In preparation for a school assignment, I purchased a Canon XA20. Why would you want to buy a camcorder that has a relatively small sensor? Doesn’t it seem like everyone uses a camera that doesn’t have a mirror?
A single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) may produce high-quality photographs at a reasonable cost. However, not everyone will find that to be the optimal option. It is entirely dependent on the kinds of movies that you intend to produce.
DSLRs and mirrorless cameras capture the majority of still images. Because it is an optional feature that has been tacked on, video has several limitations. If you intend to use them extensively for filmmaking, you will require additional equipment. However, you can obtain fantastic results if you have the time to put in and the ability to work around their restrictions. You should look into purchasing camcorders if you plan on capturing things like documentaries, live events, and news.
What are my thoughts on the XA20? It’s wonderful. I had forgotten how much simpler it is to film with a “real” camcorder until I switched back to filming with SLRs after using them for a few years. In addition, the XA20 is a camcorder that features an exceptionally refined design.
If you are interested in filming on a more professional level (and don’t require 4K), you should consider purchasing a secondhand Sony XA20 as an alternative to buying a consumer camcorder or an entry-level mirrorless camera.
How Professional is it?
The top handle is the primary advantage of this product. If you remove this, it seems to be a vast amateur camcorder. Specifically, it has the same appearance as its younger and more affordable sibling, the HF-G30. You might want to consider getting one of these instead if you’re concerned about your finances.
This top handle has two XLR audio connectors, allowing professional microphones to be plugged in and used. When the microphones are linked to the top handle, it also contains manual switches and knobs for selecting audio sources and settings and a separate zoom rocker and record button (for low-angle shots).
The professionals in the film industry with whom I was working were astonished by how small it was. In addition to that, it offers uncompressed professional audio and XLR inputs. However, it is not a professional camcorder because it cannot record content that would be acceptable to major broadcasters such as the BBC or PBS.
The film is incredibly crisp and clear, and the colors are nice. However, the aspect ratio is simply 4:2:0, the same as most DSLRs. “Real” professional camcorders are pricey and shoot in at least “4:2:2.” Because of this, the colors come out looking nicer and are much simpler to alter and “grade” later. In addition, broadcasters want a ‘bit rate’ of at least 50 Mb/s. However, the XA20 can only reach a maximum of 35 Mb/s. Additionally, the sensor is far more compact than that of a DSLR.
The Sony PWX-70 has a similar physical factor as the Sony XA20 but with a larger sensor. It can shoot actual broadcast grade 4:2:2 and includes an SDI output connecting to professional TV equipment. If you have the budget, you should consider purchasing the Sony PWX-70.
The absence of knobs and buttons on the main camera body is another aspect that does not give the camera a professional appearance. You will need to navigate through the touchscreen menus to access most of the settings. Industry professionals dislike this because it is a slower alternative to physical controls.
The XA20, on the other hand, has six buttons that are fully programmable by the user, allowing quick access to the primary adjustments that are most frequently adjusted. This video, which Ryan Jackson of the Edmonton Journal created, demonstrates how he configures the camera and its controls to make its use more efficient. (The product being discussed in the video is the more costly XA25, which is similar to the XA20 except that it includes an SDI output.)
There were a few aspects of the camera that took me by surprise. It performs much better in low light than I anticipated (the new XA11 is significantly better). The second point I want to make is how effective picture stabilization is. Finally, it makes it possible to photograph without a tripod, which cannot be done using telephoto lenses on an SLR camera.
Having adequate audio settings and an easy way to check the sound using headphones is also a plus. It worked perfectly with the Rode VideoMic Pro and the Rodelink wireless system I utilized. Although none of them is an XLR system, the XLR handle proved to be somewhat helpful. Both of these use minijacks. I could adjust the volume using the dial rather than the on-screen options by using a Rode VXLR adaptor to connect to the XLR sockets on the board.
The lens is excellent in quality. It has a long optical zoom range of 20 times, extending from an actual wide-angle setting of 26.8 millimeters (29 millimeters with image stabilization switched on) to an extended telephoto setting of 576 millimeters. The flare is managed well (far better than on my earlier “pro” XF100), and an excellent lens hood flips down and out of the way.
Additionally, operating this camera is a breeze. You can set the focus manually, white balance, and exposure. However, the “full auto” setting is recommended for most shooting scenarios. I used it on several summer youth film projects, and participants as young as 12 produced impressive videos.
The XA20 is a compact, well-organized, and easy-to-use device. It has a professional appearance and feels, yet its use is not overly complicated, making it an excellent choice for use in educational endeavors.
Canon XA20 FAQs
What is the price of Canon XA20?
The price of the Canon XA20 differs widely from merchant to retailer and is also contingent on the product’s availability.
What resolution is Canon XA20?
A resolution of 1920 by 1080 is featured on the Canon XA20.
What size sensor is on Canon XA20?
The HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor measures 1/2.84 inches and is featured on the Canon XA20.