OK, first let me start by saying I was never a fan of the Canon XL series. I’ve owned the XL-1 since it’s inception and was never that impressed. Yeah the camera looks cool, it came with lots of accessories and shoulder mounts and everything else. It looks like a camera and being a still photographer before a videographer this was refreshing. (I also owned the Hi-8 Canon L2 – which had an incredible audio recording quality – wish I never sold it!)
But the XL-1 is held differently from the L1. I always thought the camera was uncomfortable to use, didn’t like the small viewfinder, and found the quickness of the lens to be lacking.
With that said, I just read a review of the XL H1 in Videomaker’s Hi-Def Guide and this camera looks amazing. First of all it is all black to distinguish from the non-HD cameras. Cool move. 2nd, you can either record to mini-DV in HDV mode or true uncompressed 1440x180i HD when recording to a hard drive via SD/HD-SDI connections). Apparently using a mini-dv is very draining and so there is a loss of quality particularly in color. So, an option, if you can afford it, is to record uncompressed 1080i directly to an HD to edit.
The cost is up there for those of you who are familiar with the XL series. Suggested retail $8,999. Well, I better start saving because that is more than I paid for my car. I just hope my wide angle lens from my XL-1 days will be able to work on this camera. That additional purchase would surely put the XL-H1 out of my reach for a while!