By: Brent Ramsey
September 01, 2016
Canon USA is introducing two important 4K UHD ENG professional camcorders this week - - the XF405 and XF400.
For years, the XF line of camcorders has met professional videographers’ needs, offering pristine Full HD video, outstanding reliability and intuitive operation. The XF405 and XF400 camcorder improve over previous XF models in many ways, most notably with the inclusion of 4K UHD recording up to 60p, slow motion capabilities to 120p in FHD, Dual Pixel Autofocus – a first for ENG-style cameras – and improved operating ease thanks to a redesigned menu layout, a more compact size, and at a relatively affordable price.
The XF405/400’s 4K imaging system -- including a newly developed 1-inch CMOS sensor and new 15x 4K optical zoom lens – delivers great video quality, making it a tremendous choice for a range of applications including small-scale live broadcasts, news, reporting, documentaries, corporate video productions, broadcast & communication schools and more.
So, what’s different about the two models? Actually the two models are identical, except for one feature: The XF405 includes a 3G-SDI terminal, providing a secure BNC connection and enabling a 1920x1080 4:2:2 10-bit signal output for broadcast.
As far as image quality – for the first time in the XF series, they feature a new 8.29 megapixel 1-inch 4K-UHD compatible CMOS image sensor. The new 1-inch sensor makes possible greater control over depth-of-field and allows for the shallower focus typical of larger-sized sensors. The revamped sensor structure enables a 3.2μm pixel pitch.
The sensor, in combination with the new dual DIGIC DV 6 processors, further enhances high sensitivity and low noise performance with an improved S/N ratio over previous XF models, and with the inclusion of Wide DR gamma, high brightness areas of a scene are smoothly compressed. Wide DR gamma offers a wide dynamic range of 800%, giving more leeway in color grading.
Shooting in Wide DR virtually eliminates the need for post color-correction processing, letting you use data in most cases just as it’s shot right out of the camera.
Enhancements in the XF400/XF405 new lens structure create improved optical performance. Multiple aspheric elements have been included within the lens groups to achieve 4K image quality while correcting various aberrations over the entire zoom range.
The newly developed 4K lens supports the large 1-inch sensor but it is still slim and compact. The ultra-wide angle 25.5mm and 15x optical zoom allows for high 4K quality throughout the entire zoom range. And, when shooting in FHD, approximately 30x Advanced Zoom is made possible with virtually no image degradation. For those really distant shots, there’s even a 300x digital zoom option. The 9-blade iris helps achieve more natural and beautiful bokeh effects. And, for the first time, a 4K wide attachment and tele-converter are available as optional accessories.
The built-in 3-density ND filter design allows optimum exposure in various lighting environments -- like outdoors in bright sunlight -- and borrowing from the Cinema EOS line, the XF400 series adopts the rotating turret style ND filter array found in our professional Cinema EOS cameras. Just like those cameras, density can be adjusted quickly using dedicated external buttons.
A 5-axis image stabilization system supports three modes of optical and electronic image stabilization -- significantly improving image steadiness. It also enables smooth vibration control.
As far as internal recording, 4K UHD (3840x2160) up to 60p is recorded to SD cards. For projects that don’t require 4K, FHD 1920x1080 and 1280x720 recording up to 60p is also possible, delivering exceptional results by taking full advantage of data from the 4K sensor. And there are options for simultaneous backup or relay recording using the dual SD slots
The XF400 series cameras support slow and fast motion recording. It’s capable of a maximum 120fps, when recording in Full HD 1080.
Now for Focus Assist: No one necessarily needs to be reminded of this, but maintaining focus is absolutely critical when shooting in 4K, and for the first time in an ENG camcorder the XF400s include Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus system. It’s tried and true throughout our professional line of cameras, and can prove extremely useful when working in 4K and Full HD, especially for single operator shooting.
Focusing becomes even more intuitive -- because it has touch panel support. This includes the capability to choose and track the subject for focusing with just a touch on the large, 3.5-inch Touch Panel LCD. Dual Pixel Autofocus is even available for high frame rate recording.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF even offers big benefits to those not wanting to use autofocus. A Focus Guide mode takes advantage of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF data to superimpose the Focus Assist guide over your subject.
Composing shots using the touch panel LCD or the .24-inch EVF can be super accurate as they both boast 1.56 million dots of resolution. And the newly redesigned UI makes camera setup and operation simple, using both touch and cross-key operation.
The new lateral menu design makes finding menu items a breeze, and changing settings is quick and easy whether shooting with the LCD monitor or the EVF.
The camcorders can be tailored to your specific preferences or needs using the five assignable buttons on the camera body and LCD panel to match the functions you use most often. The XF400s also features a touch assignable button on the lower part of the touchscreen.
All of the features needed in a professional handheld camera are packed in this compact, lightweight body. It’s extremely useful in fields that demand mobility such as media and reporting. A detachable handle provides expanded audio performance and added flexibility. Included on the handle are two built-in XLR audio input terminals with phantom power, a cold accessory shoe, an external microphone holder, manual audio level control, a zoom control, a record start/stop button, an Infrared light and finally a tally lamp. Removing the handle allows for a low profile recording configuration, and makes it more compact for convenient storage when travelling.
Not only do the XF400s provide you with incredible control over the image, it also provides immense creative freedom when it comes to inputs and outputs. Both models include two XLR terminals, to record either two Channel AAC or four-channel LPCM 16-bit audio, a USB connection, HDMI 2.0 for UHD recording output, a mic terminal, a headphone terminal, remote terminal, an Ethernet terminal for FTP transfer and built in Wi-Fi for browser remote operation from your compatible smart phone, tablet or computer, and as mentioned earlier, the XF405 features a 3G-SDI terminal.For simple remote operation the cameras come with a wireless controller, but both models can take advantage of additional optional accessories like the RC-V100 Remote Controller - enabling image quality adjustments and other important operations to be set from a distance, and the GP-E2 GPS Receiver.
A future firmware update will bring the addition of XF-AVC support, so stay tuned for those details.
As you can see, the XF405 and XF400 are versatile new additions to Canon’s Professional Camcorder lineup. These cameras offer huge opportunities for small-scale live broadcasts, news, reporting, documentaries and corporate videography. And for those looking to deliver 4K content, they are an excellent choice.
Please check the Canon U.S.A. website at usa.canon.com for more product details on the XF405 and XF400.
The CDLC contributors are compensated spokespersons and actual users of the Canon products that they promote.
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