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Canon XH A1 1.67MP 3CCD High-Definition Camcorder with 20x Optical Zoom
List Price: $3999.97

Our Price: $3488.00

You Save: $511.97 (13%)


Product Description

Canon XH-A1 captures true 1080 High Definition resolution video at 60i, 30F or 24F frame rates (or, 50i/60i with optional upgrade). It captures a true 16:9 widescreen HD image that is made for your HD broadcast and theatrical projects. It comes with a Genuine Canon 20x HD Professional L Series Fluorite lens delivering outstanding resolution, contrast and color reproduction; delivers clarity and image quality you won't see with conventional optical glass lenses. Designed specifically for HD, Canon's DIGIC DV II ensures optimal image quality for HD video, with improved color reproduction - especially in skin tones, and dark and light scenes. It also employs a hybrid noise reduction system that integrates two types of noise reduction, for high definition images that are crystal clear. Designed for professional use, the Canon XH-A1 comes with a 2.8" Widescreen LCD and .57" Widescreen EVF for bright, high-resolution views. The LCD and EVF can be used at the simultaneously, giving both cameraperson and director or producer a view of the action. It records on HDV digital tape cassettes. There's also a slot for SD memory cards.
Canon's innovative Super-Range Optical Image Stabilizer combines gyro- and image-sensors to correct camcorder shake instantly - whether it's the fast vibration you'd experience while recording from a moving car; the medium-speed motion of hand-held recording; or the slower motion of body sway. With HD, focus is more critical than ever. Instant AF is the next generation of auto focus, designed with HD resolution in mind. It combines an external AF sensor with Canon's legendary auto focus system for fast and accurate focus. Together, the two sensors reduce focusing time - even in low-light situations - and improve focusing performance on difficult subjects. There are 9 Custom Presets, 2 Custom Keys, and 7 Programmable AE Modes.

  • Captures true 1080 resolution, widescreen (16:9) HD video
  • 2.8-inch widescreen LCD monitor; .57-inch viewfinder
  • 20x HD zoom lens; Super-range optical image stabilization
  • Three 1/3-inch 16:9 CCDs (1.67 megapixels)
  • DIGIC DV II HD image processor

Customer Reviews:


    ...more info
  • Go with Canon XH A1
    I bought Canon XH-A1 a few weeks ago. I have used it under different light and space settings and I want to say that is a very good camera. It has several menus that you need to try and a few things to remember, but the overall conclusion is that not only it produces good video but also it teaches you the basics on filming. For a novice in video production like me it is a good tool to achieve professionalism. I -as many more have done- spent a lot of time comparing models, reading reviews and testimonies. Finally I decided for Canon XH-A1 and so far I am very motivated to continue with this one. If you have questions about this review, please write to my email: [...]...more info
  • Great Pro Camera
    This is a top of the line Broadcast Quality Camcorder. It records on tape or chip, and has a bewildering array of buttons and switches. But with enough study, you can turn out professional HI-DEF videos; including wide-screen 16X9. My main complaint, and this is a BIG one, is it is VERY hard to setup the Firewire feed to a computer. For some reason your Video editing program can't see this camera unless ALL other imaging equipment is either deleted or disabled. That includes any other Video feeds, such as TV Tuners, Scanners, etc. I have spent over a week trying, and STILL do not have it feeding the Firewire line. But I am working on it, and welcome any suggestions from ANYBODY!...more info
  • Happy with my Canon XH-A1
    I give this baby Canon my thumbs-up! This is a superb HD camera with just the right feature/size/price/performance balance set.

    For my 1st ever indie-documentary shoot, I took this camera to the back roads, dirt and grime included, in a hot and humid Philippines countryside. It survived blood splatters from the event. Then, I went to film two weddings and a rock band show back to back in the US.

    The weight and size was perfect for travel without compromising the video quality and feature set.

    So, Until I get my hand on the new RED HD camera, this will be my side-kick for any HD video assignments in the near future.

    The extended battery pack fits well and I did not experience any of the ejection problems others reported.

    If there is an improvement I'd like to suggest for the next version: get rid of the mini-DV video cassette for pure digital hard drive storage.

    Also, for loud sounds (such as concerts), use manual setting and perform sound checks with a good headset....more info
  • A fantastic camcorder
    Watch Video Here: I use this camcorder now for all my filming (capturing with Final Cut Pro) and I highly recommend it....more info
  • Great HD cam
    The Canon XH-A1 is a great entry level professional HD camera. It has amazing clarity and is very good in low light. The customization alone makes the camera worth its price.
    The quality of the HD footage is extremely nice. Be aware that the SD quality is not as good as a real SD camera, and SD 4:3 has blurring issues. But then this is an HD camera so it is refined for HD. Recommend taping and editing in HD and output SD if that is what is needed.
    Also, this camera needs a lot of light, even though it is 3-CCD it requires a bit more light than a 3CCD SD camera. Get a good light if shooting indoors.
    And since this camera has so many features it requires the user to sit down and learn it before venturing out to do real work.
    All in all it was a great investment and has increased the quality of my work....more info
  • AMAZING Camera!
    I've worked with a Panasonic AG-DVX100B and several consumer cameras both HD and SD. I can without any doubt in my mind say that if you are willing to commit several weeks to learning the ins and outs of this camera; you will not get better visual images from anything under 8k.

    The customization feature of the A1 are worth 3k alone. You can match this camera to anything out there, including film.

    The A1 carries Cannon's L series lens which gives sharp images even at the end of its 20x range. The images produced are crisp, clear, HD and completely stunning. Watching random footage from the A1 on a 67" HDTV is pure eye-candy!

    Unless you are looking for a camera with the more expensive flash media capabilities, or dozens of variable frame-rates, this is the camera for you!

    I have used this camera for close to a year now. Here are several things you must know before you buy:

    1. "True HD" is something to discuss for those who study lines and pixels. Those of us who make stunning visual images worry about such things as lighting, composition, movement, audio, etc.

    This camera has enough resolution to produce amazing results even in not-so-stunning situations.

    2. HDV is the most practical "HD" codec out there. It allows you to record to cheap tapes and when you wish to edit, you are able to do so on your computer. No need for fancy editing consoles, tape decks, and expensive flash media.

    3. Stop reading reviews and go look at some of the work that's been done with the A1.

    - Search for "Steven Dempsey" on
    All of his recent work is done with the A1

    is a community of filmmakers who use the A1....more info
  • The best
    I already owned a Sony Z1U, paid about $6000.00 several months ago, Paid for this Canon a lot less and the quality is a lot better, great for low light, the Sony have to much noise on the same circunstances....more info
  • Awesome 5 star camera, but beware the rebate co.'s scam
    I have nothing but good things to say about this camera; every good thing in the other reviews is true. I literally have no complaints, except when it comes to the company Canon outsourced to facilitate the rebates. I was denied my rebate twice, having been lied to by the company, saying I missed the postmark deadline. I did certified mail, baby. They got their date wrong and denied me, but with persistence, and overwhelming evidence, they sent me a check, but would not provide info on where they got their (fake) date wrong.
    So, beware, and send certified for rebates. And Canon, shame on you for having a crap company like Rebates HQ do your rebates!
    This camera, by the way, is a dream. It's lens makes me tingle. It's the best camcorder I've ever used, and as a filmmaker, I've used quite a few.
    Oh, and as with ALL camcorders, don't use the camera mic if you care about sound. Seriously now....more info
  • Camcorder
    Canon XH A1 1.67MP 3CCD High-Definition Camcorder with 20x Optical Zoom Super product. Can be as used as professionally or as amateurish as to you like. It's NOT a point & shoot camcorder but, it's mini-cassette recording gives you the best picture you will ever see. The Z1U Sony is too complicated for general use. The Canon A1 is
    your best buy for ease of use and price (althou it is price'ie) Before you buy a upscale camcorder look into this unit, there is plenty of information available on internet. Check it out....more info
  • Perfect companion for XL-H1
    About 1 year ago I bought an XL-H1 and a Sony HVR-A1U to do work on a documentary. Though the Sony has proved to be a great camera in its own right, it doesn't cut well with the XL-H1, and the image quality in bright light was near as good, in darker settings, things just fell apart. So I bought this camera XH-A1. I thought when I bought the XL-H1 I would end up buying a second when I could afford it, but I found no compelling reason on a couple of counts. (1) Jack pack is wonderful if you are planning to haul around a RAID array and a generator. I'm sure this would be allot of fun for the run a gunner like myself ;-) (sarcasm). Even though I have heard people criticize the HDV format for compression and artifacts not seen as much with the uncompressed format you get from the HD/SDI output.. I personally think maybe its 1 person in a 1000 who could tell the difference in the end (and they might be faking, I can't). This pictures is NOTHING short of Stunning period. (2) I thought having two cameras that I could syncronize with the clocks would be really needed.. but its really not that difficult to do in an editor by just finding a synchronizing frame (like a handshake, etc) and going from there. (3) I wanted the TC output to drive an external 24 bit audio recorder (this camera doesn't have it the HL-H1 does). Well, after getting it to work, I never used it.. I did lots of 24 bit recording, but like the video, it was easy enough to synchronize externally in the editor later. The autofocus on this camera is hugely improved over the xl-h1. I NEVER run the XL-H1 in "auto" anything, this camera I do as it seems to have more smarts, though I STRONGLY suggest putting the gain into "LOW" not auto and setting it for -3 in the menu setups. Also, Always do manual white balance. I still favor running about everything in manual as its better control and fewer unexpected problems, but I would trust this camera far more than the XL-H1 in auto.

    For me, there are only two downsides to this camera (1) Wide angle lens - I know there is a screw on available, I haven't tried it.. but the $3K canon wide angle lens (almost the same price as this camera!) is just amazing, I wonder how great this one is. (2) Power of the big camera.. as much of a joke as it may sound.. I have gotten several interviews and in several places because the XL-H1 is huge, expensive, and professional looking. I have walked though security at events because the guys "assume" I am with something official (just an independent doc), and have seen them stop guys with huge expensive still cameras, etc.. its actually very funny, but if you understand human nature.. it makes people take you seriously. The XH-A1 performs every bit as good, but lacks that effect to the same degree (though it still looks pretty "professional"). I hope that helps.

    Last comment, unless you're going to film (I think 24F is pretty bogus) try 30F, looks much smoother and better. People fell in love with the distortion of vinal recordings, but it was still distortion. 24F (p) is the same thing.. looks jerky, maybe more like a movie, but if you have a better technology why on earth would you like something inferiour? My 2 Cents....more info
  • Little champ
    I purchased the Canon XH A1 for a specific project. I received the camera only 1 night before the first day of shooting was scheduled. Be sure to read through the manual to learn what this thing can do. I usually don't read manuals but the custom color/contrast settings are a bit advanced and very helpful in getting the 'look' you want.
    I have only been impressed with this camera (as I often am with any Canon products). Battery conservation is excellent, audio is crisp, custom options abound, manual controls are easily accessible, low-light situations are not a problem (+6 to +32 gain! use sparingly, of course), and the image is fantastic for HDV.
    Some people have been complaining about the smaller LCD flip-out monitor. I have not found this to be a problem thanks to Canon's focus assist features (2x magnify and the high-contrast mode).
    I have one very small complaint: make the MIC->XLR switch a hardware switch! It's annoying to switch it in the camera menu. All the other audio control switches are hardware, so why not that?
    Overall, this is a 5-star product at a very reasonable price. 24f, 30f, and 60i modes all perform beautifully. If you're looking for the right hardcase, I have been very pleased with the Pelican 1550 Case w/Foam (Black)...more info
  • Best value in HD video cam
    What can be said about the very best value in film making gear that's not already been said?

    Canon's made the XH-A1 very easy to use for a novice like me and my producer's husband who IS an expert camera person. The quality is super and the camera can do so many things that high end cameras DO.

    The Mini-DV media is now becoming a bit dated since everyone seems to be making cameras that feed into chips. Perhaps thats why the unit was a bit cheaper but if you use new cartriges on every shoot the quality is great; we use only Premium Sony MINI DV's. They are inexpensive and even if used more than once don't seem to get degraded. Besides, my producer justs downloads them to the editing software immediately so nothing gets degraded on the hard drive anyway.

    The owners manual is huge and explains the numerous bells and whistles that all the big shots know how to use but right out of the box I was shooting great scenes.

    The controls are easy to use and the camera comes with all the cables needed to hook up a director's tv monitor. With the large battery we can shoot all day and have power to spare.

    The camera really does fit the professional and the consumer as well so both should be happy. Don't put off buying the best low-priced HD on the market. By the way, my old GL-2 has lots of accessories that fit the XH-A1 too like the pricey wide angle lens, the long life batteries and more.

    I originally started with the GL-2 and have just stayed with Canon ever since. There quality is fabulous; I've never had a problem, (YES...I'm knocking on wood).

    ...more info
  • HDV is only good for cost conscious shooters
    HDV is only a way to get near-HD recording for cheap. If cost is more important than image quality, then HDV is the way to go. This camera claims "True 1080" resolution. Unfortunately, that's a marketing term that is meaningless. No HDV camera can capture true HD 1080 resolution on tape which is defined as 1920x1080 pixels. The HDV format is limited to 1440x1080 and ultra-crummy 4:2:0 color sampling. Plus HDV's MPEG-2 codec is notoriously funky to edit with. You are missing about 25% of horizontal pixels with HDV compared to real HD.

    I would not recommend HDV if you plan to do any chroma keying, visual effects (compositing) or extensive post effects (like Magic Bullet). If you need to do these things, I would only recommend an HDV camcorder that has uncompressed HDMI output paired with an Intensity Pro card for capture....more info
  • Best Camera, Best Price
    Ok may not be the best camera out there, but anything better will set you back a few extra grand. This will give you the best image out of any HDV or 1/3 inch ccd out there - you can step up to the advanced Canon HD models, but those are mostly the same image with more control features and an 8K price tag.

    By far the best bang for buck that ever existed LOL - even Canon's HV20 held up pretty well to other HD 3 chip cameras.

    For the cons, main sticking point is that the zoom/focus rings are a tad slow, but for some people this is an advantage - frankly I loved the lightning fast rings on the DVX/HVXs by Panasonic which were great for developing multi shot action for documentaries. Another con is the focus distance is longer than your standard camera - you'll have to stand 5-10 feet further from the subject than normal if your indoors.

    But overall, as annoying as these gripes are personally, you still can't find a better image from any other HDV camera. And you can't find a better price either - sure there's cheaper HD 3 chip cameras out there made by Sony mostly, but the quality is a HUGE drop off, so this is the lowest price you'll get for a truly top notch product.

    I've shot stuff side by side for events with a Sony Z1U, which is at least 1000 more and the Canon had deeper and more accurate color, very noticeably sharper image, and less color drop off in low light.

    Plus having an iris ring vs. a tiny scroll wheel that other camera's have is a big plus.

    Don't worry about the 24F (some are worried over the difference between 24f and 24P) - you cannot TELL a difference at all - I zoomed into a frame to see if I could pick up on any differences - nada. Just a razor sharp image. The difference is the algorithms Canon uses to compress the footage onto tape vs. 24p - to make a long story short, hence the F and not P in descriptions, but it is certainly not a drop off.

    And to clarify something, this does up to -36 db of grain - I saw a few articles / reviews on the net saying it can only do -12. By default the gain settings are -6,-12, but you can change that in the menu to go higher if you need. Even though grain is never wanted, if you're stuck in that situation, the grain on this camera actually does resemble film grain moreso than video grain, so if you do get caught in low light, it's not that big of a deal so long as you're not in pitch darkness, it kind of adds to the film look in 24F mode....more info
  • Best HDV Camera in it's class.
    This thing is awesome, full of options, plenty of features, and built solid. It's certainly the best camera in it's class. Easily accessible settings, quality glass, 20x zoom. Perhaps perfection if they would've designed it to be able to zoom and adjust the focus simultaneously, and had more of a matte box lens hood like the sony's. Great camera. ...more info
  • Worth the time to learn
    The canon is not your average point and shoot video camera. Although your results will likely be great if you're outside shooting your child's sports event, the camera requires patience and frequent use to get a feel for it's abilities.

    The best recommendation I can make to folks looking to purchase this camera is to shoot often, shoot in low light, bright light, get a feel for what the built-in Neutral Density filter does for you, and how to use the audio controls.

    It's taken me about 6-8 hours of filming in 15 minute intervals to get my comfort level up to a point where I'm happy and excited to shoot important events. This is a fantastic professional camera and while the average user won't need to worry about customizing all the color settings (although there programs to help you), the professional will love the control settings, the user defined program buttons, and the timecoding found in the sister camera, the XH-G1.

    Have fun, this is a great camera.


    Why I chose this camera over it's rivals:

    1. 3CCD means (at the time I purchased) a better low light film quality.
    2. External XLR audio. I tend to prefer the audio from a shotgun mic, or the wind filtering fuzzies on a shure mic.
    3. Flip out LCD. This is a must for comfortable shooting / tripod shooting.
    4. Handle controls. Shoot those low shots aiming up with comfort without getting off the stage.
    5. Tapes. SD cards are great, but I tend to shoot once and keep the tapes forever, so SD cards were an expensive option for shoot once storage (they're cheaper now, but i still feel kinda silly not re-using memory cards).

    Importing onto my mac is a piece of cake. PC users may need some special software.

    Have fun and happy shooting!...more info
  • Great Price for a Great Camera
    Watch Video Here: Thinking of moving to HD? It's probably a good time to do it!

    Canon XH A1 1.67MP 3CCD High-Definition Camcorder with 20x Optical Zoom

    Focus Enhancements 60GB FireStore FS-4 Pro HD DV Disk Recorder With Direct To Edit DTE Technology - Model ASYF-1162-01LF Miscellaneous Accessories...more info
  • warning! Be careful with compatibility
    All Canon HDV cameras has an important issue: if you record in 24F or 30F modes, the tapes can only be played back in the camera itself. Canon records those signals in a proprietary mode that is not HDV compliant. YOU CANNOT PLAYBACK THE TAPES IN ANY DECK OR CAMERA other than Canon....more info
  • so far so good.
    I chose this camera for the HD function and the manual rings around the lens, not to mention it seems to be the best deal for the money. For the record this is my first serious camcorder, and I am currently in film school so I already have a good understanding of how a camera (film or digital) works.

    For the HD remember that it's not "true" HD it's Canon's answer to it. I haven't finished a project in the HD function so I can't rate how close it comes to true HD, although I bet I won't find a difference with my naked eyes.

    The manual focus/iris/and zoom rings are great for small and precise control, but lag quite a bit when you really want a fast and smooth transition. You just loose that feeling of complete control when you really want to crank it for a quick zoom or focus change.
    Still the great amount of control built into the camera is great and fairly intuitive to use, and being able to save multiple presets with almost every option is great.

    Also for those looking for a camera that works with multiple lenses(like a fisheye maybe???), keep looking.

    End of the day, I'm very happy with my purchase....more info
  • The best their is..
    THis is the best camcorder available. Easy enough for semi-pro but all the features the pros look for. Must have for the prosumer!...more info
  • Great camera
    Having worked with many 'prosumer' 3CCD cameras, this is a great choice for an aspiring filmmaker of any sort. I use it for films, video journalism, blogging, anything. ...more info