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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 June 29th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #1
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Review and comparison

I have posted a review of XF305 / 300 on my blog with links to a layered tif, screen grabbed from full frame 1080 clips. There is also the link to Vimeo clip of the same (as on the chip size thread)

Nick Wilcox-Brown

Hopefully Chris will have time to post the review here on DVinfo too.

Nick.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 01:54 PM   #2
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Thanks for this! I hope the image with the greater dynamic range and sharpness is the Canon over the EX1?! If so, time to change methinks....
Regards,
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Old June 29th, 2010, 03:43 PM   #3
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Nick - looking forward to reading - any way to darken the font or increase the font size on the blog? (sorry to be a pain!). Slightly hard to read with the small font against the grey background (could just be my eyes and that I've been staring at my PC all day). Thanks for posting & again looking fwd to reading! (actually I found that by selecting all the text on the blog page, it highlights it and makes easier to read .. of course I could cut & paste it too into word or something). thanks again!!
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Old June 29th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #4
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Oliver, yes it is - I have replaced the tif with one with labels for clarity.

David, you are right - thanks for the comment - redesign coming on!

In the meantime, please forgive the off topic link, but this is truly wonderful for tired eyes - I use it all the time:

Readability - An Arc90 Lab Experiment

Nick
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Old June 29th, 2010, 05:40 PM   #5
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Hi Nick,

how is the brightness of the LCD in daylight compared to the EX1?

And how do you find the weight of the Canon for hand held comparing to the Ex1?

Cheers,
Mark
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Old June 29th, 2010, 05:49 PM   #6
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thanks for the review
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Old June 29th, 2010, 08:48 PM   #7
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Incredible superiority in color depth and image detail, by the Canon. Is this the best the EX1 can do to match the results you got with the XF300? I mean, was it possible to tweak gain, diaphragm or shutter in order to get less contrast/more brightness in the EX1 and approach the results with the XF300?
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Old June 30th, 2010, 03:35 AM   #8
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Miguel, Tom

The EX is owned by and operated by a colleague; he shot the sequence. Looking at the image, I suspect colour and possibly profiles could be tweaked more closely, but the settings were the normal ones in use during the shoot.

The comparison was shot at the end of a very (hot) busy day, much as an afterthought. My interest was more in the image detail and lens quality, rather then the exposure / contrast.

Ironically I still have not shot with the EX1 (so cannot comment on LCD). The weight is similar, but the XF305 is slightly bigger.

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Old June 30th, 2010, 06:04 AM   #9
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My .02.

The EX-1 has better color rendition, but I imagine the Canon could be tweaked to match. The Canon has better resolution, but w/o knowing the aperture values, it's hard to tell if this was really an apples to apples comparison.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 06:47 AM   #10
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Canon XF is colour / scene accurate: matches stills taken at the same point, but less contrast. The Sony is pleasing, but very inaccurate to the the scene colour. It could probably be tweaked in camera to give accurate colour with a little work. The Canon XF was set to default settings (and worth bearing in mind, this is still a pre-production camera).

Both cameras were at f 5.6
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Old June 30th, 2010, 05:38 PM   #11
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Well 5.6 is good for both, I would assume, as it tends to be in the optimal aperture range for just about every lens, except for a low budget zoom I guess.

So it seems the Canon does best the EX-1 resolution wise.


P.S. Although I do have to say that looking at the zone plates for both cameras, I don't see the dramatic difference that this comparison would suggest. I realize the images have color, so maybe it comes down to the difference between 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0?
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Old July 1st, 2010, 10:41 AM   #12
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I think 4:2:2 colour is the key + the extra bandwidth means less compression is being used.

I have a lot of respect for EX camcorders and was surprised how big the difference was. I hope to to be able to do the same comparison, in a more controlled manner with a full production version of the XF when they are available in sufficient numbers. The pre-production camera I used did not have the range of gamma settings that are available on the production camera, and time was too short to use anything but default colour settings.

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Old July 6th, 2010, 12:34 PM   #13
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That's the worst EX shot I've ever seen, it should look way better than that. It's out of focus and over exposed and the blacks are crushed, that's not a normal EX image. I would suggest the owner of the camera checks his back focus and Picture Profile settings. The Canon looks artificially sharp and has lots of very fine noise. The pink sky is a little distracting too. Not a good comparison for either camera. Resolution wise both cameras should be pretty much the same as both are at Nyquist, this is confirmed by Alan Roberts tests. I think the extremely poor execution/quality of the EX shot is somewhat misleading, nothing in the EX shot is sharp which suggest it either totally out of focus or the cameras back focus is off. Hardly a fair comparison.
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Old July 6th, 2010, 02:07 PM   #14
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Alister,

There is no pretence of my being an expert on EX1 cameras, or in any way trying to distort results. The owner (who set the shot up) uses the EX1 every day every day for commercial work, and to the best of my knowledge his clients are happy and he is well regarded. Certainly, he is one of the few in this area who are busy most days of the week, at sensible rates.

While your comment is very helpful, I'm not sure anyone is really paying much heed to colour / contrast as they are tweakable on both cameras. To my eyes the difference in image quality and sharpness between the cameras does not appear to be too different to that illustrated by the Japanese comparison that was linked here last week?

I have just re-checked the TIF, screen-grabbed from the full res file; there is no suggestion that the EX is out of focus, rather that the image is actually very soft with little or no sharpening in-camera. The Canon was clearly stated to be a pre-production camera, used at out of box settings. Final image quality can not be assumed from the test, although I gather from other threads that image quality on the production units is reckoned by many to be outstanding.

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Old July 6th, 2010, 03:37 PM   #15
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Sorry but I don't buy it. The EX image is not just soft it's blurred, you as a photographer should recognise the way the specular highlights on the chrome catches on the hood car are spreading out as an indication of poor focus, not just a soft or low resoloution image.

This image http://www.xdcam-user.com/wp-content.../pmw-ex3-1.jpg is typical of what an EX1 can do. Your colleges image is all wrong in so many respects.

You also need to remember that contrast and apparent image sharpness are inextricably linked, so it's is very difficult to make any realistic sharpness comparisons form images with vastly different contrast ranges. While some may argue that contrast range and colour can be tweaked through gamma curves and matrix settings many users never go near those settings as they don't understand them, so it is important to show what a flat or out of the box camera looks like. Also looking it the difference in the shadows the fact that the EX shot is in hard sunlight and the Canon shot is cloudy sun doesn't help.

Alan Roberts tests show both cameras to be at the Nyquist limit for 1920x1080 cameras, so both cameras are producing images of the same resolution. There should be no difference in image sharpness other than differences introduced by differing detail correction settings. The EX's detail settings, while different to those of the XF305 should not be making that big a difference.

It looks to me as though the EX's backfocus is out. Even a soft image would exhibit a plane of focus, your image does not, it's equally blurred from foreground to background. It's either totally out of focus, backfocus, or stopped down into diffraction limiting. And why was the EX shot not exposed correctly?
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