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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 May 14th, 2014, 08:17 AM   #1
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New to XF100

Hello,
I've ordered my new XF100 and it should be arriving in a week or so. This is my first professional camcorder. Does anyone have any recommendations for how to learn about it's features? I have looked at the Canon learnings and the user manual already. Can anyone recommend any good books, articles online, or other resources for this camera? I understand the color profiles can be a little tricky for a novice.

Thanks
-Rich
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Old May 14th, 2014, 09:55 AM   #2
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Re: New to XF100

First, read back through the past three years of this forum. You'll see all kinds of great advice, including suggestions for custom picture settings. However, I do not use any of the Custom Picture files that were posted online back when the camera first came out - I've made my own. I (and several other much more knowledgeable folks) have posted some starting points and general instructions on how to achieve the look you want.

Second, remember that this camera does not come with a "finished" look like consumer cameras. Out of the box it has a fairly flat look - not super contrasty or super colorful. But, you can make it look however you want.

Third, decide whether you want a realistic video-ish look, a smoother film-ish look, or a really toned down look that you can adjust in the editing process. Over the three years I've had the camera I've learned that I prefer to shoot very flat, retaining highlight detail, then adjusting the white, black, mid tone, saturation, and sharpness levels in editing.

The only downfall of the camera is that it is only average in low light, and this is compounded by fairly noisy gain. So, don't use full Auto mode (it adds too much Gain), keep the lens aperture fairly wide, use manual white balance, and get a screw-on neutral density filter to use in bright sunlight. You want to keep the aperture at 5.6 or wider if at all possible. BTW, despite being a 1/3 inch chip camera, if you get close to your subject and have the lens wide open and zoomed in it *is* possible to get surprisingly decent shallow depth of field looks. And despite Canon's advice, I use Powered IS and never use the Standard and Dynamic options. The XLR inputs and preamps are excellent quality.

Keep Gain no higher than +6 if possible. Learn to use Zebras and/or the Waveform Monitor to keep highlights under control - the beauty of the 4:2:2 color lets you fix everything else in post.

Several of us have bought Doug Jensen's DVD series on the Canon XF300 series cameras. 90% of the info there applies to the XF100 series also. It gives a comprehensive look at the camera controls and general operation. Now that the camera is three years old, the DVD price is only $50 I think.
MASTERING THE CANON XF305 & XF300 CAMCORDERS

I love mine. I wish it had better low light, cleaner gain, and 60 fps at 1080 instead of 720, but even today it has features that some cameras at twice the price are lacking. And, it's small enough that when I use it walking around it attracts no more attention than a consumer cam, yet on a tripod with XLR cables, wireless receiver, etc. attached I get comments about what a serious professional camera it looks like.
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Old May 14th, 2014, 03:57 PM   #3
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Re: New to XF100

One more thing...

Depending on the NLE you use, you may need a plugin from Canon for import, and many require that the import be done from thn entire, intact, original card structure, not just a bunch of files.

Canon U.S.A. : Professional Imaging Products : XF100
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Old May 26th, 2014, 06:36 PM   #4
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Re: New to XF100

David:

When you say you do white balance manually, do you mean using Custom white balance settings, or do you mean picking a white balance from choices? If the latter, how do you assess which one is best? Walk me through your process, please.
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Old May 26th, 2014, 09:08 PM   #5
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Re: New to XF100

Hi, I don't do anything exotic - I just do my best to balance to a white card in the light I'm filming in. If the light is very mixed, I go with whatever seems to be predominant.

I have one weird thing - I have 2 custom CP files. One is *very* flat and desaturated, the other is more like the final look I usually grade to. But, my flat CP is so desaturated that it doesn't give great WB results. I'm starting to WB with the more finished look chosen, even if shooting with the flat one.
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