Canon XF705

Lateral view of Canon XF705

Today we are testing the Canon XF705, a one-inch sensor camera oriented to professional broadcast capture. While being true that in general terms, for some years up to present time, content has been prevailing over technical means, there are infinite situations in the profession in which attaining certain contents requires the appropriate tools. This is the case with the Canon XF705, a professional camera featuring zoom and manual controls, 4K recording and up to 50/60 fps and 100/120p in HD.

By Álvaro Bernal

It is a professional camera thought out for very diverse jobs. Having a 1-inch sensor enables two things that are very much in demand. One is some margin for using depth in a narrative manner by taking the focus where required in the story, the other being performance under dim lighting. It is obvious that nothing is perfect, but such sensor size and current technology enable some degree of selective blurring, especially in mid and long-distance zooming, as well as an improved performance with little light as compared to cameras equipped with smaller sensors. For the time being, these sensors neither have the small field-depth of 35mm and full-format sensors, nor their luminosity, but anyone acquainted with the subject knows that many contents are impossible to record with these cameras, as the reality in front of them will not allow such usage. This is where ‘broadcast’ cameras (it is no longer easy to find a definition to everyone’s taste) come into play: documentaries, features, news, etc. Being realistic and based on current expectations, many contents require several types of cameras. We see in many TV programs large-sensor cameras being used for the fictional or controlled part, one-inch sensors -as in this case- for follow-ups, far-focus planes, action takes, etc., stabilized cameras, minicameras, etc.

What defines the XF-705 is its zoom lense with a 25.2 – 382.5 range referenced to a 35mm sensor and 2.8 angular aperture that drops to 4.5 in maximum telephoto position. As it cannot be otherwise, we manually control whether we want zoom, iris and focus. Obviously, all these parameters can be automatically managed with excellent performance. Each situation requires one working choice or the other. Therefore, we have 15X magnification in 4K, which becomes 30X in HD, with excellent digital conversion. Times in which a digital zoom used to ruin the image are now gone and HD is already 100% functional. Image stabilization is optical, featuring 5 axes with various operating modes. Although it is true that camera stabilizers are present in nearly all production work, setting a camera the size of the XF705 on a gimbal would be mostly of little use. Other cameras would perform this task better. Well, what the stabilizer on the lens aims to achieve is that in the normal use of this camera we will have a valid image with plenty of zoom when walking behind someone, inside a car, on a ship, etc. Lense quality can be classified as Canon L-series and yes, there is a noticeable difference as compared to, for instance, its little sibling, the 400/405, in regard to zoom performance. Here the resulting image is bold, with good definition in the longer zoom ranges.
The camera’s body features buttons for 1/4, 1/16 and 1/64 ND electronic filters. These work swiftly and -as all other buttons in the camera- are big, solid and well-placed.

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