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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 30th, 2011, 07:12 PM   #1
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XF 300 or AG HPX 250?

It’s time to upgrade from my good old XH A1, but I’am still not sure, wether to get the XF 300 or the the new Panasonic – and would like to ask you for advice:

I'm a videojournalist mainly engaged in current affairs for tv or online media but would like to do more corporate video in future.

Pro for Canon:
-Great reviews
-BBC approved
-Kind of ‘natural upgrade’, if you are familiar with the XHA1 and appreciate the built quality.

Con:
-The price (!)
-No SD capability (even if the client only wants SD, I’d have to handle, store and downconvert large data amounts).

Pro for the Panni:
-Due to the specs more versatile and an established professional codec (AVC-I 100).
-Significantly cheaper
-SD capability

Con:
-Had in hand – disliked the ‘plastic feel’
-Hardly any reviews
-“Endless” focus ring.
-I’m not too convinced from earlier models like the HVX 200 which I had to operate from time to time. Disliked the “blueish” look of it.

The EX1 isn’t an alternative, because I need a long focal length quite often. What would you recommend?
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Old November 30th, 2011, 08:03 PM   #2
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Re: XF 300 or AG HPX 250?

One equalizer you may have forgotten about is the cost of dealing with P2 cards. They add up quickly and bring the two cams more into an apples/apples comparison price wise.
If you are on a gig and run out of space on your p2, you're screwed. With CF cards, run to the nearest Best Buy or heck, even CVS has 8gig cards....yup it saved my arse once.
Before I got the Canon, I had owned or used just about all of Pannys small to mid sized cams and liked them but they were either P2 or SD card based. Hearing the XF used CF cards and could relay record and now dual record was a big selling point.
The 250 is Pannys answer to the XF and has a lot going for it on paper. I'm sure the images will be on par with the XF and only time will tell us the winner if there is one!
Personally, the XF has been rock solid and delivers in every situation I throw it at.
I shoot 3-4 times a week during busy season (now) and once you develop a workflow, it's a joy to work with.
San Disk dropped prices on their cards significantly and I stocked up knowing I have a few multi day shoots coming up and won't have time to backup then erase cards as I go.
The SD video issue...well, if you still need it, your decision has been made. I haven't had to deliver SD content for about 2 years now. I do shoot mostly for web and broadcast. I always edit full 1080p then convert just the final output to whatever format is desired.
Just my 2 cents.
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Old November 30th, 2011, 08:31 PM   #3
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Re: XF 300 or AG HPX 250?

Jan,

I've been struggling with this same choice for a couple months now.

I suspect it's just a matter of time before the HPX250 becomes BBC-approved. The 10-bit data depth of the HPX250 vs 8-bit for the XF300 can be useful if doing a lot of compositing or adjustments in post (I do a lot of green screen). BTW, on another forum, Panasonic expert Barry Green says the servo-controlled focus ring is very solid and repeatable (meaning you can rely on marks on your follow-focus device), as long as you don't go past the "end" of the focus range. So I'm leaning toward the Panny.

But there are things I like about the Canon, like a 4 inch LCD, and a codec which does not require a plugin for my Vegas Pro editor. People for whom I do videography also use Vegas Pro, and I'd prefer not forcing them to buy the Raylight Ultra plugin. (I don't mind buying it for myself, since the total Panasonic bill still comes in slightly under that of the Canon bill.)

I've read several reviews about the Canon, but only found one (in German) about the Panasonic.
Test : Panasonic AG-HPX250EJ: Einleitung / Handling

It would be nice to see a comparative review of the 2 camcorders. Of course, I'd be wildly happy with either camcorder, but the 10-bit vs 8-bit issue will probably decide it for me.
- Ken
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Old December 1st, 2011, 05:24 PM   #4
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Re: XF 300 or AG HPX 250?

Thanks a lot for the input,

10 Bit is indeed a point for the Panni. But the media price is a point for Canon. Actually I didn't realize, how expensive P2 is. No problem for short news production, but may be one, if you've got a longer production far away from your editing room. Or the client says, "just hand over the cards, you'll get them back, after we've finished editing.... in 2014." ;-)

Would be interesting to know, if you can copy media data directly from the P2 Cards / the camera to a cheap harddrive.

Hm.. still unsure.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 07:10 PM   #5
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Re: XF 300 or AG HPX 250?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Luethje View Post
.....Would be interesting to know, if you can copy media data directly from the P2 Cards / the camera to a cheap harddrive....
In volume 2 of the manual, pages 6 and 113 talk about USB HOST mode, where you can copy from the card (in the camcorder) to an external USB hard drive.

- Ken
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Old December 1st, 2011, 08:44 PM   #6
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Re: XF 300 or AG HPX 250?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Hull View Post
Jan,
The 10-bit data depth of the HPX250 vs 8-bit for the XF300 can be useful if doing a lot of compositing or adjustments in post (I do a lot of green screen)....

.... Of course, I'd be wildly happy with either camcorder, but the 10-bit vs 8-bit issue will probably decide it for me.
You would be amazed how well the XF video edits. It might pay you to get some XF clips and try them with your editor.

Or go to the Canon Cinema EOS 300 forum and read the raging debates about Canon sticking with 8 bits for such a high end camera - and marvel at the video quality. Of course the XF 300 doesn't have Canon Log output, and it doesn't have the EOS 300 sensor, but the XF encoder does an amazing job with 8 bits - you should try it.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 04:14 AM   #7
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Re: XF 300 or AG HPX 250?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Hull View Post
In volume 2 of the manual, pages 6 and 113 talk about USB HOST mode, where you can copy from the card (in the camcorder) to an external USB hard drive.

- Ken
Thanks a lot for the info, Ken. In this case I'd probably be fine with two 32 Gb cards plus ext. drive, given that you don't shoot AVC-I 100 all the time. Nevertheless quite an investment...
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