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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 15th, 2010, 08:34 PM   #46
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I suppose recording SD might make sense for some purpose, but I can't really think of any.

If the final destination is SD, you still get better quality by shooting HD with an HD cam, when it is downscaled properly. Even if the camera won't downcovert footage to SD, it's not particularly difficult to do (and do it very well) with any reasonably modern PC (using free software).
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Old January 15th, 2010, 08:56 PM   #47
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Who manufactures those 1/2.6" CMOS chips in Canon's HF-S camcorders?
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Old January 15th, 2010, 09:08 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Robert M Wright View Post
I suppose recording SD might make sense for some purpose, but I can't really think of any.

If the final destination is SD, you still get better quality by shooting HD with an HD cam, when it is downscaled properly. Even if the camera won't downcovert footage to SD, it's not particularly difficult to do (and do it very well) with any reasonably modern PC (using free software).
Imagine Haiti for example. If you work for a news agency or a news broadcast channel and the most important thing is to deliver your footage ASAP you better record in SD. It takes less to import and you are going to compress it a lot to be able to send it through a bad internet connection or a Bgan satellite. I don't know if CNN or FOX are recording in HD in breaking news situations but most other channels don't.

Hence the importance of the news SD modes in the EX1R or the NX5 for guys like me.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 09:38 PM   #49
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That's certainly not something I thought of.

What Chris mentioned, about the consumer camcorders having the ability to downconvert in-camera to 9Mbps or 3Mbps SD would be a whale of a lot more practical for what you describe, than having an HD camcorder that can also shoot standard definition DV (like the HDV cams). DV encoded standard def footage is no less bandwidth consuming than HDV or AVCHD.

Actually, AVCHD encoded HD footage can be recorded using a lot less bandwidth than DV too. When I first got a HMC40, the biggest SDHC card I had at the time was an 8GB card. I needed to shoot something for a couple hours continuously though, so I knocked the recording quality down to the lowest setting - 1440x1080i60 at like 6Mbps, if I recall correctly, and the resulting footage was at least as good as anything recorded in standard definition. It was very low motion footage though.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #50
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Who manufactures those 1/2.6" CMOS chips in Canon's HF-S camcorders?
Canon manufactures their own CMOS sensors.

Canon missed out on the CCD market -- they have to outsource those. However, interestingly enough, they
make the machines that make CCD sensors (mask aligners are part of their semiconductor equipment division).
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Old January 16th, 2010, 02:13 AM   #51
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Especially since Canon manufactures their own CMOS imaging chips, and do not manufacture CCDs, it sure seems to me that it might constitute a fairly foolish decision to go with CCDs in this new camcorder, and Canon doesn't tend to do foolish much.

At least since the introduction of the HV20, Canon's CMOS imaging chips have performed quite admirably in their consumer camcorders. It was pretty tough to complain about the performance of the HV20's imager almost three years ago (still is) and just as tough to complain about the performance of the imaging chips going into today's HF-S series camcorders. They perform quite well in low light conditions (especially shooting progressive images), and resolve detail quite nicely. Personally, I've never seen anything akin to what I would call a serious problem stemming from rolling shutter issues, with footage out of my HV20 (even in relatively high motion footage).

Sony has proven that CMOS imagers are now at least acceptable, if not exactly universally embraced with unbridled enthusiasm, to most customers in the low-end prosumer HD camcorder marketplace (despite a vocal minority who just won't get near a CMOS chip for love nor money, no doubt fearing they might instantly turn to jello - and probably a lot of those same folks would not buy a camcorder which does not clearly say Panasonic on it anyway, and likely only grudgingly accept the utter blasphemy of employing interframe compression in the HMC150, for that matter).

Very likely, Canon will not be introducing an entirely newly designed prosumer camcorder again for a number of years, so whatever imaging chips they do choose to put in this new camcorder (and I'm sure they don't take the decision lightly) will probably be going into a pretty significant number of the camcorders that Canon ships out for a long to come. Presumably, they would have a healthier profit margin on imaging chips they manufacture themselves, rather than on outsourced chips.

Canon does remarkably well at cranking both high quality interlaced and high quality progressive images out of interlaced CCDs. If they do go with a CCD that they can get the same image detail out of, with the new imaging block, as they get out of the imaging block in their current prosumer HDV camcorders, but with better light sensitivity and less noise, that would be competitive, at least for the moment. I do think it's entirely possible they could quickly fall behind the pack, as far as recorded image detail, especially for progressive HD formats, in perhaps even considerably less than just a year if Panasonic were to introduce a "new" AVCHD camcorder that's basically an HMC150, but employing the chips they currently use in the HPX300 (seemingly an easy thing to do, one would think) rather than the low res CCDs.

I've got to think, that if Canon does go with CCDs, they may inadvertently inspire Panasonic to come out with a version of the HMC150, using the HPX300 chips, a lot sooner than they might otherwise (if ever). If Canon goes with CMOS, the HMC150 remains the only AVCHD cam in it's class using CCDs (and as such, probably hang onto a significant market share for awhile). If Canon goes with CCDs, it's probably a reasonably safe bet that they will best the image detail recorded by the HMC150 (not exactly a tough challenge really), and perhaps leave the HMC150 with few (if any) significant advantages to compete with in the marketplace (aside from Panny's rather notably loyal core following), especially if Canon makes their new cam as infinitely customizable, with image acquisition presets, as their current prosumer HDV camcorders (which would seem awfully likely) and perhaps copying such nice little extras as the waveform monitoring. That could certainly inspire Panasonic to introduce a "new" alternative to the HMC150 in rather short order (presumably requiring little, if any, R&D time to bring it to market). Should that happen, and Panasonic go so far as to yank the HMC150 off the market (doesn't seem likely, but it's not entirely unimaginable either), that would almost assuredly leave Canon at the bottom of the heap, and rather quickly, for recording image detail in the 1080 line progressive formats. (1080i60 probably would not be difficult, but I don't know how they could achieve a solid 800 lines of recorded detail, in the 1080 line progressive formats, with a reasonably low cost imaging block built around reasonably orthodox CCDs - would be a fairly slick trick.)

Maybe Canon can achieve more with a low cost imaging block, built around fairly orthodox CCDs, than seems real likely to me (wouldn't shock me tho), but whatever they decide, I seriously doubt they will risk getting backed right into a low res corner (except perhaps for the LCD and viewfinder!), especially almost from the get-go.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 07:42 AM   #52
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It will indeed be sad news if Canon is going to provide only fixed-lens camcorders in it's future pro line.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 10:25 AM   #53
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For me, Resolution is something I am not concerned about at all for the new cams. Think about it, Canon has always had the highest resolution against its competition in its class every time they released new major models. Its a trend with their video and still camera lines that I don't see stopping.

They said completely new designed CCD sensor block. Who knows what new things this sensor block will be able to do (and remember, still no confirmation on actual size).

And they will definitely come out with an interchangeable lens camera, there is no evidence otherwise.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 10:53 AM   #54
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They said completely new designed CCD sensor block.
Just to clarify, this is what Canon USA told Michael at CES. In other words, he's not referencing my article, he's referring to an actual conversation that took place before I published it (wrote most of it in Dec. but didn't publish until this week).
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Old January 16th, 2010, 10:54 AM   #55
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Well as Red shows - there is a large demand for full frame sensor videocameras for low prices. How many red ones have sold despite the various difficulties of the camera.
As pointed out elsewhere, Red's sold something on the order of 7,000 Red Ones, in the nearly two and a half years it's been on the market. So that's 7,000 in 29 months, or a round figure of maybe 250 per month.

To put that in perspective, according to Genyosha's Japan Camera Trade News... when Canon introduced the EOS 50D, they targeted production at 100,000 units. PER MONTH. The Nikon D90 was targeted to sell 120,000 units per month.

The little PowerShot A1000 -- 300,000 units per month. The Casio Exilim EX-Z300? 300,000 units per month.

Video is a tiny, tiny market compared to stills. And professional video is a tiny tiny subset of the video market. So yeah, having video on a stills camera makes it more flexible, but you shouldn't go thinking that it's any big priority or it's opening up vast new markets. And yes, we are all clamoring for a large-sensor professional video camera, but ... we are not the tail that wags that dog!
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Old January 16th, 2010, 10:58 AM   #56
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Video is a tiny, tiny market compared to stills. And professional video is a tiny tiny subset of the video market ... we are not the tail that wags that dog!
I've been trying to get this point across for years. Not an easy thing to do with this audience!

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...since Canon manufactures their own CMOS imaging chips, and do not manufacture CCDs, it sure seems to me that it might constitute a fairly foolish decision to go with CCDs in this new camcorder...
Just because they can make their own CMOS doesn't mean it's free. You could easily have a situation where it's faster and less expensive for them to outsource the CCD block from some other supplier than it is to R&D, design, and build a CMOS block of their own (R&D because they've never done a three-chip CMOS block before).
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Old January 16th, 2010, 12:19 PM   #57
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Barry,

Thanks for those numbers! I've had a number of conversations with people who think that prosumer video is on the same volume level as DSLRs. It's been 100% clear to me that photos are for most everybody, and video is for the few.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 02:56 PM   #58
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Video is a tiny, tiny market compared to stills.
While I don't disagree with your overall point, do we have sales figures for the HF10 - HFS21 family? I wouldn't have thought THAT was 'tiny' ....
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Old January 16th, 2010, 02:59 PM   #59
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The way Canon goes about it, with prosumer video camcorders, I've got to think they make a few bucks on them. They only introduce a new model every once in awhile. Once the R&D costs are covered, they've got to have a pretty nice margin on them. The parts in an XH-A1, for example, can't cost anywhere near $3k, to manufacture on any reasonably large scale.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 03:07 PM   #60
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And how many Flip video cameras do you think they sell a month?

There's not a lot of people going to step up to spend 25-50K on a camera rig, obviously!

You can see, it's appropriate to consider market size, and I GUARANTEE the mahufacturers consider that VERY carefully before launching or even spending a development dime on a product. To say that it's not possible or economical to produce a product with a given feature set because of the potential sales figures isn't relevant IMO - it the price were right, I wouldn't mind having a RED inthe closet, how many others here would buy one if it were priced "right"?? Everyone please put your hands down...

The real question becomes what current state of the art technology and manufacturing capability can offer, at a given price point, with the expected market. Basic economics will tell you... cheap/inexpensive stuff sells more quantity, and you make it up on volume, high end/expensive/difficult to produce stuff has to make more per unit to keep ROI feasible.

What's being missed is that video is being democratized/commoditized RIGHT NOW, gear that was UNTHINKABLE even 5 years ago is ow available at a "reasonable" price, and we're still complaining about how we want more! Meanwhile people are USING their flip to make movies and enjoy the "toys"...

I'm sure WHATEVER CAnon/Sony/et.al. release this year will be "better" than "last years model", maybe there will be some total surprises or whatever, but there's cool new toys, isn't that ENOUGH???
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