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Canon XA25 Review

Canon’s XA25 is a high-definition, dual-recording format camcorder designed specifically with the action-obsessed professional in mind. The XA25 may be light in weight, but it certainly isn’t short on features; it was designed to run and gun with the best of them.

It doesn’t matter if you’re sneaking into the most inaccessible locations or army crawling through hordes of paparazzi to get to the next news story; the XA25’s excellent recording capabilities and minuscule size make it the ideal shooting companion, no matter what you’re doing.

Canon XA25 Features

It is not suitable for everyone, particularly if you have limited financial resources.

We must warn you about the XA25 camcorder since it is not the right choice for everyone. You shouldn’t run out to get it just because it’s the newest and most exciting item that Canon has to offer.

The XA25 comes with a few features that will only benefit a small subset of the population who shoots video, so the camcorder comes with a price tag that is bloated solely because of these features, which list for approximately $3,000, a price tag that is bloated because the XA25 comes with these features.

You should determine whether or not you require an HD-SDI terminal before going shopping so that you may get the Canon XA20, which is less expensive if you do not require one of these terminals. Congratulations! You just saved yourself $500 by performing some simple research like reading some articles online.

If you are prepared to give up two more important features—XLR inputs and infrared (night-vision) recording—you will be able to save even more money on your recording device.

Choose the Canon Vixia HF G30 if you own a separate audio recorder and do not wish to film eerie night-vision footage in the dark. This will allow you to get the most out of the camera’s capabilities.

It has all of the same features virtually as the XA25, except the items that have just been discussed… and it costs “only” $1700, which is still pricey but significantly less than the XA25 or the XA20.

Canon XA25 Performance

This camera is capable of producing footage that is of a professional standard, so journalists and those who make documentaries take note.

The Canon XA25 is by far the most superior camcorder we have tested so far this year in terms of performance; but, it also comes at a significantly higher price point. The average price of a flagship consumer camcorder is between $1,000 and $1,500, however, the XA25 has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $3,000 and retails for around $2,700.

In a nutshell, the high price reflects the outstanding visual quality you receive.

The video camera features a remarkable wide-angle lens that provides a field of vision equivalent to 72 degrees. That is over 10% wider than the lens with the Canon HF G20. In testing where there was a lot of light, the XA25 performed well, generating images that were highly crisp and with colors that were true to life.

Although it wasn’t the nicest model we’ve ever seen, the camcorder performed well even when the lighting was poor.

We have no choice but to give the advantage to the interchangeable-lens cameras capable of shooting video in this scenario. If you want to improve your camera’s performance in low light, you can always upgrade to faster glass. Despite this, the built-in f/1.8 lens of the XA25 is certainly nothing to scoff at.

Canon XA25 Performance Low Light)

The XA25 can capture beautiful video even in environments with somewhat low light, such as at sunset or in a restaurant or bar with low lighting.

Even though the camcorder’s images suffered from a loss of detail and an increase in noise when the lighting was extremely low (below 20 lux), they were still superior to those of the high-end consumer camcorders that we tested and reviewed this year.

When we put the XA25 through our standard test for low light sensitivity, we found that it only needed 5 lux of light to produce an image that reached 50 IRE on a waveform monitor (a standard measure of brightness). This was accomplished while shooting in 1080/60p.

If you’re filming in conditions with very little available light, the 24p record settings can reduce the amount of light needed to just 0.5 lux. The XA25 required 2.5 lux of light to take a photograph with the gain set to automatic and the zoom out.

The dynamic range of the camcorder is approximately 8 stops, which is on par with the best consumer camcorders we’ve tested. However, this is a far cry from the staggering 13 stops of dynamic range we measured from the similarly priced Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

This provides additional evidence that, even though the XA25 is a good camcorder, it is easily outclassed by interchangeable-lens cinema cameras and video DSLRs that are available in a price range comparable to its own.

Canon XA25 Battery Capacity

The XA25 comes with a powerful battery pack called the BP-820, which provides enough juice for the camcorder to maintain continuous recording for 136 minutes. Although this is a good result, we have seen much better from other professional camcorders on the market.

A larger battery, the BP-828, that can be purchased from Canon for the price of $190 and features an increase in amperage of nearly 1000 mAh is also available.

Canon XA25 Conclusion

A fantastic camcorder for some, but you may be overpaying for features you won’t ever use.

Even though the XA25 is an excellent camcorder, it is important to remember the kinds of filmmaking equipment that can be purchased for $3000. If you’re going to splurge on your first professional camcorder, you shouldn’t look any further than the XA25.

The HD-SDI terminal allows you to output uncompressed video, which is ideal for use in a studio environment. Additionally, the XLR terminals allow the camcorder to be used with professional audio equipment.

In addition, you won’t need to worry about purchasing any pricey lenses or additional mounting equipment. Shooting handheld has been simplified to an almost scientific level thanks to the XA25’s timelessly elegant and ergonomic design.

Canon XA25 Specs

LensZoom Range: 20x Optical/ 400x Digital
Max Aperture: 1.8 – 2.8 Focal Length: 3.67 to 73.4mm
35mm Equivalent: 26.8 to 576mm (28.8 to 576mm with Dynamic IS)
Minimum Focus Wide: 0.8″ (20 mm)
Minimum Focus Throughout Zoom Range: 23.6″ (60 cm) Filter Rings Size: 58 mm Zoom Speed Settings: Variable, Constant (16 levels), Fast, Normal, Slow
Minimum IlluminationNominal: 1.2 lux
Low Light Mode: Approx 0.1 lux (shutter speed at 0.5 sec)
Shutter SpeedMax: 1/2000 sec
Inputs/OutputsInput
2 x XLR 3-pin female: audio in MIC/LINE (on handgrip accessory)
1 x 3.5mm stereo mini-jack
1 x 2.5 stereo mini-jack (remote control input)

Output
1 x BNC: SDI
1 x 3.5mm 4-pole mini-jack: A/V terminal (composite video, audio)
1 x USB 2.0: mini-B (output only)
1 x HDMI mini
1 x built-in speaker
AudioLinear PCM (2 Channel): when recording in AVCHD 28 Mb/s @ 23.98
Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital 5.1 when using Optional SM-V1
Power RequirementsBattery: 7.4V DC
Power Supply: 8.4V DC
Operating TemperatureOperation: 23 to 113°F (-5 to 45°C)
Performance: 32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)
Dimensions4.3 x 3.3 7.2″ (10.9 x 8.4 x 18.3 cm)
Weight1.7 lb (770 g)

Packaging Info

Package Weight5.95 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)11 x 10.7 x 8.6″

Canon XA25 Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Excellent video quality
  • Professional XLR mic support
  • The highly effective stabilization system
Need Improvements
  • Battery release blocked by tripod adapter plate 
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