February 11, 2011

Canon XF105 shifts axis to 3D

Canon will show its new XF100 and XF105 cameras, plus the recently announced XA10 (making its European debut) at BVE next week.

The XF105 is particularly interesting for its innovative 3D-friendly features, and a pair of them will be shown in the new Genus Hurricane rig designed by cameraman, Alister Chapman.

The XF105 is the same as the larger XF305 in terms of codec (50Mbps) and most controls, but Canon has added a few features that make it suitable for 3D.

It has screen inversion in any direction, to make it easier to use in a mirror rig (like the Hurricane); the zoom lens has a focal length guide, which allows users to set a reference point (the cameras aren't fully synchronised although they have genlock/timecode synch), and, as a numerical scale, allows a lot more precision when setting the two zooms manually so that both cameras are at the same focal length; there is also an Axis Shift Function. "This uses the lens shift from the Optical Image Stabilizer to keep the centre point of the image to a point you have chosen. It takes the cameras out of OIS mode, and uses the lens shift to keep that centre point throughout the zoom," explained Peter Yabsley, Canon's Business Development Manager, Professional Video, EMEA (pictured with two XF105s).

"You can also use it to fine tune the convergence of the cameras when you are shooting 3D. You can move the centre point more easily than actually moving the cameras," which is useful in a manual rig like the Hurricane. Although the adjustments the XF105 allows are all manual, "it is intended to make the process easier" thanks to novel uses for technology already in the camera.

No other camera of this size, or indeed in this price range, has these features. "It is probably the smallest general purpose camcorder with genlock, and SDI, and a high quality codec," he said. The XF100 and XF105 are due to start shipping shortly after the show. The XA10 should arrive in March.

By David Fox

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