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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 September 30th, 2011, 11:10 AM   #1
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Images are very soft when shooting wide over distances

Hi guys,

I have the XF 100, LOVE the camcorder, best small sized "pro" camcorder out there in my opinion.

However, I am met with a problem, and I am not experienced enough to know why it does that.

Basically whenever I shoot with the lens at its widest when shooting outside in good light, the images are always soft, and almost out of focus. The aperture is closed down to around f9-f16 in very good light, usually a scenery with subjects far away. When I zoom in a an object, say a child, it is very sharp, I am talking about my Nikon D700 with a 2.8 lens sharp.

For the wide shots with scenery in the distance, I always auto focus, no manual focus.

Do any of you guys have suggestions?

All comments are appreciated! Thank you.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 11:50 AM   #2
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Re: Images are very soft when shooting wide over distances

Sam, keep the aperture at f8 or wider. See the note in the manual at the bottom of page 58. Set the iris limit at f8 with the custom function; see page 107. At smaller apertures the lens has diffraction blur. Chuck
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Old September 30th, 2011, 12:14 PM   #3
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Re: Images are very soft when shooting wide over distances

Make sure you switch your ND filter on keep your aperture around F5.6, if that doesn't look much sharper then you might have back focus problem on the camera.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 01:29 PM   #4
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Re: Images are very soft when shooting wide over distances

If your lens is sharp when you focus at the tele position and goes soft as you zoom out (at any aperture), then you likely have a back focus problem. Canon should repair or replace it under warranty. The best way to check this is to put the camera on a tripod, open the aperture to around f/2.8, zoom in and carefully focus on a chart or other detailed object manually. Then zoom out to the wide position and see if the focus goes soft.
Hope this helps.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 08:48 PM   #5
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Re: Images are very soft when shooting wide over distances

Thanks guys for the input, amazingly insightful!

The reason why the images are so soft when shooting outside is definitely because I usually set the aperture to f11-f15.

I just tried f8 and f15 point the camcorder outside my window at buildings, and the f8 is definitely sharper. I can live with that. Since the xf 100 doesn't really have a ND filter, what do you guys do when it is really sunny out and want to shoot at a wider aperture, say f5-f9? Screw on ND filter? Fast shutter speed?

Thank you guys again!
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Old October 1st, 2011, 02:21 AM   #6
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Re: Images are very soft when shooting wide over distances

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Young View Post
The reason why the images are so soft when shooting outside is definitely because I usually set the aperture to f11-f15.

I just tried f8 and f15 point the camcorder outside my window at buildings, and the f8 is definitely sharper. I can live with that. Since the xf 100 doesn't really have a ND filter, what do you guys do when it is really sunny out and want to shoot at a wider aperture, say f5-f9? Screw on ND filter? Fast shutter speed?
There are two ways; either set the "ND Filter" to automatic, or use a screw in filter. As you note the XF-100 doesn't have a real ND filter; the automatic ND filter mode seems to drop the gain way down to simulate an ND filter. In practice this works pretty well and I use this most of the time. When I want full control on bright days I use a 0.9 ND screw in filter and set the gain to -6.0 dB - the aperture controls perfectly with this setup.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 09:14 AM   #7
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Re: Images are very soft when shooting wide over distances

If you think of it in terms of a still camera. On a 35mm film camera f/16 is about as small as you want to go before diffraction effects become truly objectionable, and f/8 is typically the sweet spot. The CCD/MOS sensor is about 1/7 the size, thus you one might expect the diffraction effects to happen about 2 to 3 stops earlier, at around f/8 with the sweet spot at perhaps.f/4.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 10:21 AM   #8
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Re: Images are very soft when shooting wide over distances

Again guys, thank you all for the insightful comments, I completely understand now.

For some reason, I have the ND filter set to off since the day I bought it, needless to say, it is set to on. And I will bring a screw on ND filter with me just in case.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me!
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Old October 1st, 2011, 11:20 AM   #9
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Re: Images are very soft when shooting wide over distances

Also, any Custom Picture file that uses Cine2 gamma really helps soak up the light.

I want to get a screw-on ND though. Those that have these, do you find .9 more useful than .6? I assume multicoated is recommended.

B+W OK?
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Old October 4th, 2011, 02:19 AM   #10
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Re: Images are very soft when shooting wide over distances

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Originally Posted by Charles W. Hull View Post
As you note the XF-100 doesn't have a real ND filter; the automatic ND filter mode seems to drop the gain way down to simulate an ND filter.
No, it does have an ND just like most consumer cameras. The ND is different than in XF300, it automatically inserts itself slowly into place when the fstop reaches f4. It keeps it there until the ND is fully in place, after which it will start closing the iris. You can see this is you look into the lens in bright light when the camera starts using the ND.
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