Canon Releases Trifecta of Portable Camcorders—But for Whom?

In an age of 4K iPhones, what is the role of a prosumer camera?

Some low-budget filmmakers interested in buying cameras from Canon may have considered this a disappointing year. The company seems to have been distancing its DSLRs from those interested in using them to shoot movies, perhaps in an effort to drive purchase towards its far more expensive C-series of cameras. 

With that in mind, today the company released a new series of pro and prosumer camcorders that may be attractive to those who don't require 4K. There's the pro-level Canon XA11, XA15, and the prosumer-oriented Vixia HF G21. All three models feature a 20x optical zoom lens, record full HD 1080p video, and range in price from $999-$1,899. 

Canon Vixia HF G21

Vixia HF G21

The Canon Vixia HF G21 records full HD video at 1920 x 1080 resolution with a new HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor that brings improved low-light performance with a wide DR Gamma of 600%. It also has the ability to record slow and fast motion with interval recording from 2-1200x.

The camera has a highlight priority mode to reduce highlight clipping, and the auto display feature includes high-definition focus peaking.  It has dual SD slots, a 3-inch touchscreen LCD, and a tiltable electronic viewfinder. It's selling for $999.99.

Canon XA11

XA11 and XA15

The Canon XA11 and XA15 are the more professional of the three options. They record AVCHD and MPEG-2 formats via a 1/2.84-inch CMOS RGB sensor. Frame rates are 60p, 60i, 30p and 24p. It is fronted by a 26.8-576mm (35mm equivalent) optical zoom lens which has 16 levels of variable zoom speeds at a fast wide aperture of f/1.8-2.8.

The cameras have a built-in stereo condenser microphone along with a stereo mini-jack, and their viewing screens are 3-inch touchscreen monitors with 460k dot resolution. 

Key Features

  • Canon 20x HD optical zoom lens
  • Full HD 1920×1080 recording
  • Advanced HD-CMOS Pro Imaging Sensor
  • 3-inch Touchscreen LCD
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Highlight Priority Mode
  • Intelligent Optical Stabilization
  • Full Manual control
  • 2 Phantom-Powered XLR Audio Inputs with Manual Gain Control

The XA11 and XA15 are pretty much the same camera, except for the fact that the XA15 has a BNC HD/SD-SDI terminal jack for output only, and the XA11 doesn’t. That will cost you an extra $500. The Canon XA11 is selling at $1,399 while the Canon XA15 is selling for $1,899.

Would any of these cameras be good for your work? Or is the lack of 4K a deal-breaker? Let us know in the comments.     

Your Comment

10 Comments

Why?
- Zoom lens
- The ability to give someone else the camera without giving them most of your private life as well :p
- looks far more serious :p

December 5, 2017 at 1:07PM

3
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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9755

I could see something like the XA11 being appealing to DSLR wedding filmmakers as their ceremony A-cam. No record limit and such. Good for capturing a main shot from sticks in the back of the room, and you could run an XLR into it for audio. Other than that...limited applications, I feel like.

December 5, 2017 at 1:27PM

0
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Nathan Tranbarger
Videographer, DP, Editor
161

Not everybody is obsessed with or cares about 4k although it's being heavily pushed to filmmakers via advertising and blogs, etc. Anyway, I recently shot a feature-length film (Incident at Montauk coming next year on 11.22.18) using the Canon XA10 and a cheap Logitech webcam. These cameras worked great for my project and I'm sure prosumer cameras will continue to have their place depending on one's project or the style they're going for.

December 5, 2017 at 4:08PM

3
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Owen Mulligan
Writer/Filmmaker
234

It's fine to say that, but lets see a trailer?

December 6, 2017 at 9:49AM

2
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Chris Kas
Jack of all trades
453

These are for corporate use; businesses that want quality but don't have a need for the very best (like 4K) or expensive people, for internal videos that communicate to employees.

December 5, 2017 at 7:34PM

6
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Sathya Vijayendran
Writer/Director/Editor
322

It's 2017; it's ridiculous to charge 2000 for an hd cam with poor low light (therefore problematic for event videography, low budget indies, and documentaries). Even if you just need something to put in the back of the room and record, there are so many better options--and 4k allows you to punch in on someone's face if you really are just letting stationary cams go it alone. And it's sad that I've had a 4k video camera in my smartphone for four years now and they're still trying to peddle this junk.

December 5, 2017 at 9:35PM

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J Robbins
829

This is the only argument that needs to be made...STANDARD 4k in phones for years now, years... there is no excuse. But this is coming from Canon, is anyone surprised?

December 6, 2017 at 9:51AM

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Chris Kas
Jack of all trades
453

"with a wide DR Gamma of 600%"

What is that supposed to mean?

December 7, 2017 at 2:07PM, Edited December 7, 2:07PM

5
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David Gurney
DP
2577

Canon has issued one interesting product in the last decade, and it was just a few months ago: the C200.

December 7, 2017 at 2:11PM, Edited December 7, 2:12PM

0
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David Gurney
DP
2577

What's a Canon?

December 10, 2017 at 4:37PM

14
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Micah Taylor
Writer | Director | DP
119