November 27, 2010

Canon XF305 Professional Camcorder Reviewed

It's easy to forget with the advent of the HDSLR that there are still many advantages to using a "real" camcorder. If you want autofocus, image stabilization, a legitimate 50mbps codec, and none of the aliasing and CMOS skew problems we associate with DSLRs -- but have little use for shallow depth-of-field -- take a look at the Canon XF305 and X300, Canon's new competitors to the Sony EX1 and EX3.

As for the image above, no, that's not a mirrored picture. While most camcorders only allow you use the LCD screen on the left side (as designed for shooting with the right hand), the XF305 has a screen that flips around to the other side -- one of many features you won't find on a DSLR, which are just now getting articulating LCD screens in the form of the Canon 60D, which just might be the best HDSLR right now.

An overview of the specs:

- 3 Native 1/3" 1920 x 1080 CMOS Sensors
- 50Mbps MPEG-2 Recording
- 4:2:2 Color Sampling
- 60p, 60i, 30p, 24p
- MXF File Format
- Dual CF Card Slots
- 18x HD L-Series Zoom
- Multiple Bit Rates, Resolutions
- Dual XLR Inputs
- HD/SD-SDI, SMPTE Time Code, Genlock (XF305 only)

Some shots with shallow DOF, thanks to the long end of the zoom:

From XDCAM-USER, you can see just how similar the XF305 is to the Sony EX1 (the Canon is on top, the Sony below):

Here's a look at the XF305's ergonomics, which this reviewer found troubling:

If you're interested in this latest camera from Canon, check out ProVideo Coalition's review of the $7,500 camcorder below.

Link: REVIEW: Canon XF305 Camera

Your Comment


One more benefit:

Folk don't ask "why are you using a photo camera?"

I've had this one often enough.

I usually reply with "why don't you go forth and multiply?"

November 27, 2010 at 4:18PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Why no PAL?

November 27, 2010 at 4:32PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Just got home from Best Buy, picking up the Canon 60D. I would love to play around with the XF305 but the $6000 difference is a kick in the... Someday.

November 27, 2010 at 5:13PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Looks like a pretty decent camera. Any idea if the LCD can be flipped for use with 35mm adapters?

November 28, 2010 at 12:04AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Looks interesting. No PAL- Asian buyers are gonna opt out. But I'll get my hands on this at the Canon Lounge.

November 29, 2010 at 5:59AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I actually own one of these, and it's pretty decent. The XF105 is the baby brother and a dynamite camera. If you're coming from the EX1 it feels a bulkier beast and it's better suited to tripod work. The EX1 isn't great for ergonomics either but it does have that rotatable handgrip which is a major advantage. 50mb/s anyone?

December 2, 2010 at 9:17AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Initial reports suggest this is a great camera, good lens but it's the 50mbits 4:2:2 that's the winner, it's the only "small" camera recognised by the BBC and SKY for HD consumption.
It's a quantum leap from the Sony Z1 or Z5, I feel a lot of these comments are a bit picky given the price

December 3, 2010 at 4:54AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Canon why did you not give it interchangeable lens , it would be a Market killer then....

December 3, 2010 at 5:04AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Nice practical overview of the Canon, and it confirms my own observations. Canon makes great stuff but this is not one of them, and definitely not worth $ 7500 in my opinion. If you're got the bucks to spend $ 7500 on a cam, don't get this one. Take a look at the JVC 700L which does under/overcranking, and is under $7K. Otherwise, again, if you've got the bread to pay $7500, stop messing with this overpriced class of camcorders (and that goes for Sony EX series, too) save a bit more and go for the Panasonic HPX-370 which is a superb pro world-class camcorder with a 4:2:2 color space, full-raster 1920x1080 that rivals the Panasonic HPX-500 with it's 1/2 sensors for around $9200.

December 3, 2010 at 5:00PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


We have the 305 wonderful camera amazing pics the 50 mps 4.2.2 is stunning. (else BBC wouldn't have bought it), it we want shallow dof (yawn) we use our 101....each to his own, whatever works for you. But dont criticise for the sake of it. We spent a couple of months researching and trying out numerous bits of kit, but we kept coming back to the 305. the bigger more expensive kit just couldn't cut it when it came to work flow. Also half inch sensors just didn't work noise wise. thats why we bought a large sensor Pano 101 for the times we need to be really arty..

May 22, 2013 at 1:24AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


the xf300 and xf305 do not do 60p

December 8, 2013 at 7:47AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

bum fluff

I own the xf300. It has all the flaws that were mentioned. But for reality TV, it does the job very well. Very competent audio and video.

April 2, 2014 at 10:26PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Having an L-series lens on an all-in-one video camera is appealing to me. I need something that will get a nice medium-tight shot of a speaker from almost 100 ft away. Does anyone know if the XF305's 18x L-series zoom lens (29-527mm) would be adequate for that scenario? Just want to check with someone who has actually used the camera. Thanks!

May 10, 2014 at 9:32PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM