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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 October 14th, 2011, 09:01 AM   #1
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Zoom Control for XF300

Hello all,
New XF user here. I'd appreciate any thoughts on zooming please.

I've tried both rockers set to very slow, manual zooming in and out and not happy with the smoothness from needing to touch the camera.

The zoom controller that comes with the camera seems like I need three hands, and need to point the controller from the front of the camera while I'm shooting. Or do I misunderstand this?

Do I need to get a LANC controller to get pro level smooth zooms? What are you using?

Thanks for your input.

Regards,
Doug.
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Old October 14th, 2011, 09:11 AM   #2
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

I tried the Varizoom Lanc and for some reason it would drift and not put the camera in record....intermittently!

Bought the Canon one (ZR1000) and it works great though the cable is too short for some applications. Have an extender cable to fix that.
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Old October 14th, 2011, 10:21 AM   #3
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

Doug,

I have been very pleased with the servo motor on this cameras as it was a concern for me purchasing a 1/3" camera. Canon did a great job with this lens.

I think the $89 Libec controller from B&H is great. This is with me comparing to a pro 2/3" Canon zoom controller. Soft starts and landings are easy to achieve with the zoom speed on fast.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 04:07 AM   #4
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

I have a Manfrotto 521 Lanc controller that I purchased for the XL1s, it also works very well on both the XHA1 and XF305.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 08:38 AM   #5
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

Just an FYI... this professional dynamically variable speed Varizoom LANC controller with standby and focus buttons is still for sale:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/private-...ontroller.html
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Old October 15th, 2011, 08:49 AM   #6
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

I use the LIBEC controller. Two of my Varizooms never lasted and broke in the past.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 09:12 AM   #7
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

I have the Manfrotto 523PROI LANC remote.
It's a fantastic device with my XF300. This model is in the style of a 'broadcast TV camera' remote ie mounted on a tripod pan bar. The supplied 'handle' fitted my Vinten 3AS tripod by just prising the original pan bar out of its mounting spigot and sliding the Manfrotto in. However I also have purchased an accessory pan bar (the 522PB16) that is one of the range of different fittings offered. This fits my Miller DS20 tripod perfectly.
The 523PROI has the thumb control of zoom (3 speeds) and that can be switched to do focus if required. It also has buttons for record, standby mode and for 'review last clip'. As I say a wonderful unit with the XF300 that allows you to operate the tripod mouunted camera whilst 'following the action'.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 11:07 AM   #8
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

Sincere thanks for the great replies, this is very educational.

I was concerned that it was me not understanding how to use the zoom remote that comes with the camera. I'll buy a LANC controller as I'm missing some nice video by not being able to zoom smoothly.

Just spent a few hours in a local park shooting deer, and this would have improved the images to get more of the environment as I zoomed out.

Thanks again to everyone & any additional input is greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Doug.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 11:59 AM   #9
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

Doug-
Lots of LANC controllers out there that work quite well.....but I've have found out over the years that the Canon controllers work 100% of the time and have the best "touch" when it comes to the zoom.

Jim Martin
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Old October 16th, 2011, 08:01 AM   #10
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Bailey View Post
I've tried both rockers set to very slow, manual zooming in and out and not happy with the smoothness from needing to touch the camera.
It sounds like what you really need is a better tripod. Merely touching the camera should not cause unwanted movement. You should be able to execute a very nice smooth zoom just by using the camera's own servo zoom control. The problem with using a LANC controller is that it wil not not eliminate the need for touching the camera, because 90% of all zooming is going to have to be done simultanously with some kind of panning or tilting of the camera. A static zoom that just zooms into the center of the picture, with no other movement, is going to look amateur.

Before you spend money on a LANC controller, try practicing your zooming technique and see if you can get better at it -- or think about getting a better tripod.
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Old October 16th, 2011, 09:40 AM   #11
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

I have developed a good technique with much practice. I place the controller on the higher end of the tripod handle. You will need a very sturdy and pro tripod, not a cheap consumer style tripod. Plus a good fluid head. I have a Monfrotto set-up with a 516 head. Nice and sturdy.

I focus with my left hand while panning/tilting using the handle. With the zoom handle using my thumb of the right hand on the servo, my right palm wrapped around the tripod handle, I can execute pans and tilts smoothly. BUT. It takes practice to also find the proper handle location and develop this technique.

There is nothing worse looking than taking a steady shot and zooming suddenly. A nice slow static shot is good at times-very slow. But, as Doug stated, panning and zooming will be the most common;especially following action sports and moving wildlife.
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Old October 16th, 2011, 01:05 PM   #12
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

Hello all,
Many thanks for your insightful replies, this is very helpful.

Doug is correct in that I'm using a lightweight Manfrotto CarbonOne 440 tripod with a lightweight Libec fluid head. The reason for this is that most of what I've been shooting involves hiking long distances, previously with a 7D & 100-400mm lens, so weight is important. The purpose of this camera is not just wildlife though. I'll go the heavier tripod/fluid head route with a controller & follow Lou's techniques with much practice.

BTW, the wildlife images I'm getting with this camera using Doug's settings are outstanding.

Regards & thanks sharing your experience,
Doug.

Last edited by Doug Bailey; October 16th, 2011 at 01:44 PM.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 05:44 AM   #13
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

Very happy with my Manfrotto 521 Proi which mounts on the pan handle of my Vinten Vision Blue Tripod, which is a fantastic tripod for the XF 300 at a great price.

But the rocker switch on the handgrip gives a beautifully smooth zoom for me, just more convenient to have a pan handle unit.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 09:09 AM   #14
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

Is this the Libec Controller that works on the XF300/100 cameras that has been referenced in this thread? Looks like the $90 price is about to go up by $25.

Libec Zoom Control for DV Cameras ZC-3DV B&H Photo Video
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Old October 24th, 2011, 05:20 PM   #15
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Re: Zoom Control for XF300

As far as I can tell this is the Libec controller. Ordered one today along with the Manfrotto 522SCA remote cable.

Also ordered a Hoodman HR305 Hoodriser (already have the Loupe) for the the 4" LDC screen, plus the HCAM4 Neoprene mounting strap. Been very impressed with Hoodman products so far and this will create the ability to shoulder mount the XF300. I'm sure there will be situations where a tripod is not practical such as in a crowded hall.

Regards,
Doug.
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