View Full Version : HF S100 vs XH A1 for commercial production?
2009 April 21st, 18:27
Does anyone have experience producing with these 2 cameras?
I shot & edited some test footage with my new HF S100, and while it looked good enough in my NLE, it still looked & "felt" like cheap hand held camcorder video by the time I rendered it to DVD.
Perhaps this is due to the smaller lens, motion sensitivity, lack of 3 sensors like the prosumer cameras? I really don't know...
Should I upgrade to the XH A1? If the overall quality is better I would, but I keep reading people saying the newer technology in the the HF S100 makes for a sharper picture.
I don't care about the manual adjustments, buttons, or extra price of the XH A1. I just care how my finished product looks at the end of day.
Appreciate the help
2009 April 21st, 19:38
Not to be rude, But if you did care about the Manuel adjustments and buttons, your footage probably would not look so cheap. The res is higher on the hfs 100 than on the Xha1, unless you capture hdmi to pc then it would technically be the same. Honestly if your getting cheap looking footage, and not happy with your results from the hfs 100, then your not going to be happy with the footage from the xha1. Though the A1 has more controls, they will do no good unless you know how to utilize them. One of the most important aspects of shooting is the lighting. If lit correctly you can make super vhs look decent. Also, shot composition is every thing. You need to shoot the subject in an interesting way , and a good tripod will be needed, If your hand held and all over the place, then yeah , it can look cheap, It's completely up to you to make the footage appear to look "expensive" .This is where creativity and imagination, coupled with practice and skill come to play. I guess im saying it's on you , not so much the camera. That camera is able to easily produce professional looking footage all day long, Practice makes perfect if there is such a thing. But either way keep trying.
2009 April 21st, 21:48
Politikil is essentially right. It's the knowledge of how to create the look you want, coupled with controls that let you do it, that makes the shots look something other than cheap.
Look on the internet and you can find Red shots that still look bad because the person didn't have it right.
Shoot from a tripod, control the light and camera settings to learn how to get the results you're after. It's not the camera, its the operator.
PS. One minor correction. The XH-A1 doesn't have HDMI out, but other than that a good answer. (XH-A1 has component out instead, which is analog HD instead of digital.)
2009 April 21st, 21:58
(XH-A1 has component out instead, which is analog HD instead of digital.)Which I think is just as good as HDMI. It really depends on the capture device.
2009 April 21st, 23:24
Which I think is just as good as HDMI. It really depends on the capture device.
Umm. Nearly as good. I do use my component connections, but analog can introduce degradation over multiple copies. HDMI doesn't/shouldn't. For practical purposes, and one copy, component is just fine.
2009 July 14th, 00:05
Maybe flayerhater´s question is more related in encoding the footage than in native resolution or manual controls. Maybe he is getting some ghosting of interlace artifacts in the edited product, due to fps and pulldown removal issues.
2009 December 22nd, 12:48
XH is much more professional if you can spring the price go for it all the way it is an AWESOME camera! :)
2009 December 22nd, 22:21
3) Everything else
2010 January 14th, 17:29
This is a cheats way to do it, but I find that good colour correction actually can take a cheap 'video' and make it look more... pro. The problem with most film makers (or wannabes) is that they think that being more 'conventional' will make them more 'professional'... Thats not the case at all. If you know what your doing as a director/film maker... then your pretty much a pro. Take the guys who made Crank 1 and 2. Did Crank look like some el-cheapo piece of crap shot on video? Tripods and lighting don't 'make' a movie more professional... they just help. But you don't need them.
2010 January 14th, 18:32
I disagree with every thing you said.
Color correction dosent make video look more pro, it's used to enhance or "Correct" off colors, or colors that are not true to what their suppose to be.
Shooting "conventional" as you call it is what makes video look professional. I shoot video, but use the same techniques as if I were shooting film. which is conventional.
Getting paid for your work is what makes you professional, but thats not to say you can't have a professional looking product with no money involved.
Lighting is what generally makes or breaks a film, and a good tripod is mandatory. YOU DO NEED THEM.
2010 March 7th, 08:45
Most people want to jump ahead to DOF and resolution, but that's not where you should start.
Nothing brands a shot as being amateurish quicker than bad sound. Camera guys think of the picture first, but no matter how good the picture, if the sound is bad the clip is bad. The A1 can shine there since you can use XLR directly. The balanced line avoids interference and the A1 allows you to shut off audio gain (avoids noise), while external mics capture better sound.
Good lighting is needed for both dramatic effect and to avoid graininess in the picture. Most amateurs under estimate how much light is actually needed since the human eye is much more sensitive to light than a camera sensor. The A1 has manual light gain controls (shut AGC off!) and is much more light sensitive. This avoids grain for a better image in more situations. Dramatic lighting you still need to learn about.
When you have those taken care of you can think of resolution. The HF S100 is a fine little camera. Unfortunately its high resolution comes at the expense of some aliasing because it either bin's pixels of skips pixels to get down to 1920 resolution. (Look at the shoot out.) The A1 images look a little more organic to start with.
I'd probably get an HF S100 as a 'b' camera if I didn't already have the HV20. But then again my computer has the horsepower to edit AVCHD.
Since they both have, in a sense, 24P available the very last thing to look at is DOF control. Film is just as capable of having infinite focus as video, but proper DOF control gives you a more film type look.
Since they both have about same size sensors take sensor size out of the equation. The remaining elements of DOF are length of lens and aperture size. The A1 wins both of those. In reality on a ~1/3" sensor nice bokeh occurs around 10x zoom or longer unless the aperture is wide open. (Usually wide open is a little softer.) The HF S100 is maxed out at 10x. The A1 goes up to 20x.
The A1 may be an older model, but it was introduced as a professional model, not prosumer, and it was way ahead of its time. :)
2010 March 7th, 17:42
Please see the initial post. The camera and the production quality is not the main issue. Its the crummy encoding from HD to SD in most editors that wrecks the appearance of the footage on the DVD (widely acknowledged in other threads).
2010 March 7th, 19:25
what you say is true.
2010 March 7th, 20:29
While rendering for a DVD will always reduce image quality because of the loss of resolution, it depends on the origin of his problems. If he is getting macro blocking from light levels that are too low for the HF S100, the A1's extra light sensitivity may be what he needs.
On the other hand if he's picking a bad codec a new camera won't help him.
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