August 31, 2010

Canon XF100/XF105 camcorders

Canon has extended its XF range of professional camcorders with two new palm-sized cameras, the XF100 and XF105 – the smallest cameras ever to include broadcast quality MPEG-2 Full HD 50Mbps, 4:2:2 recording.

They share many of the features of the existing XF305 and XF300 camcorders, but in a smaller package.

"A broadcast-standard MPEG-2 codec in such a compact body makes these new products unique, and will offer a level of HD image quality that was previously out of the reach of many users. The XF105 and XF100 will combine with XF305, XF300 and EOS DSLR cameras to offer a comprehensive range of Canon HD video tools for all sorts of applications," said Terunori Tajiri, EMEA Video Product Manager, Canon Europe.

Both cameras have professional features, such as XLR audio input (16-bit linear PCM at 48 kHz), while the XF105 (tech specs here) has HD-SDI output, with a shared Timecode input/output and Genlock input (pictured left), so that it can be used in studio or for multi-camera shoots (or record to a nanoFlash).

They record 1080/50i, 1080/25p, 720/50p or 720/25p MXF files to Compact Flash memory cards, using either Relay Recording or the security of Double Slot Recording (to two separate CF cards simultaneously). During recording, a card that’s not in use can be exchanged or initialised. There is also an SD card slot for stills and user settings.

The cameras have a new 10x zoom, 30.4mm wide angle Canon HD f/1.8 lens, with an eight-blade metal diaphragm, Optical Image Stabilizer, and an increased number of moveable lens groups to help reduce chromatic aberration and the overall size of the lens.

They use a single new 1/3-inch, 2.07 Megapixel Canon1920x1080 CMOS sensor, adapted from the 3CMOS sensor system employed in XF300-series models with high-speed data readout to minimise rolling-shutter skew.

Variable frame rate recording (12-50fps in 720p or 12-25fps in 1080p), Interval Recording (time lapse) and Frame Recording (for stop-motion animation) are included, as is a three-second Pre Record (cache) option.

For nighttime use, there is an Infrared shooting mode and built-in IR lamp (with both green and white light shooting options available), which will appeal to users of Sony's HVR-A1.

For 3D use, there are two 3D Shooting Assist functions: OIS Axis Shift uses the lens-shift image stabilizer to help correctly align two connected camcorders during stereoscopic 3D recording, while a Focal Length Guide helps to precisely synchronise zoom adjustments.

There are manual controls for experienced users, plus automatic and assist functions for beginners. A manual lens ring is switchable between focus, zoom and iris, and various settings, including iris, can also be adjusted using a custom key and control dial combination.

A dedicated button enables switching between manual focus and autofocus. There is also Face Detection AF and unique Instant AF modes, plus a new Face-Only AF mode, which limits autofocusing to detected faces only and is particularly useful for self shooters.

Both have a 3.5-inch side-mounted LCD screen with 920k dot resolution, a built-in waveform monitor and Edge Focus function, with menu selection performed using a joystick interface. There is also a 260k dot electronic viewfinder with 100% field-of-view coverage.

Users can configure more than 90 individual, image-related variables using a Custom Picture function; including selecting one of six preset gamma curves. Operators can also assign one of 34 individual functions to ten customisable buttons.

Up to nine ‘customised pictures’ can be stored to each body, with CINE.V and CINE.F gamma settings among three presets supplied as standard. Preferred settings can be saved and transferred from one XF100-series camcorder to another via SDHC cards.

The cameras will be on show on the Canon stand (11.E50) at IBC in Amsterdam next week (10-14 September).

Related posts: What makes an HD camera? and Canon fires out first 4:2:2 file-based camcorders

By David Fox


  1. Wow. These cameras may be the show-stopper in this particular interest bracket - self shooters. Glad I waited before upgrading from tape.

  2. They seem to have been very well thought out, and are smaller than they may seem from the photos. However, the price hasn't been revealed yet, and it is likely to be very late this year or early next year before they start shipping.

  3. Everything with this camera sounds great except one big flaw, the 1/3 cmos. Canon why not put a bigger sensor in your video cameras?!!! There's only one so there is room for a bigger one like sony is putting in their consumer NEX-VG10 Interchangeable Lens Handycam. An interchangeable lens would be nice also.

  4. Shane. I agree about the sensor (have a read of my opinion piece - Beating budget bugbears and bitrates). An interchangeable lens version might be nice, but that usually adds about £1,000 to the price and we meet so many people who've paid extra but still have only one lens. The Canon lenses are generally pretty good (the XF300 one certainly seems to be very nice), and it is one less thing to worry about - although I'd prefer if it was a little wider...