Canon XF100: Not a Standalone 3D Camera!
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Canon XF100: Not a Standalone 3D Camera!

As 3D filmmaking technologies develop, another camera is coming on the market that is advertised as having true stereoscopic 3-D capabilities. However, it may be misleading to some. Let's discuss the Canon FX-100 so you know what you're buying into.

As 3D filmmaking technologies develop, another camera is coming on the market that is advertised as having true stereoscopic 3-D capabilities. However, it may be misleading to some. Let's discuss the Canon FX-100 so you know what you're buying into.

Canon is releasing the new CanonXF100 Camcorder, Canon's smallest professional camcorder that is also capable of shooting native 1920 x 1080 HD video and can be used in a 3D video production.

This new camcorder is designed to be a highly portable HD model, and provides a first in this class leading combination of high performance, mobility and versatility.

To record HD video, the XF100 makes use of Canon's own XF Codec, which is based on MPEG-2 compression with an MXF file wrapper. The codec was first implemented by Canon on the XF305 and XF300 models, and it uses a 4:2:2 color sampling system. Also like Canon's previous file-based pro models, XF100 records video to Compact Flash memory cards.

The camcorder is powered by a Canon DIGIC DV III Image Processor and Canon Full HD CMOS Image Sensor, and utilizes Canon’s MPEG-2 4:2:2 50Mbps XF Codec. It has a built-in infrared low-light feature, enabling the capture of HD video in complete darkness.

The MPEG-2 compression is both highly reliable and versatile. Developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG), it is one of the most widely used compression schemes in the industry for camera acquisition, over the air broadcast, cable and satellite TV. Canon's adaptation of MPEG-2 for the XF100 Professional Camcorder, named the Canon XF Codec, ensures the widest compatibility with existing industry infrastructure and non-linear editing (NLE) systems. Also, by using an MXF file wrapper, video and audio can be wrapped in a single file along with important metadata.

The XF100's newly developed Genuine Canon 10x HD Video Lens along with a Canon native 1920 x 1080 CMOS Image Sensor delivers exceptional image quality. The XF100 also offers multiple recording bit rates, resolutions and variable frame rates to expand creative flexibility, allowing users to work in virtually any production environment.

In addition, the Canon FX100 can also record at variable frame rates, multiple resolutions and bit rates. Plus, the camcorders boast of changeable time-lapse interval and stop-motion frame record.

Thanks to the image processor, the camcorders sport Face Detection technology, always a handy feature I've experienced.

The camcorder tops out with a 50Mbps continuous bitrate that can be used to record 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 HD video. There is also 35Mbps variable bitrate option and a 25Mbps continuous birtate option (that records 1440 x 1080 video). In all recording modes the camcorder can shoot 60i, 30p or 24p frame rates. There are no standard definition recording options on the XF100.

The built-in "3D features", as are mentioned in the descriptions on the XF100 are misleading. The camcorder itself isn't capable of shooting 3D video. However, if you have two models, you can pair them together.

What the XF100 offers is "3D assistance", which Canon describes as 'several features to assist with 3D production' when two camcorders are paired together. This includes the ability to sync two XF100 models via their genlock terminals and a focal length guide display to help calibrate zoom distance.

So just to put it clearly, the XF100 can NOT record 3D video on its own.  You will need two of them.

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