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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 28th, 2011, 10:36 AM   #1
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Canon XF300 / 305 vs Sony EX1r

I am wondering if anyone who has used or owned an XF300/305 had wished they had purchased an EX1r instead.

I had a couple EX1r's and loved them but doing both video and photography I was carrying way too much weight and gear. I switched over to DSLR video and love the quality but long events is forcing me to get a dedicated video camera.

Even when mixing EX1r and DSLR, the EX1r would be the second choice.

I know the EX1r is better in low light, but having the DSLR's I have and glass I think I can handle the low light with them.

I currently have 3 1DIV's and a 5d II and will be selling one of the 1DIV's to help fund my video purchase.

I am comparing the XF305 to the EX1r because
a, its the only Canon camera in stock at BH
b, if I have to buy SxS cards for the EX1r, will be the same price range. ( I have plenty of CF cards.)
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Old May 28th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #2
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Re: XF305 vs EX1r?

If you search the forums, there was quite a bit of info comparing the XF and the Exs........but here is a quick summary.....

XF has 1/3" chips, EXs have 1/2" chips.....both cmos. The resolution tests done by Alistar & the BBC basically said they were even or the XFs were a tad sharper. That makes sense being that the EX chips are from 2006-7 and the XF chips are from 2010 and the glass is better on the Canons.

The EXs are a tad better in low light and are a bit better on the depth of field.......but you wouldn't buy either EXs or XFs for the depth of field....you would use your DSLRs.

The really big difference is the codec......the EXs record to EX cam codec...35mb, 4-2-0 color space onto special, expensive and now hard to get SxS cards. The XFs record to 50mb, 4-2-2 color space on CF cards. That codec is why the BBC and DiscoveryHD approved the cameras very quickly. The EXs were only approved for 25% of any given project...unless you took the HD SDI signal out to something like a Nano or Ki Pro that would record at a higher codec.

We have been coaching people here that if you already have some EXs and need more, then of course, buy another....but if you are starting from scratch, then get an XF305. We have many of the reality shows here in town that are switching over to the XFs....especially because they also want the XF105s for B/C camera and night vision....AND its on the same 50mb, 4-2-2 MXF codec.

Hope that helps,

Jim Martin
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Last edited by Jim Martin; May 28th, 2011 at 12:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old May 28th, 2011, 01:08 PM   #3
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Re: XF305 vs EX1r?

I posted in another thread my findings but a very brief recap...

While never owning an ex1r, I have cut TONs of material from all the EX's and they all looked fantastic. When the 300/305 came out, I liked the codec and CF cards and already having a 7D, decided to keep faithful to Canon. The footage From ex and XF is virtually identical But in post, the XF is a lot nicer to deal with. I do a ton of greenscreen work and the detail is a bit better allowing for easier keys. The autofocus face detection on the Canon is spectacular.
Cant Go wrong with either cam but given the choice again, I would do it the same. I love the xf300!
Can't wait for an interchangeable lens version!!!

Almost forgot..the new firmware allows dual record so you have an instant backup of the shoot. Cool feature for critical situations!
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Old May 28th, 2011, 03:26 PM   #4
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Re: Canon XF300 / 305 vs Sony EX1r

I was wondering the exact same thing today, since the release of the XF300/5 no one has actually reported anything meaningful on the camera. I would also like to get an additional EX1R however before I do I would like to know more about the XF, personally I think that the EX1R's 1/2 sensor size gives it a better image over 1/3 sensors. I find it funny that everyone was so excited about the 4:2:2 50Mb/s codec before it's release and now nobody cares, very much like the FS-100 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 debate making it's rounds.

DOF is great but the more weddings I shoot with DSLR's the more I realise that the clients wants sharp images over blurry images. I love DOF but my clients ask me why they can't see their family in the background during the ceremony. The video camera is far from dead.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 04:08 PM   #5
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Re: XF305 vs EX1r?

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Originally Posted by Jim Martin View Post
The EXs are a tad better in low light and are a bit better on the depth of field.......but you wouldn't buy either EXs or XFs for the depth of field....you would use your DSLRs.
how much difference do you see in low light between the EX1r and the XF100/105?
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Old May 28th, 2011, 04:38 PM   #6
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Re: Canon XF300 / 305 vs Sony EX1r

+10
My last wedding with my 60d when i blurred the background at the first dance they rang me and said there was something wrong with the dvd as at the dance it was blurry!!!!!!!! could i change it???? steve
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Old May 28th, 2011, 05:32 PM   #7
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Re: XF305 vs EX1r?

EX1 is far superior in low light.
The XF100 is a lovely little camera, I had the good fortune to play with one for a day. Low light is good, and colour holds up very well. But nowhere near as good as the EX1.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 06:12 PM   #8
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Re: Canon XF300 / 305 vs Sony EX1r

would you say the XF100 is the best small footprint camcorder out there at the moment, or at least with the best performance over price ratio?
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Old May 28th, 2011, 07:36 PM   #9
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Re: Canon XF300 / 305 vs Sony EX1r

The XF100 is a lovely little camera, and from what I saw from my day with it, is capable of excellent results. As for price performance ratio, I wouldnt like to say without testing it extensively. I do know that I compared it to my Panasonic TM900, and the conclusion I came to was, I wouldnt pay the considerable extra for the XF100 over the Panasonic. This is the small camera to beat at the moment. Its AVCHD at 17Mbps is amazingly good, take it up to its1080/50p mode and its mind blowing. This of course it very subjective. My son got married 4 weeks ago, and I used the TM900 as B cam to my EX1, over 60% of the final edit is footage from the TM900, it really is that good.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 08:06 PM   #10
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Re: Canon XF300 / 305 vs Sony EX1r

Interesting as I used to own a predecessor to the tm900, I think the tm300 from early 2009 and absolutely hated it: blocky image and barely usable in low light.

The external shape is identical but I'm sure the 900 is much better...
Still I ended up not being convinced about avchd
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Old May 28th, 2011, 08:20 PM   #11
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Re: Canon XF300 / 305 vs Sony EX1r

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Originally Posted by Nicholas de Kock View Post
I was wondering the exact same thing today, since the release of the XF300/5 no one has actually reported anything meaningful on the camera. I would also like to get an additional EX1R however before I do I would like to know more about the XF, personally I think that the EX1R's 1/2 sensor size gives it a better image over 1/3 sensors.
Not sure what you want that's more meaningful than 1st hand accounts of how the camera handles and how the footage looks. There's plenty of technical articles on the 300/305. I have been doing 2-4 shoots per week since buying the camera back in the middle of last year. Its a workhorse indoors and out even in the 110deg heat. It's shot out the side of a B-25 bomber, been on cranes, Steadicam for a national TV show, web vids, more greenscreen than I can list and never missed a beat or provided less than stellar video.
If you haven't seen side by side comparo's with the XF300 and the ex1r, I think you'd be surprised to find the Canon not only clearer but color truer as well. (i know color can be tweaked in camera with custom settings but the demos i saw were stock) There's several out there on the web. I have cut the two together in many projects and while they are very close, the Canon wins and thats why i chose it. The sensor size is irrelevant when talking image quality. As mentioned, the ex sensor is a generation older.
It's larger size is only a benefit in low light conditions. Neither camera compares to the dslrs in that area though so they would not be my tool of choice.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 09:38 PM   #12
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Re: XF305 vs EX1r?

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Originally Posted by Colin Rowe View Post
EX1 is far superior in low light.
unless you use a DSLR, Then its far inferior. I did a stage show a few months ago and the DSLR footage that was run as B cam ended up being A cam and the EX1r B cam.

I figure I would loose a little low light, but for the times I have to deal with low light and no option for led lighting I will just use the dslr.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 09:39 PM   #13
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Re: Canon XF300 / 305 vs Sony EX1r

Thanks everyone, very helpful information here, seemed that my searches were pulling up old threads that questioned the new XF300 codec. It seems its become well liked.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 08:46 AM   #14
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Re: XF305 vs EX1r?

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Originally Posted by Denny Kyser View Post
unless you use a DSLR, Then its far inferior. I did a stage show a few months ago and the DSLR footage that was run as B cam ended up being A cam and the EX1r B cam.

I figure I would loose a little low light, but for the times I have to deal with low light and no option for led lighting I will just use the dslr.
Sorry Denny, I disagree. True, a DSLR will perform very well in low light, with a fast 1.4 lens. I know, I used a DSLR for several months as B cam to my EX1. And initially was extremely impressed. After a few months I realised that the limitations of using a DSLR, was making my life a heck of lot more difficult, I could do without the recording time limit, and the atrocious aliasing and moire problems. Hey, its all been said before. But to state that an EX1 is far inferior, is an unbelievable statement. The resolution from any DSLR/lens combination is way down on an EX camera. Handy as they are, they have severe limitations, we all know this. Some use them to exteme effect, and will continue to do so. For me, personally, give me an EX any day.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 08:55 AM   #15
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Re: Canon XF300 / 305 vs Sony EX1r

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Originally Posted by Colin Rowe View Post
Sorry Denny, I disagree. True, a DSLR will perform very well in low light, with a fast 1.4 lens. I know, I used a DSLR for several months as B cam to my EX1. And initially was extremely impressed. After a few months I realised that the limitations of using a DSLR, was making my life a heck of lot more difficult, I could do without the recording time limit, and the atrocious aliasing and moire problems. Hey, its all been said before. But to state that an EX1 is far inferior, is an unbelievable statement. The resolution from any DSLR/lens combination is way down on an EX camera. Handy as they are, they have severe limitations, we all know this. Some use them to exteme effect, and will continue to do so. For me, personally, give me an EX any day.
Will not disagree about the limitations, I think they are close but not yet there.

I was using a 1d IV with a 70-200 2.8L IS II at 200mm for my stage show and it was just amazing.
For this show no act was over 10 minutes so it just worked.

As you can see by the first post, there are too many events that do not fall into the 10 minute act, so something better is needed. Also, sensor over heating is a concern.

For me its coming down to being able to mix well with dslr, lets face it they have their place and with L glass they are great for some things. Also media, I have many 32gb cf cards. Then Finally customer service, I have been a CPS member for some time and get excellent customer service and quick turn around.

If I could go back, would probably still own both me EX1r's but I thought DSLR was the ticket, as long as I had enough bodies. I have come to realize the dslr is another tool, not the only one.
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