Canon XL H1S

Canon XL H1S

New 20x HD Video Lens, Enhanced Image Control and Other Refinements

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., April 10, 2008 – Building on the success of its acclaimed XL H1 High Definition (HD) camcorder, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging technology, has introduced the new shoulder mount XL H1S and XL H1A HD camcorders, which include new advanced features requested by professional users for improved operation and image control.

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., April 10, 2008 – Building on the success of its acclaimed XL H1 High Definition (HD) camcorder, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging technology, has introduced the new shoulder mount XL H1S and XL H1A HD camcorders, which include new advanced features requested by professional users for improved operation and image control.

Canon’s new XL H1S and XL H1A camcorders, which will be on display at the 2008 NAB Show (Booth #SU3020), feature an updated Canon 20x HD Video Lens with three independent manual adjustment rings (focus, zoom and iris), as well as enhanced manual focus and zoom control. Additionally, the XL H1S and XL H1A incorporate an expanded array of controls for customizing the image, display, and operation to match individual needs.<!–more

Utilizing the industry's most affordable digital video recording media – HDV tapes – both models are ideal for such long-form production applications as wedding and event videography, digital filmmaking, documentary production and media education.

Both the new XL H1S and XL H1A deliver superior HD image quality with their Genuine Canon XL interchangeable lens system, three 1/3 inch, 1.67 Megapixel CCD Image Sensors, and Canon's proprietary DIGIC DVII HD Image Processor. Both models also feature a durable six-pin IEEE 1394 terminal, providing a more robust connection to external hardware.

The XL H1S model provides expanded connectivity by incorporating HD-SDI (SMPTE 299M)/SD-SDI (SMPTE272M) output with embedded audio and time code, providing a raw, uncompressed 1.485 Gbps signal for demanding live production environments, SMPTE Time Code input and output terminals, and a Genlock output terminal for multi-camera shooting situations.

"The new XL H1S and XL H1A HD camcorders continue to meet the needs of producers, event videographers, and digital cinematographers with superior Canon optical and imaging technology, and with the most cost-effective medium for high-quality HD video capture and storage, which is HDV tape," noted Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A. "Canon's unsurpassed quality is seen in our broadcast HDTV lenses and the Canon EOS digital photography cameras. This know-how directly benefits the quality of Canon professional and consumer HD camcorders. Recently, our consumer camcorders claimed the number-one position in total high definition camcorder unit sales above $200 in both January and February of 2008, according to The NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service."

New Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Zoom Lens III
Leveraging Canon’s expertise as a worldwide leader in optics, the XL H1S and XL H1A feature a redesigned Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Zoom Lens equipped with Canon’s XL lens mount. The XL lens mount enables users to interchange lenses, such as Canon’s optional 6x wide-angle lens, Canon EF photographic lenses, and many other lenses for specialized image capture. The XL H1S and XL H1A HD camcorders’ new Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Zoom Lens III offers independent manual zoom, focus and iris rings, which can operate simultaneously. These rings have been redesigned for easy access and comfortable operation. Other innovations of the lens include: three sensitivity settings for the manual focus ring; 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. Simultaneous zoom and focus control are also possible in either Manual or Auto Focus mode. The new Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Zoom Lens III incorporates aspherical lenses to reduce flare and fluorite lens elements to minimize chromatic aberration. 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.

User-Definable Operation
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 the XL H1S and XL H1A HD camcorders 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 pre-set files can be stored to an onboard SD/SDHC Memory Card and shared with another Canon XL H1S, XL H1A, or with Canon XH G1 and XH A1 HD 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 new 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 there is also additional -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 and for shooting insufficiently illuminated backgrounds.

Using the custom display settings feature, a camera operator can tailor the display to their shooting style. These include 22 items and 40 sub-items for selection of status information that can be shown in the XL H1S and XL H1A HD camcorders’ 2.4″ combination EVF/LCD monitor.

Audio Capture and A/V Connectivity
User-requested refinements in the XL H1S and XL H1A 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 an external microphone and the supplied internal microphone; line output level switching; an audio (manual) limiter; a new metal headphone jack for reliable connectivity. Another important new feature is embedded audio (and SMPTE time code) in the XL H1S HD camcorder’s uncompressed HD-SDI/SD-SDI digital output via an industry-standard BNC connector.

Other improved connections on the XL H1S and XL H1A HD camcorders include an external LCD monitor output for critical focus confirmation on an optional larger monitor simultaneous RCA and BNC video output for added monitoring and dubbing convenience, and a photo-flash accessory shoe to support use of Canon EX Series Speedlites.

The new Canon XL H1S HD camcorder is scheduled to be available in early June for an estimated retail price of $8,999, and the XL H1A, which will have an estimated retail price of $5,999, is scheduled to be available in mid-July.


  1. A.J. Video 15 years ago

    Wish it did 1080p 🙁 …. oh, and 1920 🙁 🙁 I like the interchangeable lenses! 🙂 I love the tape backup idea still, but at least give me a coupon in the box for some sort of DTE system to use with it!

  2. Patrick 15 years ago

    It comes out 1080p. Don’t let the 1080i chip fool you. It does 1920 out of the SDI.

  3. A.J. Video 15 years ago

    Really? Only the H1S does this, correct?

  4. kruzer 15 years ago

    This is one cool camera 🙂

  5. Jeff 14 years ago

    How do the new versions compare to Sony’s EX-1 / Ex-3 Cameras in image quality?

  6. Jason Darnieder 14 years ago

    I want to get it and have purchased the xl2 in the past but feel like I need to wait until it does true 24p and has 1080p. I feel like Cannon is going to come out with something better soon anywho so spending that much right now I can not justify.

  7. raul 14 years ago

    I’ve worked with XL 1 and XL 2 in the past. This camera is easy to use, light and its design makes it easy to carry. The image quality from XL 1 and XL 2 has been improved specially in drastic changes of light temperature, considering this is HD I think we are talking of a very potential camera.

  8. Jesus Ali 13 years ago

    The original XL-H1 can indeed output uncompressed, full raster 1920 x 1080, 4:2:2 out of the HD-SDI port on the jack pack. However, I am looking at the Canon Minisite and don’t specifically see it say that it is Progressive…

    @Jason D, Since this camera is HDV based those absolutely native formats will never come. Canon would have to move the camera line to solid state media to achieve what you’re asking for.

    The absolute soonest that would happen would be NAB 2010. But that would leave the upgraded s series XL-H1’s to be replaced after only 1 year… Canon my conceivably not go tapeless until NAB 2011.

    Things are going to look very different all around by that time…

    (Unless perhaps, they introduced an SD-card RAID Jack Pack upgrade…)

    • Jason Darnieder 13 years ago

      Thanks Jesus… I still love having a tape as a back up other than a hard drive. I have used HDV and cant say that I was happy with it.

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