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Canon XA and VIXIA Series AVCHD Camcorders
For the Canon XA25, XA20, XA10 and all VIXIA / LEGRIA Series AVCHD camcorders.


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Old January 9th, 2011, 02:26 PM   #16
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Enlarging on Andy's points, the main thing about the XF100/105 that appeals to me is that it ought to be able to be set up according to the way that Alan Roberts has set up the 300/305, to BBC specs.
I'm hoping that one can dig into the menus enough to get the same gamma settings etc that he has reccommended...
Most of my work is in the broadcast sector, so it's really a no-brainer for me as to which camera to choose, but it's really good to see Canon pulling out so many stops these days!
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Old January 9th, 2011, 05:44 PM   #17
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anyone think a nanoflash/xf100 combo would add value to the rig?

be well

rob
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Old January 10th, 2011, 01:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
The XF100 has a Neutral Density facility (albeit an auto one - still looking for more details on how it works in real life situations). The XA10 lacks a ND (as far as I know so far).
It is switchable between OFF and automatic (the ND filter will take effect when the camera thinks it needs it.)
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Old January 10th, 2011, 02:50 PM   #19
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Thanks for that - saw your pics of the ND menu on another thread (and thanks for that too!)

That is what worries me a bit about these small Canons, "when the camera thinks it needs it". Ah well, I guess you can't have everything (i.e. total control) at this size/price point!
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; January 10th, 2011 at 03:25 PM.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 03:05 PM   #20
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michael/andy-

i do agree, a flip of a lever activating the nd filters as in a larger pro camera would have be nice.

that said, i wonder if a 58mm set of nd filters (2x, 4x, 8x) would allow us the control that is needed.

ymmv

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Old January 11th, 2011, 10:35 AM   #21
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Yes, the ND looks like it will work in the same way as the HFS/HV series has before ... come on when needed.

The new cams just give the option to either turn this on or off.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 05:26 AM   #22
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Hi:

I've also looked at the XA10 vs. XH100 while waiting for them to be available, but I spent little time considering XA10. So, running through the specs on the Canon site, just mentioning what I find most interesting:

Camera:

All the same

Recording:

Pro XF100:
- Dual CF hot swap meaning essentially indefinite recording time, more durable card format.
- Codec MXF (MPEG2 Long GOP 4:2:2 50Mbps) vs. AVCHD (MPEG4 4:2:0 25Mbps), here the 4:2:2 and double bit rate should be a significant improvement.
- 720p 50fps and 25fps
- Options for 35Mbps VBR and 25Mbps CBR in 4:2:0

System:

Pro XF100:
- More custom keys

Shooting functions:

Pro XF100:
- More gain settings
- 6 way color matrix
- RGB 50 white balance offset
- knee, sharpness, NR, 6 gamma profiles and a lot of other controls not listed on the XA10

Finally, regarding build quality: The detachable handle on the XA10 makes it nicely compact for travel, but this design choice does introduce a weak point.

Conclusion: While the sensor and optical system is the same for both cameras, the XA10 offers nowhere near the same control over the recording. The overlooked difference seems to be the white balance and 6 way color matrix. Since both use a compressed image format it is crucial to get these settings right when recording, the XA10 does not offer that level of control.

If you want to have full control, there is no choice: Only the XF100.

BR, Erik
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Old February 13th, 2011, 05:40 AM   #23
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Yep, that's my conclusion too. In the end I decided to buy a Panasonic TM900 (it arrives on Tuesday) and may still consider the XF100 for more serious stuff where I need a more portable camera than the EX3 and my 7D (+ full lens kit). The XA10 was just going to be too limiting for me in my professional work for the reasons so well highlighted above.

The big decider for me was after reading the in-depth camcorderinfo review of the HFG10 (which is basically a XA10 without the handle but otherwise essentially identical - still very pricey though). Whilst it looks like Canon are onto a winner for a 1/3 single full raster 1920x1080 sensor regarding low light ability, it looks (at least to me from what I've read and clips I've seen) that this brings some loss of sharpness - as is to be expected with this single sensor design choice. It also seems to show some loss of colour saturation - that slightly washed out look. I'm not saying it's bad, just it's a balance of compromises as with all cameras and it's up to each one of us to choose the camera with the strongest features that are most important for our particular needs.

So in the end I paid 775 for a Panasonic TM900 which is 3 chip, does lovely 1080p50 and has the sharpness and colour saturation and most of all portability I want in a really small "C" cam. Sure, it's not got all the manual control and features I'd want.... but it was 775 and it has a lot of them! It has peaking, zebras, manual focus ring etc. and a much better LCD than the one in it's much acclaimed predecessor, the TM700. The XA10 was going to be, maybe, nearly 1000 more than the TM900. That buys slightly better low light and XLR inputs but brings with it a little less sharpness/colour saturation and no 1080p50 capability - and this last thing is something I really want. Also, note, the XA10 is still not PCM audio (as its highly compressed AVCHD audio).

Bottom line, with these caveats, the XA10 would not do anything (for my needs) that the Panny TM900 can't do really well so I'd rather save that cash and put it towards other gear - and that might still be a XF100.

I'll decide on the XF100 once they are out and about and people have had a really good chance to comment on them from real world experience. That's a 2,750 (ish) decision - so one I'm happy to sit on for a while whilst I enjoy the TM900!

Oh one other thing, I just read on the web that the TM900 has a change in the design of the fan/ventilation - so it no longer produces any noise (which some had complained about on the TM700). Not sure how accurate that is - but there you go.

1080p50 here I come!
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; February 13th, 2011 at 10:19 AM. Reason: Typos
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Old February 13th, 2011, 08:29 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Katz View Post
anyone think a nanoflash/xf100 combo would add value to the rig?

be well

rob
I don't see why you'd need a nano. It already records at a broadcast spec 50mbps, 4:2:2 color.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 03:06 PM   #25
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glen=

i meant to suggest a xa10/nanoflash combo, not the xf100/105.

mea culpa

be well

rob
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Old February 14th, 2011, 12:28 AM   #26
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I'm a bit confused on the real differences between the codecs here.

MPEG2 is said to be a less efficient codec than MPEG4, and according to Panasonic, handles motion altogether differently. Much has been writen about how much more "efficient" MPEG 4 is as compared to MPEG 2. Therefore there is no real way to compare 50 mbps MPEG2 with 24 mbps AVCHD....its comparing apples and oranges, isn't it?

Similarly, I understand that Canon's MPEG 2 50mbps codec has the advantage of a 4.2.2 color space and that is significant, as it records twice the color info as HDV. But again, HDV is not AVCHD, so how would the two cams actually compare in terms of color performance? Does the new Canon version of MPEG 2 also record twice the color info as Sony's EX-1, which is also 4.2.0?

Not trying to be a pain, but I am really finding it challenging to understand the actual differences, and what to reasonably expect. I currently shoot a pair of HMC150's and a Canon HFS-10 for some crane work. Looking to upgrade from the HFS-10 to something a bit better in low light and a bit more control over image settings, etc. May also add a Canon 5D or 60D. Not sure the AF100 is a good fit for me. I do a lot in capturing the performing arts, some training vids, etc.

I guess I am somewhat skeptical that the differences in codec equate to an advantage for the XF over XA. Am I right, or....

Last edited by Steve Wolla; February 14th, 2011 at 12:34 AM. Reason: added info
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Old February 14th, 2011, 12:42 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
Yep, that's my conclusion too. In the end I decided to buy a Panasonic TM900 (it arrives on Tuesday) and may still consider the XF100 for more serious stuff where I need a more portable camera than the EX3 and my 7D (+ full lens kit). The XA10 was just going to be too limiting for me in my professional work for the reasons so well highlighted above.

The big decider for me was after reading the in-depth camcorderinfo review of the HFG10 (which is basically a XA10 without the handle but otherwise essentially identical - still very pricey though). Whilst it looks like Canon are onto a winner for a 1/3 single full raster 1920x1080 sensor regarding low light ability, it looks (at least to me from what I've read and clips I've seen) that this brings some loss of sharpness - as is to be expected with this single sensor design choice. It also seems to show some loss of colour saturation - that slightly washed out look. I'm not saying it's bad, just it's a balance of compromises as with all cameras and it's up to each one of us to choose the camera with the strongest features that are most important for our particular needs.

So in the end I paid 775 for a Panasonic TM900 which is 3 chip, does lovely 1080p50 and has the sharpness and colour saturation and most of all portability I want in a really small "C" cam. Sure, it's not got all the manual control and features I'd want.... but it was 775 and it has a lot of them! It has peaking, zebras, manual focus ring etc. and a much better LCD than the one in it's much acclaimed predecessor, the TM700. The XA10 was going to be, maybe, nearly 1000 more than the TM900. That buys slightly better low light and XLR inputs but brings with it a little less sharpness/colour saturation and no 1080p50 capability - and this last thing is something I really want. Also, note, the XA10 is still not PCM audio (as its highly compressed AVCHD audio).

Bottom line, with these caveats, the XA10 would not do anything (for my needs) that the Panny TM900 can't do really well so I'd rather save that cash and put it towards other gear - and that might still be a XF100.

I'll decide on the XF100 once they are out and about and people have had a really good chance to comment on them from real world experience. That's a 2,750 (ish) decision - so one I'm happy to sit on for a while whilst I enjoy the TM900!

Oh one other thing, I just read on the web that the TM900 has a change in the design of the fan/ventilation - so it no longer produces any noise (which some had complained about on the TM700). Not sure how accurate that is - but there you go.

1080p50 here I come!


Andy, sounds like a great cam. But does the TM900 have any input for a LANC-type device? Can I use my Bogen 522P with it?

Last edited by Steve Wolla; February 14th, 2011 at 12:43 AM. Reason: aded info
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Old February 14th, 2011, 02:21 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Wolla View Post
I'm a bit confused on the real differences between the codecs here.

MPEG2 is said to be a less efficient codec than MPEG4, and according to Panasonic, handles motion altogether differently. Much has been writen about how much more "efficient" MPEG 4 is as compared to MPEG 2. Therefore there is no real way to compare 50 mbps MPEG2 with 24 mbps AVCHD....its comparing apples and oranges, isn't it?

Similarly, I understand that Canon's MPEG 2 50mbps codec has the advantage of a 4.2.2 color space and that is significant, as it records twice the color info as HDV. But again, HDV is not AVCHD, so how would the two cams actually compare in terms of color performance? Does the new Canon version of MPEG 2 also record twice the color info as Sony's EX-1, which is also 4.2.0?
It's not easy to find your way around the codec-zoo, sometimes I also get lost.

The Canon XF-series shoot XMF (container file format) using MPEG2 (video codec) 4:2:2 and PCM audio at 50Mbps. MPEG2 is the older video format, it is less efficient meaning: at the same bit rate the image quality is inferior to MPEG4. MPEG2 is widely supported and used for DVD and not very processor intensive, this means that it's relatively easy to import in any workflow.

The Canon XA10 shoot AVCHD which is MPEG4-AVC/H.264 (video codec) in 4:2:0 and AC-3 audio at 25Mbps. MPEG4 is the modern codec, it is more efficient than MPEG2 meaning at the same bit rate offers better image quality, but it comes at a cost: It is more processor intensive and not as widely supported which means you may have to use intermediate formats in your workflow. MPEG4 has been chosen as standard for Blue-Ray and is also preferred for the web as bandwidth is more of concern than the processing power required to reproduce the video.

MPEG4 has been reported to give the same image quality as MPEG2 whilst at half bit rate. So, MPEG2 4:2:0 at 50Mbps and MPEG4 4:2:0 at 25Mbps should provide similar image quality. Now the XF100 uses 4:2:2 color sampling which gives you more control of color correction in post production, which may be a significant advantage.

When the codec used by XF100 is being hailed it's also because this codec/sampling/bitrate is approved for HD broadcast by the BBC. BBC defines standard definition as any acquisition format using interframe compression below 50Mbps. This does not imply that the image at 50Mbps is better, only that it is approved.

EDIT: BTW, while the XF300 is approved by the BBC for independent HD productions, the XF100 may not, I suppose they won't approve it until it hits market and they have time to test it.

BR, Erik
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Old February 14th, 2011, 07:13 AM   #29
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Erik,
Actually, the XF300/305 has been approved for ALL HD productions for the BBC, both internal and from independent producers. The "Beeb" also bought 50 of them.
I doubt the one chip XF100 will receive the same accolades, but we'll see.
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Old February 14th, 2011, 07:23 AM   #30
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Erik,
Actually, the XF300/305 has been approved for ALL HD productions for the BBC, both internal and from independent producers.
I only found this page listing the Canon XF300s for independent productions only,

BBC - Commissioning - Producing High-Definition TV
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