The XA10 Professional Camcorder offers a wide array of functions to provide the professional shooter with an exceptional level of control.
Custom Key and Dial
A Custom Key and Dial feature allows you to assign functions to an easily accessible key and adjust the settings with a control dial. They include:
Tv/Av: Use the dial to adjust shutter speed (Tv mode) or aperture (Av mode), as needed. In this mode the key has no effect.
Manual exposure: When manual control is selected, the dial can adjust aperture, shutter speed, or gain. Select items to adjust, such as aperture or other settings, with the key.
Exposure Lock can be set on or off as can the AGC Limit.
Focus and Exposure Aids
To further enhance focusing capability, the XA10 also features Focus Assist. It includes enlargement, which helps in capturing your subject in razor-sharp focus. It works by providing a 2x magnification of your subject, which is automatically cancelled when you start recording. Also included is color peaking, which shows the shooting object’s focused areas in actual colors. With Canon's Edge Monitor Focus Assist system, a green monitor is shown at the bottom of the LCD Display. The green waveform shows overall focus of the image, and the height raises to indicate the area in focus. Through this dynamic focus feedback, you can intuitively tune focus in a scene and quickly change the zone of focus.
Typically only found on expensive external units, the XA10 has a waveform monitor built right into the camera. The waveform monitor shows a detailed view of overall image brightness.
Enhanced zebra pattern (70% or 100%) indicates ‘blown out’ or high brightness areas to help you set the proper exposure.
With the Level Marker feature, it's easy to keep the camcorder level for more accurate framing.
The Grid Marker provides a reference grid in your viewfinder. Depending on the background color of your shot, you can choose between two different colors for better viewing contrast.
The XA10 features full manual exposure, as well as aperture priority (Av), and shutter priority (Tv) modes.
Either color bars or color bars and test tone can be selected and recorded using a menu. The color bars comply with the SMPTE standard. -12 dB, -18 dB or -20 dB can be selected as the test tone.
The white balance control has 6 available presets settable through a variety of day and artificial light conditions (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent H, and Fluorescent), as well as two manual white balance settings. Color temperature may also be manually set from 2,000K to 15,000K in 100K increments for more precise adjustment.
Gain may be manually set from 0 dB to 24 dB in 1 dB increments. Additionally, Auto Gain Control Limit allows you to set the maximum gain limit for the image sensor's sensitivity. With this function, brightness and noise can be balanced as required, and image quality can be maximized in low light situations.
Power zoom is available in Constant and Variable settings in 3 modes: Fast (approx. 1.9 - 60 seconds), Normal (approx. 3.0 - 180 seconds) and Slow (approx. 4.0 - 285 seconds). To provide added control, there are 16 predefined steps in Constant mode.
Promises but doesn't deliver
I purchased the XA10 for it's pro-quality image output and, due to the type of shooting I mainly do, it’s accuracy on auto as it is described as having very accurate auto-features for face and subject tracking and for coping with changing lighting conditions etc - 'Smart Auto'. These features are important to me as I shoot almost completely outdoors and I film myself so obviously manual control of focusing etc is out of the question.
I have not been able to get this camera to perform to anything close to what I would expect or how Canon describe it on anything but a couple of occasions.
It seems to be unable to cope with situations of strong light outdoors with colours and highlights blowing-out and in areas of contrast darker or shadowed parts of a scene will lose all contrast and become black-holes.
Worse still the focusing is just terrible. Face tracking and subject tracking are very hit-or-miss with accuracy that I would put at less than 50%. Often it will show on the display that it has achieved face-lock but on playback on your computer (because the LCD screen on the camera isn’t quite accurate enough to pick it up) you find that focus hadn’t been achieved so you only find out well afterwards that you’ve missed a shot.
I’ve had situations in normal light with the presenter in centre frame and clearly separated from the background where it has taken the camera over 20-seconds to achieve focus. This makes spontaneous shooting impossible for a camera that’s widely promoted as run-and-gun.
Often, especially in bright daylight, entire scenes will just drop out of focus, everything will go ‘soft’.
Additionally I’ve found footage can be incredibly inconsistent with material from the same shoot looking like it’s been shot on different cameras. For example – camera set on tripod, good outdoor lighting conditions, presenter clearly in centre frame etc. One take will be of acceptable quality, stop recording, next take, restart recording less than 1 minute later with no change in light or presenter position and the footage will have blown colours be lacking dynamic range and have soft focus. This makes it impossible to smoothly edit scenes or takes together as the material is just too different - one take will look like its been shot on a reasonable camera, the next will look like it was shot on a sub-$200 point-and-shoot handy-cam.
I gave the camera to Canon to inspect, they had it for a month & insisted that there is nothing wrong with it yet when it came back all of these problems persisted.
All-in-all it’s been a very disappointing purchase and frankly an expensive mistake.
I'm a long term Canon pro-DSLR user and I’ll certainly never be buying a Canon video camera again.
I need reliability and consistency in a camera and the XA10 just hasn’t delivered.
May 7, 2013
Excellent image and quality in smalle package
You can't shoot it if your camcorder's not with you! The XA10 is ridiculously compact and provides excellent quality video and sound. I carry it around without the removable handle and I have to say that the built in microphone produces a high quality soundtrack. Canon has managed to provide a professional package whose weight and dimension eliminate the excuse to leave the camcorder behind because of its size. Its convenient, professional, and barely draws attention to itself allowing to function as the perfect run-and-gun camcorder.
April 9, 2013
Awesome Little Camera
You could not go wrong with this camera, its light and easy to use.
I selected this camera (I have 3 of them) for use on the run simply due to its size.
Our business is based around marine photography both still and video and our requirements are for light portable equipment that we can easily carry on aircraft so we picked the XA10 and 5D as our kit and have not been disappointed.
Sure in some reviews people complain about the menus being fiddly but this a small price to pay for the overall excellent camera Canon have provided.
We can arrive on the ground and start shooting in moments ... Thanks Canon!
April 1, 2013
We run a music blog and livestream concert events. This camera makes me look like a hero. With almost no effort, we get cinema-like imagery for our concert footage. When people see the shots from this camera they ask "What camera we're you using?" The size is very compact. The handles makes it a great mobile handheld shooter. Also, it has direct professional quality mic inputs, so I can go out with a couple of mics, a mono pod, and my talent guys and we can cover interviews on the street, or in some obscure corner of a building, with no power or additional equipment needed. I cannot tell you how much our team loves this camera and it is a must for any type of Internet broadcaster or someone who needs to capture long form video. DSLRs are great but most cannot run their sensors for long periods of time. This camera has DSLR type performance AND the ability to record for hours on end. My only beef is that when you are using two mics, you can only record them in stereo. We often have an interviewer and interviewee who both need mics and the resulting audio signal should be in MONO. You can have one mic in mono but not both mics in mono. Otherwise, a perfect camera.
March 16, 2013