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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 July 16th, 2011, 12:21 AM   #1
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The more I use my XF300...

The more I appreciated it, and the less I use the 5DII.

I have to admit, when I purchased an XF300 back in October '10, it was largely for reasons of speed/ease of use vis-a-vis shooting with a DSLR.

At the time I already had a 5DII fully kitted out with 24-70 & 70-200 Ls plus a bunch of primes, vari-ND and an external HD monitor, along with a Sound Devices unit to record audio. And I was happy with the interview/cutaway shots it was producing.

But the fuss of using the 5DII (ergonomics etc), along with the moire & aliasing which from time to time ruins a shot, meant I missed conventional video cameras, and in turn picked up an XF300.

When I first picked up the XF I would carefully consider whether to use the 5DII or XF300 for particular jobs, depending on how much time I had, what the shots entailed, and other constraints.

Now, a good nine months down the track, I rarely touch the 5DII, and I'm considering selling several lenses. Sure the XF300 is more versatile and easier to work with, but it's the image quality I'm getting out of it these days (after getting to know the camera inside out) that continues to impress.

The detail of the XF images (and the wonderful absence of artifacts) pleases every time I get back to the edit bay. It's a camera that really rewards good use of light - employing a Kino and a Dedo in a controlled environment with the XF pays off big time.

I still have a few little gripes about the XF (the main two being my unit loses par focal consistency with NDs engaged, and the annoyance of having to switch between zoom ring and rocker - you can't use both), but overall I'm just delighted with this camera. Canon really put together an excellent package, a massive step up from the HDV cameras.

One other note, I also just purchased an HFG10 for b-roll - it uses the same chip as the XFs, albeit only one. It's a great little camera - images remind me of the XHA1 - but it doesn't touch the XF300 in terms of detail. For videos reduced to 720 for web etc, they'll be fine to mix, but at full resolution it may be a struggle.

In a sense I'm quite happy about this - I remember having mixed feelings when (back in the day) the HV20 was capable of producing a very similar image to the XLH1 for less than 1/5th the price.

Last edited by Josh Dahlberg; July 16th, 2011 at 08:15 AM.
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Old July 16th, 2011, 03:19 AM   #2
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

Y'know, I'm really not so surprised at your joy of using the XF and your comments around Canon getting it right.

I'm upgrading from my well used, nearly 10 years now, XM2, and I have to tell you that knowing my way around that camera and just WHAT it can produce with good lighting - still! - is quite astonishing. But, as you say, one needs to spend plenty of time to understand just where that sweet spot is.

Picking up the XF is just such a close match to the XM2, that for me it's Canon seeing where my upgrade path was going to be. Even down to that dippy switch. BTW, any XM2 user knows all about that, and most likely giggles when reading newcomers obs to that design "feature"!

No, I truly can't wait to get me mitts on it, to see just how much of an easy fit in terms of my Canon-smarts I can transfer over.

My only gripe is that it has taken 5 years for Canon to get to this point. But, as they say, somethings are just worth waiting for.

Grazie
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Old July 16th, 2011, 05:33 AM   #3
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

I jumped on the dslr train with a t2i then upgraded to a 7D which is a fantastic camera all while using a Panny hMC150 as a main. The dslrs blew the 150 away in many respects so they got used a lot even with all the extra accessories and quirks.
The I ran across an opportunity to sell the 150 and knew my next camera would be the xf300.
Probably the best purchase I've ever made in my 22 years of doing this!
I still use the 7D as a broll cam as I have pretty closely matched the profiles between the two but would never consider using a dslr as a main camera again. I am patiently waiting for Canons answer to the fs100 and af100 though!
I do a ton of greenscreen work (enough to build my own studio) and the 300 is simply perfect. The codec and the picture quality make it literally a couple of clicks to get perfect keys with detail that astonishes my clients.
I recently got the chance to use the xf105 and was similarly blown away. The thing is just so darn small! Yet the picture is very similar to the 300...enough that in the situation we were shooting in, you would have a hard time telling the difference.
I am impressed with the entire line of products and can't wait to see what they come up with next.
I will be a loyal user for a long time!
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Old July 16th, 2011, 07:35 AM   #4
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

But no XLH1 successor.
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Old July 16th, 2011, 07:53 AM   #5
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

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Originally Posted by Robert Turchick View Post
I recently got the chance to use the xf105 and was similarly blown away. The thing is just so darn small! Yet the picture is very similar to the 300...enough that in the situation we were shooting in, you would have a hard time telling the difference.
Robert, I'm curious, did you notice a significant difference in sharpness/detail between the two?

I just picked an HFG10, mainly for the odd reverse angle shot and to fly on a blackbird, and while I'm very happy with the images it spits out, they're noticeably softer than the 300. Because the majority of my work ends up on DVD and/or the web @720 max, it's not usually an issue.

The HFG10 has the same single CMOS chip as the XF105, albeit with a different codec and (I presume) inferior lens. I wonder if there's a big difference in IQ between them, or whether I'm seeing the gap between a one chipper and three chipper.

Couldn't agree with you more about green screen work - it's a breeze with the 300. I use DVgarage and it takes 2 seconds for a perfect key.

Ronald - I had an XLH1 and personally haven't missed it at all. I can see why for some speciality work (extreme tele or wide) it would be useful, but for the majority of users the XF300/305 is a worthy successor: it's superior in so many aspects. I think the market would be too small for a sans-lens version, especially when the 300 series lens is sharper and has less CA than the 20x that ships with the H1.

Rather than work on a XF sans-lens, I think Canon will be working on a model along the lines of the FS100... if they can marry the codec, ergonomics, detail, video functionality and morie/artifact free images of the XF300 with the lens options and sensor size of the 7D they'll sell a bundle of cameras.
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Old July 16th, 2011, 01:24 PM   #6
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

I love my xf300...the quality of the image just blows me away. I had been using a hmc150 which I loved to handle, but was never that impressed with the "pany" look. I was really on the fence between the XF and the sony EX3, only because the EX3 had interchangable lenses and I could use it with nikon still lenses for wildlife. But I am glad I got the XF. because the codec and lens quality is amazing. For the shallow DOF look I use a hacked pany GH1
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Old July 16th, 2011, 01:45 PM   #7
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

Josh, there must be enough XLH1 users, and Sony EX3 users for that matter, people who like/need to change lenses to justify an XF with interchangeable lenses.

No argument (from me) that the XF300 has superior image quality to an XLH1. No argument, from anybody I trust, that Canon produce interchangeable lenses, okay 1/2" and 2/3", that are in a different league to their fixed lenses on the XF series. Totally different price and different market fair enough but they have the ability surely to emulate in 1/3".

Large sensor shallow DOF interchangeable lens cams (if Canon produce one) surely just as niche as an XF version of the XLH1

Ron

Last edited by Ronald Jackson; July 16th, 2011 at 03:33 PM. Reason: last sentence contradictory
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Old July 16th, 2011, 02:23 PM   #8
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

@Josh

Didn't notice a real difference in sharpness and I checked on my edit rig as well as my Sony LED TV.

As for "missing the xlh1", I'm sure a replacement is on the way, hopefully an fs100 competitor!
The lens on the 300 is plenty good enough for me.
I have a lot of canon glass for the 7D that is begging for a true video camera that doesn't require an adapter and gives me control over the aperture!!
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Old July 16th, 2011, 07:31 PM   #9
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Jackson View Post
Josh, there must be enough XLH1 users, and Sony EX3 users for that matter, people who like/need to change lenses to justify an XF with interchangeable lenses.
It would be great if it happens Ronald. I just tend to think it would have been announced by now if it were coming and the momentum is probably elsewhere... but I know there are others on this forum who've been wishing for the camera you describe.
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Old July 17th, 2011, 07:13 AM   #10
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

I have both an XF105 & XF305 & see little or no difference in image quality between the two. The XF105 is so neat & small it feels great in the hand. I suspect that if the XF105 had been released first that we would not have bought an XF305 but would have got a second XF105 instead as it does everything that we need. The 18X zoom of the XF305 is really the only practical difference for us.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 04:36 PM   #11
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

Hi Nigel

One question regarding the XF100 and the XF300 - Do you not enjoy shallower depth of field with the 300 ?

I am thinking that is is pretty much the only reason for me to go with the 300...

I am shooting Documentaires and weddings and some corporate marketing videos...

Andy
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Old November 12th, 2012, 06:59 PM   #12
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

No the depth of field is essentially the same. Although they have different form factors and different sensor blocks (1 CMOS vs 3 CMOS), they are both 1/3" cameras.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 08:15 PM   #13
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

I've not been as impressed with the xf105 vs. the 305. I find that the single sensor is not a pure B camera replacement. Close but no cigar. It's just not as sharp as my 305.

On the other hand, I recently bought a 5D Mark iii, and I have to tell you, it solves the problems of both the 5D Mii and the 7D (which I own). Full frame is really a different look than the 7D. Much better bokei. The audio headphones out is just what's needed to tie in with the volume control inputs. I intend to use it for all my interviews in the near term. It's not a Lumix, meaning Canon MOV is different from AVCHD output. But I like the dreamier look than the Lumix GH2. I'm working hard, right now, to see where I use the 305 and where to use the 5D. I assume I will use the 5D on interviews to drop out the background, which I just can't do appropriately with the 305 without a long throw to the subject. I doubt that I will be able to totally match the two, but will keep ya'll posted.

But to the OP comment, yes, the xf300/305 is a superb camera. Your 7D lens problems will be solved with the C100. Plan to sell the 7D. (G).
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Old November 12th, 2012, 11:23 PM   #14
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

to the original poster... I too grow to love it more and more. What I can't understand is how it is such an unknown camera. there are literally only a few serious reviews and only 1 or 2 good message boards / groups to support this baby.

I bet the EX1 replacement with the 50mb codec will be a huge hit - even though the xf300 has been around for YEARS.

Oh well... their loss.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 03:38 AM   #15
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Re: The more I use my XF300...

It's not an unknown camera it has been an enormous commercial success for Canon. They have been bought by the truckload by professional broadcasting organisations because they have the 50Mbps broadcast approved CODEC but also because they have an extremely effective auto-everything mode. This means that they can be used by people who are not professional camera operators so that reporters can shoot solo & still get great results.
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