CNET First Look
Canon XH A1Canon's XH A1 is an excellent camcorder for entry-level professionals and independent filmmakers, with hard-to-beat prices for what it offers.
[ music ] ^M00:00:11 >> Hi, I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor of CNET.com and this is the Canon XHA1, an entry level professional HDV model. This is Canon's model for the entry level Indy Filmmaker. It's got all of the features that you could conceivably want, records to tape, it's got a 20X zoom lens which is actually longer than a lot of lenses on professional camcorders. One reason why the Canon's control layout works so well is because every button has a different shape, texture, size or mechanism than every other button. One thing that's kind of disappointing on a model this expensive, is the very small LCD. I like the way it tucks underneath the handle and has a little latch, but it's very hard to use. It's very small and even with peeking and magnification engaged, manual focus isn't quite as easy as I'd like. It does have a very nice eye level viewfinder though, with a big comfortable eye cup and a very nice internal screen. You have zoom switches on both the body and on the handle. The XHA1 does have several XLR inputs for microphones as well as headphone out and all the other basic inputs and outputs you want for audio. It should go without saying that the performance of the XHA1 is really good. Great video, crisp color, the focusing subsystem works really well. It uses Canon's super range optical image stabilization which performs iterative tweaking to the stabilizer so that it just gets that extra little bit of steadiness. There's pretty much everything on this camcorder that can help it deliver the performance that you need for your independent films. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Canon XHA1. ^M00:02:06 [ music ]