Verdict and conclusions
The Canon XF205, then, is a competent and well-made camcorder, but one that is limited by its single-chip, small sensor design.
The XF205 simply cannot compete with large-chip cameras for image quality, dynamic range or in low light. And it lacks the portability that made the XF100 and XF105 so popular, especially among teams shooting web video, or videographers working with a DSLR who wanted a more conventional camcorder design.
The XF205 is both larger and almost twice the weight of the earlier model, although it does, of course, have a much more powerful zoom.
The real attraction of the XF205 lies in its flexibility and its connectivity. At its current price point, and with the updated firmware installed, the XF205 makes for a powerful camcorder for live production, event videography and for streaming.
The only real competitors to the XF205 for these applications are the JVC GY-HM650 and Sony PXW-X180, both three-chip camcorders. But these are around £1000 and £1300 more expensive respectively, and still lack some of the Canon’s features.
Freelancers looking to sell their work to broadcasters, should probably stick to a three-chip camcorder, or look at a large-chip design.
For corporate video makers, though, who want a video camera for under £2500, and who want a “no fuss” camcorder, rather than a DSLR, the XF205 is worthy of consideration – not least because the all-in price of the XF205 comes in at rather less than that of a DSLR, a standard lens, and a sound recorder.
The clips below are sample footage from our XF205 test camera: