I’m still gathering up the footage – I may have found a way to get some of my variable bitrate XDCamHD stuff into a format I can use, but it’ll take another day to sort that out. Similarly, it’ll be about a week until the 16mm is back from the lab. In the meantime, here’s some photos and some thoughts.
Overall, each HD camera showed strengths and weaknesses. I think that the Sony F350 (XDCamHD) really does belong in this group, because it’s essentially a bulked up HDV camera. You get larger chips and better processing, but it’s still 4:2:0 at 25mbps. Frankly, if someone is willing to consider the F350 a “professional” camera, they should consider the Canon XL-H1 just as professional.
We were using the Fujinon 17x lens, and I found it to be remarkably terrible. I’m not sure if we just had a bad example, but the chromatic aberration was even worse than the XL-H1. I need to investigate this further, if I’m going to give any consideration to purchasing one of these cameras. Because they use 1/2″ CCDs, there is a much smaller group of native lenses available. You can get an adapter to go to 2/3″, but I’m not sure what drawbacks that might have.
I’ll post more thoughts and video tomorrow.