Canon has announced the XF305 and XF300 professional HD camcorders that offer videographers an unprecedented combination of image quality, compact design and high specification features, including 4:2:2 Full HD CompactFlash recording at 50Mbps, a new 3CMOS sensor array, a newly developed 18x L-series HD Video Lens, and redesigned controls for optimum ease of use and handling.
Terunori Tajiri, EMEA Video Product Manager, Canon Europe, explained: “The XF305 and XF300 represent the first of a new generation of Canon HD camcorders. They have been designed to offer a unique combination of technology, outstanding image quality and handling suitable for a wide range of users, from independent videographers to broadcast professionals. The XF305 and XF300 reflect Canon’s commitment to producing the highest quality HD video throughout our product portfolio.”
MPEG-2 4:2:2 codec & MXF
The announcement of the XF305 and XF300 models sees the first implementation of the MPEG-2 4:2:2 50Mbps codec recently adopted by Canon.
Both camcorders use the Material eXchange Format (MXF), an open-source file format widely used by professionals today, that offers compatibility with almost all major editing software packages. Simple software plug-ins, available at launch, ensure immediate support for Canon XF video files in non-linear editing software from Apple, Adobe, AVID Technology and Grass Valley.
The 4:2:2 colour sampling provides a wealth of colour information in recorded video, suitable for chroma-keying and other post-production activities.
Solid State recording
The XF305 and XF300 are the first professional Canon camcorders to offer a tapeless recording solution, storing video on CompactFlash memory cards (one of the most affordable and widely available types of recording media).
Two CF card slots are available, and a single 64GB card can hold up to 160 minutes of video recorded at 50Mbps. Continuous ‘relay’ recording across two cards is also possible.
18x L-series HD Video lens
The XF305 and XF300 both feature a newly developed Canon HD Video Lens with 18x optical zoom, offering a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 29.3-527.4mm and fast maximum aperture of f/1.6. This lens features a combination of Hi-UD, UA and UD glass elements to deliver a compact package that effectively suppresses chromatic aberration and delivers enhanced resolution. The lens also features a metal iris diaphragm, three glass ND filters and three Optical Image Stabilization modes.
CMOS sensors & DIGIC DV III processor
The XF305 and XF300 camcorders employ three new 1/3 type CMOS sensors, each capturing native Full HD resolution (2.07 Megapixels) to produce clean, highly detailed images featuring over 1,000 lines of TV resolution.
Data from the three sensors is handled by the DIGIC DV III image processor, delivering more processing power than ever for smooth tonal gradation, increased dynamic range and a host of image controls. DIGIC DV III incorporates Face Detection technology and supports user customisation of 26 ‘Custom Pictures’ (known as ‘Custom Presets’ in previous Canon pro camcorders).
LCD & viewfinder
Also new on the XF305 and XF300 is a high-resolution, 10.1cm, 1.23 million dot LCD with 100% coverage. The LCD panel is hinged at the front of the top carry handle so that it can be ‘flipped’ for viewing on either the left or the right side of the camcorders.
A tiltable, 1.3cm Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) has a 1.55 million dot resolution - a four-fold increase in resolution over previous Canon models. Brightness, colour, contrast, sharpness and backlighting can be adjusted on both the LCD and EVF, and a black and white mode is available on each.
In addition to 4:2:2 50Mbps recording, the XF camcorders also offer 4:2:0 35Mbps and 4:2:0 25Mbps modes for seamless compatibility with existing workflows (e.g. HDV).
Of these options the 50Mbps and 35Mbps modes both support Slow and Fast Motion - 20-step variable frame rate recording ranging from half-speed slow motion to 4x fast motion. Frame rates from 12 to 25 frames per second are available in 1080/25p mode, and from 12 to 50fps in 720/50p or 720/25p modes.
Other shooting modes include interval (time lapse) recording, frame recording and the Pre-Rec function. Pre-Rec mode continually buffers a three second video cache, which is appended to the start of recorded footage so that any of the crucial moments aren’t missed.
In addition to the connections present in both models the XF305 also incorporates a number of additional terminals for use in multi-camera configurations: HD/SD-SDI output, Genlock output and switchable Timecode input/output. HD-SDI allows for either uncompressed Full HD or PAL SD output. HD output is at 1920x1080 resolution with 4:2:2 colour sampling.
The bigger picture
A number of new accessories are compatible with the XF305 and XF300. For example, the supplied BP-955 and optional BP-975 battery packs feature an LED charge indicator to show how much power remains.
Combined with the new CA-930 power adapter (also supplied) these new batteries charge more quickly than any in the existing BP900 series.
Meanwhile, for a broader view, the optional new WA-H82 wide adapter gives an outstanding 23.4mm angle of view for really wide shots.
Canon Professional Services
XF305/XF300 owners qualify for membership of Canon Professional Services (CPS) Video. The CPS Video service offers professional users of Canon products exclusive, free access to a range of benefits, such as a priority repair service and direct support from Canon Professional Representatives across Europe. For more information on CPS membership and the countries where the programme is available please click here.
XF305 & XF300 - key features
- MPEG-2 Full HD 4:2:2 recording on CompactFlash at up to 50Mbps.
- Two CF slots for continuous (relay) recording.
- MXF file format for workflow compatibility.
- 18x L-series HD Video Lens, f/1.6 max., 29.3mm wideangle (35mm equivalent).
- Optical Image Stabilizer – Standard, Powered or Dynamic.
- Three 2.07Mpixel 1/3 type CMOS sensors.
- 10.1cm, 1.23Mdot LCD panel; 1.55Mdot EVF, both with 100% coverage.
- Variable frame rate recording (12-50fps).
- DIGIC DV III image processor.
- Independent audio controls and XLR inputs.
- Extensive customisation options, including 26 Custom Pictures.
- Studio connectivity – HD-SDI, Genlock, Timecode (XF305 only).