Review: the Canon XF205 camcorder

Handheld camcorders

XF205 with mic
The XF205 has flexible recording options including a 3.5mm jack input.

Connections and interfaces

The XF205 does differ in several, important respects from the XF100 series cameras – and we will come to image quality later on in this review. But the primary reason for choosing the XF205, over other single-chip camcorders, will be its connectivity.

When it comes to connections, the XF205 is very well equipped. As well as standard hook ups such as HDMI for monitoring and playback, and (on the XF205 only) SDI for connection to a vision mixer or external recorder, the XF205 comes with a full suite of Internet connection options too. The XF205 also includes timecode and genlock connections.

The XF205 also comes both with WiFi built in and an Ethernet socket for connecting to a wired network, as well as a USB interface, which can connect to a 3G or 4G dongle for streaming. Note, though, that not all of these connections are active on the base model, and will only start working with the new Canon firmware, due in June 2015.

The wireless connection lets users of the Canon control the camcorder through a mobile phone or a tablet, which is especially useful for remote operation. There’s also the option to transfer footage over FTP, and the XF205 can stream lower-resolution proxy files over WiFi too.

The new Canon firmware will go further and add full streaming over IP networks, either for transfer to a broadcast system or to a video-sharing site. The XF205 can output up to 720p30 at a data rate of 4Mbps.

Next: Recording formats