Canon have announced a new 4K camcorder, the Canon XF405. It features a newly developed one inch CMOS sensor that will shoot 50p in UHD and up to 100p in full HD. Canon claim 12 stops of dynamic range in Wide DR mode although sadly there’s no Canon Log.
Dual Pixel AF
It sports the same Digic DV 6 processor as can be found in the C200 and is the first one inch sensor camcorder to feature the company’s Dual Pixel Autofocus. This seemed to work well in the brief time I had to try it out and makes a lot of sense for cameras in this form factor. With only one control wheel you would normally have to choose between iris and focus – here you can just leave it set to control the iris and use the touchscreen for focus duties.
There are also Face Priority AF and Face Only AF modes – these look like they could be really useful to help keep interviews sharp (there is a built in viewfinder but, frankly it’s too tiny to be of much use).
Also new is the built-in lens – it’s a 15x zoom which is 25.5mm full frame equivalent at its widest setting and 382.5mm equivalent zoomed in. It’s a variable aperture, ramping from f/2.8 at the wide end to f/4.5 at the long end.
Usefully, if you’re shooting in HD there’s also an ‘advanced zoom’ function that will extend the lens’s reach to 30x, Canon say without a loss in quality, by making use of all those extra pixels in the 4K sensor. That’s a seriously impressive zoom range – over 700mm at the longest setting in 35mm terms!
There’s integrated ND and four channels of audio split over two XLR inputs, a stereo mic built in to the body and a 3.5mm input jack. WiFi and cabled Ethernet connections are built in and there are HDMI and SDI connectors to get your images out.
What’s the catch?
All in all the Canon XF405 seems like a decent camcorder for anyone who needs a compact, lightweight 4K camcorder. And here comes the but… But not if you need to meet broadcast specs. The camera shoots in MP4 to dual SD cards in 4:2:0: 8-bit at 150Mbps in 4K and 35Mbs in HD.
In fairness Canon say the XF405 isn’t aimed at a broadcast crowd – but this seems like a bit of a missed opportunity to create a pint-sized powerhouse for use where you don’t want to be conspicuous or by crew members who aren’t comfortable with more elaborate kit.
You can get a 4:2:2 10-bit signal out over HDMI or 3G-SDI but you’d likely be spending as much on the recorder as the camera to make use of the signal. It is possible though. And there will also be a firmware upgrade to add the XF-AVC codec. This will only really add metadata over and above the MP4 files though and won’t dramatically impact the quality of the footage you’re recording.
Canon XF405 price and availability
That said, the XF405 is a very tidy package and if you’re delivering to the web and need a compact all-in-one it’s definitely worth a look. It will be on sale in November, priced at £3,000 inc VAT. If you’re budget conscious and don’t need a 3G-SDI terminal the XF400 releases at the same time and will cost £2,749 inc VAT. There will also be screw-in wideangle and tele adapters.
Are you an all-in-one shooter looking for a 4K upgrade? Let us know what you think of the XF405 in the comments below…