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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 7th, 2013, 12:35 AM   #1
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XA-20 is a fine camera

The XA-20, after my first wedding and reception, performed well.

20X zoom is very nice. Auto focus is superior to the XA10 in low light. Image quality in low light is much less noisy, much more pleasing.

The sensor is clearly superior to the XA-10, this was not hype by Canon, this is a much improved camera.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 12:52 AM   #2
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Thanks for the report Jeff. Been watching these Canons since the XA10. It appears most, if not all the rough spots have been iron out.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 08:42 AM   #3
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
The XA-20, after my first wedding and reception, performed well.

20X zoom is very nice. Auto focus is superior to the XA10 in low light. Image quality in low light is much less noisy, much more pleasing.

The sensor is clearly superior to the XA-10, this was not hype by Canon, this is a much improved camera.
I'm pretty pleased with my XA20. It looks like Canon actually listened to some of us who said they would have liked to have seen the next iteration of the XA10 come with a rocker-style zoom control, a longer lens, and a viewfinder that articulates, because all of those features showed up in the XA20. The viewfinder is a real treat to use because even though it's small, it's very clear and bright and definitely usable for critical focusing. Plus, the viewfinder stays active even when the LCD display is active, so you're not forced to turn off the display to be able to access the viewfinder.

I also find that the viewfinder is useful for helping me make settings changes on the fly if the LCD panel becomes a bit hard to read in bright sunlight. I simply place my finger on the control that is displayed on the LCD, and then look into the viewfinder as I adjust the control on the LCD panel. The added bonus is if that doesn't work, I can use the little joystick that sits next to the 'start/stop' button that sits on the back of the handgrip and make adjustments that way. Giving users this many choices makes changing settings a lot less fiddly than is the case on the XA10.

When the excellent image quality of the XA20 is factored in, this new camera from Canon easily beats anything from Sony or Panasonic in its price range. Absent the 4:2:2 50Mb/s codec and the ability to set and store custom picture profiles, the XA20 is easily the equal of the XF100.

Lately I've been wondering if Canon might be mulling over the possibility of discontinuing the XF100 and introducing an XA30 model that has 4:2:2 and the higher data rate, or possibly even selling XA20/25 owners a firmware upgrade that will permit at least a 4:2:2 colour space, even if 50 Mb/s isn't feasible due to the limitations inherent in SD cards. It seems to me that this would be a natural progression for the XA series.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 09:43 AM   #4
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Steve, I am interested in your comments regarding the XF100. I had a look at the XA manual and was disappointed to find the lack of image controls available and that the better codecs were not available in cinema mode. This is a big minus to me and can't see how this would allow the camera to be better than the XF100.

I am looking for a camera to go along with the XF300 and color matching is a priority. With the lack of image controls I do not see the XA series as a great option compared to the XF100.

I would be interested to see them tested side by side. Sadly, a purchase of the XF100 right now would not be the best investment as a new model is probably not far off.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 01:34 PM   #5
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
The XA-20, after my first wedding and reception, performed well.

20X zoom is very nice. Auto focus is superior to the XA10 in low light. Image quality in low light is much less noisy, much more pleasing.

The sensor is clearly superior to the XA-10, this was not hype by Canon, this is a much improved camera.
What's the difference between the XA-20 and the XA-25? The Canon USA website won't let me compare them yet. Is it more than just the HD-SDI port? Imager, lens, CODECs all look the same. Either of them jam sync time code?

And how's the audio on the XA-20? Pre-amp noise?
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Old July 7th, 2013, 08:23 PM   #6
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Just tested my new XA20. So far almost all the changes from the XA10 are positive - the 20x zoom (slightly wider and nearly twice as long), the autofocus, the viewfinder, the absence of rattling buttons on the handle, the ability to pass the input from the built-in mic to channel 2 when using an XLR mic on channel 1, etc. The only step backwards in features is the absence of the 64GB internal memory.

The only flaw I have noticed is that the regular start-stop button (not the one on the handle) makes clicks that are audible through the built-in mic when the ambient sound level is low. For my purposes, this is not a big problem, as I typically record long scenes, but I'll have to remember to edit out the first and last few frames, and this could cause problems when using pre-record (the click would come three seconds into the scene). I suspect this would be a non-issue if using an external mic.

Anyone else observe this problem, and any ideas for a fix?
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Old July 7th, 2013, 10:11 PM   #7
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Bruce, the port is the only difference between the two, I believe. Audio is excellent, I did not notice any undue preamp noise after downloading footage last night.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 11:07 PM   #8
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

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Originally Posted by Richard Vaughan View Post
... the ability to pass the input from the built-in mic to channel 2 when using an XLR mic on channel 1, etc.
Just to make sure I understand this correctly ... we can now use an XLR on one channel and the other for the internal mic? That would be outstanding for me.

Sounds like I need to put a few cameras up for sale and then find the XA-20.

As for adding a rocker control ... why would they have ever left that off the xa-10 is beyond me ... unless to use it as an upgrade for more bucks. :-/
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Old July 8th, 2013, 11:35 AM   #9
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

My interest is nature and wildlife, and I was wondering if those that have been testing the camera can give me an idea of how the slow and fast motion features are. I use a JVC camcorder for time lapse and a Sony camcorder(60p) for slow motion stuff. I use my Canon for low light and most of the rest of my video work. It would be nice if the XA-20(or HF-G30) could deliver all these functions so I could leave the other two cameras at home.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 01:07 PM   #10
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

I'm getting an XA-20 this week, was considering an XF-100 but since it's an older camera I made the decision to get the newer model. I'll have some time this weekend to run some tests.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 02:21 PM   #11
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Tom,
I have the XA20 & have played a little with the functions you are after.
Firstly, the 60p recorded straight to the card will allow you to both use the footage as is with sound, or slow it down 50% in post. Recording in 60p like this, allows you best of both worlds having the sound.
Recording in slow motion will allow you to record with a frame rate of 23.98 or 29.97 with a 40% or 50% slowmo effect. No sound though & the recording mode can only be a max of 24Mbps.
Recording in quick motion allows you to speed things up essentially the same way as in slomo but going the opposite way, so either 2x speed up or 2.5x speed up depending you your frame rates. Again, no sound recorded in this mode. Unfortunately you cannot select other frame rates to enable further speeding up of the footage in camera but this of course can be done simply in post. Only downside is the extra media recorded to the SD cards.
As for using the camera for wildlife, I too bought it partly for this reason as a much lighter set up than my Sony EX-3. The lens is quite wide at 26.8mm (35mm equivalent) & at 576mm on the long end, it makes a very useful zoom range. I'm also looking at the possibility of using a tele converter for even more reach.
One thing I have noticed that I definitely have to test some more is the 2x electronic extender. On my older HF G10, using this 2x extender was absolutely out of the question, as it was as bad as any digital zoom, however, on the new XA20, from what I have seen so far, the 2x extender is way better, I mean WAY better. I still need to do more tests with it, but so far, I have to say I am impressed.
Hope this all helps,
Regards,
Bryce
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Old July 8th, 2013, 03:41 PM   #12
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

Thanks Bryce,
I hope my questions are not deemed as highjacking this thread, since it has to do with how good this camera is.

I had a feeling that the slo and fast features were going to be limited. I may still have to rely on my JVC to do timelapse stuff. The JVC makes it easy, and there's no need to fiddle with it in editing, other than some minor enhancements.

Slow motion will be better with 60 fps, so that will be easy to deal with in editing.

I have considered longer reach bridge cameras for wildlife, because the latest bridge cameras have such a phenomenal range, some are 50x. There doesn't seem to be one that has good video quality at such long telephoto range, and none have a remote jack for remote zoom, focus, and exposure.
I would be very interested in hearing about how the teleconverter works for you. I'm sure it'll reduce light, but with 2.8 aperture there will be some leeway.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 04:10 PM   #13
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

You're welcome Tom,
If you really want to get away from taking a bunch of cameras with you, you could always get yourself a Pclix they are a very small control for doing timelapse & will work with the XA 20. Then you have all your bases covered.
As far as the teleconverter, unlike a teleconverter for a DSLR there is no light loss. Not sure how the image quality will be with it on though. I have tried my old Raynox 1.8x converter & the results look pretty good. That one however, is way too heavy to hang off the front of the XA 20 so I was thinking of the Raynox 2.2x Way cheaper too, but i'm not sure of the quality. If I end up getting it, I will let you know how it performs.
Regards,
Bryce
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Old July 9th, 2013, 05:18 PM   #14
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

I am glad of all the plethora of good reports on the new XA-20 and the improvements over the XA-10 which I have, except of course the battery incompatibly. 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.

I would appreciate any comments you may have in this regard

Thanks
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Old July 15th, 2013, 03:11 PM   #15
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Re: XA-20 is a fine camera

jeff, did you use the xa20 as your main camera when filming the wedding? how did it handle it? if not, how do you it would handle being a main camera? what is the image like when compared to a canon dslr (7d, 60d, 700d)? can it handle most situations or is it a bit small and fiddly?
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