Decided to go XF305... at
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Canon XF Series 4K and HD Camcorders
Canon XF705, XF405, XF305, XF205 and XF105 (with SDI), Canon XF400, XF300, XF200 and XF100 (without SDI).

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Old May 2nd, 2011, 06:31 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Seattle WA
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Decided to go XF305...

So after deciding to upgrade from a Panasonic HMC150, I did a ton of research and some test drives. Came down to EX3 or XF305. Decided, though there are great reasons to get the Sony, that the XF305 won out. Why? A couple of reasons. Sony was tied in some of these catagories, obviously.

1. Both are approved for broadcast use. I've got some opportunities to shoot unique content. I don't want to waste an opportunity for a possible other use because of my gear. My lack of ability ought to be the only limiting factor. The web is fine for 90% of what I do, but...if you have a chance to get something that won't repeat, it's a shame to limit yourself.
2. I liked what I saw and what I shot. Both Sony EX3 and Canon produce beautiful images. Canon's glass was superb, as usual.
3. I prefer the look of 4:2:2 and 50 Mbps and can drop to 35 and 4:2:0 if needed.
4. Workflow was trivial. The MXF files dropped right into my main NLE (Vegas 10.c) and also worked fine with minimal issues with FCP's current version, which I use when shooting with others. My guess is that Canon licensed some key amount of the codec from Sony, much as AVCHD is both a Sony and Panasonic invention, as I understand it.
5. Green screen. 4:2:2 will do great with it.
6 CF cards (matches my 7D so it's all of a piece). Also for an indy like me, the cost of Sony cards is just obscene. It irks me to pay the price. With the driver upgrades, I can shoot redundant if I want, or continuous flow. That is huge.
7. I don't shoot narrative style theatrical. I shoot docs. I need everything with me, at times, shotgun, etc, and don't really care about changing lens. If I really need to get a special shot using DOF, I'll cheat and intersperse a 7D piece of footage for a brief bit.
8. Latitude of the sensors was just phenomenal. Loved the color. It also looks as if it will be easier to match my 7D, which I find myself doing with my 150. And it's hard to do with the 150. Very timeconsuming.
9. DOF was actually much better than I thought. I was able to get some very good DOF on this lens, although of course not as good as my 7D, but much better than the 150 did.

Sony had an edge if I travel and need to rent gear. Not as important for me as some others. I bought the 305 so if I ever need to work with others I won't miss an opportunity for a job because of SMPTE, Genlock or HD-SDI out. Seemed penny wise and pound foolish not to spend the extra $$.

Will I find stuff I don't like about it? I'm sure. The layout was not as bad as some seemed to say. Not as good as the 150, it seems Panasonic pays better attention to layout, but it wasn't bad, IMHO. Front weighted to be sure, but seemed to balance fine on my shoulder for a braced shot. I've got a shoulder mount that I will use as well. But I prefer the tripod when I can. As someone said to me, "oh, you must like to compose your shots".

It's funny, so many folks are wanting to shoot with nanoflashes, and this camera is shooting native in 4:2:2 using a 'professional' codec in a bit less proprietary format (i.e. Sony memory cards, etc.). Many of the wishes on these boards from Panasonic and other users of run and gun have been for this kind of camera. Well, it seems it's here, and has been overshadowed by the AF100 large sensor. I like the AF100, but...this seems to fit my needs better.

I appreciate the few video shooters out there that have done some good samples worth viewing, especially the guys at Cinevate up in Canada. The green screen tests were very interesting, and showed a very clean line without any real work. It was sad not to see more footage with it. There must be more of them out there than the videos show. Vimeo seemed to have way more than youTube.

I'll share my experiences with you folks as time goes on. I'm only a few years back into the video fold, after many years off. Still learning on every shoot. Thanks for the help though you might not have known it. Believe me, it is a bit of a stretch to take that step.

al b
Voices of the Strait - all HMC 150 documentary funded by the Puget Sound Partnership

Last edited by Alf Hanna; May 2nd, 2011 at 07:17 PM.
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 04:58 PM   #2
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Re: Decided to go XF305...

Great information there. Much food for thought.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 12:14 PM   #3
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Re: Decided to go XF305...

Nice. I'll only point out, that with an SxS to SD converter you don't have to rely on Sony expensive cards in EX1/3, you can use SDHC cards, which are even cheaper than CF.
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