Firmware update for Canon XF200 & XF205

Canon has unveiled an update to the firmware of its XF200 & XF205 camcorders that’s promising better reduction of noise in low-light situations – at the cost of some crispiness to the resolution of the image.

The XF200/205 are known for their compact size, splendid ergonomics and sharp picture but in Tubeshooter’s experience – and presumably others, hence this update – are let down by visible noise in the image even in decent lighting conditions.

The new firmware offers a menu option marked “S/N Priority”. When turned on the camcorder will try to reduce the noise but the drawback is that in doing so you lose some of the resolution of the image, as the pixels are interpolated to make the new image. This is an alternative to the existing noise reduction option in the camcorder which noticeably smears the picture at settings over 8 (out of 12, if we recall correctly)

XF200 side controls and screen
XF200

Also in the new firmware is a bug fix for when if pre-recording was performed repeatedly in MP4 format, recording could stop.

Canon is also saying another firmware release, due in June, will update the camcorders to provide live streaming over WiFi, a welcome addition since competing products from Sony, JVC and Panasonic also offer this ability.

That next release will also tidy up the WiFi menu structure, we’re told, and offer slow and fast motion options for mp4 capture.

We’re going to load the new firmware onto our XF200 and will report back on how it looks. Wish us luck…

Here’s the press release in full:
www.canon.co.uk/about_us/press_centre/press_releases/consumer_news/digital_cinema/xf205_free_firmware_update.aspx

And, since they unhelpfully don’t mention it, here’s the link to the firmware download:
www.canon.co.uk/support/consumer_products/products/camcorders/digital/hdv_series/xf200.aspx?type=firmware&firmwaredetailid=tcm:14-1251664

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