Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Canon announces its first pro tapeless camcorders, the XF300 and XF305

New professional camcorders have been expected from Canon ever since it announced its new 50Mbps MPEG-2 4:2:2 codec a few months ago but no camcorders that support it. Today, Canon announced the XF305 and XF300, both of which use the new codec. As with previous Canon models, the primary difference between the two models is the number and type of connectors. The XF305 has HD-SDI out, Genlock and Time Code, while the XF300 doesn't; according to Camcorderinfo.com, these are the only significant differences between the two camcorders.

Both camcorders can record 1080i and 720p (no 1080p) at 60, 30 and 24 fps, and they also have variable frame rates between 12 and 30 fps in 1080i and from 12 to 60 fps in 720p. They both have built-in stereo microphones and two-channel XLR inputs. Also, both camcorders have fixed (non-removable) lenses.

One of the most interesting features of the new cameras is that they use Compact Flash for storage instead of SDHC cards. Compact Flash cards are available with up to 128GB of capacity, while SDHC cards above 32GB are both rare and expensive. I believe that Canon went with CF for current capacity; it's likely that the next generation of these camcorders will use SDHC. Canon will continue to sell its tape-based HDV camcorders. but I believe that Canon's customers will migrate to flash-based camcorders over time.

The XF305 will list for $7,999 (US), while the XF300 will be priced at $6,799. Both camcorders will be available in late June.
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