The camcorder’s focusing and lens system is excellent. The lens displays good sharpness despite its tendency to show magenta chromatic aberration on the sides and the center focus appears great specially when zoomed in fully. Its optical stabilizer also works extremely well even when out to 20x.
The Push AF activates the manual-focus mode and the autofocus works swiftly when Instant AF is enabled. A small autofocus lag occurs when you shoot in 24f and 30f modes, which is also stated in the XH A1’s documentation. However, your shooting rhythm will adapt to this if you shoot a lot in these modes.
Canon offers 7 gain levels; -3dB, 0dB, 3dB, 6dB, 12dB, 18dB, and 36dB but you can only program three on the XH A1’s L, M and H switch. The video looks extremely smooth at its lowest gain and you can even shoot in low light at 3dB. At 12dB you can easily shoot in near darkness but can experience some luminance noise which doesn’t affect the details. The on camera mic works pretty decently in up close and personal shooting however the camera also offers plenty of options for more complex requirements.
It is a remarkable camera that produces sharp, smooth, and saturated SD and HD videos. Color balance is accurately natural and well lit scenes look good in playback.