What I’m Using Now: Canon XL H1 HDV
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA
LIST: $8,999 (street: $4,500′ $6,500)
Recently, I was assigned to shoot an underwater documentary in Southeast Asia. A heavier camera would have been much harder to manage, especially in the small planes we used to reach this remote area.
Underwater photography requires you to insert weights into your housing to achieve neutral buoyancy. The larger the camera, the larger the housing, and the more air there is. A full-size camera starts off being heavier, but also requires a lot of additional weight to achieve neutral buoyancy. With battery and support gear, the fully loaded housing could weigh close to 100 pounds.
But on this shoot, the combined total of the Gates housing and buoyancy compensating weights amounted to only about 35 pounds. The one-hour HDV tapes also kept reloads to a minimum. We would’ve been in bad shape if we hadn’t used the XL H1.