Canon XA-20 vs. XF100 low light

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    • #71136

      Preface: I'm a noob.


      So, after doing lots of research in looking for the  right camera for me, I've found the Canon XA-20 to fit the bill. I noticed though that XF100 is also about the same price. Both cameras seem VERY similar (to my untrained mind) and when I check out low light tests for both cameras, the XA-20 seems to do a better job IMO. 


      That being said, I'd like to get the opinion of people who have experience with either of these cameras or who know what they're talking about unlike me. 

      Low light is my biggest concern. Specifically, shooting indoors. 

      My question when it comes to cameras is the sensor. I have a small idea as to what to what they do and what to look for, but still a bit in the dark. I don't know if the question I'm about to ask is really as cut and dry as I'm making it out to be: The XF100 has a 1/3 inch CMOS sensor, and the XA-20 has 1/2.84 inch CMOS sensor. (from the canon site) Would I be correct in saying the XA-20 has the larger sensor, therefor better for low light?

    • #209089

      I just turned up to ask the very same question, looking to record theatre and stage shows with either XA20 or XF100 , so advice from those with experience of both units would be appreciated πŸ™‚



    • #209123

      Good to hear this question will help someone else πŸ™‚

    • #209124

      Jay: From the low light test videos I've seen, the XA20 looks much better than XF100. Less artifacts and what not. But expert advice is alway good. Hence this post.

    • #209183

      The big difference I would like to point out here is the codec. The xf100 uses an mpeg codec with a 4:2:2 color space as opposed to the 4:2:0 color space of the XA20.


      The XA100 footage will give you a lot more leeway in post production. Granted, you'll need an editing program and computer that can handle the 50 mbs stream. You may be surprised what a little grading in post can do for otherwise dark and muddy video.


      There was a day when I was all aboard the AVCHD bandwagon… but now that I've radically upgraded my edit station and software, I yearn for a better codec than my current cameras provide.


      I should also mention it may have been all the ACVHD processing that totalled my laptop… so… word to the wise – airflow. AVCHD takes a goodly amount of processor power due to it's highly compressed nature. High processor use equals heat.


      Here's what Philip Bloom had to say about the XF100 and the XA10…



      For things to consider not related to image quality:


      XA20 has most functions buried in menus. XF100 has more external controls. Verdict – XA100 is easier to use.


      XF100 looks more impressive to a client than the XA20. I know, this is lame, but it's a fact of life when people who know nothing about cameras are paying you. Verdict – XF100 will get you more business.


      XA20 has 1080 at 60p. XF100 has 60p at 720. Verdict – Slight edge to the XA20 in slow motion IF you're viewing in a theater or on a particularly large TV. Either way, slo-mo needs several times as much light as 24p to make it look the consistent with the rest of your footage.


      XA20 has a 20x zoom vs the XF100's 10x zoom. Verdict – XA20 -especially for event video.

    • #209184

      Hey dellwovideo,


      Thanks so much for your detailed response, I definitely think that the XF100 is the way forward for me, I've got one on its way to me so that I can try it out over the weekend πŸ™‚


      Thanks again,



    • #209237

      Thanks for the replies. But I'm still concerned about the low light comparison between the two. I know the sensor has a big part in that. Which would be better for low light?

    • #209597

      If all you're asking is about low-light, then I say the xa20 will provide better low-light shooting.  The xf100 certainly has more features, but as the user of both an XA10 and a XF105, I can say with assurance that the XA will perform better in low-light.

    • #209802
      To be reconciled with the choice that you will, suggest you see more footage taken with the two cameras and judge for yourself what is best. I can show you some footage taken by me in variable light conditions XF100.
      To me it matters very much manual controls on the camera body, 50mbs codec MXF 422. 
      If you choose XF100 Transcend 400x CF cards I recommend – no problem for 2 years of use.
      Here find you some shooting with XF100: 
    • #209868

      Nice communication over here. Guys thank you for sharing information…

    • #211468

      For those who already have the XF100 what record times are you getting with the 422 Color space ,on what size cards??

    • #209187

      As far as Format is concerend, the ATOMOS Ninja 2 is a very affordable solution for capturing 4:2:2 for any HDMI or SDI Camera. Along with capturing a better codec its monitor is very useful as well.

    • #210207
      G. Rindon

      I just got a new XF100. Your XF100 footage is excellent, if you don't mind, I'm curious as to what custom picture/CP settings you used?  Thanks and hope to see more of your work!

    • #211659


      64 gig = 164 minutes. .32 gig = 82 minutes. .and so on 422 , 50mbs, 25p.

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