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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old October 2nd, 2009, 01:28 PM   #1
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APS-C HD Video Camera?

Well, September 29th came and went. Looks like that Canon announcement was about their partnership with Adobe for document archiving.

Many threads here and elsewhere speculated that Canon was introducing the successor to the XL cameras with an APS-C sized sensor mated to a proper video camera body. Many of those so-called "insiders" who boasted of Canon's claims to be unconcerned about RED or the Scarlet are looking pretty silly right about now.

So. Will Canon ever produce this kind of a camera? Will Canon abandon it's higher-end video camera business and just focus on HD enabled DSLRs?

I, for one, would absolutely love an alternative to what RED is doing. I would love a shallow DOF camera with a 1080p RGB workflow. While RAW would be nice, it's not completely necessary. Just give me a sold data-centric workflow based around AVC-I 10-bit and I'd be very happy.

Or maybe I should just buy a 7D and deal with the lousy ergonomics, crippled recording time and the general snark from the crew for shooting narrative work with a still camera.

Thoughts?
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Old October 29th, 2009, 06:15 PM   #2
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Put it like this: I'd be AMAZED if Canon *didn't* released some sort of large-sensor (APS-Cish) video camera within the next 6 months. The last rumour I'd heard was that Canon would announce it around NAB 2010.

Like you, I'm very hopeful that the successor to the XLH1 will have an APS-sized sensor, including proper downsampling to 1080p and a high bitrate codec. But, at the very least, I expect the next revisions of Canon's dSLRs will have the DIGIC 5 processor which is rumoured to have some video-centric features.

My hunch is that Canon now totally "gets" that there's a market for large sensor cameras. However, I'm less convinced that Canon understands the passion for grading that exists in our community. In other words, I expect Canon's "RED competitor" wont fully compete with RED. It'll have a lovely, large sensor but it'll still shoot to a compressed 8-bit codec and the in-camera processing will probably throw away at least some of the sensor's dynamic range. I think compressed RAW will be unique to RED for at least the next 12 months (ignoring the SI2k of course).

Maybe Nikon will surprise us. Maybe one of the camera manufacturers has licensed Cineform RAW. Who knows.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 06:30 PM   #3
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Canon don't make a digital cinema camera, nor do JVC or Panasonic. Of the biggies, only Sony does.

I seriously doubt Canon has the wherewithall to step into REDs area for real, so I think they'll bite on the low end and try to compete with Scarlet. The codec will be a weak spot, and the controls will likely be weak too. More photo-centric than film-centric. That's their base, that's what they understand.

Now what I would really like to see if Sony do it. They've got all the tools already. If they would put the F35 sensor, in the EX1 body, and give us a choice of lens mounts or adapters, they'd sell every one they made. Yea, the form factor of the EX1 isn't terrific, but imagine that thing with PL mount glass full manual controls, and a nanoflash recording uncompressed HD.

The ramp up for anyone else would be too great in my opinion. Canon's got the sensor, but not the user base, not the line into the film industry, not the codec, not the recorders, etc.

And to throw a wild hair in there... imagine if Panavision decided to play... A Genesis handycam that could mount all their lenses, boxes, etc. People would wet themselves.
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Old October 30th, 2009, 10:15 AM   #4
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I would not be surprise if Canon licensed the XDCAM codec from Sony .. JVC CANON and Sony all use the HDV codec why not ....
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Old October 30th, 2009, 10:47 AM   #5
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Because it's not good enough. That codec barely holds up for 1080p off the 1/2" sensors. I am curious to see how it will hold up off the new 2/3" camera. I'd want 50Mbps minimum, and more like 100 if they are going to stay with the same codec.

REDCODE is going to slap it silly...
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Old October 31st, 2009, 11:32 AM   #6
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Bu Canon really is the company most poised to make this happen (within the sub 10K market). They have all the technology to do it. If you think about it, they can make all the components in the camera: lens, sensor, DSP. And the DSLRs, if anything, are giving them a testing ground for the technology at this point, including the proprietary MPEG4 flavor of H.264 they are using.

This really can't be said about the other big companies at this point.
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Old October 31st, 2009, 12:49 PM   #7
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Yeah, I agree.

Some tech Canon have already demonstrated in working products include:

* amazing APS-C sensors
* Canon seem to be quickly figuring out how to cure the jello-cam problem
* Canon's video cameras have decent enough audio

But Canon does have a little way to go before they have a "red-killer" on their hands. Not least:

* a decent codec! At the very least, we'd want a 10-bit RGB codec (IIRC, h.264 can do 10-bit RGB). Ideally compressed RAW (Cineform RAW???)
* If they don't implement a compressed RAW recording format then they'll need to figure out how to do proper downsampling of the high resolution bayer image to RGB. Rumour has it that Canon's DIGIC 5 will do this

One thing is very clear from what we know about RED's line up of cameras in development. A working super-35mm RED Scarlet (including viewfinder, CF recorder etc) will be WAY above $10,000, probably more like $15-18. This leaves a gaping hole in the market for what we might call a "vDSLR made for filmmakers" - i.e. a camera which takes the good aspects of the vDSLRs and fixes the most glaring problems (codec, audio, jello). Cameras like the 5D2, 7D, GH1, D90 etc etc have produced a huge pent-up demand for an affordable, large sensor video camera. That camera is missing from RED's line up. Which ever company is first to market with a "sensible" vDSLR will sell a huge number, IMHO. Reluctantly, my bet is on Canon (I was wishing it would be RED or Nikon).
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Old October 31st, 2009, 03:17 PM   #8
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Well I hope it comes from Canon.

Unlike Nikon or RED, Canon has many years of experience in camcorder design and manufacturing. It also has a much larger distribution channel as well.

And unlike Sony, Panasonic, or JVC, Canon also has a large lens collection that could work with the camcorder as well. Again, this is why Canon is the most poised to make this happen: because out of all the companies, they have the most elements to provide.

Now if they will just release it already :)
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Old November 1st, 2009, 08:37 AM   #9
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From what I have heard, Canon's video and photography business units are strictly seperated. Canon also earn a lot of money from motion picture lenses and Sony, JVC and Panasonic wouldn't like it if they are going to compete with Canon's own bodies in those markets. But at the end, I think it is inivitable that this is going to happen.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 08:14 PM   #10
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10-bit AVC-I at a high 100mb/sec. At the very minimum. That's what we need from a proper APS-C video camera.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 10:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
Canon also earn a lot of money from motion picture lenses
Really? I've never seen a Canon motion picture lens. Ever. Broadcast, yes. Film, no.
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Old November 3rd, 2009, 02:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Sanders View Post
10-bit AVC-I at a high 100mb/sec. At the very minimum. That's what we need from a proper APS-C video camera.
Indeed. And ideally a selectable gamma curve which aims to squish the sensor's full dynamic range into a 10-bit signal (e.g. using a logarithmic gamma curve). The images would look very flat straight out the camera but would give tonnes of room for grading.
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