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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 10th, 2014, 08:57 PM   #1
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I want to buy an XA20, but ...

I can't quite force myself to pull the trigger. So here's the current setup and my reason for wanting to change.

Primary use ... stage events, mostly theatre. I no longer do weddings and this is very part time these days.

I'm currently using an XA10 and Sony AX2000. I love the external buttons on the Sony and the 20x lens is pretty much a "must have" feature.

For a long time I used to shoot all my events with one camera, but as I've grown older and since I have the gear, I now shoot all my events with the Canon locked down and man the Sony.

To me, the Canon has a little bit better picture and looks more realistic on the flip-out screen when taping. The Sony's viewfinder looks grungy / grainier and I'm never quite sure how it's going to translate.

One main advantage by going with the xa20 is that I would then have two, small cameras that could easily fit into one bag. This would be much easier on me after a couple of back surgeries. It's not a whole lot of weight reduction in term of the cameras, but it helps.

Now normally I don't need to reset a lot of my controls after a show begins. I know about where I want my gain and shutter speed, but I do need to be able to control the iris. It's been a bit of a pain with the ax10 and the wheel on the back, but it can be done.

The one thing I really like about the Sony is that I can manually hit the iris button and take it from manual to auto very quickly when needed. Most of the time it's a spotlight that really screws me over, so I make a quick change to manual and then when the spotlight goes off I can hit the iris button for an auto setting. It works really well in that regard.

I can't find a work around for that with my xa10. It looks like it's ride the iris with no options. I can't even use the spotlight button because the camera would have to shoot the entire time in the spotlight mode, which can look like garbage at times.

If it weren't for spotlights this would be a non-issue ... but that's not real world theatre life. The XA10 does quite well in shutter priority mode as long as there are no spotlights.

So ... am I missing anything on my options in terms of making quick changes other than adjusting the iris manually throughout the show with the XA20?

Thanks ~
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Old February 11th, 2014, 07:16 AM   #2
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

Would the XA20's Wi-Fi ability to work with control from certain hand-held devices (tablets and smart phones) give what you need? (I have not use that capability so I don't know, but it is covered in the user manual starting on page 121.)
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Old February 11th, 2014, 09:16 AM   #3
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

Having the same battery type for both the XA10 and XA20 might be another factor to consider. That helps to streamline things quite a bit.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 09:31 AM   #4
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

I've been following XA20 threads and reviews for months since I'm also interested in that camera. Not a Canon expert, but I'm sure that I'd been reading complaints that the older Canon batteries are NOT compatible with the new models.

Thanks
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Old February 11th, 2014, 10:20 AM   #5
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

Unfortunately, the batteries are not the same.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 11:40 AM   #6
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

Hmm, I thought for sure they were the same series... a BP-808 comes with the XA10 and a BP-820 with the XA20. Did I just have a senior moment?

Dang, sure enough: genuine Canon batteries used with XA-10 not compatible with XA-20

From what I'm reading, the BP-820 is backward-compatible with the XA10. But the BP-808 is not forward compatible with the XA20. Do I have this right?
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Old February 11th, 2014, 12:31 PM   #7
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

I wonder if the battery compatibility is related to the electrical load. Li batteries are typically current limited internally for safety reasons. The XA20 uses 30% more power (average and peak) compared to the XA10, and that could put the peak over the limit of a battery designed for the XA10. (The BP819 and 820 have the same mAh rating - 1780)

Looking at the CanonDV page for both camcorders (whats in the box and accessories):

The BP820 is listed for both the XA10 and XA20. It is the battery shat ships with the XA20, so there is nice backward compatibility.

the XA10 also lists the BP808, BP819, and BP827, (but the 819 and 827 are "out of stock" which make me suspect the 819 and 827 will being dropped by canon).

The XA20 also lists the BP828. I would not be surprise if it works with the XA10, but I have not tried one.

The BP808 is 890 mAh. IMO a bit light for the XA20's demand even if it worked with it.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 04:56 PM   #8
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

I have quite a few reasons why I chose the XA20 over the XA10 but these are six of my main reasons:

1) Better low light performance (It is about one stop better).
2) Longer Optical Zoom (28-560mm equivalent).
3) All the in/out terminals are together on the right hand side of the camera.
4) The viewfinder tilts up 45 degrees.
5) WiFi for remote shooting and monitoring.
6) A joystick control for menu navigating and selection when handheld.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 05:37 PM   #9
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

The bottom line for me is still iris control and it's ease of use.

I chatted with someone from B&H today and it doesn't sound like there are any lanc remotes that will run the iris function. The camera has to be compatible to accept that function and the xa20 doesn't fall into that category. (That would be my dream function for this camera.)

I really don't find the control wheel on the back of the XA10 to be that friendly to work with when I'm constantly adjusting, so I'm wondering ... would I like the knob under the lens better? Is it easier / more natural to use or is it harder because of the location?

I know I could buy one and test it out, but I'd really rather not have to go that route.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 06:24 PM   #10
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

I"m considering an XA20 as we'll but was wondering would the coming NAB Show have anything new on offer along the lines of the AX20, then this might bring the current one down in price... just a thought.
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Old February 12th, 2014, 01:27 AM   #11
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Brooks View Post
I really don't find the control wheel on the back of the XA10 to be that friendly to work with when I'm constantly adjusting, so I'm wondering ... would I like the knob under the lens better? Is it easier / more natural to use or is it harder because of the location?
I find the control wheel on the front (XA 20) to be slightly more ergonomic than the wheel on the back (XA 10), but neither are really a natural for constant adjustment- particularly when hand held.
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Old February 12th, 2014, 03:10 PM   #12
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

After all the research, comments from others and a quick chat with B&H ... I think I'm going to try and hold on to my Sony AX2000 for at least another year and see what happens. Along with my XA10 I should be OK. I would have even gone with one of the smaller pro cameras, but even they only had a 10x zoom and for stage events that just doesn't work.

Thanks to everyone who contributed.
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Old February 13th, 2014, 07:42 AM   #13
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

Scott,

I use the XA-10 all of the time with stage events so I understand what you are saying. Try this:

Set Rec. Program to TV
Under tools menu - Set custom dial to exposure (+/-)

Now when you press the custom button you will have exposure lock and be able to manually adjust the iris with the wheel on the back. If you want the camera to take over simply press the custom button again and you are back in auto mode. This has worked great for stage shows. Hope this helps.
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Old February 13th, 2014, 11:07 AM   #14
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Schwartz View Post
Scott,

I use the XA-10 all of the time with stage events so I understand what you are saying. Try this:

Set Rec. Program to TV
Under tools menu - Set custom dial to exposure (+/-)

Now when you press the custom button you will have exposure lock and be able to manually adjust the iris with the wheel on the back. If you want the camera to take over simply press the custom button again and you are back in auto mode. This has worked great for stage shows. Hope this helps.
Thanks Jonathan. I might have to experiment with that today. That sounds like it could be a decent work around.
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Old February 13th, 2014, 03:45 PM   #15
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Re: I want to buy an XA20, but ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Schwartz View Post
Scott,

I use the XA-10 all of the time with stage events so I understand what you are saying. Try this:

Set Rec. Program to TV
Under tools menu - Set custom dial to exposure (+/-)

Now when you press the custom button you will have exposure lock and be able to manually adjust the iris with the wheel on the back. If you want the camera to take over simply press the custom button again and you are back in auto mode. This has worked great for stage shows. Hope this helps.
That seems to work really well in my office, but since the camera is in TV mode, keeping the shutter speed constant, will the gain work against the exposure setting?

For instance, on my Sony if I only have my shutter at 60 and I'm trying to control my iris ... the auto gain will fight me if I'm trying to open or close the iris so I have to set my gain and shutter manually in order to successfully work the iris. (I hope that makes sense.)

If it's not a problem then this is exactly what I was looking for.

Thank you.
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