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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 21st, 2010, 10:07 AM   #1
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Slow-Mo Water-skiing

These are some shots I did with the Canon XF305 to test the Slow-Motion capabilities of the camcorder. Everything was shot in about 30 minutes at dusk.

All but a couple of shots were done at 60fps with the 24P 1280x720 50Mbps 4:2:2 video configuration.

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Old September 21st, 2010, 11:29 AM   #2
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Nice. If I didn't know better, I'd think you like this camera. ;-)
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Old September 21st, 2010, 02:45 PM   #3
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Nice. If I didn't know better, I'd think you like this camera. ;-)
Really! Sometimes, I'm not sure.

Really cool video, Doug!
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Old September 21st, 2010, 10:20 PM   #4
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doesn't that hurt your feet?

some really cool shots in there!
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 12:23 AM   #5
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All but a couple of shots were done at 60fps with the 24P 1280x720 50Mbps 4:2:2 video configuration.
Thanks Doug. As some Flash cards (like mine) seem to work ok at normal speed but not across a 2 GB clip boundary... what Flash card did you use? Any halting issues?

Brett
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 05:37 AM   #6
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Brett,

The card I was using for the water skiing footage was a Hoodman 16GB. I've never had any problems with my Hoodman cards, and ingesting footage from them is 20% faster than my SanDisk ExtremePro 32GB card (with the same exact clips on both cards).

FYI, I was shooting a couple of weeks ago at 60fps on the SanDisk card (didn't mean to be using that card anyway) and it bogged down and gave me an error message about 20 seconds in on the third slo-mo clip I was shooting. Up to that point, I had trusted that card, but now I will only use Hoodman for overcranking.

The way the Canon file system works, if you get an error message on one clip, you could conveivably lose other clips on the card. So using slow cards is very, very risky if you have other important footage on a card. I am firm beleiver in only using the best media I can buy, so the SanDisk card is only a backup card now. Once it's burned me, it doesn't have my trust anymore for anything.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 12:39 PM   #7
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doug-

again and again, thank you for sharing your insights into the use of the xf305/xf300

some questions about the water skiing shoot:

the focus was very sharp. care to share? did u use manual focus or mf+push auto af?

did u use the canon wide angle on any shots?

did you engage the menu teleconverter (tc) for any shots?

auto iris or manual iris with the occasion push auto iris to check what the camera was choosing?

after this shoot, what did u learn about the xf305/xf300 that u did know know earlier?

any real-world experience you care to share is greatly appreciated.

be well

rob
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Old September 24th, 2010, 06:53 AM   #8
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Hi Rob,

Iíll try to answer your questions.

The water skiing opportunity came up with absolutlely no warning, but nevertheless it was a great chance to quickly test several camera settings in a fast-moving situation. Since I was changing settings frequently during the half-hour shoot, itís impossible to make very many blanket statements that cover everything that was shot. Thank god for metadata. It is great to be able to go back and look at every scrap of information after the shoot to see what worked and what didnít. I love how much metadata this camera saves, and thatís why I am a strong proponent of archiving all the original files and not just Final Cut Files after theyíve been imported.

Everything was shot at -3db, 6000K, ND ľ, IS Standard, 1/250 shutter. The Custom Picture file was one that Iíve created called DOUG-001 that is described in my training DVD. It really improves the look of the XF305 but Iím not going to get into those details here.

Most of the water skiing was shot with auto-focus turned on, but auto-focus still allows you to manually focus the lens too, and thatís what I did. Push-auto was used a few times when I was in the manual-focus mode.

Auto-iris with +1.0 shift was used for some of the footage, and manual exposure (determined by zebra 2) was used for the rest.

No tele-converter was used because I donít recommend that function.
I did not use the WA-H82 wide angle adapter. Everything was shot with the regular stock lens.

This shoot came towards the tail end of production of my XF305/300 training DVD so it didn't really teach me anything I didn't already know, but it sure re-confirmed a lot of thingss I had already knew and talk about in the DVD.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 09:02 AM   #9
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doug-

again, thank you for sharing your insights.

whether it is watching your preview chapters on the xf305/xf300 or the wonderful dvd that introduced me to my ex1, your real-world experiences have been a real benefit to my (and i'm sure many others) efforts as a film-maker.

i've read several post were xf305/xf300 shooters are choosing -3db in bright lit environs. care to expand on that thinking and discuss how u set-up your gain levels?

"auto iris with +1.0 shift"-can u please explain what u mean? i'm unclear on the term "+1shift".

in my four days of shooting with the xf305, i found many likes and some dislikes (like any good tool), one of my dislikes was the zebra button. u can have zebra 1 at 75% and zebra 2 at 95% but cannot toggle from off->zebra 1->zebra 2->off. rather, u can only toggle from off->zebra 1 or off->zebra 2 or off->zebra 1&2. i guess i like to keep my zebras separate.

i found this same issue of toggling thru buttons on the lcd display. if i wanted markers or the aspect ratio on the lcd display but access to all the other display info (battery/metering/tc/audio levels), i couldn't have separate access to both-i could have either but not both.

with all that said, i remain a fan of the xf305/xf300. it produces quality images, uses affordable compact flash cards, shoots 50mbs 4:2:2 and like the xdcam has a robust codec.

once again, thanks in advance for any info u care to share.

be well

rob
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Old September 25th, 2010, 07:07 AM   #10
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Doug, thanks for showing us this it looks really good. I was impressed by how smooth the footage is even the non slo-mo shots. Were you just hand-holding the camera? Did you use any stabilisation plugin during the editing or is this all down to the IS on the camera?
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Old September 25th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #11
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Rob,

-3db simply makes the camera less senstive to light. I use it as a way of fine-tuning the exposure when simply changing the ND filter does not get me close enought to the f-stop I want to use. It can also be used to reduce noise in the blacks during low-light shooting, but in my opinion, the camera is already too slow in low-light to make that a good idea.

The zebras on the XF305 are great!! M\uch more sophisticated than those on the EX1. But they too complicated to describe how to use them in a post here. Same thing goes for Auto-Iris Shift, but anyone who understands Exposure Compensation will graps it's purpose. After all, that's why my training DVD is 3.5 hours long. Some things simply can't be adequately explained in a couple of paragraphs.

You are correct that it's not easy to show the aspect ratio (or other types) markers without also showing all the other on-screen displays, but it can be done. You just have to turn off all the other displays one at a time.
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Old September 25th, 2010, 03:50 PM   #12
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Doug, thanks for showing us this it looks really good. I was impressed by how smooth the footage is even the non slo-mo shots. Were you just hand-holding the camera? Did you use any stabilisation plugin during the editing or is this all down to the IS on the camera?
The water skiing footage was shot hand-held with IS Standard. However, normally I don't like using the IS because I think it causes more problems than it solves. If I had to do it over again, I would have not used any IS from the boat. There are a number of shots I could not use because IS ruined them. I've had that happen over and over again since I got the camera in June. Finally, I'm learning my lesson not to use it in most situations.I really prefer Sony's SteadyShot mode on the EX1 and EX3 to Canon's version of IS. I'm just guessing here, but it feels like Canon's IS is adapted from their SLR cameras where only capturing one frame at time is important. But video is different. I don't think Canon understands that IS needs to look good on all 30 frames-per-second, not just a few. As I say in my training DVD, IS on the XF305 is a double-edged sword. It smooths the video in some ways, but messes it up in others.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 01:06 PM   #13
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Doug, how does the IS ruin handheld shots? I'm assuming it's the same type of IS the XH-A1/s series cameras use.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 09:28 AM   #14
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Glen,
The XF305 is the first Canon camcorder I've ever used so I can't tell you if the IS is any different, or better, or worse than other Canon camcorders. All I can say is that I don't think it is anywhere near as effective as Sony's SteadyShot IS on the the EX1R and EX3.

The Canon IS ruins shots by abruptly panning the image left or right and then snapping it back. Almost gives you a whiplash. :-) This is especially noticable on hand-held shots where you're tracking a moving subject but it even happens on stationary shots. The camera will suddenly jerk the picture one direction and then whip it back. This happens over and over again even with the Standard IS mode.

And it isn't just me or my camera because I can also see it happening frequently in other people's XF305 videos that they have posted. Either they don't recognize what is going on, or they don't care. But I do. I consider myself very good at shooting hand-held and it pisses me off when the camera ruins my shot by overcompensating and adding movement that was never there.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 09:54 AM   #15
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Doug:

I think there are some problems here, because the more personal opinion I read here, I get better view on the products, but also makes the whole thing more confusing.

First there were a general consensus at this forum about the XF 300/305: it has sharper and more detailed image than a EX1. Alister showed that this is false, EX1 is sharper, the XF 300/305 sharpness is actually noise.

Since that nobody tried to disprove it (with real life tests, test charts, etc).

So this sharpness thing 'hangs in the air', there is no dominant and 'accepted by all' opinion about the sharpness. Some people say XF 300 sharp, other says EX1 is better.

Now you had wrote that the IS of EX1 is much better that the XF300/305. Until know it was a widely accepted 'fact' in this forum, that the IS of XF 300 is the winner. But you have said that EX1 has better IS.

But then in this video it is clear that the IS of EX1 is not that great (versus panasonic tm700): YouTube - Panasonic TM700 vs Sony XDCAM EX1

So this IS thing also 'hangs in the air', there is no definitive fact about is the IS of XF 300 is good or not.

Don't misunderstand me, I really appreciate all the great information you have shared so far.

Can anyone please announce the final winner (accepted by all camera owners) of the IS and the sharpess race: is it the EX1 or the XF300 ?
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