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Canon XA and VIXIA Series AVCHD Camcorders
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 12:22 PM   #1
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First Wedding Experience with XA10

My first impressions of the XA10 are very positive.

1. Image quality in decent light is very good. In low light, when considering it's a 1/3" chip sensor, it's outstanding. Don't get me wrong, it's not an EX3, nor can it offer the low-light sensitivity of my GH2s, but for what it is, it's great.

2. Onboard microphone produces crisp audio, lacking in bass frequencies, but the stereo separation is very good. I was forced to use onboard sound yesterday due to a malfunction of the XLR handle, the cause of yet is unknown. In a pinch, it holds up, and the auto gain performed perfectly for the dancing, no distortion that I could hear.

3. The zoom switch (located on the camera, not handle) is absolutley perfect, and I quickly learned how to get the slowest creeping zooms. People trash this aspect of the camera. I don't care that it should be on the side, it works as-is quite well.

4. The XLR feature when utilized with a wireless unit and Rode Videomic (I removed the Rode schock mout and put it in the mic holder) produces the best sound one could ask for. My ceremony audio seemed flawless, was rich and full, and alone make the camera worth it's price.

In lowest light, the images hold up surprisingly well. I used 18db gain, and I see NO grain, none.

For the price, the XA10 performs very well, and if I can figure out the issue with the XLR attachment that I mentioned in another thread, I would consider buying another one of these cameras to supplement my wedding kit.

I have one issue with the camera, it lacks 720p. I knew it had no 720 60p when I bought it, so this is not a real camera issue. But 720 60p, which is on my other cameras, is a superior method of filming, for sure, and I do miss it on this camera, but for the low light images it offers and for it's price point, it's a tradeoff I accept.

I am well aware the camera offers 24p, but am not interested in trying that out just yet.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 04:58 PM   #2
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Re: First Wedding Experience with XA10

Thanks for the report. I am very interested in the XA10. Did you use the autofocus during the wedding? If so how fast and good was it?
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 05:41 PM   #3
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Re: First Wedding Experience with XA10

Yes Jeff, thanks for this report. Updating cameras these days is not a matter of 2hrs on the web or looking in store windows, seems it's a never ending occupation :)

Cheers.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 06:37 PM   #4
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Re: First Wedding Experience with XA10

Use the XA10 yesterday (Saturday) also at a wedding. Locked down behind and to the right of the alter. Am very happy with the images. Much better than the HV20 I had used in the past.

I am also pleased with the quality of the internal HD->SD down convert. A DVD created from HD-to-SD convert and save to as SDHC card, file loaded into Authoring Works 4, and burned to DVD-R looked great when played in a DVD player to HD TV over HDMI connection. In my opinion noticeably better than the HD-to-SD down convert in the XHA1.

(Had an old Sennheiser MKE300 mic on it. That worked reasonably well. I had planed to use an AT875, but would up back ordered :-(
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 06:39 PM   #5
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Re: First Wedding Experience with XA10

I know Allen, it's quite a task selecting a camera these days.

D.J., I've seen complaints on the autofocus, and I don't get it. The camera has face detection feature enabled by default, I left it on, and that might be the source of some complaints, as it likely should be turned off for pro use.

Autofocus is very good, I think. In low light, like with any camera, it's slow. But there is a button on the camera which you push for manual, and then you use thefocus ring to fine tune. If that is too hard for someone, then I woudn't know what to tell them. The focus ring is really handy. Makes the camera feel and operate much like a pro camera.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 07:28 PM   #6
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Re: First Wedding Experience with XA10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Palomaki View Post
I am also pleased with the quality of the internal HD->SD down convert. A DVD created from HD-to-SD convert and save to as SDHC card, file loaded into Authoring Works 4, and burned to DVD-R looked great when played in a DVD player to HD TV over HDMI connection.

In my opinion noticeably better than the HD-to-SD down convert in the XHA1.
Yep Don, I thought there was something wrong with the XH-A1 and they didn't improve it with the XH-A1s either.

Cheers.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 11:31 PM   #7
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Re: First Wedding Experience with XA10

DJ. regarding autofocus, I should add it might be, to some shooters, a bit slow on the XA10 compared to other cameras, I am not sure. But I view continual autofocus as a pretty amazing feature after shooting exclusively with GH2s for months. I use a lens on my GH2 where autofocus is instant, and I do mean instant. But the dynamics of a zoom lens on a smaller sensor camera such as the XA10, particularly in low light, IMO, mean there will be some lag in response.

So, in retrospect, I can see how some would feel it is "crap", but for a shooter with a minimal amount of skill it should not be an issue. Again, just my opinion.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 06:29 PM   #8
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Re: First Wedding Experience with XA10

Jeff,

Thanks for the feedback. Sorry if I am getting slightly off topic, but your comparison to your GH2 is interesting.

I didn't realize you had a GH2. I am about to get a GH2 (or maybe 2 G3's consider the price) to get my feet wet with the DSLR game. I have a Sony NX5 as my main video camera - so these are all "B" cameras to me at this point.

Here is a thread that I started on the GH2 forums:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasoni...3-gf2-gf3.html

Do you think I'd be better off exchanging the Canon G10 for a Panny GH2 or 2 G3s? I have until 10/10/11 to exchange it at B&H. Do you think one of these Panny DSLRs would serve a similar function to the G10, as a B cam / wide shot, etc. Or do you feel the G10 (XA10 in your case) fills a role that the GH2s can't handle?

Thanks,
Angelo
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Old October 5th, 2011, 09:30 PM   #9
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Re: First Wedding Experience with XA10

I'm not familiar with the G3s, etc. so I cannot help you there. I would look at the shooting mode you want first, so that they will all match, that is the single most important consideration, IMO.

Make sure you can live without an mic jack, as the G3 has none. I personally wouldn't want a camera without a mic jack, I would find it too limiting.

An advantage of the GH2 are with a mic jack, you can still use it for well wishes, etc with an external microphone, or use it as you would any videocamera. Just because it's a B camera you should still want a mic input, but that is just my opinion. You can never have too many good audio sources.

Otherwise, get either one, and put a 20mm F/1.7 lens on it. The lens is the most important thing after shooting mode, and the 20mm F/1.7 is the most versatile lens for the camera. In a jam, you could actually shoot an entire wedding with that lens, it's that good.

I shoot with 2 GH2s, and GH1 and the XA10, and every camera has it's role.

It's a tough call, and no one can decide for you, but I'm guessing for you, if you shoot weddings, I would keep the Canon and save up for a G3 if it has the shooting mode you need, and skip the kit lens for sure, and instead get the 20mm F/1.7. You'd have three cameras, two with zooms, and the stunning images from the G3 with the 20mm. I cannot ever imagine going back to two cameras myself.

In all honesty, you would not do badly to keep the one you have...it has a zoom, great images. You can buy a Canon Wide Angle adapter for $399, and you'd be doing great, or just wait and get a Panasonic to add. I'm repeating myself, so I'll sign off. So many choices....
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Old October 6th, 2011, 01:16 PM   #10
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Re: First Wedding Experience with XA10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
I I would look at the shooting mode you want first, so that they will all match, that is the single most important consideration, IMO..
When you say "shooting mode" Jeff, I assume you are referring to frame rate / resolution, etc.

So if I am shooting 1080/24p on my NX5, getting a camera that only shoots 60i is probably not advisable in your opinion.

I agree with that statement, but I was curious about the 30p - translated to 60i feature. The footage samples I posted above to not look like traditional 60i video. They seem to have some sense of cinema motion cadence like a 24p camera would.

But I do agree, I would prefer to stick with the 24p format from camera to camera. Is that what you are working at?

Angelo
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Old October 6th, 2011, 01:24 PM   #11
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Re: First Wedding Experience with XA10

Yes, one should avoid mixing frame rates, never good idea if avoidable. Depending on what your're mixing, it can work out fine, but IMO it's best to plan your purchase for compatibility, and it will be one less issue in post.
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