It’s been rumored for over a year, but Wednesday Canon finally announced the
camcorder. The HDV camera uses the same component-based design as the XL1, allowing parts such as the lens, microphone and viewfinder to be swapped for different units.
The XL H1 uses three 1/3-inch 16:9 interlaced CCDs. It captures at resolutions up to 1,920-x-1,080 and at frame rates of 60i, 30p and 24p. Canon doesn’t state this explicitly, but the HDV specifications allows for 1,920-x-1,080 capture only at 60i, 30p and 24p are captured at 1,440-x-720.
The camcorder features Canon’s DIGIG DV II image processor, which maintains the correct color space for HD, SD and still images. The XL H1 can capture still images at 1,920-x-1,080 to SD or MMC cards, using a separate Photo button.
The XL H1 uses the same XL-interchangeable lens mount as the XL1, XL1s and XL2. It ships with a 20x HD video lens with fluorite elements, which Canon says improves contrast, resolution and color fidelity by reducing chromatic aberration. It offers a f/1.6 to f/3.5 aperture, with a 35mm equivalence of 38.9mm to 778mm in 16:9 mode, and 47.4mm to 954mm in 4:3 mode.
The 20x HD lens features Canon’s Super Range Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) technology, which combines a gyro sensor with a system that detects low-frequency vibrations in the CCD image and feeds this back to the stabilizer. The lens also features a 72mm filter thread, two independent ND filters (1/6 and 1/32) and focus and zoom presets.
User can customize the ‘look’ of footage captured by the XL H1 using advanced features including three color matrixes for color correction and two cine gammas for creating a variety of ‘film looks’. Other controls include knee, black stretch, horizontal detail, coring, sharpness, noise reduction, color gain, hue and master color adjustments — which can all be modified independently.
The camcorder offers a wide range of outputs. As well as the standard FireWire I/O, the XL H1 offers HD-SDI and SD-SDI output for direct connection to broadcast systems and video editing systems (for uncompressed capture). STMPE time code input and output is supported, as is genlock. The camcorder can capture to HDV Master media or standard miniDV tapes.
The XL H1 will ship in the U.S. in November for US$8,999.