Differences Between a Canon XH A1 & Canon XH A1S


Canon Corp. manufactures electronics including consumer, prosumer and professional video cameras. The XH A1 and XH A1S are professional-quality video cameras. Both models incorporate 3CCD sensors and can shoot 1080i HDV on mini DV tape with frame rates of 24, 30 and 60. The XH A1 was released and followed by the XH A1S, which is an updated model.


  • The XH A1S incorporates features that allow the camera to produce a better quality image than the XH A1. The standard shutter speed is automatically set to 1/30 on the XH A1S instead of 1/60, which was the standard setting on the XH A1. The newer model also offers a number of control settings that were not available on the previous model. The zoom and focus settings are more customizable and offer greater user control, including the ability to manually focus while zooming. Additionally, the XH A1S has extended color temperature limits, the ability to white-balance based on Kelvin temperature and the option to set the gain by .05 decibel increments.


  • While the Canon XH A1 camcorder offers two channels of audio recording and the ability to record using either the built-in microphone or an external XLR microphone, the XH A1S offers the ability to record audio using an XLR microphone and the built in microphone simultaneously. This gives a videographer the ability to record with an external XLR microphone and have a back-up track if the microphone sound is problematic. Additionally, the XH A1S has an XLR plug that allows greater microphone sensitivity and incorporates an audio limiter, which prevents audio from peaking during recording.


  • The updated XH A1S includes a six-pin FireWire cable for connecting external devices. The camera also includes a component output channel and the ability to hook up an external monitor. This enables crew, clients and other onlookers to view the footage as it's being shot. When recording video to a compatible hard drive, the remaining hard drive space is displayed in the viewfinder. This lets videographers know exactly how much shoot time they have left on a drive without disconnecting it and plugging it into a computer to check.

Other Specifications

  • The XH A1S is slightly larger and heavier than the XH A1. The weight of the former is 4.7 pounds with the dimensions 6.4 inches by 7.6 inches by 15.5 inches. The weight of the latter is 4.6 pounds with the dimensions 6.4 inches by 7.4 inches by 12.4 inches. The XH A1 only includes a single tripod plate for small screw tripods while the XH A1S includes two tripod plates, the second for use with large screw tripods. This extends the range of tripods that can be used with the camera. The XH A1S also includes some physical improvements over the XH A1, such as a reshaped lens to allow more fluid camera moves and the repositioning of certain buttons, including the control dial, for improved feature accessibility.

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