Monday, 4 July 2011

(Small) Bumps in the Road With the Canon XF305

So some months into ownership of my  Canon XF305 I have to say I'm rather enjoying the experience.

It is a lot take in and one does have to think differently.

Yes, the depth of field due to the small chip does not give me the shallow depth of field I would ideally like but as I have said before I use it in conjunction with the Canon 5dMKII, here is a sample of it in action.

And of course the Bui Brothers excellent 'Zebra' BTS shoot

Here is Alex Ray from the Flash centre on Steadicam with the XF305 

It does make you wonder, if Canon can achieve such lovely results from such a small sensor what could they achieve with a full form chip?

I can't see Canon letting Sony have it all their own way with the F3 forever surely it is only a matter of time before they release something very similar?

But I did have quite a nasty moment with my XF305 the other day.

I was in the middle of shooting a new comercial on a very bright and sunny day and left the camera on tripod with the EVF toward the sun.

It was not for very long either.

But the consequences were breath taking.

When I next put my eye to the camera 

Where before there was a lovely clear view, now there was a horrible white 'splodge' right in the middle.

The sun had burned a hole in the middle of the electronic view finder.

A heart stopping moment, particularly as we were mid shoot.

Initially I thought the 3 CCD chip had been wrecked, but when I checked the LCD on the side of the camera I saw it was ok and I could carry on with the shoot.

I resigned myself to hefty repair bill, as there is a note in the instruction manual, until mentioned it to a contact at Canon who told me that mine was not the first to be affected and that they would repair it on a goodwill basis.

It is only fair to say that this affects all makes of camera, not just Canon's, which have an EVF so beware.
In adition to this there would be a 'fix' 

It came in the shape of a branded eyepiece cap, which I have secured with this piece of string until I find a more elegant solution. 

They put this warning sticker on too

So apart from an excursion to the polite and efficient Canon service centre at Elstree, what else to report on the XF305?

Well, there are a couple of other pitfalls which have caught me out.

Firstly that diffraction kicks in at F9.5. 

Small apertures and small chips are not the best of friends and it means that resolution drops off dramatically, so you need to use the built in ND filters to keep it in its sweet spot. 

In a high pressure situation I had my DSLR head on and even though I was aware of it, I overlooked it, thankfully I noticed in time........

Upon further investigation though I found it was possible in the 'Other functions'  to select 'Iris Limit' which means you can make sure you don't get caught out.

Once again it is common knowledge and there IS a warning in the manual, albeit a bit vague.

And the other little niggle?


If you are shooting into the light on a small(ish) aperture with the super sharp 'L' series lens on a wide zoom setting, it does show ANY dust which is on the front element

And Brothers and Sisters there is no clone tool to get you off the hook.

Wide angle, small aperture and small sensors sometimes give you more than a depth of field than you bargained for.

So its out with chamois leather it is between shots.

All in all I'm very happy with the camera and would heartily recommend it, as it does pack a big bang for the buck.

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