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Canon XF300/305 and Sony XDCAM EX1/3

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Puneet Malhotra
Canon XF300/305 and Sony XDCAM EX1/3
on Sep 23, 2011 at 10:24:57 am

hello friends,
As tapes are being replaced by CF cards and other memory cards,and so there are variety of tapeless cameras available in market. Every model has its pros and cons.I am also looking for this format which saves a lot more time and saves one generation loss of footage.
I came across Canon XF300/305 and Sony XDCAM EX1/3 cameras.Both have some thing better than other. But what is that thing which makes any of the above model better than the best. Which of the above model is accepted in the industry....
Which has smooth workflow and accepted natively by NLEs....
I work on Premier Pro CS5


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Jeff Meyer
Re: Canon XF300/305 and Sony XDCAM EX1/3
on Sep 25, 2011 at 12:44:30 am

Was in a similar position not too long ago. Opted for Canon XF series for a few reasons:

1) 50mbps 4:2:2 recording. The EX stops at 35mbps 4:2:0 unless you buy an external recorder.
2) CF cards are more affordable and accessible than SxS cards. If you need five cards you're looking at a $4,500 savings for similar capacity, and a bonus is if you're shooting stills CF cards work in those cameras too. Don't try having a single card do double-duty.
3) It makes the BBC's list of "Cameras Approved for HD Programmes" which isn't exactly a long list. The EX cameras make that list, but you need to add an external recorder which boosts your total cost of ownership.
4) It's Canon. We're familiar with Canon video cameras.
5) The LCD opens on both sides. If you're doing interviews this means you can finally be on the right side of the camera and see the shot.

1) XF cameras are fairly new. This is good as it's new tech, but bad as compatibility and build quality are a bit unknown. They seem well built for the record.
2) I can confirm they work with CS5.5 and FCP7, but I'm not sure how universal they are. They shoot in XDCAM HD422, so they should be widely accepted, but being new it's hard to say.
3) The XF30x don't really seem to be able to snap-zoom. There's a ring/rocker switch to toggle between them, but it seems the motor is still driving the zoom mechanism. There are hard stops on the zoom ring and it's responsive, but there isn't a clutch giving you a direct linkage. There is a clutch to give you a direct linkage to the focus mechanism on the XF30x.
4) I found the EX1R to feel like a bit more serious camera to use than the XF300 and 305.

Personally I'd say it's a tossup between them. If you need snap-zooms the Canon isn't the way to go. If you need a lot of media cards the Sony's cost of ownership jumps pretty quickly. If you aren't going to get an external recorder the XF300 gets more detail. If you're going to be shooting in the dark the EX1R or EX3's larger sensor and 4:2:0 color space will produce less visible noise.

If you're able to get your hands on either camera (rental, loaner, etc) and play around with it the solution could become more apparent.

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Don Scioli
Re: Canon XF300/305 and Sony XDCAM EX1/3
on Sep 28, 2011 at 10:43:00 pm

I purchased one of the first XF 300's last summer and have used it for a variety of shoots for the past year and give it 5 stars. I have also used the Sony a bit in this time and find the Canon far superior in image quality to the Sony. CApture to FCP7 is flawless and the lens on the Canon is superior.

Only very high end cameras have the 50mps codec, ie Alexa, red, CIne Alta.

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Al Bergstein
Re: Canon XF300/305 and Sony XDCAM EX1/3
on Oct 21, 2011 at 10:53:24 am

Absolutely love my xf305 but if you need global rental pool b cam while traveling, the sony lineup seems "standard". I'd still choose xf305 over ex after using it for six months, other than the rental issue.


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Radim Palus
Re: Canon XF300/305 and Sony XDCAM EX1/3
on Feb 16, 2012 at 9:13:46 pm


I know this thread is already quite old, but I would like to add my experiences for other users.

I own and XDCAM EX1 and have tested thoroughly the XF305, so I know both cameras very well.

As I shoot a lot in low light conditions, XF305 is not the choice for me, because there is a huge difference in sensitivity (unfortunately I don't remember the numbers - but maybe 2 stops). Specially when You switch to 720p, You gain even more sensitivity. Also I like the 1/2 inch sensor in the EX1, which allows me to have a more shallow DOF with long lens. The lens quality from my point of view is excellent on both models - only the XF305 (or 300) has a bit wider and much longer lens. On the other hand, when having the iris completely opened and zooming from the wide edge to the other, the image goes visibly darker (on the EX it is not very noticeable).

Other aspects:

1) the handling of the EX1/3 lens is much better - when focusing/zooming/adjusting iris in manual mode - on the XF You are limited by the position of the XLR connectors and the iris handle is not hardware based - on the EX it is and has F stop marks. The zoom rocker on the EX is much better.

2) the camera handle on the EX1/3 is very practical as You can change its position

3) the LCD on the XF305 is little bigger and looks little better - but both are excellent in quality. The EX1 had a bad viewfinder but on the EX1R it is already improved

4) the picture profiles are from my point of view better on the EX and offer better gamma settings - it took me a long time to get a reasonable image from the XF305

5) the XF seems to have a better image stabilizer, but both are very good

6) as it was told - CF cards on the XF are very practical and cheap. On the EX You can use SDHC/SDXC cards with an adapter - I use it for 2,5 YRS and it works perfectly. Only the SDHC cards are small and more sensitive compared to CF, which are more robust and have better price/performance factor.

7) the XF has more features in the menu - waveforms, etc.

8) as it was said the XF's codec is superior to the EX's

9) maybe it's a tiny detail but I like the EX lens cap which is part of the original mattebox (which is also more advanced than on the XF) - you can't loose it and it's simple to open/close with a simple pull

10) as the EX have a larger sensor, it consumes more power - so with the XF305 Your batteries will last longer

11) The EX1 is not well balanced. With the EX1R it should be better but not as much as with the XF305. If You're about to shoot a lot of hand held, You should consider this - after some time of handheld shooting with the EX1R Your hand will be aching - so I shoot a lot with the camera hanging on the neck

12) The EX's seem to be more robust than the XF's - specially if You focus on the door of the battery compartment of the XF's.

13) The XF305 is bigger than the EX1, so You need a bigger bag.

So my summary is - I like the image look of the EX very much - subjectively more than from the XF305. What is the most attractive for me on the XF is the codec, otherwise the bigger sensor and sensitivity of the EX is much more important for me. If I need High-End image quality, I can use an HD-SDI external recorder. And what is also important to know - I own the EX1 for 2,5 years and it had no failure at all. I don't know the XF in the long term usage.

All the Best!


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Al Bergstein
Re: Canon XF300/305 and Sony XDCAM EX1/3
on Feb 17, 2012 at 5:22:17 am

Good feedback. As to DOF, i use a 7D if I need it. Use the right tool for the job, i say.

Low light works fine with gain up, on my 305. Again, if i need super low light, I shift to 7d.

On 1. I agree with you.
On 4. I guess this is subjective. lots of great paint settings on xf305. I lovethe look.
On 9. Agree. I just lost my lens cap!
On 12. I've had no problems yet with my battery door.

i understand the concerns and preferences. The ex1r is a workhorse for many pros. Time will tell on the xf305.

If i had it to over I'd still buy the 305, but might seriously consider panny af100.

Thanks for your great feedback.


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Canon XF300/305 and Sony XDCAM EX1/3
on Apr 28, 2016 at 7:53:14 pm

Al, or anyone - what custom profiles do you like?

When people talk about "flat" recording, I am assuming they mean with the CP turned off, and then grade in post, etc?

My big issue right now is that the picture is noisey esp past +6. I may need to use +12, but it looks pretty noisy…



Rob Gutermuth
Media Creations

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