Canon XH A1 HDV Camcorder

Canon XH A1 HDV Camcorder

For the professional and serious non-professional alike, the XH A1 combines a wealth of features with the outstanding performance of a 3 CCD, High Definition camcorder.

The excellence of the XH A1 begins with its Genuine Canon 20x HD zoom lens with Professional L Series Fluorite. Super-Range Optical Image Stabilization corrects for a wide range of camera movement and vibration, and Instant AF (Auto Focus) ensures ultra-quick, accurate focus. The DIGIC DV II HD image processor then ensures improved color reproduction and noise reduction – for a final result that is the zenith of image quality.

If you need advanced image control, the XH A1 gives you features that let you make manual adjustments to fine-tune your video. If you prefer to concentrate on your subject and let your camcorder take care of exposure and image controls, the XH A1 let you do that as well.

With a wide range of features and optional accessories, the XH A1 is a versatile, flexible and powerful performer that is sure to meet your uncompromising standards.



  1. GL2Guy 16 years ago

    Hey guys…

    I went ahead and sprang for a new HDV camcorder and purchased the brand new (hot off the press) Canon XH A1 Camcorder.

    I thought I would share with you my review of this camera so far.

    1) Very professional looking. Impressive!
    It certainly doesn’t look like the GL2! This thing is much bigger in comparison and the lens is soo nice. I love the fact I now have lens ring control for zoom, focus and aperature. It is so nice than having to dig through the menu system to change aperature and gain control is even now a small lever switch on the side (with custom presets).

    2) HDV Picture Quality
    So far the picture has been amazing. I have only done indoor shots primarily, but have gotten fantastic results. Compared to SD, the A1’s HDV picture quality is three times as sharp. Most noticeable at shorter zoom distances when your subject is smaller inside the frame. Edges are much more distinct.

    3) Enclosed Battery Compartment
    How neat. They have finally put a completely enclosed battery comparment on the XH A1. It is a little more cumbersome to swap batteries, but it makes for a much more professional look and less obtrusive back side of the camera. A definite plus in design I think.

    4) Two Built-In XLR inputs
    Now this is really great. You don’t need an XLR adapter with this camera and it easily supports phantom power (can switch on/off) and has manual and auto attenuation.

    5) Variable and Constant Zoom
    This was something I really wanted but didn’t have with the GL2. I really like a slow and steady zoom on certain subjects… and now with the constant zoom control for the A1, I have it and it works great.

    6) Much better layout of controls, switches, buttons, etc.
    It seems like everything is soo much easier to get to and to change as far as things like gain, white balance, aperature adjustment, etc. There is also noticeably less in the menu system and more in buttons/switches which I really like.

    1) It’s a lot heavier than the GL2.
    Eventhough it is like only a pound or so heavier, this thing feels like a brick in my hands in comparison. I am getting fatigued holding this thing up at eye level within 40 seconds. My arms begin to shake because it is heavy. Some people like a more solid feel (which it definitely has)… but I wish it were a little lighter for run n gun.

    2) 3+ gain levels seem a bit noisy
    I don’t know if it is just my imagination or just the conditions I have shot in, but it seems that when gain is set to anything above 0 there is a bit of noise in the picture. It isnt anything horrible by any means, but I am getting a much better picture with gain set to 0 and -3. In fact -3 has really done well.

    3) 24F in HDV seems a bit “choppy”
    I never was really a fan of that “film” look myself, but it seems like HDV’s 24F is a bit choppy when you move the camera ever so slightly. Some people love that look. I hate it… but that’s just me. I favor sharpness and fluidity much more. I watch more discovery channel documentaries than I do Indie Films (actually I don’t even know exactly what an Indie Film I have been shooting in 30F and have gotten great results.

    Hopefully in the near future I can get some footage up for you guys. And as I use the camera more and more I’ll share with you guys what I have learned. Thanks for reading..

  2. JEDIfilmer 16 years ago

    Ok so i’m a big canon fan. And this looks like a perfect addition to my collection. But i am wondering about one thing that no one has been able to answer. I have a GL1 and i use a century fisheye for it. Two questions. 1:Will the lense itself interfere with the HD quality? 2: Will the lense even fit? Becasue its suposed to be compatible with a GL2 and i’ve had 2 people try it on theirs and it doesn’t seem to fit. Also i have a question off the subject of lenses. Is this TRUE HD. Or do you still have to produce it again to get HD?

  3. Dan 16 years ago

    We got these today too, the GL1 lenses don’t fit. Jedifiler, the front of the XH-a1 is 72mm. Have a look at our Xh-a1’s here

  4. MTWarren 16 years ago

    Just a tiny nit. The GL2 can do constant zoom. You can change either zoom control to be locked on to slow medium or fast via the menus.

    I also have a question about the enclosed battery compartment. Will it accept the large long-life batteries like those from Impact. I use them on my GL2s and swear by them. Does it use the same batteries as the XL1, GL2 etc?

  5. VizualEyes 16 years ago

    I have not made the purchase yet but Sammy’s Camera in OC Ca. has let me test drive all their HD camera, large and small, on their new HD monitor.
    In my opinion, coming from a 35year veteran of canon cameras all the way back to my 1014 Super8 film, (film – what’s that?) movie camera (still in my closset) I have got to say that unless this new sony (ewwww) HVR-V1U is everything it’s touted as then I will be
    picking up two Canon XH A1 before Christmas.

    While I agree that 24f is as choppy as the baltic sea the 30f is a better film like simulation for NTSC. NOTE: I have not shot 24f or 24p in other cameras then output to film which is really all that the 24 mode seems good for. But the 30f is just ok on the XH A1 certainly does not live up to is forerunners the XL or GL series.

    Having said all that I wish I could go back in time and shoot Treasure Of The Templars on one of these babies.

  6. mike 16 years ago

    I need a new camera. I shoot mostly corporate, non-profit, and a few local commercials. I have never shot in HD. I love Canon. I have worked with an XL2 and love the picture it puts out. If I am going to continue for the near future to shoot in SD, am I better off buying the XH-A1 rather than a new XL2. Is the SD quality of the XH-A1 as pretty as the XL2. At B&H they are only $100 apart in price. I don’t mind gearing for the future with HD but I don’t want the SD work diminished. I read a couple of comments that hinted at that and have no idea what’s what on the subject.

  7. Sebastien 16 years ago

    Hey, thanx for all the comments. I got myself the A1 right before X-Mas and I made all kind of tests on it.

    The only thing that bugs me, is that in a low light situation, the image was really “grainy” once imported on my computer. When I plug the cam on the tv and playback the rush, everything is fine, but once it pass trough my Final Cut Pro HD, it appears to be more dark and more “grainy”.

    The only solution I think is to shot a bit over exposed to be sure that when comes to the time to edit, i can lower the brightness and have the results I’ve expected.

    And i got a question : Is there a fisheye/wide angle already put on market for the Xh A1 or do i have to buy one that is mad for xl1/xl2 or gl1/gl2 ? Are they compatible?

    Thanx to everyone!

  8. Josh 16 years ago

    Canon makes a wide angle adapter for the A1, it looks great!

  9. JCPage 16 years ago

    I am sorry I am am new at this video
    I have questions about comparisons of the Canon XH-A1 and the Sony HVR-V1U
    Specifically image quality differences also can I import either into FCP Xpress HD or only FCP
    The Sony has HDMI Canon does not is this important?

  10. chance 16 years ago

    I just bought one and I love it, This is my second camera I first had a vx2100 wich is great but this camera rocks.

  11. artiko 16 years ago

    Can dvcreators produce a how to operate video for the A1?
    I an sure lots of folks will like that seeing the popularity of this camera.

  12. chris 16 years ago

    I was wondering, and can’t find anywhere… Can the xh-a1 shoot 24/30f in standard def… also… does it shoot 24 or 30 in 720… I know it shoots 1080, and SD, but can’t find anywhere if it shoots 720 too… and if so, if the 24/30f is a possibility in those setups.. Thanks for the help… I’m split between the xl2 and xh-a1 both are available from different sites for right around $1000.. As of right now, I don’t have a comp on which I could easily edit HD, so will be shooting SD for awhile, but to have the hD option would obviously be great in a year or so when i have a faster comp that can work with the footage more easily… Thanks for the help…

  13. chris 16 years ago

    Allright, so I called the guys at B&H, they said it can do 24 and 30 in standard def, but cannot record in 720…

  14. Vampyre King 15 years ago

    Hi Guys, I got a Canon XH-A1 a few weeks ago and I’m having serious problems to be able to import the video from the camera in HD format, I’m currently using AVID Express HD version 5 but it doesn’t recognize the camera and I have to import the video in DV format. can anyone help me to find a software that would allow me to import the Video in HD format? the same happens in vegas. I’m new to this stuff and I’m completly lost.

    please sned responses to my email if you like


  15. Groovespook 15 years ago

    I have an XH-A1, I know virtually nothing (though every day I check this site out I learn more) but I firewire my XH-A1 straight into Imovie HD and export from that to many formats.

  16. Jeff Page 15 years ago

    I have the XH_A1 and heard you need to use the same brand tapes all the time anyone suggest what brand also to my dismay heard this camera is prone to drop outs
    Thanks Jeff

  17. Josh 15 years ago

    Drop-outs can happen if you mix tape brands too much on any camera. I always use Sony Premium DV tapes.

  18. Gino 14 years ago

    Just purchased a XH-A1 and need to know what will I need (software/cables)to get the footage from cam to computer. Any suggestion will be great.

    • Josh 14 years ago

      You’ll need a Firewire cable. Either a 4-4 pin pr 4-6 pin depending on your computer’s connection.

  19. Gino 14 years ago

    Thanks Josh

  20. Robert 13 years ago

    Hi, I recently purchased the Canon XHA1 and I’m having severe problems getting the footage I’ve recorded on my camera to my computer. I have the firewire cable and Sony Vegas 8.0 editing software but other than that I am a complete amateur and do not know how to do it. Any ideas? Thanks.

  21. Patrick 13 years ago

    I made a mistake of buying two Canon XHA1. They are terrible. I would record a one-hour video, but when I try to capture the HDV to my computer, they would be broken into 30 or 50 some different pieces, which means I lose lots of frames. I tried all different kind of DV tapes, but none is problem proof. I never had that problem with Canon GL2. That was the reason I bought these XHA1.

    • Josh 13 years ago

      That’s normal – HDV captures to individual files.

      • Joe 12 years ago

        Help. My problem is that when I record in 24fps, the sound does not synch with the video and so it looks like bad dubbing in a foreign film. Anyone know how to fix that problem? As for Patrick’s issue and the capture being broken into 30-50 pieces, that is what usually happens when I download my cheaper Sony Camcorder video, but downloading the XHA1 video into i-movie on my mac works flawlessly. Don’t give up.

  22. Chiara 11 years ago

    I have a cannon xh-a1 and I can’t seem to import unless I use my actual deck….. none of the other decks I tried would import the tapes,and this is something I have never seen before. I shoot in HD, and tried other HD cameras, but none would work. What is going on? Is it something on my camera or something to do with final cut. I am considering selling the camera if this issue can not be fixed. So far no one can help me. Also, I want to clarify,…. I only use sony DV tapes, but the camera shoots in HDV. if the tapes are not HDV does that mean my footage is not HD?

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