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Thread: Canon XA10 or something else

  1. Default Canon XA10 or something else

    I've been looking at the Canon XA10 as a possible future purchase, and I was hoping that people could throw up a few alternatives that you think I should take a look at for around the same money. I'd mainly be using it as a main camera for short films (fiction), and I'm particularly interested in as much manual control as possible, good image quality and XLR audio inputs.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    Not sure that XLR is essential, although many like them . . . the problem is there are only two (I understand, L+R), so it's difficult to mic-up any event and then mix it Post.
    Really useful features IMHO are LANC (remote control whilst filming on a dolly, for example, - and Vid-out when you are one of a 3-camera shoot.
    Have you any test shots from that lens?
    I like the dual SDHC card feature on some Canons . . . other MFrs are trying to shift away from cheap SDHC memory - so they can rip us off with funny cards.

    +It's not a new-model, so there may be something "better" about to hit the shops!

    -JVC were showing 4K camcorders recently . . . and this is probably where video is going, now that many folk have big screens. True most are HD at best, but the next thing will be "super HD" - and that probably means 4K.

    Let us know what yu find . . .
    Last edited by vidmanners; 06-09-2012 at 12:22 AM.

  3. Default

    Here's a test video. Nice white colours. Would've liked to see some low-light stuff though, but the reviewer did comment on it having particularly good low light performance.

    Canon XA10 Field Test with Sample Footage - YouTube

    I think we've got a while to go before 4k camcorders are worth buying. For a start, the cost of storage will have to come down massively before it's economical, as well as the technology to display it being more widespread (even most cinemas can't show it currently AFAIK).

    As for XLR, there are several reasons why they're better. The main one being that there's no risk of them accidentally coming out of the socket during the shoot (this has happened with my headphones enough to know how easily it can happen). And the second reason being that it's really only low-end microphones that use 3.5mm jacks. As for multiple cameras and large-scale audio set-ups, they're simply not necessary for the things I'll be doing. But I will be considering a separate audio recorder for when I want to shoot zoomed in from a distance.

  4. Default

    I've just been doing a bit more looking and I've come across the Sony NEX-V20 which looks promising. I've always been impressed with the image results from filmmakers that use DSLRs, but I've thought they'd be a bit of a nightmare on a practical level. But Sony have put the same technology into a camcorder, with interchangeable (silent) lenses, and a huge chip making image quality and control amazing for the price (they even have a little adapter that lets you attach existing lenses and converts them into powered lenses with autofocus). It does lack XLR inputs, which is a shame, but considering the vast difference in image quality, I'd be willing to go for an external recorder. It is a fair bit more expensive, though. 1900 rather than 1450, which will be even more when you factor in the cost of the audio recorder, but from what I've seen so far, it really does look worth the extra money.

    Sony NEX-VG20 - DSLR video Killer? - YouTube

  5. #5


    4K in the home? May I suggest you give this a read
    Why 4K TVs are stupid | TV and Home Theater - CNET Reviews

    Mind if I ask if this is your business where your taking on jobs on a regular basis or if it is one off jobs. Perhaps it is a hobby you do for fun?

    Depending on how it works out financially for you, If you do it once in a blue moon you may be better off renting a camera of your choice, this gives you the flexibility to pick whatever camera you fancy using or what the client expects. Of course if your a business turning over jobs on a regular basis, this option would do you more harm than good in the long term.

    I cannot offer you any specific models to investigate but may I encourage you to rent out your choice of camera, feel it in your hands, have a play, see if YOU like what you get from it before committing the money to purchase it out-right? I can rent an XH10 on a 3 day hire for just under 70, Given that you could spend 1300-1800 on the camera, It might be worth considering?

    Just saw your new post, If you cannot decide for sure, definitely rent out each camera and have a play! See if your happy with it's performance in real life for your needs.

  6. Default

    Just on the renting thing, I see you're in the UK, and I'd just remind you that distance selling regulations allow you 7 days to decide if you want to keep a product, and contrary to popular belief, there's no requirement that the item is unopened. And if you're buying in a shop, surely they'll let you have a good go?

    Oh, and just a quick update: I've found it for just over 1600 too, so the difference in price isn't so great any more. But I still haven't decided what country I want to buy it in. I live in Vietnam, but I'm from the UK, so I can order it to be delivered for when I visit my parents. But it might actually be cheaper here. I haven't found a place selling it yet, but I've seen it with a list price of just under 1400 including the lens, which would be great if true. If they're about the same price, it's then a toss up between better consumer protection in the UK or ease of return here. Perhaps if I buy it on my UK credit card in Vietnam, I'll get the best of both worlds?

    As for your other questions, I don't do any professional work, nor am I intending to in the near future. So it's just for fun, really.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    If you can get a camera that gives you all you want except XLRs at the right price, there is always the option of buying a Beachtek or JuicedLink preamp. These little units attach to the bottom of the camera (between the tripod plate and the camera) and provide balanced XLRs into a small preamp which then feeds into a cameras 3.5mm jack. Versions are available with 48v phantom power as well.

    One of the advantages of using one of these is that they give rotary gain controls for audio which is far quicker to work with than delving around in menus on an LCD when the sound source is suddenly twice the level it was when you set the levels.

  8. Default

    That's sounds interesting. The main problem I've noticed so far with (the cheaper) external recorders is that they all seem to run on AA batteries, which I absolutely hate. But I do think the extra flexibility of a recorder that's not connected to the camcorder would be an advantage in shooting (even if it's a bit more of a pain in editing). Just ideally with phantom power and a decent (rechargeable) battery. But yeah, for the majority of shooting, the solution you suggested would be good, because they seem to have the battery issue sorted.

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