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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 August 1st, 2011, 10:38 PM   #1
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XF105 and ND Filter

i am the proud owner of a XF305, and the 105 will appear to be a fantastic camera to shoot B-rolls or to accompany this big brother. I shoot mainly events and things that are dynamic. Loaned a unit of XF105 to play around, I fell in love with the size, and the relative quality of the footage produced (slightly softer, but nothing I cannot accept when adequately litted).

The only short-coming is the ND filter. Might it be feasible to allow ND filter to be implemented as a customizable button? Much as the white balance and gain and other functions on this small camera uses toggle mode to switch between the various settings, i don't see why the "software ND" cannot be implemented as an option on the many customizable buttons that this camera offers.

It sounds to me as a viable solution without changing the hardware. Hope Canon USA and Japan is hearing this. Any other suggestion other guys have?


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MS
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 05:19 AM   #2
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Re: XF105 and ND Filter

Ming,

Absolutely, 100% agree with you. I just bought the XF100 as a expedition camera and the ND was driving me nuts. I though I was operating it wrong until I realised it was actually design flaw.

I'm sure a firmware update could allow selection of Off, Automatic or toggle, where an assignable button toggled through the ND settings, allowing true manual control of the exposure.

I hope Canon read this!
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 09:25 AM   #3
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Re: XF105 and ND Filter

Actually the camera does NOT have a ND filter.
What Canon calls ND filter is just a negative Gain that will kick in automatically when the aperture is reaching f4. At that point, when you turn the dial further to reduce the brightness of the image, firstly an increasingly negative gain is applied. When that process has come to an end and the dial is still turned further, the aperture is finally closing down beyond f4. Strange behaviour, indeed. I guess the idea is to keep image quality as high as possible (small apertures may cause blurred images).

What I don't like is the somewhat erratic behaviour of the aperture control dial. I found out that when you turn the dial slowly the aperture/gain will directly follow your movements. However, if you turn the dial very rapidly it is completely ignored and nothing happens at all.
This should easily be fixable by a firmware update and hopefully Canon will react soon.
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Old August 3rd, 2011, 07:42 AM   #4
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Re: XF105 and ND Filter

Yes it has an ND filter. No you cannot apply THAT much negative gain. Cameras usually have -3db.
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Old August 3rd, 2011, 08:04 AM   #5
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Re: XF105 and ND Filter

Yes, most cameras do not have a negative gain lower than -3 dB. But not so the XF100.
A ND-filter is an optical element with a gray coating to reduce the amount of light in the light path. This works purely "digital": Either it is switched into the light path or not.
However the XF100 behaves differently and you can see this when slowly turning the aperture dial. The brightness of the image is reduced gradually as you turn the dial. There is no sudden darkening as would be associated with an optical ND filter kicking in. Also missing is the typical "click" sound that goes with the mechanical movement of a filter.
In short: The XF100/105 does not have a ND filter.
I don't think this is too bad because the negative gain does a pretty good job. In all my recent test shootings in very bright light I really didn't miss the ND filter.

<added later:>
See here in slashcam's camcorder database: http://camcorder-test.slashcam.com/c...023f4651c.html
"Cons: - No ND filter.
Conclusion: The XF100/105 is a compact workhorse that plays off its strength in the less scenic environment, because in the documentation and news section.Here the camera concept has always amazing round.The lack of ND filters and the 1/3-Zoll-Chip are our main points of criticism, this is a slightly more difficult to use, but is partly due to the compact form factor."

I have been using the XM2/GL2 (with ND filter) and the Sony HDR-FX1 (with two ND filters) for years. But from what I see coming out of the XF100 I really like Canon's new approach.
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Last edited by Martin Doppelbauer; August 3rd, 2011 at 09:35 AM.
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Old August 3rd, 2011, 09:24 AM   #6
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Re: XF105 and ND Filter

I am going ot test the XF100 soon but I am beginning to think it will be the XF300 for me. The XF-100 sounds like it is a bit too hobbled so to speak for a $3000 camera imho. ND strangeness, ackward bokeh with the lens, iris wheel action and also reports of vingetting when using the ND system and on the tele end of the lens.

I have an HMC-150 for smaller handheld & event shooting and this camera needs to beat the HMC for me to want to sell it. Looking forward to seeing and using these side by side.
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Old August 3rd, 2011, 02:08 PM   #7
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Re: XF105 and ND Filter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
I am going ot test the XF100 soon but I am beginning to think it will be the XF300 for me. The XF-100 sounds like it is a bit too hobbled so to speak for a $3000 camera imho.
A couple of things. For outdoor shooting I usually use an external ND8 filter. This, plus a little negative gain gives a very good range for smoothly adjusting exposure with the aperature.

And the built in "ND filter" actually works better than you might imagine. But like others I really wish it could be manually set.
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Old August 3rd, 2011, 09:02 PM   #8
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Re: XF105 and ND Filter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
The XF-100 sounds like it is a bit too hobbled so to speak for a $3000 camera imho. ND strangeness, ackward bokeh with the lens, iris wheel action and also reports of vingetting when using the ND system and on the tele end of the lens.
The iris wheel acts a bit like a focus-by-wire setup. There are no click stops, as expected. I agree that it could be much better.

Otherwise -- I haven't seen any noticeable vignetting on the picture from this camera. Also, the ND "strangeness" is just that -- it's a bit of an annoyance but it doesn't impede one's ability to produce a fine image, IMHO. I'd think that if you were shooting in rapidly changing light you could always slap on a variable ND filter and get physical feedback for the ND control. If you shoot with the waveform turned on you'd have fast and very fine, accurate control over your exposure.

The XF100 is a small sensor camera and you're not going to get a rich, gradual focus falloff and beautiful bokeh. That said, I haven't found the bokeh to be objectionable myself.

The XF100 is definitely an upgrade to the HMC-150. As for the XF300 -- it's a great camera, but I'd say it's too heavy for any substantial handheld work. Your wrists will be aching using the stock camera after 15 minutes. Add a wireless receiver, a shotgun mic or an LED light, and plug in your headphones -- you'll be looking for a chair and a tripod after 5 minutes.

Just offering a different take here. The XF100 isn't without its quirks and I don't have any personal stake in defending it, but I'd hardly call it hobbled, and it's certainly competitive if not better than anything else in its price range.
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Old August 8th, 2011, 02:08 AM   #9
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Re: XF105 and ND Filter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Doppelbauer View Post
However the XF100 behaves differently and you can see this when slowly turning the aperture dial. The brightness of the image is reduced gradually as you turn the dial. There is no sudden darkening as would be associated with an optical ND filter kicking in.
My old Sony HC1 has this too. It just moves the ND filters slowly into place when at F4, there is no negative gain. You cannot physically do that much negative gain on any sensor. The ND filters on consumer cameras move slowly into place, there is no clicking sound. The XF100 apparently does exactly the same.

Do you mean the first ever HDV camera from years back has an unbelievable amount of negative gain? No. Take a look into the lens when you drop to F4 and beyond. You may see the movement of the ND. Those reviews that suggest that there is no ND are just wrong. There is a bunch of ND's (not a wheel though) that move into place when at F4. It is not a mechanical ND that clicks. It kicks in at F4.0 and once it reaches ND1/8 then you can ramp up aperture up to F8.0.

They even advertise the camera with the gradation type ND filter:
Canon XF100 HD Professional Camcorder 4888B001 B&H Photo Video

"For enhanced versatility, the XF100 offers a built-in gradation type neutral density (ND) filter (approximately 1/8), as well as an eight-blade metal aperture iris. "
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Old August 24th, 2011, 02:46 PM   #10
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Re: XF105 and ND Filter

My old Sony PDX10 does the same thing. Here's Boyd Ostroff explaining how it works:

"Yes, the PDX-10 has multiple built-in ND filters although Sony has never documented them. They drop in whenever they feel like it, even in full manual mode. I was shooting under bright conditions the other day in manual, and as I turned the wheel to reduce exposure you could actually notice the ND drop. Try shining a flashlight into the lens and look carefully as you turn the exposure wheel, you should see them.

The camera forces you to hold the iris opening within a narrow range around its "sweet spot." So no matter how much you turn the wheel you will never close the iris much farther than (maybe) F5.6. Instead, the camera inserts an ND filter."

ND Filter for my PDX10

If the iris closing past f4 reduces clarity and resolution, I don't have any problem with the camera attempting to stay in its "sweet spot" for as long as possible. I'm honestly not sure why anyone does. It produces the same effect of stopping down - just without increasing the DOF slightly (which is already going to be really large on this camera anyway).

So if that's what the lens needs to stay clear and detailed, an automatic ND seems like the best solution to the problem.
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