Test footage: Canon XF200 / XF205

We’ve spent the last week or so compiling a series of tests on the XF200 so here’s the full list of videos that we’ve assembled.

General “Full Auto” footage (daytime)

We’ve taken our new toy out for a day at the seaside, in Folkestone, Kent. As it’s day one with the XF200, we left it on Fully Auto mode and ran off a few shots which we’ve compiled here.

Low Light

It’s the question that always gets asked about a new camcorder: how good is it in low light? We’ve all had to film in dimly-lit rooms, whether it’s weddings, conferences or for the local news. Good performance, with and without gain, is essential. Here is our first test of the XF200 in a really quite dark (albeit artificial) scenario, compared to Canon’s XA20 and, for interest, a Sony Z5.

Shot fully wide (f1.8) in 35Mbps mp4 at 50p. Lit by a single 15W energy-saver bulk equivalent to a 75W tungsten bulb, in a diffused uplighter, 4m away. In other words, very dark indeed.

*** NOTE: No custom profile (CP) was applied so it is unclear what level of noise reduction is being applied. It doesn’t appear to be “none” because specifying “NR Off” in a CP makes for a very noisy picture indeed (which this isn’t). Yet the image is not the same as when a CP sets NR to “Auto”, so it’s very unclear what processing the camera applies when no CP is used.***

We went from -6dB gain to +33 with the other cameras joining at where they had a comparable setting (eg XA20 does not have negative gain, Z5 tops out at 21dB)

Stabilisation

Testing the three stabilisation modes of Canon’s XF200 and XF205 camcorders: standard, dynamic and powered, all when stationary and on the move, zoomed out and zoomed in.

The results are good, much the same as the XA20 (XA25 / HF-G30)

Custom Profile (gamma)

This is a really quick flick through the seven different gamma profiles available in the Custom Profile settings on Canon’s XF200 and XF205 camcorders.

They are Normal 1-4, Cine 1 & 2, and Wide DR.

By and large, Normal 1-4 are very similar (in fact, the differences may not even show up after YouTube processing, they’re so slight)

Cine 1 & 2 have a much flatter dynamic range as you’d expect. Wide DR looks a bit peculiar, brightening up the image but apparently losing a lot of saturation.

Low light noise reduction

Testing exactly how the Canon XF200 and XF205 manipulate the image for noise reduction in low-light situations.

Shot at 25fps, MXF 50Mbps 4:2:2, 1/25 shutter, 0dB gain.

NR stepped through from Off, 4, 8, 12 (max), Auto and “unknown” (the latter because when a Custom Profile is not used, it’s unclear exactly what, if any, NR is being applied. I’ve done tests where it clearly wasn’t None yet wasn’t the same as Auto so who knows!)

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