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Canon Extends HD Camcorder Line

New XH G1 and XH A1 models will ship this fall By Frank Moldstad

Two new Canon HD camcorders announced this week include many of the professional features of Canons XL H1 at more affordable price points. The XH G1 and XH A1 both come with fixed 20x Fluorite HD lenses as opposed to the H1s interchangeable 20x Fluorite lens. Shipping this fall, the new HDV models will give Canon a good-better-best selection of professional 3 CCD HD cameras, enabling users to choose the features they need.

For instance, the G1 ($6,999 MSRP) includes HD SDI outputs, giving it the same uncompressed high-definition output capabilities as the H1. This is due to the inclusion of Canons Jackpack, which also adds SMPTE Time Code In/Out and Genlock input capabilities. Users who dont need HD SDI outs can opt for the A1 (MSRP $3,999), which still captures1080 HD video at 60i, 30F or 24F frame rates.

The top-of-the line XL H1 (MSRP $8,999), introduced last year, provides more flexibility. Its interchangeable lens capabilities make it possible to use a mini 35mm adapter for motion picture lenses. The finder is also swappable, so a high-resolution black-and-white finder can be substituted. A battery pack clip can also be mounted on the back of the H1, allowing Anton Bauer or Firestorm hard drives on the back of the camera.
But for those who dont need those features, the G1 and the A1 include the same basic electronics used in the H1. 

?Basically, instead of building a better GL2, we've made affordable alternatives to the H1, said Jon Sagud, video consultant for Canons Consumer Imaging Group Video Division. The GL2 is Canons FireWire-eqiupped mini DV SD camcorder that was introduced in 2002.

The 20x HD zoom lens in the new cameras is slightly different than the lens in the H1, notes Sagud. ?What's really cool about it is, even though its a 20x just like the H1 lens, it starts at a shorter focal length. It has a wider angle view. It is more versatile, and to me, it's more attractive, he said. 

?The wide-angle aspect on the H1 lens is equivalent to a 38 mm, in 35mm terms. This is 32 mm, Sagud added. ?So it's considerably wider, but still the same specification in terms of resolution.  It has a 72 mm front --  the same filter thread diameter as the H1, which means that all of the lens shade accessories, all of the things built for the XL1, XL 1S, XL 2, and XL H1 are going to fit this.

And even though the G1 and A1 have fixed lenses, an optional auxiliary lens will provide wide angle capabilities. ?When we introduce this camera in November, there will be a wide angle lens option, the WD72, Sagud said. ?So you can take this lens as it sits, or you can add the auxiliary lens to it and further increase the angle of view. Just like we make a wide angle adapter for the GL 2, were going to make one for this camera as well.  It will really take you out wide, somewhere in the 24 mm range.

The G1 also features a more streamlined signal path than the H1 audio, time code and video are all ported through the HD SDI port. Canon incorporated this after receiving user feedback from the H1s first year in the field, Sagud said.

?People using the H1 in a studio configuration and pulling that HD SDI video signal out were also pulling the audio out and sending it to an audio mixer or a DAT recorder and then mixing it after the fact, he said. ?But there were ENG applications where they wanted to run it to a portable deck, and it would've been more convenient to have had the audio and the time code and the video all ported through that HD SDI port, so you didn't have to run it through the Miranda and bring all the wires in.  We now have embedded audio and embedded time code in the HD SDI output port.

And since the G1 is smaller and more portable than the H1, the embedded audio and time code are even more important. It's got a 48 V phantom power supply, XLR mic inputs, and a mic holder built into the camera. 

Another ergonomic feature on both the G1 and the A1 is an internally stored battery.

?It's the first camera of this type we've made with a door that opens up for storing the battery internally, said Sagud. Not only does it balance the camera better, but it keeps the battery warmer in cold weather. We've had many of these cameras used at the tops of mountains and underwater where that becomes an issue. And now we'll have the only camera that has that internally kept battery, which is the same 900 series battery that we've been using for the past 10 years.

The XH A1 will be available at the end of October, while the step-up XH G1 will be available in mid-November. For more information, go here.

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Related Keywords:Canon, HD, XH G1, XH A1, XL H1, HDV, HD SDI, camcorders


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