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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 February 14th, 2011, 07:48 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Norgaard View Post
I only found this page listing the Canon XF300s for independent productions only,

BBC - Commissioning - Producing High-Definition TV
Yes, but that list was made earlier last year. The XF30X has had its status updated earlier this year:

BBC Approves Canon XF305 & XF300 for HD Production | PhotographyBLOG

Last edited by Glen Vandermolen; February 14th, 2011 at 08:27 AM.
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Old February 14th, 2011, 10:15 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Erik Norgaard View Post
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


Thanks Erik, that does clarify it a bit. Sounds like the real advantage is in the 4.2.2 color space. I did not realize that it was BBC approved, that would potentially be a big deal to independent film makers.
I'm looking forward to seeing both cams at the up-coming HD Expo in LA early in March.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 07:10 AM   #33
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Alan Roberts, who is the now retired cam tester for the BBC, did a test on a preproduction. XF105. The results are confidential pending retesting with a production model and Canon's approval, but he did drop some hints.

"The new Canon XF105 has to be a runner as well. I've just finished testing it and it's rather nice, although a fair bit more pricey than the A1.". Since then the price has come down by 1000 Euros.

He also stated that the XF100 series creates 720p from a 1080p downsize, not from an interlaced signal as with the Xf300 series. His only other comments that I saw where that the XF100. series had a low electrical consumption rate and that the IR mode was 2-3 stops faster than the normal mode.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 11:15 AM   #34
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There is a test of the XF100 and also of the HF M41 that uses the same sensor (along with the XA10, HF G10, HF M40 and HF M400) on the German slashcam website. Google Translate

I find the low light performance to be one of the best available even on the cheap HF M41.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 03:29 AM   #35
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I spent a LOT of time looking and handling the XA10, the XF100 and 105 on the Canon stand (and another) at BVE yesterday. Man it was busy at Earls Court!

It's now very clear to me that the XA10 is definitely a spruced up camcorder whereas the XF100/105s are true pro cams. The LCDs on all of them are lovely. The XA10's body is quite a bit smaller than the baby XFs - when you see and handle them side by side it's very noticeable.

The XA10 feels a bit cheap and plasticky and I REALLY did not like the positioning of the lens ring so close to the LCD. If you tilt the LCD at all it becomes almost impossible to use the lens ring easily - the cam is just too small - it almost looks like a childs toy with that goofy XLR handle! I also did not like the touch screen menu driven system - but I know others will love that approach. I'm really glad I did not pin my hopes on a XA10 as a B or C cam - it was a big disappointment for me (others will love it I'm sure - it's all down to the images it'll create after all).

Now the baby XFs. They are LOVELY. In the last hour of the show (before we dived in a pub!) I had at least 30-45 minutes "quality time" going through all the menus and controls and just seeing how they handle - as well as a lot of time handling them earlier in the day when it was really busy - see it was so nice I went back for more!

Peaking is great (actually better than on my EX3 as it remains "on" even when you switch to expanded focus). I found that I soon got used to the single lens ring with the 3 position switch (Focus-Zoom-Iris), although as also noted by some others I was talking to, this switch is still a bit close to the back of the LCD and can be a little difficult to operate sometimes depending how you hold the cam/tilt the LCD screen. The little knob control also worked well. The menu system seems pretty easy to use and not too dissimilar to the joystick approach on the EX3 (except the little joystick button is on the edge of the LCD). Seemed just fine. The balance of the cam in the hand is great and the build quality superb and it's really not heavy at all - this cam will be great on a Steadicam I think! The zoom rocker (even the top handle rocker) seemed to be capable of lovely slow creeping zooms (the only kind I typically want to use "in shot") - you can adjust these types of things in the menus. Everything just worked and worked well (that I tried). The focus and Iris worked really well even in auto modes but I did not try the face recognition system etc. The lens ring also had a good feel to it for a camera of this class I thought.

One thing I did find awkward (and maybe I missed it somewhere in the menus) but on my EX3 one of my most used buttons/features is last clip review. With the baby XFs the only way we found to review the clip was to switch the camera off then to Media and then the last clips thumbnail is highlighted and ready to play - if you then hit the play button on the side of the cam. I hope this is not the only way to review a clip - and I'm happy if someone can correct me if I'm wrong. So does anyone know, can you review the last clip whilst still in camera mode or not?

Bottom line - there is no comparison between the XA10 and the XF100/105 (I thought there was when I started this thread). They are very different animals and I know which one I like, and I like A LOT.

As an aside, my little Panasonic TM900 arrived yesterday whilst I was at BVE - a day later than promised but no sweat. Wow, it looks lovely. I'll report elsewhere on the forum what I think of it - when I've had a chance to test it out (might not be for a while as I have a lot of corporate work going on right now).

Finally, to the fellow visitors I met on the Canon stand - cheers! It was great to meet you all (especially the guy from Hungary) and discuss the XF100 together!
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; February 17th, 2011 at 08:17 AM. Reason: more typos!
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Old February 17th, 2011, 07:16 AM   #36
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Many thanks for your feedback on the XF100 from BVE. Was eagerly waiting to see how you got on with it. Seriously thinking about going for one of these cams to compliment the 7D. Like the small form factor, and the features it packs into it.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 05:15 PM   #37
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Yes we can

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
So does anyone know, can you review the last clip whilst still in camera mode or not?
Hi Andy

Yes we can.
Please see my answer to your question on the “Canon introduces XF105 and XF100” thread.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 04:31 PM   #38
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Great! That was the right answer!

The Canon rep I asked at BVE (after spending some time trying to figure it out on an XF100 ....without the benefit of a manual in front of me I will add!) did not know how to do it other than the clunky way that I described earlier.

So pleased that's now put to bed.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 10:23 AM   #39
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YouTube - Canon XA10 & XF105

Head to head with an XA10 and a XF105, with the XA in 24p progressive and the XF in interlaced 60i, a mode that reduces vertical information and sharpness.

XA set to consumer preferences with more sharpening and saturation. XF has more chroma detail, and less color banding. Look at the trees behind the moving footbal nets, the XF does not break the tree limbs up as does the XA. One is set up for post production with pros, and one set up for consumers. MPEG2 4:2:2 has more detail in areas that AVCHD renders as a single block of color. Pros will care, most consumers will not. Overall both cams please their respective audiences, but the XA falls below my threshold, but I m sure my family members would prefer the XA because is designed for viewing without grading, and they never see the details that are missed.

Does this mean that the old rule of thumb that AVCHD is twice as efficient as MPEG2 is not accurate? Does not seem so here.

Last edited by Philip Lipetz; February 19th, 2011 at 11:43 AM.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 01:26 PM   #40
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I saw the video.

The two cameras have two differents settings so it is difficult to say which is the better. Anyway to my eyes the XA10 look more good. When you looking a video you look the video with the eyes not with the instruments.
But before I can sure we need to see a test like this with the two cameras with the same settings.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 02:50 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
It's now very clear to me that the XA10 is definitely a spruced up camcorder whereas the XF100/105s are true pro cams
These were my conclusions exactly. The XA10 is very expensive for what it is.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 04:20 PM   #42
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Actually they both are.
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Old February 21st, 2011, 04:21 AM   #43
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Re: Canon XF100 versus Canon XA10

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Originally Posted by Steve Wolla View Post
Actually they both are.
What would you suggest as alternatives that provide either:
- same features and qualities at lower price, or
- more features and qualities at same price

?

Thanks, Erik
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 09:17 AM   #44
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Re: Canon XF100 versus Canon XA10

Erik,
They seem to have a lot of competition from Panasonic. But that's already been discussed a lot, no need to run through it again here.
So yes there are choices out there each with their own trade-offs.
Is it possible that the advantages of being able to shoot in 1080/60p may be as signicant as having the ability to shoot with the 4.2.2 color space? That remains to be seen.
I just think that for what Canon is offering, they are somewhat pricey at the moment. But then again, most cams are, when they are first introduced, aren't they?
Nothing beats a hands-on evaluation, I hope to have that chance in march at the HD Expo in LA.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 03:30 PM   #45
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Re: Canon XF100 versus Canon XA10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Lipetz View Post
YouTube - Canon XA10 & XF105

Head to head with an XA10 and a XF105, with the XA in 24p progressive and the XF in interlaced 60i, a mode that reduces vertical information and sharpness.
It was surprising to see how much more detail there was in the XA10 in several of the scenes. This seemed to go beyond simple in-camera sharpening.
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