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Canon XA and VIXIA Series AVCHD Camcorders
For the Canon XA25, XA20, XA10 and all VIXIA / LEGRIA Series AVCHD camcorders.


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Old February 24th, 2012, 10:48 AM   #1
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HV-30 to G10 or XA10?

Just wondering if it is worth the 'upgrade', mostly with IQ.

I am transitioning to DSLR with a 5D and T3i (soon selling my XH-A1), but I still fly a HV-30 with wide angle lens and DM-50 on a Merlin. I really like this combo to capture run and gun where i can just concentrate on the framing creatively- not focusing, external audio etc. etc. and it feels pretty natural now. Flying a DSLR has too many difficulties (can't change battery on the fly or auto-focus, to name a few), and the XH-A1 is too heavy and not wide enough without wide angle (even more weight).

So, realizing that I would have to $pend a lot when also considering wide angle lens, mic, batteries, etc., is the image quality so incredibly better that it would be worth the switch? Will the images from these two cameras mix better with DSLR footage than the HV-30?

I am pretty happy with the HV-30 image and some Neat noise reduction when needed, but if i could get a substantially better image and low light performance, i might consider the investment.

Any experiences or suggestions much appreciated!
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Old February 24th, 2012, 01:07 PM   #2
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Re: HV-30 to G10 or XA10?

There is no contest between the HV30 and the newer Canons, especially in low light. Whether you should make the switch is up to you, it's your money. If you shoot professionally the G10 or XA10 is a no brainer, IMO.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 04:25 PM   #3
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Re: HV-30 to G10 or XA10?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian David Melnyk View Post
Just wondering if it is worth the 'upgrade', mostly with IQ.

I am transitioning to DSLR with a 5D and T3i (soon selling my XH-A1), but I still fly a HV-30 with wide angle lens and DM-50 on a Merlin. I really like this combo to capture run and gun where i can just concentrate on the framing creatively- not focusing, external audio etc. etc. and it feels pretty natural now. Flying a DSLR has too many difficulties (can't change battery on the fly or auto-focus, to name a few), and the XH-A1 is too heavy and not wide enough without wide angle (even more weight).

So, realizing that I would have to $pend a lot when also considering wide angle lens...
Since 2008, I've shot at least 50 hrs on an HF100, and recently got a G10, which I fly on a GlideCam HD-1000.

I'd get the G10/XA10 for the lens and manual control if nothing else. Your HV30 goes to 43.6 mm (35mm equiv.) on the wide end, about equal to my old HF100. I was constantly having to screw in a wide-angle adapter. The G10/XA10 goes to 30.4mm equiv, which is considerably wider. So far I haven't needed a wide angle adapter.

The optical stabilizer is much better on the G10 than the HF100, on-board mic is better, and lots more manual controls.

The image quality is somewhat better on the G10, low light is better, and the depth of field a little shallower. I'll be shooting a lot of material next month with the G10 and a 60D and will see how well it intercuts.

Add: you will lose some on the telephoto end: HV-30 at 436 mm equiv. vs G10/XA10 at 304mm equiv. However I'd rather have the wider angle, even at the cost of some reach.

Last edited by Joe Marler; February 24th, 2012 at 04:32 PM. Reason: Add item.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 02:27 PM   #4
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Re: HV-30 to G10 or XA10?

Quote:
could get a substantially better image and low light performance, i might consider the investment.
I have HV40 (up from a HV20 that died) and a XH A1. I find the XA10 image much better than the HV series, and the wider lens is good for me. Further, the tape-less transfer is nice. I am pleased with the switch. However, I cannot answer whether or not you will find it worth the change if your HV30 is meeting your needs. All depends on what else you would do with the money.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 05:54 PM   #5
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Re: HV-30 to G10 or XA10?

Everything everyone said is true. I have a HV30 and a Sony Z5U. I really like the HV30, it's a great cam. I actually like tape as a medium for ease of use and archiving. But thre's no denying, the XA10 shoots incredible video, noticably better than the HV30 and as good, if not better, than the Z5. For years I kept saying to myself: "Wouldn't it be great if someone came out with a cam the size of the HV30 that could do what the Z5U can do, and didn't need a w/a adapter...that had a removable handle for clandestine shots?". Well, the XA10 is it! I didn't hesitate to buy one. It's a winner.

It's suprising the quality that comes out of such a little cam. If you feed both cams into a monitor via HDMI the difference between the two in typical indoor lighting and low light is striking. I'm sure you've read all this in the other threads. You can go up to 18db gain on the XA10 and the noise is barely perceptible. What that means is that colors in less than optimal light conditions, which is pretty often for me, are just plain better. The wide field of view lens is one of the key reasons I bought the cam. With the G lens on the Sony Z5 you don't need a wide angle adapter, and the same is true on the XA10. I always hated w/a lenses because then you need a larger hood or suffer lens flare and it makes the camera longer and heavier plus whatever distortion you might get. Furthermore, behind the lens is a proper (and quite nice) focus ring. And yes, the auto focus and steady shot are a lot better on the XA10.

In addition to the video quality, the LCD is light years ahead of the HV30 and it makes shooting SO much nicer. The viewfinder, is also better than the HV30, but not even close to the Sony Z5U's viewfinder. There are WAY more menu choices in the XA10 and G10 to tweak your shooting style and camera setup that it's not even funny. The choices are more along the lines of a Pro camera than a consumer cam. Guys that slide into the XA10 from a more expensive cam like a larger handheld Sony or Panasonic 'get' the menu choices right away. Those that come from more consumer cams, it seems to take a while to understand what many of the options mean. At least that's what it seems like by reading newsgroup posts. OTOH, those coming from larger handheld cams seem to complain that the XA10 feel, 'plasticy'. I think it's more that it is quite a bit lighter. But that doesn't mean it doesn't shoot sharp video.

Take-aways? Yes, IMO there are a couple things you actually give up from the HV30. I think the zoom rocker on the XA10 could stand a redesign. I like the HV30 rocker better. The slider can get sticky. The menu access system is pretty quick on the HV30. But I still don't mind the touchscreen system, it DOES yield some better features that would be difficult to duplicate with buttons and dials. I think those are minor things though. If you are coming from a larger handheld cam, you are going to wonder who the engineering wizard was that decided not to include automatic audio limiting on the XLR mic? Stupid. And IMO, the audio dials and markings are piss poor. But you can't change it and they work ok, you just have to monkey around with the audio more than you would otherwise need to so you don't get blown out. But the HV30 didn't have that either so you won't mind it.

Which one to get? Well, if you have the cash for the XA10 then that's the one to get IMO. I actually bought the G10 at first, but then I got it home and realized some of the limitations I'd have to work around and when I got to thinking of it, I felt it was worth the extra money not to have to monkey around with them (just like Canon wanted me to, right?), and took it back and bought the XA10. For one, the G10 hot shoe is totally consumer and in the 'wrong' location IMO. If you are gong to put a mic on it, you're gong to need an adapter (for one thing). The XA10 has the right cold shoe setup. The handle is good for low shots and of course XLR audio. The larger internal mem. and a better viewfinder. Plus, I guess there is a noticable difference in video quality, but I didn't have mine at the same time to do a side by side.

So there you have it. I still use my HV30 for kids videos from time to time because I can put the tape on the shelf for years in the future. And I miss the solid feel of the Z5, but the XA10 is a sweet little unit. I don't know which one is 'right' for you, but hope my manifesto of a reply helps out....
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Old February 26th, 2012, 04:31 AM   #6
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Re: HV-30 to G10 or XA10?

wow. great info! thanks much!
you have made the decision easy, especially considering the $ when i sell the XH-A1 this summer.
the low light performance is especially attractive as i found that a real weakness of the HV30.
anyone fly the XA10 on a Merlin? the hv30 with Canon's weighty WA and a mic flew really well- solid! is the XA10 with just an external mic on the light side?
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Old February 27th, 2012, 09:05 PM   #7
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Re: HV-30 to G10 or XA10?

Hi, I just did an informal weighing by holding the HV30 w/WA adapter, but no mic in one hand, and the XA10 w/mic in the other hand. Both have batteries that protrude just beyond the camcorders. That's just how I happened to have them on the shelf. The HV30 seems to be noticably heavier even without the mic on. It's front-heavy compared to the XA10. But that's what you would expect: no tape transport mechanism, no big glass on the front, lighter weight plastics.

Before you ditch your A1, you might want to zip over to the A1 forum and gauge the feeling of A1 users that went to the XA10. You're going to give up some easy-to-reach manual buttons, and some don't like that. I have a Z5 and to me, I can get to what I need to within the XA10 just fine. It would be nice if there was another preset button though.

Can't say about the Merlin. I know on another board guys like using it on a merlin-like device.
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