Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

According to the recently updated BBC HD Production Guide, the Canon XF300 (and 305) are approved for independent productions. These Canon’s are now the first 1/3″ chips allowed in HD shows, even though their guidelines require a minimum of 1/2″ sensors.  INFO

Colorimetric and Resolution requirements of cameras by Alan Roberts (BBC)

Tests and settings on a Canon XF300/305

Tests were made on a Canon XF305E, serial number 263050000050, after preliminary tests on a prototype model. The camera has 3 1/3” CMOS sensors and an integral lens. It records MPEG2-compressed video, but all the tests were made using the HDSDI output, captured uncompressed and analysed in software.
The 305 model has HDSDI output, can be genlocked, and has timecode connection, while the 300 has none of these connections. Both models are available in ‘E’ and ‘A’ versions, working at 50Hz and 59.94Hz respectively. A hardware upgrade can be installed in either to make the camera work at both rates, but tests were made only on an unmodified ‘E’ (50Hz, PAL) model. The distinction between models is obscure, and is apparent only on the makers label underneath the camera. Casual users would not be aware of these differences.
The camera weighs 2.65kg, which is fairly heavy for a small-format camera. The built-in lens has 18:1 zoom range from 4.1mm to 73.8mm focal length (equivalent to 29.3 to 527mm in a full-frame 35mm camera). The sensors are CMOS, full-resolution 1920×1080. Recording is onto Compact Flash card (two slots) in MPEG- 2, long-GoP, with MXF file format. Three bit rate options are available: 50Mb/s CBR (constant bit rate) at 4:2:2 colour sampling (1920×1080 or 1280×720), 35Mb/s 4:2:0 VBR (1920×1080 or 1280×720) and 25Mb/s 4:2:0 CBR (1440×1080 only). Thus it complies with broadcast requirements for bit rate and offers more economic rates for greater economy. At these rates, a 64GB card can record 160, 225 and 310 minutes respectively. In 1080 mode, both interlaced and progressive modes are available. Off-speed recording at fixed speeds from 12 to 60fps is possible.
There is a conventional viewfinder (approximately 1650×935 pixels), plus a separate LCD screen (approximately 1480×830 pixels) front mounted, which can be swung out to either side of the camera. Both displays are adequate for focusing.
There are neutral filters for exposure control, and manual control of the lens. Sensitivity is rather good, although it is specified in an obscure way. On-screen video level monitoring is good, there are options for both waveform monitoring and vectorscope. There is an image magnifier as a focus aid.
Connectivity is good, with HDSDI and timecode (only in the 305 model), plus HDMI and USB, analogue component, BNC analogue video, 3.5mm multifunction jack socket and XLRs for audio. Power consumption is about 9 watts at 7.2 volts. The camera performed well under test.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

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