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Canon XA and VIXIA Series AVCHD Camcorders
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Old June 8th, 2012, 10:14 AM   #1
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Canon XA10

Can anyone tell me if the Canon XA10 is any good at shooting weddings?

Thanks, Gary
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Old June 8th, 2012, 10:25 AM   #2
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Re: Canon XA10

I don't do weddings but One of the Jeff's here does and uses his 10.

My concern would be the lack of real buttons and switches. Things change fast at weddings.
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Old June 8th, 2012, 11:32 AM   #3
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Re: Canon XA10

Best to read the several related threads on the XA10 and weddings here for a variety of opinions and experiences.

In my opinion it works for weddings, but how well depends on what you try to do with it and whether or not you learn its capabilities and limitations before you use it on a for-money shoot, what your expectations are, and of course what you have been using. (I have mainly used it as a second camcorder, usually locked down and untended.)
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Old June 8th, 2012, 06:35 PM   #4
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Re: Canon XA10

The XA10 does have an exposure wheel, which allows you to lock the exposure or set the exposure as you see fit, which is the main button you need for weddings, IMO.

There is also a MF/AF button on the screen, making it a cinch to go manual focus as needed.

You cannot change white balance on the fly, sadly, but if you can get by with the above buttons, you'd be good to go for weddings, I would think.

I like mine for weddings very much. Have two and will likely get a third.
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Old June 10th, 2012, 01:12 AM   #5
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Re: Canon XA10

Mark me down as a xa 10 supporter for weddings as well. I have had mine for about a month and love it. The last 2 years I have shot weddings with canon dslr's. I still shoot with dslr but now have the xa 10 in the mix as well. Let me tell you as far as the ceremony, it is great to have continuous autofocus, and servo zoom as well. While the depth of field and the low light can't beat a dslr, it is still above average in those areas. It also has features that make shooting a wedding much more easier and less stressful.

Like Jeff said, it has a custom button where you can control shutter, gain, aperture. It as has a button to switch from auto focus to manual quickly (with the use of the silky smooth focus ring). If you use an external xlr shotgun mic, you can control the audio from the dials. So basically you can control almost everything from outside. The only important thing you can't control is the white balance. The best thing in this situation is if you are going to be in a controlled environment then select a custom kelvin temperature and lock it in. If your scene is going to change quickly or unexpectedly then keep it on auto. The camera does a decent job with balancing that.

I actually think I'm going to buy another and get rid of my 3rd dslr. I'll then have 2 xa 10 and 2 dslr, which will make me a lot more vertile for long format gigs and events other than weddings.
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Old June 10th, 2012, 07:25 AM   #6
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Re: Canon XA10

Keith, I love my 2 XA10 and 2 DSLR combo, it's fantabulous. I'd like a third XA10, but for now 2+2 work out great.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 01:26 AM   #7
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Re: Canon XA10

Yea , I really like the xa 10. Outside of weddings, I think as a professional videographer who shoots other events its really does help to have a mix of cameras. I shoot all my prep and reception stuff with the canon t3i and 5D. I shoot the ceremony with those and the xa 10. Its better to have the xa 10 for tracking shots though. Instant continuous autofocus is great to have when the bride and wedding party are walking down the isle. Using dslr's for this is a big risk. I have shot a lot of weddings and have gotten pretty good but its still not an exact science and if you ever so slightly turn the focus ring too fast, there goes your shot of the bride and her dad. For this the autofocus of the xa 10 is alot better and quicker.

My only problem with the xa 10 has been workflow issues. Keep in mind that it is AVCHD, which to me is still not the best format to edit in. I use Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5/CS6. It can edit without transcoding but its not as smooth as my mov files from the t3i and 5d. They also have created nightmare for me with Plural eyes. The mts files that are created by the xa 10 can not be read by plural eyes natively, which helps sync a multi cam edit. So I tried rewrapping them as mov files. It works and plural eyes can sync the audio, but when the sequence is reimported back to premiere, premiere freezes when trying to playback the new mov files. It has been very frustrating the last two weeks and as of now I still dont have a solution. For now I just have to sync multi-cam edits manually, which can be a drag.

So if your not using plural eyes to sync up multi cam edits or if your not rewrapping the footage and reimporting back to premiere, the workflow should be fairly easy then.

Also it is a small camera, which nowadays doesn't really matter as much. I was somewhat bothered by the fact that its so small but when it sits next to my dslr with a non telephoto lens, they are very comparable. Also, of course you can always throw a shotgun mic on it to help with the size too.

Overall I do like it, especially for weddings and honestly I think for the money its the best value on the market.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 11:52 AM   #8
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Re: Canon XA10

Keith, I solve the sync problem by not using GH2 footage that requires syncing.

The problem with the EXPOSURE WHEEL AND BUTTON, is that they are so small they are hard for me to feel. I have to hunt for them.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 02:30 PM   #9
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Re: Canon XA10

Guys, my XA10 and GH2 footage all sync perfectly well together using Plural eyes, and so does my Zoom H1 audio. I personally have never had an issue syncing any of my four cameras. I've heard Premier does have some issues using Plural Eyes, fortunately Vegas uses it perfectly for me. I don't think the issue is camera related, but it instead is seems to me to be a a Premier issue.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 12:58 AM   #10
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Re: Canon XA10

I thought it was Plural eyes Jeff.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 07:04 AM   #11
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Re: Canon XA10

I don't know which it is, Don, it's one or the other for sure. There is a new version of Plural Eyes coming hopefully it will address this issue.

I notice that in the troubleshooting section of the Plural Eyes website there is a list of issues listed for PP as well as Final Cut. Bummer.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 05:57 PM   #12
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Re: Canon XA10

Hey Jeff, don't you transcode the footage before you sync it though? If not, your version of Plural Eyes syncs mts files natively? When I try to sync them natively, I receive an error message saying that it cannot recognize the file.

I'm really trying not to add that back into my process. Let me make this clear premiere cs6 can edit the native AVCHD files from xa 10. I can successfully rewrap the files and sync them in Plural Eyes, however once the clips are rewrapped and in sync, premiere cannot play the files back. It could possibly be a Clip Wrap issue, as thats what I'm using to rewrap the files. Not for sure what it is, but hopefully I will figure it out soon. As manually syncing goes, its for the birds, especially when I've been using Plural Eyes for the last year +.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 08:10 AM   #13
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Re: Canon XA10

No Keith, I do not do anything to the footage, works as is. Go to the Plural Eyes site and check out the section on PP troubleshooting, I think I recall your issue being discussed, but I could be wrong. There might be a workaround.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 12:30 PM   #14
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Re: Canon XA10

Count me in as another voice in favor of the XA10 for weddings! I have two of them and two HF G10's as well and love them all! I generally shoot DSLR for pre-ceremony and late reception (open dancing) when the sound doesn't matter as much and/or I want shallow DOF for details shots, but in the middle during ceremony and the more formal stuff early in receptions it can't be beat for ease and overall utility. The small size allows me and my employees to be discrete while filming AND cuts down tremendously on how many bags of gear we have to lug around, the low light capability is very good for a 1/3" chip, its images are razor sharp, the autofocus and powered zoom are godsends during processional/recessional, the dual-card recording is awesome for insuring against card failures, and the XLR audio controls are of course one million times better than any DSLR's weak attempt at audio. So all in a all a great tool for the wedding environment! My biggest complaint is with the white balance... why couldn't they allow it to be changed on the fly as with previous Canon pro camcorders, and why couldn't it have been a small button/switch somewhere on the exterior of camera body? Otherwise, it's a great choice for wedding work... which is literally all my company films BTW, so I was careful and specific as to what gear I chose and the XA10 was it. In terms of performance and value for the money they're pretty tough to beat and I've happily shot 40+ weddings with them so far and never looked back! =)
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Old June 13th, 2012, 01:39 PM   #15
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Re: Canon XA10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Randall View Post
Can anyone tell me if the Canon XA10 is any good at shooting weddings?
I don't have a xa10 but use similar small sized camera's, I use a sony xr520 and just today got me a sony cx730 because there's a cashback option and I got the last one a store had in stock at a reduced price as well :) The sony 730 I primarily got because of it's 26mm wide angle lens.

The only thing what's not so good on any palmsize camera is controll, it will never be the same as a larger camera like my aging Canon xh-a1, there you have all controls where you need them to be, quickly accessible giving you instant controll over your image in run and gun situations. You can change your shutter, iris, focus instantly, select ND's to keep your iris at any desired value, make 2 custom white balances, you can dial in custom image presets to maybe give richer colors, or make it look a bit more cinematic and so on.

These palm size camera's will give you a bit controll, usually just enough to get the job done but I"m sure the xa10 will be no different then the sony cx730 I got; it's absolutely amazing what these tiny camera's can do. My Sony slaps my xh-a1 all over the place when it comes to low light sensitivity, you can easily push 21db gain and have virtually no grain, 21db...and at those gain value the colour is still vibrant. The zoom is butter smooth, the image is sharper, the image stabilisation is better as well, the lens goes much, much wider which is what you really need in tight spots at weddings and in case of the audio, with the xa10 you also have xlr audio, what more would you ask for? Well, more control :)

I film a few dance-recitals every year, this year I exclusively used a sony xr500 and 520 for it and the results where great, better then what my xh-a1 could do (mainly because of it low light issues) The client was happy which makes those small handicams a great investment.

I"ve been looking at the xa10 as well and might get one, mainly because of the xlr (and ofcourse because it"s a great small camera and I have seen tests where it outdoes the sony cx760 in low light, I mean, you have got to be kidding right? :D)) You can easily shoot a wedding and make it look great, sharp images, great color, combine it with a dslr and you can label your weddingpackages; "cinematic".

I was planning to buy another "bigger" camera this year as well to replace my xh-a1 but I am seriously thinking about going for a smaller factor camera but with a bit more control, like a nx70 type of thing, not so sure what I will do. I like the portability, just the fact that you can fit all these small camera's in one bag and use 3 or 4 during a ceremony (instead of buying one big, very expensive camera and don't have the cash for a second small one :))

I think these are really exiting times when you are a filmmaker, so many choices and so great quality out of these small camera's.

Edit: I just found out my cx730 has a build in videolight, it get's better all the time :) I will put that thing on my blackbird steadicam for the next first dance I film, when they turn the lights real low, I"ll have a nice wideangle perfectly exposed shot. I just saw it looks to have the same sensitivity as my canon 550d with a 14mm f2.8 at 3200 iso and that alone is amazing.

Last edited by Noa Put; June 13th, 2012 at 02:38 PM.
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