First of all - the disclaimer. I am not employed by Canon. I'm a freelance trainer and I run my own training company (www.urbanfox.tv) helping people to learn how to use their cameras. I have done some training for Canon in Amsterdam - but that's my only connection to the company.
However, I am a Canon XF305 owner and I think the XF305 and XF300 are going to be very popular especially here in the UK (thanks to the BBC).
I started this blog to help me keep track of all the XF camera information I have - and to give my trainees a place to keep up to date with the latest on the XF range and suitable accessories.
So, why do I offer training on the XF305 and XF300 camera?
Canon XF305 and XF105
ready for the training session
Well. If the BBC says that a camera is suitable for HD production it is a safe bet that other broadcasters will too. So, expect to see this camera replacing the Sony Z1 (which is getting old - although my Z1 still works well).
The BBC has shown its commitment to the camera - it bought 60 of them (as of February 2011) for DV Solutions, the BBC's in-house hire dept. They will be used for factual programming. This really does make it a no-brainer purchase for independent production companies.
As all network programmes for the BBC must be in HD by April 2011, anyone thinking of shooting for the BBC needs to check they are using the right camera. There certainly isn't a lot of hope for anyone wanting to use even lower-cost cameras, although if you use a camera with at least half-inch sensors, and with uncompressed HD-SDI or HDMI output, and can record at bitrates above 50Mbps to a nanoFlash, AJA Ki-Pro Mini or other external recorder, they shouldn't have a lot to object to - but always check first as there may be restrictions. Although the XF300 and XF305 have three 1/3-inch sensors, the quality of the image, combined with the 50Mbps recording, was judged to be good enough to meet BBC requirements.
In any HD production up to 25% can usually be shot on a lower quality camera (or can be standard definition material or archive footage) - perhaps because a smaller camera was needed (eg in a car). I think the XF105 and XF100 will fit that bill (especially for shooting at night thanks to its infrared capabilities). But, if the budget is tight perhaps the XA10 would be suitable, especially for use in very confined spaces or as an undercover camera.