Cindy Baer
Cindy Baer

Cindy Baer is a film producer, director, actress and founder of Patron of the Arts, a 501(c)3 nonprofit company whose mission is to help emerging filmmakers & artists connect with donors that wish to support their new projects.

Introducing the XF105/100: Take Your Projects Where Other Cameras Can't Go

April 01, 2011

The extremely compact size of these cameras allows for the use of smaller 3D rigs, so that crews may work more quickly and efficiently

The Canon XF105/XF100 delivers stunning image quality coupled with tapeless capture, industry standard codec, and the same professional workflow as the flagship XF305/300 series in the Canon video line.

The compact and lightweight body design allows shooters to keep a low profile in any environment, at approximately 40% the size of the larger XF305/300 bodies. New 3D assist features will help expand the possibilities of storytelling beyond the limits of the screen. The XF105/100 will also shoot in the dark with its new infrared technology. The post production workflow can be smooth and hassle free, thanks to an industry standard MPEG-2 codec with 4:2:2 color sampling, wrapped in MXF container files which are compatible with all the major non-linear editing systems. The XF105 and XF100 are identical, except for the inclusion of HD-SDI and genlock/timecode terminals on the XF105, which are not included on the XF100.


Canon introduces some essential features for shooting 3D: the new OIS Lens Shift feature allows shooters to optically align two XF 105/100 cameras, while the Focal Length Guide numbers in the LCD and viewfinder accurately display the zoom position of each camera so that they can be precisely calibrated.

The XF105 model has the added benefit of genlock input, which will aid in syncing two XF105 cameras. The extremely compact size of these cameras allows for the use of smaller 3D rigs, so that crews may work more quickly and efficiently while having all the features needed to capture dynamic 3D imagery.


It’s now possible to shoot with little to no ambient light, thanks to the infrared shooting mode on the XF105/XF100. When this mode is activated, the infrared cutoff filter is retracted from the optical path, allowing more infrared light to pass through to the sensor. For shooting in complete darkness, the XF105/100 is equipped with an infrared emitter with diffuser, which will create a striking “night vision” look.


The XF105/XF100 boasts a 10x optical zoom, which delivers a wide range of focal lengths equivalent to 30.4 - 304mm in 35mm terms, and a close focus distance of 60cm across the entire zoom range. It offers the same three modes of Optical Image Stabilization as the higher end XF305/XF300: “Dynamic" image stabilization is designed to smooth out the vibration of walking, while the “Powered" image stabilization mode will suppress vibration more at the telephoto end. The “Standard” setting is designed to reduce the widest range of vibration on every axis.

Enhancing the operation of the lens, the XF105/XF100 incorporates an 8-blade iris for aperture control. This creates a particularly pleasing “bokeh” effect when highlights or light sources are thrown out of focus in the foreground or background. There is also a digital teleconverter, giving shooters the option to zoom in 1.5x, 3x, or even 6x beyond the optical zoom range of the lens.

As in the XF305/XF300, the shutter of the XF105/XF100 allows the user to select either shutter speed or shutter angle. This will come in handy when shooting at unusual speeds. When a standard shutter angle (such as 180 degrees) is selected, the shooter can go “off speed” and still be assured that the motion will appear normal, without having to calculate the corresponding shutter speed.


Five separate advanced autofocus options are available on the XF105/100: Normal Mode; High Speed Instant AF and Medium Instant AF; as well as Face Priority and Face Only AF. The “High Speed” and “Medium” Instant AF settings both use Canon’s renowned Instant Auto Focus technology, which triangulates the distance with an external sensor for fast, accurate focus measurement. “High Speed” adjusts the focus very rapidly, while “Medium” Instant AF uses the same technology to make the focus motion much smoother.

Face Priority and Face Only AF enable the camera to lock on and track focus on a particular face, even if the individual turns profile to the lens. In regular Face Priority mode, the focus defaults to the center of the screen when no face is present. In “Face Only” mode, the focus will be left at the last known point where a face was detected -- for example, if a person exits the frame, the AF will not snap to a nearby (unrelated) object.


Like the XF305/XF300, the Canon XF105/XF100 utilizes Canon’s XF Codec, a long-GOP MPEG-2 codec with a maximum bitrate of 50Mbps and color sampling of 4:2:2. This brings a high-end level of professional quality, usually found only in cameras costing many times more. The 4:2:2 sampling doubles the color information captured, compared to 4:2:0 codecs. This becomes crucial if the project involves any keying, compositing, color grading, or similar post production.


The Canon XF105/XF100 contains two slots for non-proprietary Compact Flash (CF) cards.

This type of solid-state technology is the surest way to get the shot in any challenging environment while streamlining your post workflow. The dual card slots allow for hot-swapping in the field as well as copying data from one card to another, and even recording to the two slots simultaneously for an instant backup copy. A single 32GB CF card can hold approximately 80 minutes of footage, using the highest quality 50Mbps setting. You could also use the dual slots as a “relay”, swapping cards in an alternating fashion in order to capture a single, uninterrupted take that would last as long as your supply of CF cards. To read more about the advantages of media recording onto CF cards, click here.


The MXF file structure is a standardized container format used by networks, production studios, and Non-Linear Editing systems throughout the world for the exchange of media files. This “Material Exchange Format” wraps video and audio material, as well as shoot information, into a single file, and also includes metadata, which is crucial for tracking original camera information throughout the post workflow.


Apart from many other benefits these cameras offer for a variety of options for off-speed effects such as time-lapse and slow or fast motion. You can over-crank up to 60 frames per second for slow motion effect while maintaining 50Mbps and 4:2:2 color sampling (60p frame rate is available with 1280x720 resolution). Interval Record offers the ability to record a specific number of frames in any of 25 different levels ranging from one second to 10 minutes. Even stop-motion animation is now possible, recording a set number of frames every time Record is pressed. Pre REC mode provides a continuous three-second buffer, so you won’t miss a sudden “live” event.


The Canon XF105/XF100 provides the option of having a real-time waveform monitor within the viewing area, which serves as a graphic measurement of luminance across the entire frame. This is an essential tool for professionals, which removes all guesswork when determining the exposure. By reading the waveform monitor, the operator can see exactly which highlights are losing detail due to overexposure and which areas of shadow are falling off into black. In addition, the shooter can choose Canon’s Edge Monitor Focus Assist mode, which brings up a green waveform along the bottom of the frame that displays the focus status of the overall image, along with an additional red waveform that shows focus within the specific “focus check” squares.


A staple of Canon professional video cameras, “Custom Pictures” allows you to customize image parameters, virtually designing your own unique ‘look’ for every shooting situation. Individual menu items allow the user to affect parameters such as Master Pedestal, Setup Level, Black Level, the Knee of the gamma curve, and individual RGB Color Matrices to a degree usually reserved for much more expensive cameras.


Apart from standard dedicated buttons for functions such as gain, shutter and white balance, there are ten “customizable” buttons located for easy access on the camera body that can be assigned to certain features, depending on shooting needs and operator preference.

The audio controls are located beneath a flip-down cover next to the on-board microphone. The single electronic ring on the lens can be assigned to focus, zoom, or iris instantly, with the flip of a switch located directly next to the lens. In addition, a separate and smaller “custom dial” can be assigned to iris control, so that this can remain independent of the focus and zoom.


By incorporating an industry standard codec, industry standard MXF container files, non-proprietary CF cards, and full compatibility with the major nonlinear editing systems (Adobe, Apple, Avid, and Grass Valley), the XF105/XF100 allows for a smooth journey down the post-production pipeline. The MXF file wrapper is of particular use during the editing process, since it has the added benefit of supporting metadata. This means that all the camera information regarding custom settings, focal lengths, etc, as well as scene information, memos, and much more, can remain attached to the individual clips all the way through the pipeline. To read more about workflow with XF footage, click here to download our NLE White Papers. 


The Canon XF105/XF100 is the perfect companion to the XF305/XF300, with a robust feature set, top-notch image quality and industry-standard workflow that are all designed to be complementary and hassle-free. But these cameras are just as comfortable to go it alone. It’s the ideal camera to have on-hand to keep a lower profile, for designing smaller and more efficient 3D rigs, and even for shooting in complete darkness. The XF105/XF100 is an essential tool for your creative toolbox, allowing you to shoot wherever and whenever you want.


The information in this article is accurate as of August 31st 2010, and all specifications are subject to change without notice

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