September 20, 2005

More Canon XL H1 Details

I copied this from the DV Magazine, it details the specs of the Canon XL H1.

My observations should follow shortly.

Last but not least? The Canon XL H1 enters the HDV camera market at $8,999, which includes the price of the removable lens.

Canon Announces HDV Camera
by Kimberly Reed

Canon entered the HDV camera fray by announcing the XL H1. The new camera looks like a black version of the XL1 or XL2 with a few extra buttons and features. It's built around three 1/3-inch native 16:9 CCDs with a resolution of 1440 x 1080.

The XL H1 shoots 60i and two Frame modes of 30f and 24f. The Frame mode is similar to early Canon digital camcorders--it's not technically a progressive frame because the CCDs aren't progressive, but fields are interpolated and reinterlaced in Canon's proprietary method to allow the "f" frames to behave just like "p" frames during postproduction. Canon representatives said their method would work much better than other manufacturers' attempts at 24p-like HDV (read Sony).

The hefty camcorder comes with an interchangeable 20 X HD video zoom lens with Optical Image Stabilization. Representatives weren't stating lens resolution figures as of press time, but f-stop ranges from f/1.6 to f/3.5. Focusing distance at wide angle is just 20 mm. It will be interesting to compare the quality of this lens with the Fujinon lens that comes with the JVC HD100 HDV camcorder, the closest competitor to the XL H1 in features and price. Stay tuned for more on that comparison in a future issue of DV.

Although it sounds like an option, Canon's "professional jackpack" is built into every XL H1 and provides some of the most unique features of the camera. It enables uncompressed digital HD-SDI 60i output, Genlock, and SMPTE timecode in and out. The combination of these three features will interest broadcasters who haven't considered Canon cameras before, potentially opening up a new market segment for Canon.

The XL H1 is the first camera to use Canon's proprietary Digic DV II image processor for HD, SD, and still photo processing. It records to HDV or miniDV tapes.

Building on a trend started with the XL2, Canon lets this camera's users customize recording parameters such as color matrix, cine gamma, color gain, hue, master color, knee, black stretch, horizontal detail, sharpness, and noise reduction. For $599 extra, Canon is also releasing Console image control software, which remotely controls camera settings and provides on-set image analysis tools in the same vein as Serious Magic DV Rack. Camera profiles can be stored to flash disk and used to set up other cameras.

The camera can also serve as a still camera in two different modes. Pictures can be snapped while the camera is running, sending 1920 x 1080 dpi 2.1-megapixel images with recording info metadata to standard Secure Digital (SD) or MMC media cards. If the camera is switched into photo-only mode, it can capture up to 5 frames per second, and EOS flash units can even be used.

The XL H1 camcorder with the 20 X HD lens will be available in November 2005 for an estimated selling price of $8,999.

Kimberly Reed is editor-in-chief of DV.

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