just getting the firewire port fixed. Neither of those options is going to cost you anywhere near $1000, and you're not going to find any new camera under a grand that is (in my opinion) anywhere near the camera that the H1 is... in fact, not even in the ballpark. Even though it is old, and even in spite of the small chip the H1 is just an awesome camera... and the stock zoom lens is excellent.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Johnny Laty
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 12, 2017 at 2:46:31 pm

Thank you both for your help.

I've read somewhere that the xlh1 is not good in low-light situations. I did do some shooting at night and found the footage kind of grainy. I don't know if it was something I did wrong. I want the night scenes to look theater quality. I know there are two switches to brighten the image. There's the one on the lens and and a little wheel on the side. I'm guessing I should use the one on the lens first?

I was also looking for hdv decks on ebay and I found this: NICE - Sony DSR-30 DVCAM Mini DV Digital Video VCR Player Recorder Deck DSR30

Will that work for my tapes?


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Gary Huff
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 12, 2017 at 3:57:28 pm

[Johnny Laty] "Will that work for my tapes?"

Unless you're shooting SD only, you'll want an HDV deck, not MiniDV.

[Johnny Laty] "I've read somewhere that the xlh1 is not good in low-light situations. "

You won't be able to purchase a camera that is substantially better in low-light situations for less than $1000.


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Todd Terry
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 12, 2017 at 9:53:46 pm

Yes, as Gary said you'll need an HDV deck, not just an SD deck.

But to take that a bit further, you might need to do a little research, especially if you shoot your HDV footage at 24fps. That particular camera's flavor of 24p (which Canon called 24F back in the day) was a little peculiar, and weirdly/sadly enough that footage could not be played in all HDV decks. I used to have a list of which ones were compatible, but that was years ago. The very first HDV decks could not read the Canon 24fps footage, whereas some of the later ones could.

It would be nice to have a deck... if it worked. Though it might prove to be more foolproof just to get the firewire port fixed.

And no, you're not going to find a better low-light camera for under $1000.

Assuming you have the stock Canon lens that originally shipped with that camera, there is a neutral density ring on the lens barrel (you press an unlock button to turn it). It's the ring marked 1/32 1/6 and OFF. You'd want it completely off when shooting in darker environments. The gain is the pop-out knob on the left side of the body, ranging from -3 to +18. You'll want that turned down as close to zero as possible and still get good exposure. Make sure your iris is wide open in darker situations, and that will be as much as you can do to avoid grainy or noisy images.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Johnny Laty
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 14, 2017 at 2:34:33 am

Let me get this straight. When the density ring is off it means it's taking in as much light possible. That may be what i did wrong with my first film.

So I use the pop up gain knob to brighten the image at night if need be.

So how do I make sure my iris is wide open? Isn't that the same as the density ring?

Thank you all for your help.


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Todd Terry
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 14, 2017 at 3:17:57 am

You've got three things going on that affect your exposure, that all work in concert: The ND ring on the lens, the aperture of the lens, and the sensitivity of the chip (the gain).

[Johnny Laty] "When the density ring is off it means it's taking in as much light possible."

Correct. In most circumstances (especially interiors), you'll want no neutral density added, which means you'd want it set to the "OFF" position. You'd generally only want to add ND in extremely bright conditions to keep from overexposing you images, such as exteriors in direct sunlight.

[Johnny Laty] "So how do I make sure my iris is wide open? Isn't that the same as the density ring?"

No, they are two very different things. The iris is controlled (as best as I recall, I haven't used the camera in a very long time) by a little vertical thumbwheel on the left side of the camera body. Roll it one way and it closes the iris, roll it the other way and it opens it up. In dim conditions you'd want to open up the iris to let more light in. The iris is what you would normally use to tweak and fine tune exposure.

[Johnny Laty] "So I use the pop up gain knob to brighten the image at night if need be."

Correct. The goal should be setting it to 0... but if even with the ND filtration set to zero, and even with the iris wide open, if you aren't getting adequate exposure then you can start clicking the gain up. Remember that the higher you goose up the gain, the more noisy/grainy your image will be, so raising the gain should definitely be the third thing you resort to if images are too dark, after you've made sure there are no ND filters in place and that the iris is wide open. You shouldn't see much image degradation (if any) if you pump the gain up to +3 or +6, but higher than that with the H1 and you'll start noticing it.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Gary Huff
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 16, 2017 at 1:16:41 pm

[Todd Terry] "if even with the ND filtration set to zero, and even with the iris wide open, if you aren't getting adequate exposure then you can start clicking the gain up."

If he's going to be shooting a movie, then he should add light before clicking up the gain. Upping the gain should be the last resort.


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Johnny Laty
Re: Need to buy new camera
on Apr 18, 2017 at 12:40:10 am

Thank you.


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