Despite the fact that we often concentrate on consumer devices, today we’re examining the Canon XF400 Professional camcorder.
The market for video and photography has long been dominated by Canon, but recent shifts in customer purchasing habits have compelled other manufacturers to adjust in some way.
Sales of consumer camcorders and digital SLR cameras have reached multi-decade lows as a result of the proliferation of powerful smartphone cameras. It seems sensible that many casual users would select their current “good enough” smartphone over more expensive secondary and tertiary options.
The professional market will always want the highest caliber, specialized video, regardless of consumer behavior. In order to solve the issue of the shrinking consumer market, Canon created a novel approach.
The consumer-oriented VIXIA GX10 and the professional XF400 and XF405 virtually entirely share internal components and specs. Although there isn’t a significant price difference between them, Canon separates the versions primarily based on the form factor and available inputs and outputs.
Two cameras that cross the consumer and professional markets are the product of this intriguing technique. The VIXIA GX10 would likely be seen as relatively high-end by most consumers, whilst the XF400 and XF405 would probably be regarded as pro-grade equipment at the lower end of the range by most professionals.
While 4K recording undoubtedly seems like a game-changing capability, experts are aware that producing high-quality video requires much more than merely having a large number of pixels. Will video pros discover that the Canon XF400 meets all of their requirements at a fair price? Let’s examine this little 4K shooter’s features in more detail.
Every time we examine professional-grade equipment, the specifics and intricacies are much more important. Consumers may rely their judgment on a product’s look or the few aspects they are familiar with, whereas professionals thoroughly research products before making a purchase. We’ll quickly examine the XF400 and XF405 to learn some broad facts about the cameras and Canon’s target market before getting too further into the specifics.
The XF400 and XF405 are small, portable camcorders. While the camera body itself resembles the VIXIA GX10 almost exactly, Canon has included a removable grip for the XF series. In addition to giving users more grip choices, this handle attaches to the camera’s hotshoe and transmits power and data. This enables a great deal more inputs, controls, and lighting choices, which we’ll talk about in a moment. When the extra capabilities aren’t needed, the handle may be removed for simpler storage or basic operation.
We should take a moment to clarify certain misunderstandings that Canon’s naming scheme may have contributed to. From the XF100/105 to the XF200/205 and XF300/305, Canon preserved the XF moniker. Therefore, it would be reasonable to presume that the XF400/405 followed in the footsteps of earlier generations of goods with a similar designation.
Unfortunately, Canon either made an odd or misleading decision. According to their public statements, the “4” on the XF400/405 stands for “4K video support,” not “replacement for the XF300/305.” Don’t worry if this has you perplexed. Like you, we were perplexed.
For a few key reasons, most notably the availability of broadcast-conforming video standards, the XF300/305 continue to be immensely popular among video professionals, broadcasters, and mobile news crews.
In addition to not supporting the same standards, Canon replaced the three lens rings that allowed for easy zoom, focus, and brightness adjustment with a single ring in the XF400/405. Before we examine the results of those decisions, let’s quickly recap what the XF400/405 loses from the popular features that made its predecessors so well-liked for professional video.
If you’re familiar with Canon’s earlier XF family devices, you’ll notice the XF400’s smaller size right away. Without the lens cover and eyecup, the XF300 measures 6.0 x 9.3 x 15.0 inches and weighed 6.5 pounds when fully loaded. The XF400 reduces weight and physical size. This camera appears to be relatively modest at 3.8 x 5.3 8.4 and 3.7 pounds, barely touching the scales.
If you frequently use a tripod, size and weight are less important, but if you typically shoot while holding the camera for a long period of time, the smaller size may be advantageous. The tiny size may affect steadiness in the eyes of some videographers, however, it is a question of personal choice.
The 0.24 inch, 1.56 million pixel viewfinder of the XF400 boasts about 100 percent field of vision. The 3.5-inch broad flip-out LCD screen can be preferred by many people. Additionally, it has a broad color spectrum, an anti-reflective surface, and a wide viewing angle.
Numerous audio, video, and data connectors are included on the Canon. The camcorder’s USB mini-B port and Hi-Speed USB provide data transfer. Video is output via an HDMI small connection, while audio is entered via a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack or two-channel XLR 3-pin connectors. Gigabit ethernet connectors also make it simple to transport data through computer networks.
Detail & Features of the Video
The VIXIA GX10 and the XF400/405 both use Canon’s new 1-inch CMOS image sensor as its main imaging component. Even though it might not be as broadcast-ready as the XF300/305, this big CMOS chip produces excellent footage. Detail is what light means to cameras. Daylight film may seem nice since a smaller image sensor can capture less light, but low-light situations will come out quite black and lack sufficient detail.
Progressive scanning is supported at 24, 30, and 60 frames per second for the XF400’s 4K, Full HD, and 720p resolutions. Given that several 4K cameras in the same price range only allow for 30 frames per second for 4K footage, 4K at 60 fps is a fantastic feature. Although many people would not perceive the difference, more frames per second result in significantly smoother film, especially in scenes with fast action.
The XF400 has a new lens construction created to enhance performance while maintaining a thin, small, and light profile. Canon is known for its excellent optics. The new lens, which has a 15x optical zoom, retains the best quality and color over the whole 1-inch sensor and the entire zoom range.
Dual Pixel Autofocus and 5-axis picture stabilization from Canon significantly increase stability, lessen vibration, and maintain focus on your subject even in dynamic conditions.
The XF400 footage we captured is excellent, in our opinion. The idea that we can shoot video with a greater resolution than broadcast TV and Blu-Ray discs still seem incredible, especially when seen on a 4K screen.
The big picture sensor was the star in low-light situations. Without crushed blacks or the excessive ISO noise found in a lower-quality camera or our smartphone test shot, the video was crisp and detailed.
Even while the XF400 captures videos of excellent quality, its omission of some functions is causing more controversy than its inclusion of other ones. As we already noted, pros loved the XF300/305 for its small size, portability, and high-quality video. Contrary to what the naming scheme would suggest, the XF400 does not target the same market niche.
The single lens adjustment ring is the first immediately noticeable difference. Professional cameras typically have lens rings that allow the user to swiftly change the zoom, focus, and brightness without taking their hands or eyes off the camera. It looks quite odd that there is just one adjustment ring included.
In addition to a separate manual dial that can be set to control aperture, shutter, and gain, the camera has buttons on the side to move between focus and zoom.
We can’t imagine any skilled filmmaker or camera operator feeling comfortable without immediate access to all of these parameters, even if you can alter them to include the settings you change the most frequently. The act of switching back and forth between focus and zoom would be quite annoying.
The other significant distinction is more of a technical nature. The XF300’s integrated 50Mbps 8bit 4:2:2 codec is one of the factors that contributed to its success. If you think this is nonsense, you’re probably not the camcorder’s intended market. The XF300 and 305 are entirely broadcast compliance, to put it simply. Only a highly compressed 8-bit 4:2:0 codec is present in the XF400/405.
Additionally, several modern cameras include HDR broadcast standards compliance for better color depth and brightness management. Some users may not consider the lack of this capability to be very important, but as time goes on and more cameras and screens enable HDR, the XF400’s durability may be impacted.
The presence of 3G-SDI output in the XF405 distinguishes it from the XF400 as a single distinction. If you need this capability, be sure to select the appropriate model.
Canon XF400 Specifications
|Sensor Resolution||Actual: 13.4 Megapixel (4268 x 3148)|
Effective: 8.29 Megapixel (3840 x 2160)
|Built-In ND Filter||Mechanical Filter Wheel with Clear, 2 Stop (1/4), 4 Stop (1/16), 6 Stop (1/64) ND Filters|
|Minimum Illumination||1.7 Lux at 1/30 Shutter Speed|
0.1 Lux at 1/2 Shutter Speed
|Optical Zoom Ratio||15x|
|Max Digital Zoom||30x|
|Maximum Aperture||f/2.8 to 4.5|
|Minimum Aperture||Not Specified by Manufacturer|
|Minimum Focus Distance||Macro: 0.4″ / 1.0 cm|
Entire Zoom Range: 23.6″ / 60.0 cm
|Filter Size||58 mm|
|Built-In Microphone Type||Stereo|
|Audio Recording||2-Channel 16-Bit 48 kHz AAC Audio|
4-Channel 16-Bit 48 kHz LPCM Audio
|IP Streaming||FTP, MP4, H.264|
1920 x 1080 at 50i, 59.94i (4.0 to 9.0 Mb/s)
|Video I/O||1 x Mini-HDMI Output|
|Audio I/O||2 x 3-Pin XLR Input|
1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Stereo Microphone Input
1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Stereo Headphone Output
|Power I/O||1 x Barrel (8.4 VDC) Input|
|Other I/O||1 x Mini-USB|
1 x RJ45 (LAN)
1 x 2.5 mm Sub-Mini (LANC) Control
|Display Type||Articulating Touchscreen LCD|
|Operating Temperature||23 to 113°F / -5 to 45°C|
|Battery Type||Canon BP-8 Series|
|Package Weight||9.495 lb|
|Box Dimensions (LxWxH)||14.8 x 12.7 x 12.55″|
The Canon XF400 and 405 appear to be experiencing a small identity crisis. While the XF300/305 models from the previous generation were genuine portable broadcast cameras, Canon appears to be attempting to cash in on the name’s recognition by omitting a few essential capabilities.
Without a doubt, the video we recorded was excellent. While the XF400 would be perfect for our personal use and family films, the VIXIA GX10 offers a comparable image sensor at a significant cost reduction.
For a typical customer, the majority of the additional inputs and controls wouldn’t be required. On the other hand, the majority of video or broadcast pros require more features than the XF400 can provide. Most professionals would go elsewhere because to the manual controls’ limitations and lack of broadcast compatibility.
Essentially, Canon must be positioning this for a smaller group of professionals and semi-pros that require more than a consumer shooter but are unconcerned with the capabilities that are missing.
Wedding videographers, low-budget documentarians, and other users who employ similar technology can be in the sweet spot. Many professionals anticipate Canon will soon develop a more deserving replacement for the XF300/305 to fill the gap left by the absence of a 4K camcorder that is broadcast-ready.
The XF400 is a fantastic option for seamless, gorgeous 4K footage as long as the fewer manual options and absence of broadcast-compliant codecs aren’t deal-breakers for you