Monday, 7 April 2014

Canon XF200 + XF205 launched

Canon’s new XF205 and XF200 compact video cameras fit into the XF range between the existing XF100/XF105 and XF300/XF305, although as the XF200 models each have a single slightly-bigger-than one-third-inch CMOS sensor, they are nearer the 100/105 than the 300/305.

Canon says they have been based on the XF100/105, but enhanced to reflect feedback from users, to offer “greater versatility, with a more powerful Canon HD Video System, numerous recording modes, wireless connectivity and an enhanced operational design – providing operators with greater freedom to shoot, view and distribute their footage during assignments.”

Each has a 20x zoom lens (3.67 - 73.4mm equivalent to 28.8 - 576mm on a 35mm sensor, f1.8), offering double the optical zoom of the XF100 and using Hi Index Ultra Low Dispersion glass lens elements for compact size and reduced chromatic aberrations compared to prior models. It has a minimum focus distance of 60cm (throughout the zoom range) or 10mm (using the Wide MACRO setting), plus a built-in ND filter.

They also boast Canon’s latest HD CMOS PRO imaging sensor and a DIGIC DV 4 processor, technologies carried over from the XA25 and XA20 Professional Camcorders.

Simultaneous recording

Like the rest of the XF range, they can record at 50Mbps (MPEG-2) with 4:2:2 colour sampling, using the MXF broadcast file format recorded on Compact Flash (to dual card slots). They can also simultaneously capture 35Mbps 4:2:0 MP4 files to an SD card, in HD or lower resolutions – useful for anyone who has to shoot material for both broadcast and web channels.

There is a new rotating handgrip (seen on the XF200 above) that can move through a 120º angle, for greater comfort and stability. There are also three individual lens rings for focus, zoom and iris, for ease and speed of operation.

Both the viewfinder and pull-out display have a resolution of 1.23m dots. The upgraded 3.5-inch OLED display offers higher contrast, more vivid colours and faster response times, which should be far superior in operation, especially in bright conditions, than the lower-resolution XF100 LCD.

Audio capture has also been upgraded, and both models support four-channel linear PCM recording, with two XLR inputs allowing the use of professional microphones. There is also a built-in stereo microphone and a 3.5mm microphone jack.

Going wireless

Each model also has WiFi and Ethernet LAN connectivity, allowing direct or wireless connection to smartphones, tablets and laptops, including camera control, remote viewing and the ability to transfer files via FTP without additional software. A new CameraAccess function allows lower-quality proxy files to be streamed to another device via WiFi, improving the speed in which content, such as news flashes, can be shared.

The XF205 also has selectable 3G-SDI/HD-SDI, Timecode and Genlock connections (pictured above) for easy integration on multi-camera shoots or with other broadcast equipment.

“The new XF205 and XF200 are a natural next step in the evolution of our XF range, providing enhanced functionality, alongside another step up in terms of the quality of the visual and audio output,” said Kieran Magee, Director of Professional Marketing, Canon Europe. “Historically, the versatility of our XF series cameras has seen them widely adopted by a range of different users, and the new features we’ve added into these products provide our customers with greater choice and creative freedom than previously available from such a compact camcorder.”

The XF205 and XF200 should be available from mid-July 2014, with pre-order prices of about $3,500/£2,750 for the XF200 and $4,000/£3,200 (plus taxes) for the XF205.

UPDATE: Canon XF200/XF205 free firmware reduces noise + adds livestreaming

By Christina Fox