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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 October 13th, 2010, 10:35 PM   #1
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XF300 or HVX200?

Hi guys,

I'm shooting a commercial for a builder next week (so it'll be mostly real-estate/interior fittings type shots). I'd normally just shoot it with the trusty old HVX200, but I've just been told there's an XF300 available to shoot with if I'd like.

I hadn't heard of the XF300 until today, so I've done a quick read up on the camera, but I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on how it compares to a somewhat older workhorse like the HVX200?

What's the dynamic range like on the Canon?

Also, I'll probably be shooting with Letus 35mm adapter as well, so I'd be interested to hear how they might compare through an adapter.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Mark
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Old October 14th, 2010, 12:11 AM   #2
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The XF300 is way better than the HVX. The HVX is still a very good camera years after its release, but the Canon beats it in pretty much every category.
If you're given the chance to work with an XF300, go for it. I know I would. I hope to try one out one day. Just make sure the work flow in post production won't be a problem.

I have no idea on the Letus.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 02:03 AM   #3
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I haven't used the HVX myself, but just yesterday I was intercutting interviews shot on the HVX by a videographer in Germany (sent to me as native files in P2 folder structure) with similarly shot interviews on my XF here in New Zealand. The HVX footage looks rather soft and muddy by comparison - a very clear resolution difference at any rate.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 02:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
...
Just make sure the work flow in post production won't be a problem.

I have no idea on the Letus.
Right, the Canon codec is new and may not be supported by the software you're using in post. So definitely check on that.

I haven't used a XF, but it seems like it bests the HVX every way except probably sound.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 09:39 AM   #5
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Hi Mark,

Check out Steev's video. He shot this unboxing of his XF cam with an HVX200:

XF305 Arrived - Test Footage, Trials, Tribulations

I've never shot with an HVX200 before, but have shot with an HPX170 for a weekend. And now that I have an XF300, I can definitely say that the LCD/EVF on the XF is so much better and the focusing is easier. (Though the XF cam is heavier if that's a concern.)

Sorry, I've never used a 35mm adapter before (but considering it for the XF cam).

Best,
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Last edited by Jeff Anselmo; October 14th, 2010 at 09:41 AM. Reason: misspelling
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Old October 14th, 2010, 10:06 AM   #6
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Thanks so much guys, that's all a huge help. I figured the march of time would probably render XF the better option.

I'll look into compatibility of the new Canon codec with Final Cut Studio 2.

Cheers,

Mark
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Old October 14th, 2010, 10:21 AM   #7
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Mark, my understanding is that the codec is the same as the 50mbps XDCAM which is natively supported in FCS2.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 10:58 AM   #8
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Yes, that is correct.
XF works very well with Final Cut.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 11:19 AM   #9
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Do you edit the codec directly or do you have to transcode it to ProRes?
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Old October 14th, 2010, 12:48 PM   #10
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You can do it either way you want, but I prefer to keep the clips in their native codec for reasons I explain in my training DVD.
With ProRes, the file sizes are a lot bigger and the import/transcode times are longer. In my own workflow, there's no benefit to ProRes.
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Last edited by Doug Jensen; October 14th, 2010 at 10:16 PM. Reason: To clarify my point.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #11
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Ah, terrific! I like compatibility :D

I always get a little concerned with newer HD cameras these days because the newer AVC/MPEG-4 codecs don't seem to like my FCP editing suite at all.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 10:26 PM   #12
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The XF camcorders, just like XDCAM, record in MPEG-2, and FCP likes all the codecs just fine.

I've been working with XDCAM since 2006, and there still isn't a week go by that I don't marvel at how damn nice the whole workflow is. Those of you who are too young to have worked with U-Matic or Betacam just can't fully appreciate how the world has changed. I'm twice as productive now as I was 10 years ago and the cameras cost 1/4 - 1/2 what a Betacam cost. There's no tape costs, no maintenance, no mechanical breakdowns, no loss of footage due to a bad tape, no playback decks, no logging, no batch capturing, no timecode worries, no clogged heads, no more wasted time laying down bars & tone, no more interlaced, etc. It's really amazing technology. I love it.
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Old October 16th, 2010, 11:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
The XF camcorders, just like XDCAM, record in MPEG-2, and FCP likes all the codecs just fine.

I've been working with XDCAM since 2006, and there still isn't a week go by that I don't marvel at how damn nice the whole workflow is. Those of you who are too young to have worked with U-Matic or Betacam just can't fully appreciate how the world has changed. I'm twice as productive now as I was 10 years ago and the cameras cost 1/4 - 1/2 what a Betacam cost. There's no tape costs, no maintenance, no mechanical breakdowns, no loss of footage due to a bad tape, no playback decks, no logging, no batch capturing, no timecode worries, no clogged heads, no more wasted time laying down bars & tone, no more interlaced, etc. It's really amazing technology. I love it.
Next you'll tell us them new-fangled computers are gonna replace the typewriter!

But I gotta agree with ya, Doug. Going tapeless, editing on NLEs, etc...these kids today have no idea what it used to be like. 3/4" tape, anyone?
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Old October 24th, 2010, 09:26 AM   #14
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Hi! My names Rob and I've been tapeless for 3 years now. It was a struggle at first as my love of tape began in an audio studio before digital was available. I still love the feel of 2" Ampex and the sound it makes as my fingers squeak along its shiny dark brown surface. When I started in video 3/4 was the format everyone got me hooked on and the sound of a Umatic threading brings back all sorts of memories, good and bad. As my love of tape continued, I began realizing that tape was taking over my life and the physical storage was becoming a problem. After being accused of hoarding and then being confronted by friends and coworkers, I realized a change had to be made. Thanks to Digidesign, Panasonic and now Canon, I don't have any urges to go back and shall remain tapeless for the rest of my life. (cheering in the background as a happy tear rolls down my cheek)

Back to the OP,
I used the hvx on a doc several years ago and then the 170 for a few projects. The quality (back then) prompted me to buy the hmc150 which was also a great camera.
Moving on to the xf300, I gotta say it's truly a different level of quality. The whole reason I stayed away from P2 was cost knowing the type of things I get hired to shoot. I would have had to spend as much as I did on the camera to get enough cards to cover the events. And with run and gun, you can't stop to download.
I think the 200/170/150 still have a lot to offer but Canon has definitely upped the anty. The lens alone is a major selling point. Workflow into FCP is seamless. The clarity and color are just stunning.
And although I haven't personally shot with the EX1 and EX1r, I have edited a lot of footage from both and have to say I made the right choice as they were on the list of potential cameras.

Sorry for the long post! If you can, do a couple of shoots and you'll see why the XF is such a killer piece!
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