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Housing for Canon XF300/305


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#1 MJvC

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 11:27 PM

Hi All
I am in need of some advise.
I am looking at housing a Canon XF305 but struggling to find a company that build housings for it.
I know that equinox builds a housing but not the most ergonomic.
Are there any other housings available for this cam?????
Thanks

#2 peterbkk

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:32 AM

Hi All
I am in need of some advise.
I am looking at housing a Canon XF305 but struggling to find a company that build housings for it.
I know that equinox builds a housing but not the most ergonomic.
Are there any other housings available for this cam?????
Thanks


Try BS Kinetics. http://www.bskinetic...lamakan_en.html

I use their Takla Makan for my Canon XF100. I'm very happy with it.

Regards
Peter

#3 Stenellablu

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 11:58 PM

Hi Lionfish and all!

I need urgently Your help.

Have you found a good underwater housing for xf300? I am looking for it but in Italy there is one very heavy with no mechanical control and I should need it for manual focus (the best should be for WB also).

For Peter: I had a look on the BS Kinetiks web site, but I could not find xf300 on the camera list and neither xf100. How did You do to have the housing? Are the controls fully remote or do you know if it is possible a mechanical controls for manual focus?
This housing should be fine for light weight also because xf300 is kg 2,7.
How is the footage with the xf100 in low light and bad light and water conditions? Are there issues, noise and aberration?
I have read you have two uw housing: an electronic one and a mechanical one. Which is the brand of the second one?

Thank You in advance

Regards

Simona

Edited by Stenellablu, 03 September 2012 - 12:37 AM.


#4 Drew

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:35 AM

I believe Peter put a video sample from the XF100 in the share forum. The BS Kinetics manufactures housings for use with lanc. So it's really a generic housing that fits many cameras. You will need to contact Bodo directly to check if the lanc controls work with the XF300. It should but never hurts to ask! :)

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#5 peterbkk

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 04:00 AM

For Peter: I had a look on the BS Kinetiks web site, but I could not find xf300 on the camera list and neither xf100. How did You do to have the housing? Are the controls fully remote or do you know if it is possible a mechanical controls for manual focus?
This housing should be fine for light weight also because xf300 is kg 2,7.
How is the footage with the xf100 in low light and bad light and water conditions? Are there issues, noise and aberration?
I have read you have two uw housing: an electronic one and a mechanical one. Which is the brand of the second one?


Hi Simona,

BS Kinetics (Bodo) can engineer a housing for many different types of video camera. I did not communicate directly with Bodo. David Cheung of ScubaCam helped me put this system together.

BS Kinetics has several housing models. For the XF-300, you would need to use the housing that is slightly larger than the camera. He already has the electronics control profile for the camera because it is similar to the XF-100.

These housings are completely electronic. All operations are done by pressing buttons. The buttons are magnetic, through the housing skin. This is good because then the housing only has two o-rings, both big, fat, round o-rings; one for the port and one for the main opening. This means that the risk of leak is much less.

There are control buttons for every camera function. The most common are direct, one-purpose buttons near the hand grip: start-stop, focus, zoom. The less common are below the monitor and work in a "mode" approach. e.g, mode 1 = WB, mode 2 = iris, etc. Very easy to use.

They do have "manual" focus but it is operated through 3 buttons. One button switches between manual and auto focus. Once in manual mode, another button moves the focus to "near" and one button moves to "far". With a bit of practice, manual focus is possible. However, I find it more convenient to use the "lock auto focus" option.

The XF100 is OK in low light but not great. It does have small CMOS sensor so it has small pixels. To keep noise low, I use manual gain control and keep it zero or very low. I also turn down the iris to manual in dark environments and keep the recorded image dark. I would expect that the XF-300, with it's 3 sensors, would be better in low light. The 4.2.2 color encoding of all the XF cameras is great.

Here is some footage, all shot on the XF-100. The hammerhead footage (about 1:30s) was 50 meters deep at 7am in the morning so it was very dark. http://www.peterwalk...com/Layang.html

The housing is light because it is made from carbon fibre.

The mechanical housing is an Equinox. I have used it on one dive. I much prefer the convenience of the BS Kinetics.

Regards
Peter

#6 CheungyDiver

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 04:17 AM

Hi Simona,

Just wanna add a few more points on what was highlighted by Peter on the XF Canon series and housing by BS K. The user interface of the XF 305/300 is practically the same as the XF 105 or 100. So in theory the BS Kinetic control could probably work with XF 305/300 with little or no re-programming. That's the good news. Now the bad. The microphone block which is attached to the handle and LCD monitor is the problem. Any housing built has to take the front "snout" portion into consideration and because it is protruding it is quite difficult to design port that could be close to the camcorder lens......Believe me you want the lens to be close to the port and not too far inside.

Now it is possible to just get a tube housing but the front port has to have a big enough diameter to allow the set back of the camera inside and avoid vignettes(or cut offs). Or a big flat port.

Hey if you have time may be I could assist.


Cheers

David

Proprietor of Scubacam, Singapore. Commercial videocameraman. Also shoot digital stills. I modify and built stuff. I love technology. Camera: Red Epic/ Scarlet and soon Dragon

Email: info@scubacam.com.sg

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#7 peterbkk

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 04:26 AM

Now the bad. The microphone block which is attached to the handle and LCD monitor is the problem. Any housing built has to take the front "snout" portion into consideration and because it is protruding it is quite difficult to design port that could be close to the camcorder lens......Believe me you want the lens to be close to the port and not too far inside.

David


Of course, you can always use a hack-saw and chop off that microphone block. It is useless underwater...

Regards
Peter

#8 CheungyDiver

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 05:10 AM

Ahhh Peter the ol' hacksaw trick. LOL

Seriously though. Its not far from the truth as from one job I have been helping a stereographer setting up a 3D mirror rigs. The camera tech from Canon actually took the mic block off its mounting with wires, connectors, etc still attached. Maybe a screwdriver and some gaffer tape is the way to go to de-pinocchio the XF 300 :)

Sorry Simonia that was not helpful.

Cheers

David

Proprietor of Scubacam, Singapore. Commercial videocameraman. Also shoot digital stills. I modify and built stuff. I love technology. Camera: Red Epic/ Scarlet and soon Dragon

Email: info@scubacam.com.sg

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#9 jonny shaw

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 02:39 PM

Of course, you can always use a hack-saw and chop off that microphone block. It is useless underwater...

Regards
Peter


Great quote... and so true. Made me laugh.

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#10 SimonSpear

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 10:35 AM

Great quote... and so true. Made me laugh.


Me too! Had similar thoughts about equipment amputation many times for getting things underwater! :)

It's a shame the XF range isn't better in low light as topside they really impressed in most situations.

Cheers, Simon

#11 Nick Hope

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:58 PM

I hacksawed half the power control off a Panasonic camera many years ago to make it fit a housing and can confirm that it's a very satisfying feeling as the offending component hits the workshop floor. If you do it then make sure to video the amputation for us all to enjoy.

#12 peterbkk

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:31 PM

I hacksawed half the power control off a Panasonic camera many years ago to make it fit a housing and can confirm that it's a very satisfying feeling as the offending component hits the workshop floor. If you do it then make sure to video the amputation for us all to enjoy.


Must have been fun.

I've never done it. I guess you had to be careful not to chop through any wires that run through the place where you are cutting. Could have unpredictable results...

#13 Drew

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:46 PM

If it's just the mic, it should be ok. However for things like handles etc, before hacking anything, I would first try disassembling the electronics to see if it disconnects any functions. Sometimes in shoving boards around to fit a form factor, interconnected functions may stop working with an open circuit. Otherwise, have fun! :)

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#14 Stenellablu

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 02:52 AM

Ciao!

Thank you very much for your advices. I do not think I'll chop the camera...
I have found in Italy a tube housing with a special accommodation for mic.. and it fits xf300. But they never worked with this camera before, so do not know if they can remote all controls and create a mechanical control for focus at least. Than they have to check if the size of the tube hole (for lens) is ok to make a special accommodation to fit a focus ring control.
Everything is not easy...and we have to go to the Caribbean sea for shooting a documentary!!

The problem is that we are changing all the equipment (a late transition to HD) and need two of the same camera, for external and uw shooting.
We like the worm image by the xf300..but now I read on this forum it is not so good in low light, as uw shooting requires...
So I am quite warred about that: I do not like to have a lot of problems finding a housing for xf300 and discovering at the end that it is not so good..

Wich camera can you suggest?

We cannot use dsrl because we need to zoom and tele and easily focusing at the same time (during the diving session).
So the same problem is with sony fs100 (Amphibico) and others interchangeable lenses cameras. Maybe a traditional camcorder is the only solution and we have to choose among those....

The most important thing is no rumors and issues in the background.

I tested some 1 cmos cameras (small and light) but they cannot avoid the problem.

Maybe only 3 chips camcorders can work better with low light.

Maybe there are only canon xf300 and sony ex1...

What can you suggest for uw shootings?

Edited by Stenellablu, 06 September 2012 - 03:17 AM.


#15 peterbkk

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:26 AM

I do not like to have a lot of problems finding a housing for xf300 and discovering at the end that it is not so good..
What can you suggest for uw shootings?


I don't think that it is question of the XF300 being "not so good". It is an excellent 3 chip camcorder with quality footage and colour.

But every camera is a trade-off. You have to decide what is important to you and select a camera that is strong in that area. No one can suggest one for you.

I use the XF100 because I can carry two cameras and one housing onto an airplane so I don't risk arriving without my camera. I like the XF100 because it is the smallest camcorder that produces 422 color, and I consider color quality very important for good underwater video. I like the BS Kinetics housing because it is light, has every control and has a good leak-proof design.

What kind of documentary? How deep? Why do you expect it to be low-light? In tropical waters down to 30 or 40 meters, the XF-300 will be fine.

If I was you, I would be more worried about the controls available on the housing and how easy is it to operate...

Regards
Peter

#16 Stenellablu

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 07:32 AM

I have contacted BSkinetiks some days ago by email...but no answering!!

However the problem with this housing should be any mechanical control.

We shoot all over the world..and also in tropical water it can be foggy because a lot of plankton or sunshine reflections... Sometimes we dive in caves. Documentaries are about wildlife and often show interaction between humans and animals; the depth is usually down to 45 meters, no more.

Wich kind of remote controls have you on housing?

Thank you

#17 jonny shaw

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 02:58 PM

Have you actually purchased the XF300? Or are you open for other cameras? I would have thought that the XF is pretty workable in lowlight, I have and still use a Canon XHA1 and it is very workable down to 30m+. Get a decent set of lights and pick your subjects.

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#18 Nick Hope

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 07:57 PM

Peter, is that a generic BS Kinetics housing you have for your XF100? I don't see that model in the list on their site (nor the XF300). And what ports do you have with it?

#19 peterbkk

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 09:02 PM

Peter, is that a generic BS Kinetics housing you have for your XF100? I don't see that model in the list on their site (nor the XF300). And what ports do you have with it?


The particular model I have is called a Takla Makan. (they are all named after deserts - dry inside). But, BS Kinetics customized the controls for the XF-100. I understand that this is their primary modus operandi: take a standard housing of the right size, adjust the plate to align the lens, then reverse engineer the camera's remote control system into their housing electronics. Works well.

The Takla Makan comes with a standard flat glass port, I have added a wet diopter for macro diving. BS Kinetics also have an acrylic dome port that aligns with the Canon WA adapter lens. But, David Cheong of ScubaCam got me an unmounted glass dome port and fitted it into the BS Kinetics mount for better optics and more scratch-resistance.

I've also added a handle, a weight-balance system and a monopod.

As I mentioned above, I can fit everything into one large photo backpack that fits into an aircraft overhead bin. It passes the size limit on airlines but weighs about 14 kg. But, around Asia, they never weigh carry-on bags. So I can travel to remote dive destinations secure in the knowledge that my camera gear will arrive with me...

Regards
Peter

#20 peterbkk

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 09:18 PM

Wich kind of remote controls have you on housing?


None of the controls are remote.

As I mentioned earlier, every control is available:

Auto-focus, including focus lock
Manual focus
Zoom

Zoom speed
White-balance: 4 modes, including manual white balance
Iris: auto and manual
Auto-exposure adjustment
Shutter speed
Gain, auto and three menu assigned settings
Plus access to the entire menu system

The top three are controlled by magnetic push buttons near the right handle.

The others are controlled through a panel of magnetic push buttons across the back below the monitor. To adjust them, you step through 6 "modes" (e.g. Mode 1 = white balance) and can change the setting while in that mode.

One combined feature of this camera / housing is white balance. Rather than play around with manual white balance while underwater, I preset the 4 settings to 1. auto, 2. 6500k, 3. 8000k anti-blue and 4. 9000k anti-green. Then, when shooting underwater, I pick the closest to what I need:

1 for very shallow, night, cave and artificial lights
2 for 5 meters to 20 meters clear water
3 for deep blue water
4 for greenish water

Yes, sometimes BS Kinetics are slow to answer emails. They are small, busy and focused on engineering, not sales. I suggest that you follow up with David Cheong who posted earlier in this thread. He can deal with them for you.

Regards
Peter