Review: the Canon XF205 camcorder

Handheld camcorders

Canon XF205
Upgraded compact shooter: the Canon XF205

High and low end?

Canon’s XF200 and XF205, then, need to impress to take over from the XF100 series. The new XF200 and XF205 are not strictly replacements for the older camcorders, but rather set out to offer more features and functions than the earlier models, which stay on sale. In fact, as our review shows, the camcorders, whilst similar in some respects, are not directly comparable.

For the new models, Canon has maintained the split between the lower-end, XF200 – without the pro outputs, genlock and timecode – and the more fully-featured, broadcast-oriented XF205. The XF200 does represent a cost saving over the more flexible XF205, and Canon here is following a similar strategy to that deployed by JVC for its GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 broadcast camcorder line.

Our review focuses on the XF205 model, although from an image and audio quality point of view, the two cameras should be identical. One point of note, though, is that a firmware update – which should be available later in June 2015 – is only offered for the XF205.

The update improves the camera’s live-streaming features and also its low-light performance, but the latter comes at the expense of a reduced video resolution (the new low-light filming mode is in addition; XF205 users still have the option of recording using the older settings, for better resolution but at the expense of more noise). Our review, though, is based on the original camera firmware, as the update was not available at the time we put the XF205 through its paces.

Next: Canon XF205: ergonomics