XF100 - My Thoughts So Far at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon XF Series HD Camcorders

Canon XF Series HD Camcorders
Canon XF305, XF205 and XF105 (with SDI), Canon XF300, XF200 and XF100 (without SDI).


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 31st, 2012, 06:40 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Ransomville NY
Posts: 239
XF100 - My Thoughts So Far

Before I begin, this isn't a rant, and it's not some sort of bashing thread against the XF100...I'm just curious what people think given my experience thus far.

I got an XF100 about a week ago and have used it on one shoot so far and have done some of my own tests. I gotta say I wasn't very impressed with the footage. Using it is a joy, but I'm really not liking what I see when I get home. The codec itself is robust and holds up to a lot of CC, but am I the only one who finds it to be very inefficient during motion? I must be nuts because I know this codec is better then this. Yes, I've check to make sure I'm in 1080p 50mb/s mode (24p), and yes my gain is turned down and automatic gain is off. I've tried lots of different settings and have gotten some decent footage by now, but I'm still unimpressed by its quality. Details in the background are absolutely lost in the compression. I figured this thing had more inherent resolution for the price. I'm sure people are sick of hearing about the little camera and it's not perfect at all, but my hacked GH2 (even un-hacked) kills this thing in a wide and I think that's a shame. I have to keep sharpness at 0 or under to avoid any gross haloing around edges, which look terribly artificial. I had the sharpness turned up on my XHA1 often (not too high but mid-range) and it handled the sharpening with a lot more class then the XF100 seems to.

I took a shot outside to get my 5D matched color-profile wise. It wasn't meant to be a beauty shot, in fact the shot is quite plain and not even exposed that well, but I wasn't concerned about that for this example. I CC'd the XF100 to match the 5D as close as I could get and I got them really close. That wasn't what caught my eye. What did is how much better the 5D shot seemed to look with a tiny bit of post sharpening. I realize the smoothness of the 5D due to DOF and OLPF can be the reasoning here, but it still surprises me. The XF100 shot on playback shows some moire in the siding center frame, and the overall quality of the footage and compression isn't that great. With that tiny bit of post-sharpening, I think the 5D is probably 90%-95% of the way there sharpness wise with the XF100 at full-wide. Look especially at the siding on the garage behind the cars...very different to my eyes.

These are two totally different cameras for two totally different purposes so don't come lobbing nasty comments. The XF100 is actually a very solid camera all things considered. I was a long-time XHA1 owner for many years until early 2012 when I sold it. It was and still is the best piece of gear I've ever owned. I even shot a feature with it that hit Redbox this last Spring. I might have been expecting too much from the XF100. I was hoping it was going to be a big step up from the XHA1 but I guess that was foolish of me. The footage is cleaner, but things just seem muddier to me. It might be the added noise of the XHA1 and how that helped give the footage a more organic look instead of a digital look, but I'm not sure. I find myself missing my A1...

Bang for buck I guess it's not that bad, but as I have a few shoots coming up I don't really have a lot of confidence in using it. If I absolutely need ENG and I can't get around it any other way, I'll definitely pull it out of the bag but otherwise I think it'll stay in there more then it should...and that makes me disappointed.

I'll be using the camera more to try and see if I can get the hang of it. There's no way it's as bad as it currently seems because too many seem very happy with it. "Best in its class" is what I hear often. The XHA1 felt pretty crummy until I used Steven D.'s Panalook preset, but every attempt to try and emulate that on the XF100 in-camera has failed. If anyone has any suggestions in that regard I'm ALL EARS.
Attached Thumbnails
XF100 - My Thoughts So Far-matched_xf100.jpg   XF100 - My Thoughts So Far-matched_5d.jpg  

__________________
Online Portfolio | Feature Film on XHA1
Kyle Prohaska is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 1st, 2012, 01:10 AM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 57
Re: XF100 - My Thoughts So Far

Have a read of BBC's Alan Roberts tests on the XF100. Ive found his picture profile to be very good:

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/w..._XF100-105.pdf
Mark Andersson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 1st, 2012, 02:40 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: York, North Yorkshire, England.
Posts: 466
Re: XF100 - My Thoughts So Far

Kyle

I have had the camera around 2wks now and I like you was not impressed I also have a Sony PMW 320 and maybe I was expecting too much from this little cam, Well you have to research and read all you can and try setting the camera through the picture profiles to your own likeing

It is flat out of the box unlike some cameras and maybe its set like this so you can grade it to what ever you require, once you get it to your likeing you will be suprised how good it is, 1st thing get a hoodman loupe for the side screen for bright days I find the eye finder very poor,

The camera has a big learning curve more than other cameras that I have used and it has it faults but it also has its pluses and is a very good camera once you crack it

This is of course my opiion others might have differant views
__________________
Ian Thomas.
Thomas Video Productions
Ian Thomas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 1st, 2012, 02:45 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 9,068
Re: XF100 - My Thoughts So Far

Good to see a former xh-a1 user that made the switch to a xf100 as I was thinking about doing the same for my xh-a1.
I know it doesn't answer your question but since you have first hand experience I was hoping you could share your experience of the xf100 compared to the xh-a1.

There is one area I"m particularly interested in and that is how it performs under low light as I shoot a lot in very dark venues. I have already bought 2 small Sony cx730 which where supposed to complement my xh-a1 but I liked them that much they have become my main camera's. I"m only looking for a 3rd camera to replace my xh-a1 with a bit more control in a reasonable price range and the canon xf100 came to mind.

Can I ask if you compare the xh-a1 and the xf100 shooting footage in low light, is the xf100 noticeably better? With my xh-a1 I couldn't go past 6db gain as that caused way too much noise and even 6db gain was on the edge of what I could accept, how does the xf100 handle higher gains compared to the xh-a1?
Noa Put is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 1st, 2012, 04:00 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Kanto Plain (関東平野), Japan
Posts: 805
Re: XF100 - My Thoughts So Far

Kyle,

The XF100 shot looks fine to me and even the grass is a bit sharper. I can't see the problem in the siding you mentioned. The shots are slightly different focal length so that's not helping the comparison. They are nearly identical as far as I can tell. (BTW - technically I'm color blind... in case that matters.)


Mark
Mark Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 1st, 2012, 08:27 PM   #6
New Boot
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Toronto, ON.
Posts: 13
Re: XF100 - My Thoughts So Far

Kyle:

I know the feeling! When I got my XF-100 and transfered the footage to the mac I wanted to cry for spending this much money on a ridicously expensive crappy camera. Then, I started to do research, read, read, read, and... man, I can tell you now, this camera can do really good things if is properly set-up.
For starters, I would recomend you to read the Allan Roberts' BBC Report as sugested before, its useful I believe, then you should read the tons of articles/posts in this forum, in your case, you should probably start reading about Custome Picture Profiles and why not, try some of those ones laying around the web. Also I would definely recomend you to watch the Canon Tutorials on XF cameras.

The camera overall is not bad, its limited, yes, but it has to be that way, otherwise why would we bother to buy a XF305 or a C300? Just don't feel down and start riding that long and steep learning curve.

Custom Picture Profiles for XF-300/305

Canon DLC: Gallery: XF Professional Camcorder Tutorials

Have fun!
Rodolfo Pena is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 2nd, 2012, 07:20 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Port Townsend, WA
Posts: 445
Re: XF100 - My Thoughts So Far

Kyle: I have both a 7D, a 100 and a 305. I would assume that comparing a 5D and a 100 would likely result in not the best comparison for the 100. It appears to me that the given the choice between the 305 and the 105, the 105 is the B camera. There is lots to not like on it compared to the 305. I bought my xf105 as a B camera for the 305, and am still understanding it's limitations. Let's take your points one by one...inline

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Prohaska View Post
...(some snipped) I'm just curious what people think given my experience thus far.

...I gotta say I wasn't very impressed with the footage..

Al says: Compared to a 5D or a GH2, I would have to agree. The larger sensors produce beautiful images out of the camera and this smaller xf100 single sensor cannot totally compete for footage one to one, especially at higher ISOs/lower light. But for many shots, including outdoors, properly white balanced and exposed, then used on the Internet at full screen, can be just fine for 90% of my shooting. Would love to see you post some side by sides of something other than a car park (G). The xf30x produces a much better image, and allows much better control. And to be fair, I've shot bad footage in low light with my 7D as well. It can be very ugly in the wrong ISO, and in the wrong light (especially fluorescent).

I have worked a lot on setting custom picture profiles and agree that you have to find the right one for your lighting needs, including the kind of daylight you have where you live. The BBC settings are my default. I work from there as needed. CC is a standard for me in post.

Kyle: The codec itself is robust and holds up to a lot of CC, but am I the only one who finds it to be very inefficient during motion? Details in the background are absolutely lost in the compression.

Al says: I haven't seen that issue myself. Are you shooting at 24/25p? Maybe see if it changes by going to 30 or higher? Also, there are a lot of shutter options, from 180 degree etc. Be sure to check out your shutter settings carefully in your tests.

Kyle: ...but my hacked GH2 (even un-hacked) kills this thing in a wide and I think that's a shame. I have to keep sharpness at 0 or under to avoid any gross haloing around edges, which look terribly artificial.

Al says: sharpness of Canon cameras like this is usually recommended to be lowered under 0 by most people I've read on this board and elsewhere. Nothing unusual in that, or damning in and of itself, I'd say. As to the GH2, it's a fabulous camera, producing beautiful but contrasty AVCHD footage. I used to own an HMC150, and liked it a lot. But the AVCHD format with this large sensor is beautiful out of the camera. No question there. Maybe the best quality I've seen. I have used it together with my 305 on some shoots, as a local shooter has helped me and has one. Lovely stuff. You won't match that footage on a single small sensor xf100, in general, I'd say. But to be clear, I am always toning down the GH2 footage when matching with the 305. I prefer to have a softer look. The GH2, out of the camera, seems too sharp, a bit unreal. Not very *filmic* I'd say.

Kyle: What did is how much better the 5D shot seemed to look with a tiny bit of post sharpening.

Al: To be expected, I'd say. The MOV format on Canon seems a bit soft overall, both on the 5's and the 7Ds. Not that they are *soft focused* but that it just doesn't seem as contrasty as the AVCHD does. Then again, it could be your lens.

Kyle: I realize the smoothness of the 5D due to DOF and OLPF can be the reasoning here, but it still surprises me.

Al: It's something I've come to learn about the 7D. But I don't think it is for the reasons you think. I think it's more the MOV format. It's just not a great container married with the H.264 as they do. I'd take MXF any time. It seems to be perfect only if you always work with Apple computers. It's been problematic for me as I've shifted to Windows and Adobe or even Vegas (which I use at times for fast and dirty jobs).

Kyle: These are two totally different cameras for two totally different purposes so don't come lobbing nasty comments. The XF100 is actually a very solid camera all things considered. I might have been expecting too much from the XF100.

Al: I think so.

Kyle: If I absolutely need ENG and I can't get around it any other way, I'll definitely pull it out of the bag but otherwise I think it'll stay in there more then it should...and that makes me disappointed.

I'll be using the camera more to try and see if I can get the hang of it. There's no way it's as bad as it currently seems because too many seem very happy with it. "Best in its class" is what I hear often. If anyone has any suggestions in that regard I'm ALL EARS.
Al: I think that it's a tool, and like all tools, has it pros and cons. For interviews it's great. An ENG camera of that size that produces great footage, when well lit, and is self contained. I don't need to worry about Canon DSLR AGC issues, I can plug any old mic in and it works (love having a mini jack as well as XLR, my 305 doesn't have that!

If I was trying to make it my only tool, I'd invest in a neutral density filter, and shut off the horrible ND dial. It's really terrible, IMHO. If they only threw in the slider ND like on the xf30x, It would be a near perfect camera, barring the small sensor. The range of the zoom is another reason I grab for the 305 over it. I have managed to get the two zoom controls set so that the handle is the fast zoom in to focus, and the grip is the slow crawl. Works for me like a charm.

Spend some more time with it, though. Not sure you have spent enough time to become fully up to speed on it's ability. But you, like me, are probably going to reach for our 7D/5D/GH2 for normal footage when not needing an elaborate mic setup, long running video for performance/lecture, or smooth zooms. Hmm. That's a lot of my shooting, which is why I have ENG style tools in my bag.

This weekend, I'm shooting some clubs with blues. I'll do the first night with my 7D, and the second with my 100. Maybe I can show some similar setups with similar bad lighting. Would be instructive to all of us, I'd say.
__________________
Al
Upper left hand corner of the map
Al Bergstein is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon XF Series HD Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:13 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network