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Canon XA and VIXIA Series AVCHD Camcorders
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Old October 17th, 2011, 08:05 AM   #1
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Upgrading to XA10 from Z1U?

Hi All,

I have been thinking of upgrading my cameras and thinking about the XA10. It is the best camera in my price range at the moment. Right now i have PD150, PD170 and HVR-Z1U.

I have seen some people on this forum and other sites say that the XA10 is a nice camera, and even offers better quality picture than the Z1U. Is this the case? Has anyone switched to the XA10 from the Z1 or another similar camera? How are your impressions? In my mind, I cannot see how a 1 x 1/3" CMOS sensor can beat 3 x 1/3" CCDs and a much bigger lens, or is there more than that.

I would like to upgrade to better cameras such as the NX5U or the AX2000 but really they are out of my price range. I also have to upgrade my editing computer as well.

Right now I was thinking of an XA10 and HF G10 or a pair of XA10s.

Thanks
Mark
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Old October 18th, 2011, 07:24 AM   #2
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Re: Upgrading to XA10 from Z1U?

Hi Mark, I just viewed footage from both cams for you shot this past weekend at a wedding we shot of the same scenes, but they were from different angles and the cams had different lights.

Here's the verdict, the XA10 with a 18db limit was much cleaner than the Z1U, but I do not know what settings were used on the Z1U, which is a big problem for the comparison. At 18db gain there was very little to no noticeable noise with the XA10. The Z1U was not as bright, but close, but it was grainy. I must speak to the shooter about his setting, too much noise.

The XA10 has more pleasing images overall, better contrast and is sharper. Colors were better for sure.

It's not the number of sensors that are most important, but the quality of the individual sensor. The sensor in the XA10 is newer and better than the sensors used in the Z1u which is why it is superior.
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Old October 18th, 2011, 08:31 AM   #3
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Re: Upgrading to XA10 from Z1U?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Chafe View Post
I cannot see how a 1 x 1/3" CMOS sensor can beat 3 x 1/3" CCDs and a much bigger lens, or is there more than that.
there is, 6 years of technology between those two camcorders, and that's a lot,
I let my Z1 go about 4 years ago so I can't do side by side, but I still have some footage from it, and I can tell XA/HFG10 has more details and better low light than Z1, and to my eye one chip systems always have better WB.
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Old October 18th, 2011, 08:36 AM   #4
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Re: Upgrading to XA10 from Z1U?

Oh, yes, there's that, the WB. It is as Buba says, very good. Nice camera.
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Old October 18th, 2011, 06:48 PM   #5
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Re: Upgrading to XA10 from Z1U?

I have a Sony Z5U, HV30 and Sony VX2000 (like the PD150). Although I haven't shot footage side by side yet, I believe the XA10 image is equal or superior to the Z5 footage and it is definitely better than the HV. The Sony Z5 has excellent low light, better my VX2000, and I believe the XA10 as small as it is, is even better than the Z5 because at low light the image is really clean. The low light is much better than my HV30, which gets grainy. Nuther nice feature is the XA viewing angle is wider than the HV series cams, so in many circumstances you won't need a WA adapter. I always had to use a WA lens on my HV. The Z5 has the 'G' lens which is wide and that spoiled me. Nice that the XA also has a wide lens.

What I like about my Z5 is the form factor and the 'feel' of the cam. It's heavy and solid. Nice package (like the PD cams). Plus, all the switches and dials are right there including built-in Neutral Density filters. The zoom control on the XA is downright awful compared to the sonys rocker and even the HV series is superior IMO, especially if you want to do a 'crawl' zoom. I hope Canon changes that in the next version. I like the zoom ring of the Z5. I HATED the focus adjustment dial of the HV series (who didn't?), but the XA has a very nice focus ring and useful focus assist (zoom) plus gives a reading in feet. The XA is one POWERFUL camera in such a small package. I was using a xlr mic on mine, but I switched back to a Sennheiser MKE400 with a mini plug. In a way I may have been able to get away with a G10. I like that the mini input allows audio gain control which seems to work pretty well. The Z5 has an auto-clipping feature for audio which I wish the XA had. Maybe in the next one.

I was concerned about going to the touch screen but I've adapted pretty quickly and it's amazing how powerful it can be. Really, the only thing is I wish they had a way to make the back dial on the camera control the audio level. One factor to watch: because the cam is small and the image so good, you get more noticable camera shake than you do with a larger cam like the Z5 or PD series. But on the flip side. the steady shot technology has been improved and it's better than the HV series. The lens shade is kinda cheap and I really like the "flip-open" lens protector integrated into the Sony cams. I wish Canon would adapt something similar. The lens cap thing is a pain. I like the fact that it has big cam features in a small cam. First thing I did (for my wife) was turn on the horizontal line indicator because I'm sort of a 'straight horizon' kind of freak. I took mine doing personal videography work across Europe last month and several times I removed the handle and lens shade and everyone thought it was just another cam. Not even a new one because it's a lot larger than new ones. I put black tape over the HD signs and the Canon logo. Got a lot of good 'natural' footage in social situations and airports. With the lens shake on a few times people asked if it was video for commercial use. Well, my comparisons are all over the map, but I hope it helps.

Good luck.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 05:55 AM   #6
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Re: Upgrading to XA10 from Z1U?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Hi Mark, I just viewed footage from both cams for you shot this past weekend at a wedding we shot of the same scenes, but they were from different angles and the cams had different lights.

Here's the verdict, the XA10 with a 18db limit was much cleaner than the Z1U, but I do not know what settings were used on the Z1U, which is a big problem for the comparison. At 18db gain there was very little to no noticeable noise with the XA10. The Z1U was not as bright, but close, but it was grainy. I must speak to the shooter about his setting, too much noise.

The XA10 has more pleasing images overall, better contrast and is sharper. Colors were better for sure.

It's not the number of sensors that are most important, but the quality of the individual sensor. The sensor in the XA10 is newer and better than the sensors used in the Z1u which is why it is superior.
I still have some footage I shot with my (long gone) Z1, and comparing it with the HF G10 there is quite a lot of difference.
the Z1 looks soft in comparison. by the way I am not so sure about the relevance of this comparison: the Z1, as you all know, apart from having a 6 years old technology, doesn't even shoot progressive, and it's HDV and not full HD, CCD and not CMOS so we are really comparing apples with oranges here (as much as I really liked the Z1)

low light again no comparison
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Old October 19th, 2011, 07:38 AM   #7
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Re: Upgrading to XA10 from Z1U?

Relevance is the original poster owns a Z1 and wants to know what kind of improvement he might get with a move to the XA10.

Since there are thousands of Z1u users out there at any given point, this would be of particular interest to them.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 08:31 AM   #8
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Re: Upgrading to XA10 from Z1U?

the Z1 is a great tool, but I find the footage shot with the G10 (=XA10) much sharper but then again it's full HD vs HDV
low light of the Z1 is quite weak while the G10 is comparable (to a certain extent) to what you get from the EX1r, completely out of its league
the zebra function and focus aid on the Canon is also much easier to use and the lcd is better by far. (although Z1's manual control are much better, obviously)
the Z1 has a few functions that are missing in the Canon, notably shot transition for whoever uses it.

finally, the SD card/internal memory of the G10 is so much more convenient than miniDV!
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Old October 19th, 2011, 10:57 PM   #9
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Re: Upgrading to XA10 from Z1U?

Thanks for all the comments. I have actually been able to rent the G10 at a local camera store before buying it. I will get my hands on it this weekend. If i can handle the lack of manual adjustments (which I hope I can) I will more than likely purchase one and start selling off my cameras, if not I'll wait until i can upgrade to something better with more manual controls such as the sony nx5 or similar.

If only Sony decided to make a shoulder mount of the NX5 rather than the cheaper consumer cameras I think more people would have jumped on it.

Thanks again
Mar
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Old October 19th, 2011, 11:02 PM   #10
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Re: Upgrading to XA10 from Z1U?

Thanks for all the comments. I have actually been able to rent the G10 at a local camera store before buying it. I will get my hands on it this weekend. If i can handle the lack of manual adjustments (which I hope I can) I will more than likely purchase one and start selling off my cameras, if not I'll wait until i can upgrade to something better with more manual controls such as the sony nx5 or similar.


Thanks again
Mark
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