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Canon XF200-anyone have one...verdict?

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Brian Rennie
Canon XF200-anyone have one...verdict?
on Sep 6, 2014 at 10:07:14 pm

I am thinking of getting and XF200 to replace my aging Panasonic AG HVX200P. The 50Mb/s 4:2:2 sounds appealing, as does getting away from P2 cards. Anyone have one that can give me their opinion, maybe compared to the HVX200P?

G-5, 2.5 GHz, 8 GB Ram Mac OS X (10.4.8) Nvidia Geforce 6800, 30" Cinema Display


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Robert Varnam
Re: Canon XF200-anyone have one...verdict?
on Dec 3, 2014 at 9:10:11 pm

I've had my XF200 for a month now. Definitely some pros and cons.

Pros:
  • Form factor. It's lovely to hold and handle, in a variety of positions.

  • 3-ring lens and the manual buttons add to the positive handling experience (all except the Push-AF and M/A focus buttons, which are slightly hidden in some screen positions

  • Data rate, colour space, etc. Really nice to have professional formats on what is still a relatively cheap camera.

  • Wifi & browser remote. Even though highly compressed & low frame rate, seeing the picture and controlling the camera from a phone/tablet is enormously handy on occasions.

  • Dynamic range. This is good. Not astounding, but good.

  • Quality. The preamps are really pretty good for a camera, battery life is better than I'd expected, and the whole thing feels sturdy enough.

  • 4 channel audio. Having the ability to always capture audio from the built-in mics, in addition to the XLRs, is a great safety feature. I now always have a wildtrack, and it's saved my bacon when I rushed into an interview and forgot to switch the radio mic on.


  • Cons:
  • Noise. Even at 0dB and below, this is a very noisy sensor. I'm no expert, but there's something about the noise which is odd, too. It's harder to ignore, subjectively, than you'd expect, even given the amount of it. In many scenes, I honestly prefer my old XA10, allowing for its poorer dynamic range.

  • No touch screen. For me, a tiny navigator button for menus just isn't as good as a touch screen. Although the physical buttons are great during shooting, I've found it takes as long or longer to set up a scene on the XF200 as on an XA10 with touchscreen.


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    Martin Duffy
    Re: Canon XF200-anyone have one...verdict?
    on Jan 6, 2015 at 4:56:18 am

    Wow

    Everywhere I read people are saying images are noisy even at 0DB. Is it a case of Canon have over cranked the camera and 0db is like really +6.

    SO therefore to get a clean image in normal daylight run the camera at -6db?


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    Robert Varnam
    Re: Canon XF200-anyone have one...verdict?
    on Jan 6, 2015 at 12:37:18 pm

    I certainly aim to keep things as well-lit as possible. I very rarely shoot outdoors, so can't give an experienced answer about those conditions, but I do aim to keep the iris as open as possible, and go for slow shutter speeds, in order to keep the gain below 0dB.

    Most of my final output ends up on YouTube, where, to be honest, the compression is such that there are actually very few problems with noise on the XF200 footage. But I do have to be careful to avoid zooming in too much on footage for effect, and some compositing effects are difficult. For example, when adding a vignette effect, the mid shades can really emphasise the noise.

    BUT - this is still a great camera for what it is. 10bit 4:2:2 recording on a small, cheap camera is great. And the combination of the handling, image stabilisation and auto controls (if you want them) mean you'll often get much better footage than with other similarly priced cameras, regardless of the noise.


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    Martin Duffy
    Re: Canon XF200-anyone have one...verdict?
    on Jan 6, 2015 at 11:34:05 pm

    Hi Robert

    Well I am taking a punt an ordering 2 XF205's today. Canon are saying they will arrive in 5 days.

    Canon are saying there is a 14 days test and return if unsatisfied warranty period so I will give it the full go over during this period.

    All the footage I have seen on the internet looks pretty keen and nice to me. Do you have any links to any footage that shows obvious noise issues? Better still you can google drive a 5 second clip if you like to martin@dufftv.com.au. Cheeky of me but I am so keen to see with my own eyes.

    Thanks again for your valuable input.


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    Larry Tipton
    Re: Canon XF200-anyone have one...verdict?
    on May 13, 2015 at 12:56:36 am

    We bought one the first week they were available. (XF205) We are far from professional videographers. We have been struggling with the camera, trying to get output that we could use straight out of the camera.

    One of my co-workers brought her Canon DSLR in and setup next to the XF205. Wow! The color from the DSLR was GREAT. The color from the XF205 was, I don't know how to say it any other way... Drab, dull... We tried everything we could think of.

    Now, in Premiere Pro we can perk up the video, and make the colors POP just like the DSLR. We sent the XF205 back to the Canon service department. They tested it and said that it was perfect. It's on it's way back.

    Maybe when you buy a "professional" camcorder, they expect "professional" color correction in post. We have been very disapointed.

    Honestly, we shot prettier video with a Canon Powershot G15.


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    Roger Van Duyn
    Re: Canon XF200-anyone have one...verdict?
    on May 13, 2015 at 4:52:57 pm
    Last Edited By Roger Van Duyn on May 13, 2015 at 4:59:17 pm

    Colors look different because the two devices are designed for two different color spaces. It's computer display technology vs. television display technology. The DSLR is using the RGB color space and the camcorder is using a 601/709 color space designed for television.

    If you look at an image shot in RGB colorspace on a television, the colors appear oversaturated. Too hot.

    If you look at an image shot in 601/709 colorspace on an RGB display device (computer monitor), the colors will appear undersaturated. Too drab.

    Canon service is correct. The camcorder is designed for television display. The DSLR is designed for displaying photographs on an RGB display. The two devices are designed to display differently. Your editing software should have settings for which colorspace you want your output for.

    When I make videos for my clients, I output the videos in both colorspaces. That way, colors are correct if video is viewed online. Colors are correct on the DVD or BluRay for viewing on the television.

    Hope this helps.

    Roger


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