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Canon XF Series HD Camcorders
Canon XF305, XF205 and XF105 (with SDI), Canon XF300, XF200 and XF100 (without SDI).


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Old January 28th, 2010, 04:53 AM   #136
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I always quite liked Bolex viewfinders - the benefit over Arri/Aaton is that the image doesn't flicker due to the spinning mirror. You get used to this flickering after a while though.
Sorry, we've gone a bit off topic here - guess I'm just missing my old Arri!
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Old January 28th, 2010, 08:16 AM   #137
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Apart from shooting the kids at a birthday party who would use an AF lens on a video camera?
As I explained in my article, manual focus -- if it's to be done properly -- requires a second person (the 1st AC) whose sole job is to pull focus manually while the camera operator does everything else. Many times it's not possible or practical to have a two-person camera crew; quite often the camera operator is working alone, and these situations can call for AF, or at least some way to drive focus remotely from the tripod pan handle or elsewhere. On this new Canon, remote manual control of focus will most likely happen through LANC, which calls for a focus motor on the lens, which means it will have AF. And as Graham Hickling has already pointed out, Push AF is tremendously helpful for quickly finding focus.

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In fact it makes me shudder just thinking about it hunting focus and ruining shots!
I think that's going to be very much a thing of the past, what with selective face tracking, zone tracking, phase detection technology (instead of contrast), etc. I think we're going to start seeing the high-end AF processes that are currently used on the broadcast side work their way down into the $5K class of cameras.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 09:33 AM   #138
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What broadcast cameras are you talking about that are using AF? None of the broadcast cams I use have it.
If you're talking about servo focus to allow the use of pan bar mounted focus demands then OK, but for serious video work AF is just useless. You talk about focussinf "if it's to be done properly", crikey AF is the least "proper" way to do it. In broadcast wildlife we've been focussing manually with massive telephotos for years and there haven't been many complaints. There is just no way AF on an HJ40 would work with fast action subjects like wildlife. With stills it's different as you only need focus to be spot on for an instant.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 09:55 AM   #139
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Lenses like the Canon DigiSuper 100AF are auto focus.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 10:10 AM   #140
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These are all AF:

Canon DIGI SUPER 100 xs AF

Canon DIGI SUPER 86 xs AF

Canon Canon DIGI SUPER 27 AF

The HJ40 you've mentioned is Servo focus, not "just manual" (that is, it's motorized for remote focus control):

Canon HJ40 x 14B IASD-V (and anything else with an "A" in the model number is Servo focus, not just Manual).

I'm not doubting that AF is improper for wildlife videography. I'm only saying this:

The forthcoming Canon replacement of the XH series (that is, the topic of this thread) will *most likely* allow for remote focus control.

At the $5K price point, that remote control interface will *most likely* be LANC.

If it has LANC, then it will *most likely* have AF.

And also since it appears to be a "tapeless XH," then it will *most likely* have AF regardless.

The usefulness of AF for any pro videographer will be, again as Graham has mentioned, at the very least the ability to quickly find focus with Push AF. I'm also willing to bet that selective face tracking AF and selective zone AF will be included in the new camcorder, primarily for the benefit of wedding & event videographers. That's all I'm saying here.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 10:23 AM   #141
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I know the big box lenses are AF, but that's not to say they're used in AF.
I know all about the HJ40, it's one of my standard lenses. I find the servo focus doesn't work too well either, the lack of contact with the lens itself seems to lessen your control over fine focussing.
I have no doubt at all that the new Canon will have AF, all the semipro models do. Because the lenses use servos rather than helicals AF is incredibly easy to implement so why not.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #142
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AF not useless for wildlife

I'll donate my 2 cents for filming wildlife with an ultralight tripod - too often more robust equipment would be just too much to carry. Focusing by hand while shooting results in shaky footage, then. While at it, I wish AF could be taught to follow a particular animal. These systems already detect shapes so why not. If AF would be better, I would use it in most cases.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 12:07 PM   #143
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The latest Sony face detection can learn a particular face for priority even if it goes out of frame and then returns!!!!!!
I use Spot focus all the time on the SR11 and XR500 and was a little disappointed it was not implemented on the NX5.

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Old January 28th, 2010, 12:09 PM   #144
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Quote "The latest Sony face detection can learn a particular face for priority even if it goes out of frame and then returns!!!!!!" - yes, theoretically! It's the same principle as all the Nikon 3D focus tracking etc., but it's far from foolproof.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 01:16 PM   #145
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For a thread based on speculation this has taken on a life of its own.

I think the predictions Chris suggested in his excellent article will come to pass, and we'll see a new contender for the prosumer AVCHD market that could see off the competition at this price point. But it doesn't look like Sony need to feel too threatened re its EX range of cameras, and IMO, the most likely competition will come from Panasonic bringing out an AVC Intra version of the 171, a fixed lens hpx300, which i for one would be very tempted by, even with the 1/3 chips.

Having sold my XHA1 last year (for a 5d mkii) i'm interested in buying another video camera this year. I've a project coming up which ideally would require a small camera and i think the HMC40 looks like a bargain, assuming it would complement the 5d. But if i were looking at a larger camera, i can't see any real competition to the EX1. Also, there are dozens of EX1's on ebay going for less than Canon's new AVCHD is likely to cost, and you can always sell it for pretty much what you paid. So for the time being at least, the EX1 looks to me like the best of the bunch, and i'm mystified why none of the other big companies are attempting to match it, let alone better it.

Now P2 card prices are becoming a realistic alternative, any thoughts on the likelihood of a fixed lens hpx300 - along the lines of an hpx171 with AVC Intra- turning up in 2010?
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Old January 28th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #146
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... But if i were looking at a larger camera, i can't see any real competition to the EX1. Also, there are dozens of EX1's on ebay going for less than Canon's new AVCHD is likely to cost, and you can always sell it for pretty much what you paid. So for the time being at least, the EX1 looks to me like the best of the bunch, and i'm mystified why none of the other big companies are attempting to match it, let alone better it.
A year ago I said I wouldn't trade my EX1 for any camera under $10k. I feel the same way today. It's a HECK of a camera for what it costs. As to your comment about P2 becoming more realistic... I think Sony really caught them off guard with SxS and it's pricing. Now that P2 prices have fallen more in line with SxS, Sony dropped the bomb this week that they are supporting the SDHC option in the EX line of cams. So now you have manufacturer supported recoding in the EX line at about $45 per hour. Not sure how Panasonic plans on responding to that.

While I think Canon has had remarkable success in their DSLR product (seemingly by accident for the most part), they seem to be lagging badly in the prosumer video market and I really do fail to see how this new offering is going to find itself in the hands of anyone other than Canon loyalists. Those who prefer other brands already have viable options and honestly, looking at what is speculated for the Canon, doesn't seem to offer enough to compel someone to switch. Maybe I am wrong about that, but that's how it looks from where I'm standing.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 01:44 PM   #147
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As I explained in my article, manual focus -- if it's to be done properly -- requires a second person (the 1st AC) whose sole job is to pull focus manually while the camera operator does everything else. Many times it's not possible or practical to have a two-person camera crew; quite often the camera operator is working alone, and these situations can call for AF, or at least some way to drive focus remotely from the tripod pan handle or elsewhere. On this new Canon, remote manual control of focus will most likely happen through LANC, which calls for a focus motor on the lens, which means it will have AF. And as Graham Hickling has already pointed out, Push AF is tremendously helpful for quickly finding focus.
.
Even though I was brought up through the decades on a diet of MF stills cameras and prefer to use MF on my video cameras when I can, there are times, even in nature & wildlife photography & filming when AF can come in handy.
There is no advantage of having an MF-only lens when you can use the same price & quality AF lens which has a simple ON-OFF switch.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 02:13 PM   #148
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"A year ago I said I wouldn't trade my EX1 for any camera under $10k. I feel the same way today."

I don't blame you. I would too.

When Canon responded to the Z1 with the XHA1 i was a happy camper, but the EX1 has been out ages now, and though there have been some good cameras from Panasonic and JVC, none have really tempted me, particularly since there are so many used EX1's kicking about at half price. I think we were all hoping Canon would come to our rescue, and Chris's article - though based largely on assumptions - has left us feeling disappointed.

Having said that, Canon has always been great for glass, so it's possible that they'll come out with a camera with superlative 1/3 chips, some nice features and a fantastic lens and affordable media at an attractive price-point. If that camera produces a great image, then i'd buy one over the Sony.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 02:14 PM   #149
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Agree with that Tony, no harm in having it if you can, why not.
But for video of wildlife is a cmplete non-starter. Do you know anyone working on high quality broadcast wildlife progs that has used it? I certainly don't, and I just can't ever imagine it happening. If you look at all current wildlife output it's invariably Varicams with HJ40 or HJ18, and before that it was Arris with 300s and 150-600s, all MF.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 02:20 PM   #150
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If you had to design a camera as an upgrade to the excellent XL-H1 what would you do to it? Problems I see are these (not used one much but enough to see problems). Viewfinder is awful (related to the AF discussion going on here as it's needed becasue MF is nigh impossible - only sabing grace is massive depth of field because of 1/3" chips). No slomo, needs some way of getting at least 60fps. Tape rather than solid state - actually a mixed blessing! No true progressive mode, but Frame mode sort of is the same. No NDs on the body, so using 35mm stills lenses is problematic. HDV codec is hopeless, needs at the EX 35mb/sec codec. Lens controls - yuck, continually rotating focus rings etc. The EX lens controls are (for the price) excellent.
That's the list that springs to mind so far, and if all they do was rectify those things they'd get my vote.
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