New Canon XF-AVC Codec to Compete with H.265?

by Hugh Brownstone2 Comments

With Canon’s announcement of its new XC10 cam, they unveil a new 4K-capable codec to go with it (and the upcoming C300 Mark II): XF-AVC.

It’s an interesting gambit: offer a Canon-branded alternative to the new H.265 4K codec and thus deprive a new class of competitors (epitomized by Samsung’s NX1) of oxygen.

XF-AVC might even be a better codec — we'd hope so — but we don’t have anything more than the announcement below, so there isn’t much to go on at the moment.

But Canon’s XF-AVC does make business sense, and – depending on how well it works – has the added advantage of  using the MPEG4/H.264 wrapper and thus likely more compatible with existing workflows.

Competition is a wonderful thing.

Canon's 3 announcements today:

Canon develops video format targeting 4K professional camcorders

Via Canon Press Release:

Sydney, Australia, 8 April 2015 – Canon Australia today announces the development of XF-AVC, a new proprietary video format for the efficient recording of high-image-quality 4K, 2K and HD video footage. [bctt tweet=”Canon announces new 4K codec”]

Mainly targeting professional-use 4K video camcorders, XF-AVC will deliver enhanced workflows across various stages of the production process, from shooting to editing. In recent years, the widespread use of digital data in cinema and video has become commonplace throughout the entire production workflow.

Accordingly, amid growing demand for high-image-quality video, there have been increasing opportunities to record in 4K resolution video, which employs more than four times the number of pixels used in HD content. In light of this trend, Canon developed its XF-AVC video format to support greater workflow efficiency and convenience during the production process for high-image-quality video.

Canon XC10

Canon XC10

The new Canon XF-AVC is a standard that defines each recording method for the visual and audio data components that make up individual video files. Because XF-AVC employs the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video compression format, which realises a high data-compression rate without sacrificing image quality, it supports the efficient recording on memory cards of high-image-quality 4K, 2K and HD video content captured on video camcorders. As a result, not only can external storage and other equipment required during shooting be kept compact, because it enables the recording of high-image-quality video data, the format also facilitates colour grading and other high-precision editing processes.

Canon will employ XF-AVC primarily in the Company’s 4K-compatible professional-use video camcorders, such as the XC10 (to go on sale in mid June 2015) and EOS C300 Mark II (to go on sale in early September 2015). Additionally, by collaborating with various industry manufacturers in connection with the new video format, Canon will deliver improved ease and convenience during cinema and video production workflows for high-image-quality video.

Canon XF-AVC

1 Compatible video formats differ depending on product.
2 Compression method that compresses video on an individual frame basis.
3 Compression format that refers to preceding and subsequent frames and only compresses areas detected as having differences. Compared with Intra Frame compression, Long GOP enables smaller file sizes, making it well suited for extended recording times.
4 4:4:4 colour sample can only be selected with 12-bit bitrate.
5 2K/HD Intra Frame compression method can only be selected with 4:4:4 colour sample.

(cover photo credit: snap from Canon)


  1. The chart says “bitrate” but I think you mean “bit depth.”

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