Canon Professional Camcorders Give Sports Shooters a New Option

Canon’s entry into the tapeless-HD-camcorder market, via the new Canon XF305 and XF300 professional tapeless HD camcorders, promises to be a game changer for sports productions with low budgets. The new Canon XF codec delivers 720p/60 images (and other formats) at MPEG-2 4:2:2 50 Mbps on standard Compact Flash (CF) cards.

“A tapeless camcorder is very compelling to our industry,” says Chuck Westfall, technical advisor, CIG Professional Products Marketing Division, Canon. “Getting clips into computer-based editing systems more quickly and the elimination of tape transport mechanisms increase reliability.”

The XF305 and XF300 professional camcorders feature hot-swappable dual card slots and support UDMA CF cards for maximum performance. Uniting video, audio, and metadata into a single file, the Canon XF305 and XF300 use an MXF (Material eXchange Format) file wrapper, a widely supported open-source format, to maximize compatibility with existing industry infrastructure and non-linear editing (NLE) systems.

Included in the XF305 and XF300 camcorders is a genuine Canon 18x HD L-series lens, providing documentary filmmakers and news camera operators with the focal-range versatility required in the field. Part of the reason for the extended zoom range is the use of ⅓-in. sensors. Each model includes three Canon-developed and -designed native 1920×1080 CMOS image sensors and the Canon XF codec for extreme color detail required for accurate chroma-keying, color-grading, and compositing for digital filmmaking.

The XF305 model features industry-standard HD-SDI output, genlock, and SMPTE timecode (in/out) terminals for multicamera or 3D productions.

“One of the key things with the Canon XF codec is that, during the course of its development, we worked closely with Apple, Avid, Adobe, and Grass Valley so that material is ready to go without any transcoding.”

Previous tape-based Canon camcorders supported HDV and AVC HD, but Westfall says the step up to 50 Mbps and 4:2:2 allows the Canon camcorder line to support the studio environment.

“The video market is exploding, and we wanted to come at it from a different perspective,” he adds. The camcorders are slated to ship in late June priced about $8,000.

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