Step up from a Canon XA20?

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    • #73436
      Avatarplnelson
      Participant

      I've been considering buying a Canon XA20.  The main use would be model and dance photography (see the bottom 5 galleries at pnArt.com) but I'll also take it on trips for random run'n'gun personal videos.

       

      I've been reading reviews and looking at miles of sample footage on Vimeo and YouTube, and I'm worried that it might be too low/consumer end for good results.   I'm especially worried about its tiny sensor –  on lots of sample footage blown-out highlights from a limited dynamic range are clear, as is limited control of depth-of-field.   Also, a 20X zoom is nice, but optically such a range involves many compromises and doing it this cheap is hard.   I've got individual zoom lenses for my DSLRs that cost twice what this whole camcorder costs and they're just 3X.   So I'm not surprised that people have reported CA and vignetting against the XA20.

       

      So if I wanted to go up-price what would I need to spend to get a bigger sensor and better optics, while keeping stuff I like such as in-camera overcranking, 60p, articulatable VF, and relatively small form-factor?

       

      (and no, I don't want to shoot video with a DSLR – I've shot enough video with my D800 and I personally think the ergonomics and usability of a DSLR for video are not there.  Too awkward.  I want a camcorder format)

       

      Thanks in advance.

    • #209867
      Avatarbrunerww
      Member

      Hi again, PL – unfortunately, there is a bit of a price gap between top of the line, small sensor camcorders such as the $2000 (with lens) Canon XA20 and cinematic Super 35mm camcorders such as the $4825 (body only) Sony FS100 and the $4949 (body only) Canon C100 (and the C100 doesn't have 1080/60p).

      These cameras would cost you twice as much as the XA20 – and the C100 doesn't even record to 1080/60p.

      A more reasonably priced option might be the $3619 micro 4/3 sensor Panasonic AG-AF100 or the less expensive AF105, the Japan home market model.  The AF105 is only $2799, has a much larger sensor than the XA20, records at 1080/60p, and will mount your Nikon lenses with a $13 adapter – or, alternatively, with a $429 Metabones Nikon G to micro 4/3 Speed Booster, which will widen your Nikon lenses by 0.71x and speed them up by one stop.

      Here is what the AF100 can do with Nikon lenses:

      http://vimeo.com/34108764

      With Canon lenses:

      http://vimeo.com/22431014

      Again, hope this is helpful!

      Bill

      Hybrid Camera Revolution

    • #209873
      Avatarplnelson
      Participant

      Thanks, Bill, the AF100 sounds like it's worth looking into!    I've got a dozen Nikon lenses – almost all of them are the top of the line for their particular focal length or speed – so it would be great to be able to use them.

      Anyone else have any comments or experience with the AG AF100?

      Thanks in advance!

    • #209875
      Avatarplnelson
      Participant

      ( The AG AF100 was discontinued in 2012 and replaced with the 100A )   It looks like a great camera for studio shooting on a tripod, but way too big and heavy for run-n-gun shooting!    

       

      WHY is it so big and heavy?   It's not the bigger sensor –  the sensor in the AF100a isn't that big – 18×13.5mm – a fraction the size of the sensor in my D800 DSLR (36x24mm), which is still a much smaller camera. 

       

      Is there some technical reason why they can't make a "4/3" sensor camcorder in a small, light package. 

    • #209887
      Avatarplnelson
      Participant

      So  all those other camcorders I see on B&H costing $3K, $4K, $5K have the same tiny sensor size as the XA20?

       

      This is frustrating.   

       

      I disagree with your assement (in the other thread) that the GH3  is suitable for run-n-gun shooting with my Nikon lenses –  it has no image stabilization.   The camcorder format devices all have multi-axis stabilization.   Remember, I have a D800, which is great if I don't mind being wedded to a tripod or steadicam or something. 

       

      I appreciate your help on this, but how come you and I are the only people in this conversation?    Is there a good discussion forum on the web somewhere with more traffic so I can get more opinions on this topic?

       

    • #211708
      Avatarkepgnar
      Member

      hello all! I'm certainly no expert, but I came across this post when looking up camcorder sensor sizes. 

       

      I purchased an XA20 about a year ago, and I love the camera. I didn't pay much attention to the sensor size when I was researching models as I'm really more of a "hobbyist" video maker.  However after reading more on sensor sizes lately, I now have developed an inferiority complex about my sensor size (as I'm sure many other males have as well.)

       

      Again, I love the camera, and the images it produces. the image stabilization is great, with 2 different levels of stabilization available.

       

      My main reason for purchasing this camera was the smaller size, the top handle, and the filter size that would allow me to use a Century MKI ultra-wide-angle. (I film skateboard videos for a website.) I also like the various recording modes available, and the in-camera overcranking produces results that I really like (however the slow-mo doesn't record audio, which is annoying to me.)

       

      I don't know how this helps you really, but since you mentioned the lack of voices in the conversation, I thought I'd register and add a comment. Maybe being active on this community will help my video skills.

       

      Good luck pl in finding a camera that suits your needs, and if you have any questions about my experience with the camera just let me know!

    • #211746
      AvatarProPhotog1
      Participant

      Dude…I don't know where you are getting your info, but both the XA25 nd XA20 are very good cameras and I impress my collegues all the time when its the ony Camera that can shoot in as low a light as it shoots! The lens aperture is stpped down to 1:8 and in manual mode more than acceptable depth of field is created. Not as elagant as DLSR's but nice! And why do you continue to describe the sensor as "Tiny"?? It a nearly 2/3 Sensor with its Megapixles individually larger for shooting in very low light!!! And show me a camera with better Stabilization at this price and I'll eat my hat!!  You have probably never shot handheld with a DSLR or any kind of camera where you had to ride the focus wheel while you shoot have you??? Both the Xa20 and 25 shoot at 35mbs and have many features not found in many cameras costing more! It is unreasonble to expect a camera to record both Slow Motion (beautiful I might add) and the associated Audio at the correct speed at this price point. But the Xa20 you will not regret it…or that new 4K Sony for less than 2Grand. But be ready to buy a big external hard drive to store all that data!!!  You need to watch Phillip Bloom's full review on the XA25!! I included a link as well to more info!!

      The nearly 1/3-inch CMOS sensor has 2.91 megapixels that are individually larger, allowing low light shooting with a minimum subject illumination of 1.2 lux. The camera is also equipped with infrared imaging for shooting in complete “visible” darkness. – See more at: http://www.tvtechnology.com/news/0086/canons-xa-professional-hd-camcorder/223369#sthash.zDTGwYe9.dpuf
    • #302609
      AvatarJohnSmith123
      Member

      Deferred the speculation for a few reasons, the primary one being that my “Creature” was all the while going solid and even 4K material altered without issues. Essentially, there was no earnest need, not even a need to update my framework. In any case, I searched for reasons to legitimize the consumption, since it is constantly pleasant to have a quick and cutting edge framework.

    • #301856
      AvatarJohnSmith123
      Member

      Deferred the speculation for a few reasons, the primary one being that my “Creature” was all the while going solid and even 4K material altered without issues. Essentially, there was no earnest need, not even a need to update my framework. In any case, I searched for reasons to legitimize the consumption, since it is constantly pleasant to have a quick and cutting edge framework.

    • #301691
      AvatarJohnSmith123
      Member

      Deferred the speculation for a few reasons, the primary one being that my “Creature” was all the while going solid and even 4K material altered without issues. Essentially, there was no earnest need, not even a need to update my framework. In any case, I searched for reasons to legitimize the consumption, since it is constantly pleasant to have a quick and cutting edge framework.

    • #301498
      AvatarJohnSmith123
      Member

      Deferred the speculation for a few reasons, the primary one being that my “Creature” was all the while going solid and even 4K material altered without issues. Essentially, there was no earnest need, not even a need to update my framework. In any case, I searched for reasons to legitimize the consumption, since it is constantly pleasant to have a quick and cutting edge framework.

    • #302797
      AvatarJohnSmith123
      Member

      Deferred the speculation for a few reasons, the primary one being that my “Creature” was all the while going solid and even 4K material altered without issues. Essentially, there was no earnest need, not even a need to update my framework. In any case, I searched for reasons to legitimize the consumption, since it is constantly pleasant to have a quick and cutting edge framework.

    • #213205
      AvatarJohnSmith123
      Member

      Deferred the speculation for a few reasons, the primary one being that my “Creature” was all the while going solid and even 4K material altered without issues. Essentially, there was no earnest need, not even a need to update my framework. In any case, I searched for reasons to legitimize the consumption, since it is constantly pleasant to have a quick and cutting edge framework.

    • #302077
      AvatarJohnSmith123
      Member

      Deferred the speculation for a few reasons, the primary one being that my “Creature” was all the while going solid and even 4K material altered without issues. Essentially, there was no earnest need, not even a need to update my framework. In any case, I searched for reasons to legitimize the consumption, since it is constantly pleasant to have a quick and cutting edge framework.

    • #209876
      Avatarbrunerww
      Member

      [QUOTE]Is there some technical reason why they can't make a "4/3" sensor camcorder in a small, light package?[/QUOTE]

       

      Sadly (at least for those who prefer the palmcorder form factor), the AF100 is the only 4/3" camcorder in existence.  It was Panasonic's first generation large sensor interchangeable lens camcorder and a bit of an experiment.

       

      Although it was moderately successful, the GH2 and GH3 were adopted in far greater numbers by filmmakers, so Panasonic has not introduced a replacement and the AF100 has seen some discounting.

       

      With the recent release of the GH4, Panasonic seems to be fully committed to the still camera form factor.

       

      There is one other large sensor camcorder option – the upcoming $1998 Sony AX100.  1" sensor, UHD resolution (4 times HD resolution) – the early images are stunning (please watch at 1080p):

       

       

       

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEYhkvZEVN4

       

       

       

      This camera will certainly be light enough for easy handholding.

       

       

      Cheers,

       

      Bill

      Hybrid Camera Revolution

       

       

    • #209890
      Avatarbrunerww
      Member

      Hi PL – you're absolutely right – mounting a manual, non-stabilized lens on a GH3 would not be a good run and gun solution.  That said, I regularly use my GH3 with an inexpensive pistol grip and a stabilized, autofocusing Panasonic lens (and a mic on top – not pictured) for run and gun shooting:

       

       

       

      When I don't need a mic, with a top handle, it's even steadier:

       

       

      For higher traffic fora, you may want to try:

       

      http://www.avsforum.com/f/161/camcorders/ 

       

      http://www.indietalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=240

       

      http://forums.creativecow.net/

       

      http://www.reddit.com/r/videography

       

      http://www.reddit.com/r/filmmakers

       

      http://www.dvxuser.com

       

      Again, hope this is helpful and best of luck!

       

      Bill

      Hybrid Camera Revolution

       

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