Tag Archives: canon

Adaptimax Lens Mount Adapters for PMW-F3, Canon and Nikon.

IMG_0648-300x224 Adaptimax Lens Mount Adapters for PMW-F3, Canon and Nikon.
Adaptimax F3 to Canon and Nikon lens mounts

I was sent a couple of Adaptimax lens mount adapters to test on my PMW-F3. I have used some of their EX3 adapters in the past and these worked very well. The new PMW-F3 adapters are finished with a very nice hard black anodised finish and look very smart indeed. I had 3 adapters to try, one F3 to Canon and two F3 to Nikon adapters. The Canon adapter is a “dumb” adapter, so there is no way to control the lenses iris. If your using Canon lenses this means using a DSLR body to set the iris before using the lens on the F3. Obviously this is not ideal, but you do have to consider that there is a massive range of lenses that can be used with this Canon adapter via a secondary adapter ring.

Canon’s flange back distance (the sensor to lens distance) is the shortest in the DSLR world. So this means that there is space to adapt to other lens mounts with longer flange back distances such as M42, Nikon, Pentax, Pentacon etc. This opens up a whole world of possibilities as now you can use those nice M42 Zeiss lenses that can be picked up cheap on ebay by adding a cheap M42 to Canon adapter.

IMG_0651-300x224 Adaptimax Lens Mount Adapters for PMW-F3, Canon and Nikon.
Nikon 50mm f1.8 with Adaptimax F3 Mount.

If you have already invested in Nikon fit glass then you can use a Nikon to Canon adapter or you can use one of Adaptimax’s purpose built F3 to Nikon adapters.

There are two varieties, the original Adaptimax and the Adaptimax Plus. The Plus version includes a long screw that pushes the iris pin on the rear of the lens to give you iris control even when the lens does not have an iris ring. While this is not as elegant as MTF Services rotating adapter barrel, it works fine and the simplicity of the design means the adapter is a little cheaper. The standard version has no iris control, so you need to ensure your lens has a proper iris ring. Priced at £255 for the standard adapters and £265 for the plus versions these are good value for money.

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Testing, testing…. Canon 800/1600 mm lens on F3

Canon-800mm1-e1305995707959-300x224 Testing, testing.... Canon 800/1600 mm lens on F3
Canon 800mm lens on PMW-F3

In preparation for the big Duran Duran shoot in Berlin later in the week I was out with Den Lennie of F-Stop academy along with Duran Duran video producer Gavin Elder and James Tonkin of Hangman Studios testing the Canon 800/1600 f5.6 lens on my F3. This is an adapted DSLR lens fitted with a PL mount. What a lens! The bokeh was simply gorgeous from this lens and I’m really excited about putting it to use in Berlin on Thursday night. Keep tuned for more info on this BIG project shooting with F3’s, FS100’s and SRW9000PL’s. We’re even throwing in a VG10 or 2 for good measure! Nine cameras in total, ultra shallow DoF is the goal, gonna be hard to do, but it should look awesome.

Canon XF105, using OIS to correct zoom axis shift. (3D applications)

While I was in Singapore last week I got to play with a pair of Canon’s XF105’s on a Genus Hurricane 3D rig. We were able to use the programmable axis shift function to compensate for the way the zoom lenses don’t remain centred as you change focal length. Zooming in 3D with two cameras is very hard to do because of this shift, normally requiring very expensive matched lenses. With the 105’s and and a few minutes of adjusting we were able to do synchronised zooms (using the IR remote) that retained very good tracking and accuracy. This really is quite remarkable at this price point!

Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.

IMPORTANT UPATE REGARDING NOISE AND SENSITIVITY: See section highlighted in red below.
Hi all. Well I have got a Canon XF305E for the afternoon. Wish it was longer, but they are like hens teeth. I’m going to be writing and updating this as I go, so please keep coming back for the latest updates and post a comment if there is anything you want me to specifically look at.

side-by-side-300x224 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
XF305 Top and EX1R Bottom

Out of the box, first impressions are that it is big. 20% bigger than an EX1. The body is dominated by the very large lens which also has a sensor of some kind to the left of the lens barrel. I assume this is to do with the autofocus system. I hope so as it would make Matte Box use very difficult.
Overall it feels very well made although there are a few bits that could be better. It’s possible to put a battery in the battery compartment incorrectly so that the camera will work unless you knock it and bump it, then the battery connection is lost. You really need to have the camera down on a flat surface to be sure the battery goes in right. In addition there is a pair of really heath robinson looking springs at the back of the battery compartment. Considering this is about the most expensive camcorder in it’s class you don’t expect cheap and nasty springs like the ones fitted in the battery compartment.

springs-300x224 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
Cheap springs

They look like an after thought.

Incorrectly inserted Battery
The flap that covers the battery feels cheap and plasticky compared to the rest of the camera body and I would be worried about this breaking off at some point. However if it does break there is a separate battery catch that holds the battery in place.
Looking at the lens my first point of confusion came when I pressed the zoom rocker and nothing happened. I turned the calibrated zoom ring on the lens and the lens zoomed in and out, but the rocker did nothing. So I looked for the zoom servo switch. I didn’t find one but did find the “Zoom – Rocker – Ring” switch. Switched it from ring to rocker, pressed the rocker and the zoom works…….. but….. now the zoom ring does not turn or move, so you can have one or the other but not both. The iris ring has no markings and is of the round and round servo variety so you need to look at the (very nice) LCD screen to see where the iris is set, the same for the zoom when set to rocker.

305LCD-300x224 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
XF305 LCd with waveform monitor

The focus system is not that dissimilar to an EX with both calibrated manual and non calibrated manual/auto operation. On an EX you slide the focus ring forwards and backwards to switch from full manual to servo control. On the XF305 you have to take your hand off the focus ring to operate a small push button that allows you to rotate the lens body to switch between manual and servo. It’s not quite as convenient as the EX but is easy enough to do. There is a problem with this however. If you set the manual focus ring at say infinity, then switch to the servo/manual/auto focus and use that, when you switch back to full manual the lens will return to the last position you set the focus to. OK, fine, that’s the same as an EX1R, BUT on the XF305 you can’t see the focus scale in the focus window when you are set to servo/auto so you have no idea what the focus is going to do when you switch modes unless you can remember where you last set the manual focus.
Just like an EX1 when you hand hold the camera it’s bulk puts a fair bit of strain on the wrist as it want’s to fall forwards and to the left. There is no adjustable hand grip rotation and the record start stop button is a little low down for my thumb. The hand grip is also quite small and angular. I think the EX1R is a lot more comfortable to hold.

tripod-plate-150x150 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
Small single thread tripod plate

If your using the XF305 on a tripod there is only a single 1/4? threaded hole in a small plate on the bottom of the camera, much like the original EX1, so don’t overload it or you may end up breaking the plate. Perhaps Curtis at Juiced Designs will do a strengthening plate for the XF305. Do camera designers not read forums and look at what happens to cameras when used in the field?
Behind the hand grip there is an array of BNC connectors for SDi, video out, Genlock and timcode. Full marks for using proper BNC connectors here. Behind these are a whole bunch of floppy cheap plastic covers over HDMI, USB, headphone, AV, remote and mini component connectors.

LCD-Left-300x224 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
LCD on the left

In use the large LCD screen is clear and easy to see. It flips out from under the handle on both sides of the camera which is really neat.

LCD-right-300x224 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
LCD on the right

The multi-coloured graphics all over the screen do make it a little cluttered but these can be easily turned off. The XF305 can also display waveform monitor and vectorscope plus a 3 zone waveform monitor all of which are very useful tools to have (LCD screen only, not rear VF). While looking at the LCD I realised that just like the EX1 the microphone and in this case the LCD as well, stick out beyond the end of the lens. Why do camera manufacturers do this? It makes fitting and using a Matte Box so difficult. Doh! Having the LCD screen so far forwards could present problems for Matte Box users.

XF305-Default-300x168 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
XF305 Default settings (click for full frame)

Where the EX1 and EX3 have picture profiles the XF305 like most pro Canon cameras has a number of “Custom Picture” memories. There are 6 preset memories for you to dial in your own looks plus “Video C”, “Cine V” and “Cine F” setups. The Cine V setup was really soft and Cine F just had a quite flat look, however I didnt really have time to explore these fully. I did try Alan Roberts recommended settings and these are very nice and I would recommend them as a good starting point for really making the XF305 sing. Within the CP settings you can choose from 4 standard gamma curves and 2 cine style gamma curves. The Matrix is fully adjustable so it should be easy to roll your own custom looks. Another setting tucked away in the CP menu is the noise reduction. The XF305 has some very clever noise reduction that is clearly doing a good job of controlling the noise that is normally be associated with a small sensor camera. You can choose between Automatic nose reduction and 8 steps of reduction. If set to 8 however the noise reduction is very hard and the resolution drops way down.

EX1R-Default-300x168 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
EX1R Default settings

The pictures from the XF305 are very good. At 0db they are quite similar overall to those from an EX1. They do have a different colorimetry to Sony’s camera’s (which I always find a little yellow) and are pleasing to look at. Clearly the lens is very good, CA is well controlled but there is some quite obvious barrel distortion between fully wide and 6mm, but it’s no worse than an EX1R and really to be expected from a camera at this price point.

barrel-distortion-300x168 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
Barrel Distortion and Corner Softening

I also found some noticeable softening in the corners fully wide which appears to be worse on the left side of the image than the right.
When I was looking at the lens distortion I was zooming in and out using the zoom rocker, then I went to turn the zoom ring just to tweak the zoom and of course nothing happened. This zoom rocker or zoom ring, but not both way of operation really sucks.. am I missing something here? While on the subject of the zoom rocker I was asked about how it was with slow creeping zooms. Well it’s very good. I did find that you have to press the rocker a long way past the center point before anything happens, but once the zoom starts to operate you can get a slow creeping zoom. But to then go from the creeping zoom smoothly to a faster zoom is tricky as a tiny bit more pressure on the rocker leads to a rapid increase in zoom speed. It seems that there is a very large dead area where the zoom rocker does nothing and then all the action takes place in the last few millimeters of its travel. It almost feels like the zoom speed is in steps, not entirely variable. I’m sure it’s not and with practice perhaps I could master it, but it’s a little touchy. The EX1R isn’t perfect either. The zoom rocker can be a bit twitchy when trying to do a creeping zoom, but in this case I prefer the EX1R zoom over the Canon. If you do choose to use the zoom ring to control the zoom there is some serious lag between turning the zoom ring and the zoom happening. For slow zooms this may not be an issue, but crash zooms are very difficult to execute. The iris ring also as some lag which makes fine tweaking of exposure a little harder than it should be. The last couple of years I have become so used to the EX1 and EX3 lens with its great feel and proper zoom and iris rings that this is a real let down. Overall I think that optically the Canon lens as a small edge over the EX lens, there is less CA and a greater zoom range. But ergonomically I much prefer the EX1R lens.

XF305-Alan-Roberts-300x168 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
XF305 Alan Roberts CP

Latitude is very similar at 0db between both cameras, I couldn’t really see much of a difference either way. UPDATE There are some differences in image sharpness and noise however. Please see this clip (Vimeo or YouTube) for some examples, generally Vimeo is better quality.
If anything the Canon 305 at first glance appears a little sharper than the EX1R, but looking closer and examining the footage as well as resolution chart results shows very similar resolution from both cameras. However the XF305 pictures contain a lot of quite visible, very fine noise that’s constantly buzzing around at all brightness levels. This very fine noise is easily mistaken for extra picture detail, which it is not.
It’s really interesting to look at side by side comparisons of the EX and XF footage. With the same clip, trees and foliage from the XF appear to be more detailed, but step through the footage frame by frame and you see the XF foliage is actually full of this fine noise compared to the EX foliage, this makes it appear sharper as it adds a fake “texture” to the foliage. But I can’t actually see any extra real detail in the XF foliage. Taking the same clip and looking at the parked car, again the XF shows a lot of noise, but in this case you can clearly see the car is a little softer in the XF footage than the EX. These differences are not so much down to resolution differences, but down to noise and noise reduction working in slightly different ways in the two cameras plus differences in the detail settings.

gain-sbs-1024x576 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
XF305 and EX1R at +12db

Turn up the gain on both cameras to +12db and the difference is even more striking. Click on the image to the left to view it full frame or look at the clip I have prepared (Vimeo or YouTube). I find the fine, busy, noise from the XF305 a lot more objectionable than the more blocky noise that the EX1R generates. The XF305 also shows some black speckles similar to those found on the Panasonic HPX301. Given that the XF305 is using small 1/3? sensors this kind of performance is not really unexpected. The XF305 probably has the best front end of any 1/3? camera currently on the market, but controlling noise on small sensors is harder to do than with large sensors and IMHO it still doesn’t perform as well as the EX’s with their larger sensors.
In addition the EX1R’s larger sensor helps it capture more light making it 1.5 stops more sensitive than the XF305. So in low light you will tend to use more gain with the 305 than with an EX. It has been pointed out that the XF305 lens is about half a stop faster than the EX lens which does help the 305 little, but if low light performance is important to you do choose wisely. You can increase the noise reduction on the XF305 to combat the noise but this also softens the picture, especially when used at the higher settings. If you download the raw footage you can zoom in and see the differences for yourself.

XF-left-ex-right21-300x168 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
305 Left, EX1 Right Default settings
XF-left-ex-right1-300x168 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
305 Left, EX1 Right Default settings

The differences are small, but they are there. The Canon is noisier looking while the Sony appears a little softer, but I’m not convinced that it is, I thinks it the XF’s noise giving the impression of a sharper image by adding texture to many surfaces. I personally would take the cleaner image as you can more with this in post production.
I also shot some clips with the XF305 and a NanoFlash as well as the EX1R and a NanoFlash. At 50Mb/s it was very hard to tell any difference between the XF305 and 305/NanoFlash recording, which is what you would expect. If anything the NanoFlash footage may be just a tiny bit less blocky. Comparing the XF305 at 50Mb/s and EX1R/NanoFlash at 50Mb/s the EX footage was quite a bit cleaner with less mosquito noise and macro blocking. If you click on the side by side image on the right you can view it full screen. Look at how much cleaner the EX footage is, but also look carefully at the brickwork. I can tell you that in the moving video clip the bushes in the XF305 clip are full of fine noise, on the frame grab this looks like fine detail, but it’s not.

305-EX-Nano2-300x168 Canon XF305 Review with sample footage.
XF305 and EX1R/NanoFlash at 50Mb/s

The EX footage recorded on to the NanoFlash at 50Mb/s is cleaner with less macro blocking and mosquito noise, this is probably due to the very fine noise from the 305 stressing the codec harder than the low frequency noise from the EX. At 100Mb/s the EX1R looked really good indeed. The test footage was shot at 25P and even though the XF305 is recording at 50Mb/s 4:2:2 against the EX1R’s 35Mb/s 4:2:0 the visible difference in the rushes is negligible.
The rear viewfinder on the XF305 is a bit better than the rear finder on the EX1R. It’s bigger and I found it very nice to use, however I could not get the waveform monitors etc to appear in the rear finder, only the LCD screen. The menus are logically laid out, I didn’t find them as straight forward to use as the EX menu’s but then I have been using EX’s for some years now so it could just be a case of them being different to what I’m used to.
CONCLUSIONS
So what do I think? Well the XF305 is a very good camcorder. It produces very pleasing images recorded at 50Mb/s 4:2:2. Is it better than an EX1R? Well I don’t think that overall it is. Is the EX1R better then? On it’s own, no, but with a NanoFlash, yes. There are bits of both cameras that I like and dislike. The EX1R is nicer to hold and more compact, it has a better zoom rocker and record switch. The XF305 has a better zoom range and less CA (Chromatic aberration) but I would not enjoy the way you have to choose between the zoom rocker OR zoom ring and can’t have both. The 305?s zoom and iris rings are a little sluggish to respond and the iris has no calibrated markings so you have to rely on the viewfinder or LCD. The 305?s LCD is really very good and I like the way you can flip it out either side. The EX1R’s rear finder, while perfectly useable is not as good as the one on the XF305. The picture quality from both cameras is very good. Different…. but good. The 305 has a slight edge on it’s out of the box look but it is visibly more noisy than the EX1R and it’s easy to confuse the very busy fine noise that appears across the whole image as fine detail. The EX can be dialled in to give great pictures too. As a side note with the EX going in to the Picture Profiles and increasing frequency to +40 helps sharpen up the foliage in the EX pictures. Both cameras have some noise in the images, at 0db I think the EX has the visual edge and looks cleaner, at higher gain levels above +6db the XF305 noise becomes more and more objectionable compared to the EX1R. At 0db the XF305?s fine noise is stressing the codec a little. An EX1R recording to a NanoFlash at 50Mb/s produces a much cleaner image with less mosquito noise and macro blocking.
If your thinking of buying either it’s a tough choice. The XF305 has genlock and timecode in, which the EX1R does not have. For that you need to get an EX3 which is more expensive, but then you can also change the lens. I certainly don’t see any reason to swap my EX’s for 305?s and the similarly priced EX1/NanoFlash combo is an extremely powerful tool offering the benefits of dual record, HD and SD recording as well as higher bit rates. In addition NanoFlash 50Mb/s files are compatible with the XDCAM HD optical disc system, which the Canon files are not. The XF305 has smaller sensors than the EX1 so controlling depth of field will be a little harder, also you will get image softening due to diffraction effects about a stop sooner with the 305 but this may or may not be important to you.
In Summary:
Optics: Canon
Ergonomics: Sony
Pictures: Sony (cleaner, less noise)
Workflow: Sony (Because it’s faster (with SxS) more mature and you have backwards compatibility with Optical Disc XDCAM HD)
Canon XF305 and Sony EX1R side by side tests from Ingenious TV on Vimeo.

Canon T2i, first impressions, initial tests (frame grabs and video supplied).

t2i-EX Canon T2i, first impressions, initial tests (frame grabs and video supplied).
EX1 on left, T2i on right

As you may have seen from my earlier post I became the owner of the new Canon T2i (or 550D as it’s known in the UK) at the weekend. Clearly before using any camera in anger it’s important to see what it can and can’t do. I will say that I am not a Canon DSLR expert. I have been following the fuss and much admire some of the work done with these cameras by Phil Bloom, but frankly after playing with the Canon over the weekend I have to say I’m disappointed. Yes you can achieve shallow depth of field very easily and you do get a filmic look to the pictures, but look at the footage on a big monitor and it just looks soft. At first I wondered if this was the lens I was using, so I tried a couple of others including a nice Tamron 28mm prime. I tried different apertures, shutter speeds etc, but every clip I’ve taken looks soft. In isolation, on scenes with low detail this isn’t immediately apparent, but anything with lots of fine detail looks soft. Some of this is aliasing, look at the roof of the house in the T2i image, it appears to have diagonal roof tiles, this is a pretty typical aliasing artifact. I shot some closer shots of the buildings and the brickwork aliased like crazy.

t2i-flowers Canon T2i, first impressions, initial tests (frame grabs and video supplied).
EX1 on right, T2i on left

Looking at the flowers picture you can see that the EX1 has picked up more of the subtle texture, or at least it has recorded more of the texture. I’m sure some of the Canon’s softness is due to compression artifacts. The other thing that I found is that it is tending to crush blacks a bit. I have played around with the picture styles and you can reduce this a bit, but there is very little detail in deep blacks, which would IMHO make grading tricky. The one good thing I did find was that it is very noise free at 200 and 400 asa, it’s also useable up to 800 asa or at a push 1600asa, so it would make a good camera for very low key scenes, provided you use a good fast lens. Looking at the Canon pictures there was something pleasing about the deep, almost crushed blacks. I think this helps contribute to the Canon DSLR “look” so I quickly threw together a new picture profile for the EX1/3 and PMW-350, but I’m afraid that the details of that will be the subject of another post, as I have work that I must do first! The EX images in the frame grabs were shot with this picture profile. As we all know the ergonomics of the video DSLR’s is pretty poor for video. It’s tricky to hold and you have to use an add on Loupe to make the LCD useable as a viewfinder. You can’t zoom mid shot and without peaking or zebras adjusting exposure and focus accurately is difficult. I was hoping to be able to use the 550D as a B camera for those situations where I need a small, discreet camera, but having seen the pictures, so far, for me it will be reserved for holidays and shooting where you not supposed to video and for shoots where supper shallow DoF is essential. I have to say I’m really disappointed, I wanted this camera to be so much better, I knew it would suffer from aliasing, but I wasn’t expecting the soft pictures, I guess some will say that the softness adds to the filmic look, but I’d much rather do that with some nice pro-mists or filtration in post production rather than starting out with soft pictures. Perhaps I’ve done something wrong? If I have please add a comment!

UPDATE: I was so convinced that I must be doing something wrong that I shot some more clips, this time with less harsh lighting. No, change however, the T2i is still soft and the new clips show just how big a problem aliasing is. You have to consider that the coloured moire patterns are recorded like that, no amount of grading will get rid of it. A small amount of diffusion on the camera should help, but then your going to have to work out how much to soften and diffuse each shot to make sure your not making the pictures even softer than they already are.

t2i-aliasing Canon T2i, first impressions, initial tests (frame grabs and video supplied).
EX top, Canon T2i bottom

The frame grabs are all 1:1 pixel for pixel, no trickery has been used! You can download some further examples by clicking here. Even if you were shooting stuff for the web this level of aliasing could cause big problems as it’s really obvious. For this shot I had the Canons sharpness setting turned all the way down. I have also turned down the contrast setting as this gives better dynamic range with less crushed blacks. My workflow is to import the H264 files from the camera and then convert them to ProResHQ. This helps a little with sharpness over working with the native H264, but for me this last test was the nail in the coffin for DSLR’s as footage like this would simply be unusable. If you watch the YouTube clip please make sure you watch it full screen or at least at the 480P setting. The small embedded size doesn’t show the aliasing as much as the bigger versions.
FURTHER UPDATE:
OK, so it’s defiantly not just me doing something wrong. When in focus the T2i/550D aliases (as do all the current Canon DSLR’s). This is a grab from Philip Blooms latest Canon short. For once this is a daylight piece and as I expected it exhibits a lot of aliasing. The grab is actually taken from the thumbnail on his exposure room page. I’m really pleased to see this as it shows that aliasing is a problem for the experts too. You start to appreciate why so many of the Canon shorts are shot at night, with millimeter deep DoF… it’s to stay clear of having stuff in focus that will alias. there are filters from Caprock that are supposed to help, but you need a different filter for each focal length and aperture that you use, they also soften the picture somewhat.

PBaliasing Canon T2i, first impressions, initial tests (frame grabs and video supplied).
Aliasing in Phil Blooms latest edit

If you want my opinion, then it has to be that the Canon’s are close, but still a mile away. The aliasing issue is a biggie. Sort it out and the skew, jello and overheating can be worked around, but if you have to worry about simply having a piece of wood in focus and whether it’s going to exhibit rainbows of colour or whether cobble stones will twitter and change colour (At 00.35 and this is from Canon) then it will limit what you can do. There is quite a lot of aliasing in Phil’s new daytime clip, basically anytime anything is steady, has texture and is in focus, it aliases. I’ve been shot down in flames on other forums for saying that this is a problem, but if even the experts can’t deal with it then what hope does everyone else have? I would love to have the option of shooting with the shallow DoF that the Canon’s offer, but not at the expense of having to avoid any kind of texture. Perhaps Red and Scarlet will be better, perhaps Canon will sort it out, or perhaps not, as the cameras are clearly selling like hot cakes, even with the issues. If they do fix it then the camera will almost certainly be for video only.

Canon To Launch 4:2:2 50Mb/s MXF HD Camcorder!


Canon has been keeping quiet for some time now and there has been lots of speculation about their next video camera, including many that had hoped for a 35mm sized sensor. Well this morning Canon posted a press release on their website. The main and most exciting point is that the camera under development will be full 1920×1080 and it will be 50Mb/s 4:2:2 Mpeg 2 MXF. Now this looks on paper to be an extremely similar format to XDCAM HD422. It would certainly make edit suite integration a lot simpler if the MXF files are the same as the Sony XDAM MXF’s.

Mockups of a camera seen in recent months have shown a handycam style, fixed lens camera with two slots for some type of memory card, which could possibly be express card slots. The mockup lens looks like it might be an EX1 style lens with manual and auto focus and might be big enough to accommodate 1/2? sensors. Is this the camera that the press release refers to, or is there another camera in the pipelines? There is a lot of stuff not mentioned in the press release, like recording media. It says “file based”, this could be solid state or it could be something else, maybe optical disc. Might this be a full size XDCAM HD camcorder from Canon? The release gives no sensor or form factor information which I find a little odd. Having shown mockups of an EX1 sized camera why not a more detailed press release with info on the lens, sensors, recording media etc? (apparently there will be another press release on the 8th of Feb).

Canon make some very good video cameras, I had an XL-H1 and it was a great HDV camcorder. I have no doubt that this new camera will be very good and competitively priced. IF it is the EX1 sized camera and it has 1/2? sensors then this would tick all of the BBC’s boxes for HD. If it’s CCD (which seems likely) it won’t have skew or flash banding. This is a very significant announcement and could push Canon to the front of the Pro Handycam pack. Here is the full press release from the Canon web site.

New Canon MPEG-2 Codec chosen for file-based professional video camcorder promises compatibility with industry-standard editing & processing software

United Kingdom / Republic of Ireland February 2nd 2010 – Canon Inc. today announces the adoption of an MPEG-2 Full HD (4:2:2) file-based recording codec for a new professional video camcorder currently under development. The Canon MPEG-2 codec will enable high-quality imaging and audio performance with up to 50 Mbps data recording and twice the colour data of HDV HDV is a standard for the recording and playback of high definition (1,440 x 1,080 pixels) video and audio on DV-format cassette tapes profile formats. File-based recording helps video operations realise greater efficiencies during post-production processing, making it an ideal format for many industry applications such as news gathering, documentary filmmaking and event videography.

MPEG-2 Full HD compression and 4:2:2 colour sampling?The adoption of MPEG-2 Full HD (MPEG-2 4:2:2 HP@HL compliant) compression enables the recording of 1,920 x 1,080-pixel full high-definition video. Additionally, compared with the 4:2:0 profile format used in HDV and other standards, 4:2:2 colour sampling offers twice the volume of colour data, providing double the level of colour resolution.

Maximum 50 Mbps data recording?With approximately twice the total data volume of HDV, the codec supports higher resolution and increased colour data to enable the recording of high-quality video.

Industry-standard MXF file format (see note (II))?MXF (Material eXchange Format) is a widely supported open source file format for the recording of video, audio and metadata, developed to suit the latest editing systems used by broadcasters.

Canon partners with major editing and processing software?With the adoption of the MPEG-2 Full HD (4:2:2) file-based recording codec, Canon is working in cooperation with Adobe Systems Incorporated, Apple Inc., Avid Technology, Inc. and Grass Valley to ensure compatibility with major editing and processing software programs widely used within the video imaging industry. Additionally, at future industry events Canon intends to demonstrate the overall video-production workflow, from initial video capture to clip-trimming and final editing. Video clips stored in a file-based recording system and industry-standard software applications will be used.

(II) A format for professional digital video and audio media defined by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE)

Notes to editor

Advantages of File-Based Recording

File-based recording enables video and audio data to be managed and stored by file, much in the same way as computer data. It supports efficiency throughout the production process, from initial video capture to final editing through the entire workflow. Additionally, file-based recording provides users with the flexibility to utilise different editing environments and workflow solutions without the restrictions associated with some other video recording formats, helping to reduce investment costs.