What is the benefit of an SDI port

peteComposium's picture
Last seen: 4 days 1 hour ago
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Trying to decide between the Canon XF-400 and the XF-405. The only difference is the SDI port. But I can't seem to get a good understanding of what the SDI port is. Can someone explain what this does and what the benefit of it is? Thanks


peteComposium's picture
Last seen: 4 days 1 hour ago
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Any help is much appreciated, thanks!


Kenny Stokes's picture
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The really simple version of it is, it is a video cable that can also send data from the camera. It is typically used in large productions where control of the camera or a video mixer is being used. It can also be used to send video to an external recording unit or production monitor.

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Kenny Stokes's picture
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If it's just you and you don't have, or are not thinking of getting, a nice external video recorder or a nice production monitor, I would get the XF-400.

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peteComposium's picture
Last seen: 4 days 1 hour ago
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Thanks, that clarified things for me.

Totally unrelated but let me ask you this.. I'm weighing the options of getting a used Canon C300 or a new XF400. I mostly want to do documentaries/interviews, and TV/internet commercials. Do you think the XF400 quality will be good enough for legit TV commercials or would I have to get a cinema camera for that?


Kenny Stokes's picture
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At 4k i want to say yes but 1080p I'm not sure. It also depends upon the client for those commercials seeing as they do tend to have different requirements on quality of video.

If you don't mind losing 4k and paying more for the CFast 1.0 cards, the C300 will defintely cover the broadcast specs.

Also, no you don't need to get a cinema camera for broadcast quality footage, there are many prosumer cameras that givea broadcast quality image.Best thing you can do is find some potential clients and research exactly what specs they need for the footage and then compare those findings to the specs of the camera.

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paulears's picture
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For commercials - the issue really isn't 4K, it's what the 4K looks like. A 4K sensor sets the image size, and the pixel count and tells you virtually nothing about the image. You can get a cheap 4K go-pro lookalike for £50. You won't get a lens hood for a pro 4K lens for that money. The glass on the front is the real quality limiter. You can shoot a commercial on any camera at any sensor size and image resolution. Don't get fooled by thinking that a camera labelled 4K is better than one that shoots at 1080. It's much more complicated than that!


Jack Wolcott's picture
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I would definitely look at the reviews of the XF-400 at B&H before purchasing this camera. It appears to have a great many functional drawbacks, many of which would deter me from buying it. Regarding your original question, you'll probably rarely if ever need the SDI connection for the kind of work you're describing.