Canon XF405: 1″ sensor 4K UHD 50p camcorder

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.

Canon XF405
If you do decide to handle focusing duties yourself the XF405 features the same focus guide system as the C300 Mk II.

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).

All-in-one convenience

Canon XF405
The lens is new and will give you a whopping 15x optical zoom.

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!

Canon XF405
Dual XLR inputs with manual controls

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.

Canon XF405
The XF405 features a 3G-SDI connector which the XF400 omits.

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.

Canon XF405
Dual SD card slots

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…

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8 responses to “Canon XF405: 1″ sensor 4K UHD 50p camcorder”

  1. Ouch!,…thats a steep price for a palmcorder like this. I wonder how much Sony is charging them for that sensor.

  2. This would be great if it was the XF100 MII but why call it the XF400/405? The XF300/305 was a pro, broadcast camera that was in desperate need of an update. I certainly hope Canon does not see this as that update? Certainly there must be a pro version coming?

  3. Such a pity about the colour space. Would pre-order if it was 8 or 10 bit 4.2.2 as everything else about it looks great for eng.

    • You are spot on. Canon really take the biscuit when it comes to this kind of thing. Their products are always so close to being the cameras I want, but then they retard the product and lose the sale (…and push people to buy 3 year old Sony X70’s).

  4. Love people here talking about its lack of broadcast specs: this camera will do huge business in the education segment, local TV news (a lot of stringer video is not ‘broadcast spec now) and, *ahem* the porn business.
    Not kidding. 🙂