Canon XA10 review

Canon’s XA10 professional level camcorder combines full manual controls, 64GB of internal memory and the ability to accept XLR audio inputs from the likes of pro microphones. This impressive mix of small size and high end controls creates a camcorder capable of shooting some truly eye-catching video while not looking like, or weighing as much, as a professional model.

The size of the camcorder really beggars belief, especially once the huge internal storage capacity is supplemented by the SDHC/SDXC card slots giving a theoretical maximum capacity of over 4TB. Very few buttons a present on the camcorder body, instead only a few of the most important are distributed in an intelligent manner with the less useful sat in the menu system, which can be found via the touchscreen. This means the likes of exposure and white balance control must be accessed via the screen, obscuring the preview somewhat.

Secondary controls can be found on the handle that, if you’re not intending on attaching an XLR-based microphone, can be detached. The secondary zoom control and record button are extremely helpful for low angle shooting, or just tracking a subject in a horizontal direction. The XA10 is comfortable to hold for prolonged periods, primarily due to the lack of weight, although the build of the camera doesn’t make it particularly simple to hold while using the small viewfinder.

The Canon XA10 uses a sensor 1/3inch in size, with pixels larger than those in a number of rival models. This should, theoretically at least, allow for a more balanced level of exposure and higher degree of sharpness as more light is absorbed. The end result is mightily impressive from the native 1080p resolution, which makes full use of the 24MB/s bitrate producing some eye catching colours and stunning levels of detail. The autofocus is especially accurate, and rapid, as well making the end product more than capable of being shown on giant HDTVs.     

OUR VERDICT

If you’ve got the cash, and the desire, the Canon XA10 is a camcorder with few flaws. The zoom is impressively versatile and controls easy to access, with only the small viewfinder a significant negative, dwarfed by the likes of the huge storage capacity and XLR inputs.

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