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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 January 6th, 2016, 06:48 PM   #1
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Xa30????

Has anyone shot with the XA30? Comments?
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Old January 12th, 2016, 01:36 PM   #2
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Re: Xa30????

I haven't shot with it, but I'm intrigued by the Highlight Priority and Wide DR settings. Can't find much in the way of practical tests, though. All I've seen is this comparison posted by Canon Korea. The first half looks promising; the low-light stuff, not so much.

(What I'd really like to know is how the HD from the XA30/XA35/G40 stacks up against the HD from the XC10, which I'm considering.)

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Old January 18th, 2016, 01:12 AM   #3
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Re: Xa30????

How do you change exposure on the XA30/35?!?!?!?! I don't see any controls whatsoever on the damn thing. Is it some touch screen menu thing going on?

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Old January 18th, 2016, 05:05 AM   #4
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Re: Xa30????

Unless it has changed with the new model, first you need to assign the custom dial and button to manual exposure control. Then in the Funcion screen select Rec. Programs, then M. It will show up on the left of EVF/LCD screen. Then using the almost hidden button behind the dial, you scroll between shutter, aperture and gain to select which you want, the selected setting will be highlighted on the screen and you then set it using the dial.

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Old January 18th, 2016, 10:15 PM   #5
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Re: Xa30????

As above, but not so complicated alternative, if it's like the XA20, touch screen (or joystick) Func>Rec. Programs, choose P, Tv, Av, M, scene. I'm not at all sure the XA30 is significantly different from the XA20 - the XA20 scene files seem to do what the "highlights" does, the DR was always amazing for a sensor this size.

Trouble with the XC10 is it seems pretty much to be competing against Panny's FZ1000, which is 1/3 the price.
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Old February 7th, 2017, 06:11 PM   #6
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Re: Xa30????

Just got an XA30 for my wife's church. We chose it for the 20x zoom, canon colors, and the sweet spot in the prosumer market.

I haven't had much time to play with it, but it looks surprisingly good in low light. And the zoom will let us get closeups from the back of the sanctuary.

Got a Sachtler Ace as the tripod. Even with IS enabled, it's not beautifully smooth at full telephoto, but it will meet expectations. It's not nearly as solid/smooth/adjustable/handy as the Vinten I use as work, but it's way better than the $150 setup they wanted. ("But it says it has a 'fluid head.'") Shooting at roughly a 600mm equivalent is tough on a budget!

Anyway, I'll play with the camera a bit this week in preparation for a memorial on Saturday. As I learned when doing this with a DSLR in the past is that it's all about getting a good color balance. It's not enough to set the temperature. I need to tame a green/yellow cast to get that space to look good.
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Old February 17th, 2017, 06:01 PM   #7
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Re: Xa30????

I operated the XA30 at my wife's church for a memorial service recently. Worked great!

The image is especially clean. The lens length was perfect for going very (but not comically) wide to a medium closeup when shot from the back of the church. FWIW, I used a Sachtler Ace and the results were so-so with those tight shots, but it will meet expectations. You and I know that for a 600mm equivalent shot one needs a GREAT tripod, but I'm just glad that I could convince them to get the Ace, rather than a $150 special. The zoom control on the handle was set to a nice, slow speed by default, so I mainly used this during the service.

I was able to get sound from the board into one channel while using the internal mic for the other. There was some hum, but that wasn't due to the camera. I had a ground loop somewhere. Hopefully, I can clean it up well enough.

Regarding the user interface, one thing surprised me. When turning on the audio inputs on the handle, the audio menus get grayed out. I spent who-knows-how-long trying to find the way to enable audio. It seemed to be disabled. Turns out that it was fine, but a better UI would let me open the menu and say something like, "Menus disabled. Control audio manually from the handle." Anyway, when I finally hooked up a live source and headphones and enabled the overlay, I could see and hear that everything was working. (UI tip: don't try communicating to the user with unresponsive silence. It's confusing to first time users.)

Coming from Canon DSLRs, the features that I really missed were the White Balance Offset controls and the ability to customize the Picture Style. I ended up using a custom white balance, but I'm not convinced that it doesn't just set the temp. Had I been able to customize the picture further, I would have decreased contrast and increased saturation. I've got to believe that those controls are there hiding in plain sight. The side "roller" control was great for changing exposure live as we had some mixed sun and clouds through the windows.

I need to buy a hum-eliminator ground breaker for their mixing board. (It's only got unbalanced outputs!) And I need to dig in further to find those picture customization controls.

Overall, the camera is a win. The pictures look great, it has the right feature set, and the lens is perfect for event coverage. The color-balance offset seems to be the one missing piece. (I know from experience that it's a big issue in that building - the light diffusers have yellowed.) But I can fix that in post. If you shoot live events, you can do worse. That said, if you plan to shoot at full tele, budget at least as much for your tripod as for the camera. Even with IS enabled, the Ace (a fine mid-grade tripod) isn't quite up to this very difficult challenge. Assuming that I can filter out the audio hum, the tripod bumps and wiggles (though I held my breath) will be the least professional aspect of the end product. In the end, only the final result matters.
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Old February 18th, 2017, 03:14 PM   #8
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Re: Xa30????

Jon, I'm thinking 600mm on an Ace shouldn't be a big challenge. Did you try with the IS off? General rule is turn IS off when your camera is on a tripod, especially if you're pan/tilting, otherwise the IS is trying to stabilize the tripod movement. Apologies if I'm just saying the obvious.
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Old February 19th, 2017, 12:34 AM   #9
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Re: Xa30????

Jon, I have the HF G30 which, AFAIK, is much the same, so hopefully this will be helpful. To customise the picture style in Manual Mode: FUNC>Image Effects, in Cinema Mode: FILTER 1>spanner symbol (wrench I guess you would call it). The adjustment range isn't huge, but it helps.
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Old February 27th, 2017, 06:28 AM   #10
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Re: Xa30????

Did you pick out a device for hum elimination yet? I think one of the most useful and low cost single-channel devices is the Rolls DB25b passive direct box. It has a rotary attenuation control that is easier to set exactly as needed to match the camera's input. Also has a ground lift switch and a loop output like most direct boxes. $24 street price in the US.

Have you tried all the settings available in the IS menu? I have the XA20 and it has several different choices for IS supposedly beneficial for different situations.
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Old October 7th, 2017, 06:08 PM   #11
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Re: Xa30????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Baker View Post
... using the almost hidden button behind the dial, you scroll between shutter...
There's gotta be a hack for this! This is very tricky to find.
Maybe something like this, but smaller?

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2855/KBID/3801
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Old October 8th, 2017, 01:05 AM   #12
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Re: Xa30????

Quote:
There's gotta be a hack for this! This is very tricky to find.
Agreed, but it is also in a place where it is easy to press accidentally. I still have the HF S100 which has a much larger Custom button and it's all too easy to hit it, I prefer tricky to find. It's not so bad after a bit of practice, I can find it by feel almost every time. Any hack would need to be subtle.
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Old October 22nd, 2017, 10:16 AM   #13
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Re: Xa30????

I think I'll try this:
https://sugru.com/
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Old October 22nd, 2017, 11:05 AM   #14
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Re: Xa30????

Yes, a little diaphragm of it stuck over the button will probably do the trick. I used some to slightly modify the shape of the eye cup on my G30.
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Old October 22nd, 2017, 06:37 PM   #15
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Re: Xa30????

a teensy dab of hotmelt glue?
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