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Old March 7th, 2011, 11:53 AM   #1
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would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

Hi there,
In my long quest to find a smaller (cheaper) camera to go with my EX-1 ó I'm now shooting a number of conferences it seems ó and wanting to stay away from AVCHD because in my experience it takes a long time to import into Avid Media Composer, I'm wondering if people (especially any of you who edit in Avid) think the Canon XF100 would be a good camera. I often need to shoot in lower light levels (for audience cutaways and whatnot), so I'd like it to be good at that; it would also be nice if colours matched with the EX-1's, if possible. There may be a whole host of things I'm not thinking of.
By the way, I was still thinking of an AVCHD camera as recently as this morning, because it's a Sony, and I thought it might match nicely: the NEX-VG10. But the guy at the local camera store said it's not a good camera for my purposes.
Thanks for any insight into this,
Malcolm
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Old March 7th, 2011, 12:35 PM   #2
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

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Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post
Hi there,
In my long quest to find a smaller (cheaper) camera to go with my EX-1 — I'm now shooting a number of conferences it seems — and wanting to stay away from AVCHD because in my experience it takes a long time to import into Avid Media Composer, I'm wondering if people (especially any of you who edit in Avid) think the Canon XF100 would be a good camera. I often need to shoot in lower light levels (for audience cutaways and whatnot), so I'd like it to be good at that; it would also be nice if colours matched with the EX-1's, if possible. There may be a whole host of things I'm not thinking of.
By the way, I was still thinking of an AVCHD camera as recently as this morning, because it's a Sony, and I thought it might match nicely: the NEX-VG10. But the guy at the local camera store said it's not a good camera for my purposes.
Thanks for any insight into this,
Malcolm
VG10 owner here. It's abit of an odd beast but it depends what you want it for.

Mine is used alongside my EX1 on certain shoots. I couldn't shoot on it alone. It's a fiddly beast that you will record alot of rubbish on, but when you do get it right it does look good. It's not a run and gun camera like the EX1, you need to think about your shots carefully and then set them up. Your EX1 will look after you, given half a chance the VG10 will bite your hand off and you won't know its happened until you are reviewing the footage.

At a recent conference I shot some wide cutaways on it which looked nice on the Sony 16mm, and then used my fast Nikon 50mm for some audience reaction shots. I also used the 16mm for an establishing shot of the venue. The wider lens gave a better sense of scale than I could get with the EX1.

It also has no control over the input audio level. So you can't use it for recording audio really.It also uses a DSLR chip inside it so you have the aliasing problem. Sony have also left off focus assist which is a killer.

I guess what sells it is the interchangeable lenses which, via inexpensive adaptors, opens up a whole world of possibilities. The camera itself has been hobbled by Sony (how on earth they could omit focus assist on a device that is so focus critical) but it does have a proper video camera form factor.

It intercuts OK with the EX1, obviously its better if you are working at 720p. Colour rendition isn't as good (single chip) and the AVCHD codec seems to be more aggressive than XDCAM. Blacks are slightly crushed (think PDX-10), but Colorista can sort that out. There is an absurd 24db of gain available, don't use it though as you get some "interesting" sparking effects on dark areas.

But like I say, its what you want it for. I want mine mainly for wiiiiiiide shots. Have got a 11mm lens coming soon which I can't wait to start using!

Naturally it can also take photos that are comparable to full DSLR quality. I say comparable because Sony in their wisdom elected to only let it save JPG files rather than RAW. Again another bizarre decision along with the lack of focus assist.

Overall I think I like it but its rather an acquired taste and you'll have to spend money on glass to get the best out of it. If you want a camera that is easy to use and will look after you, it isn't the VG10.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 12:44 PM   #3
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

Thanks very much for this, Marcus. Very valuable information.

I think I'll cross the Sony VG10 off my list, because I really can't afford to fuss with a second camera on mission-critical work during a conference shoot (which I do by myself). It does sound like you will be very happy with this camera, though, as soon as you get your new wide-angle lens.

If anyone can weigh in on the Canon XF100 I'd appreciate it.

Regards all,
Malcolm
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Old March 8th, 2011, 04:03 AM   #4
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

If you tell me exactly how you will use it I can comment based on my experience with a XF100. Basically, will not match well in low light, but has great image in when used at 3dB or less. Do not have EX1 so basing this estimate on published EX1 videos.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 06:58 AM   #5
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

Hi Philip,
thanks so much for weighing in on this. The Sony EX-1, by the way, shoots really well in low light; I wasn't really expecting a camera with much smaller sensors or chips to shoot as well in low light, but I'm always hopeful.
It just so happens that I was asked to shoot a series (eight in all) of mini-conferences. I included bringing in a second cameraman, who also has an EX-1, in my first budget, but that was rejected. So I'm shooting it with two cameras on my own. I do own a second, small camera: the Canon HFS10, and this is what I used along with my EX-1. I trained the EX-1 on the speakers (there were a number of speakers so I had to keep changing frame), and this camera, with it's XLR inputs, captured sound. I used my small Canon to get a tighter shot of the speaker, from another angle; I also used it to get audience cutaways. It was for these audience cutaways that it didn't do very well. Most of the lights I'd brought were directed on the front of the room where the speakers were, of course, so the audience wasn't lit well (nor would they have wanted to be).
With my EX-1, I would have got some very nice audience cutaways, but the small Canon Vixia couldn't really deliver. In good light, by the way, it shoots very nicely.
Perhaps the worst part, for me, is importing the AVCHD clips into Avid. It takes about three or four times real time to import. A real pain.
So I'm looking for a small camera (I work alone, and already I'm weighed down with gear, so I don't want a second big camera, and I can't afford another EX-1) that will shoot nicely in lower light, and doesn't shoot AVCHD. I need manual controls as well.
It occurred to me last night that if this new Canon, the XF100, doesn't shoot as well in low light, I could use it on the front of the room. It has XLR inputs, and could be my main camera for the speakers. This would then free up my EX-1 for all the other shots.
What do you think of the XF100? Is it easy to focus, and to change iris? Does the mxf file type make it easy to import (Avid uses mxf, so I'm hopeful about this). Any other thoughts would be much appreciated.
Malcolm
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Old March 12th, 2011, 10:24 PM   #6
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

there's been very little response to this query. Two posts, from non-EX1 owners.
Should I take from this that no one on this forum has both a Sony EX1 and a Canon XF100?
If that is indeed the case, can I ask: is this because EX-1 owners think it's a mistake to try to use a second camera that's quite different (different manufacturer; different sensor size, etc.) from the EX-1?
I don't want to pursue this if it's more trouble than it's worth (faster import than the AVCHD I've been working with, but if I have to colour-correct every XF100 shot, that would waste just as much time)...
Thanks for any advice,
Malcolm
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Old March 12th, 2011, 10:45 PM   #7
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

Malcolm, XF10x cameras are not even readily available yet, so you're not getting answers because hardly anyone has a production XF100 or 105 and those who do have just gotten them and are still learning the camera.

I'm sure over the next month or two there will be much more written about user experience with cameras bought at retail. Until then, patience is a virtue.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 03:13 AM   #8
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

Just as a bit of useless information. I mix footage shot with the Canon XF305 and the EX3 on a regular basis. The EX3 does have an IR problem which can be corrected with a filter. The footage looks good together, of course I do a lot of colour grading for the final delivery. In an ideal world I would have two Sony or Canon cameras.

It's a long story .......................
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Old March 13th, 2011, 05:16 AM   #9
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

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Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post
there's been very little response to this query. Two posts, from non-EX1 owners.
I made at least two references to using my EX1 in my post. The whole jist of the post was how I use a VG10 as a utility camera alongside my EX1.

As for the Canon, it's pretty new. I'm betting not many people have seen them let alone actually used one.

Incidentally any VG10 users who are looking for a wide lens that outclasses the Sony 16mm would do well to look at the Tokina 11-16mm. Just wow! Can't wait to be using it alongside my EX1 later in the week. I'm just in love with that lens!
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Old March 13th, 2011, 12:50 PM   #10
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

Thank you Pete, Vincent and Marcus.

Two of you made the very good point about these cameras being quite new... I didn't realize how new they are (it's usually the case that by the time I see something on the shelves here in Ottawa, it's been out for quite a while in bigger cities to the south). I'll wait until the XF100s start selling, and hope that an EX-1 owner buys one and posts about it. Marcus, I'm glad your new lens is making your VG10 so worthwhile... I appreciated your advice, though, re the VG10 not being the perfect second camera for everyone (like me and my conferences).

Vincent... I just checked the XF305 and I see that it has three CMOS sensors, which of course make it a much better camera (reflected by its price) and perhaps allow it to shoot well in low light? How does it compare to the EX-1 on that front?
It's the not-so-great (compared to the EX-1) capabilities of the XF100 that are one of my two misgivings about the camera.
The other question I have about it you might be able to answer, though, because the XF305 uses the same file format: MXF
Do these files import as nicely (and as quickly) into your editing system as your Sony EX-1 files? (you don't happen to use Avid, do you?).

Thanks everyone for your help,
Malcolm
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Old March 13th, 2011, 01:11 PM   #11
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

still on the subject of this the XF100 (not the how-it-would-combine-with-the-EX1, but lots of other important info, including on its low-light capabilities) I just came across Philip's very interesting post on another DVinfo forum:

Canon XF100 Tests & Practical Limits

Confirms what Philip said in this thread last week... the XF100 isn't great in low light, but is fabulous when there's good light.

Regards,
Malcolm
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Old March 13th, 2011, 05:01 PM   #12
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

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Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post

Vincent... I just checked the XF305 and I see that it has three CMOS sensors, which of course make it a much better camera (reflected by its price) and perhaps allow it to shoot well in low light? How does it compare to the EX-1 on that front?
It's the not-so-great (compared to the EX-1) capabilities of the XF100 that are one of my two misgivings about the camera.
The other question I have about it you might be able to answer, though, because the XF305 uses the same file format: MXF
Do these files import as nicely (and as quickly) into your editing system as your Sony EX-1 files? (you don't happen to use Avid, do you?).

Thanks everyone for your help,
Malcolm
Malcolm, I haven't done a great deal of low light work with the XF305, although I did run a few tests on it. Compared to my EX3 (not EX-1) it does seem to display more noise. The camera is heavy to hand hold, whereas the EX3 being a semi shoulder mount is a lot easier. I like the Canon lens, although it does have a leaning towards pink, especially when you dial in the ND filters, I would recommend a new white balance when using the filters.

I can bring both the Canon and Sony clips into the same timeline without any problem and also do a multi-camera edit with them. I am using Premiere Pro CS5 (64bit) with a nVidia cuda card G470 and I also have the Matrox RTX2 card installed, although this is now becoming redundant, I only use this to monitor the HD timeline on a Samsung HD TV. 1920x1080p
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Old March 13th, 2011, 07:25 PM   #13
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

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Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
Just as a bit of useless information. I mix footage shot with the Canon XF305 and the EX3 on a regular basis. The EX3 does have an IR problem which can be corrected with a filter. The footage looks good together, of course I do a lot of colour grading for the final delivery. In an ideal world I would have two Sony or Canon cameras.

It's a long story .......................
"The EX3 does have an IR problem which can be corrected with a filter" - which filter do you use please?
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Old March 14th, 2011, 01:28 AM   #14
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Re: would Canon XF100 match nicely with EX-1?

I use the Tiffen filter, I don't keep it on all the time, only when needed.
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