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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 June 13th, 2012, 04:19 PM   #16
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Re: Canon XA10

Noa, I just took a look at some footage done with the Sony, and based on what I saw it appears it destroys the XA10 in low light. Is that the case, do you know?
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Old June 13th, 2012, 04:36 PM   #17
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Re: Canon XA10

I just had a look at the video I saw and it appears it was a different Canon model, but does this one not have the same mechanics as the xa-10?

Here was that video:

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Old June 13th, 2012, 05:00 PM   #18
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Re: Canon XA10

Thanks Noa, very good test video, thanks for sharing.

Obviously the Sony does not destroy the Canon, and yes you are right, the Canon G10 and XA10 are very similar cameras, XA10 supposedly somewhat superior due to something or other, either lens or electronics, I don't know which.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 05:02 PM   #19
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Re: Canon XA10

What's the highest selectable gain on the Canon xa10?
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Old June 13th, 2012, 05:06 PM   #20
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Re: Canon XA10

24 is the highest, Noa.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 05:25 PM   #21
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Re: Canon XA10

I just wonder why in the video "only" 15db gain was selected, from the first tests I just did I get usuable footage up to 24db gain, might need a little neat video touch but it was cleaner that the max gain on my xr520 where the noise showed more, both the 520 and the 730 seemed to have the same sensitivity, only the 730 was cleaner at very high gain values.

I made some comparison footage just now in my edit room with all lights out and just the light from 1 lcd screen and the cx730 outperformed my 550d/14mm f2.8 lens by quite a margin, now I see I needed to go up to 6400 iso to get the same exposure (not exactly the same, it was still darker) but with very visible grain. Even with my 35mm f1.4 I had to select 3200 iso (with a shutter of 1/50) I also think the cx730 goes to 1/25th shutter with low lux activated which is for 24db gain.
I must get some real life footage soon, will be doing a wedding friday and saturday, very curious how it will turn out.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 05:30 PM   #22
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Re: Canon XA10

Good luck getting ready, it's always stressful when you're figuring out gear.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 05:34 PM   #23
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Re: Canon XA10

It works about the same as my xr520, only the menu options are laid out differently so it shouldn't be that hard :) (knocks on wood)
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Old June 17th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #24
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Re: Canon XA10

To come back to the topic starters question if a xa10 (or I guess any recent build "high end" little handicam type of camera) could be used for weddings, I just finished 2 weddings in a row and to be honest, I"m flabbergasted about the potential from that little sony cx730 I used.

I have been using a second hand xr520 before which I only used in church to point stationary at the priest, I found it's 40mm wideangle very limiting and the iris did not change smoothly if you turned that small dial to adjust exposure which made it useless in run and gun. I did notice it was very light sensitive with clean gain up to 21db but quite grainy at 24db. The colours where a bit harsh in bright sunlight and the image too contrasty for my taste. My second main camera has been the xh-a1 for the past 4 years.

I went on a test shoot one day after I got the cx730 and one day before I had to do those weddings and was surprised about the image, colors where more neutral making it easier to grade in post and the dynamic range was also impressive, the sun was shining and the camera managed to give a balanced image in dark and bright area's. The image stabilisation was so good it almost felt like being on a tripod, the autofocus was very good and the images where very sharp.

I actually was so confident (maybe too much but life is all about taking risks now and then :)) that I decided to use it the next day at a Chinese wedding as my main camera so my xh-a1 stayed in the bag.

The Chinese wedding started with these typical door games where the groom had to carry out different tasks, I knew there would be very little space and I knew it was going to be chaotic, well the small Sony was a delight to use in these run and gun situation, the 26mm wide angle was superb, focus was spot on all the time (there was sufficient indoor light) and the active steadyshot feature was awesome, I was just holding the camera in front of me with 2 hands, sometimes just one and each shot looks like I"m pressing it firmly against my shoulder and holding my breath to keep it steady :).
I managed to capture all the action, holding the camera up high, low, I locked the exposure, set the zebra's so I could assure correct exposure and I got footage I never, ever could have gotten with my xh-a1.

Same applied for the tea ceremonies that followed where I used my dslr as well for some more creative shots as there was more time and space, after that I used my dslr and steadicam exclusively since I only had to stay until the reception so it was mainly creative footage

When I got home and viewed the footage I couldn't be more that happy, the images looked very good, better then what my xh-a1 produces, colors where very nice as well, not overly saturated like the xr520 but with enough room to make them "pop" more.

So, I got even more confident and used it at a typical Belgian Catholic wedding the day after and used the camera as my main camera, together with the xr520 which was pointed at the priest and left my xh-a1 in the bag again, I must say I felt rather silly holding that small thing when they did the vows, in Belgium you need to come up close to get all the action, but because it's so light and the footage seemed very steady, colourful and bright I just ignored people that might look at me. :)

In the evening when it got dark I only got confirmed what I noticed on tests I did the first day I got the camera. that little wonder rivals my Canon 550d with a 35mm f1.4 at 1600 iso, I couldn't believe my eyes, when I switched on low lux mode (it uses 1/25th shutter in that case) I had to select 3200 iso on the canon to keep up. I just have viewed that footage from yesterday and the 1/25th shutter is perfectly usable AND you can hardly see any grain while my canon at 3200 needs neat video.

There where some long speeches with the lights dimmed very low and I saw it on the viewfinder and looking at it on my screen now, it looks like the place is much brighter with lots of detail and color, my canon dslr with a 14mm f2.8 was already not usable at that point. The wideangle was a joy to use in these circumstances, finally I was able to get a lot more people on a table in one frame, even if I had no room to move back.

One word of caution which i think will be a problem with any small sensor camera, the auto focus was that good in good light conditions I did not have to worry about it, it was spot on all the time, but when lights went really low, the camera would loose focus occasionally and if it did it could not recover and stayed blurry, the camera did have 3 assignable buttons in the lcd screen (think the xa10 has this to?) which makes it "somewhat" easy to quickly switch to manual focus where the camera automatically zooms in (WHILE you are recording) or you can even use red or other color peaking or you can just use that small dial on front to select focus.

So to answer the question from the topic starter; yes, you certainly can use small handicams for paid weddings, in my case it has outdone my xh-a1 in almost every area, expect for control which has been mentioned before.

I was planning to buy another camera this year but now seriously considering the nx70 instead of a panasonic ag ac130 which I first had in mind, that combined with a cx730 and my 2 dlsr's/lenzes should fit nicely in one instead of 2 bags now so mobility will improve a lot. My dslr's are my creative workhorses and the 2 small sonys should fill in the rest, in church f.i. the couple wants to see who's behind them, there I don't care for shallow dof, just pinsharp, stable and colourful shots and clear audio but for that I use external recorders.

I just have to go back and look at my footage again, it sure gives a good feeling when it looks so good. :D
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Old June 19th, 2012, 07:06 AM   #25
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Re: Canon XA10

Instead of saying I might as well show a wedding I did last weekend with only 2 small handicams and a dslr (a sony xr520 and a cx730 and a 550d with a 14mm f2.8 and a 35mm f1.4) proving that it is possible to do a wedding with such small camcorders and make it look good enough to sell to your client. there is one shot of the ceremony with the canon xh-a1 (at 01:34) that was used as 3rd camera, but mainly as a safety angle on the backside of the ceremony.

All steadicam, slider and very shallow dof shots are done with the dslr but the shots from the ceremony where you see the grooms face is done with a cx730 and where you see the face of the bride with a xr520.
Also the doorgames at beginning and end are done with the cx730 handheld. I only regret that there was so much wind that messed up my sound a bit.

The footage has been colour corrected, the bride wanted the colours to "pop" :)


Last edited by Noa Put; June 19th, 2012 at 08:20 AM. Reason: wrong link
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Old June 19th, 2012, 07:19 AM   #26
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Re: Canon XA10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I just wonder why in the video "only" 15db gain was selected,
because to my eye shots over 15db from CX760 are not usable, but that's me :)
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Old June 19th, 2012, 07:24 AM   #27
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Re: Canon XA10

24db gain on my cx730 has less visible grain then 6db on my canon xh-a1 and I have been shooting at 6db gain with my Canon a lot, even in churches that are not that dark.... I think why the test was not done above 15db gain is that the Canon xf10 becomes much noisier?
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Old June 19th, 2012, 01:48 PM   #28
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Re: Canon XA10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I think why the test was not done above 15db gain is that the Canon xf10 becomes much noisier?
No Noa, i shot that video, and I am telling you, to my eye after 15db Sony's footage wasn't usable, and again, to my eye 18db on HF G10 is acceptable, but just acceptable.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 01:57 PM   #29
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Re: Canon XA10

XA10 footage is beautiful at 18db. Virtually no noise. The G10 is an amazing camera in the right hands, as Buba has demonstrated many times on here. However for the absolute best performance, among these cams in low light, I think the XA10 beats the ones we've been talking about.

Noa, you're XH-A1, as you know, cannot compare to any of these cameras in low light. The XH-A1 was, in my mind, never good in low light even when it was new.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 02:01 PM   #30
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Re: Canon XA10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buba Kastorski View Post
to my eye after 15db Sony's footage wasn't usable
Weird, then the 760 must perform differently? I get virtually noise free footage with the 730 at 21 db, cleaner then 1600 iso on my dslr and certainly cleaner then 6db on my Canon.
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