Using XH-A1 in Low Light

Viewing 3 reply threads
  • Author
    • #48011

      I film hunters from a tree-stand in the woods. Animals usually appear at dusk or in early morning darkness. Lighting is a real problem. Have tried used the automatic setting mode for Night but the resultsappear as”jerky” movements…just NOT good enough! Can anyone give me suggestions about solving this lighting problem? Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts & ideas.

    • #197485

      Unfortunately, a camera needs light to record an image. There are some things that you can do that may help. In manual mode, open your iris as wide as possible (lowest number f-stop), and adjust your shutter speed to a slower speed (do this to a level that allows an acceptable picture). The slower shutter speed is what will cause the jerky movement on the video, but is needed to allow the camera to “see” as much light as possible. The shutter speed can be sped up by adding some additional “gain”, but as you increase the “gain”, you will probably be introducing additional video noise to your picture. Each adjustment has drawbacks as you attempt to take video in low light conditions. As to which trade-off you want will probably depend on what your plans are for the video (just documentation, some type of video production, etc.) Your trade-off will probably come down to jerky movements vs. some video noise on your dark video. Good luck!

    • #197486


      Rick is correct. Your immediate options are wide-open iris, slower shutterspeed and gain. All of which will bring in more light to the sensor, but if you’re wanting ‘noise-free’ imagery that’s not going to happen. Your other options are pricer, but effective. Up front, the new Canon and Nikon DSLR video capable cameras are amazing when dealing with low-light scenes. Your other option is NVG (night-vision gear) lenses. Unfortunately, they’re expensive but for unobtrusive shooting of wildlife (four and two-legged) at night they are indispensable. Electrophysics makes some of the best NVG gear you can find without having to sell the kids.

      If your gig shooting hunters is a paying gig that can justify the cost of picking up some new gear, either option is viable. If you’re doing this on the ‘way cheap’ and getting new gear isn’t feasible, then the settings both Rick and me suggested are your best option.

      One more thing you might consider on the super cheap end is light with a red filter. Most animals that see only in B&W aren’t too sensitive to the red-light spectrum. Thing is it has to be a heavy red filter so the light isn’t ‘pink’. Pink light has more ‘blue’ light than you want and B&W vision is more sensitive to the blue part of the spectrum and may alert the critters you want to film. Even if you get the right amount of red light that the animals won’t notice and you can still film without a great deal of noise, there’s a drawback. Using red light anyone in the area will be attracted to your scene and may run the risk of spooking the animals. Also, any rangers will require explanations prior to doing so to keep them from thinking your out there ‘spotlighting’ deer.

    • #197487

      Thanks for your help. I will certainly try the manual settings you suggest. The red-light sounds like it’s worth trying too!


Viewing 3 reply threads
  • The forum ‘Consumer Camcorders’ is closed to new topics and replies.

Best Products

The best Sony lenses — 2021

Sony has made a name for itself in the camera market lately. From its popular mirrorless line to its cinema cameras, Sony seems to be everywhere. The Sony E Mount has been around for about a decade. Since then, it's...



Given away to one lucky winner

Competition is open worldwide


Need help making a stellar first video?


Download our free eBook with 8 tips to get on the right track and create a video that you can be proud of.