May 11, 2015

Canon's XC10 4K Camcorder: Some Lovely Footage & an Unsurprisingly Critical Review

Canon XC10 Footage and Review
In the weeks leading up to NAB 2015, Canon announced the XC10, a fixed-lens 4K camcorder that left many scratching their heads. But what can this odd little camera actually accomplish?

Johnnie Behiri over at Cinema5D recently posted some of the first professional footage and a brief review of the Canon XC10, and needless to say, the footage itself has many of the lovely characteristics that Canon is known for, but the design and ergonomics of the camera aren't up to par with what professionals have come to expect. But first things first. Here's a short profile piece shot on the XC10:

Over in Johnnie's review on Cinema5D, he outlined both what he liked and didn't like about the XC10. On the plus side, the camera can produce nice images for what it is, a fixed-lens camcorder with a one-inch sensor. With that said, the list of cons vastly outweighs the list of pros. Here are a few excerpts from the section where he details what he doesn't like:

  • Limiting lens. The non-constant aperture can drive one crazy while shooting at multiple focal lengths…The maximum aperture difference between wide (F2.8) and tele (5.6) is too large.
  • No viewfinder. The proposed original Canon solution (loupe over the LCD) is a good idea but badly implemented. The image is distorted and not evenly in focus when you enable the diopter, which can cause eye fatigue and headache at times.
  • If you intend to shoot in HD (1080) or slow motion 120 FPS in 720p, prepare to have an extra SD card as those formats will not record into the CFast card.
  • Minimum ISO in video mode is ISO 500.
  • Please be aware. When changing frame rate to 100 FPS the shutter speed will automatically change to “100”, which is great, but when going back to 4K 25p this value will stay and not change back to shutter 50.

Despite the image quality -- which isn't bad at all considering the small sensor -- it seems like Canon truly missed the boat on this camera, at least if they're still insisting that the XC10 is designed for professionals. The biggest disappointment has to be that lens, which is not only permanently fixed to the camera, but which has a non-constant aperture. Even for video journalists and other potential professional markets for this camera, maintaining exposure throughout the zoom range is critical, and the XC10 doesn't offer that ability unless stopped down to f/5.6 or higher. Even a slower constant-aperture zoom, maybe a constant f/4.0, would have been greatly preferable to the lens that is included with this camera.

The biggest revelation from this video, however, is that absolutely beautiful slider with wooden accents made by Adrian Mahovics. You can learn more about those custom sliders here.

The XC10 retails at $2500 and is available for pre-order over at B&H.     

Your Comment

43 Comments

The image's are looking beautiful tho!

May 11, 2015 at 1:31PM

7
Reply
avatar
Lester Kamstra
Documentary Filmmaker
154

No they don't. Tho!

May 11, 2015 at 3:10PM

4
Reply

On this, I agree with you Mike. It doesn't look good.

May 13, 2015 at 6:19AM

0
Reply
Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1778

non-constant aperture
No viewfinder.
slo-mo limited to 720p
multiple card formats will limitations and lack of compatibility across different modes.
Too low of an ISO for such a slow lens is bound to make indoor/low light shooting suck
Shutter speed that won't switch back after frame rate change

That sounds like a whole lot of deal breakers to me.

If Canon can't compete on dynamic range or low light, it should at least compete on features. Beautiful out-of-camera skin tones alone isn't enough to cut it any more.

May 11, 2015 at 1:53PM, Edited May 11, 2:01PM

0
Reply
avatar
kyleclements
Artist / Photographer / Scenic
994

The image is beautiful tho!

May 11, 2015 at 1:53PM

0
Reply
avatar
Lester Kamstra
Documentary Filmmaker
154

No it's not.

May 11, 2015 at 3:09PM

6
Reply

Correct:
The image is absolutely not beautiful.
Highlights and colors are very average.
It's probably fine for ENG, but it doesn't seem to compete with the current line of cinema cameras.

May 13, 2015 at 4:09AM

1
Reply
avatar
Michel Gallone
Owner - Sowatt Music Sarl
76

Yeah, biggest thing is the lens. Bummer.

May 11, 2015 at 2:12PM

0
Reply
avatar
Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
1085

Those crushed highlights, black is a black void!!! Terrible dynamic range. Looks very videoish. Don't be mad at me but this looks like S**T!

May 11, 2015 at 2:17PM, Edited May 11, 2:19PM

0
Reply

For $2,500 this must be a late April fools joke. For the same price I can get an a7s, fs100 or 5D Mark 3. 4K alone doesn't make this camera worth it.

May 11, 2015 at 2:27PM

7
Reply
avatar
Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
1134

The GH4 shames this camera.

May 11, 2015 at 2:52PM

9
Reply
avatar
Tom Holton
UAS Specialist
298

It's not s**t, it's not beautiful. It looks standard. Soooo..... for the price point. Not worth it.

May 11, 2015 at 4:06PM, Edited May 11, 4:06PM

2
Reply
avatar
Jonathon Sendall
Stories
1897

Is it me or am I seeing some aliasing?

May 11, 2015 at 5:06PM

0
Reply
avatar
Dantly Wyatt
Musical Comedy & Content Creator.
802

Canon XC10 for 2500 USD? Are they kidding? Compare it with the specs of the Panasonic FZ-1000. Same size sensor, better lens, in-camera 4K recording on SD, 120 FPS slow-motion at 1080p, Cinema color profile, EVF, etc. FZ1000 prize = 800 USD.

I don't understand how Canon is positioning this XC10 camera. At 1000 USD or less it might be OK, but @2500 USD the XC10 is way too expensive for what it delivers.

May 11, 2015 at 5:08PM

0
Reply
Erwin Hartsuiker
CineVideo-NL videographer
564

Well said, I'd forgotten about the FZ1000

May 13, 2015 at 1:53AM

0
Reply
avatar
Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
1134

I think the FZ1000 makes a better picture than this too. And I would already have one, or more in use, but for the 30 minute limit. But the FZ1000 makes a great looking image. I think its color is better than the GH4.

May 13, 2015 at 6:28AM

1
Reply
Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1778

I have an FZ1000 and it's very good (if you keep the stabilizer off).

May 13, 2015 at 4:43PM

0
Reply

Probably one of my biggest disappointments. I like a lot about the form factor and some of the other details, but there's just too much that leaves me wondering why they even bothered. Was someone asking for something like this?

May 11, 2015 at 5:42PM

4
Reply
Caleb Owen
Director/Editor
164

The slider looks great!

May 11, 2015 at 5:46PM

0
Reply
avatar
Jonesy Jones
Storymaker
707

Oh, now I get you. Or do I?

May 11, 2015 at 9:01PM

2
Reply
avatar
Jonathon Sendall
Stories
1897

Canon also said it was meant to be for drones, but the freaking lens slide out while flying. With out talking about the lack of communication between the user and the camera.

May 11, 2015 at 5:59PM, Edited May 11, 5:59PM

0
Reply
avatar
Edgar More
All
1248

Is this a joke? Mimimum ISO 500 ??

May 11, 2015 at 6:36PM

2
Reply
avatar
Panos Karachristos
Director - Filmmaker
285

Canon: What's up bro? Professional shooters likes us don't need less than that.

May 11, 2015 at 7:15PM

6
Reply
avatar
Edgar More
All
1248

We must challenge them to shoot in a sunny country like mine, Greece, with an ISO setting of 500!!! Only with stacked up Variable NDs!!

May 12, 2015 at 11:00AM, Edited May 12, 11:01AM

0
Reply
avatar
Panos Karachristos
Director - Filmmaker
285

The camera does have built in ND's. Camera still sucks for the price lol.

May 13, 2015 at 1:55AM

0
Reply
avatar
Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
1134

Cannon must be in fantasy land with their pricing. Have they seen the competition lately or do think the name Canon will just blindly sell people. Sorry, not anymore.

May 11, 2015 at 8:13PM

3
Reply
avatar
Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
948

ohh the lolzz......the Irony..... the guy who is being intervened shoots on a GH4 which craps on the XC10 any day AND is $1000 USD cheaper why would ANY one buy this camera.There were so many shots of the sky in this short and all of them were blown out, the dynamic range on the XC10 is horrible..... for that price anybody who buys this camera is crazy!!

May 11, 2015 at 10:11PM, Edited May 11, 10:11PM

11
Reply
Stefan Foderingham-Garraway
Director/Cinematographer
216

The only thing this camera does is confirm that Canon has the wrong mentality and business model in making consumer 4K cameras. They've reserved 4K for their cinema line nearly exclusively whilst their competitors (Sony, Panasonic, Blackmagic) are creating affordable 4K solutions with interchangeable lenses and better feature sets. I wonder if they'll ever wake up...

May 11, 2015 at 10:26PM

10
Reply
Luc Szczepanski
Filmmaker / Photographer / Designer
147

highlights have that digital milky bleach roll-off to them.

May 11, 2015 at 10:34PM

6
Reply
avatar
Vincent Gortho
none
969

This strikes me as a prosumer camera, something sold in a best buy to 30-40 somethings who've gotten word that everyone shoots baby videos in 4k now for future-proofing those memories, and this seems like as good an option as, well, anything.

Clearly canon is targeting idiots with this, is what I'm trying to say.

May 11, 2015 at 10:52PM

14
Reply
matthew david wilder
Director/Cameraman/Editor/Colorist
294

Someone at Canon HQ is going to be sad when the sales numbers come out.

May 11, 2015 at 11:37PM

14
Reply

That could be true. I will be curious to see the numbers after 6 months of sales.

May 13, 2015 at 6:32AM, Edited May 13, 6:31AM

6
Reply
Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1778

Still interested in this camera. I've had my eye on the Canon 28-300L lens for a while, because it seems like one of the most flexible zooms they have. That's not constant aperture either -- 3.5-5.6, and it costs $2,500 by itself at B&H. So, with an XC10, I'd get a lighter lens, a camera body attached, and deeper focus at the tele end than if I stuck a 28-300 on a full frame, which is handy -- the shot size at that sort of focal length is more important for me than shallowness of field.

So anyway, not writing it off just yet... though FZ1000 looks like it wins on price and specs; maybe main things going for XC10 are Canon colours and broadcast-friendly bitrates.

By the way, nicely shot piece. Particularly appreciated the focus pull on the incoming plane. And interesting that the slider beat Konova to the punch on the support system.

May 12, 2015 at 2:13AM, Edited May 12, 2:52AM

0
Reply
Adrian Tan
Videographer
1028

Looking at Johnnie's review more closely, there are aspects of the camera that are more troubling to me. I'm looking at this from an events-shooting point of view. The fact that there's only three programmable buttons (so if you have display, autofocus and magnify, you need to hunt through menus to adjust ISO), the difficulty he had in checking focus, and, to some extent, the fact the ND is only a single stop and insufficient in daylight (especially given that you have a minimum ISO of 500). These aren't necessarily deal-breakers for me; there's plenty of cameras that are as clunky to operate; but they're rather annoying,

I'd be curious if anyone has more information on how the autofocus works.

May 12, 2015 at 6:21PM

0
Reply
Adrian Tan
Videographer
1028

This is horribly overpriced, you get better if you go out and buy a 300 quid DSLR.

May 12, 2015 at 2:29AM

0
Reply
Harry Bartholomew
Director
81

Oh, Canon...

May 12, 2015 at 4:47PM

11
Reply
avatar
Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1631

It's really all you can say at this point...

May 13, 2015 at 2:27PM

2
Reply
avatar
Joseph Arant
Writer
25

Another joke from Canon, as a still photog, I use Canon exclusively. But for video........LOL!
They can only survive on their name for so long.

May 13, 2015 at 8:22AM

0
Reply
avatar
Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
1043

In other news, why hasn't Nikon pounced on this market, especially after Canon's dismal offerings? Unlike Canon, they have no high-end cinema camera lineup to protect. If they could give us 4k for $4k, people would be leaving Canon in droves...

May 13, 2015 at 2:25PM, Edited May 13, 2:26PM

0
Reply
avatar
Joseph Arant
Writer
25

Canon is the camera equivalent of Dexter. The difference is no one is sticking around to watch the later seasons. Shame on you Canon.

May 13, 2015 at 4:16PM

0
Reply
avatar
Don Way
Writer/Director of Photography
1142

It's disappointing, not to mention that lack of a swivelling to front-facing LCD - even for journalists this camera seems to miss the mark.

May 13, 2015 at 5:23PM

0
Reply
avatar
David Doel
Director, Camera Operator, Editor
170

Actually, when I think about it, there is one huge thing this camera can do for me over a GH4 or FZ1000 -- record more than 30 minutes of footage continuously.

I guess if you want a filmmaking camera, this isn't it. Find something with a bigger sensor and interchangeable lenses. But as a possible 4K events camera, it may fit the bill.

May 14, 2015 at 6:33AM

0
Reply
Adrian Tan
Videographer
1028

I am more interested in that slider than the camera.

May 27, 2015 at 10:41PM, Edited May 27, 10:41PM

0
Reply