with award winning documentary team tony wilson and leo sullivan


Sony HVR-Z1P on left - Canon XH G1 on right

Left, Sony HRV Z1P - Right Canon XH G1


The Bad - continued

No separate control of the two audio channels - they are either both in manual or both in auto. This is similar to the Sony A1P and earlier popular DV cameras, the PD100 and PDX10 included, but is a bit of a let-down for a camera aimed at the pro market. The new Sony V1P has the same limitation - but only when the Mic in Input 1 is set to Channel 1 and Channel 2 (Ch1/Ch2).
The headphone socket is underneath a weather cover so needs to be left open when using headphones. Surely an 'issue' when it rains! See image right. This picture also shows the additional input and output terminals of the G1, (unnecessary for regular doco shooting so if purchasing I would suggest the A1 model, which aside from this feature has the same specs).
The Line/mic switch affects BOTH channels - also Gain UP seems to affect both channels too.
The G1 has only 2 User buttons whereas the Z1 is excellent with 6. Unfortunately I didn't really have time to go into all the options here.
LCD a bit small - OK, but, more bigger, more better!

In Conclusion

The G1 is a fine camera with many great easily accessible features that will prove very useful in day to day shooting. The lens is exceptional, being a little wider than the Z1 (which is already great at the wide end of the zoom) and of course being a 20-1 lens as against a 12-1 on the Z1, far tighter on the long end. Interestingly both the Z1 and the G1 in their specs list the lens size at the wide end of the zoom as 4.5mm, but in real life the Canon is noticeably wider.
The camera is very well balanced for hand holding and the weight (as listed in both makers manuals) is the same as the Z1, (though on my kitchen scales the G1 seemed a little lighter!) and the A1 model as listed in the specs at 2,030 is 70g lighter again.
The overall picture quality through all the tests was hard to fault on both cameras, however to my eyes the most notable differences were an improvement in resolution on the G1 over the (already very good) Z1 and a softer and more natural and in my opinion more pleasing to the eye colour palette. While earlier XL models had serious focus issues, the auto focus on the G1 was exceptional and a definite improvement on the Z1 and the new Sony V1P.
The G1 has its good and bad points like any other camera but there are many aspects of this camera that will appeal to many people who up till now have had little choice but to buy a Sony. Make no mistake, the Z1 is a fine camera but G1 has many additional and superior features to recommend it and the Sony folk will be hard pressed to retain their existing market share.
Note: There are two models of this camera the XH G1 and the XH A1 - they have identical specifications but the G1 model I tested has at the rear a Genlock terminal, a Time Code terminal (to receive and send TC) and an HD/SD terminal - none of which you need for regular location shooting. Note too the A1 at 2,030g is also 70g lighter than the G1 (2,100 g) - if I was buying I'd definitely be getting the A1.
My thanks to Paul Stewart at Canon in Sydney and Steve Thompsen at John Barry Group in Artarmon (Canon agents - 02 9439 6955) for arranging the loan.