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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 May 30th, 2010, 08:00 AM   #1
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The hard question about price

Without malice, I have a serious question to ask about the 8000 dollar XF305. First I will admit the quality is excellent. Second I will ask what I see as a very tough question. Do customers have to pay more just because quality is finally right ? Yes it has timecode, genlock, and HD/SDI. It has 3 CMOS sensors but only at 1/3 inch. The 5D mark II is at 1.41 inches. I thought DSLR's would finally change the game in camcorderville but I guess I am wrong. The price skyrocketed.

What do we pay for in a car ? how much more metal is a luxery car than cheaper model ? How much more work went into a XF305 vs an XHA1 ??

Is it 8000 because it has great image quality ?? Yes yes, engineering cost and this and that sure, but I an feeling little uneasy about the price. My gut says it is wrong.

What is inside of an XF305 that has broken the electronics industries trend of technology costing less? To me, it certainly isn't a 1/3 inch cmos chip !! Not me cannon, I have owned many cannon products and am a huge fan, but I will not be buying into this trend.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 09:53 AM   #2
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Don,

Not sure if the quality should be expressed as "finally right" versus "improved". And with any goods or service, the perception of the price is sometimes more important than the actual one. When they were released the A1/G1 had $3999 and $6999 MSRP. Right now at B&H you can get the s versions for $3195 and $6299 respectively. The SDI/Timecode/Genlock feature on the G1 has risen to a $3100 price difference but has shrunk to $1000 on the new models. So the difference between the G1 and the 305 sits around $1700 and with all the new features/technology of the 305, I would imagine the slow G1 sales would get even worse.
And the price at release of the G1 and 305 are only $1000 different and if I were in the SDI/Genlock/Timecode as a requirement market the price increase over however many years since the G1 was released is easy to take.
I can appreciate your car analogy, but I have been trained that every time I get one, it will cost me more. I have bought the same car, with the same trim level the last three times and it is more money every time. I expect that but it shouldn't double.
Those of us in the A1 market have sticker shock. When they were announced I assumed these were replacements for the A1/G1. I haven't read any official Canon news that this was a fact, it was an assumption on my part. I was planning on selling my A1s's and getting a couple of these. Then when I saw the pricing I was dissapointed. On top of that there is only a $1200 difference between the new models and is that a true/lower cost of SDI/Genlock/Timecode or is that Canon charging what they think the market can bear? And I always wanted SDI, the $1200 sounds like a reasonable price but hey, now I'm at the $8000 price point.
My real problem is the fact is I want one. No make that two. More than likely I will own one, it's just taking a little more time wrappping my head around the price and will be waiting until a project/customer/workflow requirement dictates the purchase or the quality would make one's work standout to where they could charge accordingling to justify the cost.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 01:49 PM   #3
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It almost feels like Canon has two departments that don't communicate with each other. This is their first professional solid state camera which should have been released two years ago! These prices reflect a time when solid state was still new - the market has moved on. When they realize no one is buying their camera they might wake up to 2010.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 08:42 AM   #4
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Spare a thought for us folks in the UK, who are expected to fork out 6 grand (yes $9000+) for the cheaper XF300 version of this camera. Unless my lottery ticket comes in, i'll be getting a used EX1 for half that on Ebay (with bigger chips) thank you.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 02:16 PM   #5
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No Kidding

I am in the same boat as many others. Canon frequently seems to deliver then disappoint. The 7D operationally is more user friendly to shoot video with, control wise, but they keep it crippled without an update to shoot video with manual sound control, etc. Great camera, hold back on features.

I have used the XHA1 well. Love alot about it. But why after such success with a 5D/7D and their other cameras that they come out with the XF line seems like a bunch or corporate nonsense. No wonder the guys of at RED struck out on their own. I think Nicholas hit it on the head, the still and video divisions don't talk enough to each other. Canon obviously has most of thechnology already developed between the still and video lines to blend them together effectively and release a big sensor camera with EOS lenses on it. The price point should be much lower than want, especially for a camera that seems so much like a "bridge" camera. I know Canon has been traditionally slow to respond to the market, but this camera release is like - "Here you go, this new camera is great. Buy this will are working on a better one you will like even more." I get tired of all the stop gap cameras that come out. If manufactures really listened to what most of us end users want, they could make a killing. Canon seemed poised to do this, and the XF series, despite being quite "good," does not seem to be that camera nor is the cost justified in the realm of many people's work.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #6
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Another piece of fat to chew on....concerning two departments not talking to each other.

I remember in the early days of digital cameras, some of the very first Olympus models at 1.2 megapixel had little to no functionality as a camera. Even their body design was very sucky. I asked a rep one time about this and he commented, "What do you expect, the digital cameras were being designed by the computer division." What? Why wasn't the photography and hte compuiter divisions brought together from the start? Besides the high mega pixel count of the new digital still cameras, why did it take companies like Canon so long to develop a DSLR that had all the features of the 35mm film cameras they were leaving behind, but manufactured for decades? I couldn't count how many years digital cameras didn't even PC flash sockets!

The development cycle is very frustraing to everyone. With the internet, and people all around the world giving almost instant feedback, you'd think companies would listen better to us end users. When in fact, its us who buy the darn products.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 03:41 PM   #7
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Hi Greg, I have one word for you MARKETING, they wont release the whole technology to the people because there are a lot of guys out there with "happy pockets" that go for it, and most of wich consider making sacrifices for the love of workflow and things like this. I for one I'm goin to wait and see what happends in the near future, sure I like this camera and I'm sure it will be great or even fantastic as an upgrade from my XH-A1, but what I do now with my XH-A1 doesn't compell me to get a new tech camera (ex. tapeless workflow etc.). People like us here on the forums will never buy into the marketing propaganda, until the price problem solves out, but that's going to happend after a while or even after Canon will get something new out. For all other things the camera is very good.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 02:04 AM   #8
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I think the big mistaken assumption many of us have been making (myself included) is that Canon released the new XF cameras as replacements for the XH series. As far as I can tell, the XF cameras are not replacements for the XH series. I'm sure the replacements for the XH series are coming, but the XF cams are not them. In marketing terms, Canon has released a new "professional" level of cameras in the XF series, with the older "prosumer" level XH series still intact - and this is reflected in the price.

For professional productions, I think the new 4:2:2 50Mbps color space is a much bigger deal than the size or technology of the chip. Sony offers un-tethered 4:2:2 at 50Mbps but only with the 2/3" PWD-700 which costs around US$30,000. That for me is where the real story of the XF series sits, it's competing with the PWD-700. And I'm sure the interchangeable XF camera will be an interesting development for the industry, especially since Canon has never competed in that space before.

In the meantime, I'm still waiting for the XH replacements to come along.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 02:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski View Post
I think the new 4:2:2 50Mbps color space is a much bigger deal than the size or technology of the chip. Sony offers un-tethered 4:2:2 at 50Mbps but only with the 2/3" PWD-700 which costs around US$30,000. That for me is where the real story of the XF series sits, it's competing with the PWD-700.
If you want 4:2:2 50Mbps at a lot less than US$30,000 then one obvious route is to stick a NanoFlash on an XL-H1, an EX1 or an EX3.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 05:54 AM   #10
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Question: If the price would be in a range, say... 4000-5000 USD in the US (let's say for example at B&H) would you buy this camera without questioning Canon's marketing strategy ?

I for one would be 80-90% very tempted to buy at that price range considering that I payed around 6000USD on a XH-A1 two and a half years ago ( that was the price in Romania with all the taxes, the B&H price back then was 4000USD).
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Old June 5th, 2010, 07:04 AM   #11
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Michael,

In my previous post I said that I was thinking that these cameras, when announced were the replacements for the A1/G1, as you did. Now I guess my attitude is I HOPE they are not, but deep down I believe they are. I cannot see Canon coming out with another tape model, and a Solid State version of the A1/G1 is pretty much what the 300 series is. (Albeit with a new lens and lots of great features added).

I can see them coming out with a solid state camera to fill the price point between the top of the line consumer model at $1400 to the 300 at $6900. (That's a HUGE hole) But I don't see a solid state A1 on the horizon to bridge that gap. I wouldn't sell my A1 to get one, maybe they will just keep the camera in the line-up as is. The next camera Canon would release would be the removable lens version of the 300/305. I imagine the same features but with a new lens in the $11,999 to $12,999 range.

Ciprian, yes I would and that's what I thought it would be.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 07:20 AM   #12
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In a way, this camera throws a wrench into the gears, from the Canon site;

"Canon continues to innovate and develop image acquisition products for the most demanding professional. The Canon XF305 Professional Camcorder features 50Mbps MPEG-2 4:2:2 recording to universally available Compact Flash (CF) cards for unsurpassed image quality and efficient, robust workflow at an affordable price. It is ideally suited to match the requirements of electronic newsgathering (ENG) crews, independent filmmakers, documentary producers, event videographers and military agencies. "

It feels as though this camera is stuck in the middle, stuck somehow between price and use. Is this camera higher quality than the XLH1S series ?? Apparently so. I believe that shoulder mount cams no longer guarantee higher qaulity than any other, but is this the end of the line drawn between the two?? It feels as though shoulder mount cams are now just an extension of plastic with the guts of some other cam inside. Canon list this camera as "professional", not prosumer.

What of the XLH1 line now, is it dead or will it reappear at a higher price and different chips? I guess the whole basis for my post is that instead of the DSLR line changing the camcorder technology to DSLR quality and prices, the camcorder folks took the DSLR technology that had out gunned them and repackaged it, changed their industry, and charged more for it. The true direction of the camcorder department will be seen when the XLH1 line makes it's next move. If Canon simply re packaged the 5D mk II technology, this camcorder should have been $ 5000 or less, not even taking into consideration the current economy.

I am not sure that I conveyed what I feel in words and forgive me for babbling, I am just kind of stunned by the current level of DSLR technology and pricing vs XF305 quality and pricing. This would make their new XFL1A about $ 12000 and XFL1S about 15000.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 09:24 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Don Parrish View Post
... the camcorder folks took the DSLR technology that had out gunned them and repackaged it, changed their industry, and charged more for it.
I would love to see the "camcorder folks" take the DSLR technology and re-package it, but as far as I know, that hasn't happened yet. The XF series has probably been under development for the last 3 years or more and seems to have been developed separately from anything on the DSLR side. I'm hoping whatever replaces the XH series does incorporate a lot of the technology from the DSLRs.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 09:20 AM   #14
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michael, you touched on something very true. many of the people have been talking chip size, that such a small chip is costing so much. but it goes beyond the chip size. the codec alone is a big advancement in the camera. my A1 lost a lot of quality in underexposed midtone areas when coloring due to the color sample. if 4 2 0 is exposed perfect, then the color was great, but many times thats not the case. the codec in the XF is what draws me. Canon has proven to be very advanced, so i dont see their 1/3" chip size being a deciding factor. With the rise of the HDSLRs(still prefer the look of my redrock/A1 shots), everyone is talking chip size, but without enough color information or a good codec, your fullframe image will crumble in post. I just think there is a lot more features to the XF that needs credit for the upgrade, not just the censor size. if anyone has seen this camera in person and played around, you quickly see how amazing it works and feels over something like the EX1 or hvx.

I do wish for canon to lower the price a bit, it does seem steep with what is out there, but i dont feel it i will be much if any. there problem is when its marked professional not prosumer, their main market is companies with lots of money, who need a couple cameras to shoot their next series with. these companies dont care too much about price, but more so the camera itself. unfortunately, i dont feel canon is marketing this towards the independent user like myself and many others on here. i will be surprised if it does get lowered come release time, but i have little hopes. just my thoughts of what i have gathered on the XF. there are many features that without question, can separate this from the HDSLR side of video. i am still waiting for canons XF demo footage, the demo footage shot by canon looked great when viewed on the XF(as clean as a HDSLR, without the narrow DOF).

dan
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