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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 July 24th, 2012, 10:14 AM   #1
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Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

I'm on the fence with getting the XF300 or XF305 for my next upgrade. I don't anticipate needing the SDI for use with a video switcher but am curious about what other benefits SDI and time code might offer.

My main concern with this camera is low light filming situations like weddings. Will an external recorder such as the Nanoflash provide any benefit for low light footage? For example, if the gain is turned way up and I want to remove the grain using Neatvideo, will having uncompressed (10-bit?) video make any quality difference in the final DVD/BluRay Disc product?

If I get the XF300, is there any difference between the signal available via the HDMI port compared to the XF305's SDI port?

Would the XF305 make synching sound with an SD702T easier, or just get SD702 and PluralEyes?

Any other advantages to getting the XF305 over the XF300? Slow-mo?


Thanks,
Mark


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Old July 24th, 2012, 10:53 PM   #2
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Re: Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

The external recorder will only give you more color information from a higher bitrate. But with the XF's already 50mbps 4:2:2 you do not have very much more to gain.

Nothing else is improved with an external recorder. It only records what the camera gives it. So if you send it an underexposed noisy image it will be recorded that way. Now you are asking if all of that info will help you better recover the image...I would say no, the tradeoff would not be worth the expense. The XF cameras are 8-bit.

HDMI & SDI will have the same image quality. Different connections and protocols, but same image quality.

If you can plug the XF305 into the SD 702T then yes, the XF305 would be better as the two units will act as one.

Camera outputs are the only difference between the XF300 and XF305.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 02:30 AM   #3
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Re: Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
My main concern with this camera is low light filming situations like weddings.
If that is your main concern you should add a good videolight onto the camera or get a 5dIII or sony fs100, also neatvideo is more for rescuing footage with excessive grain but it's not a tool to compensate for a camera's incapability to shoot clean video at high Iso's, it will set you back for hours when it is cleaning up every wedding video you do as it's painfully slow, even on cutting edge pc's.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 11:25 PM   #4
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Re: Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

Tim,

Thanks for your reply. XF300 it is. I started adding up the extra cost of taking full advantage of the HD-SDI feature and it was starting to get up around $4,000 when adding the recorder, upgraded B camera, upgraded sound recorder, etc.

Noa,

I researched many cameras and kept coming back to the XF video cameras. For what I currently primarily shoot, stock video, the XF will be better, especially with the lens and codec. I'm hoping to be able to afford a large sensor video camera in a few years and maybe by then someone will get a good design together and have lots of features I'm looking for. The FS700 missed the mark for me, as did the the C300. One of the best endorsements I've read about the XF300 is that it can do good green screen work. The XF's codec just makes sense. Easier workflow equates to a magnitude of frustration is removed from the process. That's worth a lot to me.

Mark
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Old July 26th, 2012, 02:47 AM   #5
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Re: Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

Good luck with your purchase, I"m sure the xf300 won't dissapoint you, unless your shooting very dark venues at weddings as that first was your main concern :)
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Old July 27th, 2012, 12:58 PM   #6
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Re: Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

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Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
I researched many cameras and kept coming back to the XF video cameras. For what I currently primarily shoot, stock video, the XF will be better, especially with the lens and codec. I'm hoping to be able to afford a large sensor video camera in a few years and maybe by then someone will get a good design together and have lots of features I'm looking for. The FS700 missed the mark for me, as did the the C300. One of the best endorsements I've read about the XF300 is that it can do good green screen work. The XF's codec just makes sense. Easier workflow equates to a magnitude of frustration is removed from the process. That's worth a lot to me.
The C300 records using the XF CODEC. In fact the whole recording rear end of the C300 is all but identical in menus etc to the XF300/3005. The C300 will also be much better for low light filming situations like weddings than an XF300/305. Of course it doesn't have a motor zoom or autofocus.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 06:34 AM   #7
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Re: Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

Nigel-i believe i have read that the c300 has autofocus if you put a Canon autofocus lens on it. Correct?
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Old October 8th, 2012, 08:06 AM   #8
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Re: Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

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Originally Posted by Al Bergstein View Post
Nigel-i believe i have read that the c300 has autofocus if you put a Canon autofocus lens on it. Correct?
NO. the C300 is manual only for everything White Balance, focus, exposure etc
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Old October 8th, 2012, 09:22 AM   #9
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Re: Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
If that is your main concern you should add a good videolight onto the camera or get a 5dIII or sony fs100, also neatvideo is more for rescuing footage with excessive grain but it's not a tool to compensate for a camera's incapability to shoot clean video at high Iso's, it will set you back for hours when it is cleaning up every wedding video you do as it's painfully slow, even on cutting edge pc's.
I agree with all of this.
Simply put, right tool for the job. I LOVE my XF300 and do a ton of greenscreen work with it. It does OK in low light and I use Neat for cleanup but if I know I'm going to be in low light I pull out the DSLR with a fast lens. You don't even have to go high end to see the benefits. A T2i with a 50mm 1.4 will practically shoot in the dark.
The 5D mk3 is unreal in low light and matches the 300 very well.

A problem you will face in low light on ANY video camera will be autofocus. They need light and contrast to work. The 300's autofocus is the best I've used and it struggles a bit when light is less than ideal.

So don't bother with the 305 and put the money saved into a DSLR.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 12:03 PM   #10
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Re: Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

Thanks for all the excellent input guys. I have a few months time to sort this out. For shooting stock video, the XL-H1A is still not a bad camera and I'm getting more use out of the 6X lens lately. My intent was to upgrade to the XF305 for stock video use, with an eye to the future if I get into weddings.

[Visited a camera shop in Kuala Lumpur today and he showed me the AF100 micro four-thirds. I didn't realize it could take an EF lens. Trying to steer clear of AVCHD, and it's 4:2:0.]

I have the 7D. Will check into the sensitivity comparison with the MK III. Is there no video camera that excels at low-light, has auto focus, a zoom rocker, XLR inputs, dual memory cards, slow-mo, interchangeable lens, 4:2:2, built-in ND filters and decent ergonomics?



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Old October 8th, 2012, 02:28 PM   #11
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Re: Can External Recorder Help in Low Light?

Subtle difference between the mk3 and 7D which I used til the mk3 came out.
And "excels" is a very subjective term in this situation. It really comes down to sensor size and noise reduction. Most of the cameras in the spec you want perform very similarly due to their sensors. And don't get me wrong, they're not bad...but if you have a 7D, it will blow them away for low light situations.
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