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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 August 17th, 2010, 06:39 AM   #1
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How do you see Canon's line up down the line?

Many of us have waited for it seems ages for Canon to restamp it's position in the DV turf. Now with the release and well received reviews including BBC indorsement, Canon must be firmly a hot topic with the XF 300 series. With high expectation of a XL ?? model similar to the XF series to eventually appear what do you think will survive?

The XL HD series will probably go fairly soon. Then what about the XH Series. Do you foresee these phased out leaving Canon tapeless and a range of cameras not SD/HD capable.

So that leaves the XL2, the sole remaining surviver of the mini dv revolution started by the XL1. I'm still somewhat surprised the xl2 has remained in production so long and still fetching a reasonable high price for a new unit belonging to a dying format.

(Please shift this if I've posted it in the wrong forum)
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Old August 17th, 2010, 10:21 AM   #2
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I think tape is still fairly popular - a lot of people don't want to deal with the media storage issues of tapeless capture yet. I don't think we'll see the XH & XL line drop anytime soon. After all, you can still buy a brand new GL2, and I would have thought that those would have been discontinued long ago. But Canon still sells them, so there must be some market for it, right?
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Old August 17th, 2010, 10:44 AM   #3
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I expect ALL camcorders to become tapeless within a few years, if it hasn't already happened. I think Canon's XF line showed you don't need a proprietary media storage card to be a success. You can record full broadcast-level video onto media cards you can get at Wal-Mart. As a 20+ year veteran of video production, I find this nothing short of amazing.

Honestly, I don't see why anyone would even buy tape camcorders anymore. Using Canon as an example, why buy the inferior XL/XH series when the XF line offers so much more, at around the same price? Some might say they prefer the archiving of videotapes. Well, just download your video from your CF cards onto a portable hard drive. That should keep for years, decades even. And although CF cards aren't as cheap as videotape, they're a heck of a lot cheaper than P2 or SxS cards. I could see giving my client the CF cards, something I absolutely won't do with my P2 cards. If they "forget" to return them, that's cool- - I'll just bill them for a replacement... which will be waiting for me at Best Buy. No special order necessary.

As far as I know, there are no tape-based professional cameras being developed, or even consumer models. There will be no new tape formats. Tape will still be in use for years to come, but I don't expect to ever see a new pro camera (besides upgrades to current models) designed to use videotape.
Solid state recording is the logical step for video acquisition.

Apparently, JVC has stopped producing DV tapes. It will take years, but that market will die, just like 8mm film did many years ago.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 01:22 PM   #4
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From what I'm understanding, the XL H1a & s will be done by the end of the year........and, I'm just guessing here, then something new will show up!

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Old August 17th, 2010, 01:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Dawe View Post
So that leaves the XL2, the sole remaining surviver of the mini dv revolution started by the XL1.
Not the sole remaining survivor... there's also the GL2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Dawe View Post
I'm still somewhat surprised the xl2 has remained in production so long
And yet it is trumped by the GL2 in terms of longevity (perhaps even more surprising).
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Old August 17th, 2010, 07:56 PM   #6
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Since going tapeless in the audio world almost 20 years ago, my life has gotten a lot easier AND a lot harder. Constant fear of data loss and tons of hard drive space are the downsides, but the positives are just too numerous and the speed and capabilities still blow my mind.

After renting tape based pro cameras for years, I've had my share of issues with those too. When I decided to buy, I didn't look at any tape based cameras. I'm never going back!
1/3 realtime to get into my computer...200 min continuous recording, cheap media, no mechanical moving parts to go out of alignment...etc.
Glad to see tape is dying!
And the XF300 is in my sights for EOY!

A friend recently thanked me for talking him into going tapeless. He still got an amazing price for his FX1 which really baffled me. Another friend is very close to the same move and will dump his xh-a1 as he hates tape too.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 08:01 PM   #7
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Why I still need to use tapes.

When I video tape (with my A1)a three or four day rhythmic gymnastics competition I may use 20+ tapes and sometimes very little time for breaks. I acknowledge that my situation is not common, probably, but at this stage tapes look easier to handle than downloading CF cards.
By the way I also use Canon 1DMark4 for photographing competitions, and I tried using the video feature. Although the AI Servo tracking feature is excellent for focussing on moving objects with the still camera, Canon disabled it for the video--guess why--they do not want it to be a replacement for their video cameras. Keeping moving objects in focus is very challenging. As far as I am concerned, unless you need a very narrow focus plane, and the object is not moving, the video feature with the advantage of changing lenses, is very limited although the quality is superior with my L lenses.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 04:28 AM   #8
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why buy the inferior XL/XH series when the XF line offers so much more, at around the

Glen,

The XHA1 is half the price of the XF300 here in the UK, and is significantly smaller than the new camera, so i'm not sure this is a good comparison at present.

I saw the 2 cameras next door to each other yesterday, with the XF 300 priced at 6,800. That's more than the EX3. I've also seen it for just over 5000 on Ebay, so a major price drop should be imminent. Even so, the XHA1 is still an attractive package for those with 2 and a half grand to spend. I sold mine on Ebay for 1600 with batteries(that fit the XF - Doh!), polariser etc. Actually i'm already kicking myself.

The 300 is in another ballpark really. The first "affordable" camera to be given a green light from the BBC.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 07:47 AM   #9
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Dom,

Interesting on the pricing in the UK. Here in the US, the XF300 and the EX1R are close in price, as are the XF305 and EX3. True, the XHA1 is half the price of the XF300, but the XHG1 is only $1,000 cheaper. For that money, I'd definitely go for the XF.
I'd love for Canon to drop the prices on the XF line. I'm trying to rationalize the purchase of one. If I can make a good business case, I'll get one, or maybe an EX model. A price drop would surely help.

Does anyone know if this is a common business practice of Canon, to drop the prices on their cameras after a time?
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Old August 18th, 2010, 07:49 AM   #10
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IMHO:
Canon will do what it's spreadsheets predict will maximize it's profit in the various markets its MBAs identify as segments in which Canon products are sold. If you think about it and ignore products replaced by their "s" model upgrades, the only "professional" cameras Canon has actually withdrawn from the market (post DV revolution) is the GL1 and the XL1/XL1s. If you consider the GL-2 should have really been named the GL-1s, then the only camera withdrawn was the XL1s. It's just an observation.

I read somewhere (an analyst) that, in the context of the market at the time, the XL-H1 was targeted at station managers that were facing a forced march to HD and the semi shoulder mounted w/interchangeable lens XL was (from their perspective) a dirt cheap way to get there with the "right" (driven by station manager buying view) specs and features. That market segmentation would drive a lot of revenue to Canon and erode the competition that was in that market with full-sized $50K and up products. Canon has no product-line up there to erode. If that thinking caries forward, the fixed lens XF305 seems targeted at a broadcast market (witness the lighting approval by the BBC) defined by 50MB, 4:2:2, SDI and mobile so it led the product announcement line ahead of the changeable lens XL model in the new solid state line. The fact that it's served by 1/3" sensors is irrelevant as it isn't in the BBC spec. Think market size and projected revenue numbers in a spreadsheet.

If a solid state interchangeable lens XL model comes out in Sept as predicted, there remains a gap in the under $7k market. I think it's fair to say, given past behavior, Canon will keep the current line up until they have a replacement and the replacement will be based on Canon's assessment of the market AT THE TIME THE NEW CAMERA WILL ARRIVE, not the market at THIS TIME.

Consider:
1) Development resources are expensive and they are split between seemingly hot selling Canon HDSLR and seemingly mature Camcorder product lines
2) Canon waits to enter a market
3) The under $7K camcorder market is:
a) Crowded with competitors with both tape, solid state and hybrid tape-solidstate camcorders
b) Being infiltrated by Canon's and competitor HDSLR product
c) More price sensitive
d) Going through significant change in the low budget documentary sub-segment

So if past behavior continues, the churn in the under $7k space may point to a continued absence of a new product in that space. This is similar to the ongoing GL-2 and XL-2 plus existing HDV products being left to serve the market in long tail fashion UNTIL a new sub segment is identified by Canon with enough capability to result in a good number in the revenue column of the spreadsheet. Then, whatever existing product(s) collide the most (closest-match-price-point) with that space will likely go away like the XL1s was withdrawn to make room for the XL2 but the GL2 (as a DV camera) was not removed and left to do battle in that space.

My two cents but worth nothing.

Last edited by Les Wilson; August 18th, 2010 at 11:56 AM.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 10:15 AM   #11
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I have been waiting and saving for two years for Canon to replace the A1 with a tapeless solution. I need that 20x lens, a 25 bit data rate or higher, and I want the Canon quality and warranty.

However, if Canon does not produce the camera in the $4,000 price range by Christmas, I will be forced to buy a Sony.

It makes no sense for me to spend $3,000 on old technology and replace my lost A1 with a new one. Buying a used one for $2,500 doesn't make sense either.

If a 15 year Canon customer like myself, is no longer part of "Canon's Marketing Strategy", then it's time for me to move on.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 11:19 AM   #12
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Interesting discussion. Last year at about this time, I was looking for one of two new cameras I was going to buy. One camera was going to be a 5D, but the other camera I wanted needed to be a video camera. I wanted one that recorded to tape, and one that had great quality glass and the professional audio features. I looked at all the brands then, and for several reasons, (a main reason being I wanted to stay with Canon cameras - a 5D and HF20 already purchased) I decided to get the XH-A1s.

Since that time I did get frustrated with having to digitize the tape while my other cam's data was transferred in 1/3 of the time. So, finally I bought a Sony MRC-1 CF card recorder that I now use with the A1. It has eliminated tape for me, pretty much, although I can still run tape when I want to. With a 32GB card I can record for a continuous 144 minutes, and still get the quality of the A1 camera. I do still get annoyed at the 1440x1080 anamorphic that I end up converting to full 1920x1080 on import, but it's still faster than converting from tape.

I feel like I've given the XH-A1s a brand new life. It's absolutely perfect for getting my master shot down the isle, or running continuously during a reception. I never have to worry about tape anymore, but yet I can still go to tape if I want a tape backup. I feel like I've got the best of both worlds, and still for less than the cost of the new Canons. I think overall that people have been too hasty when dumping their A1 cameras - they are still very good quality cameras that, for not too much more money can become tapeless. In their price range there is no camera with the internal professional level color controls and ability to save to presets the way the XH series does. Yes, the 1440x1080 HDV codec still sucks - but I can overlook that for another couple of years and still get a great deal of work out of the camera, and not have to shell out another $6000+ just yet. Hopefully by the time I'm ready to buy another video camera, Canon will have come out with an interchangeable lens video camera. :)
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Old August 18th, 2010, 11:54 AM   #13
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Canon A1s $3,700
Sony Card Reader $800

It is a interesting option.

How are you mounting the Sony MRC-1 CF?

It shouldn't be that difficult for Canon to re-engineer the basic A1s and include a built in card option. Sony did it with their NX5U, which I have been looking real close at.

Dave
Still hoping for a miracle coming from Canon this fall.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 05:37 PM   #14
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Yes, good thread..........my thoughts:

1) still love the A1s......best camera for the money out there (Transporter II !)....still

2) as many people who would want a solid state version of the A1, there is as many or more who want a video version of the 5D/7D on the new codec....and that second group have made loud and clear to Canon on their desires....in this forum and many others. Remember, as I posted before, the Canon video design team does read this and other forums......and most of the key DPs here in Hollywood have also let Canon know about their need for a "friendlier" version of the 5D/7D.

3) that being said, I believe that both cameras will eventually show up.....the question is which one will be first and when.

If I was a betting man, I would say..............

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Old August 19th, 2010, 11:39 AM   #15
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Sounds like Canon can't keep up which probably means a long life for the A1.

I've seen this movie before. Good for A1 owners ... market share loss for Canon offset by their HDSLR market share "eating their own children" ... all the while waiting for the next generation of the segment. Frankly, I think I'd rather the product managers read this forum. :-)
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