Record 4K up to 50fps in 10-bit 4:2:2 internally – is the Canon XF705 the new king of cameras for HDR broadcast?
Today, Canon has announced its newest addition to the very popular XF range of fixed-lens camcorders, the XF705. Although we saw the release of the XF405 earlier this year, it looks like Canon is taking a step back and building upon the success of what could be deemed the ‘king of documentary cameras’, the XF305. The XF705 is a similar size and build to the XF305, but most importantly, it brings it into the 4K era and includes some of Canon’s latest video technology at its heart. This very much seems like a more professional version of the XF405.
At the heart of the XF705 is a 1in CMOS sensor. Combined with DIGIC DV6 processing, this allows the camera to deliver improved noise performance, sensitivity and a shallower depth of field (something we’re seeing much more of in documentary-style filmmaking). One of Canon’s signature features on its modern cameras is the Dual Pixel Auto Focus system, which makes its way into the XF705 and includes touch focus control and face detection.
The recording spec of the XF705 has been built for today’s broadcast standards and more importantly, today’s 4K broadcast standards. The camera can shoot 4K at up to 50fps in 10-bit 4:2:2, internally, to wallet friendly SD cards. Canon has adapted a new highly efficient codec with the XF705 called XF-HEVC. In essence, this uses the H.265 in an MXF container, allowing for easy processing of that 10-bit 4K content. The camera is also well suited to HDR delivery, with the filmmaker having the choice of Canon Log3, Hybrid Log Gamma and PQ standards. This really means you’ve got all bases covered when it comes to HDR for broadcast.
To keep up with this sort of data, the SDI output has been upgraded to a 12G-SDI connection, which allows transmitting uncompressed UHD at 50fps over a single cable. This is what’s going to make HDR live broadcast possible with the XF705. Another notable capability is that the XF705 can simultaneously record HDR internally, while outputting SDR through the SDI output. For IP based workflows, the XF705 can encode and stream 4K UHD HDR using the HEVC format, when connected to a network.
At the front of the XF705 is an optically stabilized f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens. Unlike the lens on the XF405, the XF705 adopts all three lens control rings for zoom, iris and focus. Like most cameras of this type, the zoom has a built-in servo that can be controlled (both zoom direction and speed) by the zoom rocker on the camera body or by an external controller, handy if you’re shooting on a tripod and need that extra bit of control.
When shooting in UHD 4K, the zoom lens offers a 15x zoom. However, if shooting in HD, then by cropping on the sensor the XF705 can achieve a 30x zoom without any visible loss of quality. The red ring around the front of the lens also tells us that Canon has graded this glass as passing the L-series quality control – the XF range is the only fixed-lens range to sport this grade of glass. There’s also a built-in mechanical three-density ND filter turret and infrared mode.
The body of the XF705 has everything you’d expect a professional broadcast camera to have: dual recording SD card slots, two XLR inputs that can supply phantom power (the camera can record four channels of audio in total), HDMI out, SDI out, large flip out monitor and of course, all of the monitoring tools needed.
- 4K 50fps in 10-bit 4:2:2, internal capture to SD cards
- Dual Pixel AF
- 5mm to 382.5mm (equivalent) f/2.8–4.5, 15x optically stabilised zoom (30x when shooting in HD).
- XF-HEVC-codec (H.265 and MXF combined)
- 12G SDI with uncompressed output
- IP streaming
- HDR (HLG or PQ)
- Simultaneous SDR and HDR workflows
- Three control rings on the lens
- Internal ND filter
About the Author
Kristian Hampton is Wex Photo Video’s Technical Editor for Pro Video. A video specialist who has worked in corporate studios for companies such as Vodafone Group and PwC, as well as working as a freelance grip on various TV productions and features. He also runs Krade Media, providing enterprises with production services. Follow Kristian on twitter @KrissHampton