Canon have announced a pair of high-definition camcorders that look likely to make serious videographers (i.e. not me) weep, like little children, with joy. The XH A1S and XH G1S both record to HDV tape, have 20x lenses with manual zoom and focus, and use Canon's optical image stabilizer system. Each can record full 1080p high-definition footage.
Canon's DIGIC DV II DSP system is coupled with Instant AF for faster focus locks and improved signal processing. Both are capable of outputting 24F movie-standard footage, while the G1S adds broadcast standard connections including a HD-SDI output delivering an uncompressed 1.485 Gbps digital signal with embedded audio and LTC Timecode (SMPTE 299M).
Used with the Canon FS-CV DTE Recorder, the two camcorders can bypass the HDV tape system and record direct to an attached hard-drive. The Canon XH A1S and Canon XH G1S HD camcorders will be available in late December with an MRSP of $3,999 and $6,999 respectively.
CANON'S NEW XH A1S and XH G1S CAMCORDERS PROVIDE GREATER CONTROL AND OPERATION FOR VIDEOGRAPHERS
Enhanced Image Quality, Improved Operability Serve the Needs of Event Video and Documentary Filmmaking
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., November 5, 2008 – Building on the success of the XH A1 and XH G1 High Definition (HD) camcorders, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, has introduced the newly refined and upgraded hand-held XH A1S and XH G1S HD camcorders. Both products incorporate enhanced features for improved operation, including greater image control and improved audio capabilities. Whether it is for corporate video production, wedding and events, or filmmaking, the new Canon XH A1S and XH G1S HD camcorders help professional videographers realize their creative vision.
The Canon XH A1S and XH G1S HD camcorders incorporate an expanded array of controls for customizing the image, display and operation to match individual needs. Utilizing the industry's most affordable digital video recording media – HDV tapes – both models are ideal for long-format applications such as wedding and event videography, digital filmmaking, documentary production, government and media education.
"HDV tape format continues to be the most cost-effective medium for high-quality high definition video capture and storage," noted Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A. "With the new XH A1S and XH G1S HD camcorders, professional user-requested refinements have been incorporated to provide even easier on-camera usability and operation."
Improved Lens Operability
The Canon XH A1S and XH G1S HD camcorders' Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Lens offers manual zoom and focus, which can operate simultaneously in either manual or Autofocus mode. The three independent manual adjustment rings, (focus, zoom and iris) have been redesigned for easy access and comfortable operation. Other lens innovations include: three sensitivity settings for the manual focus ring; normal, fast, and slow zoom speeds; smooth movement when starting or stopping zooms; and selectable rotational angles between the tele and wide ends of the lens zoom. Additionally, the lens features Canon's SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) system, which corrects camera shake instantly on hand-held shots at full telephoto, shots taken from a moving vehicle, or other challenging situations.
To improve lens operability, the new Canon XH A1S and XH G1S HD camcorders are equipped with a function to customize the "operational feeling" of the camcorder. Acceleration and deceleration have been added to the zoom when starting and stopping in the zoom key mode to achieve a more natural zoom sensation during filming.
The new camcorders provide users with an unprecedented range of image/color settings, camera-control functions, and viewfinder display choices. Video can be captured and output in multiple frame rates to meet the demands of diverse production assignments. These frame rates include: 60i for mainstream production; 30F for perfect frame grabs or Web delivery; and 24F for emulating the look of motion-picture film. Canon's Factory Service Center can also provide an optional upgrade to add 50i and 25F frame rates. The camcorders can be switched in all frame rates between 1080-line 16:9 aspect ratio HD video and 480-line 4:3 aspect ratio SD video (or 576 lines in 50i or 25F mode).
Both models provide Total Image Control for customizing image and color settings, with a total of 23 custom presets available for image quality adjustment, with the range of image color presets extended from +/-9 to +/-50 steps for fine-tuning the picture (an important feature for achieving the visual subtleties favored by cinematographers). Custom image preset files can be stored to an onboard SD/SDHC Memory Card and shared with other Canon professional models including the XL H1S, XL H1A, XH G1, and XH A1 camcorders for seamless multi-camera production work.
Custom camera functions and operation settings total 21 items and 33 sub-items for achieving creative "looks" for footage. Among these functions are: "shockless" white balance for smooth, color-accurate dissolves between two pre-set white balance values (adjustable from 2000K to 15000K); the ability to increase gain in 0.5dB increments from 0dB up to +18dB, and 3dB and +36dB settings. A selective noise-reduction function is available for reducing the noise in targeted color areas, which is important for blue/green chroma-key applications in special effects work.
Using the custom display settings feature, a camera operator can tailor the display to match their shooting style. These include 22 items and 40 sub-items for selection of status information that can be shown in the camcorders' 2.8" widescreen LCD or color EVF.
Improved Audio Specifications
User-requested refinements in the Canon XH A1S and XH G1S HD camcorders' audio capabilities include: two-channel audio performance; two built-in XLR terminals with separate audio-input sensitivity settings; the ability to simultaneously record sound from the supplied internal microphone and an external microphone; line output level switching; an audio (manual) limiter and a new metal headphone jack for reliable connectivity. The result is better overall flexibility and control of the camera by enabling the use of one cameraman to do the job of many.
Optional Hard Disk Drive Recording
Canon offers professionals in the field the option of recording video to HDV tape and directly to an external Hard Disk Drive by using the FS-CV DTE Recorder.
XH G1S HD Camcorder Exclusives
The Canon XH G1S HD camcorder includes industry standard terminals, which are a trio of connections that provide professionals with outstanding quality and versatility: HD-SDI/SD-SDI Output, SMPTE Timecode Input/Output, and Genlock Input. The HD-SDI connection outputs an uncompressed 1.485 Gbps digital signal with embedded audio and LTC Timecode (SMPTE 299M), reducing the number of cables and improving the camera operator's mobility, enabling easy seamless integration into broadcast studios. To complement the XH A1S HD camcorder's 24F frame rate mode, the model adds flags when outputting video through HD-SDI (which normally outputs 60i). These flags allow compatible hardware or software to locate the frames needed for removal during professional editing, resulting in native 24F video.
Users can easily facilitate multi-camera shoots with the Canon XH G1S model due to the camcorder's Genlock synchronization input. This feature permits trouble-free switching of the camcorders in a multi-camera situation. With its SMPTE time code input/output terminal, each camera on a shoot can have matched time code.
The Canon Difference
Since it is critical to achieve very sharp focus when shooting in high definition, the XH A1S and XH G1S models feature Canon's revolutionary Instant AF focusing system, which uses an external sensor, in combination with Canon's autofocus system, to significantly decrease the time it takes to find focus, even in low-light conditions, reducing focus "hunting."
Both camcorders also feature Canon's DIGIC DV II proprietary digital signal processor, which Canon designed specifically for HD acquisition. Found also in Canon's flagship "XL" camcorder line, the DIGIC DV II processor provides highly accurate color and tonal reproduction needed for high HD image quality. A new noise reduction system, combined with a new gamma system, helps to reduce noise in monotone and shadow areas. The fast processing speed of the DIGIC DV II chip allows video and photos to be shot simultaneously. Furthermore, the processor's low power consumption contributes to longer battery life.
The new Canon XH A1S and XH G1S HD camcorders are scheduled to be available in late December for an estimated retail price of $3,999 and $6,999, respectively.