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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 May 22nd, 2011, 09:21 AM   #1
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XF100/105 vs Sony EX1/r?

hi there
I recently sold an EX1r as I loved the camcorder but couldn't come to like the ergonomics and I wanted something much lighter

has anyone compared the output of these 2 camcorders yet? anyone owns both?
I appreciate that the EX1 has much bigger sensors so low light will be on a different league, but i'd really like to know if someone has a more detailed experience

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Old May 24th, 2011, 12:52 AM   #2
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Re: XF100/105 vs Sony EX1/r?

I own both camera's but am unsure of your question. To compare a 3 chip 1/2 camera to 1/3 inch single chip isn't a fair comparison. The EX1r has more resolution, better color, less aliasing, etc.. Now if you compare the XF100 to other 1/3 single chip camera it fairs much better. Probably the best low light I have seen for 1/3 sensors, compared to MC50U, GY-HM100U and HXRNX5U. The excellent low light performance hurts it resolution performance. The default sharpening settings cause noise in the highlights but some tweaking can bring in an acceptable image. Manual controls are excellent with a great deal of customization available. While I like the 4:2:2 codec, I believe the camera itself doesn't have the resolution to take complete advantage of it.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 05:06 AM   #3
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Re: XF100/105 vs Sony EX1/r?

I also own both (EX-1 and XF105) and have a different take.

I just completed a Blu-Ray of material shot in Turkey and Greece last month. In outdoor light the XF105 was stunning. It gets more grainy in dimly lit building interiors, but not to the point of being unusable. The codec allows much more color grading than the 4:2:0 than possible with the Sony.

A major difference is that the Canon lens makes the Fujinon on the EX look like a toy. Utterly clear and clean, with a real servo control that does not stutter at all, and with a ramping option that makes zoom starts and stops disappear. There is no way to get a subtle zoom move on an EX-1, which is why Sony removed the slow speeds on the EX-1R making 8 the slowest you can go. The Canon can take nearly five minutes end to end. Nothing ruins a sensitive mood quicker than a brick-wall zoom stop, which is all the EX-1 offers.

The XF105 balances in the hand. The Sony never will.

Since it's so small, you can look like a tourist in places where pro gear is prohibited. This got me shots otherwise impossible to get. Sure, you can squabble about resolution, but in the real world the issue is sometimes being allowed to get a shot or not.

Tourism videography is all about getting a shot quick because the next cool thing to see is around the corner. Tour groups don't let you stop to set your Miller tripod for the perfect angle.

You can carry the XF105 around your neck all day without major pain, as I did in Istanbul.

I found the Full Auto setting incredible. I brought the usual white balance card, but never had the chance to use it. From bright sun to fluorescent to candlelight to warm incandescent the flesh tones were nailed every time. The auto focus also got it right but did struggle in very dim light. The audio quality is very high. I got usable tour guide stuff from 15-20 feet away with the internal mics. Never had the chance to mount my big-bucks shotgun. But if I had, it would have been in an ingenious shock mounted holder that nukes the easy-to bust EX1 holder. And Canon lets you easily remove the holder for a lower profile.

The image-stabilization was amazing. Forced to go hand-held due to tripod/monopod restrictions, I had to rely on the IS button. What it could not fix, Mercalli 2.0 fixed in post. An electronic tripod, if you will.

Editing in Vegas is a breeze. Drop the .mxf's and go. Long takes are broken into 2GB chunks. Drop them side-by-side and the breaks play flawlessly. No need to join them as with the EX1.

I sat with an audience last Sunday watching their tour on Blu-Ray on a 40-inch Sony Bravia ooo-ing and ahhh-ing about clarity and saying "I feel like I'm there again." I was real glad my 3-chip 1/2-inch EX1 stayed home and my "how can it be any good?" 1/3-inch single-chip XF105 got me the goods.

David McCallister

Canon XF105 with BP-975 and WD-H58W wide angle attachment
Two 64GB SanDisk Extreme Pro CF cards
Kata CB-100 bag with insert trolley (perfect fit)
Zoom H1 with Windcutter for additional audio acquisition

MacBook Pro/Bootcamp/XP with 500GB Firewire 800 portable HD
SanDisk ExpressCard34 CF adaptor
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Old May 24th, 2011, 06:32 AM   #4
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Re: XF100/105 vs Sony EX1/r?

I can't comment directly about the EX versus XF100, but I can agree that the XF100 is eminently usable. I shoot much more with it than the 5 pound XH-A1 which I often left at home because of its size and weight. My Panasonic TM700 has better resolution than the XF100, and I have been tempted to buy a used EX1 or EX1r for the resolution boost alone. I have decided, however, that the XF100's advantages, portability, and great controls outweigh the slight loss in resolution (compared with an EX1). It's easy to take with you, the OIS is great, and I'm getting shots that I wouldn't have before simply because it is not a hassle to take with you.

The built-in mics seem surprisingly good. I was filming landscapes recently and wanted to capture ambient sounds. I had the gain on the internal mics set to 8 or 9. Bird songs and crickets were clear with very little noise. The mics seem to have low self noise.

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