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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 February 6th, 2010, 05:00 PM   #136
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Thank you Pete Bauer.

All I was commenting on was that 1/3" cameras are used in broadcast all the time. I work in broadcast and use them all the time. Someone mentioned that 1/3" wasn't good enough for broadcast, but that is just completely false.

As to mentioning it was an "EX Killer", that I did not as well. In fact, if you look at my original post, I commented on how it was premature to say something like that. Again, I only mentioned that this camera could be in the realm of being better than the Sony EX, but we cannot make any assumptions as to whether this is true or not till the camera is out and we can do side by side comparisons. Such is the nature of any new technology.

There is so much more than the imaging block that dictates the overall picture quality, including physical functionality of the camera itself.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 05:03 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
Well we KNOW there aren't any (CCD). So what Mr. Galvan is talking about is 1/3" SD cameras... and comparing apples to cantaloupes.
Sorry you assumed this, but that's not what I mentioned.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 05:16 PM   #138
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Are you saying that the EX1 is not a prosumer camera? I'd always put it in that bracket.
Steve
Good point. Like Peronne said, it rides the line. I almost think we need another category above prosumer but below professional. I wouldn't think of prosumers buying $6k+ cameras that use $1K media, but the cost dosent seem to be part of the definition.

On the subject of the Canon and the new codec, the one thing that is pro level is the amount of data storage you need to archive the footage. I currently shoot 24Mbps AVCHD and work on backup and archiving quite a bit. I just bought another pair of 2 TB drives today. In the Canon codec, that would have required 4 2TB drives. For paid work, that is part of the game, but for a consumer or prosumer, thats a major expense. But there will probably be lower bitrate levels of the codec. But then you are back to HDV. The codec dosent make sense to me for the XH replacement camera and casual or wedding shooters.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 06:18 PM   #139
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I switched last year to backup on LTO3 professional IT backup tapes. I bought a Quantum LTo3 HH deck for my PC for less than the cost of my Sony XR500 and the 400G tapes are about $25 each. I still have my FX1 and use the FX1 , SR11 and XR500 with another FX1 for our shoots. Backup or restore using EMC Retrospect software is as fast as my hard drives will go( about 65MBps sustained at the moment). The tape cams are now the bottleneck to editing taking a lot longer to capture the tapes than to transfer the AVCHD and convert to Canopus HQ for editing. I can't wait until I get the NX5 ( at least my choice at the moment) and go full tapeless.

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Old February 6th, 2010, 06:22 PM   #140
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Sorry you assumed this, but that's not what I mentioned.
Alright,

Would you be so kind as to tell us what 1/3" HD cameras you used at CNN and NBC, and in what capacity? I'm sure many of us would be curious.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 06:49 PM   #141
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The debate over what constitutes a "broadcast" camera rages on.

The fact is of course, inventive film makers from the great Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, to the legendary documentarist Werner Herzog, have won dozens of prestigious international awards, from the Palme D'or at Cannes, to the Golden Lion at Venice with films shot on prosumer DV camcorders. All of these films are shown on "broadcast" TV all over the world. There are thousands of other examples.

It's true the BBC consider 2/3 chip cameras the "ideal" minimum acquisition format, but the key word here is ideal. These things are not set in stone. The PD150, Z1 etc have been, and still are, used all the time for broadcast TV. BBC News international have been running an ident for a couple of years now shot in Beijing, Shanghai, South Africa etc that was shot on a Z1. I know this, because a good mate of mine shot it on his Z1.

Those who are aiming for broadcast would do well to forget about codecs, sensors, and technical trivia, and focus on making content that engages viewers. All the cameras being discussed in this thread are potentially broadcast quality if, and only if, the content is perceived by broadcasters to be of interest to their viewers. And this includes the hyper-expensive Genesis mentioned upthread.

As far as the new Canon goes, it's too early to say where it will figure in the pecking order of "prosumer" camcorders, though i'm prepared to bet the camera will be excellent in many ways. Will it have comparable specs to a 25 grand camera? No it won't.
Will it have a shot at the Sony EX1? Who knows. It's certainly possible that even with 1/3 chips it will have some advantages over that camera, and produce gorgeous images that eclipse Sony's landmark camera in many ways, if not perhaps in low light situations.

These are exciting times for all of us, but it's very clear to me that i'd achieve a lot more if i spent less time agonizing over the latest camera, and spend more time focussing on raising my game as a writer, cameraman, and all round film maker. That's not to say we shouldn't sit here second guessing what this or that camera company has in store for us. Like many here i find these dreamy speculations both fun, and actually quite edifying. Particularly since many contributors here are rather more knowledgeable than i am.

Even so, when the debate starts getting heated, as it has at times on this thread, it's probably time to sit back, take a deep breath, and wonder what we're going to actually do with these wonderful pieces of technology.

I think it was Jean Luc Godard who said, "all you need to make a great movie is a girl and a gun".

That's probably as true today as it was in the 1960's.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 07:03 PM   #142
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The debate over what constitutes a "broadcast" camera rages on.
There's no debate as far as I am concerned. BBC has published standards. So does PBS. Discovery, NatGeo, and others have standards as well that are obtainable. Anyone can download the PBS Redbook. That's the standard I have to meet when submitting my footage for broadcast. And it's not debatable.

Maybe other's have ways around the published standards, or maybe some don't even have standards. I can't say. I just know what standard I am held to.


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I think it was Jean Luc Godard who said, "all you need to make a great movie is a girl and a gun".

That's probably as true today as it was in the 1960's.
And Hollywood tests this theory every summer.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 07:24 PM   #143
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Perrone

I think you're missing the general point i was making in my post.

"BBC has published standards"

These "standards" are regularly overturned when something turns up that the BBC thinks is of interest to their viewers. Furthermore, my friend's BBC ident is still playing on BBC News International and was shot on a Z1 after being commissioned by the BBC. As are dozens of documentaries etc.

As i said in my post, "These things are not set in stone".

BBC standards = BBC guidelines.

And rules are made to be broken.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #144
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All I was commenting on was that 1/3" cameras are used in broadcast all the time. I work in broadcast and use them all the time. Someone mentioned that 1/3" wasn't good enough for broadcast, but that is just completely false.
A lot depends on whether you're referring to SD or HD. They are widely used for SD broadcast, but for HD the same broadcasters are quite likely to have far more stringent requirements, for very good technical reasons. Hence the widespread ban on their HD use, except for very special exemptions.

For the same 1/3" chips, HD means much smaller individual photosites than for SD. And that means diffraction issues become far more relevant. Practically, it means that a 1/3" lens will start to go soft when stopped down below about f4 for a 1920x1080 system, but the same effect won't happen with 2/3" until 2 stops less - about f8. Hence 1/3" chips limit you to a far smaller usable aperture range in HD.

This is quite apart from photographic considerations such as depth of field control, low light sensitivity, and lens availability.

Given the choice between 1/3" chips and the 50Mbs codec, and 1/2" chips and 35Mbs I'd take the 1/2" chips any day. (Which is not to say I wouldn't like to have my cake and eat it - 1/2" chips and 50Mbs!)
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There is so much more than the imaging block that dictates the overall picture quality, including physical functionality of the camera itself.
True enough, but whilst it's not possible to tell exactly how good a camera will be from such specs, they can give a very good idea of what the upper limit must be - how close it gets to that is up to the designers. And the laws of physics and optics give designers a real problem with HD and 1/3" chips, far worse than for SD. That's why I don't think this camera has much chance of becoming an "EX killer", good though the 50Mbs codec is.

Does it matter? Can we just say "content is king" and ignore the technicalities? The trouble with that argument is it tends to suppose that it has to always be one or the other. It always has to either be content *OR* technical issues. Which is nonsense. Shouldn't we be striving for the best possible content *AND* the best possible technical quality? Take some trouble to identify which camera is best for us technically, then use it in the most creative way possible? It's two separate issues.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 08:12 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
Alright,

Would you be so kind as to tell us what 1/3" HD cameras you used at CNN and NBC, and in what capacity? I'm sure many of us would be curious.
Sure, at CNN, there was the Canon XH G1 along with the Sony Z1.

At NBC, I mainly use my Canon XL H1S most of the time, but there are also the Sony Z1, along with the V1U. Interesting enough, the V1U is used the most for a wide variety of handheld shooting (1/4 chip).

I mainly shoot feature news segments with them.

Of course, there are 2/3" cameras available too to shoot with, but the image from the 1/3" cams are just as accepted.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 08:20 PM   #146
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A lot depends on whether you're referring to SD or HD. They are widely used for SD broadcast, but for HD the same broadcasters are quite likely to have far more stringent requirements, for very good technical reasons. Hence the widespread ban on their HD use, except for very special exemptions.

For the same 1/3" chips, HD means much smaller individual photosites than for SD. And that means diffraction issues become far more relevant. Practically, it means that a 1/3" lens will start to go soft when stopped down below about f4 for a 1920x1080 system, but the same effect won't happen with 2/3" until 2 stops less - about f8. Hence 1/3" chips limit you to a far smaller usable aperture range in HD.

This is quite apart from photographic considerations such as depth of field control, low light sensitivity, and lens availability.

Given the choice between 1/3" chips and the 50Mbs codec, and 1/2" chips and 35Mbs I'd take the 1/2" chips any day. (Which is not to say I wouldn't like to have my cake and eat it - 1/2" chips and 50Mbs!)

True enough, but whilst it's not possible to tell exactly how good a camera will be from such specs, they can give a very good idea of what the upper limit must be - how close it gets to that is up to the designers. And the laws of physics and optics give designers a real problem with HD and 1/3" chips, far worse than for SD. That's why I don't think this camera has much chance of becoming an "EX killer", good though the 50Mbs codec is.

Does it matter? Can we just say "content is king" and ignore the technicalities? The trouble with that argument is it tends to suppose that it has to always be one or the other. It always has to either be content *OR* technical issues. Which is nonsense. Shouldn't we be striving for the best possible content *AND* the best possible technical quality? Take some trouble to identify which camera is best for us technically, then use it in the most creative way possible? It's two separate issues.
Well what I've come to find about broadcast (specifically for the news realm) is it has to fit within the production skeleton that the network has in place.

Funny, I watched something that was shot in HDCAM SR be ingested into the HD server at CNN for edit, and that footage was being transcoded to XDCAM HD 35mb 4:2:0 before hitting the edit.

I don't want this thread to sway to far away from what it was intended to be. I agree on all your points, and I understand all the reasons why to shoot with larger chip cameras. But that doesn't take away the fact that 1/3" chip HD cameras are used everyday and seen on broadcast every day.

And yes, we should always strive to get the best content with the best technical quality possible. But the broadcast world is evolving; money plays the biggest role in these networks eyes and if they can achieve similar quality with these cheaper cams, they are all for it (and boy am I seeing them push for this).

My friend shoots some great stuff that you would never guess was the Sony V1U when you watch it on tv. And I know for a fact that that is setting a benchmark for other shooters within the network cause to the executives, they are seeing that quality at a much lower price.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 08:30 PM   #147
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Interesting. Thanks for posting Michael.

Could you elaborate on which shows this footage would show up on?

For HD or SD broadcast?

Was the 1/3" chip footage shot alongside larger chip cameras?

Sorry for the questions. I am just trying to figure out if the 1/3" chip cameras were used because of special circumstances or if they are used in place of the 2/3" chip cameras on high profile broadcasts.

It would seem in the past that anything network related would snub the thought of a 1/3" chip camera. Is money that tight or have the broadcast networks just given in to the "youtube" point of view that nothing matters anymore?
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Old February 6th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #148
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I'm sure being lighter and smaller can be an advantage in some situations. In the forums you hear about people getting something like the HM100 or the HMC150 because of those reasons even though they're able to afford an EX1. I even hear a lot of people trading in there full frame cameras for Micro 4/3rds cameras. For something like Weddings, it wouldn't be wise to use a Micro 4/3rds camera if given a choice. Different tools for different situations.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 11:41 PM   #149
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In this segment, it's interesting to see Sony move toward AVC with its NXCAM product, and Canon already with AVC in its DSLRs and AVCHD in its consumer cams move toward XDCAM 422. In the 1/2 inch and 2/3 inch, Sony stays with log gop mpeg-2 and Panasonic Varicam stays with DVCPro and AVC Intra.

I can't see that any of these cams can be "EX1 killers" since that cam is already at the limits of the format. So it comes down to price, features and form factor.

Working against 1/3 inch is network acceptance (at least in Europe), and very limited control of DOF and uncertain low light capability, but in its favor high sharpness, favorable form factor and ease of use.

I loved my XH-A1, and always felt its particular HDV codec implementation was under appreciated. But that cam along with the XL-H1 could have some issues with CA at times. Is Canon going to have the built in electronic CA correction Sony puts into the EX series?

We all understand and appreciate the picture quality benefits of 50 mbps 4:2:2, but for event shooters and ENG users targeted by this cam, I don't think the advantages of HDV and XDCAM-EX are appreciated enough when understanding the potential savings in time made possible by exporting those formats straight to Blu-ray, versus the inevitable certainty of long transcodes that will be mandatory with 50 mbps 4:2:2, or DVCPro or AVCIntra, or slow edits with AVCHD. Optical delivery on Blu-ray is about the only HD route available for the bride's video. So the workflow of 50 mbps 4:2:2 guarantees *lots* more time in the edit booth than HDV or XDCAM-EX, either one of the latter ports straight to Blu-ray without re-encoding.

I think most of our workflows are by now so used to the expectation of these slow transcodes that we make large parallel investments in computer editing hardware to speed the time, and ignore the shortcut that smart rendering the lower bit rate formats makes possible at still very high quality.

Working with 100 mbps 4:2:2 from the Nanoflash and 35 mbps 4:2:0 from XDCAM, the difference is very hard to spot in most cases, and fairly minor even when the codec is stressed.

If our workload schedules permits the time and patience to be purists, then 50 mbps 4:2:2 is the next step in the extension of the art. On the other hand, if workflow deadlines factor into our occupation, it's easily understandable why HDV is and should remain network acceptable. I'm just glad we are least moving away from SD.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 02:50 AM   #150
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Those who are aiming for broadcast would do well to forget about codecs, sensors, and technical trivia, and focus on making content that engages viewers. All the cameras being discussed in this thread are potentially broadcast quality if,
That's a bit of a dreamy view unfortunately. If you want to shoot for broadcast you have to take these things into account or you won't get the job.
Sometimes the required specs are a bit silly with commissioners/producers insisting on things which really make no difference, but not always. It's a known fact that if the codec is not great it'll literally fall apart with the combination of multiple generations through post and then especially in the transmission chain. This is the only reason why we're not allowed to use Super 16 any more, the grain wreaks havoc with the coders on broadcast.

Regarding cameras like the Z1 I think we have to make a distinction between most programmes and news. Just because a camera is OK for news doesn't mean it will be for drama or documentary, they obviously have very different requirements. You can shoot on a mobile phone for the news if you get something newsworthy and you'll have the editors biting your hand off for it.
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