Canon XA40 Review

Canon XA40 Review

The Canon XA40 is a powerful and compact UHD camcorder that uses Canon’s color as a weapon against the hatred directed against single-lens cameras in a world that uses s35mm and full-frame. After bringing this tiny but tremendous wonder with me to the family farm in Rolla, North Dakota, the overwhelming sensation I had was one of astonishment.

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

Canon XA40 Professional Video Camcorder, Black

Last update was on: May 28, 2023 4:54 pm
$1,289.99 $1,599.00

Having a Conveniently Tiny Size

Trade-offs will inevitably need to be made when traveling with a child and photographic equipment. What will make it easier to travel with a child should take priority over bringing more cameras and lenses, right? So when my wife suggested that we take the Canon XA40, my initial reaction was to roll my eyes.

I was aware that the pleasant summer beauty of the northern plains might result in stunning photographs, so I planned to bring as much equipment as I could reasonably carry. I had the appropriate camera, as did my wife, and the journey was a breeze for all of us as a family. I was right, and so was my wife.

Everything that we know about the color space that Canon dips its pixels into can be found in the Canon XA40’s color space. You have a lovely sight on your hands if you combine this acrylic-like color saturation with a sunset over the high plains. In the movie that can be found below, I exposed the yellows in the North Dakota Sunset to have the maximum possible saturation.

My anticipation was for a complete silhouette. However, I adjusted the color after importing the UHD files (3840 x 2160) into DaVinci Resolve by Blackmagic Design. Then, I examined even deeper to see how well the Canon UHD h.264 files worked.

To my astonishment, the Canon XA40 UHD captured far more shadow detail than what was shown on the LCD screen or the camera’s electronic viewfinder when I was shooting. This additional shadow detail came as a delightful small surprise. But, of course, if I had wanted to, I could have increased the darkness of the shadows even more. Who wouldn’t want more shadow knowledge, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

Pixels with highlighted areas and peaks

When I shielded my highlights just a little bit, the transition from high values to peaked pixels was far smoother than I had anticipated a single-lens camcorder to offer. This was true for both the highlight and the smoothness. When shooting out of the windshield of a Chevy Pickup, I encountered a hard edge between the 100% peaked pixels and the rest of the image. This is the type of edge that is more familiar to me.

During the sunset on the family farm in North Dakota, the light did manage to peak through the clouds and turn those pixels a brilliant white. However, when viewed as a whole, the landscape gave the impression that those pixels were an integral part of the scene.

In Resolve, I was able to determine that the image that had been captured on the camera was not the complete picture. Those editors who may need to match the Canon XA40 to other cameras will find that the camera’s ability to pull back highlights and shadows by about a quarter to a half stop in each direction will be a pleasant little addition.

A camera’s dynamic range and overall image may be evaluated under bright, harsh daytime, even if sunsets aren’t included. This film of a soybean field was taken on a beautiful day at about three in the afternoon. I employed a low-cost polarizer to reduce the soybean plants’ reflective quality.

When I apply a polarizing filter, I see flora reacting in a way comparable to the skin’s. A polarizer is an excellent tool for preventing glare and producing a higher-quality picture since leaves can reflect a significant quantity of light from all directions. I believe that the crisp UHD footage can be seen rather well here.

There is a lot of attention to detail in the leaves and soybeans. Even with the strong gusts, the camera captured the finer points of the sea of green soybeans.

Automatic Functions and the Canon XA40

The auto mode seems to be the most natural setting for this camera. Every aspect is automated. You name the ground, and the Canon XA40 can go into auto mode. This includes autofocus, auto exposure, and auto white balance, among other locations. As a photographer by trade, I avoid using preset settings wherever possible.

My decision to utilize the Canon XA40 in manual mode instead of its intuitive way allowed me to gain a deeper comprehension of the capabilities of this compact UHD camcorder. The Evaluation Of The Canon XA-40 Ultra High-Definition Camcorder The exposure and the method one uses to select the aperture or the neutral density is only one example, and I will discuss it below.

When the Canon XA40 was in its fully automatic mode, I found that the image it produced was somewhat unremarkable. The white balance was achieved successfully. The exposure was correct to around the center of the road. The one drawback I observed when using the Canon XA40 in fully automatic mode was that it produced images of mediocre quality. The result of any creative decisions a professional would make would never be seen by the audience, which is probably the goal.

The density of Neutral Matter and Aperture

This camera does not have ISO settings; instead, it has Gain settings, which function in a manner that is quite similar to ISO settings. The lower the Gain setting on this camera is, in a way, very similar to how the lower the ISO setting is on other cameras, the less noise can be seen in the image. If you, as I did, found yourself facing the sun, you will need to navigate to a more in-depth section of the menu on the XA-40 to activate the Neutral Density setting.

After that, if you wish to choose your aperture or iris, the neutral density will not be able to be selected independently. When the iris is adjusted, the neutral density setting comes into effect. In the following image, which is a closer look at the LCD screen of the Canon XA40, you can see that the ND 1/8 becomes visible near the F4.0 setting.

Users cannot pick a neutral density strength and adjust the aperture after selecting it. Both the ND and the IRIS are working jointly on this. At first, this was something that bothered me a little bit. However, I am accustomed to independently selecting my aperture and neutral density settings, which enables me to choose the most appropriate settings for the situation. After some time, I was able to adjust to using this function.

Gain Settings for the Canon XA-40

How exactly did I adjust the gain setting on the camera? When I was shooting, the gain setting on my camera was almost always set to its lowest possible position. My practice sessions took place on a farm in North Dakota throughout the summer months. Even though plenty of brilliant sunlight was available, I put the Canon XA40 through its paces by putting it to the test in low-light conditions. I also took a color chart noise test, which you can view below.

However, I found that the higher half of the gain settings on the Canon XA40 were too loud for my purposes, and the comfortable point for me was somewhere around the middle of the range. As the gain was turned up to its maximum, I saw that the shadows had a blue or a green that was somewhat tinged with blue. I attempted to match these samples of noise to one another. The most extreme setting required a bit more adjustment, and even after that, I do not believe it is entirely accurate.

Strong Despite Its Size

The Canon XA40 is capable of recording a hefty Ultra High Definition (UHD) video with a resolution of 3860 by 2160 at 23.98/24/29.97/30 frames per second (150 Mb/s), 1920 by 1080p at 23.98/24/29.97/30/59.94/60 frames per second (17 to 35 Mb/s), and 1280 by 720p at 59.94/60 frames per second (8 Mb/s). Aside from the numbers, recording UHD into a decent SD card (I used an AngelBird 64GB) at a low Mb/s works wonderfully with this camera. Despite how much I like the UHD image, I also used the camera to record video at 1920 by 1080 resolution at 35 and 17 megabits per second.

Because many television stations around the country still have not transitioned into the 10-bit 30P realm that higher productions occupy, they shoot in 35 Mb/s, which is why I am particularly interested in seeing how HD appeared when it was recorded at 35 Mb/s. Through its mini-HDMI connection, the camera can produce a resolution of 1920 by 1080 at 10 bits.

The image did not become corrupt at 35 megabits per second even though it was captured in the cab of a Chevrolet Pickup Truck, which included difficult lighting conditions. Even when I used DaVinci Resolve to make some adjustments to the image, the HD could keep it. Then I tested the HD at 17 Mb/s, where I discovered that the idea was a little softer than in the HD at 35 Mb/s, but not significantly.

Its high sensor resolution piques my curiosity about the Canon XA40. It has a robust dimension of 5352 by 3950. My best estimate is that it was downsampled from 5.3K to UHD. First, however, I should clarify that I am not a camera tech. So you don’t need to look any further if you want to know why I think the UHD image produced by this camera is so crisp.

Mode Infrarouge (IR)

There is an infrared mode available on the XA40 Professional Camcorder. According to Canon, the Infrared Mode will make it possible to record video in environments with very little or no natural light. In the tests that I ran, the Infrared Mode required a minimal amount of background light. Because my backyard blends into the surrounding forest, there is no single source of light where I reside in Tennessee, which is close to Stone’s River.

When I pointed the Canon XA40 out the back door of my house, the backyard’s zero light seemed to be precisely that: zero in the infrared. This is because infrared operates when a small amount of light is present. When I used the Canon XA40 and switched to the Infrared light setting, the Infrared Mode captured everything visible in the morning.

Powered by XLR Phantom for Audio

While in North Dakota, I brought the Canon XA40 and used it to film a few interviews. Keep in mind that I am not an audio specialist. If it works, then it typically works adequately for what I need it to do. The Canon XA40 made it simple to attach an external wireless lavalier microphone to the camera. The sound levels could be altered with little effort, and the top handle, which could be removed and reveal the external audio controls, performed admirably. Sometimes we want something that is both straightforward and straightforward to utilize. I will always choose anything straightforward and uncomplicated to use.

Image stabilization using both optics and electronics

I had a positive impression of the image stabilization since it did a fantastic job of eliminating a significant amount of wind bounce and allowing me to hand-hold the camera. At the same time, a Chevrolet pickup drove down a gravel road. You can see that the driving shots inside the cab are reasonably well-balanced in the two most recent videos, one of which is located above this paragraph and the other below. That is to say; I am controlling the camera with my hands while the truck travels along a gravel road in North Dakota.

Considering everything, I believe the Canon XA40 is a reliable single-lens camera. This compact camera’s most notable features are its ultra-high definition (UHD) resolution, user-friendliness, and image stabilization capabilities.

I can imagine a producer using this camera on a documentary, in a setting where they gather news, or even on various television news shootings or reality show productions. The resolution of the UHD is excellent, and the cost of the SD cards is reasonable. All of these capabilities are packed into a video camera that costs $1699.00

Several Features of the Canon XA40

  • 8.29MP, 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor
  • Integrated optical zoom lens with 20 times magnification
  • Image stabilization using both optics and electronics
  • Recording at both UHD 4K30 and HD 59.97 frames per second
  • Dual XLR, 3.5mm mic/line audio inputs
  • recording in MP4 format
  • DIGIC DV 6 processor
  • There are two slots for SD memory cards.
  • Mini-HDMI output
  • 1/4 inch-20 thread for attaching a tripod.

Canon XA40 Price

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

Canon XA40 Professional Video Camcorder, Black

Last update was on: May 28, 2023 4:54 pm
$1,289.99 $1,599.00

Canon XA40 FAQs

When did the Canon XA40 come out?

Early in 2019 saw the introduction of the Canon XA40.

Does the Canon XA40 have Wi-Fi?

It is true that the Canon XA40 has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, which can be used for distant file transmission and management.

What audio quality is Canon XA40?

For even better quality audio recordings, you can attach an additional microphone to the Canon XA40 and the binaural microphone that comes standard with the camera.

How long does the Canon XA40 battery last?

When recording continuously, the Canon XA40 can go for up to 2.8 hours on a single charge of its battery.

Does the Canon XA40 have night vision?

No, the Canon XA40 does not come equipped with any night vision functionality.

Does Canon XA40 have dual-pixel autofocus?

The Canon XA40 does not come equipped with a dual-pixel autofocus system.

Does the Canon XA40 have autofocus?

The Canon XA40 does indeed have an autofocus feature that is also capable of facial recognition and tracking.

How much does the Canon XA40 weigh?

The Canon XA40 weights close to 1.2 pounds, which is equivalent to 535 grams.



Joseph is a talented photographer and videographer based in the USA, with a thriving career as a freelance creative. Over the past several years, he has had the privilege of working with renowned brands, capturing captivating images and videos. His portfolio encompasses a diverse range of subjects, specializing in fashion, portrait, and lifestyle content creation. From editorial shoots to engaging social media videos, Joseph's versatile skills ensure exceptional visual storytelling in every project. Beyond his professional endeavors, he nurtures a personal passion for travel and nature photography, channeling his deep appreciation for the environment into a commitment to sustainability and environmental causes.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply