Favoured by filmmakers as diverse as Danny Boyle (28 Days Later) and Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark), Canon's range of XL camcorders have always been popular with indie filmmakers on a tight budget. Until now though, there were no high-definition camcorders available from Canon. Enter the XL H1 (pictured). It's late to the party, but definitely better looking and featured than Sony's professional HD offering, the FX-1.
The XL H1 shoots video at 1080 lines of resolution with 60 interlaced frames per second. The basic package includes a 20x optical zoom lens. One of the appeals of the XL range has always been the lens binding, which allow those with generous credit card limits to use expensive film camera lenses, which, in many cases, cost several times what the camcorder itself does.
Although it doesn't use a true 24-frame progressive mode, the XL H1 employs a film-like 24 frames per second frame rate called 24F. The picture is de-interlaced using a software process inside the camera body, and not by the chip itself. We're eager to see how the end result compares to true 24P -- it could well match or exceed it, despite some scepticism from DV purists (yes, even this cutting-edge medium has its purists). It should be on sale from specialist dealers in December 2005. -CS