The XA10 features the AVCHD codec. AVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition) was announced in 2006 and is quickly becoming the standard for professional camcorders. AVCHD utilizes MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression technology similar to the technology used in Canon’s HD DSLRs.
In addition to professional grade camcorders, AVCHD is very popular in the consumer market and as a result most non-linear editing software, both professional and consumer, have full support for the codec; this makes for easy compatibility with the XA10 no matter what system the user chooses.
AVCHD is used for encoding Blu-ray discs, meaning the XA10 is ideal for capturing content for delivery in this format, as well as making conversion to web-based content in H.264 format easy.
Additionally, the XA10 records up to 24Mbps, the maximum bit rate of AVCHD, at 1920 x 1080 and 4:2:0 color space for sharp, vivid, and fully professional quality image capture.
Big things, Small package
Don't let the price or its newer big brothers fool you. This camera is a sophisticated workhorse of enormous quality, a true pro cam that delivers on so many levels: an excellent image sensor, low light shooting, a wild assortment of menu options, and a wonderful 64 gig internal solid state drive. The XA20 & 25 do not offer the drive but rather a wifi link. Trust me, the drive is flat out awesome. Coupled with two card slots and you've got hours of filming ahead. The image quality is astounding, but that's to be expected on a Canon. This is the same image quality that one would expect from a 5D Mark II, but unlike the Mark II, the XA10 has pro audio XLR inputs built right in. This a small, compact, run and gun ready camera that succeeds on so many levels. Yes, there are more sophisticated cameras with interchangeable lens and a significant bump in price, but the XA10 is a proven commodity that delivers on quality, value, and performance. Try it, use it, play with it, master it, you'll be hard pressed to pass it by. You will want to add a high capacity battery or two for extended shooting. You'll also want a good tripod, monopod, or shoulder rig for maximum image stability... And don't forget to add an XLR microphone for great pro audio.
January 2, 2014
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