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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 23rd, 2011, 02:09 PM   #31
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

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Originally Posted by Mark Koha View Post
Was that all on a 7d?
I think there may be a couple of shots that were from the XF in that video. Can't remember.

This video, was also done with a 7d and the XF. The first and last scene are XF, all the sliding shots and some of the stationary shots are with the 7d. Engine shot and the panning through window are from the XF. I used the Kessler pocket dolly for the sliding shots.

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Originally Posted by Jonathan Shaw View Post
That surprises me, the XF must be so much nicer to colour grade though? Did you mainly use your A1 in 50i or 25p
50i on the A1. Now I shoot predominately 50p or 25p.

I think the issue I have with the A1 and XF may be unique to me. On the A1, footage comes out very similar to what I see on the cameras LCD. The majority of footage I do end up uploading to youtube, I don't do any post correction.

With the XF however, I can never get it right. On the LCD the picture looks great, but when viewed later, it comes out slightly over exposed. Which means I always need to do post correction. Tried the wave form monitor and also calibrated the LCD screen, but the problem still exists. Not as bad as when I first got it though.



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Originally Posted by Josh Dahlberg View Post
Interesting Syeed, just shows how personal/subjective our preferences are :-)
To be honest, I'm far from being an expert.

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Originally Posted by Mark Koha View Post
I really like the look of the videos these guys make: wagenwerks's videos on Vimeo
Ultimately, that is what I would like my stuff to look like.
How did he do those moving shots!!!
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Old August 23rd, 2011, 02:23 PM   #32
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Slightly Overexposed XF300 footage?

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Originally Posted by Syeed Ali View Post

With the XF however, I can never get it right. On the LCD the picture looks great, but when viewed later, it comes out slightly over exposed. Which means I always need to do post correction. Tried the wave form monitor and also calibrated the LCD screen, but the problem still exists. Not as bad as when I first got it though.
Ok, I thought it was just me - but I'm finding things slightly overexposed as well. It looks just great on the screen, but in Premiere Pro 5.5, It looks QUITE a bit washed out. I shoot way too much on full auto, so I thought that was some of the problem (I'm sure it is), but I've seen this as well.

Anyone else? What are you doing to compensate? I'm giving up shooting on Auto unless I have no choice, but what else? I wonder if I have something set wrong somewhere... I'm using either mojo settings from the Vimeo board, or the outdoor settings from the Vortex Media video.

Larry
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Old August 24th, 2011, 12:20 PM   #33
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

I have mine on full manual and PP5.5 and I still get the washed out look.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 04:36 AM   #34
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Re: Slightly Overexposed XF300 footage?

Hi Larry,

I love the XF but I also grade practically everything I shoot. I must admit, if I'm not grading footage at all, then I do prefer the look of the DSLRs. I just shot some interviews with the 5DII yesterday and they look good straight out of the camera. With the XF, I almost always do a round of Magic Bullet Colorista II using scopes to get the highs/lows where I want them.

It's critical not to overexpose with the XF. If you are using auto, you can set the exposure compensation to a negative value, erring on the side of caution.

When shooting people, set the zebras to around 65% with the +/- 5% threshold. Then expose so the zebras appear only on the highlights of the face (nose, cheekbone facing the principal light source). You can't go wrong if you do this, perfect skin exposure every time.

When shooting objects, use the built-in scopes (making sure your whites just touch 100 and your black just touch 0), or set your second set of zebras at 95% so only the pure whites zebra.

In other words, rely on your scopes/zebras for exposure and you'll do very well. The screen is next to useless.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 05:41 AM   #35
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

Profiling your monitor will help to display accurate colours
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Old August 29th, 2011, 07:25 PM   #36
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Monitor profiling and Colorista II

Hi Vincent,

Sorry for the delayed response - busy weekend... My monitor is profiled - I've been shooting DSLR photography for a while now, and was profiling my monitor before anyone else I knew. I do my own photo printing and learned over a decade ago that if the monitor is out of whack, nothing will look right.

I use a Colormunki, but sometimes I use a real monkey... whichever gives the best results... hahahaha ha. So sorry...

What do you use to profile your monitor?

Josh - I've been thinking about Colorista II. I have their free QuickLooks Limited that came as a registration bonus with the latest Adobe upgrade - and that's actually pretty cool. Colorista II looks pretty sweet.

I have to admit that I just did another shoot last week while I was running sound and setup for a group at church, and I didn't have time to run the XF300 on manual - there was a LOT happening with changing lighting and locations in the church. Auto seemed the smart thing to do, anyway. But it came out better than the last time I did it - all settings the same (for auto). Confusing, but I'll keep shooting and get it down.

Larry
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Old August 30th, 2011, 02:24 AM   #37
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

The Color Munki should produce good results, no problem there (I use the Spyder and a iOne amongst others). I also use a JVC CRT studio monitor for colour correction work, this is not profiled with a spyder but I use the SMPTE colour bars to set up the display. You can add the bars to a timeline and set up your LCD screen prior to working on a project. Premiere will generate them for you or use the ones generated by the XF camera. Spend some time setting up your video colours using the bars and you should see a difference.

I also have the Canon XF305 and it does produce a brighter image than my Sony EX3
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Old August 30th, 2011, 06:36 AM   #38
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Re: Slightly Overexposed XF300 footage?

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Originally Posted by Josh Dahlberg View Post
When shooting people, set the zebras to around 65% with the +/- 5% threshold. Then expose so the zebras appear only on the highlights of the face (nose, cheekbone facing the principal light source). You can't go wrong if you do this, perfect skin exposure every time. .
Really? You're saying that 65% is going to give you perfect exposure on an albino, a black person, a latino, and everyone in between? That is impossible. I would never use zebras to judge exposure on skin tone because I cannot know the reflectance value of the person's skin. 65% might be perfect on a white guy, but totally wrong on an Asian. If you use zebras on skin tone, you're just guessing. Well, I can guess too, without even using zebras! Only bright white and a calibrated 18% gray card are reliable indicators of exposure when using zebras -- because you already know what the reflectance value is of those targets. Using zebras in any other way is really just taking an educated guess. I believe that anyone who says they use "_____% zebras" for skin tones is really just fooling themselves into thinking they are using zebras. What they are actually doing is guessing, based on how the picture looks, and zebras aren't really telling them anything important.

If you want to get perfectly exposed images every time, and never have to grade in post, you can't use histograms, you can't use the built-in waveform monitor, you just need to learn to use zebras properly. The camera has excellent, and very accurate zebras, so there's no exuse for getting washed out or over exposed images. And the great thing about zebras is that they are universal. Once you know how to use them proplerly on one camera, you can apply that skill to every professional camera you encounter.

http://www.vortexmedia.com/DVD_XF305.html
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Old August 30th, 2011, 10:10 AM   #39
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

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Originally Posted by Mark Koha View Post
Ahhh, if only I had the money for an Epic. Hell, I would take a RED One if I could afford it.
XF300 is a $7K camcorder, Red Scarlet fixed lens kit priced to be around $6K, it is not an Epic, and it is not a Red1, but in my opinion 2/3" RAW 120fps @3k + HDR - totally worth the money;
when it's out :)
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Old August 30th, 2011, 10:34 AM   #40
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

Doug, can you give us a quick rundown on how you use Zebras? I am probably doing it wrong too.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 03:43 PM   #41
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

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Originally Posted by Buba Kastorski View Post
XF300 is a $7K camcorder, Red Scarlet fixed lens kit priced to be around $6K, it is not an Epic, and it is not a Red1, but in my opinion 2/3" RAW 120fps @3k + HDR - totally worth the money;
when it's out :)
I didnt realize that was going to be the price point on it. Any word on a release date?
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Old August 31st, 2011, 02:01 PM   #42
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

I have the XF100, and found Doug Jensen's Vortex DVD series (on the XF300/5) to be a fantastic help with it. One of the best things about it (and completely unexpected) was that in the training he shows how he set up the adjustments on the lcd screen. I did those exact settings and find it to be VERY close for my (admittedly non-pro) use. I have found that I can rely on the viewfinder for color, exposure, etc. and it really is very close to WYSIWYG once imported into FCP.

It wouldn't be appropriate for me to post those settings, but just wanted to make the point that it was definitely possible to tweak the lcd to a usable state.
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Old August 31st, 2011, 05:56 PM   #43
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

David - thanks for the suggestion! I watched Doug Jensen's Vortex Media training videos on the XF 300/305 a month or so when I got the XF300, and looked at my settings, but didn't do much other than to try to calibrate them to what I saw -live- probably not a good idea. I compared my settings to what I saw on the training video today (btw, disk 1 at about 51:25) and I was WAY off... especially on brightness, which is probably the most critical element... at least from the issues that I was having.

I'll give his settings a try as a starting point and see how it goes. I have an interview to shoot this weekend. I MAY even shoot on manual (GASP! I KNOW!). This is funny and embarassing. I shoot manual FLASH on my Canon 1DIII and 5DII all the time... Some of you experienced camera operators must just be cringing when you read these posts. Thanks for a place to learn, though!

Larry
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Old August 31st, 2011, 07:01 PM   #44
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

Glad to be of help. For what it's worth, I'm pretty much just a hobbyist myself, but with the XF I'm loving the Gain button for controlling exposure - sort of semi-manual exposure I guess. I've set the 4 Gain button options to 0db, 4.5db, 9db and of course the fourth is Auto, but I have it limited to 15db max. I just look at the scene and bump the Gain to the lowest setting that looks like a decent compromise between highlights and shadows, letting the iris self-adjust (indoors it usually is between 1.8 and 4.0, and in bright sun I change those Gain button settings to lower ones). I find the XF has so much shadow lattitude that I can usually just make sure the important highlights aren't blown and things turn out well. I do need to add zebras to this approach probably to make it more objective and less seat-of-the-pants.

One thing from Doug's DVD set that I'm NOT using is his custom picture file. I don't know if it just doesn't work as well on the XF100, or if I just have amateur tastes, but it's just not, well, punchy enough for me. I use CPs with more vivid color, higher sharpness, and deeper shadows.

I just retired and got the XF100 as a present to myself, and am really loving it, especially once I trashed all the factory settings :-)
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Old August 31st, 2011, 09:00 PM   #45
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Re: XF300 vs. 7d

Hi David and Larry,

I'm pleased to hear that my DVD has been a help to you both, but just to make everything perfectly clear, I hope that I didn't give you the impression that you should set up the LCD so that you can then use it to judge exposure, white balance, picture quality, contrast, color, or anything else except focus. I would never recommend that anyone ever use the LCD to judge any of those things (except focus). Setting up the LCD so it looks better just gives me a nicer picture to look at during the shoot, but I would NEVER judge what I see on it to make any critical decision about exposure. That is what the zebras are for. I recommend that you go back to the DVD and review what I say about zebras in the exposure chapter. You'll find the information you need there to better understand zebras, and now that you've been using your camera for awhile longer, it might make more sense now. There is a lot to learn about these cameras and it sometimes takes awhile for it all to sink in.

David, I don't know if my recommended profile settings for the XF305/300 translate very well to the XF100 or not because I have never tried them on that camera. But the important thing is that you gave them a try and then came to your own conclusions about whether or not they worked for you. GREAT! That is exactly the right thing to do -- even if you had a XF305/300. Never take anyone elses' profile settings as gospel. Profile settings are mostly just personal preferences and there are no right or wrong settings. If you have created settings that you like better, by all means, use them!

Exposure is different, though. There are definite right and wrong exposure settings, and the easiest way you can get it consistently right is by mastering the use of zebras.
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