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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 July 16th, 2013, 07:06 AM   #16
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

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Originally Posted by Luis A. Diaz View Post
I have heard that they have adopted a new system of image stabilization that you can really see the difference and improvement but I have not been able to hear from anyone that is currently using the XA-20 if you can really see the difference from XA-10.
Try this. Although it uses the HF-G25, the stabilisation on that is the same (I believe) as the HF-G10 / XA10.


Last edited by David Johns; July 16th, 2013 at 07:09 AM. Reason: Added comparison note
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Old July 16th, 2013, 09:32 AM   #17
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

I had a chance to use one for a week of wildlife photography (seabirds). Some notes -

PROS - The 20x is brilliant. For some reason, even on my XH-A1 when I brought the footage into FCP it would go to 1440x1080, so having full HD at 50p (I have the PAL version) is absolutely brilliant. Incredible footage.

The image stabilization is far better than anything I have ever used before (but there may be an issue with power image stabilization, see below)

The 2x digital tele-converter is useful. What I am not sure of yet (but will be checking in the next week) is whether the same thing can be obtained by cropping in post. There is some image degradation (and possible vignetting, oddly enough, see below) but it certainly does not degrade down to SD or worse.

I used a Sony 1.7x teleconverter and it worked fine. I tried it with the 1.7x lens setting (supposed to tell the camera to modify the IS and AF) and without and am not sure I noticed a difference (maybe only works with the Canon lens). The image was slightly softer at full zoom. I have not been able to try my old Century Optics 2x teleconverter as the bayonet mount for the GL1/2 (which the lens was designed for) and the XA-20 are different. Anyone know where I can get some sort of ring to take my old Century Optics bayonet mounts and make them 58mm?

I also tried the 1.7x + the 2x digital. Again, the image was softer but useable. I will try and post some images next week.

Battery life is decent on the stock battery. It took an extra week or so to get a second battery so I had to be battery frugal on this trip.

The focus assist is very nice, especially on birds in flight, to see what the camera thinks it is focusing on.
AF is fast and generally accurate, I noticed very little hunting

CONS - Battery charges ON the camera rather than OFF the camera. Charging batteries off of the camera requires a separate charger.

The obvious position for holding the camera (at least for me) without the handle on, means that one or more of my fingers rest on the left microphone. I will learn to work around this.

A MAJOR drawback is the power off feature (or lack of one). WIth the XH-A1, GL1 and GL2 there was an on/off switch around the start button. In some of my other cameras closing the LCD and pushing in the viewfinder also turns off the camera until one of the two is open. NOT THE XA-20! Even with the LCD and viewfinders closed pressing the start button will start the camera. Not good to lose a lot of battery life filming the inside of the camera bag. So, each time the camera is used the main camera - off - media switch has to be turned on or off.

There are also some odd artifacts in some of the footage. A faint darkening will occur in the top left and right when fully zoomed in. This looks a bit like vignetting (although not entirely). What I am not sure of is whether this is only with the 2.0 digital zoom on, or if it is also occurring on optical zoom only. Also, whether it might be an artifact caused by the power image stabilization. As the artifact is only on some images I suspect it is one or the other, and am leaning toward the power IS or the power IS with digital zoom.

The programmable buttons are not that useful as they are currently programmed. For example, say you want to program a button for the 2.0x digital zoom? You can't, or at least I couldn't figure it out. You can program to go to the zoom menu, but then have to use the touch screen or toggle to go to the 2x zoom on/off. Same is true for many of the other controls. Perhaps a future software upgrade will allow better programming of the buttons to exact menu items.

Finally, the manual suggests there is an IS button. This would be handy to turn power IS off and on but I can't find this button if there is one!

My overall first impressions were good. I'll let you know about second impressions when I have the chance to fully go through the footage shot.
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Old July 16th, 2013, 01:25 PM   #18
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

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Originally Posted by J.T. Price View Post
The focus assist is very nice, especially on birds in flight, to see what the camera thinks it is focusing on.
AF is fast and generally accurate, I noticed very little hunting
This is exactly one of the reasons that I am looking to go from my XH-A1 to an XA20. I film a lot of waterfowl hunting and tracking waterfowl in flight on a video camera and keeping them in focus is very difficult. Bird in flight AF is what I am hoping for!

I had pre-ordered the XA20 but cancelled it to wait for a few real world reviews first. Getting closer every day to re-ordering this unit now.
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Old July 16th, 2013, 06:22 PM   #19
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

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Originally Posted by David Johns View Post
Although it uses the HF-G25, the stabilisation on that is the same (I believe) as the HF-G10 / XA10.
The digital IS is not the same. The (only) problem with the XA10 etc 2073600 px sensor was that it didn't allow any leeway (extra pixels at the edges) for digital IS. The sensor in the G20/25/XA20 fixes this.
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Old July 17th, 2013, 12:39 AM   #20
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

That new IS is impressive better than the XA10
thanks for posting

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Old July 17th, 2013, 03:56 AM   #21
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

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Originally Posted by Rainer Listing View Post
The digital IS is not the same. The (only) problem with the XA10 etc 2073600 px sensor was that it didn't allow any leeway (extra pixels at the edges) for digital IS. The sensor in the G20/25/XA20 fixes this.
Yes and no. I think the dark ghosting I am seeing in the corners on some of my images is that the power IS is digital on top of the superb optical IS on the XA-20. Under those circumstances there may not be enough extra pixels at the edge, especially if the 2x digital is on.

I hope to perform some tests this weekend where I pay more attention as to which setting is on
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Old July 17th, 2013, 06:19 AM   #22
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

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Originally Posted by Rainer Listing View Post
The digital IS is not the same. The (only) problem with the XA10 etc 2073600 px sensor was that it didn't allow any leeway (extra pixels at the edges) for digital IS. The sensor in the G20/25/XA20 fixes this.
Not true. The sensor in the G20 / G25 is not the same sensor as in the XA20 / XA25 / HF-G30. It is the same as the one in the HF-G10 / XA10 but with 20% better sensitivity (Canon claims). Both have 2.37Mpixels, 2.07Mpx useable.

It does not have the extra pixels that the newer camcorders do, to assist with stabilisation.

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Old July 17th, 2013, 07:16 AM   #23
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Digital zoom typically forms the image from a smaller (cropped) central portion of the sensor. It essentailly upscales the cropped image to full frame. It should be less subject to any vignetting caused by the lens because it uses the sweep spot in the center, but results in lower resolution than the full frame of the sensor.

Digital IS typically works in one of several ways. It may shift the portion of an oversized sensor used to form the image as a way to compensate for camcorder movement, it may upscale the frame-sized sensor to form a larger virtual image and then shift the portion it uses to form the image, or it may shift the image on a frame-sized sensor and extrapolate the edge in the direction of the shift. These all could give more obvious vignetting effects. The second two would usually result in some image softening.

Also image settings (e.g., gamma curve adjustment) could exagurate vignetting effects, especially at the limits of lighting conditions and subject matter. Nothing like shooting a flat white wall in auto exposure mode with poor light to demonstrate this.
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Old July 17th, 2013, 11:00 AM   #24
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

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Bruce, the port is the only difference between the two, I believe.
Yes. I just got confirmation through Canon USA's website tech. support forms -- Canon replied saying that the only thing you get for the extra money of the XA-25 over the XA-20 is the HD-SDI port.
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Old July 17th, 2013, 04:44 PM   #25
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

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Originally Posted by David Johns View Post
Not true. The sensor in the G20 / G25 is not the same sensor as in the XA20 / XA25 / HF-G30. It is the same as the one in the HF-G10 / XA10 but with 20% better sensitivity (Canon claims). Both have 2.37Mpixels, 2.07Mpx useable.

It does not have the extra pixels that the newer camcorders do, to assist with stabilisation.

Regards
Thanks for that, Mr. David Johns. I had assumed the HF G20 sensor was the same one as in the G30 & XA20 and now I know better. You made me look it up for myself. I can say I recently bought a HF G20 and am very happy with its improved performance over the HF-S200.

HF G10 Sensor: 2.37 Megapixels
HF G20 Sensor: 2.37 Megaxpixels
HF G30 Sensor: 3.09 Megapixels

XA10 Sensor: 2.37 Megapixels
XA20 Sensor: 3.09 Megapixels

Source:
Canon U.S.A. : Support & Drivers : VIXIA HF G10

Canon U.S.A. : Consumer & Home Office : Consumer Camcorders

Canon U.S.A. : Support & Drivers : XA10

Canon U.S.A. : Support & Drivers : XA20
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Old July 25th, 2013, 08:39 AM   #26
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

This camera looks real interesting. There's not much info on the nd filters that I can find (haven't looked through the manual yet) so are the nd filters user select-able or integrated?
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Old July 26th, 2013, 07:22 AM   #27
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Here are 2 tests of the Xa25 vs the GH3:


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Old July 27th, 2013, 01:26 PM   #28
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Hi,

how you judge the the test against the GH3? Probably are my faulty eyes but i find the Xa-25 at the same level of the Gh3. Ok adding exposure filter in FCP rise up noise but also the gh3 isn't free... and remember we are comparing the xa-25 with a DSLR (bigger sensor). Also I can read at 0:05 the "taxi" word better on the xa25

Ugo
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Old July 27th, 2013, 05:37 PM   #29
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

In my opinion, the above videos are worthless as comparison videos without knowing the lenses used on the GH3, but more importantly it's apples to oranges. They are mildly interesting, but beyond that, not awfully enlightening.

Nevertheless, I do appreciate anyone who take the time to post video such as these, but in this case I don't see a lot of benefit.

Anyone who has both cameras knows these are not comparable. 1/3 inch sensor vs a nearly 1" sensor is not in the same ballpark.

I have shot with two GH2s and two XA-10s for dozens of weddings, receptions, and corporate shoots. The cameras blend very well in certain situations, particularly in churches. That, however, is where most of the comparability ends. I have seen the XA-10 produce images I like better than the GH2 in a situation or two. But more often than not, the GH2 has more to offer in image quality. The increased dynamic range of the GH2s and GH3s alone put it in a higher bracket than the XA10-20-25. And lest we forget, things often depend on the lighting more than the camera anyway.

As has been said by wiser men than me, these are tools, nothing more. You use the tool you need for the job it is best suited for.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 06:26 AM   #30
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

I've just come back from Slovenia and I have to say this is a very impressive camera for wildlife. Oddly enough the vignetting did not re-occur so I am going to have to do some real sleuthing to figure out what it might have been (it might be something as simple as the built in lens cap sagging under certain conditions).

The footage out of this camera easily tops most of the footage out of my XH-A1. I only wish this camera was available a year ago (or two)!
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