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Canon Prosumer Cameras Finally Reach 1080P at 60FPS with the XA20, XA25, and HF G30

With NAB just days away, Canon has announced not one, not two, but three new camcorders to their prosumer line. The XA20 and XA25 are a followup from their 2011 model the XA10, but with an all new image processor. The Canon HF G30 is an update to the G20, and their new flagship consumer camcorder. The cameras share a lot of features in common, so hit the jump to get the rest of the details below.

Here are the differences of the XA20 and XA25 from the XA10:

  • Canon Digic DV IV processor, 1080p at 60fps (AVCHD up to 35Mbps)
  • Simultaneous recording of AVCHD and MPEG-4 via dual SD card slots
  • 20x Zoom, 8 blade iris
  • 3.5″ OLED touchscreen
  • New battery pack, the BP-A28, with charge display
  • Built-in Wifi with FTP transmission, remote control (via iPhone), direct upload to YouTube

What’s the difference between the XA20 and XA25, you ask? The $2,700 XA25 has an uncompressed HD-SDI output, making it $500 more expensive than the XA20 (at $2,200).

At 1/2.84-inches, the CMOS sensor on the XA20/25 is a tad larger than the 1/3-inch chip inside the XA10. Canon claims it opted for the larger sensor in order to add more flexibility to the camcorder’s updated image stabilization function, which has an option for using both optical and digital stabilization. The stabilization feature now includes seven modes, up from four on the XA10.

The Canon Vixia HF G30 at $1,700 will be the new consumer flagship model, intended as an upgrade over the popular HF G20 and marketed towards non-professionals. Its specs are very much the same as the XA20 and XA25, but without XLR inputs and a microphone holder on a detachable handlebar. Another thing they all have in common is that Canon has done away with the internal memory component, and will rely entirely on SD cards. These should be kicking around at NAB, coming up April 8th-11th. Watch this space for more announcements from the floor.

Link: Three New Cameras — Canon USA

[via Camcorder Info]


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Description image 62 COMMENTS

  • Man, so 5 years ago.

    • GoPro maybe be coming out with 4k at 30fps soon. Jus sayin.

    • Right – any old camera in 2008 had 1080/60P recording at 35mbps with built-in WIFI.

      • I think the title of the post is 1080p at 60fps. I think there’s GoPro going for 4k at 60fps. Things are moving kinda fast. Canon may want to move into the year 2013. It’s kinda all about 4k now, huh. Just sayin.

      • And I think Canon isn’t just any ole camera—at least in their commercials they seem to think they aren’t.

      • One thing, “so five years ago” is a slang term not necessarily referring to an actual 5 year time frame. It’s just saying one is behind the times.

        • Can’t you organize your thoughts coherently enough to post it all in one entry?

          • Really? It could be you are criticizing in comments just to be critical. That is too common on the internet. You may find me not responding much to you from here on.

          • You could have just responded to what I said.

  • That XA25 could be fantastic for low budget live productions with that HD-SDI output.

    • Just found out (on Canon’s site) it is only 4:2:0 via SDI, sadly. But still – could be useful for live shoots w/ timecode.

    • Actually, you’re exactly right. I’ve been given a budget of under 100k total to produce a live stream. The HD-SDI versions of these cameras fit into the budget fantastically, really looking forward to renting one to test drive in the near future.

  • If I needed a portable, reliable camera to record for long stretches of time or to perhaps take on a trip without having to obsess over lenses and external audio, these aren’t such bad options. Frankly, there are plenty of times I get sick and tired of futzing and just want to film something. These seems like pretty capable little cams.

    • +1. I’ve still got the first Canon XH-A1, and even though I’ve got a DSLR and two-system audio, I’m always amazed at how much I enjoy filming with the camcorder. Built-in IS, long zoom, XLR, three rings on barrel. Mount a shotgun and I’m ready to film just about anywhere.

    • I ‘ve been using 2 XA10 in multicam (1 normal and 1 with a wide converter) for some of my web oriented productions,i’ve always been surprised by the overall excellent performance.

      As you said, this is a perfect cam when you just want to film something happening, without all the accessories getting in your way. Not to mention that is is smaller than most DSLR, when ultimate discretion is needed.

  • john jeffreys on 04.4.13 @ 12:38AM

    Camcorders are so retro

  • In the words of the Internet, “DO NOT WANT.”

  • Meh…

  • And the cinema line does not support 60p at 1080p DAFUC! (c100+c300)

  • Canon needs to start pricing cams like the C500 at around $5k… or just stick to still photography and lenses. Sony and Panasonic both do “event video” cameras equal or better than canon, so I don’t see the point of cameras like these anymore. Just get rid of the stupid C100/C300 and price the C500 well below any of Sony or Red cams (around $5k-$8k), then sit back and own the “cine-video” market from the pro-sumers to the pros with just one single camera system. All these multiple camera incarnations with missing features, crippling, firmware changes, ect. is all old bull-crap from another era. Time to get with it. Or not… they can let companies like Red and Blackmagic walk all over them in the next 5 years. I don’t really give a crap. I just want these bigger companies to start competing again to deliver great products. Not this conspiring they seem to be doing to create product tiers and “levels” that they never reduce the price on, or improve…

    • Amen.

      The HD-SDI version should not cost more than $2000 and 4:2:0 is really a shame.

      • Again, it is really 4:2:2. They made the same mistake with the C100, mistakenly introducing it as 4:2:0 when it was 4:2:2

        • ok noted.

          Canon USA:
          HD/SD-SDI output provides an uncompressed signal at 1920×1080 resolution with 4:2:2 color sampling and embedded audio and time code.

          sounds better.

    • The C100/c300 are hardly stupid, judging from the number of them I’ve seen out in the field. They’re versatile and the quality is gorgeous. Resolution isn’t everything.

    • Terence Kearns on 04.5.13 @ 10:40AM

      Amen to that. Especially not impressed with touch screen abominations showing up in this price bracket.

    • Wow well said. Competition is supposed to be good because we the consumer benefit greatly. We aren’t benefiting now. WHy the hell can my GoPro do 2.7K at up to 30fps and 4K at 15fps but a MUCH larger Canon camera just got 1080p60?! How ass backwards is that? If you ask me Canon, RED, and all the other venders that seam to be releasing decent to really great cameras with crippled features are on a teleconference call coming up with price gouging sceme’s. I mean really RED Scarlet and the Canon C-whatever released on the same day. And I KNOW Canon cripples features from using their DSLR’s and then loading magic lantern to realize I get so much more and could get even more if Canon would stop bo-guarding. The whole Cinema camera line is great….for 2009 next to the 5DMk.II…its not to say they are bad but 4K 4K 4K! It IS about the resolution and if your not going to give me 4K I understand that is ok but I want something like 2.8K for well $2800 :D its not that much to ask hell make it $4000 but make it good.

  • These camera’s need to be able to do both NTSC and PAL frame rates. Mainly due to shooting under lights that have different country power output. However, I do like the XLR input.

  • If I were to consider going back to these sorts of cameras for live event production, I would go with Sony. So would everyone else. Sorry, Canon.

    • What does Sony make that is competitive at this price point? I’m genuinely curious.

  • Strange that they didn’t lower the price a bit to compete with Panasonic, who have the AG-AC90 with 3 chips and 3 lens control rings for $1999 suggested retail.

  • I find it kinda funny to read all the “it’s so 5 years ago” or “camcorders are so retro” comments…cute and just a bit narrow viewed…

    These camcorders still have a huge section of the market to fill, and have their own place in all things video. Yes, I can see the standard HDSLR junkie scoffing at them, saying silly things like “that sensor is too small” and “There’s not enough bokeh”…but at the same time, I can see the live production peeps looking at HDSLRs saying “where’s the genlock?”, “Where’s a reliable professional output?” and “Where do you plug in the mics?”

    See, my sweeties, your wonderful DSLRs are not the all-in-one camera that can do everything. It only can handle just a small, specific section of the video world. Properly speaking, and I know I’m going to get flamed for this, those HDSLRs are only good for the mid to low range cinematography and commercial work. No…I didn’t just crawl out from underneath a rock somewhere. I know about some of the great and awesome work that’s been made with these HDSLRs. However, if you’re going to be doing actual paid work, for a high end client with a high end budget, featuring a high end product and a quick turnaround…my bet any of the professionals out there would be using the big guns…not your little $2,000-$10,000 camera packages. I wouldn’t dare show up to a high-end shoot with my cute little camera rig that’s bogged down with devices to accommodate what downfalls the HDSLRs have…Nope.

    Now, this camera that is featured in this article has it’s own little cubby hole to fit in, and it will do great. Of course you wouldn’t do high end work with these cameras! Maybe these cameras can handle proper television broadcast specs, and in the hands of a competent person who ACTUALLY does this for a living (instead of gear junkies who drool over specs but never had hands on experience on a shoot), these cameras would be really good!

    For me, the XA25 really is intriguing, because I’ll be looking into creating a production department for my church. Not only will we be using HDSLRs for the prepared interviews and such, my vision also is to start streaming our church services online, so a few matching cameras with “live-production” qualities are paramount. That PROFESSIONAL HD-SDI output along with the PROFESSIONAL mic inputs are gold for my needs…I don’t want to hassle with mic add-ons and finicky HDMI outputs that only send a signal a few dozen feet or so, and how the heck can I get my cam ops to zoom in fluidly with no tripod handle adapters for these photo lenses we all use?

    I use my own HDSLR for special interviews and other recordings, but I have to also bundle together the hassle of my Zoom H4N, a bag full of removable lenses, a rig to hold them all, and then the headache of syncing together everything in post…there is NO way I’m going to frankenstein together a HDSLR camera package that will do live-streaming of our services. It’s just not proper!


    • I agree 100% Ryan.

    • One more in agreement. It is quite simple. For any kind of documentary shooting, where you simply must capture the moment, or it is gone forever, HDSLR are next to useless. You would be extremely lucky to catch the moment properly exposed, properly focused and properly framed with that HDSLR.

      Narrative filmmaking is just one of many segments in the video acquisition market space. And HDSLR is great for that; you place your marks for your talent, your focus puller determines the focus, your DP figures out the framing and exposure, your sound engineer has proper mics in place with a proper sound recorder, you yell action, everything goes according to the choreography, and you screwed anything up, you yell ‘Reset’ and do it again. Try and catch person on the courthouse steps for a quick sound bite with a HDSLR and a H4N…..

      Long story short:

      No smooth zooming
      Way too shallow depth of field (when nose is in focus, ears are out of focus….!)
      Poor image stabilisation (for mobile work)
      No decent native sound recording to speak of

      This Canon camcorder covers all those problems. As Ryan says, there is a “niche” market the size of Jupiter for camcorders such as this one.

      • “No smooth zooming
        Way too shallow depth of field (when nose is in focus, ears are out of focus….!)
        Poor image stabilisation (for mobile work)
        No decent native sound recording to speak of”

        None of these things have to do with fps. Canon may have these at a great level. It’s too their fault that they are now just getting 60fps in 1080p. I’m not impressed with that point. The name ‘Canon’ should represent more than that.

    • When I say so 5 years ago I am referring to 1080p at 60fps. If they want to stay with 1080p instead of getting to something like 2.7k they should have been at 60fps some time ago. Seeing a little, inexpensive camera like the GoPro having 1080p at 60fps, 1440p at 48fps, 2.7k at 30fps, or 4k at 15fps already and Canon coming out with this…… it just seems like someone at Canon would have said, “Wait a second, isn’t 1080p at 60fps kinda stale news?” New tech advances have a short self life. They have to get with it. With the way tech is quickly advancing will GoPro have 4k at 60fps before Canon even gets 4k?

      That was what I meant and didn’t want to take the time to type out last night. It just struck me that coming out with 1080p at 60fps in a company like Canon is behind the game to the point of even being a bit of a water cooler joke.

      • Don’t forget that the more frames you have the more compression you have on an image as well. These AVCHD/mp4 cameras are probably recording at 20-30 Mbps, so if you double the frame rate each frame gets half the amount of storage it would have previously, effectively 10-15mbps, essentially meaning death to the images in post if you didn’t capture them right in the first place.

        GOP codecs go some way to resolve this by inter-relating the frames, but the main point still holds even if it isn’t exactly half.

        This is probably the reason that Canon aren’t jumping all over the high fps war.

        Additionally their C-range of cameras are cinema cameras and designed in a cinema fashion, so it’s all 24/25/30 frames there, allowing high frame rate replay to be a future trend in firmware. If you’re shooting on a C300 or C500 as designed you probably have a decent budget to hire a phantom for the one scene you need slow motion for, as well.

        Finally these cameras are streets ahead of gopro in every other aspect. Lens quality, sensor size and quality, (even gopro is 4k which just means smaller pixels), controls, manual ability, sound, ergonomics, usability, durability… ok, maybe not durability :P

        • I knew if there were enough commenters that was going to be a reply to me eventually. Red isn’t bothered by high frame rate. Look at the beautiful picture they have. I hilighted GoPro because they are the new, very inexpensive kid on the block having sold their first camera in 2004. Actually Red is a new company too, starting in 1999. Canon is behind the 8 ball now. They should have seen what direction things were going. GoPro did see it and in a very short time they got to 4k and have a beautiful picture. The really is no reason for Canon to not have caught up to these new companies—or really, been ahead of them. Maybe they just haven’t caught on to what is happening in the tech world. Maybe it’s moving too fast for them. Maybe they have their heads in what made them ‘Canon’ years ago and aren’t seeing the present. 4k is the now, it is not the future. 1080p is becoming passé. Canon wouldn’t be the first company to not roll with the changes. Though they do have DLSR at high resolution. Who knows, maybe it was the cost of making the cameras talked about in this post that made Canon make them in 1080p.

          Here’s a video of Red at 4k at varying fps, sometimes though at 120fps. A Canon camaera was used at times in the full version of this video, TimeScapes. Should I say 4k is the future or 4k is now? I guess it’s now to some people and the future to others.

  • mike_tee_vee on 04.4.13 @ 12:31PM

    This is a nice upgrade. I’ve had the XA10 for several years, and it’s been rock solid. It certainly fills a niche in this price range. I have the Sony NX30 as well, and it does not have XA10′s full manual controls. I just wish Canon included more physical buttons (like the Panasonic AG-AC90).

  • Casey Orion on 04.4.13 @ 2:54PM

    I reed this article with an XA10 sitting in front of me, I’ve used it for a couple years and its just been fantastic. I agree with the others on here who have said it is rock solid. It does a particular job very well.

  • “AVCHD up to 35Mbps”
    Hm, I didn’t know any camera manufacturers were recording AVCHD at more than 28 Mbps — I thought that was the limit for the standard.

    • Terence Kearns on 04.5.13 @ 10:32AM

      It probably is the limit. So you probably can’t copy that straight to blu-ray and expect it to be compliant. However, I am happy to be allowed to choose to break the standard if I plan on running it through my editor first.

  • So will the xa10 have a price drop now? If so when do you think?

  • trackofalljades on 04.4.13 @ 10:31PM

    The one thing that always killed any serious consideration of the XA10 for me is that sure, it has these pretty XLR jacks, but they’re crippled because the thing can only record lossy-compressed audio. So what’s the point?

    Does anyone know, can the XA10 successor record real actual useful audio, like LPCM or something?

  • Dear Readers,
    Please read below:

    Can someone please confirm if the XA20 or XA25 still have the rattling noise on the XLR handle when moving the camera from side to side or up and down?

    I saw a youtube video that showed rattling. I don’t mind paying $2K for a prosumer camera but I do not want
    any defective manufacturing workmanship. Looking forward to positive feedback. I am excited for NAB 2013.

  • Welcome to the 1080 60p century Canon

  • “The correct estimated list prices for the Canon XA25 HD ENG camcorder and XA20 HD professional camcorder are $2,999.00 and $2,499.00, respectively.”

  • NO professional here, just the average prosumer perspective. I have had the HF M41 since it’s release a few years ago. It has the same video quality as the G10 and XA10 but at a far better price point. I favor the canon for it’s low light capabilities. While I can appreciate the features of other makes, they are useless in low light. When my Point & Shoot Canon G9 died last summer, I took a chance on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 for many reasons but mainly for the high speed settings of 120fps at 720p and the F2.8 at full 600mm zoom. Those features alone make it great but it still doesn’t do nearly as well in low light as the Canon HF M41.

    Yesterday, I was filming in high speed with the Lumix at an indoor pool and the video was on the dark side so I switched it to 30p but still needed a high shutter speed so not much difference. Took out the Canon M41 set at Tv100/F2.8 and perfect video.

    I agree. They’re late to the party but they party like it’s 1999.

  • I am curious to find out what blog platform you have been utilizing?

    I’m having some small security problems with my latest site and I would like to find something more safe. Do you have any recommendations?

  • LiveStreamingProducer on 11.25.13 @ 1:29PM

    I’m happy overall with the XA25 and HF G30, however they don’t meet their potential. I’d hope that firmware, Magic Lantern or SDK would solve some of these issues.

    1) It is great to have camera control via WiFi – but as soon as this camera begins recording you lose control of iris and other settings.

    2) The user interface / menu takes a while to know – and to quickly get to the most used settings. The custom buttons do not offer all of the setting options.

    3) My biggest complaint is not being able to quickly switch from auto exposure to manual exposure. I usually rough set exposure using a camera’s automatic aperture – then with a single button or lens slider switch to manual exposure to increase or decrease F stop. This camera doesn’t allow for a one step process to do so. It is great that in manual setting the custom button on bottom next to rotation knob allows you to toggle between aperture, shutter, and gain – but there isn’t a quick way to get to auto aperture from the manual mode. If you set one of the other custom buttons to exposure – it doesn’t work in manual setting.

    Pros – gain does a fine job with low noise.