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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 September 3rd, 2010, 09:33 PM   #1
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XF305 Arrived - Test Footage, Trials, Tribulations

It's here! Thanks to all who have taken the plunge, posted footage and findings. First some testing and footage:


and my part 2 is held up at Vimeo - like seriously, they have a big issue going on today. So here it is on YouTube (bummer). I'll update this to Vimeo if they fix their world.

YouTube - Canon XF305 Demo Testing Part 2

Out of the gate, its incredibly sharp and noise free. The LCD is mindblowing - its the best camera display I've ever seen. Ergonomics are intelligent, but I need to study this thing. I've been on an HVX200 for a long time. The power button isn't the smartest invention, but I demonstrate in the video how I'm dealing with it and now I'm not thinking much about it.

But the biggest issue I was having was consistent CF card write errors, and I pin pointed it to occurring about every 5 min. I tried multiple cards of the same kind - 32GB Lexar Professional 300x. A world of disappointment. Then I tried one of many Lexar 16GB 300x and its recording error-free all the way to the end of the card. Yee haw! Well there's 1 type of card that works. So I pop in a cheap Ridata 32GB 266x card and it just zipps along with no errors either. Well, so there it is - not all cards are going to work even if the speed is plenty up to the task. Firmware update? WTF.

The other gripe is where is the record counter on this thing? Yes, there's timecode, cool. But I'm not seeing a per clip counter to see how long I've been recording a clip. Anyone figure this out? Or no go?

A few standout niceties - the single cord power cord is great. And going from AC or battery without powering down or even interrupting recording is AWESOME. I was able to format a CF card while recording as well. Recording through 1 CF card goes through a very nice sequence of switching to 2nd CF card with clear minutes remaining with color coded warning, followed by nice textual feedback; "Will switch in moment", "CFA -> CFB Switched". Sweet.

I also hooked the HD-SDI into a Matrox MXO 2 LE and captured straight to ProRes and Uncompressed. And yes, it's extraordinarily clean. But only super scrutiny is going to reveal much difference between the 50Mbs from CF card. However, I also tested straight to DVCPRO HD, and the MPEG-2 from CF card transcoded to ProRes had greater resolution.

Some have complained about the battery compartment being poorly designed, but I'm fine with it how it is. I didn't encounter any issues with the battery being inserted incorrectly at all. Besides, you'll want to get those bigger batteries anyway, and there's no way you're going to insert those wrong.

I tested a little in low light and it's not very thrilling, but I gotta say its miles cleaner in the darks even at +12 gain than the HVX200 at 0 Gain. But like many, I didn't get this for shooting in low light.

You'll also see some back to back shots with the 7D to test matching grade/color/curve in post. Would really like to know if anyone has matched profiles/picture settings between XF and 7D. Resolution of the XF, as it's been said before, walks all over the 7D.

That's it for now. More tests and thoughts to come.

-steev
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Old September 4th, 2010, 12:20 AM   #2
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Very nice! Great review.
Actually, the HVX200 didn't look so bad, either. The XF had better low light performance?
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Old September 4th, 2010, 01:40 AM   #3
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Yes, fortunately the HVX200 still looks great to me - I'm not retiring them yet at all. But I needed something higher resolution so the XF will do well in that role.

Regarding low light, yes I believe the XF is superior to the HVX200, but I'm going to do some direct testing as well.
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Old September 4th, 2010, 01:42 AM   #4
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The vimeo encode finally went through. Again, this is in 1920x1080 at 20Mbs h.264 downloadable so they should look pretty damn close to the uncompressed source.

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Old September 4th, 2010, 07:45 AM   #5
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The level of detail you get from the XF is incredible. What I really like is that there's no breathing of the lens when you rack-focus. Canon wasn't kidding when they said they had their best lens on the camera.
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Old September 5th, 2010, 07:03 PM   #6
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Hi Steev,

Thanks for the video review! And congratulations on your new XF!

BTW, what model Genus mattebox, rods, etc. did you get?

As far as matching 7D footage to the XF, check out Al's video:


Looks pretty close to me :)

Best,
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Old September 6th, 2010, 01:00 PM   #7
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Thanks for that link to Al's video. I had seen that before so I knew in advance it wouldn't be too much trouble. Thanks for reminding me to look at the details he posted. I'm guessing most of the trick is having the same white balance - I hadn't done that in my quick testing. I'm going to test that next.

Regarding the Matte Box.. its this kit here:

Genus GMKDSLR-77 DSLR Mattebox Kit with 77mm GL GMKDSLR77 - B&H

I went for the kit with the rod support mount kit since its not much more $$$ to have an extra rod mount. This mount ends up working with the 7D and 5D if you directly mount it.

But the XF305 does not work on this thing no matter what. I was able to get close enough using the Redrock Micro base plate I still have from the M2 setup I bought years ago. Not sure what the ideal set up is, but I'm curious if the Redrock mircroRiser will work to perfect the alignment. However, it may bring the mattebox up too high.

-steev
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Old September 6th, 2010, 10:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steev Dinkins View Post
It's here! Thanks to all who have taken the plunge, posted footage and findings. First some testing and footage:
and my part 2 is held up at Vimeo
Thanks very much for sharing this Steev.

Quote:
But the biggest issue I was having was consistent CF card write errors, and I pin pointed it to occurring about every 5 min. I tried multiple cards of the same kind - 32GB Lexar Professional 300x. A world of disappointment. Then I tried one of many Lexar 16GB 300x and its recording error-free all the way to the end of the card. Yee haw! Well there's 1 type of card that works. So I pop in a cheap Ridata 32GB 266x card and it just zipps along with no errors either. Well, so there it is - not all cards are going to work even if the speed is plenty up to the task. Firmware update? WTF.
Yikes. I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you didn't lose anything irreplaceable.

I have 4 x Lexar Professional 300x 32GB UDMA cards. I estimate I have recorded for at least 20 hours on them now (collectively). I have not had a single issue that I can think of with these cards. I have not had any problem importing any of my clips into Premier CS5, after copying the card contents to the hard disk, which also makes me think the writes on my-camera are error-free.

How does your "consistent CF card write error" manifest itself? I'm imaging the camera stops recording and announces an error? Could I be getting write errors and not realize it?

All my work so far has been at 1920x1080 30P.

I am not discounting your write errors. I'm guessing there's a difference in usage that triggers the problem. Did you format your card(s) in-camera before use?


cheers,
Brett
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Old September 7th, 2010, 02:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brett Delmage View Post
How does your "consistent CF card write error" manifest itself? I'm imaging the camera stops recording and announces an error? Could I be getting write errors and not realize it?

All my work so far has been at 1920x1080 30P.

I am not discounting your write errors. I'm guessing there's a difference in usage that triggers the problem. Did you format your card(s) in-camera before use?
Brett, attached is a photo of the error off the XF305 display. It actually halts recording and you would certainly know it - its a straight up showstopper. This occurs after approx. 5min 12 seconds consistently on any of the 6 Lexar 32GB 300x cards I purchased in the last month. Might your cards be older and a different rev?

All cards tested - I had initialized them in-camera using the XF305 before use.

I also tested this in 30p instead of 24p and it makes no difference. So in short, if you're not getting that error screen and a halted recording, I guess your cards are working fine. I'm stumped on this one.
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XF305 Arrived - Test Footage, Trials, Tribulations-xf305_error.jpg  
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Old September 7th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Steev Dinkins View Post
Brett, attached is a photo of the error off the XF305 display. It actually halts recording and you would certainly know it - its a straight up showstopper. This occurs after approx. 5min 12 seconds consistently on any of the 6 Lexar 32GB 300x cards I purchased in the last month. Might your cards be older and a different rev?

All cards tested - I had initialized them in-camera using the XF305 before use.

I also tested this in 30p instead of 24p and it makes no difference. So in short, if you're not getting that error screen and a halted recording, I guess your cards are working fine. I'm stumped on this one.
This exact thing happens to me with my Lexar Professional 300x cards as well. Something in those cards is not up to the task when the XF codec splits it's files at the 2gb point (about 5 min 12 sec in @ 50Mbps, at the approx 8 min mark @ 35Mbps, and at the 11 min mark @ 25Mbps). I switched to using 32GB Sandisk Extreme 60MB/s cards, and haven't had the error since. I also get the error on Patriot CF cards & Transcend CF cards that are supposedly within spec. My Sandisk & Ridata, however, do work without the error and can record continuously until the card is full. Hoodman CF cards also have no problem writing continuously, from what I've seen.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #11
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Have you done any green screen testing yet? That's probably the main thing I'm excited to see from this camera.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 05:02 PM   #12
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Have you done any green screen testing yet? That's probably the main thing I'm excited to see from this camera.
Look at this video:

YouTube - canon422-305.mov
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Old September 7th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #13
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Whats with the 7d footage?
It looks pretty bad?
I've watched a good deal of amazing footage out of that camera, what gives?
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Old September 7th, 2010, 06:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Brian Woods View Post
This exact thing happens to me with my Lexar Professional 300x cards as well. Something in those cards is not up to the task when the XF codec splits it's files at the 2gb point (about 5 min 12 sec in @ 50Mbps, at the approx 8 min mark @ 35Mbps, and at the 11 min mark @ 25Mbps).
Brian, thanks for verifying this problem - although I wish this wasn't a problem! Your Lexar Pro 300x cards - are those 32GB or other? The 16GB cards I have are working fine. The 32GB are a no-go. Also thanks for some explanation behind why this is happening.

So caveat to others - don't buy your cards in advance assuming they'll work. The good news is that the 32GB cards work just fine with the 7D and 5D.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 08:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Steev Dinkins View Post
Brett, attached is a photo of the error off the XF305 display. It actually halts recording and you would certainly know it - its a straight up showstopper.

if you're not getting that error screen and a halted recording, I guess your cards are working fine. I'm stumped on this one.
Thankfully, that's a new screen to me. And I hope to never see it.

Just pulled my cards out to look at them.
Data points for comparisons:
Lexar Professional 300x
32GB CompactFlash(R)
UDMA

back: (C)2010 Lexar Media Inc. P/N508-60729 Rev B Product of China
(plus misc boxes to label cards in)

I wonder if the Rev B is relevant?

I purchased from a reputable regional retailer (Henrys) and Canadian memory webseller (memorydepot.com)
I've heard of fake memory in years past. At the price of these cards, I could see someone somewhere trying to fake a brand name... any chance of that?

(30 min pause)
Ok, I've decided to also post a photo - hope I gave it appropriate resolution.

Also, printed on the bottom edge of two of the CF cards (difficult to see) is
3215332GCSBC22106EA881 (card 1)
3215332GCSBC18106EA881 (card 2)

I have recorded concert-length clips (81 min / full card) as well as the more typical short (multi-second/minute) clips.

I hope this info might be helpful.

Brett
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