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Canon's XA20 Professional Camcorder

Is it better than the Canon XA10? By David Hague

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   Some time back we awarded the Canon XA10 Auscam's Camcorder of the Year. It was a truly ground breaking beast with its professional features such as twin XLRs, superb low light capability, brilliant lens and all crammed into a wonderfully ergonomic but small and light compact form factor.

   Today a courier knocked on the door (actually being a courier, he/she didn't, they just left it on the front step) and lo and behold I now have my hands on the successor to the XA10, the XA20.

   So what has changed, and is it better?


Well the lens is new, and features a super wide 26.8mm and 20x optical zoom giving it a 35mm equivalent of 576mm. Also new is built in Dual Band WiFi with FTP file transfer capability allowing files to be transferred directly to a server from the field. This will also let the user remotely control the XA20 with a compatible smartphone or tablet.




The CMOS is a 2.19MP with Canon's tried and tested DiGIC DV4 image processor. This will capture MP4 footage at 35Mbps and for AVCHD, 28Mpbs. Lower bit rate MP4 is also supported, and you can record two streams at the same time to the dual SD cards.

The sibling of the XA20, the XA25 additionally supports HD/SD SDI output.

The flip out LCD screen has also been updated and is now no longer LCD but an electrostatic OLED screen of 3.5" and 1.23 million dot resolution. Of course, as you'd expect in a pro camera, there is also a viewfinder (1.56 million dot) that extends and tilts. Advanced display features include colour peaking, zebra patterning, colour bars and a test tone.

The twin XLR ports and the subsequent audio controls are all contained in the clip on handle which also contains a secondary start/stop and zoom rocker switch.   A front mounted lens ring can be switched from focus to zoom if the user desires.

The intelligent lithium batteries report remaining power and battery-wear levels in one-minute increments to the camcorder, thereby taking the guesswork out of battery management.

The physical size for so much has not altered appreciably it seems with a combined weight of the camera, lens hood and handle being a comparatively tiny 1160grams.  (The XA25 is 5 grams heavier). Dimensionally the XA20 is 131 x 180 x 231mm.

Ergonomically, it is simply brilliant, as its little brother was. It's balanced, everything you need control wise falls to hand and the imagery itself is beautiful.

The RRP of the XA20 is a staggeringly low $2499 and the XA25 is $3299.


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David is the owner and publisher of Australian Videocamera. He has a background in media dating back to 1979 when he first got involved with photojournalism in motorsport, and went from there into technology via a 5 year stint with Tandy Computers.

Moving back to WA, David wrote scripts for Computer Television for video training for the just released Windows and Office 95 among others, and was then lured to Sydney to create web sites for the newly commercial Internet in 1995, building hundreds of sites under contract to OzEmail including Coates Hire, Hertz Queensland, John Williamson, the NSW Board of Studies and many, many more.

David can be contacted via  [email protected]

Related Keywords:Canon XA20, Canon XA25, proessional camcorder, videography

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