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Old July 4th, 2011, 12:44 PM   #1
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Question for owners for Canon XA10

I currently have (2) Sony HVR-HD1000u's and (1) JVC GY-HD100u
I mainly shoot weddings. I'm in the process of selling these cameras on eBay.

Lately, the competition has been producing far better quality video not using a video camera!
Many have been able to produce super sharp, colorful, and clear video using the Canon 5D.

At first I thought this was a joke! No way could the competition be using a photography camera!
Indeed, the results are nothing short of draw dropping.

While I fight with huge lights blasting people's faces and lighting up a dim lit reception hall with VHS noise and grain in my footage - I have others running around with Photography Camera's using no light and laughing at my huge gigantic rigs.

I just finally realized that the video camera industry is changing. That leads me to be very interested in the Canon XA10. I have seen all the videos on Vimeo & YouTube and have to say that the night shots are something I have only dreamed of achieving with my current video camera's.

I pose this question to all Canon XA10 owners.
Is this the Wedding Camera replacement?

Even video camera's on the $8,000 price range cant produce the clean, sharp, no noise footage I see being filmed in low light and even outside at night! Sure we all look good outside on a sunny day but so many video camera fail as soon as you walk inside. The darker and more romantic the reception is the more horrible my video is.

Could this really be the placement for indoor Church Weddings?
It seems like a dream come true.

I want to be sure from those who currently use the Canon XA10 that this will indeed have me keep up with the Wedding Video crown that has seemed to also have dumped the "typical video camera" for the Canon 5D. I have always been worried to switch over to HD-DSLR Video with all the rumors regarding recording time, camera over heating, and poor audio.

Is the Canon XA10 the answer to all our problems (low light, poor quality indoors, etc)?

Should I be on the move - away from HDV tape, clunky big video camera's and make the switch to AVHCD, tapeless media, and huge DSLR sensors in a tiny camcorder?

Thank you for your time.

John
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Old July 4th, 2011, 03:07 PM   #2
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

You may find the ergonomics of the XA10 a little amateurish and you will be better off with an XF100.
Other than that the XA10 is a giant killer image wise.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 05:20 PM   #3
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

Look at the Sony HXR-NX70 too! It's priced between the XA10 and the XF100.

Last edited by Troy Moss; July 4th, 2011 at 07:37 PM.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 09:44 PM   #4
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

Not sure why you would recommend the NX70?
I just looked it up and it fails in low light.
Matter of fact this very forum has a section for the NX70 with a video from vimeo.
The poster admits the NX70 cant compete with DSLR cameras.
the comment below that says it all "another Sony camera fails in low light"

The Canon 1.8f lens kills the stock Sony lens hand down.

At least thats the info I get when I googled the comparision.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 12:30 AM   #5
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

If your benchmark for low light is the 5D MKII, the XA10/XF100 will not meet your expectations, purely in low light performance. There are several comparo's on the web that compare the XF300 to the 5D MKII, and the 5D MKII still pulls out ahead.
But remember, DSLR's are not video cams. You give up a lot in functionality and ease of use.

If you want a video cam that matches the 5D MKII, you should either just get one, or maybe a 60D....or in video only cams, look at the new Sony FS100, I think it is, or the Panasonic AF-100.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 02:40 AM   #6
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnie Caraballo View Post
The poster admits the NX70 cant compete with DSLR cameras.
Which is perfectly fine, because the poster doesn't shoot in the dark. I definitely _wouldn't_ recommend the NX70 for weddings, not unless you still want to carry all that lighting gear.

I'm not sure the single chip XF100 and XA10 would be an awful lot better in dim receptions or churches either. This is why the DSLRs are so popular for weddings.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 04:33 AM   #7
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

I owned both the xa10 and nx70 and they are both very good in low light but the canon is a little better to me. They both would need extra lighting in the church to get good shots, I had an xf100 and it's good in low light also but it would need extra light to. Never had a dslr for video but I'll try one someday.

Last edited by Gerald OConnor; July 5th, 2011 at 05:27 AM.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 06:31 AM   #8
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Beckett View Post
Which is perfectly fine, because the poster doesn't shoot in the dark. I definitely _wouldn't_ recommend the NX70 for weddings, not unless you still want to carry all that lighting gear.

I'm not sure the single chip XF100 and XA10 would be an awful lot better in dim receptions or churches either. This is why the DSLRs are so popular for weddings.
The XF100 & XA10 are being hailed as the DSLR replacement for video cameras.
From my reading, many that have used the Cannon 5D are now able to use a "video camera" with the same low light results. The XF100 and XA10 share the same lens. The XF100 is slightly larger and has more manual controls.

On the Sony side I just cant find a comparable unit for the same price that performs so well in low light.

I have not seen anything on the internet recommending a Sony for Weddings but plenty for using the Canon 5D and the XF100 or XA10 for weddings.
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Old July 9th, 2011, 12:14 PM   #9
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

It's an interesting topic. We sold all our video cameras once we went to DSLR, but I'd like to pick up a couple of video cameras as well. I've been looking at the XA10 and XF100.

The BIG problems with DSLR is the shallow DOF! I know that's why people want them, and when you want shallow DOF it's awesome. The problem comes when people don't stand still, or don't stay where you pre-focused. Getting BOTH Bride & Groom in perfect focus at the front of a church requires you to stop down significantly, which in turn requires you to turn up the ISO significantly to compensate. Yes, on a 5D2 you can do this (I've had to go to ISO2000 sometimes) and the noise is still more pleasant that we used to get in the same light from camcorders, but I guess I was hoping that newer CMOS censors had improved things a little.

What I'm looking for is a direct comparison, XA10 or XF100 against a 5D2 or 7D at a known ISO and Aperture setting. Simply looking at a video shot in low light with no known calibration range is pointless.

We DID test an XF300 against the crop cameras (550D, 60D and 7D) and it was simply AWESOME at 0db gain (it was significantly sharper than the DSLRs), but as soon as you hit 6db (required for the church we tested in) the advantage went out of the window as the noise increased significantly.
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Old July 9th, 2011, 12:30 PM   #10
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

While I have not yet seen a direct comparison of the XF100 vs. the XF300, it does seem to be a stretch to ask a single 1/3rd inch chip to do what a 3 X 1/3rd inch chip cam cannot do, which is top the 5D in noise in a church setting. Isn't the XF100 using one of the same chip as found in the XF300?
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Old July 9th, 2011, 03:01 PM   #11
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

Johnnie:

Several comments that may help you sort through your choices.

The first one is that you might want a mix of cams for what you do, You do not need to have only DSLRs or only video cams. Depending on "how dark is dark for you," you might find that you want a DSLR with a 1.4/1.8 lens for those ultra dark events and video cams like the XA/g10 for more "reasonable" dim lighting and for multi-cam shooting.

"Dim light" is one of those terms that mean different things to different folks. I've had one wedding where the the wedding planner wanted things "romantic" for the first dance and she turned down the lights so low that the guests (sitting 10 feet away from the couple) could barely make out a dim white glow of the bride's wedding dress. No guest could actually see the couple. I used a Sony NX5 at full wide stopped down to 1/30th second to get usable, if grainy footage. A DSLR with a wide aperture prime lens would have been better in that situation. Sometimes that stuff happens. Other than that, however, I've had no trouble using locked-down CX550v cams as "b" cams at the weddings and receptions that I shoot. I have never used lights. (Frankly, the little CX500 cams seem to have less noise than my NX5. The firmware in Sony's CX cams and Canon's XA/G10 cams is very good in that respect.)

Second, noise in dim light will bother some people more than others, but there are tools for dealing with it. Check out Neat Video's denoising software.

Neat Video - best noise reduction for digital video

YouTube - ‪Noise reduction using Neat Video Denoiser Night Test‬‏

There is a trial version that you could use to test out and see if it will work for you.

Third, with your frame of reference being the HX1000U, I think you might find some of the consumer cams very serviceable without needing lights and will work pretty well for a lot of wedding video. When I looked at the HD1000 some time ago, I found it was essentially the same as my HDR-HC1 in low light. (I was able to do a side by side comparison.) Last winter, I did a mulit-cam shoot of a choir concert. This was in an old church (what passes for for old in this area) with lighting by candles and some reflector lights bounced off the ceiling to give the choir enough light to read their music. It was too dark for the audience to read programs. I used the CX550 cams as "b" cams without a problem. It was too dark for usable footage from my HC1. Other than the "romantic" dance lighting I mentioned above, I've hardly ever seen such dim lighting in 17 years of shooting weddings. YMMV.

Fourth, having praised the small AVCHD cams, I find their size poses an ergonomic challenge for me to use them as primary cams for the way I shoot weddings. A particular problem for me is the control functions that are managed through the touch screen LCD. Folks who use iPhones and such seem to see this as much less of problem. That said, the small cams' automated functions, such as face tracking functions, are good enough that I probably could use them for 70% of what I do in videoing weddings. I would guess that a Canon XA10 would likely cover 80% of what I do and give results as good as I am getting with my other cams. There have been discussions in the Wedding and Event forum of using an array of small cams for weddings, Philip Howells and Dave Blackhurst being two of the names that I recall in these. That may bear further research.

Fifth, when looking at reviews and samples of "low light" performance of video cameras, bear in mind that the amount of zoom affects aperture size -- zoomiing in limits how wide the aperature can go --- with a resulting reduction in low light ability. I recall some reviews of CX/NX cams where folks felt they had to zoom in so that framing matched that of other cameras in the comparison. The reviewer apparently did not realize that these cams have to be full wide to get full low light performance. Also, some reviewers claim to avoid using the CX cams "low lux" function and thereby lost the advantage of 1/30th sec. shutter. Of course, you can do better with a DSLR using a large prime lens, but then you have to deal with shallow depth of field, manually focusing and a different shooting style. As Dave Partington pointed out above, that is sometimes okay and sometimes not.

Sixth, there are slightly larger --- and $800 to $1200 ($US) more expensive --- "pro" versions of the little video cams, such as Sony's NX70 and Canon's XF100. While the larger size, with more rings and buttons, overcome some of the ergonomic challenges of the tiny cams, they still make use of touch-screen menu selections. They (and the XA10) offer features such as built-in XLR inputs, manually volume control, and some control over ND filtration. If you decided to work with a DSLR as a primary cam and run and XA10/G10 as a "b" cam, you could record primary audio to the XA (much better audio recording and control) and use it in syncing with your DSLR.

Seventh, getting advice and opinions here is helpful for narrowing choices but there is nothing like actually getting hands on a camera. Is there anyplace within reasonable driving distance where you could rent say, an XA10, an XF100 and/or NX70 for a day or two? This might require buying some SD and/or CF cards, but will tell you a lot more about the suitability of your choices than anything you can read here.

One final thought. How much zoom to you need? How wide of a wide angle do you need? The little Sony and Canon cams go much wider than what you are used to with the HD1000u (basically 30 versus what I think the HD1000 had which was about 50). But, the optical zoom only goes out to 10x. If you do not need more than 10x for your weddings, it is not a problem.
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Old July 9th, 2011, 03:46 PM   #12
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

I own a Canon 7d and the Sony NX70. I've been impressed with the low light performance of the Sony. If you look at the test videos posted by Gerald (on this forum), you'll see the difference in the low light performance from the Canon XA10 vs. Sony NX70. Personally, I like the Sony, but the XA10 does quite well too. The Sony NX70 has only been available for a couple of weeks, so you'll see more test footage in the weeks to come. By all means, we should all keep open minds in these situations. The "one is better than the other" conversations never resolve much! Thanks Gerald and Mike Beckett for all the test footage so far! I'm currently trapped on a two month audio session in studio, so can't quite get test footage uploaded at this time.

I don't prefer using my Canon 7d for video (but that's another story)........

Last edited by Troy Moss; July 10th, 2011 at 12:20 AM.
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Old July 9th, 2011, 03:52 PM   #13
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnie Caraballo View Post
Not sure why you would recommend the NX70?
I just looked it up and it fails in low light.
Matter of fact this very forum has a section for the NX70 with a video from vimeo.
The poster admits the NX70 cant compete with DSLR cameras.
the comment below that says it all "another Sony camera fails in low light"

The Canon 1.8f lens kills the stock Sony lens hand down.

At least thats the info I get when I googled the comparision.
That was not a good source! As others have stated, discuss with someone that owns the camera or better yet (as I always do before purchasing) test before buying from one of our FORUM SPONSORS!!!!

Respectfully!
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Old July 11th, 2011, 10:30 AM   #14
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

Thank you. The AX10 just "looks" like a toy. I think I'm going for the FX100.
Now I'm just torn between the Canon FX100 & SONY AX2000
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Old July 11th, 2011, 11:27 PM   #15
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Re: Question for owners for Canon XA10

I think these are very both very capable but different kinds of cameras and they are of different sizes.

First, a disclosure that I have the NX5 (rather than slightly less-feature rich AX2000) and have had very limited time with an XF105 -- not an XF100 -- meaning that I have actually handled one only once for a short period of time. So grade my impressions accordingly.

My impression of the XF100 is that it can produce noticably better images in auto modes and in mostly auto modes than my NX5. The XF105 also seemed to have less video noise than the NX5 when run in auto modes in low light in the 50 mbps mode (rather similar to footage from my CX550v but with a somewhat deeper reach into dim lighting.) For multi-cam, you could easily pair it with one or move VIxias, particularly the HFG10 (consumer version of the XA10). My limited testing indicated that it worked well with auto focus. My personal preference for set piece shooting such as wedding ceremonies has been to set a wide manual focus for large depth of field, but I found the XF100 seemed almost as responsive as the CX550v consumers cams that I use for "b" cams and in full auto mode. In the brief test I was able to do with an XF105, I found that the auto white balance seemed noticably more capable than auto white balance with my NX5. I did the tests at one of the local wedding venues, a resort hotel with a peculiar mix of lighting systems that include some mercury vapor lights next to a long row of floor to ceiling windows. Where auto white balance with my NX5 at that spot tended to produce images that had a very blue or yellow cast (depending on where I had been pointing the camera), the XF105 seemed to have much less trouble producing a balanced image with decently saturated colors.

On the other hand, the NX5 (and, by inference, the very similar AX2000) is probably half again larger in size and therefore has the space for more readily running manual controllas. There is simply more room for it. Three lens rings, for example, more configurable picture profiles and assignable buttons, more manual controllability. Run with manual controls, I would say the NX5 was never any worse than the XF100 and often better until we got down into really dim lighting. By "really dim," I mean lighting where you need more than 12db of gain, 1/30th sec shutter and full wide on the aperture.

Do note that, if you want to use 720p to shoot a lot of hig-motion high contrast footage --- something I've never needed for weddings --- the AX2000 does not do 720p (unlike the XF100/105 and NX5).

The NX5/AX2000 have twice the reach of the XF100/105 on the zoom. This does not matter to everybody but it has been important to me. Almost every wedding venues that I've worked in the last 17 years in my area has rules about videographers and photographers staying in the back of the room during ceremonies. A significant percentage of wedding venues in this area --- and particularly the newer Roman Catholic Churches --- are enormous rooms. I've need the 20x zooms on my main cameras. I also shoot dance recitals and other theatrical events with similar requirements. YMMV..

Another little feature on the AX/NX cams that I like a lot is the quick release for the shotgun mike holder. (The Canon cams clamp with a thumb screw.) I find this very handy for doing guest interviews -- I can pop the mic off, hand to a guest, step back get the clip, and quickly go on to something else.) Again, YMMV on whether this matters to you or not.

The NX5 and (I believe) the XF100/105 cams allow recording Linear PCM ("uncompressed") audio with 1080i and p and 720p modes. The AX only records AC3 dolby. I find LPCM is a more robust format, more easily worked in post production and is especially useful for recording concert musicians.
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