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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 November 4th, 2011, 10:22 AM   #1
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Thinking about the XF100

Hello,

I am thinking about going with the XF100. I have been using a lower end prosumer JVC camera (GZ-HD7) for the last several years and am ready to upgrade. I posted in that forum and got some good advice from Steve Nunez encouraging me to look at a few options.

My original budget was $2500. I was thinking that the XA10 might be good and certainly falls into that range, but the more I learn it seems like the XF100 is a better fit even though the higher price tag. I can't seem to find any major negative points on it, and it seems to perform better than DSLR's (which don't fit into my sweet spot, especially for run and gun type stuff). I also have a lot invested in Canon on the photography side and have grown to really appreciate the products (would be great if I could use some of my L lenses...).

I thought I would come to this forum to ask what to expect. This is a "new level" of camera for me since it seems to be more of a professional line. With the JVC I learned how to use the manual mode and appreciated it, though I spent most of my time in auto. My biggest gripes with the JVC were the low light performance and poor IS, though the video quality was great as a first generation HD camera. I intend to use this camera for at least 3-4 years so I want my next one to be the right one. Some of the applications:

- indoor event shooting (church events, weddings, daughter's dance), with the desire to burn to blu-ray
- short videos - run and gun, interviews, indoor/outdoor
- video blogging

I am also a Mac user and I know that there is a plug in for Final Cut Pro 7. Another goal I have is to get a camera that works well with FCP and the Mac and this one seems to fit the bill. I was also looking at the JVC HM100 (which natively does .MOV) but it seems to have the same negatives (poor low light) I am dealing with. I know that the XF100 is only a single sensor but based on reviews that doesn't seem to be an issue.

Anyone else in a similar situation to me? Does this seem like a good way to go?? Any surprises or gotchas that I should be aware of? (I saw the batteries are pretty reasonable, the storage cards aren't too expensive.. any other costs I should be concerned about?)

I am also trying to keep the budget down and want to get something that will last. Does anyone know if there is a new model on the way soon that I should wait for? I can't seem to find much on that. I am trying to time my purchase so I can get the best savings, and if a new one is going to be announced I'm sure that would help.

Thanks in advance...
Greg
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Old November 4th, 2011, 10:37 AM   #2
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Re: Thinking about the XF100

Just have a second, but I'm a very happy XF100 user.

FCP7 native support is great. The "MXF" file format is seamlessly (and quickly) converted to .MOV when you use FCP's "Log & Transfer" function. And it works very nicely on your timelines.
The audio section is great.

The camera handles great, and feels like a true pro camera.

Complaints:
Some controls are a little awkward. For example, to change white balance, you can only cycle quickly through a few presets; to get fine grained control, you need to use the menus.
I'd love something to assist in focusing.
The 10X zoom range isn't quite long enough for some of what I do.
Super low light performance isn't great, but I have a couple of Canon DSLRs which I use in those situations
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Old November 4th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #3
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Re: Thinking about the XF100

I actually came from a JVC HM100, and besides dragging and dropping the .mov into FCP, there is in my opinion nothing else comparatively better about it.

I am SOOOOO much happier with the XF100, and I see it as a camcorder I will use for a while.

With the XF plugin, the log and transfer will rewrap the files into .mov, quick and easy, no trans coding. Almost as pain free as the native JVC .mov files.

I did not like any of the controls on the HM100, the zoom rocker was almost unusable, the digital zoom ring was also unpredictable. I actually couldn't do any zooms with the hm100 because I can never get consistent results, plus there was no lanc input even if I had a zoom controller. The iris was hard to set, and was also almost unusable in real life situations, so I set my camcorder to auto. The battery life is terrible, 2 hours max. The picture was great, I would say both cameras are on par with each other, and in my opinion, the xf is a bit better in low light.

What I love about the XF 100:

The zoom rocker zooms like it is supposed to, I can get predictable zooms, just the way I planned. I also love the mini zoom rocker and record button at the top of the handle, I use those quite a bit for the unique angle shots. I love the battery life of the xf 100, I never have to worry about battery life anymore, because with a $36usd battery i bought off amazon, I can expect at least 4-5 hours out of it. With the hm100, I am in a constant worry. I love all the controls, everything is where it should be, and easy to adjust. The LCD screen is big and bright, although the viewfinder is quite small, but not a big deal for me. I prefer the image stabilization on the xf100, I think it is better than JVC, I cant tell you how, but I feel my images look much more stable with the xf100 when handheld. The xf 100 works well with FCP, with the XF plugin, just open log and transfer, and starts converting the mxf files to .mov natively, no need to deal with huge prores files (when you can choose to do, but no need).

Sorry for a mess of a writing, it is way past midnight. But all in all, I am much much much happier with the xf100.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:31 PM   #4
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Re: Thinking about the XF100

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Maller View Post
Just have a second, but I'm a very happy XF100 user.

FCP7 native support is great. The "MXF" file format is seamlessly (and quickly) converted to .MOV when you use FCP's "Log & Transfer" function. And it works very nicely on your timelines.
The audio section is great.

The camera handles great, and feels like a true pro camera.

Complaints:
Some controls are a little awkward. For example, to change white balance, you can only cycle quickly through a few presets; to get fine grained control, you need to use the menus.
I'd love something to assist in focusing.
The 10X zoom range isn't quite long enough for some of what I do.
Super low light performance isn't great, but I have a couple of Canon DSLRs which I use in those situations
Thanks for the feedback Steve! For low light, what kind of lens aperture / shutter speed are you using on the Canon DSLR that performs better?

I took a look at slashcam and the lowest light (12 lumens maybe?) didn't look too bad. My current camcorder is basically pitch black in that light so I know it would be an improvement... but I'm also curious if it is comparable or better with a 7D prime lens (1.4?) and how noisy it would be.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:38 PM   #5
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Re: Thinking about the XF100

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Young View Post
I actually came from a JVC HM100, and besides dragging and dropping the .mov into FCP, there is in my opinion nothing else comparatively better about it.

I am SOOOOO much happier with the XF100, and I see it as a camcorder I will use for a while.

With the XF plugin, the log and transfer will rewrap the files into .mov, quick and easy, no trans coding. Almost as pain free as the native JVC .mov files.

I did not like any of the controls on the HM100, the zoom rocker was almost unusable, the digital zoom ring was also unpredictable. I actually couldn't do any zooms with the hm100 because I can never get consistent results, plus there was no lanc input even if I had a zoom controller. The iris was hard to set, and was also almost unusable in real life situations, so I set my camcorder to auto. The battery life is terrible, 2 hours max. The picture was great, I would say both cameras are on par with each other, and in my opinion, the xf is a bit better in low light.

What I love about the XF 100:

The zoom rocker zooms like it is supposed to, I can get predictable zooms, just the way I planned. I also love the mini zoom rocker and record button at the top of the handle, I use those quite a bit for the unique angle shots. I love the battery life of the xf 100, I never have to worry about battery life anymore, because with a $36usd battery i bought off amazon, I can expect at least 4-5 hours out of it. With the hm100, I am in a constant worry. I love all the controls, everything is where it should be, and easy to adjust. The LCD screen is big and bright, although the viewfinder is quite small, but not a big deal for me. I prefer the image stabilization on the xf100, I think it is better than JVC, I cant tell you how, but I feel my images look much more stable with the xf100 when handheld. The xf 100 works well with FCP, with the XF plugin, just open log and transfer, and starts converting the mxf files to .mov natively, no need to deal with huge prores files (when you can choose to do, but no need).

Sorry for a mess of a writing, it is way past midnight. But all in all, I am much much much happier with the xf100.
Sam, thanks much for your insight!! Good to know about the overall comparison between the two- your experience sounds consistent with some of the other reviews I have read. Thanks for taking the time to write about the differences you found, that makes a pretty compelling case for the Canon. One other question- since the JVC has 3CCD vs. the Canon's 1 larger chip, have you ever noticed any difference in motion in fast motion shooting?
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Old November 4th, 2011, 04:03 PM   #6
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Re: Thinking about the XF100

I stress that I currently don't own either of these cams but there is a very informative thread on here that you should study (if you've not seen it already) if you were wondering why you should pay more to step up from an XA10 to the XF100 - as mentioned in your post that started this thread.

Hope this helps.

Canon XF100 versus Canon XA10

Caveat: If I ever get rich I'd buy an XF100 in an instant...
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; November 5th, 2011 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Typo/link added
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