Two new compact XF-Series professional camcorders from Canon
By Darren Quick
August 31, 2010
With a compact form factor, the new XF105 and XF100 are Canon’s smallest professional camcorders to date. Targeted at electronic newsgathering (ENG) crews, independent filmmakers, documentary producers, event videographers and military agencies, they use the same Canon XF Codec featured in the XF305 and XF300, introduced earlier this year. This is an MPEG-2 4:2:2 codec for capturing and recording native 1920 x 1080 video at a constant bit rate of 50Mbps that offers twice the color resolution of HDV and other 4:2:0 formats. It also ensures widespread compatibility with existing industry infrastructure and non-linear editing (NLE) systems with an MXF (Material exchange Format) File Wrapper that combines video, audio and metadata in a single file.
Genuine Canon 10x HD Zoom LensBoth the XF105 and XF100 feature a 10x HD Zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 30.4 – 304mm and an eight-blade iris that Canon says produces natural, smooth background blur with reduced lens diffraction. The lens also features a SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) system featuring Dynamic and Powered IS modes. Canon’s proprietary DIGIC DV III Image Processor is also onboard and powers the Face Detection Technology autofocus option aimed at helping out frazzled camera operators working alone.
Multiple Bit RatesTo maximize adaptability Canon has equipped each model with the ability to record at multiple bit rates, resolutions and variable frame rates for slow and fast motion. In 50Mbps Constant Bit Rate (CBR) or 35Mbps Variable Bit Rate (VBR) modes the cameras can capture video in 1920 x 1080 at 60i/30p/24p frame rates or 1280 x 720 at 60p/30p/24p. In 25Mbps CBR they capture 1440 x 1080 resolution video at 60i/30p/24p frame rates.
LCD monitor and electronic viewfinderWeighing less than 3lbs (1.4kg) the new XF-Series cameras come with both a top and side grip option and feature an articulating 3.5-inch, 920,000 dot LCD monitor and 0.24-inch, 260,000 dot electronic viewfinder with approximately 100 percent field coverage. The LCD monitor provides a display of the camcorders’ built-in waveform monitor to aid in achieving accurate exposure while shooting. Additionally, the LCD can show peaking, edge-monitor-focus and magnify the image, enabling users to confirm critical focus.
3D shootingTo help future proof against burgeoning 3D production the cameras include OIS Lens Shift to aid in optically aligning the pairing of two XF105 or XF100 camcorders, as well as a Focal Length Guide for displaying the zoom position of each camera in relation to each other and calibrating the zoom distance. This adjustment can be done through the menu system while the camcorder is mounted to a rig or tripod. Once aligned, the amount of the angle-of-view change is displayed after zoom adjustment, preventing camera misalignment and simplifying adjustment.
Each model includes a Canon developed and designed native Full HD 1920 x 1080 CMOS image sensor and an infrared feature for capturing HD video in conditions with little or zero ambient light, which Canon says is ideal for military and law enforcement markets, as well as nature and wildlife videographers.
There’s also dual XLR inputs for external audio sources as well as a built-in stereo microphone. The new camcorders support 16-bit PCM audio at 48 kHz with automatic and manual audio level adjustment.
Both models record to Compact Flash (CF) cards and feature hot-swappable card slots. Differentiating the two models are industry-standard HD-SDI output and genlock in/SMPTE time code (in/out) terminals available on the Canon XF105.
Both the Canon XF105 and XF100 are scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2011 at prices yet to be announced.