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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 25th, 2011, 02:13 PM   #1
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Taken the Plunge

I have taken the plunge and swapped my XLH1A for the XF300 - should get it next week.

I will miss a few things about the XL such as being shoulder mounted but also some other handy features that are accessible direct without going through the menu's. Even with the 13 assignable buttons there are some features that do not appear to be programmable which is a pity.

XLH1A things I will miss:

1 - Shoulder mount
2 - Dual Zoom controls available at the same time (Rocker and Zoom Ring)
3 - Being able to switch attenuator on quickly
4 - Not having the access to audio controls on the left so that they are always in view.
5 - Kelvin switch - I will have to play around with this when I get it but being a separate position on the wheel allowed me quick access without going into the menu.
6 - Exposure Lock button - a feature that I have not come across in the manual yet, I found this feature indispensable when running around and filming events with huge windows. I will have to rely on manual exposure more (not a bad thing)
7 - Not having the AE rotary switch

XF300 things I look forward to using:

1 - A decent size LCD
2 - Coloured peaking
3 - Solid State media (hopefully) and quicker download to my editing system.
4 - A fantastic quality picture (from what I have seen)
5 - A 3rd ND onboard filter
6 - Oh - more on 3 above, having 160 minutes continuous filming with 2 x 32GB cards (ideal for events)
7 - Having a rear tally lamp on the Camera

Just a few of my thoughts so far
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Old October 25th, 2011, 04:21 PM   #2
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Re: Taken the Plunge

Hi Allan,

Congrats on your new XF300! I think you'll find the XF a really, really good camera :)

I'm coming from the XL2 when I made the switch, and the first great thing I noticed was the tapeless workflow. Wow. It's like night and day. No more miniDV tapes. (Just the paranoia of losing archived file footage in hard drives! So I have multiple backups :)

I love the the super sharp LCD screen. I played around with a Panny HPX170, and a Sony EX1R, and ultimately chose the XF300. What sold me was the LCD screen, the ability to auto focus, and the use of CF cards.

I also bought Doug Jensen's XF cam tutorial, and find it a great resource:
Mastering the Canon XF305/300 Camcorders training DVD

Best,
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Old October 26th, 2011, 01:10 AM   #3
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Re: Taken the Plunge

What you might find difficult is getting use to the screen rather than the eyepiece on your XL. IMO, I think this will be your main and fundamental change in terms of usage. This being so, dependence on the screen in bright enviros, outside, are going to be challenging. Robin, here, has purchased the Hoodman kit for the screen. Maybe you should consider that too, I know I am!

As to shooting times, those rates you've given are for the highest reso, 1920x1080i, I've now found my regular, workflow sweet spot of 1440x1080i 25mb/s, gives me masses of recording time. Yes, that means 4:2:0 colour space but it is still masses of grading options. And I still have 1920 available when I want it.

You won't like the file download process, compared to that you've got with XL. IMO it is an archaic and silly process - but it is fast! I still don't see a way to name clips? Also, it's files, so reviewing on site is a cinch and, from what I've discovered, compared to TAPE, bullet proof.

Oh yeah, the silly mains switch..... but I've learnt.

Please explain your comment on the audio monitoring? I've confused myself?
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Old October 26th, 2011, 01:16 AM   #4
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Re: Taken the Plunge

Congrats! Love my 300 and can't say enough about the pictures the thing makes. Would recommend collecting some of the CP files that have been posted and try them out. I'm blending parts from a few and am even more thrilled with the images than the factory settings which are pretty darn good.

As for working with the files, FCP works flawlessly and super fast. Can't imagine an easier way to deal with a file based camera. Premier works well too but has a few quirks. I ditched tape years ago and have never looked back! Embrace it...it works!
Happy shooting!
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Old October 26th, 2011, 05:59 PM   #5
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Re: Taken the Plunge

Hi Alan,
Congratulations & welcome. I've had mine for about 4 weeks, love it and am grateful for the help I've received here.

Item 5 Kelvin switch.
Press the WB button and turn the wheel, really fast. Had to do that in the field today. Some idiot (me) must have changed or bumped something accidentally, giving a blue look to the trees.

Received the Hoodman LCD cover today & look forward to using it in the sun, I've been using the viewfinder which has worked out OK for tracking wildlife. Just a little paranoid about getting sun in though. The plastic cover helps a lot.

Regards,
Doug.
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Old October 26th, 2011, 07:54 PM   #6
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Re: Taken the Plunge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Turchick View Post
As for working with the files, FCP works flawlessly and super fast. Can't imagine an easier way to deal with a file based camera. Premier works well too but has a few quirks.
What quirks does Premier Pro 5.5 have? It seems to work really well to me - no converting - just point the program to the directory with the files and drag them in - no muss, no fuss. Am I missing something?

I wanted to ask about CP files - I've had a little grief here I think. I've used one from the Doug Jensen's tutorial video, and the colors seem dark - especially indoors. I used it on an interview, with a warm card (the lightest one) for white balance, and the person came out a bit on the orange side. I shot it at an outdoor event and it all looked much too dark/funky. Skin tones were off. User error, I'm sure. Colorista II to the rescue, but I'd rather get it as close to right in camera. Auto white balance doesn't seem to cut it.

What CP files are you having success with?

Thanks,

Larry
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Old October 26th, 2011, 11:53 PM   #7
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Re: Taken the Plunge

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Originally Posted by Doug Bailey View Post

Item 5 Kelvin switch.
Press the WB button and turn the wheel, really fast. Had to do that in the field today. Some idiot (me) must have changed or bumped something accidentally, giving a blue look to the trees.
Ditto on the Kelvin function of the XF300. You won't miss the other camera in this regard. Real easy -- real fast. Just set the menu (one time) to kelvin temperature option, and then you can use the small wheel to quickly scroll through the temperatures by 100's of degrees.
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Old October 27th, 2011, 02:20 AM   #8
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Re: Taken the Plunge

Dial-in White Balance? Pure genius!

Grazie
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Old October 27th, 2011, 03:42 AM   #9
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Re: Taken the Plunge

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Originally Posted by Larry Becker View Post
What quirks does Premier Pro 5.5 have? It seems to work really well to me - no converting - just point the program to the directory with the files and drag them in - no muss, no fuss. Am I missing something?
Unless I have missed something in Premiere Pro it is necessary to drill down one by one into each directory that has the actual .MXF files. FCP 7 does a much nicer job with Log & Transfer as you can just point it at the card or backup disk image of the card & then review the clips, set in & out points etc.

Last edited by Nigel Barker; October 27th, 2011 at 04:41 AM.
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Old October 27th, 2011, 08:09 AM   #10
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Re: Taken the Plunge

That's what I was referring to. With a large amount of clips it becomes a bit cumbersome though what I do is tell the Mac OS to search within the content folder for .mxf files and the results I can drag into PP.

I just like the way FCP handles it with the features you mention.
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Old October 27th, 2011, 08:16 AM   #11
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Re: Taken the Plunge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Becker View Post
I wanted to ask about CP files - I've had a little grief here I think. I've used one from the Doug Jensen's tutorial video, and the colors seem dark - especially indoors. I used it on an interview, with a warm card (the lightest one) for white balance, and the person came out a bit on the orange side. I shot it at an outdoor event and it all looked much too dark/funky. Skin tones were off. User error, I'm sure. Colorista II to the rescue, but I'd rather get it as close to right in camera. Auto white balance doesn't seem to cut it.

What CP files are you having success with?

Thanks,

Larry
I too started with Dougs file but did some testing and tweaked it a bit. I used some of the numbers from Alan Roberts BBC report and then started using my eye to come up with a couple of CPs that work in the situations I run into most often. And every once in a while I find myself changing a parameter or two while setting up for a shoot.
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Old October 27th, 2011, 10:26 AM   #12
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Re: Taken the Plunge

Thanks for the replies guy's! Roll on next week.

Grazie,

Thanks for the heads up about the bit rates, that will come in handy while I build up my CF arsenal. I cannot afford a mobile backup system like the Next to or the other one so will have to be careful with recordings for the moment. As for the download process I will have to check it out before I go out on a paying shoot, hence the reason I have done it now when there is a lull.

I would be interested to hear how FCP/Mac users download (backup) CF cards before editing for real. I read that some folk do not like the XF utility even to say not to install.....

The power switch does not worry me as I got it right 1st time when I checked out the XF300 at ProVideo the other week. Must admit it is not ideal though.

Regarding the audio, I assume you are talking about your post on another thread - give me a buzz.

Robert,

I will be experimenting with the Custom Picture settings once I get the camera, I will try and find those presets too. Really nice that you can save 9 CP's on the camcorder itself and up to 20 on the SD card - will my brain be able to remember what one is what though ;)

Doug,

I watched the Canon tutorial online and so glad that the Kelvin function is still easily accessible, thanks for confirming.

Grazie, "Dial-in White Balance? Pure genius!"

You had the XM2 too long and therefore have missed such a feature - no wonder you said that ;)

Thanks again everyone for the comments
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Old October 27th, 2011, 10:42 AM   #13
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Re: Taken the Plunge

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
Unless I have missed something in Premiere Pro it is necessary to drill down one by one into each directory that has the actual .MXF files. FCP 7 does a much nicer job with Log & Transfer as you can just point it at the card or backup disk image of the card & then review the clips, set in & out points etc.
If you use the Canon Utility to make a Virtual Media Folder on your hard disk, you just point Premiere Pro to that. I don't work directly off the cards. It's exactly the same amount of work to, in Windows, make a folder and copy the files over from the card- except with the Canon Utility, you know you have all the right files and it's done visually - just drag the clips over. There's no conversion, no muss or fuss... and Premiere 5.5 works natively with all the files. I'm not sure it could be more simple.

In FCP, don't you have to convert the files to something else? And is the FCP X issue solved yet with MXF files?

CP files remain a mystery to me. I REALLY like what Doug Jensen's footage looks like on his video and on clips he's posted - but I'm not seeing that off of my camera without some serious post work. Especially with skin tones. Wow - all over the map. I'm trying one CP I found on the Vimeo forum - "Mojo" - but that has some issues as well. I GUESS I'll have to experiment on my own - and maybe actually learn something about shooting video rather than relying on a formula or setting of someone else (hangs head in shame). I'd forgotten about the BBC CP settings. I'll revisit those as a starting point.

This reminds me of early days with SLR photography. Lots of fiddling to get what I wanted - now, not so much - 20 seconds with most shots, almost all of it in the raw converter in Photoshop. Maybe that's the issue - the footage off of the 300/305 isn't raw. But if a 21mp shot from my 5DII opens up in Photoshop as a 16 bit120.3 mb (!) file, I don't want to think about what kind of space raw video would take! Anyone else remember having computers with hard drives that had 20 mb? Then 40, then 80mb, and that was "all the space we'd ever need"? Wow, and now one phot would more than fill them up. TImes have changed...

Larry
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Old October 27th, 2011, 10:45 AM   #14
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Re: Taken the Plunge

Regarding FCP, you don't have to convert the files but I do since i deal with other cameras like the dslrs and POV cams. Just easier making all the files pro res. I am still using fcp7 since its not broken! I came from a Panny HMC150 so I was pretty used to dealing with a file based camera. I dont use the XF utility. My workflow is this:
After shoot go to edit computer and create a folder for the client with the date. I then copy the "contents" folder from the card to the folder I just created. If there's multiple cards, I create subfolders within the client/date folder and number them. The "Contents" folders from each card get copied to the numbered folders. (I have a Nexto so for multiple card shoots they all go there and it creates those numbered folders for me) Eject the card.
I then L&t in FCP (pro res codec) from the hard drive and begin editing. Once project is completed I dump the pro res files and archive to my raid storage.

Two additional things...
Most of my clients get a backup of the card right after the shoot. If they don't, I put the files on my raid backup for safety.

The big thing that bypassing the XF utility does is lose the metadata. Personally I don't care about that feature and I dont use the take marking features of the camera either. I just roll and make notes on my script or just deal with it in the edit.
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Old October 27th, 2011, 11:29 AM   #15
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Re: Taken the Plunge

Using PP 5.5, I find the clips needed by using the Sony Viewer & write the numbers down. Then pull those clips into PP. Fast & easy so far. Deleted the Canon Utility from my HD... bye.

Regards,
Doug.
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